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I need to work on being more fiscally stable. Being a writer often means having to weather the highs and lows of a gig economy, and in many cases, you may need to save money in the high times just to make ends meet in the low.
So, when I heard about Qapital's app, I was thrilled to try it. I mean, who wouldn't be? It gave me an automated way to save up money, offered me a debit card where I could transfer cash over in a pinch, and also had a built-in investing portion where I could watch my money grow.
That being said, I uninstalled my app and closed my account after six months of use. It just wasn't for me, and though the potential to close your savings account and download Qapital as your only banking app is there, it's not exactly what it could be.
The reviews on Qapital are glowing overall, but I don't feel like they give the full story behind this savings and investment app. Here's what everyone should know about Qapital before they open up an account.
First off, what's Qapital?
Qapital's app is one of the only automated savings apps you need to know about in order to invest your money the way you want. It works by letting you set rules that dictate when the app will deduct money from your main bank account, and how much money will be deducted.
You can choose to save money every time you make a purchase, save money every time you don't resist temptation, and also save money when you hit fitness goals with their IFTTT-compatible apps.
You get a debit card to spend your money with, and also get the opportunity to invest money through Qapital's own investment branch. It's a great way for beginners to save.
Every savings amount has to go towards a goal that you want to save towards. It can be taxes, a vacation, a thing that you want. When you make progress towards your goal, Qapital alerts you and helps you celebrate.
What makes Qapital different from other savings apps is its flexibility?
Here's what attracted me to Qapital in the first place: control. You get to control the rules that your app runs by. You get to decide what your goals are, and if you need to, you get to decide which goal account you want to spend.
The debit card they give you makes it possible (in theory) to take out money when you need it. So, it can be a great emergency savings fund for people who need it, and remains one of the best apps for micro investing. This much I can't deny.
There's also a "set it and forget it" vibe to Qapital that most people like.
Automation and ease of fund access are what make Qapital's app so great for people who are very busy. This is because most of us don't want to have to remember to transfer money into a savings account on a regular basis.
Speaking as someone who "gets it," I also can attest that having the money in a separate account makes it easier to set it aside. For people who don't have time to invest on their own, or for people who deal with a lot of crap, Qapital can be a great choice.
The problem I had with Qapital dealt with the safeguards it had.
Now, as anyone knows, your bank account can easily get pretty low right before your paycheck comes in. It's a normal thing to happen, and it's something virtually all Millennials know as the norm.
Qapital's app allegedly has safeguards in, which keeps you from having withdrawals when your bank account hits a certain balance. The app also allows you to snooze your transfers for two weeks.
This sounds great in theory, but in practice, it quickly became a disaster for me. There are four main reasons for this...
Qapital's app doesn't check your main bank account regularly enough for safeguards to work.
One of the biggest issues I had dealt with Qapital's safeguards not working. Qapital seems to check your main bank account every three days or so, or if it checks it daily, gets pretty badly delayed.
So, if you have a bank account that wildly fluctuates due to bill payments, you better brace yourself. Qapital could easily get you to overdraft your account by automating deposits. Since automated deposits can't get cancelled while they're initiated, you end up having to eat the overdraft fees.
By the third or fourth time this happened, I was already getting pissed.
Moreover, you can't pause your rules indefinitely.
Let's say that you get into an accident at work and you can't make money for a bit. It happens, and life happens, too. Well, with Qapital's app design, this will make your savings pretty darned hard to deal with.
With Qapital, you have two main choices, both of which are aggravating. You have to regularly remind yourself to continually pause all your rules if you need an indefinite pause on your savings plans, or you can delete all your rules, which is tedious as can be.
Oh, and sometimes the debit card won't work.
Maybe it was just me, but for some reason, my Qapital debit card wouldn't always work when I needed it to. At times, the debit card transaction just wouldn't be acknowledged by certain sites. Other times, debit card machines would be finicky and just not take it.
Sometimes, when my money would be freshly deposited in the account, I would be told that I needed to wait several days before I could access the money.
Qapital claimed this policy was for security reasons. Uh, that's great, but, I needed groceries yesterday and my Qapital app was making it hard for me to eat. So, it really wasn't that helpful.
On more than one occasion, this meant that I ended up spending more money on my credit cards—which was the opposite of what I wanted to have happen.
I also should repeat that Qapital's app doesn't allow you to cancel all transactions.
If you make a manual transaction, Qapital will allow you to cancel it. However, automated transactions can't be cancelled, even if you try to get in touch with customer service. So, every time that I overdrafted due to the automated payments, I was powerless to stop it.
I wanted to maximize my savings, but I also didn't want to have to regularly add and remove deposits. This just didn't jive well with Qapital's app design; and due to my busy (and chaotic) lifestyle, I just couldn't keep on top of pausing rules, deleting rules, adding them back in, and more.
Honestly, I could have just had fewer rules, but even then, the safeguard problems meant that I still would have overdrafted from time to time. It was a hassle, especially since reversing the deposits took three business days or more in most cases.
The real clincher was their customer service.
By the time I ran up my eighth overdraft, I was sick and tired of Qapital.
The last time I had my debit card rejected, I tried to reach out to their customer service, only to be told to call their fraud department. I called the fraud department and they told me that it wasn't a fraud block. So, I tried to call Qapital.
It was then that I found out Qapital's app customer service is done entirely via email and Twitter. They do not have a phone number to call. This is pretty awful, since a single call should be enough to fix most problems within minutes.
I wanted to phone in a question, only to realize they had no phone number for customer service. Since it was a timely issue, this was less than preferable. Unfortunately, this led to an email conversation that went out over the course of several days.
Half of the time, I would wait for an email and remind the customer service reps that it's a timely issue. They still would take hours to respond. Worse, their customer service only works from 9 to 5.
Eventually I lost my temper and called out Qapital via Twitter. I am not happy about having to do this, but that's what it had to come down to. I was fed up.
Eventually, I shut down my Qapital account.
I really, truly wanted to love Qapital. I did. I wanted to make it work well for me, and even took time to try to work around the rule problems so that it wouldn't be such a burden. Dear God, did I try.
At the end of the day, I just couldn't deal with Qapital anymore. I couldn't deal with the money transfer issues, I couldn't deal with the bad customer service, and I sure as hell couldn't deal with any more overdrafts.
Qapital's app design issues and customer service are what killed it for me. I'm sorry, Qapital. I know you tried, but it just wasn't enough. Maybe if I hear about new updates on safeguards and such, I'll give it another try in the future. Until then, I'm going to save using a piggy bank.