If you’re tired of receiving email after email informing you that the APY on your savings is about to plummet, it might be time to consider an alternative home for your cash. Yotta Savings could be the answer.
This gamified online savings app pays an astounding effective APY relative to the competition, with the catch being that the amount of interest individuals earn is heavily based on luck.
See, Yotta is only one part traditional savings account. On top of the base rate of 0.20%, users generate one recurring lottery ticket per $25 in their account and win weekly prizes based on how many numbers they match. If you’ve ever played Powerball or Mega Millions, that’s what the tickets look like. Except, in this case, you can’t lose money.
In this Yotta Savings review, we break down the effective APY and discuss whether it’s worth investing in. We also reveal tips on how to maximize earnings and touch on some exciting new features that have been added to the Yotta mobile app.
Yotta Savings Review
Yotta is a fun, yet highly volatile, high-yield savings account, that offers one of the best implied APYs in its class. The app is functionally and aesthetically impressive, and the lottery-style gamification element is handled seamlessly and keeps users engaged. Combine this with all the new and rewarding features Yotta is adding, and it becomes a must-have for investors looking for a safe haven for their reserves.
- Traditional savings account yields a very impressive ~1.9% APY, on average
- Crypto bucket option yields >4.5% APY
- Quick deposits and withdrawals via linked bank accounts
- A debit card that actually pays rewards
- No desktop application
- Crypto buckets are not FDIC insured
- It seems unlikely that the interest rates will remain this high long term
- Individual interest rates are highly volatile
Yotta Savings: How it works
Through its engaging lottery feature, Yotta Savings brings an element of fun to an otherwise uninspired investment vehicle: High-yield savings accounts.
Every Monday, you will receive one ticket per $25 invested, up to 400 tickets for your first $10,000 invested. Above that, you’ll receive one ticket per $150 invested. Users have the option to either pick their own lucky 7 numbers, (6 regular numbers, and one YottaBall) or just let the system automatically pick the numbers for them.
On Monday at 9 pm EST, a random ball will be selected. This process repeats every day through Saturday. On Sunday at 9 pm EST the YottaBall is drawn, and the prizes for the week are determined. If you match enough randomly selected numbers, you win a prize, based on the current payout table. Prizes range from $0.10 per ticket up to millions, and you can win multiple prizes.
In addition to any prizes won, you will earn a flat-rate 0.20% APY, similar to how you earn interest with a traditional online savings account.
Winnings are added to your account swiftly, typically within a day of the YottaBall drawing.
The current prize table is listed below, provided courtesy of the Yotta Savings official rules:
The top prize isn’t actually $10 million, it’s $5.8 million. Yotta uses the logic that $5.8 million annualized over 40 years is $10 million. It’s a bit deceptive, so we thought you should know.
From the detective’s desk: We discourage leaving more than $10,000 in your account at any given time. That’s because Yotta only awards one weekly ticket per $25 for the first $25,000. After that you receive just one ticket per $150, reducing the value of those tickets by nearly 5/6ths.
Also worth noting, is that all “per ticket” prizes are paid their face value. However, the top-end prizes (starting at the $2,500 tier) are split among all winners. This facet will have significant implications when we calculate Yotta Saving’s effective APY.
Is Yotta legit?
Yotta is not actually a bank. Those duties are handled by Evolve Bank & Trust, which has been around for nearly a century and is an FDIC insured bank for funds up to $250k
The Yotta app uses military-grade, 256-bit AES encryption, access control, and secure processes to keep funds safe.
Furthermore, Yotta works with a 3rd party “A” rated insurance company, that handles drawings via a sophisticated random number generator. The company has nothing to do with Yotta, and never sees the numbers that Yotta users select, making for a double-blind system.
If all that wasn’t enough to prove the legitimacy of Yotta, we’ve been using it for months and have never encountered an issue with deposits, payouts, or withdrawals. Oh yea, and it’s backed by Graham Stephan, who like him or not, is one of the most transparent faces in the personal finance sector.
