Oftentimes, we assume that most people, especially the millennials and new generation (youngsters) know all that is to be known about savings – how to save, when to save, which platform to use, and the steps to take when they’ve made the decision. This assumption, based on findings, turns out to be wrong, as many young people still struggle with savings; either they do not think they should save or they do not know how to go about their savings. The good news is that there are quite a number of savings and investment platforms that are youth-friendly, that they would gladly embrace.
What is even the big deal about savings and investments? What platform can I use for my savings and investment? What do I look out for, when choosing a savings and investment platform? These questions and more are answered in this piece, it guides you and explains the different features of some of the most popular savings and investment platforms so you can make an informed choice when deciding on which one to choose.
There are many popular savings and investment platforms that offer a wide range of interests and returns on your savings and investments, some of them include Cowrywise, Alat, PiggyVest, Ziing, Wealth.ng, PayDay Investor, i-invest, CrowdyVest, Kolo Pay, PayVest, Carbon, Afrinvest, Fundall, and Stanbic IBTC among others. Most of them are available for download on Android and iPhone.
Firstly, let us look at some benefits of saving and investing, why should you invest or save? Who can/should save? When can you save? And Which of the platforms you can save with?
It is always better to use some of the above-listed platforms for savings and investment because they provide the opportunity to earn interests while keeping actual saved/invested amount safe; they offer returns on saved or invested funds and in this process, they can help to build wealth over a long period of time. The benefits of savings and investments are therefore huge because they also help to achieve target goals which otherwise would have been extremely difficult.
Who should save? The truth is that anybody can (and should) save/invest; even some unborn children already have savings/investments, thanks to their forward-thinking parents. For these online savings and investment platforms, however, it is expected that the savers/investors will be at least teenagers, excepts it will be handled by parents, because most children aren’t allowed to use phones.
Also, it can be too late but never too early to save/invest, you can start at any time you realise the need to save, which of course should be now (if you haven’t started already).
There are several online savings and investment platforms, as listed above, but in this part of the write-up, Cowrywise and PiggyVest are extensively explained, other platforms will be explained in subsequent parts.
PiggyVest is arguably one of the most popular savings and investment platforms, it offers between 10 and 15.5% interest on savings, and up to 25% returns on investments depending on the package. What this means to a layman is that you will get an extra 10 to 15.5% of the amount you save over a period of time, or up to 25% of the amount you invest, when the investment is mature.
You can begin the savings and investment process with PiggyVest by clicking here. If you use this link, you will be given N1000 bonus which will initially be in your Safelock account till you put money into your flex account and save at least N1000 into any of the other accounts.
After downloading the app (or via their website), you will be prompted to create a free account, go ahead with that. Fill in your name, valid email address, phone number, then create your password. Make sure that the name you use matches the name in your bank account, it is very important.
After this stage, you will be prompted to give further details including gender, year of birth, how much you earn, your relationship and employment status among others.
The next stage will be to set up your withdrawal bank account, this is necessary so you can be able to withdraw the money you save with them. Your money will be sent to the account you provide here anytime you withdraw, ensure that the account number is correct.
When that is done, you will be asked to select from 4 options, depending on your savings goal; do you want to build your savings? – with this, you can withdraw on a quarterly basis. Do you want to lock money for a while? – with this, you can select your preferred duration for the money to be locked, and the interest on the amount you’re locking will be paid upfront. Do you want to do a gradual investment in transportation, real estate, bonds, and agriculture among others? – with this, you can invest in various available sectors and get interests of up to 25%. Do you want to save towards a goal? – with this, you can save for rent, for a car, for tuition fees or any other goal, either personally or as a group, and meet your target as at when due. Depending on your mission, you can choose any/all of the options.
The next step will be to verify your card, this is to ensure that your account is functioning, they will charge N100 from your account and refund it after the verification.
There are a few interesting features that will help your savings and investment journey, and you should know about them.
One of them is the Super Savers Challenge, which is more like a competition to help you save better. It is rated from 1-star to 5-star, and it links other features like the Autosave, and Target savings, among others. It also helps you achieve your new year savings resolutions (if you have any).
Another feature is the AutoSave, which saves you the stress of having to select an amount or input your account number every time you want to save; with this feature, you can select any amount you want to save on a weekly or monthly basis for a period of time, and your account will be automatically debited weekly/monthly depending on how you want it. For instance, if you want to save N5000 (could be as low as N100) every week, autosave will debit your account on any weekday you choose, could be Monday or Friday or Sunday, for as long as you want. Your savings here can be withdrawn quarterly on free withdrawal days, any other day apart from these free quarterly withdrawal days means that you’ll be charged 5% of the amount you are withdrawing. This feature is very useful to those who find it difficult to be disciplined with their savings plan, it keeps them focused on their savings without any further action.
