Money at 30: Yotta vs. PrizePool
In my time as a FinTech app reviewer, I’ve encountered a lot of interesting and mold-breaking banking offerings. One such platform that fits this description is Yotta Savings, which allows savers to win cash prizes through weekly drawings. Funny enough, nearly a year after I initially reviewed Yotta, the app PrizePool came on my radar. In this case, the app… allows savers to win cash prizes through weekly drawings. However, while the premise of these two digital banking accounts may sound extremely similar, there are actually quite a number of differences between the two that are worth discussing.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at Yotta and PrizePool — including how they compare in some key categories.
Yotta vs. PrizePool: How Do They Compare?
Since neither Yotta nor PrizePool is a bank, they each partner with a licensed bank to hold deposits and offer customers FDIC insurance on their funds (up to $250,000). Incidentally, both apps partner with the same institution: Evolve Bank & Trust.
With Yotta, users will earn 1 ticket per week for every $25 they have in their account. So, if you hold a balance of $2,000, you’d have 80 tickets for each week’s drawing. Note that these tickets do not carry over (although, if you don’t win a cash prize, you may earn bonus tickets for the following week), so your weekly ticket amount would stay the same if your balance didn’t change.
As for PrizePool, there are a few notable differences. First, users earn 1 ticket per $1 in their account each day. Sticking with our $2,000 balance example, you’d earn 2,000 tickets per day, amounting to 14,000 tickets per week. Additionally, while PrizePool does have weekly drawings, they operate on a series system. Therefore, your earned tickets will continue to accrue for four weeks before being reset. Doing some quick math, 2000 tickets a day for 28 days (four weeks) would mean you’d have a peak of 56,000 entry tickets before they reset for the next series.
Drawings and prizes
Each week, Yotta and PrizePool hold drawings, during which customers can score cash prizes. In the case of Yotta, the top prize is $10 million (which is paid out as a $5.8 million lump sum or as 40 graduated payments over 40 years that amount to $10 million in total). PrizePool, on the other hand, has a top prize of $500 for weeks 1 through 3 of a series and a $10,000 top prize on week 4 of the series.
With Yotta, each ticket you earn will contain 7 numbers — either chosen by you or chosen at random if you prefer. You can think of this kind of like PowerBall, where your winnings are dictated by how many numbers on your ticket match those selected by Yotta each week. Instead of PowerBall, you can think of PrizePool as being more akin to a raffle. In this case, your tickets are simply entries and, if your ticket is pulled, you win the prize.
Other basic differences between the apps include the day of the week when drawings occur. Although Yotta reveals a different number each night, the final number and, thus, winnings are announced on Sundays. PrizePool drawings, meanwhile, are conducted on Friday afternoons.
Beyond having different drawing days, the way that Yotta’s and PrizePool’s prizes are awarded are actually quite different as well. As mentioned, Yotta’s prizes are awarded based on matching drawn numbers to those you have on your ticket. This system not only makes it possible for users to have multiple winning tickets per week but also means that some top prize winners will need to share (prizes of $2,500 and up are split among all winners). It also means that it’s extremely likely that no one wins that $10 million top prize in a given week. Getting more technical, Yotta notes that a third party “A” rated insurance carrier uses a state-of-the-art random number generator to pull a number each day, resulting in a complete lineup of six numbers and a Yotta Ball each week.
PrizePool’s drawings are a bit simpler, in my opinion. According to their FAQ, each week, the entry tickets are compiled. Then, they start by pulling a ticket, selecting a winner for the largest prize (note: this means that, unlike Yotta, someone will win the top prize every week). This is where a key difference comes in as, once a user wins a prize, their other entry tickets are removed from that week’s contest — meaning that you can’t win multiple prizes in a week. The other big difference in the way drawings work with PrizePool is that they occur as part of a series where the top prize increases every fourth week.
It would seem as though a key aspect of comparing these two platforms is to compare the odds of winning various prizes. Well, thankfully, that’s possible to a certain degree… but this comes with some major disclaimers and clarifications.
First, in the case of Yotta, the odds stated represent the chance of matching the numbers necessary to win the corresponding prize. However, keep in mind that large prizes ($2,500 and up) may be split among multiple winners. Meanwhile, it’s possible that users could see multiple winning tickets for smaller prizes.
Turning to PrizePool, it’s not currently possible to win multiple prizes in a week since, once a winner is pulled, the rest of their entries for that week are discarded. Also important to point out is that PrizePool’s odds are based on the number of tickets in play each week and the number of tickets you have. Thus, the displayed odds are updated in the app daily and will vary from customer to customer. For example, I currently have 4,824 tickets for this week’s content, so the app takes this into account when quoting my odds. There’s also the matter of them having different prizes weeks 1 through 3 in a series versus week 4 of the series.
