college savings
Michael Drew | Tips

What is Upromise?

Upromise is a free way to bring in college savings off of the ways you spend your money. I need to say this early for those that think that this may be one of those gimmicks; IT ISN’T. Upromise is one hundred percent legitimate.

The Way it Works:

It is simple.

Go to upromise.com.

Sign up for an account, which is easy and self-explanatory once you get there so I won’t get into how to do it.

There are a variety of ways it works in terms of college savings. You can use your account for your children or if you don’t have children, use it for yourself to pay for college or even pay off student loans. It’s free money you get by doing your everyday shopping.

Upromise has a network of hundreds of companies, such as Verizon Wireless, proflowers.com, Aeropostale, Dillard’s, J.C. Penny’s, Barnes and Noble, Best Buy, Walmart and many, many more. Hundreds more to be precise.

Upromise does not cost you a dime. It stems from Fannie Mae. It is a fantastic and proven way to add contributions to college money. And it is recommended by the following companies: Vanguard, USAA, Charles Schwab and many, many more. Hundreds more to be precise.

When you get an account you go to link accounts if you have a college savings plan for your child. The process is simple and easy to navigate so I won’t get into the specifics. After that, you add credit cards to your account. I recommend adding all credit cards to your account and debit cards. Then, if you are smart, ask the grandparents to do the same. (If you have any questions at all, just leave a comment at the bottom of this article and I will respond or go to this link) If you do have relatives who sign up make sure that they know how to link their account to your child’s or your own college savings plan or student loan repayment plan.

Now, here are the six things you should know about Upromise:

1. Purchases

Purchases work like this. Let’s say you need an auto part for your car, such as brakes.

Well, go to AutoZone and buy your breaks. If you have your card registered with Upromise, AutoZone will pay 4% of the purchase to your child’s college savings account. Advance Auto Parts pays 4% too and Auto Parts Warehouse pays 6%. If you have to buy a plane ticket, airlines companies (Delta, South West, Alaskan, etc…) will pay between 1-2% of the ticket price to your kid’s account.

If you go through a booking company (Orbitz, Expedia, Priceline, Travelocity, etc…) they pay between 1-3%. Think of it this way, if a company pays 3% then that means they are willing to send $30,000 out of every one million to kids college. Not bad.

AT&T; pays $25 for every new subscription. That means if you are thinking about getting a new phone plan through AT&T;, hey, you get a bonus. Verizon pays $18.

Flower companies are currently paying 10%. Walmart.com (Big deal here. Pay attention because only Walmart.com, not the actual store) pays 1%. Bath and Body Works pays 3%. Even Ebay pays 2%.

2. Upromise Credit Card

Upromise offers a credit card. Unless you plan on paying the balance off completely at the end of every billing cycle I would highly insist you not go this route. The interest rates are 12-20% right now on balances remaining after the billing cycle. It is basically the opposite of productive savings.

However, if you do plan on paying it off on time then this is a great way to increase the savings account. Use this card at the participating stores or websites and you get an extra 2-3% toward college savings on top of whatever the store was paying. So, that 4% from AutoZone would turn into 7%. If you were going to have to buy new breaks, you might as well get a little something back.

It’s also a good way to build credit if you are responsible.

3. Great Certificate of Deposit Rates (CD’s)

  • 12 Month: 1.30% APY
  • 36 Month: 1.75
  • 60 Month: 2.35

These rates are offered by Sallie Mae Bank

4. High Interest Savings Accounts

APY 1.30%

This is the highest APY I have seen for a savings account. So it is definitely worth checking out.

Upromise will also match your Upromise earnings by 10% if you have this savings account.

5. Student Loan Programs and Scholarships and Grants

Upromise has student loans. If you stay current on their payments you can earn an extra 2% toward the principle. Rates are competitive with others and the limit is the full price of the education.

If you are looking for scholarships, Upromise awards yearly scholarship money. Also, Upromise has a thorough scholarship search tool. Click here to check it out.

It also has a comprehensive page dedicated to different government grants. Click here for more information.

Linking Accounts:

You can link savings accounts, student loan accounts, any college savings account, 529 Plans from any carrier and they have many other options.