Yotta Review — Transforming Banking & Savings With Prizes


It’s nice to earn predictable interest on your savings account balance or rewards on your debit or credit card transactions. But it’s not as fun as doubling your paycheck or earning tens of thousands of dollars in cash prizes for everyday financial activities.

Yotta leans into the idea that money management should be fun. Rather than pay interest or rewards points at set rates, Yotta doles out daily prize entries and instant variable cash back. With Yotta, you can earn a great deal more than you would with a traditional savings or checking account on any given day, but you’ll also come up empty quite a bit. 

Over time, things even out and you’ll most likely earn at a rate that’s higher than traditional banks but not quite as good as the best online and mobile alternatives. But there’s a lot you need to know before you sign up for Yotta.

What Is Yotta?

Yotta is a financial technology app backed by Evolve Bank & Trust, member FDIC. It includes a checking account with debit card, a savings account with multiple goal-based subaccounts, and a secured credit card with no interest or fees. It also has social features, including a product roadmap that incorporates user feedback into new features and capabilities.

Unlike most traditional checking and savings accounts, Yotta’s deposit accounts don’t earn interest or rewards on balances. Instead, everyday financial activities like debit card transactions and paycheck deposits earn opportunities to win cash prizes. 

Actual winnings vary, but Yotta claims the average user can earn an amount equivalent to 2.70% annual interest (APY). Yotta draws prizes daily with a maximum potential daily prize of $1 million (though this is extremely rare).


What Sets Yotta Apart?

Yotta does things differently from most financial apps. It really stands out from the competition for:

  • Prizes on balances and transactions rather than interest or points. Yotta’s most unusual feature is its prized-based rewards program. Debit card purchases, paycheck deposits, and other activities earn you prize entries or instant cash rewards, but there’s no way to say for sure how much you’ll earn until those entries or rewards hit your account.
  • Social features like the Yotta Roadmap and prize pools. Yotta is more social than the typical fintech app, and certainly more so than traditional banks. Yotta Roadmap is a standout feature that gives users a peek into Yotta’s future plans and takes user feedback. Prize pools allow groups of users to pool prize entries and share the winnings, increasing their chances of winning (and overall winnings).
  • Secured credit card with no interest or fees. Yotta offers a secured credit card with no annual fee or interest charges. It’s secured by your Yotta account balance and uses that balance to pay off charges automatically each month. In other words, it’s a low-risk, low-cost way to build credit.

Is Yotta Legit?

Yes, Yotta is legitimate. You can safely hold as much as $250,000 in your Yotta account because Yotta offers banking services through Evolve Bank & Trust, an FDIC member institution with full FDIC insurance coverage.

You can also count on Yotta to pay out promised prizes. Yotta’s website is thick with testimonials from real users who’ve won real money through the app. While your overall odds of doubling your purchase or paycheck value are quite low, and the average return on Yotta balances is actually a bit lower than the top high-yield savings accounts, Yotta isn’t a scam.


Key Features of Yotta

Yotta works differently than a regular old checking or savings account. To make sure it suits your needs, take a few minutes to understand how its features and capabilities fit together.

Yotta Debit Card

Yotta comes with a Mastercard debit card accepted wherever other Mastercard products are. You can use this card to withdraw cash with no surcharge at about 55,000 ATMs in Yotta’s network.

Early Direct Deposit

If your employer or benefits provider qualifies, and most do, you can get your direct deposit up to two days early with Yotta. So if you normally get paid on Friday, you get your money on Wednesday.

Yotta Credit Card

Yotta offers a secured credit card that can help you build credit over time with responsible use. It’s secured by your account balance, which is also the maximum credit limit. To increase your credit limit, just deposit more cash into your Yotta account.

Unlike most credit cards, the Yotta card charges no interest or fees. At the end of each statement cycle, Yotta automatically pays off your card balance out of your cash balance, so there’s no risk of a late payment. 

Yotta Boxes (Cash-Back Rewards)

Yotta’s answer to cash-back rewards is the Yotta Box. 

Every time you make a debit or credit card purchase or receive a direct deposit, you get a box with a pre-assigned amount of cash in it. You don’t know the amount until it’s in your account.

Each box can have as much as 100% of the transaction or deposit amount in it — or nothing at all. Yotta isn’t totally transparent about how it sets box amounts, but it does provide app-wide data for the past 30 days. 

According to the most recent figures available (as of early May 2023), about half of all debit and credit card transactions earned some amount of cash back. About 1% earned the full transaction amount, meaning the transaction cost nothing out of pocket. About 0.3% of direct deposits earned the full deposit amount, effectively doubling the winners’ paychecks.

Yotta Tickets (Prize Drawing Entries)

Tickets are the second way Yotta rewards users. Each ticket is a separate entry into Yotta’s daily prize drawing, which doles out prizes worth up to $1 million to multiple recipients. 

Most winners earn far less — a few dollars at a time — but some earn hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands. Yotta keeps a running winners list with testimonials from actual big-money winners.

You get tickets for simple financial activities you already do regularly:

  • Making debit or credit card transactions
  • Receiving a direct deposit
  • Paying bills from your Yotta account
  • Making a one-time or recurring savings deposit

Like the contents of each Yotta Box, the number of tickets you receive for these actions varies seemingly at random. For example, you can earn up to twice the dollar value of debit and credit card transactions in tickets, but the average is lower — about 1.15 times the transaction value, according to Yotta. On a $100 purchase, that’s 115 tickets.

