Turn your spare change into savings on your student loans.
College can be one of the most freeing and fun times of your life — but what happens after? 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.
How does the ChangEd app work?
ChangEd is an app built on a simple concept: round up your daily purchases to the nearest dollar, and use that change to pay off your student loans.
Designed to work like other spare-change apps, ChangEd analyzes your spending habits so that it can start setting 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, the app automatically sends a payment to your student loan servicer.
It may sound like small change, but saving more than a dollar a day can quickly build up. ChangEd reports that its average user saves from $30 to $50 a month, sending extra payments every two or three months. 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 your interest versus your 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.
What you should 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.
- Available for iOS only. ChangEd is working on an app for Android users. Until then, iPhone users only.
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. And it keeps your money safe inside an FDIC-insured account created by ChangEd.
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.
People who are successfully managing their student loans and already making extra monthly payments likely won’t need the benefits of ChangEd. However, at a cost of only $12 a year, the app 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 over 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.
After you’ve saved $100 in change, ChangEd applies your payment to your loan — and 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.