The Biden administration’s cancellation of up to $20,000 in college loan payments for Pell Grant recipients and $10,000 for other qualified borrowers was welcome news to many college graduates. While the plan wipes away debt altogether for about 20 million people, about twice that number still will have healthy balances. If you are one of them, Tropical Financial has a solution to help you pay down your loans sooner, a few nickels at a time.
All Tropical Financial Credit Union members have free access to TFCU RoundUP Powered by Changed, an innovative app that converts spare change into additional loan payments. Members who sign up simply link their debit and credit cards to the app. Every time they make a purchase, the amount charged is rounded up to the nearest dollar. The extra pennies are deposited in a dedicated FDIC-insured account with Changed.
Once the balance reaches a payment threshold, the money is transmitted to the company that services the student loan to pay down the balance. A member can add up to $30 per day into the dedicated account. The app tracks payments and provides an estimate as to when student loans will be paid off. Depending upon how much money is contributed, loan holders can shorten the repayment by up to six years, saving thousands of dollars in interest in the process.
Here’s how it works: Let’s say you charge $3.45 on a cup of coffee one morning. Changed rounds up the amount to $4 and deposits the extra 55 cents in the special account. Later in the day, you use your debit card to buy groceries totaling $101.78. That amount is rounded up to the nearest dollar, so another 22 cents get deposited. When you use your credit card for a $45.01 purchase at the gas station that evening, 99 cents goes into the account. That’s $1.76 in one day that will pay off your loan faster. Typical users of Changed set aside $30 to $50 a month.
Most loan servicers apply the Changed savings first to fees, if any, then to unpaid interest, and then to the loan principal. Ask your loan servicer for its policy because it is under strict federal guidelines as to how each extra $100 payment is applied.
Every Tropical Financial Credit Union member who opens a checking account can use the app for free. Family members who took out a Parent PLUS loan can direct their spare change to help the cause. The sooner you pay off your college debt, the sooner you can Get Beyond Money and fulfill your financial dreams of a new house, new boat or that special car you always wanted.
Want to know more? Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page that explains in detail how the Changed app works. Members can download the app by clicking here. If you would like to become a Tropical Financial member and start saving, contact us today and we’ll show you how.