Sometime last week, the world observed World Savings Day and there was a lot of talk about developing the habit of saving. Thanks to Fintech startups like Cowrywise and PiggyVest, this is increasingly possible because saving and investing isn’t as tedious as it used to be.
While both platforms are legit Fintech companies that are rapidly gaining traction and widespread use, there are some peculiarities and distinctions between them. This post will try to highlight these peculiarities and try to help you decide what works for you.
For the Cowrywise app, there has been over 100,000 downloads on Play Store. It has an approval rating of 4.5 stars from 1,771 users. Many reviewers say they have had a great experience on the app, describing it as ‘reliable’, ‘amazing’, ‘efficient’ etc.
One reviewer, Olufemi however complained that there was no option for emergency withdrawals. Another user simply identified as SM complained about the new upgrade describing it as ‘frustrating’ as it freezes at will. Another user, Peculiar, echoing the same sentiment says the app has been logging itself out and it takes several trials to get back in. The situation continued even after she updated the app.
Cowrywise explained that some phones have OS specific issues and they are willing to liaise with such users to assist them. As for the intermittent logging out, the startup says it is a common security feature associated with finance apps.
PiggyVest has more than 100,000 downloads as well on Play Store. Its rating from 8,158 users is 4.3 Stars. While several users praised the app, several others complained about the recent update.
One user, Joshua, claims he has been unable to log into his app since updating it and every attempt to reset password has proved abortive. Another reviewer, Adewale says each update increases the complexity of the app as he hasn’t been able to extend his target saving and frequency since the recent update.
Responding to my enquiry, PiggyVest says the reason for the problems is because the platform changed its framework. While the issues are pretty normal with new designs, it intends to add tutorials short blog posts and videos within the app to help resolve the issues.
Both platforms offer a range of savings options. PiggyVest for instance has 3 main savings options:
The Piggybank Wallet is a simple savings plan that allows you stash away money on a regular interval straight from your bank account. With this plan, you can only withdraw your cash once every 3 months. You can automate deposits so you don’t have to manually transfer when the time comes. This plan is suitable for people who just want somewhere to stash away funds just for savings sake.
Target Savings is for those saving for a particular purpose. It could be for your rent, to buy a car, to pay for tuition, or any other project. With this plan, you could even do a go-find-me style by inviting friends and loved ones to join in. As the name suggests, this plan is for targeted projects and the funds will be released only at the appointed time.
The SafeLock plan is more long-term than the previous two. This plan is for people seeking to lock away funds for a very long time. This plan comes with higher interest rates which means, the longer it remains in the safe, the more money it yields.
PiggyVest also has a new plan called Flex Dollar. This plan is for users looking to save and invest in dollars. It comes with an interest rate of 7% per annum and allows for instant purchase of Dollars with Naira.
Depositing into your PiggyVest account is absolutely free. If you miss a scheduled deposit, you can always use the QuickSave option which allows you to deposit up to N500,000 at once. Daily deposit is between N50-N25,000. Weekly is between N1,000 to N100,000. Monthly deposit range is between N3,000 to N500,000.
Cowrywise has a broader array of savings plans. They include the following:
Periodic Saving Plan which allows you automatically save money on a regular basis. It could be daily, weekly or monthly. The plan is targeted at regular fixed earners, NYSC members or students who get regular monthly stipends.
The Life Goals saving plan is pretty much like PiggyVest’s Target Savings as it allows you plan and commit to long-term goals. This plan is also suited for regular salary earners.
Save as you Earn is designed for users who don’t earn a regular income. With this plan, you can make deposits anytime you want to without charges. This plan is suited for artisans, contractors, traders and generally people with erratic streams of income.
Fixed Savings is for people who have money they won’t be needing for a while. It could be for 3 months, 6 months, a year or even more. The lump sum would simply be locked into a fixed savings plan with a maturity date set. This plan is suited for people whose businesses are seasonal and who make money at certain intervals.
Halal Savings is a plan tailored after the Islamic banking system. With this plan, there is zero interest in accordance with the principles of Islam. It is designed for Muslims and people of other faith or convictions who subscribe to the general belief of zero-interest banking.
Saving Circles is for people who want to save as a group. So be it friends saving for a mutual friend’s wedding, a group of people with a common goal saving to achieve that goal, Saving Circles is designed specially for you.
Both Cowrywise and PiggyVest offer great interest rates. While the least interest rate is 10% per year for both, PiggyVest however offers 13% to users locked into its SafeLock plan. Users of the Piggybank and Target Savings get 10% interest.
Cowrywise users get 10% for starters across board. They however claim the interest could rise to as much as 15%, depending on how long the money remains in their system. There is, however, no clearly defined length or period nor milestones between 10 and 15%.
All interests are broken down and paid daily. For PiggyVest users, 13% interest for the SafeLock plan is paid upfront and is accessible at any time. PiggyVest also gives users a Flex sub-account where interests are paid and from where users can withdraw whenever they want.
The major investment vehicle however is the mutual investment plan which basically pools money from various small investors like yourself to make up one big investment. Returns are subsequently shared. However, you’ll be required to take a short risk assessment test to qualify for this.
On Cowrywise, you could invest in mutual funds through a Systematic Investment Programme (SIP). This system allows you invest bit by bit at a regular interval.
PiggyVest has investify which is a feature that allows users invest in primary and secondary opportunities. These opportunities have been vetted and certified to be low and medium risk. Investments under PiggyVest are insured.
Withdrawal is free as long as you’re withdrawing on the withdrawal dates you set. PiggyVest also gives you the option to use its own standard withdrawal dates (March 31st, June 30th, September 30th and December 31st). Withdrawal outside these set dates attract a penalty of 5% of the amount withdrawn.
Cowrywise has absolutely no option of emergency withdrawal outside of the set date. You may want to consider this if you choose to save with them. It is stricter than PiggyVest in its withdrawal policy. This, the platform claims, is to ensure users remain 100% committed to saving and meeting up with their goals.
The platform you decide to choose ultimately depends on your own peculiar realities and how they match with the offerings of both platforms. Saving is good but investing is even better. Both platforms offer both in their own unique ways.
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