How it works: SmartyPig is a savings account, social network, and gift registry rolled into one. Upon opening a free account with SmartyPig (accounts are held with Iowa's FDIC-insured West Bank), customers define a savings goal (i.e. a new car, HDTV, etc) and begin saving toward that goal. Your SmartyPig account can be funded via electronic transfers from any existing checking or savings account. Users also have the option of making their SmartyPig account public and letting family and relatives contribute to their savings. SmartyPig pays 3.9% APY and upon reaching your goal, offers up to 5% bonuses from its retail partners, which include the likes of Best Buy, Pottery Barn, and Home Depot. So if you saved $900 toward the purchase of a new HDTV from Best Buy, SmartyPig will throw in a 5% bonus upon closing your account.
Small Print: If you contribute to someone else's account using a credit card, SmartyPig will charge the contributor a 2.9% processing fee. (There are no charges for transactions you make to your own account). A minimum opening balance of $25 is required.
We say: If you can overlook the site's cartoonish feel, SmartyPig's high APY and added bonuses are a great incentive if you're saving for a specific product, though we wouldn't use this as our primary savings account.
One from American Express
How it works: Make a purchase with your One from American Express credit card and American Express will contribute 1% of your eligible purchases to your American Express savings account earning a 2.75% APY. There's no minimum balance or limit on how much you can deposit into your savings account. Plus, get $50 after your first purchase to jump-start your savings.
Small Print: After your first year (which is free), American Express charges a $35 annual fee. Depending on your credit history, the One credit card can carry from a 10.99% APR to 12.99%. Should your account go into default, you'll be charged a 26.99% APR.
We say: While the plan sounds great on paper, remember that the One card is a credit card and you'll be charged interest if you don't pay your purchases off each month, making this the least tempting offer of the bunch.
Louis Ramirez is dealnews' Features Editor.