Saving money probably is not top of mind during the annual spending orgy known as "The Holidays." However, if you're making plans for 2017, especially for leisure travel, the free Qapital app for Android and iOS could come in handy.
Qapital automatically stashes a small amount of money into a savings account whenever you use a designated credit or debit card. The service rounds up purchase amounts to the next dollar or two. If you spend $30.70, for instance, Qapital socks away $1.30 into your connected bank account. The savings add up quickly, too; in just a few weeks, I saved $68 and didn't even notice.
Qapital is free, and because just about every app today needs a social component, you can save along with other people.
Qapital rules and 'guilty pleasures'
Qapital lets you set specific savings goals, such as "go somewhere," "get something," or "pay off debts." You can customize each goal with a name, such as "Europe summer 2017," a total amount you want to save, and specific "active rules."
I chose the "round-up rule," which automatically rounds up dollar amounts. Other rules include the "guilty pleasure rule," which sets aside savings whenever "you buy things you're trying to resist." Qapital sees previous purchases made using your designated debit or credit card, so you can choose from a list of places, such as McDonalds or Starbucks, within the app. Every time you make a purchase there, the dollar amount you specified goes into your savings account.
Qapital works with IFTTT
Qapital plays well with the popular IFTTT service, too, which lets you trigger certain follow up actions when you use another app to initiate them. I first stumbled upon Qapital a few weeks ago, when I was researching cool IFTTT "applets" for the holidays.
Using the IFTTT connection, whenever I hit my daily 10,000 step goal on Fitbit, Qapital automatically saves a dollar toward a possible Europe trip next summer. Other intriguing IFTTT and Qapital applets add to your savings whenever you get a desired amount of sleep (as recorded by Fitbit or Jawbone) or check in on Foursquare.
Qapital and security
You're probably wondering about Qapital security, and the company's security page may put your mind at ease.
Your savings comes with FDIC insurance of up to $250,000 per person. The app stores saved funds at Wells Fargo — depending on your view of that financial institution, that could be either comforting or a turnoff.
The app verifies accounts to prevent unauthorized access, and the company says it uses "the latest and strongest" SSL and TLS encryption standards. You can also enable a passcode lock and Touch ID authentication, if you use a compatible Apple device.
Qapital isn't the only app that wants to make saving easy and painless. Simple Bank is a direct competitor, though it's more of a full-service bank than a savings app.
If you're happy with your current bank and just want to stash away a buck here or there, you'll appreciate Qapital.