I’ve been a Digit user for over two years now and during that time, I’ve been able to save more than $8,000 into my Digit account without even noticing it. When combined with Qapital, I’ve had a great microsaving system worked out – Qapital rounds up all of my purchases while Digit sweeps out any excess money that I have in my checking account. This microsaving system has been a great way to make sure that every dollar I earn gets a job of some sort.
Unfortunately, Digit recently announced that it would charge $2.99 per month in order to use its services. As a result, I’ve decided to drop Digit and make the move over to a new app I found called Dobot. So far, the Dobot app looks like the perfect alternative for folks looking for a free savings app with all of the same functionality as Digit.
You might wonder why I’m making the switch over such a small fee. After all, $2.99 per month isn’t really all that much money in the grand scheme of things. I see three reasons to make the switch:
- Principle – I don’t think that we should have to pay to save our money.
- Plenty of Free Alternatives – It doesn’t make much sense to pay three bucks a month for something that I can easily get for free.
- Very Low-Hassle To Switch – Unlike making the switch with other financial tools, switching from Digit to Dobot takes no time and involves very little hassle. I literally closed my Digit account and opened up my Dobot account in under 10 minutes.
Now that I’m a certified Dobot user, I thought I’d share my experience with the app and why I think this is the perfect alternative to Digit. In my opinion, the Dobot app is something that should be a part of everyone’s money system. Plus, if you sign up for Dobot using my referral link here, you’ll snag yourself a free $5 just for opening up your account.
It’ll probably be the easiest $5 you make this year! When you sign up, just make sure that you enter your phone number so that the folks over at Dobot can record your referral.
How Does Dobot Work?
Just like with Digit, Dobot is an app that monitors your bank account and intermittently saves away small amounts of money for you based on your cash flow. As explained by Dobot:
After you connect your checking account, Dobot’s algorithm goes to work analyzing your spending patterns to calculate “safe savings amounts” that ensure you have enough to meet your spending needs while still saving. Every few days, Dobot will move small amounts of money into your Dobot savings.
So, let Dobot do its magic and hopefully, you’ll have a bunch of money saved away without even realizing it.
Here’s a video from dobot explaining how it works if you’re still curious:
When you’re ready to start saving, all you have to do is activate your automated savings in the savings preferences screen.
The ability to toggle automated savings on and off is nice. Digit only allowed you to pause your savings temporarily, which was sometimes problematic if you needed to stop using the app for a while. With Dobot, you could pause your savings indefinitely if you needed to.
So how’s Dobot working out for me? I’ve had the app running now for about a week, and so far, its saved $40 that it didn’t think I would miss. I also made an additional deposit of about $1,300, which represents the money I had sitting in Digit before I closed the account.
An Emphasis On Goal Based Saving
The unique thing that differentiates Dobot from Digit is the ability to assign your Dobot savings to different goals. This is a lot different from Digit in which all of your money was pooled into one big bucket. If you wanted to divide up your funds, you had to figure that out in your head.
Dobot, on the other hand, allows you to divide your Dobot savings into different buckets, complete with visuals. Take a look at the below:
It’s way easier to figure out what you’re using your money for when you can assign it to different goals. As you can see, I’ve created one savings goal that I’ve labeled “travel.” I used a random picture I found online to represent my travel goal.
Funds that you deposit into your Dobot account get assigned to your general, unassigned bucket. See those green balls? Those balls represent my unassigned Dobot funds. I can just leave them unassigned if I want
When I’m ready, I can then assign any of my Dobot funds to any of my goals. All I need to do is create a goal and move some of those funds to that goal.
In this case, my travel goal is currently fully funded (and then some). The remainder of my Dobot funds are unassigned as I figure out what goals I’d like to save for.
Is Dobot Safe?
Probably the number one question anyone has when checking out a new fintech app is security. Like pretty much every other app, Dobot has bank level security, which basically means that any information you transmit through Dobot is encrypted. Personally, I’m comfortable with that level of security. If it’s good enough for every other app, it’s good enough for me too.
With respect to your Dobot funds, the key thing you need to know is that any money in your Dobot account is FDIC insured, which means that you don’t need to worry about losing it. I contacted Dobot before I made the switch and found out that the holding bank for Dobot is Wells Fargo.
The only remaining concern is the potential for overdraft fees. Since Dobot is randomly saving money from your checking account, there’s always the possibility that the app saves too much money. In their welcome email, Dobot says that they guarantee that their algorithm won’t overdraft your bank account. They also note that if they do cause an overdraft, they’ll cover any fees you might incur.
How I Use Dobot
So how should you use the Dobot app? I find microsaving apps like Dobot especially good for people like me who aren’t the best at budgeting. I rarely overspend, but I do tend to underspend most months. What that means is that, if I’m not careful, it’s easy for my checking account balance to start getting too big. These microsavings apps help to clear out my checking account and keep it lean and mean.
There are two types of microsavings apps that I like to implement in my money system – a “round-up” app and a “sweep” app. Qapital serves as my round-up app. Every time I make a purchase, it rounds up my transaction to the nearest dollar and saves the difference for me. I think of it as my digital spare change jar.
Digit used to serve as my sweep app. Each day, it would monitor my cash flow and pull out small sums of money that it didn’t think I’d miss. Combined, the two apps helped to keep my checking account balance as lean as possible. One would round-up my transactions. The other would sweep any extra money out of my bank account.
With Digit no longer being a free app, Dobot is now taking over as the sweep app in my microsaving money system.
There aren’t really a ton of downsides to Dobot if you’re using it as part of a microsavings strategy as outlined above. I will say that the major downside is the lack of interest. Money in your Dobot account earns no interest, which is pretty much par for the course with any microsavings app.
Since you don’t earn interest on your Dobot funds, my recommendation is to only use it for your short term goals. Using your Dobot savings for annual expenses like travel or to gifts is a great idea. Another good way to use Dobot is to invest those funds in a Roth IRA at the end of the year.
The main thing is that you shouldn’t be keeping huge amounts of cash in your Dobot account for more than a year at a time. If you do see your Dobot account getting a bit too large, I recommend moving some of your Dobot funds into high-yield savings accounts such as with Ally or Netspend.
A Terrific Alternative To Digit
From what I’ve seen so far, Dobot works exactly the same as Digit with the key exception that it’s 100% free. I think it’s the perfect app for anyone looking for a Digit alternative.
One thing that I have noticed is that a lot of people are mentioning Qapital as a potential alternative to Digit. I’ve never thought of Qapital as doing the same thing as Digit though. Qapital is a round-up/transactions app. It saves specific sums of money for you based on actions you take.
In contrast, apps like Digit and Dobot are sweep apps. They save money for you by monitoring your cash flow and pulling random sums of money that they think you won’t notice. The types of transactions you do are irrelevant when it comes to sweep apps. What matters is how much of a surplus you have in your bank account.
Ideally, you use both apps together. Use an app like Qapital to help you save just a little bit more with each transaction. And use Dobot to help you pull any additional excess money you have in your bank account. By doing this, you’ll have the best chance of making sure that every dollar of yours gets put to use somewhere.
And remember, if you sign up for Dobot using my referral link, you’ll get a free $5 to start off your account. There’s not much to lose, so try it out and see if Dobot works for you.
If you’re interested in other app reviews, be sure to check out some of my other fintech reviews below: