Turn your spare change into savings on your student loans.
The average student graduates with more than $37,000 in student debt. That’s $37,000 you’ll pay the very years in which you’re trying to build your finances and your future. Founded in 2016, ChangEd is an app designed to change things — literally. By applying your extra change to your student loan payment, you might save on your interest and take years off the life of your loan. But using the app isn’t free, and you’ll have to spend quite a bit to make an extra payment.
How does the ChangEd app work?
ChangEd is an app that analyzes your spending habits and sets aside money for extra monthly payments toward your debt. For instance, if you spend $3.42 on coffee and $40.19 on gas, ChangEd rounds up your purchases to $4 and $41, respectively. It then puts that rounded-up $1.39 into your account. After you’ve saved $100 with ChangEd, it automatically sends a payment to your student loan servicer.
It may sound like a small amount, but saving more than a dollar a day can quickly add up. ChangEd reports that its average user saves $30 to $50 a month. And if you find yourself with a little bit of extra cash, you can take advantage of its Savings Boost feature, which allows you to transfer $5, $10 or $20 into your account. Still, you’ll want to weigh the $1 monthly fee against any change you expect to save.
The app includes a dashboard that allows you to easily see how much you’re saving and how those savings affect your loan. Depending on your loan settings, ChangEd can apply your payments to your interest or your principal. Either way, you’re working on paying down your debt without having to budget or cut your spending.
What’s the difference between making extra payments toward interest versus principal?
If you apply extra payments toward the interest on your student loans, it won’t affect lowering your overall loan principal or the original amount of your loan against which your interest is calculated. To pay off your student loans faster without paying unnecessary interest, specifically ask your lender or any third party to apply extra payments toward your principal.
Benefits of using ChangEd
Like other spare-change apps, ChangEd allows for passive savings through everyday spending, among other benefits that include:
- Easy setup. Within a few days of signing up, ChangEd starts setting aside your change into an account. You don’t have to do anything to get the process started.
- Solid resources. Struggling with entering information about your lender? ChangEd dedicates an entire page to common loan servicers and their invoice setups.
- View transactions 24/7. ChangEd’s dashboard allows you to see how much you’re saving and how those savings affect your goal of paying off your student loans.
- Available for both iOS and Android. As of August 2017, ChangEd has apps for both iOS and Android users, making it possible to save on your student loan no matter what type of phone you have.
What to be aware of
Before you sign up to send your spare change through ChangEd, consider a few potential drawbacks:
- Change isn’t moved out of your account right away. The app waits to transfer money from your bank account to your ChangEd account until you’ve accumulated at least $5 in change. This may not be helpful when you’re already pressed for money, especially if you’re watching your budget closely.
- $1 monthly fee. ChangEd monthly fee is low. But it may not make sense if you’re saving only a few dollars a month.
- No regular savings options. ChangEd doesn’t give you the ability to set a certain amount aside each month for your loan. The amount you save depends on your spending and if you can use its Savings Boost feature, so if you’re not spending a large amount, you’ll only be sending payments every few months to your student loan.
Refinance your student loans to save money
Is the ChangEd app secure?
Yes. ChangEd doesn’t store your bank account information on the app. Rather, it encrypts your personal and financial details using bank-level security. While you build up your savings through change, your money is kept safe in an FDIC-insured account created by ChangEd. If you have questions about ChangEd’s security procedures, feel free to email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is ChangEd right for me?
If you’re interested in applying extra payments toward your student loans but never seem to get around to sending them, ChangEd might be a good place to start. It automates the process of extra payments so you never have to think about it. And although people who are successfully managing their student loans and already making extra monthly payments likely won’t need the benefits of ChangEd, it could be a useful background scrimping tool for sending even more.
How to use the app
Get started with ChangEd by downloading the app. You’ll enter your loan information — including your loan servicer, interest rate and monthly payment due date — and your personal information, linking the app to your bank account.
After the app’s had a chance to analyze your purchases for a few days, you’ll start seeing your transactions in the app’s dashboard. The dashboard shows the amount of your purchases and the change it’s set aside. And once you’ve saved $100 in change, ChangEd applies your payment to your loan. Then the saving process starts again. No thinking, no budgeting, just paying down your loan a few cents at a time.
Step-by-step app setup with screenshots
Fun Fact: The founders of ChangEd pitched their company on Shark Tank
Founders of the ChangEd app, Daniel Stelmach and Nick Skrzyniarz, appeared on a January 2018 episode of Shark Tank. They scored a deal with Mark Cuban for $250,000.
ChangEd is an easy way to put more money toward your student loans without having to spend hours budgeting. Similar to other spare change apps, the monthly fee is minimal — but you’ll want to weigh even this $1 against the amount you think you’ll save.
If you’re looking to save even more money on your student loans, consider refinancing your loan at a stronger rate.