TL;DR: Yotta is a fun and neat take on the high-yield savings model that includes some excellent gamification and lottery elements. Starting interest rates are very high, though we are not sure that the app will be able to keep up these rates through its lifetime.
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For many people, savings up money is a drag. It may not seem worth it and there is often little immediate reward for funneling extra cash into a savings account. Given that interest rates are currently low, there may not seem like much of a reason to save up.
Yotta Savings is here to buck that trend. Yotta is an online bank that specializes in high-yield savings accounts. Yotta also has a special twist: a chance to win a weekly lottery jackpot.
That sounds all well and good, but how does Yotta actually work? Today, we are going to take a look at Yotta Savings and answer some important questions. We will cover its features, cost, pros, and cons. We will then give our verdict on whether Yotta Savings is worth it.
IS YOTTA SAFE
Yotta accounts are FDIC-insured for up to $250,000, so no matter what happens, your cash is not going anywhere (up to $250,000).
The gamification elements are the most unique part of Yotta. You have a chance to win $10,000,000 every week. Save more,
Yotta Savings: Overview
Yotta Savings can be described in a simple sentence: A saving app with lottery elements. Every week, Yotta users have the chance to win a $10 million jackpot, along with a bevy of other prizes and rewards. Yotta’s unique contribution to the fintech world is the gamification elements it integrates with its traditional savings app design.
Aside from the lottery and prize functions, Yotta functions as a basic savings app. Yotta has distinguished itself as having very high APY rates on savings accounts, to the tune of 2% APY on average. So Yotta is not only a fun take on savings app; it also gives you the chance to hold your money in a high-yield savings account.
Yotta’s design takes its cue from modern psychology and the finding that people are more incentivized to do things when there is the possibility of an immediate, tangible reward. This is especially important when it comes to saving money, which can seem like there is no tangible benefit.
How Does Yotta Work?
Here is how Yotta works: Each week, Yotta will give you 1 lottery ticket for each $25 saved in your account. Each ticket lets you pick 7 numbers and every day at 6 pm PST, they will draw a random number. The more numbers that match your ticket at the end of the week, the more prize money you win. The more money you have saved, the more tickets you get so the more chances you have to win.
Prizes range from a measly $0.10 for a 0 number match to a whopping $10 million for 7 matches. The whole process then repeats next week. Even if you forget to pick your numbers, the app will auto pick them for you so you don’t forget and miss out on that week’s drawing.
So here is how this would work: If you had $400 saved up, you will get 16 tickets every week. If any of your tickets match the numbers that were pulled during the week, then you will get a cash prize payout. Even if you don’t get the full 7 numbers you can still rack up some nice prizes. For example, you can get up to $800 for matching 5 numbers.
The best part about Yotta is that it is completely free to download and use. Anyone with a US-based bank account can sign up and there are absolutely no fees to speak of. You can download the app on both iPhone and Android devices.
Yotta Savings Accounts
The lottery is not the only good feature of Yotta. The app also offers excellent savings accounts with a solid base interest rate of 0.40%. That is almost twice as high as traditional banks. Combining that with the cash bonus prizes, some users report having rates as high as 5%, though the average user will likely see some variation on this figure.
Here are a couple of figures to nail down the comparison on interest rates. Wells Fargo and Chase, two of the largest banks in the country, only offer 0.01% interest on savings accounts. Citibank hovers around a 0.04% base rate. So as you can see, interest rates with Yotta are extraordinarily high.
Just like a regular bank savings account, you can make up to 6 withdrawals from Yotta every month. A normal withdrawal takes around 2-3 business days to process and lottery prizes get deposited immediately at the end of each week.
Yotta also has a bunch of small features that make it easier to save. For example, you can set up recurring deposits every week, two weeks, or every month. There is a $10,000 limit on daily deposits and withdrawals and a $40,000 monthly limit on deposits and withdrawals. These limits are in place to prevent money laundering.
How to Make a Yotta Account
When you sign up for Yotta, you will have to give some basic financial information such as your name, birthdate, address, phone number, and social security number, Yotta will not pull your credit so you will not see a hit to your score.
Once your account is created, you will be prompted to input your bank account details. Yotta requires users to have a US-based bank account, so if you do not have one, you’ll have to make one before you can use Yotta. There are no restrictions on which bank accounts you can connect, it just has to be a regular checking account from a US-based bank. Yotta partners with Plaid, which ensures you can connect any bank account to the app.
How Does Yotta Pick Its Lottery Numbers? Is It Rigged?
Yotta makes its weekly lottery number picks through a third-party insurance carrier. This carrier is not directly affiliated with Yotta and they use cutting-edge random number generator technology to make the picks. Most importantly, Yotta itself does not know the numbers on either user tickets or drawings, so they are left completely in the dark and cannot manipulate the process.