Signing up for Yotta Savings
Unfortunately, Yotta Savings does not support a desktop platform, so the only way to access it is through an iOS or Android-enabled device. It can be downloaded from Google Play or the App Store, or directly from Yotta’s mobile-friendly website.
The app is highly reviewed, currently sitting at 4.8/5.0 on the App Store and 4.4/5.0 on Google Play.
Once downloaded, it’s time to sign up:
- Tap “Join Yotta”.
- Enter your preferred email address, password, and optional referral code. If you like, use Yotta Savings bonus code ROBERT1833 to receive 100 free tickets for next week’s drawing.
- On the next screens, you’ll be required to enter your full legal name, date of birth, address, mobile phone number (verification required), and social security number. Providing this information is necessary as part of the identity verification process and will not impact your credit score.
- Choose either a USD Yield or Crypto Yield bucket. This can be changed at any time.
- Manually or instantly connect a bank account through Plaid. By instantly connecting your account, you’ll be able to deposit funds more quickly, but the manual option only takes 1-2 business days to settle.
In addition to the 100 free tickets, you’ll receive by using the aforementioned referral code, you can also earn up to 320 more tickets by completing various tasks such as making a crypto deposit, referring a friend, and setting up a direct deposit.
However, in order to earn recurrent tickets, you’ll want to deposit at least $25.
What is Yotta Saving’s APY?
Calculating the APY for a lottery-based saving app is not a straightforward process.
Not only do you have to account for the odds of winning different prizes, and the prize amounts themselves, but you also need to estimate the total number of tickets in play. That’s because if you hit at least 5 out of 7 numbers, the prize is split among all winners.
Simply put, more tickets mean more split prizes (on average), and less money for you should you get extremely lucky.
We’ll get more into how we tabulated the APY, and how much it might change in the future, in a bit. But for now, suffice it to say that we estimate the effective APY currently to be around 1.87% — broken out into a 0.20% base and 1.67% in bonus prizes.
Does Yotta Savings offer the best interest rate?
As of 2022, the best traditional savings account rates are hovering right around 0.50% – 0.90% APY. A few examples:
- VIO Bank: 0.71% APY
- Synchrony Bank: 0.60% APY
- Citibank: 0.60% APY
- Ally Bank: 0.50% APY
- Capital One: 0.40% APY
Then you get places like Wells Fargo, which requires you to maintain a $3,500 balance for the privilege of earning 0.01% APY. Otherwise, there’s a $12 monthly service fee. Ridiculous.
Compared to these, Yotta Saving feels like a dream come true. But before you invest you may want to know a bit more about how we derived the APY, and why it may change in the future.
Yotta Savings APY: Behind the math
From the detective’s desk: To follow along with the next section, feel free to download our Excel spreadsheet, which contains all the math related to our estimates. If Yotta ever changes the prize amounts, you can simply plug in the new values under the “New Prize” and “Odds” columns and an updated APY will be calculated automatically.
We started out by calculating the raw equity per ticket of each prize. From this, we were able to quickly identify the theoretical best case and worst case APYs, assuming a balance of no more than $10,00:
- Theoretical best case APY: 5.48%
- Theoretical worst case APY: 1.48%
The best case is tabulated under the assumption that you’ll never have to split a prize with anyone, while the worst case assumes an infinite number of tickets, resulting in split prizes divvied up among so many tickets, that their value approaches $0.00.
Of course, in the real world, neither of these scenarios is viable, with Yotta’s actual APY falling somewhere in the middle. It’s interesting to observe that even in a worst-case scenario, the APY is still significantly higher than what traditional banks are offering.
To estimate the actual effective APY, we needed to know just how many tickets are in play, and the best way to do that was to look at how many people are winning jackpots. Luckily, Yotta Savings posts a sampling of this information.
As it turns out, over a four-week period, an average of 34 tickets matched 4 of 6 balls + the YottaBall ($2,500 prize), and another 27 matched 5 out of 6 ($3,000 prize). There weren’t enough winners in the other jackpot categories to collect any meaningful data.
