Filene Research Institute and SaveUp.com formally launched Tuesday a pilot initiative involving 20 credit unions in 15 states offering customized packages promoting account savings.
As part of the pilot, credit unions from Virginia to California have started distributing what the San Francisco company calls “a customized SaveUp experience for their members” by rewarding positive financial action for savings behavior using a point system redeemable in prizes.
Under the arrangement, credit union members who use SaveUp – offered through their credit unions’ websites – are rewarded each time they contribute to savings or retirement accounts, pay down credit cards or other loans, or utilize SaveUp’s financial education materials.
SaveUp, which is calling its package “the nation’s first free rewards program for saving money and reducing debt using a point system”, earlier this year announced its first pilot partnership with the $61 billion Bank of the West, which will launch later this year.
SaveUp, a fledgling firm started last November and now registered in all 50 states as a sweepstakes operation, is not affiliated with the Save to Win program promoted by the Michigan Credit Union League and now in several other states.
SaveUp said it has created a program that allows credit unions to run savings rewards efforts without running into the legal and legislative obstacles that credit union leagues trying to implement Save to Win programs have encountered in some states. SaveUp can be distributed by any credit union in all 50 states, the company said.
“We can also work with credit unions that have implemented the Save to Win program to motivate members to build their wealth,”said Priya Haji, CEO of SaveUp. “Members just have more opportunities to get rewarded and win prizes for saving money.”
SaveUp also said that no technology or backend integration is required, so credit unions can easily customize and implement its program.
At Filene, Matt Davis, director of innovation, said the Madison, Wis., think tank partnered with SaveUp to study how this company’s model prompts positive financial behaviors and improves member engagement, marketing effectiveness and financial results.
Davis said results will be reported later this year.
"Filene has spent considerable resources over the past 20 years studying consumer behavior as it relates to personal finance, and testing new ideas that encourage healthy financial decisions through credit unions," Davis said.
"SaveUp makes positive financial behavior fun, rewarding, and engaging, a recipe that could have a major impact on credit unions and the communities they serve," he said.
Participating credit unions include Xceed Financial CU, El Segundo, Calif.; CU of the Rockies, Golden, Colo.; Eli Lilly FCU, Indianapolis; Frankenmuth CU, Frankenmuth, Mich.; Arsenal CU, Arnold, Mo.; St. Mary’s Bank, Manchester, N.H.; Northeast CU, Portsmouth, N.H.; Southwest FCU, Albuquerque, N.M.; GPO FCU, New Hartford, N.Y.; Oregon Employees FCU, Salem, Ore.; Providence FCU, Milwaukie, Ore.; Neighborhood CU, Dallas; Belvoir FCU, Woodbridge, Va.; Summit CU, Madison, Wis.; and, Fox Communities CU, Appleton, Wis.