Playing the Savings Game: A Prize-Linked Savings Report

Joanna Smith-Ramani, Amanda Hahnel, Sarika Abbi, Nick Maynard
Publication Date: 
November 12, 2012

This report shows how, in just three years, prize-linked savings (PLS) products in Michigan & Nebraska credit unions have accumulated over $40 million in savings. PLS leverages behavioral principles to invigorate saving, a traditionally difficult and mundane activity, by rewarding consumers with prizes and incentives. In 2009, Save to Win premiered in Michigan credit unions and rewarded small savers (those who deposited at least $25) with entries into various raffles. In 2012, Nebraska launched Save to Win and is showing promising gains. 

The success of Save to Win has set the bar high for PLS products in other channels.  D2D is working with state lotteries to advance the savings game concept with a "no-lose lottery ticket."  In this design, a consumer simply buys a designated PLS lottery ticket and the funds are held by the state in a savings account. The ticket is a “win-win” because even if a prize isn’t won, the entire cost of the ticket goes towards a savings fund. D2D believes the PLS lottery ticket will reach a wide audience with the chance to win through saving, without the risk of loss, generating excitement and reward-anticipation on a scale not previously possible.

Scaling the PLS concept by applying it to new channels and products can help expand financial access. The report also documents how D2D is striving to replicate the fun and engagement consumers have seen with Save to Win through:

  • Prepaid Cards
  • Debt Repayment
  • Savings Bonds
  • Single Large Financial Institution, and
  • Online Financial Tools