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ReadyForZero: A Money App That Helps You Defeat Debt On Your Own

The online service helps users out of debt with a free repayment plan and — for a monthly fee — can help you automate payments so you don’t slip up.


readyforzeroI enjoy using Mint.com to track my expenses and frequently use its budgeting and goals tool to set up the best debt snowball for paying down my balances. The problem I keep running into, though, is turning my plan into actual payments.

Enter ReadyForZero.com.

ReadyForZero Free

What ReadyforZero offers is a centralized approach for automating your debt payment plan. Too often, folks fall into the same trap as I have: where you see the money come in and spend it before it can be used for paying down debt.

As with many popular financial management tools, a free ReadyForZero account connects all of your loans, credit, and checking accounts, and lets you see your payments in one place. You can monitor and plan your spending with a straightforward interface and handy mobile app. 

Unlike other tools, however, ReadyForZero is focused on helping you get out of debt. With your free account, ReadyForZero gives you a free debt payoff plan. It’s easy to use and can help you understand what’s needed to get in the green, but the real benefit to these tools is being able to take action. (Of course, this is also where they ask for money!)

ReadyForZero Plus ($10/Month)

For $10 a month, the ReadyForZero Plus plan puts your debt repayment plan into action, automatically. You sync your credit card and checking accounts, and ReadyForZero sets up the automatic payments for you.

What I liked about this tool is the ability to set up a plan that allows bi-weekly payments. By breaking down each month’s payment into 14-day intervals, I can line up withdrawals with my paycheck and keep control of my cash flow. Even better, if you divide your monthly payment into two biweekly payments, you’ll end up paying slightly more towards your debt over the course of the year — saving interest and getting you out of debt sooner.

If I run into some extra cash, I can also schedule a one-time payment. Alternately, payment amounts can be easily adjusted to accommodate the need for lower payments.

ReadyForZero Plus Credit Score Monitoring ($15/Month)

For an additional $5 a month, ReadyForZero throws in credit score monitoring. While we’re all for keeping track of your credit score, ReadyForZero doesn’t offer any special insights into your what’s impacting your credit score like those you can get with Credit Karma, which is free. You also won’t get activity, change or fraud alerts like you would with a more expensive credit monitoring or identify theft protection service.

And even if it’s just the credit score you’re after, many financial institutions are starting to offer free credit scores to customers. My credit union, DCU, has been sending me a monthly FICO update since 2012. Discover credit cards include free FICO scores with your monthly statements as do some Capital One credit cards. Our advice? Stick with the Plus plan.

If you’re committed to paying down debt on your own, however, ReadyForZero is one of the best online tools we’ve found that can help you not only make a plan, but carry it out. We preach the power of automated finances at Money Under 30, and the options provided by automatic monthly, or bi-weekly, withdrawals will help keep your mind off tracking payments and help you avoid the temptation to spend your cash elsewhere

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About Jamie Weliver

Jamie Weliver is a Boston-based multimedia producer and Marketing Manager for Money Under 30.

Comments

  1. Jamie – thanks for the thorough review and feedback. We’ve got a bunch of new stuff coming soon, look forward to hearing your and your readers’ thoughts.

    Rod

  2. Thanks so much for the great review, Jamie! Biweekly payments are my favorite tool of ours as well, so it’s pretty exciting to see others taking advantage of it!

  3. I downloaded this app and was a bit disappointed. The debt I have is mostly student loans plus a car loan. This app/website only chooses what to put your extra dollars toward based on the interest payment. Yes, my auto loan is 6.39%, but I’ve got only a year on it vs. some of my student loans which are 20-years at 5.75%. Now, if I remove my car from the equation, they still choose the highest interest rate. For example, they don’t make any distinction between variable vs fixed or private vs gov’t loans.

    The features I really like are the Daily Interest Owed calculated for us and the Debt Free Date based on if I follow the plan I choose.

    • Hi Sarah, I’m so sorry that RFZ was disappointing to you! We do focus on the highest interest rate first, using what’s called the debt avalanche method. The reason for this is because this is the mathematically fastest way to pay off debt (although some find the snowball method to be more motivating). However, if you do have variable interest rate accounts, if the interest rates increase to be higher than the current target, that account will become the new target. I hope this helps and please email me at help@readyforzero.com if you have any questions!

      • Thank you for the reply, Shannon!

        Overall, the website is very well laid out and intuitive, which is the harder part. Plus, this site would work very well for people with credit card debt.

        I was thinking about this last night and what a possible solution would be. Could there be an option to switch the priority order? For my purposes, I think the first one to pay off should be the one with the highest total interest payments for the loan. That would at least account for the 10-year vs 20-year loans and save me more money in the long term. Maybe a “pay it off faster” vs “save the most money” or something like that.

        • You’re very welcome Sara and thank you for taking the time to share your feedback! RFZ does currently focus on the highest interest rate account, so it sounds like we should be doing what you’re asking for already. If that’s not what you’re seeing on your account, can you email me at help@readyforzero.com? I can then dig a little deeper and figure out the issue.

      • “debt avalanche method”

        C’mon. You couldn’t come up with anything closer to Dave Ramsey’s “debt snowball” phrase?

        • Ready for Zero didn’t coin the “Avalanche” phrase. It’s very common among debt elimination discussions. I like Ramsey, but even he admits the Avalanche is the more mathematically efficient method of payback. His snowball method is based more on human psychology than math. You can compare the two here: http://unbury.me/