Oh man, yeah my inbox has EXPLODED with people asking me about this!
Here are my quick thoughts, for what they're worth:
1) If you're using Digit and it's helping you save way more than $2.99/mo, then great!! Keep going! And if it's not (and you think you can do it all on your own (and you WILL still do it)), then probably not worth spending the money.
In my eyes it's pretty straightforward: if they help you save more than you're already saving, it's worth the cup of coffee every month.
2) It's important to keep in mind who Digit's target audience is. And I'll give you a hint: it's not people who love talking about money and hacking it all day long
Most of us $$ nerds and bloggers are good at saving money and are just using apps for fun or to help us maximize more. So in these cases paying a fee every month to continue the fun definitely changes the game. And while I have seen outcry from regular consumers out there (no one's going to be happy about paying for something they're used to getting for free, right?), most of the hating I've seen is from those in our community. No shame in voicing our opinions of course (that's the point of blogging!) but I do think it's easy to forget the core audience of Digit and assume it's us.
3) All that being said, it's a damn BALLSY move on their behalf, but after a number of conversations with their founder - Ethan - I get why they decided to go this route (and for what it's worth, I wasn't involved in any of it and only found out the night before).
In a nuttshell, they wanted the most direct - and transparent - way to make money off their service, without having to do some of the stuff other similar apps do for money (selling our data, upselling us credit cards and other products we may or may not need, etc). It may seem like they were making money off the app, but I assure you that's not the case. Technology is NOT cheap, and to be sustainable for the long haul you gotta find ways to make a profit. It was a big risk, but if it pays off they'll be around for years and years to come. And you can expect other "free" apps to follow as well.
Now could they have done a better job getting the word out? HEEEEELLL YEAH! I think it really caught people off guard and made it seem it was all done willy nilly when the fact was they have been going over all the angles for months. But it's out of the bag now, and time will tell whether it was a smart move or not
Either way, personally I'll still be recommending them because I know firsthand how many lives they have affected and how powerful their long-term vision is, but I got no ill will towards anyone who disagrees with me at all.
This is the beauty of free speech and the internet - we all get to voice our opinions and then make our own by hearing others! We'll see how it all goes down...
PS: This was a good article on it if anyone wants to read: https://www.forbes.com/sites/laurengensler/2017/04/11/digit-savings-app-introduces-monthly-fee/#329a091a2842