There is also the Safelock feature, which allows you to keep an amount of money for a fixed short period and get your interest upfront. When you do this, you won’t be able to access the money until the day you choose to have it back. For instance, if you Safelock N100,000 for 20days, starting today, the interest on that N100,000 will be paid into your Flex account today, then the N100,000 will be deposited into your Flex account in 20days from today, but you won’t be able to withdraw or add to the amount once you start. You can however Safelock as many times or at any time you want.
Now, you can explore the savings features (you can also call them wallets), which include Piggybank, Flex Naira, Safelock, Targets, and the Flex Dollar. The Piggybank is where your normal regular savings drop, we can call it the hole in the physical (handy) ‘Kolo’ that we buy on the streets. In this wallet, you will see your Autosave amount and your next withdrawal date. With your Piggybank wallet, you can do Quick Save (if you’re not doing autosave), this means that you do not have a fixed amount you’re saving weekly, and you want to save any amount at anytime you wish, so you will enter the amount and the account number you want them to remove the money from. This can be done as many times as you want, and there is no extra charge.
The Flex Naira wallet is where your Safelock funds drop to, after maturity. It gives you a 10% per annum interest when you limit your withdrawals to 4 times in a month (once a week), failure to adhere to this means the interest will be forfeited. With your flex wallet/account, you can send money to another user on PiggyVest, transfer to your Piggybank savings, or withdraw to your main bank account. Also, if you add your Bank Verification Number (BVN) to your flex wallet, you will get an account number that is linked to Providus Bank; with this, you can send that account number to people so they can send money to you, that money will automatically be sent to your flex wallet and you can get interests on it. You can also earn points with this wallet.
The Target wallet helps you save with discipline towards a specific goal, and you earn interest every day into your Flex wallet. This is also where the Super Savers (Savings) Challenge is more effective, you can save for rent, for a car, for tuition fees or any other goal.
Flex Dollar allows you save in dollars, with a 6.5% annual interest rate. It also allows you to protect your money against currency devaluation, and you can convert to dollars at any time, you can transfer funds to other PiggyVest users in dollars without any penalty or charges. However, to transfer your dollar to your Nigerian dollar-denominated domiciliary bank account comes with an attached fee. In simple terms, Flex Dollars lets you be in charge of your money in dollars, you can perform every other activity on the PiggyVest platform with the Flex Dollar wallet. Isn’t that amazing?!
PiggyVest’s investments platform (Investify) is where you get to invest in various instruments/sectors like Fixed Income, Real Estate, Agriculture, and Transportation, among others. The amount per share to be invested depends on the offer from the company as approved by PiggyVest. The returns on investments usually range from 10% to 25% depending on which sector you invest in. However, Investify is somewhat always busy and sold out.
For each investment under Investify, every information you need is provided for you on the platform; the name of the company offering it and their location, the price/value for each share, the number of available shares, the expected returns (percentage and duration), the start and maturity dates, the payout type (capital + maturity), the Insurance partner, and the unit type (if it can be sold to others anytime or not). Every investment instrument is insured to guarantee your safety.
To invest, you will click on your preferred package (if it’s not sold out), you will see the number of share units available for purchase among other info, click on ‘Invest Now’, choose the number of shares you want to buy, if you want an additional insurance cover apart from that of the Insurance partner for an extra 1% charges, select it, choose how you want to pay for it (from your Flex wallet or bank account), then click on ‘Invest Now’ again. For confirmation, you will see all the things you selected and acknowledge them before you proceed; you will see the amount you want to invest, the returns on the investment (in cash and percentage), the investment period, the amount payable at maturity, and the maturity date. You will also be required to enter your password, to confirm that it’s you.
The PiggyVest platform became further interesting with the Report Card feature, which scores you based on your savings and investment activities in a year. This report card is usually given at the end of the year, and it tells you how well you did with your Piggybank, investments, how much you locked, how much you flexed, how much you acquired, how much you earned in points, and how your entire assets grew, among others.
So, if the PiggyVest platform appeals to you, based on the explained features, you can begin your journey with them by clicking here.
Another very popular savings and investment platform is Cowrywise. It offers 12% interest per annum on savings and up to 15% returns on investment.
Cowrywise uses Meristem Trustees, a subsidiary of Meristem Security Limited, which is a capital market conglomerate in Nigeria, to ensure that all funds entrusted with them are 100% secure; Meristem makes sure that Cowrywise invests all funds in the promised secure options and hold the assets on behalf of the customers (you).
