New Feature: Debit Card “Round Up”

Dec 19, 2014
Savings, Checking Accounts, Debit Cards, New Products

For most people, savings is extremely difficult.  My number one savings tip is to try and make it as automatic as possible, such as by splitting the direct deposit for your paycheck between your checking and savings account.  Now some banks are getting into the game with a new feature to automate savings by rounding up all of your debit card transactions to the nearest dollar (or two) and putting that “digital change” into your savings account.  Ask your students if they think this is a feature that they would sign up for.

Here is a description from Mid-USA Credit Union:

When a debit card purchase is made, the transaction is rounded up to the nearest dollar, and the increased amount is then transferred to the savings account selected by you. This transfer account is selected when you open a checking account or anytime in the future. These “round up” funds that are deposited come from your checking account to which the debit card is attached. The round-up adjustment (1 per day for all purchases made that day) will take place on end of day processing and will be withdrawn from your checking account.

Here’s a happy customer:

I have a special savings account at my credit union. It looks at each debit card transaction, then takes the difference between what I actually spent and the next whole dollar and puts it in the savings account. For example, if I spend $4.63 on a cup of coffee, the account pulls another 37 cents from my checking account and puts it into savings. It may not sound like much, but the savings account is over $200 for 2014! That’s a few Xmas gifts and better than not saving at all. (I do have actual savings and am religiously putting $$ in a 401(k).)


About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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