Today’s guest post is by Jacob @DollarDiligence Follow Him on Twitter for even more awesome content!
Need some help with your student loans? There’s an app for that! Three apps, actually, that can help you pay your debt off faster and start doing something else with your hard-earned money.
FinTech companies have created a lot of solutions to alleviate the lending crisis for consumers and businesses. Now, they’re coming up with innovative ways to help millions of struggling student loan borrowers.
Here are three of the top FinTech companies devoted to helping student loan borrowers pay down their debt more quickly.
The ChangeEd app was conceived based on the idea that if borrowers simply took their small change and applied to their loans, they could pay them down more quickly without having to manage a strict budget.
Launched as a beta in 2016, ChangeEd began signing on real users in early 2017. The Chicago-based company now has nearly 2,000 users.
Once you download the app, you provide information on your student loan – the loan ID, loan amount, lender information, monthly payment and payment due date. You also need to provide your bank account information to link the app to your account. When you sign on to the service, ChangeEd then opens a separate FDIC-insured account in your name.
Once you’re set up, the ChangeEd app then tracks your spending. Whenever you make a transaction, it collects the spare change.
For example, if you make a coffee purchase at Starbucks for $2.35, the app will round it up to $3 and set the $0.65 change aside in your ChangeEd account. When the account accumulates $100, ChangeEd sends it off to your loan servicer.
A quick calculation on the app will tell you that a little extra change makes a big difference. By applying $30 to $50 of your spare change to your loans each month, you could save as much as $10,000 in interest costs on a 20-year loan.
The app is currently available for iOS users and there is a $1 monthly user fee. (They’re still working on Android.)
If you are into online games, Givling may be your ticket to financial freedom. Givling, a California-based company, was launched in 2015 as an online trivia game. It is open to anyone, but it only has a certain number of slots available for players for each tournament.
The game pits a team of ten randomly selected players against another, with the winning team accumulating points. The team with the most points at the end of the period will receive prize winnings. That can amount to thousands of dollars in a day.
Three of the slots on each team are allocated to student borrowers who register to play. Instead of receiving the prize winnings in cash, winning student borrowers have their share sent directly to their loan servicer.
The price to play can get expensive. After a few freebies, the games cost $0.50 each and there is a $0.30 transaction fee. But quite a few borrowers have had their student loans covered up to the $50,000 maximum.
(They have a similar deal for mortgage holders, but the maximum’s only $25,000.)
If you’re a gamer, and you’re good at trivia, you might want to give Givling a chance. You can download it for either iPhone or Android.
Upromise has been around since 2000 as a college savings program. Your parents may have used Upromise rewards as part of your college savings program. After Sallie Mae bought it in 2006, Upromise expanded its cash back rewards programs to include paying off student loans.
To date, Upromise has over 17 million members. It has helped parents pay for college costs and student borrowers repay their loans with more than $1 BILLION in cash back rewards.
It’s a simple cash back concept. You sign up as a Upromise member. You can link up to 10 of your credit and debit cards to the program. For every purchase you make from participating merchants, you are credited with cash back. They’ll pay you up to 5% from participating online retailers, 2.5% from participating restaurants and up to 5% from travel partners.
The great thing about Upromise is that you don’t have to make all the purchases yourself. Your relatives and friends can sign up under your account so all of their qualifying purchases can help you pay down your student loan debt.
Getting out of student loan debt can seem like an impossible task. Your total loan amount can be intimidating, and the amount of time you’ll be paying them down feels like forever. Luckily, there are some FinTech companies who have taken the initiative to help borrowers make their loans a little easier to pay off.
These solutions gamify your debt repayment, making it more enjoyable. Maybe not Halo or Mario Brothers or even Candy Crush enjoyable, but at least more fun than staring at that amortization schedule. With these little boosts, borrowers feel more like they’re crushing their debt instead of getting crushed by it.
If you are having trouble with repayment, try an app or three. You just might crush those debts faster with your cell phone!
Do you have experience with any of these apps? Or a similar one? What techniques do you use to gamify your financial goals?
Jacob runs his own personal finance blog over at Dollar Diligence. Through meticulously watching his money and extreme frugality, he was able to pay down over $25k in student loan debt in just 15 months. You can learn more about his story and follow him here.