App promises to boost the cash in your savings account

Posted at 6:00 AM, Oct 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-27 10:53:33-04

Saving money in San Diego is hard, and the high cost of living is only part of it.

The other headwind - the average savings account in the U.S. pays 0.06 percent internet. That means someone with $1,000 socked away would earn about 60 cents in interest in a year.

"It doesn't make me feel great, but I try to save in other ways," said San Diegan Erika Katayama, who earns 0.01 percent interest on her savings. 

But an upcoming app called Beam promises to pay up to 4 percent interest to people who use its service. In other words, that same $1,000 could get you about $40 a year - so a tank of gas or a lunches for the work week.

Founder Yinan Du says it would give users a larger cut of what banks generally earn on their deposits. 

Beam isn't a bank, but you do send it your money. Your cash would go to your new account at an FDIC insured bank Du says will be named before the app goes live and accepts money. That bank would then pay you 2 percent interest, but you can boost it to 4 percent doing multiple small tasks through the app. 

Greg McBride, senior financial analyst at bankrate, says it's too early to tell whether Beam is worth it, as key details have yet to be released. 

He noted that many FDIC insured banks already offer higher interest rates on savings accounts, directly with the consumer. Still, those don't appear to go beyond 1.4 percent.

Du says Beam will be live in the first quarter of next year. The San Francisco-based start-up is currently taking names for its waiting list.