Digit and Qapital are automated budgeting apps that help you set goals, grow wealth, and save without having to lift a finger. Designed for young investors of the mobile-first generation, these apps can help users sweep up extra cash that would normally be sitting in a checking account and put it into investments and savings goals. Which do we believe is the safest bet for your money?
- Founded in 2013 in San Francisco
- Founder: Ethan Bloch
- Tradable assets: ETFs
- Available in the U.S. only
- Fees: $5 a month, withdrawal fee for instant transfers
- Mobile only
- Founded in Sweden in 2013, introduced to the U.S. in 2015
- Founders: George Friedman and Katherine Salisbury
- Tradable assets: ETFs
- Available in the U.S. only—was withdrawn from Sweden in 2015.
- Fees: monthly pricing plans at $3, $6 or $12 a month.
- Mobile only
The Basics: Digit
Digit is a micro-savings app that helps users save money without thinking about it. Their algorithm determines how much money you need in your checking account for bills and quick cash access, and then they transfer the remaining funds into your savings account on Digit. The idea is that you don’t have to make a conscious effort to put your money away: it goes there automatically.
On Digit you can set goals of any size. Whether you’re saving for a big grocery run, next month’s rent, a dream vacation, a downpayment for a house, or retirement, Digit puts money toward those goals incrementally. By investing your savings into ETFs, they can help grow your cash beyond what you might be able to do on your own.
The Basics: Qapital
Qapital is another micro-savings app with a few more features. Their goal is to help everyone be good with money because of Qapital’s smart algorithm and easy-to-use tools designed by a behavioral economist. Like Digit, Qapital’s key pillar is goal setting. Users set goals such as saving for college, paying for a downpayment, and financing a dream wedding. The app automatically puts extra cash toward those goals.
Investors choose their risk tolerance, which then determines how Qapital will invest the money. There are five levels of portfolio risk, from very conservative to very aggressive. Qapital also has a complex system of game-ifying savings, but more on that in a moment.
Image: Digit aims to make saving as easy as possible. Designed for the mobile-first generation, Digit users must put their trust whole-heartedly in an app-based fintech. Digit is different from a bank in that it helps you achieve savings goals automatically, so users don’t even have to lift a finger. Image from digit.co.
Users can also invest with Digit. The investing section of the app is more like a robo-advisor than a broker for active traders, however. Instead of selecting individual stocks, users put their money into a variety of ETFs selected by Digit at differing risk levels.
Digit offers a variety of retirement savings accounts, which the ETFs feed directly into. Digit has taken their micro-savings method to the next level by introducing retirement savings.
Qapital has virtually the same investing structure. Users have access to ETFs only, and the app picks investments for you. The main difference is that Qapital gives users five different risk tolerance profiles to choose instead of determining what your risk is through an algorithm, which Digit does. We like this feature because it gives investors more control over how Qapital invests their finances.
Qapital has a variety of “if-this-then-that” rules that users can set up to make investing fun and easy. For example, users can set a rule that rounds up their purchases and dumps the extra change into a savings account. Users can also connect their Health app, and whenever they go on a run or bike ride, a few extra dollars go into savings. Qapital believes these rewards help people save more and spend less.
Their “if-this-then-that” rules can expand to nearly every app on your phone. For example, if you post a tweet on twitter, $1 can go into your savings account automatically. It’s a game-ified approach to saving that could help many people take saving more seriously.
Image: Qapital is another micro-savings app with the goal to make saving easy. Users set goals of any size, and the app divides money into the different categories. Image from qapital.com.
Text Your Savings Account
One of the distinguishing features of Digit is its easy SMS service. Users can text commands, such as transferring money, to Digit, which will initiate the process without the user ever having to open the app.
You can also get daily text updates, so you can know how much is in your bank account without having to remember to check. This feature is a super helpful way to stay on top of your finances.
Saving as a Household
As of mid-2021, Qapital is in the process of rolling out a couples saving plan. Through this feature, couples (or “teams,” as the app calls them) can save jointly through a linked Qapital account. This is designed to help solve the problem of juggling joint bank accounts, so couples and families can save more easily.
The Dream Team feature is still in beta and is rolling out slowly to the highest-paying users.
Another area where Digit shines is preventing overdraft fees. By using AI and machine learning to calculate how much money investors need in their accounts at a time, it is rare to have an overdraft charge. This feature is necessary because Digit automatically withdraws money from your checking account and puts it in the various savings accounts within the app. Digit will reimburse up to two instances of overdraft for you.
Qapital offers overdraft protection by not withdrawing money from your checking account if it’s under $100. However, we wonder if this limit is too low.
Image: Digit is vague about their algorithm. Their AI withdraws money from your checking account and puts it into your Digit savings account when it determines that you have enough money on hand for bills and daily expenses. Digit strives to be a completely hands-off solution, so the app makes all of the transfer decisions for you. Image from digit.co.
Another new feature Qapital is rolling out is Payday Divvy. Users will be able to divide up where they want each paycheck to go and fully automate the transfers, so you won’t even have to think about moving money around. For example, when you’re paid, you can set the app up to put some of it into an emergency fund, some into a house downpayment savings goal, and then keep some in a checking account.
Freelancer Tax Saving
One very beneficial feature of Qapital is that it will set aside money freelancers earn that will have to be paid to taxes. This is like a built-in tax withholding feature, which can be very helpful for individuals who do not have an employer who withholds money for them.
Digit is best for saving smaller amounts of money. Because the investing side is still pretty minimal, users will not see their money grow significantly. Long story short, Digit will not make you rich—rather, it will optimize your current cash and help you put it in the right places.
