[Update: SpringCoin found a couple of bugs with my account and has fixed them. I've getting a much better representation of how it works now.]
Kevin Yu contacted me a couple of weeks ago about a new start-up called SpringCoin. It seems like there is a new financial start-up every 3-4 days in Silicon Valley. The success of Mint selling to Intuit seems to have created a ripple effect. SpringCoin's niche in the personal finance sector is helping you eliminate your debt.
Taking SpringCoin for a Test Drive
Naturally, I signed up for SpringCoin, so that I write an informed article. The process starts with the typical email/username/password set-up. Then SpringCoin asks for your address, and the last four of Social Security number. I realize that may scare some people off, but this is just so it can it do a soft pull of your credit report (soft pulls won't impact your credit score). SpringCoin needs this information so it can work its magic.
After I entered in my information, up came three credit cards. Two of them for Chase, which is my credit card company of choice, and one of American Express. Oddly, there are few details surrounding these credit cards. For example the two Chase cards have only the balance and the fact that is is current. I currently have three Chase cards with balances though, so it missed one. Even more odd the balance on the American Express card, which is used only for Costco looks to be off by thousands of dollars. It's a joint card with my wife, maybe she's going to surprise me with that Badonkadonk Land Cruiser/Tank I've asked for. Let's move on...
Next SpringCoin asks you for the APR on each of the credit cards. This would require me logging into Chase to compare balances and match up cards. I decided to continue on assuming the "default APR" for two reasons: 1) I'm Lazy 2) More importantly I pay off my credit card debt in full each month so it is irrelevant. Perhaps that "defaults APR" should be labeled something different (average APR) since "default" means something different in the world of credit cards.
The Next step was to connect SpringCoin to my bank. It only required my username and password and none of the enhanced security checks that banks have in place nowadays. It is somewhat concerning that third parties (even companies like SpringCoin) have the ability to retrive my banking information with fewer security checks than I do myself from the bank's trusted website via a laptop and IP address with a history of years of succesful logins. When I connected my bank to SpringCoin, it didn't have enough information for SpringCoin to do anything with. It asked me to add another bank, but I simply don't have another to add. I suspect SpringCoin was looking for a regular income deposit, but as much of my income is business related, I pay myself a salary by transferring different amounts of money at unusual intervals.
This lead to a recommendation of paying $0 a month "based on the income and spending." This leads to a zero impact on debt. I tried to go on with these numbers, but SpringCoin complained that I wouldn't make any headway in paying off my debt. So I went back and moved the slider to pay a small amount. At move of one pixel, it jumped up to $7750 a month payment. For me the fine line in paying off the $700 in revolving credit card debt is either $0 a year or $93,000 a year. I could extend the slider to the max, but that would be $30,713 - enough to buy a a pair of 27,000 square foot castles in Newport, Rhode Island. I'll take my castles, thanks.
The next step suggest puts me in a position to buy a SpringCoin plan. For most people it is a pay service... but continue reading on, I've got a special offer so you can it for free. There is a basic and a premium plan. The basic plan has Personalized Goals, Debt-free Roadmap, Automatic Budgeting, 1-Month Free Trial, and the premium one adds Bill Payment, Negotiation Tools, 24/7 Financial Advice. For me both plans were listed at $0, but that might be because I have the special offer. I couldn't subscribe to the Premium Plan because the $35/plan wouldn't help me save with my debt (at least clicking on the "why?" gave me the information that this is usually $35/month).
Another of my concerns is the value of 24/7 Financial Advice. I presume it is this is for the US audience. What kind of financial advisor are waiting for your phone call at 3AM? Do people really have a critical need for financial advice at 3AM? I would have loved to try out this feature, but it wasn't available to me.
Summing up SpringCoin
My experience is most likely not the norm for SpringCoin. As I have no debt other than a couple of mortgages, I'm not in their target audience. I suspect my outlier financial data caused them some difficulties. Specifically I think I got into a place where SpringCoin couldn't determine my income and got a division by zero error. That's my software engineering-speak. (To run with that a little bit, it would be what software-engineers call "garbage in, garbage out.") SpringCoin is clearly not for personal finance bloggers with little debt other than mortgages.
I'd like to give SpringCoin a grade from A to F, but I think I'm stuck giving them an incomplete. This is where I need your help. It isn't a match for me, but maybe it is a match for you. SpringCoin's service usually costs $96 per year, but they've offered to give Lazy Man and Money readers a 100% free lifetime membership if you sign up now using this link before April 30th. I'm a big fan of lifetime memberships, but to take advantage you need to hurry... the offer is limited to the first 300 who sign up.
So give it a go and let me know if the comments if SpringCoin is helpful to you.
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