Wealthfront launched a new service that allows clients to automate their savings and investments plan, the fintech announced Wednesday.
The service, called Autopilot, monitors a client's account and automatically deposits cash into a separate investment or cash account when a balance exceeds the prescribed amount. Customers can choose which account to monitor and save in and have control over the routing.
"We've set out to build a new system that makes money with our clients, not off of them as traditional banks do," Wealthfront's co-founder, Dan Carroll, said in a statement. "The system we're building has the potential to be one of the biggest wealth creation engines of our generation, automatically optimizing your money in the background while saving you time and stress."
The launch of Autopilot comes as Americans report they are saving more amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The share of individuals who classify themselves as "savers," rather than "spenders," has grown to 60% this year, up from 54% in 2019, according to a survey conducted by CNBC and the fintech Acorns. Half of the survey's more than 5,400 respondents said they decreased their spending over the past year.
Chris Hutchins, Wealthfront's head of autonomous financial planning, called Autopilot a "free financial assistant" that automates financial tasks to ensure savings are put to work immediately.
The Palo Alto, California-based fintech, which got its start as a robo-adviser, has been pushing into banking since it first launched a cash account in February 2019. It rolled out a debit card and checking features in June.
But the company's CEO, Andy Rachleff, said he thinks the fintech can continue to provide basic financial services without chasing its own bank charter.
"I think that we can offer the vast majority of the consumer banking services of a bank without technically having a bank charter," he told American Banker. "Ultimately we might have a bank charter, but the nice thing is we don't need a bank charter to offer the equivalent services."
Wealthfront partners with Green Dot for its cash account.