What Is Rize?
Enter Rize. Launched in April 2017, Rize Advisors, LLC. was created by Justin Howell and Kirk Voltz. They set out to make savings simple so users can get back to more important things. It could very well be the only savings account you need.
Rize offers short-term savings by holding your money in a brokerage account as cash or in an investment account.
What sets Rize apart from other apps is that your money will earn interest for as long as you leave it in your Rize account. As of this writing, Rize offers a rate of 1.43%, higher than most large banks such as Bank of America or Wells Fargo.
- Earn Interest on Your Savings — As of this writing, you get 1.43% interest on all the money you have in your Rize account. This is something other microsavings apps don’t offer.
- Save More Automatically — Once you set up your goals and tell Rize when to make transfers, it will start saving automatically, without any fuss on your part. Just make sure the money is in your bank account before the scheduled transfer. Rize checks your account to be sure there’s enough money in it before they initiate the transfer, but the transfer itself can take up to two days. If the band rejects the transfer because there is not sufficient funds, you’ll be charged a $30 fee.
- Unlimited Transfers — Your money will sit in a brokerage account as cash. This allows you to transfer money into and out of your Rize account as many times as you like, free of any penalty. Transfers usually take 2–3 business days.
- Pay-What-You-Want Monthly Fee — Rize is the only microsavings app that allows users to pay a monthly fee of their choosing. Change it to any denomination you think is fair once you access your profile settings. Because Rize is brand new, it’s probably unrealistic to think the service will continue to offer this option in the future. (It would be nice, though.)
- No Minimums — You are not required to save a minimum amount in any of the goals you create.
- Monthly Savings Calculator — Rize has a monthly savings calculator tool that helps you plan your savings each month based on income and expenses. This is handy if you don’t have a household budget already in place.
- Overdraft Protection — Rize will not initiate a transfer of money from your bank account if the transfer would leave that account with less than $50. If you’d like to increase that minimum amount, you’ll need to contact customer service. Future versions will allow the user to edit this themselves.
- Invest With Rize (New) — You can now invest with Rize. The platform will determine an allocation of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) based on your goals and risk exposure. The cost to use the investing option is $2 per month.
How Does Rize Work?
Rize Advisors LLC is an SEC-registered investment advisor that works with Apex Clearing Corporation to provide brokerage services.
Along with putting your money into ETF investments, Rize can also allow you to save your money in a cash account. This allows you to transfer money free and earn interest.
Aside from being a brokerage account, it works just like a regular microsavings app that transfers money to and from your bank at the intervals of your choosing.
Rize recently rolled out an iOS app in the Apple Store. Although there’s no app yet available for Android users, Rize does have a beautifully mobile-responsive website that you can access on your phone’s web browser with no problems. Just save the address on your phone’s homepage and access your account that way until Rize rolls out an Android app.
Because Rize is a registered investment advisor, you’ll need to sign up for a brokerage account. This means you’ll have to share more personal information than you would with other microsavings apps:
- Full legal name
- Current address
- Social Security number
Apex will need to verify your identity with Equifax to comply with federal regulations. However, this is just for verification and will not impact your credit report in any way.
One thing to note is that if your credit report is frozen, Apex may have problems verifying your identity. You can contact Rize’s customer support to get help.
It’s also important to keep in mind that although deposits made with Rize are not FDIC insured, they are protected by the SIPC (Securities Investor Protection Corp.) up to $250,000.
The Signup Process
Signing up for Rize is free and takes about 10 minutes. It could take less if you have all your personal and banking information handy.
There are a total of 15 steps to the signup process. But don’t worry; Rize makes the process very easy.
After adding your personal information, Rize will walk you through setting up your first savings goal. This is where you choose a goal amount and link a checking account to transfer money.
It’s OK if you don’t want to link your bank at this point. You’ll get another chance to do that once you complete the signup process.
Once you have access to your dashboard, be sure to look over your profile for any mistakes and to turn on or off any features you don’t want. By default, both the Accelerate and Boost features are turned on (see below for more details).
Once you’ve linked your bank account, Rize will start making automatic transfers on the day of your choice. All you need to do is make sure you have enough money in your bank account on the days of the scheduled transfers so you can avoid paying any fees.
That’s it — you’re now ready to let Rize save for you automatically.
With the platform, you can have as many savings goals as you’d like. Choose from one of the following types:
- Emergency Fund
- Future Home
- Pay Down Debt
- Set a Custom Goal
When setting up a new goal, Rize suggests how much you’ll need to save each month or how much time it will take you to save for that goal, based on the timeline you give it.
I found these suggestions to be helpful in creating reasonable savings expectations. For example, if you want to save $3,254 in six months, saving $100 a month won’t cut it. While that’s obvious math, Rize does it for you anyway and tells you how long it would take if you save only $100 a month.