On the website/via the app, you will be required to fill in your personal details which include your first and last name, phone number, email address, and password. Your email address will be confirmed afterward. After the confirmation, you will be asked to create a PIN and add your BVN. If you wish to provide further details like adding your picture… immediately, click on the ‘My Profile’ to do that.
After that, you will be taken to your Home page and be prompted to create your first savings and/or investment plan, if you click on the savings plan, there are four (4) options/varieties to choose from, they are Regular Savings, Halal, Life Goals, and the Savings Circle.
Regular Savings allows you to save on your terms for a minimum of 3months, after which you will get the returns on your savings.
Halal Savings is interest-free, it allows you to save without or with automation and it is appears to be basically for the Muslim folks.
Savings Circle is a group package that allows you to set targets and save money with other people.
Life Goals offers you an opportunity to save for long term, for life’s important goals, and the minimum period you can save for is 1year.
You can choose any/all of the options depending on your savings goal; for anyone you choose, you can give your plan any name that you like, based on what the saving is for (e.g. Tuition fee, New Phone, Car…). You will be asked whether you want to automate the payment or you want to save when you want, decide on which option is best for you; if you know you cannot be really disciplined to follow through on your own, it is best that you choose to be debited automatically. If you choose to save when you want, you will be required to choose the amount at each time, for how long (3/6months, 1year, or you can choose your maturity date), which is usually not less than 3months.
In the course of that, you can also check the interest rate breakdown, the rate depends on the duration of the savings; 3-6months is 10%p/a, 6-9months is 10.5%p/a, 9-12months is 11%p/a, 1year is 11.5% to 12.5%p/a, and 2years is 15%p/a. This will help you make your savings decisions.
Minimum amount you can save is N100, and withdrawals can only be done on/after the maturity date, to ensure discipline. You can add money to existing plans, and/or you can create new plans.
You can choose your payment method, either with Stash, Bank transfer, or a Debit card. Choose your most preferred and proceed to fund your savings. This is the same process for all the savings plans and with that, you are welcome on board.
Cowrywise investment is primarily in Fixed/Mutual Funds, and the instruments are recommended to you based on how they think you understand investments and risks, after an assessment of you. They will ask you what you think about risk, in simple terms. Some of the questions include – How long you will stick to your investment plan if it doesn’t meet your expectations in terms of returns? (the options to answer that range from 1 to 3 years), What is the highest risk you have taken while investing in the past? (options to answer that will range from stocks, mutual funds, treasury bills, bonds…), What do you always think about whenever you want to invest? (options to answer that will range from whether you only invest for more gains than losses, if you don’t mind losing funds now for greater future gains, or if you think about safety of your funds regardless of the gains attached), What investment product you understand the most between stocks, mutual funds, bank fixed deposit…?
All the above questions will determine what kind of investment they will suggest for you to make, and they will rate you from Aggressive investor (risk taker) to Greenhorn. As an aggressive investor that understands how Fixed Income investment works, some of the investments they will most likely suggest to you include high, moderate, and low-risk investments like the Lotus Halal Fixed Income Fund (moderate risk with 12.22% annual returns), the United Capital Equity Fund (high risk with 4.77% YTD returns), Afrinvest Equity Fund (high risk with 8.50% annual returns), and the Meristem Money Market Fund (low risk with 6.81% annual returns), among others.
If you choose to invest in any, click on your preferred investment, read the information that accompanies the investment to be sure that is what you want, then click on ‘Invest Now’. As you did for savings, you can give your investment a name (could be ‘New Investment’, ‘For my family’, ‘For my kids’…), you can automate your investment (automation allows you automatically invest daily, monthly, weekly… without hassle, your account will be deducted automatically at your chosen period), and you can choose to invest any amount you want from N100 upwards (N100 is minimum, isn’t that amazing?!) You will be informed of how many units your money can buy, then you will be asked to confirm everything you selected before you make payment. With that, you’re good to go.
Cowrywise Stash account/wallet is where your funds drop to, after maturity. With your Stash, you can send money to another Cowrywise user (Cowrywise Buddy), transfer to your Cowrywise savings/investment plan, or withdraw to your main bank account (with a transact fee of N25). Also, if you add your Bank Verification Number (BVN) to your Stash wallet, you will get an account number that is linked to Providus Bank; with this, you can send that account number to people so they can send money to you, that money will automatically be sent to your Stash wallet.
Now, on your dashboard, you can see different icons for directions; Home, Plans, History, Stash, Referral, Payment, and Chat, all these will guide you through the site/app.
If you prefer this platform, you can begin your journey by clicking here.
All said, you can decide on which of these two platforms you want to choose, based on the explanations that have been done so far; they both provide great interests and returns that are guaranteed on savings and investments.
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