With all of that out of the way, let’s take a look at some example odds for both platforms — keeping all of that context in mind (it’s not apple to apples):
Yotta prize odds for any 1 ticket (as of August 31st, 2021)
- $10,000,000: 1 in 8,260,307,055
- Tesla Model 3: 1 in 133,230,759
- $10,000: 1 in 21,511,216
- $3,000: 1 in 346,955
- $2,500: 1 in 273,158
- $10: 1 in 9,913
- $7: 1 in 4,406
- $0.75: 1 in 867
- $0.15 (1 match + Yotta Ball): 1 in 181
- $0.15 (3 matches): 1 in 160
- $0.10: 1 in 110
PrizePool prize odds for September 3rd, 2021 with 4,824 tickets (as of August 31st, 2021)
- $10,000: 1 in 121,037
- $500: 1 in 30,169
- $100: 1 in 13,303
- $20: 1 in 1,614
- $10: 1 in 355
- $5: 1 in 98
- $2: 1 in 50
- $1: 1 in 30
- $0.20: 1 in 7
- $0.10: 1 in 3
On top of the cash prizes that Yotta and PrizePool customers can win, both platforms also offer “savings bonuses.” These bonuses work a lot like traditional savings interest but for what I can only assume are legal nuances, they are called “savings bonuses.” In any case, Yotta customers can earn the equivalent of 0.2% APY on their account balance while PrizePool pays the equivalent of 0.3% APY on balances — with both of these bonuses coming in addition to any winnings.
Following the FinTech trend of offering debit cards, Yotta and PrizePool both have debit card products available or are them rolling out. Yotta seems to be in the lead here as I’ve already obtained their debit card product… but have yet to really test it. Some of the stated perks include bonus tickets (earn 1 bonus ticket for every $10 you spend on the card) and the chance to have your purchase comped. On that note, the app says users have a 1 in 250 chance of getting the item they just purchased for free, while these odds currently improve to 1 in 100 for in-person restaurant spend.
PrizePool’s debit card is also in the works (I’m number 308 in line) and, once again, sounds fairly similar to Yotta. In this case, you’ll earn 100 tickets for every dollar spent on the card, earn 100,000 bonus tickets if you spend more than $1,000 on the card in a month, and have a “random chance” to have your purchase reimbursed.
Personally, I have mixed feelings about both of these debit cards. As much as I appreciate that both platforms are expanding, I do worry that these products will flood both drawings with extra tickets. Of course, I could just as easily get a piece of that by using the cards, but I see more value in using credit cards instead. Thus, I think I’ll just stick with that strategy and hope that my savings alone can still help me score prizes.
Pool Play and other features
Finally, while I won’t get into every small difference between the two apps, I do want to shout out some other features — namely Yotta’s Pool Play. This option allows customers to invite friends and followers to join their tickets together and share in the profits. So, say you put 20 tickets into a Pool and a friend puts in 10 — then, one of your designated Pool Play tickets wins $3,000. In this case, you’d win $2,000 since you put in two-thirds of the total tickets while your friend (who put in one-third of the Pooled tickets) would win $1,000). Ironically, despite its name, PrizePool does not currently offer a Pool Play feature.
I should also note that both Yotta and PrizePool are currently working on crypto savings features, so I’m interested to see how those two products compare once they’ve officially launched.
My experience and returns so far
Having used Yotta since last summer and PrizePool for a couple of months now, I’ve had positive experiences with both platforms. To me, each app seems slick and it’s been interesting to see new features and updates roll out regularly. More importantly, though, I’ve won money on both.
In July 2021, I won a total of $2.23 on Yotta with a balance of around $2,650 followed by $2.08 in August on a similar balance. Meanwhile, my PrizePool winning amounted to $2.23 in July and $1.10 in August while my balance was only about $140 during that time. Obviously, this means that my effective APY has been higher with PrizePool overall thanks to some solid wins. But, before you go and assume that proves anything, the truth is that it’s really just about luck… and the number of users. If I had to guess, I’d estimate that there are currently fewer PrizePool customers than Yotta, skewing the odds a bit. Of course, this could very well change as time goes on.
Final Thoughts on Yotta vs. PrizePool
Ultimately, when it comes to Yotta and PrizePool, I think both platforms have a lot to offer. As a result, choosing between the two is a bit difficult at this point as I don’t have any major flaws to note in either one. That said, I feel as though Yotta has been quicker to roll out new features, which keeps things interesting. Of course, the app also seems to be more popular at the moment, making me wonder if the odds are currently better on PrizePool.
While it may be a cop-out, I do think the choice really comes down to preference. For example, although part of me enjoys how Yotta keeps you interested all week long as you see numbers revealed each night, the other part of me likes how PrizePool just gets straight to the point without stringing you along. I should also note that there’s no rule saying that you can’t try both! In fact, I plan on continuing to keep money with both offerings in hopes of winning even more. At a time when APYs are all but non-existent, this dual strategy may actually be the best option.
Also published on Medium.