If you know me, you know that I always look for the best deal that I can; I want the best bang for my buck. This effectively means that I have plenty of credit cards that I (responsibly!) use to maximize my rewards based on my spending. I have some recommendations and referral links (here's one to the Chase Freedom line where you can choose either the Freedom Unlimited or Freedom Flex based on your spending needs -- something else we may get around to in the future) based on my cards, but we'll talk more about that later. Spoiler alert: there is also a referral code for Yotta Savings that earns you 100 bonus tickets by using it (CHELSEA2).
As for savings accounts, I've dabbled in a few different kinds, searching for the best place to safely store my hard-earned money. I've had a savings account through my credit union, a Sofi savings account, an American Express savings account, and now, a Yotta savings account.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Reserve of the United States drastically cut rates, causing a significantly reduction in savings rates. American Express started out at 1.30% APY and quickly dropped to 0.60% APY over a few months during my limited time with them. Prior to that, Sofi had done the same thing which led me to jump ship and their rate is currently sitting at 0.25% APY.
Then I learned about Yotta Savings, which gamifies savings and makes it fun through a very non-traditional approach while still offering a competitive high-yield APY! The idea behind Yotta Savings was driven by how many Americans spend on lottery tickets, which is about $80 billion annually. Yet, on average, 40% of Americans answered a survey that they would not be able to come up with $400 in emergency funds if needed (from Yotta's About Us page). Yotta cleverly combines these two by taking Americans' apparent love for gambling and the need for Americans to save money. The United Kingdom has Premium Bonds, which inspired the co-founders behind Yotta to bring an equivalent to the United States (side note: Yotta is currently only available in America).
APY, Prizes, and Odds of Winning
You start out with a base 0.20% APY that is deposited into your savings account each month, no matter what your weekly winnings are like any other savings account. Speaking of, the weekly prizes you can win range from $0.01 to $10,000,000 (before taxes, of course). The prizes calculated in a lottery style and most notably the Power Ball, where you have different numbers and one "Yotta Ball" (sound familiar?). The current prizes and odds for each weekly drawing are as follows (taken from Yotta's FAQs):
This breaks down the chances of each possible combination and what you would win as a result. As you can see, you can get $0.10 for having one matching Yotta Ball. As time goes on, especially if you have reoccurring deposits, you will continue to gain more tickets that you will have every week (provided the money remains in your account).
With Yotta's method of savings, you have something to look forward to every night and it adds that "game" effect to it. The first ball is drawn on Mondays and each ball is announced around 9 PM EST every night. On Sunday, the Yotta Ball is drawn and you can see how much you've won for the week. The money that you win is deposited into your savings account after each drawing has been completed, and you can see how much money you've won in your account vs. the 0.20% APY. Who says savings can't be fun?!
Ticket Stats and Luck
Throughout the week, you will be able to see what your luck looks like and what numbers to look forward to, as well as what tickets are doing best:
As you can see, I have 194 tickets here total and it shows how well your tickets are doing each day. You get one ticket for every $25 you have in your savings account. I've also set a reoccurring deposit from my checking account to get tickets every week. I will continue to have these 194 tickets every week and will gain more as more money is deposited.
You can withdraw your money up to 6 times per month. This is also FDIC secured, meaning that up to $250,000 is insured just like any other bank and the funds are held by Evolve Bank and Trust. If you withdraw your money, you will lose the corresponding number of tickets. Additionally, the tickets that you lose if you withdraw during a drawing would be your current luckiest tickets. This cleverly acts as an incentive to not move your savings to your checking account for just anything, if that is something that tempts you and you need a way to say no to yourself.
You can also choose what numbers you would like for each ticket by manually selecting them. If you prefer instead for it to be randomized, you can also select the auto-pick. You can also do a combination of the two if you get tired of choosing the numbers for all of your tickets. If you forget to pick, no worries -- the app will auto-pick for you around 3 PM EST on Monday for the week. Additionally, a newer feature in the app is to also have "lucky" tickets, which have numbers that are always selected and used each week. Here are what my current tickets look like for the week:
For concerns about how the numbers are selected, Yotta uses a third-party insurance company that draws the number. According to their FAQs, it is a state-of-art random number generator that is used. The system is also double-blind, so the insurance company used cannot see the numbers that Yotta users have selected.
Yotta Account Summary
There is an Account Summary in the Yotta app where you can see the breakdown of your Savings Bonus and Prizes for all time:
As you can see here, I have won $25.50 and I have $1.27 as a savings bonus total. I started this account back in July of this year, so I've had Yotta for about three or so months. Obviously, there is nothing guaranteed besides the 0.20% APY that is offered monthly. After only two weeks, I had won almost $5 in total -- and this was coming from the American Express savings account, where I had only had $3 or so after a whole month. I had also transferred my full balance to Yotta, so the return on investment was higher for me in half the time.
Other Yotta Features
There is also a scoreboard like feature within the Yotta app, where you can see who has recently won bigger prizes from all Yotta users (they choose to show their name or not). If you have friends who use Yotta, you can then see their winnings and compare luck to each other:
But not to worry -- there is also a setting that you can change in the Privacy & Security part of the Yotta app if you so choose. You can make it so your name is not shown to everyone and will instead say "Yotta User" as the winner, as well as not showing your name or luck to friends if you prefer to stay anonymous.
Overall, I really like the design of Yotta! The app is simple to use, it has statistics (and I love me some data), shows the amount of money that you have won, as well as the amount saved. It is straight-forward and I like seeing my money grow in a way that is reminiscent of a game. Based on the fact that my money grew double in half the time with American Express, Yotta has been 100% worth it for me and makes savings an engaging experience.
In terms of what might be missing: a feature I requested that I miss from Sofi is "buckets" or "vaults," which are basically mini accounts where I can divide my savings for different budgets. That would significantly increase my satisfaction with Yotta, as I like knowing what each bit of money is for. It helps organizational-wise too!
All in all, if you are even remotely interested in Yotta, it is worth depositing the initial $25 and leaving it and checking in to see how your money has grown. It's even more worth it when you sign up with a referral code, as you get 100 bonus tickets (which only apply to one week) and you can see how much you can win. Sign up with my referral code CHELSEA2 to get the 100 bonus tickets and see how much you can win!
Feel free to let me know how much $$$ you've won and if you have any questions, you can always drop me a line. Thank you and I hope you're all taking care of yourselves!