SmartyPig Drops Check Fee and Vonage offers 20% off for Prepayment

By glblguy

Photo by: swanksalot

I’ve been out of town for the past few days on a business trip. That coupled with working on the Carnival of Personal Finance, I haven’t had a chance to complete/write more “normal” types of Gather Little by Little articles. The good news is I’m learning a great deal and I got the pleasure of having dinner with Green Panda and her husband (Blue Panda) which was awesome.

In lieu of having any major articles to share with you, I’ll share a couple of noteworthy news items that have arrived in my inbox over the past few days. I’ll return to my regularly scheduled programming tomorrow!

SmartyPig drops their fee for paper checks

I received an email from Jon Gaskell, one of the SmartyPig founders stating that they are”pulling the plug” on the $25 paper check fee. In my opinion, the $25 fee was a limiting factor for what people might use SmartyPig to save for. For example, if you are trying to save for a particular item, like an HDTV or something SmartyPig was a great choice as you could redeem your savings for a gift card or Mastercard debit card and use the debit card to pay for your purchase. However, if you were trying to save for something like your annual property taxes, down payment on a home, or maybe even buy a car SmartyPig wasn’t a good fit, as Jon says in his email: “for everything else there isn’t always MasterCard“.

Thanks to feedback from a their customers/users, John talked his co-founder Mike Ferrari (love his last name) and they both agreed “they shouldn’t punish people for having bigger goals” nor limit what SmartyPig users might be saving for.

Effective 2 days ago on April 13th, SmartyPig is dropping the $25 fee for issuing paper checks. Currently for this option, you’ll need to call their customer service center once your goal is reached in order to receive a paper check, but they are hard at work automating this process. Here’s the even better news though, once the automation is in place, their won’t be a paper check option, but an ACH automated transfer option direct to your account of choice.

I’m continually impressed by SmartyPig’s willingness to make changes based on early adopter usage and with their ability to quickly react. I think they definitely have an awesome service that is going have a big impact on personal finance and saving! Way to go guys!

Pre-pay with Vonage and get another 20% off

Also in my inbox this week was a newsflash email from Vonage where you can now prepay for Vonage service and receive 20% off. I am a big fan of Vonage voice over IP (VOIP) phone service and have saved a considerable amount of money using it over the past few years.

The new offer from Vonage allows you to pre-pay for 1 year of phone service and receive a 20% discount. This offer only applies to their Residential and Business Premium plans. I use the basic plan, so no benefit for me, but if you currently have a premium plan with them, pre-paying can save you roughly $59 a year!

The plan does require a one-year commitment, there is no refund for early termination, and it will automatically renew unless you provide them with a “timely notice”.

Interested in signing up for Vonage? Contact me and I’ll send you a referral and we’ll both get 2 months free!

4 Responses (including trackbacks) to “SmartyPig Drops Check Fee and Vonage offers 20% off for Prepayment”

  1. Going Gazelle Says:

    Interesting concept on I’m wondering if they have the ability for you to embed account status and click to donate technology. That would be incredibly cool.

  2. Gayle Says:

    The $25 check fee was kept me from seriously considering SmartyPig as a savings option. I’ll have to revisit their service. Thanks for the update.

  3. David@My Two Dollars Says:

    Did you sign up for the prepayment plan? I almost took advantage of that deal a while back, but saving only $5 a month would not be worth the potential of not needing the service down the road and not being able to get a refund or even worse, them going out of business as is mentioned often!

  4. glblguy Says:

    @David – No, I use the base plan, so pre-payment isn’t an option. I don’t call long distance much.