Digit does not publicize how their savings algorithm works, so users don’t know what triggers Digit to withdraw money from your checking account and put it into the Digit app. Under the guise of being AI-driven, Digit is not transparent with its investors, which we do not like.
Also, because Digit is entirely automated, investors cannot make any of their own decisions regarding where their money goes. While we like that Digit strives to make saving easy for everyone, we wish it had options to take control of your money if you want to.
Qapital has similar cons to Digit. It seems counterintuitive to have to pay to save money, and Qapital has pricier plans than Digit.
Qapital will also not make you rich overnight. Their investing structure is similar to Digit’s, but we like that users have more control over how much money gets moved and when. Users have nearly no control over where their funds are invested, however, which is a drawback for us.
Image: One of Qapital’s new features is PayDay Divvy. This allows you to split up your paycheck into categories, so you can save without even thinking about it. We like that users determine their own percentages of where their money goes, putting more control in their hands than other automated savings apps. Image from qapital.com.
Who It’s For: Digit
Digit is best for investors who don’t want to have to think about saving and investing. It’s an extremely hands-off approach that helps you put small amounts of money away. Digit is not for investors who want to have an active role in determining where their money goes.
One of Digit’s main goals is to help users pay off debt, whether it’s from student loans, credit cards, or anything that might be holding investors back from saving for their biggest goals. Digit helps users save for these payments by automatically withdrawing the funds from their bank accounts. Overall, Digit is best for busy investors who don’t want to worry about having enough in savings to achieve their goals.
Who It’s For: Qapital
Qapital is also great for investors who don’t want to think too hard about saving. It’s especially good for people who want a fun, game-ified approach to saving. Qapital can also be great for couples who want to combine their savings goals and for freelancers who want a built-in tax withholding service.
In order to access all of Qapital’s top features, however, you will have to pay $12 a month. This is not an ideal price point for a savings app in our opinion.
Image: The new Dream Team feature is unique to Qapital. The founders created this capability to solve the issue of cumbersome joint bank accounts. With Dream Team, Qapital users can couple up with their partner and save and invest together. Image from qapital.com.
There’s one key difference between Digit and Qapital: who determines when and how much money is moved from banking account to in-app savings account. On Digit, they use an algorithm to determine how much you need in your checking account at any given time, then automatically move the rest into your Digit account. On Qapital, however, users set their own rules and dollar values, so while the moving of the money still occurs automatically, one of the rules must trigger that move.
Since we like having control over our money, we recommend Qapital over Digit. Investors can still get the benefits of automatic and seamless transfers, personalized goal setting, and investment portfolios filled with ETFs matching users’ risk tolerance on Qapital. But they also get to make their own rules when it comes to moving money, which we believe is critical to keeping your money safe.
Overall, we believe Qapital is the better micro-saving app.
Is Digit legit?
Yes, Digit is a safe and legitimate savings platform. Your money is protected even if they go out of business. Funds are FDIC insured up to $250,000. They also claim to use the same level of security that the military uses, but do not specify exactly what this means.
Is Qapital legit?
Yes, Qapital is a safe and legitimate savings platform. Your money is protected even if they go out of business: it is FDIC insured up to $250,000 per individual.
How does Digit app make money?
Digit makes money by charging a $5 monthly fee from all users. Digit also makes interest off of funds sitting in investors’ accounts. Digit also charges a withdrawal fee if users want their money as quickly as possible.
How does Qapital app make money?
Qapital charges monthly subscription fees, at $3, $6, or $12 a month. Qapital also offers a Visa card, which it earns a commission from every time it’s swiped.
Is Digit a robo-advisor?
Digit has AI-driven algorithms that help the app determine where to invest users’ money. It has robo-advisor capabilities but does not have the full suite of technology that robo-advisors like Wealthfront and SoFi Invest offer.
Is Qapital a robo-advisor?
Qapital takes users’ risk tolerance and uses that to determine which ETFs to invest their money into. Qapital does not have all the features that many robo-advisors are known for, and the assets are limited. However, it is a hands-free solution for investors looking to put savings into ETFS.
How does Digit work?
Digit is a micro-savings platform, meaning it sweeps up the extra money in investors’ checking accounts and puts it into savings or ETFs. Digit uses AI and machine learning to determine how much extra money should be removed from the bank account and put into savings. The app is designed for individuals who want the easiest, most hands-free saving experience possible.
How does Qapital work?
Qapital is a micro-savings platform that strives to make saving money fun and easy. Users set up a variety of “if-this-then-that” rules which, when triggered, will move money from your bank account into Qapital’s savings account. Investors set savings goals and pick a risk tolerance level, and then Qapital takes it from there.
Does Digit take your money?
The Digit app moves money from users’ checking accounts into the Digit app. Within the app, there are different savings categories, or goals, to put money into. Users set their own goals—Digit does not set them for you, it just creates the algorithm to determine where and when to put the money in different baskets.
Is there a fee for Qapital?
Yes, Qapital charges monthly subscription fees in three tiers: $3, $6, or $12 depending on which features you want access to.
Is there a fee for Digit?
Yes, Digit costs $5 a month.
Can you withdraw your money before you reach a goal on Qapital?
Yes, you can withdraw your money without penalty at any time on Qapital, even if you don’t reach your goals.
Can you withdraw your money before you reach a goal on Digit?
Yes, on Digit you can withdraw money at any time, from either met or unmet goals.
What bank is Qapital?
Qapital is not a bank itself, but it’s partnered with Lincoln Savings Bank.
Where is Digit available?
Digit is available in the U.S. only.
Where is Qapital available?
Qapital is available in the U.S. only.