We then multiplied the average number of winners by the odds to come up with an estimate of 9.34 million weekly tickets. That means that there’s probably at least $230 million invested on the app.
Finally, we calculated adjusted jackpot prize amounts, which led us to ultimately determine the current APY of 1.87%. Catch all that? Hit us up at @ValueSleuths on Twitter if you have questions.
From the detective’s desk: For all you math nerds out there (we definitely fall under this category), the average # of 4 of 6 + YottaBall winners was 33.75 with a standard deviation of 3.77, and the average # of 5 of 6 winners was 27.25 with a standard deviation of 5.5. Not the highest confidence intervals, but OK for an estimate.
This APY falls much closer to our theoretical worst case than our best case, which is actually a positive, as there isn’t much room for it to fall.
Or is there?
Will Yotta’s APY go down in the future?
If we had to guess if the APY will go up or down in the immediate future, we’d say down, but not necessarily because more people are investing their cash.
Yotta could change the rules
As a relatively new company, Yotta hasn’t been shy about adjusting its business model. And so far, most of these changes have had a net negative impact on the APY.
In September 2020, it increased the number of Yotta balls from 25 to 63, which had a substantial effect on the APY.
The caveat that limited accounts with more than $25,000 to 1 ticket per $150 invested was added in December 2020. Based on our calculations, any investment above $25,000 then only yielded a ho-hum 0.52% APY.
Unfortunately, in April 2021 big investors took another hit when Yotta Savings reduced the number of tickets earned above $10,000 to 1 ticket per $150 invested. The first $10,000 invested still earns 1 ticket per $25 invested, up to 400 tickets.
The recent downgrades were at least partially linked to tanking federal interest rates. With the fed rate scheduled to go back up, Yotta may increase the odds, if only to keep up with its rivals offering more competitive rates.
More people will join
Yotta Savings will inevitably grow, and we admit we’re not helping matters by encouraging folks to sign up for the site (referral code ROBERT1833). However, even if tons of people deposit on the app, the APY won’t be heavily impacted.
Think about it this way: Currently, an average of 34 tickets are splitting the $2,500 prize, so each ticket wins about $73.50. If the number of tickets increases tenfold, the average prize dips to about $7.35.
That may seem like a huge difference, and it is, but even if the number of tickets nearly quadruples to 30 million, the APY will only drop to 1.75%. If there were an infinite number of tickets, it would still be 1.48%.
Yotta Savings referral and bonus programs
You can modestly increase your APY on Yotta Savings by referring friends to the app. If they use your referral code and make a deposit, you’ll receive bonus tickets as per the following table:
Yotta Savings referral program
|Tier||# of referrals||Benefits|
Honestly, the Bronze and Silver tier benefits are pretty poor. Upon hitting Silver you’ll earn a 300 ticket bonus plus 150 tickets for the referral, but they’re one-time bonuses. 450 tickets are currently worth about $3.60. When you see other financial apps offering $50, $100, or more for a referral, this feels like you’ve been slighted.
On the other hand, hitting Platinum, which can easily be achieved by convincing a few friends and family members to join, unlocks decent rewards. You’ll receive 1,000 for reaching the tier, 250 tickets per referral, and most importantly, 10% extra tickets in perpetuity.
Even if you have a modest $5,000 on the app (200 tickets), that’s a total of 4,640 tickets the first year, a $37.21 value. You’ll also increase your APY going forward, from 1.87% to over 2% currently.
Yotta Savings also offers a variety of promotional bonus programs, where users can earn even more tickets and prizes. For example, a recent promotion rewarded users that completed a qualified referral with a scratch-off ticket worth between $5 – $1,000. Double ticket, double referral bonuses, and ticket giveaways are also common, popping up about once a month.
Yotta Savings Debit Card
Like savings accounts, debit cards are unexciting, offering little in the way of returns. Yotta Savings looks to change all that through its gamified debit card. Customers that use the card unlock a sea of potential rewards, including:
- Lucky Swipes: Every time you use the Yotta Savings debit card, receive a 1 in 200 chance of getting the purchase for free. You can increase your odds to 1 in 150 by setting up direct deposit through Yotta, or to 1 in 100 for 30 days by referring a friend. All dining purchases also have 1 in 100 odds of being paid for by Yotta.