Yotta also does not actually handle the lottery payments. If you win a prize, then the lump sum cash prize is paid directly through the third-party insurance company.
A few notes on the cash prize. It is listed at $10 million 40 annuity. So in today’s’ value, that comes out to a full lump sum of $5,800,000.
What Are the Odds of Winning?
As is the case with any lottery, the odds of winning anything are slim. For example, the odds of getting a matching Yotta ball and all matching numbers are 1:8,260,307,055. Just for reference, that right-hand number is over 8 billion.
In other words, your odds of winning are slim to none. However, that is ok because there is literally 0 downside to losing. Even if you don’t get any matches and make $0, you still didn’t spend any money on the ticket, so there is no overall loss. So even if the odds of winning are basically nonexistent, there is no reason to not play because there is no cost to losing.
Here are a couple more figures about the odds of getting matching numbers (without the matching Yotta ball):
- 0 out of 6 – 1:1
- 1 out of 6 – 1:3
- 2 out of 6 – 1:14
- 3 out of 6 – 1:160
- 4 out of 6 – 1:4,406
- 5 out of 6 – 1: 346,955
- 6 out of 6 – 1:133,230,759
And here are the odds of getting matching numbers with a winning Yotta ball:
- 0 out of 6 – 1:110
- 1 out of 6 – 1:181
- 2 out of 6 – 1: 867
- 3 out of 6 – 1:9,913
- 4 out of 6 – 1:273,158
- 5 out of 6 – 1: 21,511,216
- 6 out of 6 – 1:8,260,307,055
So as you can see, you stand very little chance of actually winning, but, hey, that’s the lottery for you.
Is My Money Safe With Yotta?
Yes, your money is safe with Yotta, or at the very least, it is as safe as it would be in any other bank. All Yotta accounts are FDIC-insured for up to $250,000, so no matter what happens, your cash is not going anywhere (up to $250,000).
Moreover, your money is not actually held with Yotta, so if the company goes under, creditors cannot come after your funds. Lastly, Yotta uses military-grade 256-bit AES encryption on all your personal data and transfers information using secure SSL channels. In other words, hackers have a better chance of getting into NORAD before they can hack your Yotta account.
What Other Features Does Yotta Offer?
This is where Yotta falls short. Aside from the savings and lottery feature, the app does not offer much. Yotta is not a bank per se, so they don’t offer any traditional banking services besides their savings accounts. So, we do not recommend trying to use Yotta as a banking app. It is for savings and the lottery element only.
How Much Does it Cost to Use Yotta?
Here is the real kicker—Yotta is completely 100% free to use. There are no account minimums, no monthly account fees, and no fees for deposits or withdrawals. You don’t have to pay a monthly subscription fee and it doesn’t cost anything to get your weekly lottery tickets.
Yotta Pros & Cons
- Unique gamification elements. The gamification elements are the most unique part of Yotta. This feature takes advantage of the quirks of human psychology to incentivize people to save more money.
- Chance to win millions. With the lottery, you have the chance to win up to $10 million every week. Granted, there is an infinitesimally small chance of winning (about 1 in 8 billion), but there is no cost to losing so there is no downside. Also, the more that you invest, the more chances you have to win.
- Excellent savings accounts. Yotta accounts have a base interest rate of 0.40%, so no matter what, you will see some great growth. Adding on the weekly cash bonuses, most people end up seeing about 3% APY on their accounts, possibly more.
- Referral bonus. If you refer a friend to Yotta, you will get 100 lottery tickets for free when they sign up and make an account. It’s a nice bonus to incentivize spreading the word to friends, even if it does not significantly improve your odds of winning the weekly drawings.
- Lack of features. Yotta is designed solely for savings, and so does not offer any other traditional banking services such as checking accounts, CD accounts, or retirement accounts.
- Mobile-only design. Yotta only works through the mobile app so you cannot make transactions through your desktop browser. Thankfully, the mobile app layout is pretty intuitive and seems to work without any major hiccups, aside from a handful of loading problems we ran into.
- Interest rate may drop in the future. Yotta is still fairly new and their model is based on lottery rewards essentially being subsidized by investors. In the long run, the rate may drop.
So, do we recommend using Yotta? If you are looking for a fun way to save with a chance to win big, then yes, we would recommend Yotta. We are big fans of gamification elements in finance and Yotta has one of the more unique and fun models we have seen.
The few points of hesitation we have are the lack of additional banking features and the potentially unsustainable APY. Considering that the app is designed for savings though, this is not a huge criticism.
We would definitely recommend Yotta, especially if you have trouble motivating yourself to save. That is why we would recommend Yotta for younger people who want a fun way to develop good financial habits.