When an employer ("you" or "Employer") elects to provide 529 Education Savings Services to its employees, Betterment will provide the 529 Education Savings Services subject to the terms and conditions described below.
- Definitions. The terms set forth below have the following meanings as used in these Terms & Conditions.
529 Education Savings. The services provided by Betterment in the Interface described in Section 2 below, including Education Savings Advice and Integrated 529 Account Services.
Ascensus. Ascensus College Savings Recordkeeping Services, LLC, a third-party service provider that provides program management and recordkeeping services to certain direct-sold 529 plans and facilitates enrollment in and contributions to certain plans via the Betterment interface.
Education Savings Advice. Betterment’s non-discretionary financial advice on how your employees may wish to save for education-related expenses, including through a 529 account.
Integrated 529 Account. A 529 account that is part of a Participating 529 Plan and is connected to Betterment such that contributions may be made via the Betterment interface. Integrated 529 Accounts are held and managed outside of Betterment.
Integrated 529 Account Services. The services Betterment provides in connection with Integrated 529 Accounts, including facilitating enrollment and contributions.
Participating Employee. The employee who connects an Integrated 529 Account.
Participating 529 Plan. An Ascensus-supported, direct-sold 529 plan that is eligible to be connected with the Betterment platform to create an Integrated 529 Account.
- 529 Education Savings.
a. Non-discretionary Advice. Education Savings Advice will be solely based on information Participating Employees provide via the Betterment interface. Betterment’s Education Savings Advice relies on information provided or linked by your employees, and Betterment is not liable for any losses resulting from any Education Savings Advice based on inaccurate or incomplete information. Inaccurate or incomplete information includes information that was once accurate but becomes inaccurate or incomplete due to changes in circumstances. Additionally, Betterment’s Education Savings Advice is limited in scope and does not include any advice or recommendations regarding investment selection or ongoing management of any 529 account, including an Integrated 529 Account. Betterment is not liable for any losses resulting from actions taken by your employees based on decisions that are outside the scope of Betterment’s advice. Betterment’s Education Savings Advice relies upon third-party data that may be subject to change or error. Your employees are under no obligation to accept or follow any Education Savings Advice, and Betterment will not have any discretion over any 529 accounts, including Integrated 529 Accounts.
b. Integrated 529 Account Services. Your employees may set up an Integrated 529 Account by enrolling in a Participating 529 Plan or by connecting an existing 529 account with a Participating 529 Plan. Betterment’s Integrated 529 Account Services also include the ability to schedule recurring and one-time payments to Integrated 529 Accounts through the Betterment interface (“529 Contributions”). Such 529 Contributions can be made either as a deduction from a Participating Employee’s payroll during each pay period (a “Payroll Deduction”) or debited from their independent checking account. If you elect to offer an Employer Match (as defined below), recurring 529 Contributions to an Integrated 529 Account will be made, by default, as a Payroll Deduction and will automatically qualify for the Employer Match. Ascensus is responsible for allocating the 529 Contributions to particular Integrated 529 Accounts, and Betterment is not responsible for any losses that occur after funds are transferred to Ascensus. If a Payroll Contribution fails for any reason, the funds will be returned to the Participating Employee associated with the Integrated 529 Account.
c. Employer Match. Employer may elect to contribute an amount, up to a certain percentage of a Participating Employee’s annual salary (to be confirmed to Betterment in writing), towards an Integrated 529 Account (the “Employer Match”). The Employer Match is subject to parameters set by Participating 529 Plans regarding contribution limits. Additionally, the Employer Match is not available where the owner of the Integrated 529 Account is also the beneficiary of the Integrated 529 Account. Betterment only supports Employer Match for Integrated 529 Accounts.
d. 529 Plan Enrollment and Conflict of Interest. Your employees will have the opportunity to enroll in a variety of direct-sold 529 plans, including but not limited to Participating 529 Plans. The Education Savings Advice does not take into account whether or not a plan is a Participating 529 Plan. However, Betterment receives a one-time referral fee from Ascensus for each new, funded Integrated 529 Account, and accordingly Betterment has an incentive to recommend that your employees enroll in a Participating 529 Plan.
- 529 Education Savings Limitation on Liability. Betterment is not responsible for and cannot guarantee the accuracy of information about Integrated 529 Accounts that Betterment receives from Ascensus. Betterment is also not responsible and cannot guarantee the timeliness of 529 Contributions facilitated via Ascensus. Betterment may not be able to foresee or anticipate technical or other difficulties with Ascensus or with any Participating 529 Plan that may result in a failure to obtain Integrated 529 Account information or transmit 529 Contributions in connection with Employer and Participating Employee’s voluntary use of Integrated 529 Account Services. Except for Betterment’s malfeasance or gross negligence, Betterment assumes no responsibility for the timeliness, accuracy, deletion, non-delivery or failure to make 529 Contributions, update Integrated 529 Account information, or loss of user data or personalization settings. Betterment expressly disclaims any and all losses relating to any outages, delivery delays, delivery methods, corruption of data, processing failures, changed or discontinued or failed services, or termination of services caused by Ascensus or any Participating 529 Plan. As noted above, the use of Integrated 529 Account Services is subject to Ascensus’s privacy management policy and applicable privacy policies of Participating 529 Plans, which may impose important limitations on the circumstances and degree of these entities’ liability.
- Amendments and Termination. These Terms and Conditions shall remain in effect for such time as you are providing 529 Education Savings to its employees. Betterment reserves the right to amend these Terms and Conditions and to make changes to the 529 Education Savings offering at any time in its sole discretion. Betterment may elect to terminate Employer’s access to the 529 Education Savings offering at any time for any reason upon reasonable notice to Employer. You understand and agree that upon such termination, Payroll Deductions and Employer Match will no longer be available to your employees, although Participating Employees, all of whom establish an independent relationship with Betterment, will retain access to their Integrated 529 Account and may continue to make contributions via checking account. You may elect to terminate the 529 Education Savings offering at any time, after which Payroll Deductions and Employer Match will no longer be available, although Participating Employees will retain access to their Integrated 529 Account and may continue to make contributions via checking account.