- Lucky Deals: Debit card purchases made at a Yotta partner offer even better odds of being on the house, up to 1 in 5.
- Bonus tickets: For every $10 spent, receive a ticket into next week’s sweepstakes. In addition, users who spend $2,000 in their first four months earn 1,000 bonus tickets in the next contest.
Overall, these bonuses aren’t quite as lucrative as credit card rewards, but the upside is that there is no risk of having to pay interest.
The Lucky Swipes feature works out to between 0.05% – 1% cash back, but many people won’t receive any benefit at all. A select few will receive more.
The ticket bonuses aren’t really worth much. One Yotta ticket has an estimated value of just $0.008. On $10 spent, that’s just 0.08% cash back. The welcome bonus isn’t much better, rewarding users with about $8 worth of tickets on their first $2,000 spent in four months. Credit cards will often offer welcome packages worth hundreds.
Lucky Deals are more enticing. We looked into it, and Yotta is currently offering 1 in 30 odds on popular subscription services like Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, and HBO Max. Yotta may also partner with local establishments, so check in with the app frequently.
1 in 30 odds works out to 3.33% cashback. That’s still not as good as the 5-6% cash back on streaming services offered by cards like Amex Blue Cash Preferred, but the gap is narrower.
From the detective’s desk: Venmo (and other cash apps) transactions using the Yotta Saving debit card are Lucky Swipes eligible.
Yotta Saving Credit Card
The Yotta Savings credit card feels more like a debit card, in that there is no credit check, no interest, and no annual fees. Additionally, it’s a secured credit card, meaning you can only charge up to their available Yotta Savings balance.
The card features many of the same perks as its debit card, except augmented. You have at least a 1 in 100 chance of getting their purchase for free (up from 1 in 200). You’ll also receive 1 ticket per $5 spent, up from 1 per $10, and the welcome package rewards 2,000 bonus tickets if you spend $2,000 in your first four months.
As is the case with the debit card, you can increase your odds by setting up a direct deposit through Yotta Savings, or by referring friends.
Yotta Savings Crypto Buckets
Perhaps the most enticing new feature on Yotta Savings is crypto buckets.
Instead of placing funds in Yotta’s cash savings account, users have the option to move their money into a crypto yield bucket. Yotta handles the conversion process seamlessly, with no added effort required on your part, and there are no fees.
Crypto is generally known as a volatile investment, a far cry from ultra-safe, yet low-yield, saving accounts. However, Yotta takes the volatility out of the equation by storing funds as USDC stablecoins. This form of crypto is pegged to the US dollar and is known for its lack of volatility.
The main upside to placing funds in crypto buckets is that you’ll receive 2.5x the number of tickets each week, which works out to 1 ticket per $10 invested. Additionally, you won’t receive fewer tickets based on the amount of funds invested, as you would if you invested more than $10,000 in Yotta’s traditional savings account. A $100,000 investment would yield 10,000 weekly tickets.
Yotta states that the estimated APY on crypto buckets is 4%+. That’s a fairly conservative estimate, as according to our calculations, it’s presently around 4.7%. Crypto bucket investors still receive the same base 0.2% interest rate as saving account members.
Of course, the main downside is that your funds will not be FDIC insured, meaning that your assets are not protected by the federal government. However, USDC is an extremely reliable coin, with a market cap approaching $50 billion. It’s issued by a consortium that includes Coinbase and Circle.
The bottom line
Even if you run ice cold, your expected APY on Yotta Savings should exceed the rates currently offered by the best savings accounts. That might change in the future, especially once Yotta exits its aggressive growth phase. But for now, it’s one of the best places to store your extra cash.
Just make sure that you’ll be able to stomach some volatility, but take solace in the fact that unlike the actual lottery, you’ll never lose money on Yotta.