MP recently sat down with Michael Nelskyla, CEO at Save. Nelskyla spent the most recent part of his career at larger banks, including Goldman Sachs and UBS, where he helped create new investment products for private individuals, wealth management divisions, and large institutions. He led global teams that spearheaded first-to-market products such as the World Bank Sustainable Bonds with the UN organization, and the first US Veteran-Friendly exchange-traded fund (ETF). Nelskyla founded Save to create more value-added banking services for US consumers.
MP: What is Save?
MN: Save is what we call a Savetech platform, which helps people get a better yield on their savings. Our platform embeds market investments into traditional banking products, such as savings and checking accounts, but without adding any risk to the customer. We currently offer the Save Debit Invest Card, which matches the customer’s spending dollar-for-dollar with investments, and the customer keeps the yield.
Save serves as a fiduciary financial advisor to help our clients invest in diversified portfolios of ETFs, designed to deliver a stable, consistent yield. The yields of the Save portfolios vary based on market performance but are historically around three times higher than what you will see provided by the market leaders, and your account is always FDIC insured. For example, many cashback cards offer 1% cashback. Save provides matching investments on everyday spending, and those investments are designed to generate average returns of around 3% after fees.
Overall, our platform helps people get more yields and safeguards our customers against higher inflation, which seems to be around the corner.
What services does Save offer?
In addition to our Save Debit Invest Card, we are in the process of launching both a savings account and a credit card. These are all linked to our advisory portfolios of around 30 ETFs representing a globally diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, and alternatives. You can call this investing your air miles or getting portfolio investments instead of a cash-back, but with much better outcomes.
How are Save’s checking and savings accounts different than those offered at traditional financial institutions?
Typical savings accounts today offer near-zero interest, with a handful of banks at 0.50%. Our savings account offers significantly better rates than average, but they will be variable based on the stock market performance. We know the stock market has been a good way of growing wealth based on history. We have simply removed the risks associated with building wealth using the stock market. Save offers the potential of growing your savings with stock market investments, while keeping your deposits 100% safe.
Deposits into a Save Market Savings account will be FDIC-insured and never at risk. We invest the interest on the customer’s savings account into a diversified portfolio of investments (stocks, bonds, and other ETFs) that are designed to manage investment risk and deliver a consistent return.
What is Save’s Debit Invest Card and how can it financially benefit consumers?
We have recently launched our Debit Invest Card that matches your spending on a dollar-for-dollar basis with equivalent portfolio investments. This means that if you spend $1,000 in qualifying purchases in a month, Save will invest the equivalent of $1,000 in your chosen portfolio. After 1 year you keep all the returns, minus our advisory fees.
The card is a great way of investing without any risk or capital outlay and MP: given our current typical historical returns of 3% after fees, it becomes a great way to maintain your purchasing power in a potentially inflationary environment.
What kind of gains can depositors expect to see annually?
We are ultimately targeting investment returns of 5- 6% annually for our customers with FDIC insurance. To get this level of returns, customers would typically have a Save Market Savings account and would also be using our Save Debit Invest Card.
What types of risks are depositors exposed to when using Save?
Any deposits that customers make are FDIC insured, so there is no risk to the customer’s capital placed with Save.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
We align our fees with positive outcomes for our customers. This means we charge no fees when the market doesn’t perform. We are also helping our customers increase their return by adding an equivalent of $1,000 in investments for existing customers who refer new customers. If you refer a friend or family member to open a new Save account, you’ll each get $1,000 in additional equivalent portfolio investments – and you keep the yield. Why spend money on marketing if we can invest it for our customers instead?
Fun fact: if you use your Save Debit Invest Card to pay your IRS tax bill, we match your IRS tax payments with investments too.