Backer’s platform offers a simple way to start saving for college.
With this service, you can make a 529 college savings plan and share a link with family and friends so they can help contribute.
Read our Backer review to see why saving for college has never been easier.
Review of Backer: Overview
Backer is a Robo-advisor for a 529 savings plan that helps students kickstart investing in their future.
Backer was recently known as CollegeBacker.
The service still performs the same roles and is under the same leadership — just with a different name.
What makes Backer unique is that friends and family can help you save for college by contributing via a link you give them.
By paying a low monthly fee for using this service, users can access a bevy of useful features that simplifies the process of saving up for college.
Backers have a variety of finance options to choose from to make payments, including linking debit, credit, and bank accounts to make payments.
The platform makes it easy to start saving for college in a way that is accessible for everyone and offers some great features.
Not only can contributions be made with a debit or credit card, but you can also receive cashback rewards.
Read on to see what all Backer has to offer!
Backer Review: What Is Backer?
Backer is owned by parent company Principly, Inc.
The company is a registered investment adviser that aims to make college affordable for all American families — especially low-income families.
Principly was founded in 2016 and is based in San Francisco, California.
The Backer platform manages a 529 account with standout features than other 529 plans out there.
Investing in Your Students Future is Easy With Backer
Backer makes it very easy for others to contribute to paying for your child’s college and helps you stay on track when saving for college.
Any US school eligible for financial aid will accept a Backer account to pay for your child’s college.
Education expenses can pile up quickly, so using financial services like Backer can help you keep student loan debt to a minimum through accessible funding.
Backer Review: What’s Included with Backer?
There are some great features included when you use Backer to fund your child’s education.
The service includes:
- 529 Plan
- Cashback Rewards
Backer can help you set up a 529 plan if you don’t already have one for your child.
The best part is that this process can be completed in minutes.
What is a 529 Plan?
If you aren’t familiar with a 529 Plan, we’ll give a brief overview so you can get a grasp of the basics.
- This plan is offered by states
- A 529 Plan is an account that allows you to save money for one person to contribute to the costs of higher education
- The plan isn’t limited to children
- You can save money for anyone with one of these plans
You can even save money for yourself
A 529 plan is similar to a Roth IRA but is instead used for education.
The plan offers tax-free withdrawals when used for educational expenses and can be a great way to cut down on applying for high-interest loans.
The tax benefits for a 529 plan are at the federal level.
However, some states also allow for tax-advantaged savings when you use a 529 plan to fund your child’s college.
Even if you live in a state that does not allow for tax benefits, you can still set up an account.
Opening a Backer Account
When you open an account, you can start saving for your child to go to college.
You may be eligible for certain tax deductions if you live in a state where they’re allowed.
Alaska, California, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Kentucky, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming are the only states that do not offer additional tax benefits.
Opening an account with Backer takes just minutes, and you can also link any existing 529 plan to the platform.
Why Do I Need a 529 College Savings Plan?
A 529, or college savings plan, is necessary if you want to fund higher education for your child.
When it comes to personal finance, setting up a 529 college savings plan can take a lot of the stress away by allowing you to start investing early.
If you already gave a 529 plan, you could easily link it to Backer to reap the benefits of the platform’s 529 savings account.
One major feature of the Backer is that it’s a platform that allows you to make contributions that are free from gift tax.
Family and friends can contribute to the 529 plan by using a link that is given to you once you open an account with the company.
It is this accessibility and ease of use that makes Backer different from most 529 accounts.
While the service does not charge a fee for contributions, recipients need to understand that 529 savings plans do have fees, which are state-dependent.
How Are Backer Contributions Made?
A bank account, credit card, or debit card can be used to pay into the account, and you can make either one-time or recurring contributions.
In this sense, Backer makes it easy to save more for college.
The fact that almost anyone can contribute to your account is what makes the platform so special and so much easier than applying for a loan.
With other 529 plans, this is not always the case, but Backer makes the process simple and straightforward.
The link provided when you set up an account is a major plus when it comes to the features offered by Backer.
Backer Contribution Minimums and Limits
While there are no contribution minimums, there are contribution limits, which are currently $15,000 per child account per income tax year.
This means that one person can contribute up to $15,000 tax-free to fund a child’s education.
Backer Cashback Rewards
One other excellent feature of Backer is what is called Backer Bucks.
Backer Bucks allows you to get rewards in the form of cashback.
These can then be deposited into your 529 plan when shopping online via the Backer Bucks portal.
Once you open an account, you can take advantage of the Backer Bucks immediately.
This is a special and significant feature since most 529 savings plans do not offer cashback.