Prize Pools

Yotta’s prize pools feature lets users band together to combine their tickets ahead of each daily drawing. Each pool member’s prize share is proportional to the number of tickets they allocate to the pool. You can customize your allocation as you wish — reserving some tickets for yourself and the rest for the pool, or contributing them all to the pool.

Yotta allows public and private pools. Private pools are limited only to authorized participants, like members of your immediate family or a work group. Public pools are open to anyone with a unique invite code that any member is free to share.

Savings Buckets

Yotta offers savings subaccounts called buckets. You can set up as many as you wish, each with its own goal or purpose but all with the same basic features.

  • Transfer funds from your Yotta spending account or a linked external bank account to an individual bucket
  • Split inbound transfers between as many buckets as you wish
  • Transfer funds between buckets
  • Set up recurring transfers into one or more buckets
  • Lock individual buckets to prevent withdrawals before you reach your goal

Mobile Features

When it first came out, Yotta was only available as a mobile app, and the experience is still better on a mobile device. Notable mobile features include mobile check deposit and peer-to-peer payments using Yotta Pay.

Yotta Roadmap

The Yotta Roadmap is a social feature that takes feedback from users, incorporates that feedback into new Yotta features (or not), and provides a look ahead at new or updated Yotta capabilities. Yotta doesn’t incorporate every user suggestion it receives or provide total visibility into its operations, but it’s still far more transparent than your standard fintech app or bank account.  


Advantages

Yotta is mobile-friendly and fun to use, and it offers multiple ways to earn valuable prizes for everyday financial activities.

  • No maintenance fee and only a token minimum balance. Yotta has no monthly maintenance fee. The only catch is that you need to keep at least $5 in your account, otherwise Yotta reserves the right to close it. That should be no sweat for most users.
  • Potential to win truly valuable prizes. Yotta offers the possibility, if not the guarantee, of earning far more in prizes and random cash back than you would with a traditional rewards credit card or savings account. The daily prize jackpot is $1 million, though most winners receive a small fraction of that.
  • Prize pools boost winning odds. Just like pooling cash to buy lottery tickets with friends, family, or colleagues, Yotta’s prize pools increase members’ odds of winning something in each drawing. Even if you don’t win, it makes the experience more fun.
  • Partial transparency around prizes and winners. Yotta’s ticket allocations, box amounts, and prize drawing process are proprietary. Ordinary users have no visibility into them. But to its credit, Yotta does keep a running list of prize winners, ticket allocations, and box amounts. This builds confidence and ensures you have at least some idea of what you’re getting into.
  • Users have a say in Yotta’s future plans. The Yotta Roadmap is another social feature that gives users the sense that they have a stake in Yotta’s future. Even if you have no big ideas for Yotta, seeing its future (and already executed) plans mapped out is super-useful (though not all are guaranteed to come to fruition). 
  • Mobile-first approach. Yotta is a mobile-first platform. Its mobile app came out before its desktop version, and it still looks better on a small screen. That’s good news for anyone who does some or all of their banking on the go.
  • Secured credit card can build credit at lower cost and risk. With no interest or fees and an automatic payment process, Yotta’s secured credit card is legitimately innovative — and consumer-friendly. If your credit needs work, it’s a good place to start.

Disadvantages

Yotta has a few important disadvantages, some of which might not be obvious to would-be applicants.

  • Lower yields than the top savings accounts. Yotta says its average annual savings reward works out to 2.70% APY. Basically, this is what you can expect to earn, combined, from Yotta prizes and instant cash. While better than the big banks, it’s not up to par with current yields on the best high-yield savings accounts.
  • Earnings aren’t predictable. Because they’re random prizes and cash rewards, Yotta account earnings aren’t as predictable as fixed interest or rewards rates. There’s no reliable way to calculate your monthly earnings in advance, as is the case with a traditional bank account or credit card. 
  • Not all debit card and credit card purchases earn rewards. Another downside to Yotta’s rewards structure is that about half of all debit and credit card purchases earn no rewards at all. If you use your account only occasionally, you could go days or weeks without earning any cash or prizes.

How Yotta Stacks Up

Yotta is markedly different from traditional bank accounts and even most new fintech apps, but it still competes against them. Before you open an account, see how it compares to another popular mobile money management platform: Current.

Yotta Current
Balance Requirement $5 minimum None
Monthly Fee $0 $0
Yield 2.70% on average, but highly variable 4.00% APY on eligible balances
Spending Rewards Variable, based on prize entries and instant cash Up to 7x rewards on debit card purchases
Early Direct Deposit Yes Yes
Credit Card Yes No
Deposit Insurance Yes, up to $250,000 Yes, up to $250,000

Final Word

Not all bank accounts are the same, but it can feel that way sometimes. That makes choosing your next bank account — or mobile money management app — a more difficult, overwhelming prospect.

Yotta is different. There’s no mistaking it for a traditional bank account, and its unusual prize-based rewards structure sets it apart from fintech apps that are otherwise quite innovative. If you’re looking for a truly novel banking experience that’s social, fun, and rewarding, it should be on your short list.

Then again, the same features that make Yotta so fun and interesting can also negatively impact your experience with it. It’s impossible to predict how much your balance or spending earns from month to month, and even by Yotta’s calculation, the expected annual return is lower than the best savings accounts. If you value predictability over serendipity, Yotta might not be right for you.



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