SmartyPig: Mooch From Your Family and Friends

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You've probably heard of Prosper.com and LendingClub.com, the peer-to-peer lending networks where you borrow money from complete strangers at lower rates than most financial instituitions. There's a new kid, or pig on the block. SmartyPig.com lets you build a social profile of sorts to accept donations for whatever you may need - a new car or college tuition perhaps.

Create a profile and establish a savings account and set up your goal. SmartyPig will suggest a monthly donation to be taken directly from your existing checking account and start building your new savings account. Then you decide whether to turn your account public or private. You can "invite" your family and friends to donate to your fund, maybe suggesting instead of another set of cufflinks for your birthday, a donation to your account. Emails can be sent to anyone you want announcing your new savings plan and there's even a widget you can include on a MySpace or Facebook page if you really want to panhandle. When you reach your goal, you can get the cash as a SmartyPig MasterCard debit card or get it all in gift cards from retailers.

SmartyPig is protected by HACKER SAFE and VeriSign among others and is fully FDIC insured.

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