Currently, Rize offers two power-up features:
- Accelerate — The Accelerate feature will automatically increase your savings rate by 1% each month. For example, if you’re putting away $200 this month, next month Rize will save $202, and it will keep increasing until you turn off this feature. It’s designed to accelerate your savings rate in small increments. Over the course of a year, that could add up to a lot of money saved.
- Boost — The Boost feature will monitor your account to find extra money to save. This feature is similar to how the popular Digit app works.Once or twice a week, if Rize finds extra money to save, it will automatically transfer anywhere between a few cents and up to $5, or 5% of your established savings rate (whichever is lower).
Closing Your Account
If you ever change your mind and want to close your account, you’ll need to transfer all of your money out of Rize. Once you have a $0 balance and all scheduled transfers are canceled, contact support to close your account.
Because you’re trying to close a brokerage account, it may take longer than it does to close a regular bank account due to certain regulations.
Rize lets you invest and grow your money toward a specific goal
Rize Security: Is It Safe?
With the increase of media coverage on data breaches, more people are questioning the use of their personal information online. I certainly want to know of any third-party players my favorite fintech apps use to provide the services I enjoy. So I contacted one of the co-founders of Rize and asked how they protect user’s personal information. Following is what he told me.
Linking to Your Bank Account
To connect to your bank and make transfers securely, Rize uses the services offered by Plaid, a financial aggregator that allows Penny, Qapital and many other financial software apps to link to your bank account securely.
Rize employees do not see or have access to your bank login information. Instead, Plaid gives Rize an encrypted set of keys that allows their system to check your account balance before making a transfer to your Rize account.
Rize uses a minimal amount of personal information to be able to operate and service your account. Any information used by Rize is kept secure with bank-level encryption.
Signing Up for a Brokerage Account
Because you’ll be signing up for a brokerage account, you’ll need to divulge your personal information.
Rize does not have access to this information during signup. All your information is handled by the Apex Clearing Corporation. This is same broker clearing firm that provides services for apps like Robinhood, Stash, Ally Invest and Clink.
Only a handful of specialized Rize employees will be able to see just the last four digits of your Social Security number, and they do this only when you contact them for support. This information is not stored on Rize servers.
No Two-factor Authentication
One downside for security is that Rize does not offer two-factor authentication for login. But overall, Rize is as safe to use as other microsavings and micro-investing apps, because they use the same backend platforms to link accounts and offer brokerage services.
What Could Make Rize Better?
I test-drove Rize for a few weeks to see how it worked. Overall, I like the product. I think it’s an excellent alternative to the Digit app because Rize offers the same type of feature with Boost and it costs less per month to use.
Hopefully, Rize will soon make it easier for users to control overdraft limits right from the dashboard so fees could be avoided. Personally, I would raise my overdraft limit from $50 to $200 so I could keep a buffer in my checking account.
The support link on the account dashboard opens your computer’s default email program automatically. This makes the link useless if you use a webmail service such as Gmail.
Things would be easier if Rize posted the support email address right on the page or have a contact form available. If you use webmail, reach out to Rize support at [email protected] with your favorite email service.
Lastly, I hope that in the future Rize offers a round-up feature similar to Acorns or Qapital. If Rize did, it would replace both of these apps for me.
Pros and Cons
- No Set Monthly Fee — Pay what you think is fair.
- Unlimited Goals — Take advantage of automatic savings for an unlimited number of savings goals.
- Earn Interest — Rize is one of the few microsavings apps to offer interest on the money you save.
- Unlimited Transfers — Transfer as often and as much as you’d like.
- No Savings Minimums — No minimums makes Rize ideal for new savers.
- Power-up Features — These features let you boost your savings rate to reach your goals faster.
- Save and Invest in One Account — You can now save and invest in one Rize account. The platform will determine your allocation.
- No Control Over Overdraft Protection Balance — There’s no user control over the minimum overdraft protection balance of $50. You’ll need to contact customer service to increase this minimum.
- Not for Budgeters — Power-up features are best for those who don’t have a penny-for-penny household budget in place.
- Hard to Get Customer Support — The support email link in the dashboard opens a computer’s default email program, so it’s useless if you use an outside email service. Support is also slow to respond.
Rize has new features in the works, and it will be interesting to watch them unfold.
For now, Rize is a suitable replacement for the Digit app, which charges users $2.99 a month. It’s also a good alternative to other microsavings apps, because with Rize your money earns interest.
Rize is perfect for Millennial savers and anyone who is comfortable with mobile and online savings platforms — basically anyone who needs help saving more money.
Well-established savers and those with household budgets or long-term financial goals such as retirement would find Rize a novelty since higher interest rates and better savings vehicles can be found with online banks and brokerages.
If you’re OK with sharing your personal information (which shouldn’t be a problem if you already have an Acorns or Robinhood account), then Rize is worth the try.
If this is the first time you’re trying a microsavings app, Rize would be a great one to start with since it has features similar to Digit and Qapital, plus it offers interest. The micro-investing option is also a great way to get started.