Changed App Review: Paying off Loans With Spare Change
If you have student loans or other debt holding you back, you might find the Changed app useful. It allows you to chip away at repayment by using your spare change.
Changed says it can help the average borrower to save roughly $45-$85 of debt each month automatically, by rounding up your small everyday purchases. To see if it’s right for you, this Changed app review will cover the pros and cons, as well as some alternatives to consider.
Changed app review
The Changed app rounds up your everyday purchases and then sends the extra to help pay off your loans. You can also use the app to save money, although the savings account Changed uses doesn’t offer any interest, so you might want to consider moving the funds to a high-yield savings account.
Note that app costs $3/month to use. That’s not a lot, but considering that you could set up extra automated transfers on your own to your savings and debt accounts — for free — it’s a bit of a sting.
That said, there are still a lot of things to like about the Changed app, given its unique way to help you save money and get out of debt sooner.
How the Changed app works
When you first sign up for the Changed app, it will analyze your spending habits, based on your debit and/or credit card records. It then starts setting aside your spare change by rounding up your purchases.
For example, if you spend $2.45 on a cup of coffee, the app will round that up to $3, putting 55 cents toward your student loan payments.
The app keeps tally of your roundups in the background until you reach $5, which triggers it to transfer the money from your checking account and into an FDIC-insured Changed app savings account.
Once the balance in your Changed app savings account reaches $50 or $100 (your choice), it will send that extra money to your chosen debts. You can check your progress and see how much time you’ve knocked off your repayment term in the Changed dashboard.
Changed is visually appealing, featuring lots of pretty charts and statistics that can help you stay motivated. You can even send in extra payments (“Boosts”) which show you exactly the impact of your decision today, in terms of how much interest you’ll save and how much time it shaves off of your debt repayment.
Keep in mind that Changed’s setup means your extra loan payments will scale to your spending. If you spend a lot in a certain month — like December, for example — you’ll send more towards your debt.
There are no minimum transfer requirements, so you might not accumulate any extra savings at all during months when you’re not spending from your linked accounts.
How to sign up for the Changed app
You can sign up to download the app on the Changed website. It’s available for both iOS and Android users.
After you download the app you’ll enter your full name, birthdate, phone number, and mailing address, and then you’ll link up your debt accounts. The app will open an FDIC-insured savings account for you to store your money until it sends your debt payments in.
After a few days, you will start seeing transactions show up in the app. You’ll see your regular transactions on the dashboard and the change that was set aside for each purchase. The dashboard also will show you how much change is saved each month and how much is applied to your loans.
Changed also calculates how much each payment saves you in interest over time and how much earlier you will likely pay off your loans. As noted above, the company says a typical user can save between $45 and $85 each month through roundups.
Pros and cons of using Changed app
The Changed app is especially helpful if you struggle to make extra loan payments on your own and need some extra motivation. Here are some things to consider:
Can also save money
Monitors your credit score
Has a beautiful, intuitive design
Can pause transfers if needed
Works with many types of loans
Offers a weekly $100 loan payment giveaway
Works even if you mostly use credit cards
Can also be used to help pay off someone else’s debt
Includes many customizable options to help you pay off debt faster
Has stats and charts to help motivate you to make faster progress
Charges $3 monthly fee
Is only available as an app
Can potentially overdraw your checking account
Doesn’t offer interest on its savings account
Doesn’t work if you mostly pay in cash
Has no readily available phone or chat-based customer support
Doesn’t work well if you use zero-sum budgeting
May be cheaper, faster and easier to just automate your own payments
What are some other student loan payment apps?
The Changed app is unique in that it directly sends a payment to your student loans. But you could use a similar strategy with other finance apps, which may give you more flexibility in how you want money to be allocated.
Here are some other apps to consider that could help you pay off your student loans as quickly and inexpensively as possible.
Oportun is another app that analyzes your spending and helps you save every day by “finding” an amount in your checking account to set aside for savings in an interest-free Oportun savings account.
You could then feasibly put this money toward your student loans. At $5/month, it costs more than Changed, although it also offers banking services if you’d prefer to keep everything together. It does not send extra debt payments in on your behalf, however.
Debt Payoff Planner and Tracker
This free app (with paid upgrades) doesn’t send in debt payments for you either. Instead, it helps you develop a good debt payoff plan if you’re paying off a mix of different account types, such as credit cards, student loans and a tax bill.
You plug in your budget and debt details, and this tracker helps you choose the best strategy to pay down your debt faster. You can track your progress from there, but it’s up to you to actually make those extra debt payments.
Qoins works the same way as we’ve outlined here in our Changed app review, but it’s a bit more expensive ($4.99/month or $49.99/year). However, it does offer a physical debit card (“Qard”) that offers cash back to put toward your debts, similar to a rewards credit card. And unlike Changed, it can also be used for credit card debt.