This is part of our Rockstar Reviews series.
Be sure to check out all previous products we’ve reviewed!
[This week’s review is by Kevin from FinancialPanther.co who has been using Qapital for almost two years now. Thanks for taking the time to share with us, Kevin!]
A Free App That Helps You Save More by Incorporating Goals and “Rules”
Getting people to save more money usually boils down to two things: making it really easy to do, and knowing what you’re saving for. One app I think really understands how to do both is Qapital.
I’ve been using Qapital for almost two years now and it’s become one of my go-to money apps. I think it’s the perfect app to help me save for short-term and medium-term goals, and to just squeeze a little bit more savings out of my monthly budget. In fact, in the past two years, I’ve easily saved over $1,000 without even realizing it!
What is Qapital?
In a nutshell, Qapital is a banking app that helps you save more money. I like to think of Qapital as a technology company built on top of a bank. Just like with your bank, any funds you deposit into your Qapital account are FDIC insured. That means you can rest easy knowing that your money is safe. And the great thing is that Qapital is 100% free! No monthly or hidden fees of any kind. No minimum balance. Seriously. They make this fact pretty clear too.
The thing that makes Qapital interesting is how it takes a visual approach to saving.
Instead of seeing your money as one big number, Qapital instead divides your funds into different goals that you create. When you set up a goal, Qapital makes you assign a picture to that goal which is used to help motivate you to save even more. It’s much easier to save money towards that tropical vacation when you can see a picture of the beach that you’re going to be relaxing on!
Here’s a look at my own Qapital account to give you an idea of how it looks:
Here, you can see two goals that I’m saving money for – a “rainy day” (i.e. emergency fund) and a fancy new phone. As you can see, I put a picture of the phone that I want to get in order to keep myself motivated each time I open up the app. I ended up choosing a random picture for my rainy day goal that I just thought looked cool.
Qapital App “Rules”
The other unique thing about Qapital is how it uses rules to trigger automatic savings. You can customize almost any rule you can imagine. Take a look at just a few of the rules you can set.
The great thing about these rules is that most of them allow you to save money without even noticing it. I’ve mainly been using the round-up rule, which rounds up all of my transactions to the nearest dollar and saves the spare change for me. This allows me to save extra money without much work, and basically makes it so that Qapital becomes something of a digital spare change jar for me.
How Does Qapital Work?
Qapital is a really easy app to use. First, you’ll need to download Qapital and set up an account. The app works on both iOS and Android. I should note that Qapital is only available as a mobile app too, which probably shouldn’t be a problem for most people.
Once you’ve set up your account, you’ll then need to link your bank with Qapital. This allows you to fund your Qapital account. If you want to use certain types of rules that are linked to your spending, you’ll also need to link any credit cards that you use with Qapital so that Qapital can monitor your transactions on those cards.
After you’ve got everything set up, you’ll then need to create a goal. Pick an amount that you want to save up for, and then pick a savings rule to go with it. For example, if you’re saving for a vacation, you might create a vacation goal and deposit a certain amount of money every week into it.
That’s basically it! The key now is to let Qapital do its job and let your money grow over time. Here’s a look at the round-up rule in action on my own account:
The good thing is that, even as I’m spending money, I’m always saving a little bit too. It’s not a ton – only a few cents here and there – but it surprisingly adds up over time.
Once you’ve saved enough money towards your goal, Qapital marks the goal as complete. You can then use that money guilt-free, knowing that you took the time to save the money first!
My Favorite Qapital Rules
There are a ton of rules to choose from, but here are just a few of my favorites:
- Round-Up Rule. This is, without a doubt, my favorite rule. When you activate this rule, Qapital monitors your transactions and automatically rounds up every transaction you make to the nearest dollar. It then deposits all of that spare change into whatever goal you want it to go towards. The best part is that by activating this rule, you save a little bit of money every day without even realizing it.
- Guilty Pleasure Rule. This is a terrific rule to activate if you’re trying to change some of your spending behavior. Let’s say that you’re the type of person who spends a lot of money on Starbucks and you want to change that. All you have to do is activate the Guilty Pleasure Rule and have Qapital save $5 or $10 towards a goal each time you buy something at Starbucks. At some point, you’ll either have a huge amount of money saved up or you’ll force yourself to stop buying the thing you’re trying to avoid.
- Spend Less Rule. If you’re budgeting, this is a great way to make sure that you save the surplus if you come in below budget in a category. Activate this rule and Qapital tracks what you spend in a certain budget category. If you come under, it’ll automatically move the remainder of that money into your Qapital account.
There are a ton of other rules as well. The Set It And Forget It Rule is pretty basic and one I use all the time. Just tell Qapital to set aside a certain amount every day, week, or month and it’ll do that for you. The 52-Week Challenge Rule allows you to start doing the 52-week challenge with a single tap of a button. And if you’re self-employed, the Freelancer Rule automatica
The really cool thing is that Qapital also links to an app called IFTTT (“If This, Then That”). This app basically allows you to customize Qapital in order to create any custom rules you want.
I’m a pretty simple guy, so right now I’m just sticking with the “Round-Up Rule” and the “Set It And Forget It Rule.” But the good thing is that, with so many rules, you can basically customize Qapital to fit with whatever you’re trying to accomplish.
Potential Downsides to Using Qapital
I don’t have a ton of negative things to say about Qapital, especially since it’s a free app. Probably the main downside is that Qapital doesn’t give you any interest on your savings. As a result, I don’t think Qapital is a good option for any long-term savings goals you might have. Instead, you should use Qapital to save for goals that you’re trying to reach in a year or two.
The second issue I’ve had with Qapital is that it doesn’t link with Mint or Personal Capital. For some people, that won’t matter all that much, but if you’re like me and like seeing all of your accounts in one place, it can be a bit annoying to have to remember that you also have some cash in your Qapital account. I’ve asked Qapital about the potential of Mint support before, but it doesn’t seem like it’s coming anytime soon.
Finally, while not necessarily a downside, Qapital is only available as a mobile app for iOS and Android. For most people, that probably won’t be a problem, but I know some people like being able to see their accounts on their computer. I personally always use my phone for that stuff.
Overall, Qapital is a Great Way to Save More Money
Qapital is an app that I find really valuable and that I think can help almost anyone save more money. The round up rule itself makes Qapital totally worth it, and the fact that you can activate all sorts of other rules too is icing on the cake. It’s really helped me to get some extra savings out of my budget.
You can try it out here: Qapital.com
(New sign ups receive $5.00)
About the author: Financial Panther is a lawyer who paid off $87,000 worth of student loans in just 2.5 years by choosing not to live like a big shot. When he’s not at work, he’s usually figuring out ways to make extra money using sharing economy apps. You can learn more about him on his blog, www.financialpanther.co, where he writes about personal finance, crushing debt, and side hustling.
All Rockstar Reviews include affiliate links to the companies being featured. Thank you to all those who support our site by going through them when you find them helpful!