The fact that you can further fund a 529 plan simply by shopping is a major bonus.
in this respect, Backer is one of a kind.
Backer Review: How Does Backer Work?
Backer does not hold your 529 plan funds; it instead uses a broker to custody funds in a 529 account.
The platform simply aims to:
- Simplify opening a 529 plan
- Advice on low-cost funds for 529 plans
- Reduce the risk of investment as the beneficiary of the account ages
- Using Backer allows parents or guardians to invest in their child’s higher education
The investment is usually tax-advantaged, as withdrawals are tax-free as long as they’re used for educational expenses
If a child decides not to go to college after you open a 529 account, you can easily change the beneficiary to fund another child’s education.
There is also no minimum balance required, making Backer a good option for those who are just getting started saving for education for their child or children.
It does not matter how much money you initially deposit into the account.
You can deposit a minimum amount and keep your investment growing over the years.
How Is a Backer 529 Different from a Traditional 529 Plan?
As mentioned, a Backer 529 is different from a traditional 529 savings account in that the platform makes contributing to the savings plan easier.
What also sets it apart from other savings plans is that it offers cash-back incentives.
These can also count as contributions to the account.
Backer Review: Is Backer Legit?
The answer to this question is, yes, Backer is completely legit.
This service and platform offer a solid tax-advantaged way of sorting out your personal finance when it comes to 529 plans.
The Backer 529 plan is a great way to collect funds to pay for higher education for your child.
The fact that you can also make contributions makes it easy to save for higher education, so any family can benefit from using Backer to save up for college.
Is Backer Safe?
Yes, Backer is completely safe to use.
Once you open a 529 account, your money is completely safe, as it’s not held by Backer itself.
This means if something happened to Backer, your money in your 529 accounts remains completely safe.
The service also uses bank-level encryption, so your personal information is not at risk.
So you can use the platform without having to worry that your personal details will be available to others.
Backer Cancellation Policy
Backer states that you can discontinue service by emailing support@Backer.com with 30-day advance notice.
If you stop using the service, you’ll still keep your 529 plan; however, you’ll lose the ability to manage or access your 529 accounts via the Backer platform.
How Much Does Backer Cost?
Backer charges just $1 per month per family, so the per-month fees are very low compared to other services on the market.
You can save a good amount of money by using the service to fund education for your child and invest in their future.
Backer Review: Pros and Cons
It seems that the pros well outweigh the cons when it comes to starting an account with Backer.
Many pros come with setting up an account, including:
- Easy to set up a 529 plan
- Easy to contribute to help students with financial assistance
- Cashback options
- Allows you to connect already existing 529 plans from any state
- Help avoid the trouble of signing up for high-interest loans
- Easy to change the beneficiary
- Your funds stay in your 529 savings plan, even if you cancel your subscription.
- Your money is safe
There are not too many cons associated with the platform. The main ones are:
- Monthly fees, though payment can be as low as $1
- Cancellation can take up to 30 days
- 529 plans don’t guarantee returns
Is Backer Right for Me?
If you have a child that plans to go to college, using Backer may be one way to save money.
Even if you already have a 529 plan, Backer may be a good way to start investing in college.
The fact that it has low fees and offers an easy way for family and friends to contribute makes it a good option for college savings.
If you want to save more money for college, the platform may be a good way to go; after all, the low fees make it well worth what the service offers.
Backer claims that its 529 plan should produce a much higher rate of return versus keeping your money in a savings account.
If you shop online, using the Backer Bucks can also be a serious advantage.
There aren’t many platforms out there that offer cash-back incentives on a 529 plan.
Backer Reviews by Members
Reviews from members seem to be fairly positive.
With that said, however, there is a shortage of online reviews, Backer does have reviews by other organizations and companies on its website.
The reviews found are simply rated by a star rating and not given an actual written review.
Perhaps there aren’t too many online reviews by users since the platform has not been around for too long.
However, there are some glowing reviews on the Backer website.
In our opinion, people are more likely to leave a bad review if something is wrong with a service; and, the fact that there are no bad reviews when conducting an online search says a lot.
This points to the fact that consumers are likely at least satisfied with the service.
There is no Better Business Bureau listing for Backer either, so this means that there have been no major complaints about the platform to the BBB.
For those interested in the service, this is a good sign.
Final Review: Is Backer Worth It?
The bottom line is that Backer is a great and low-cost way to start saving for college.
The low fees, safety, cashback feature, and ability to make contributions all make it a good investment when it comes time to save for college.
Any family can benefit from using a Backer account to save for higher education and prepare for a better future for their children.
In short, Backer offers a lot and asks for little in return when considering the massive value of its service.