At a time when U.S. consumer debt is rapidly approaching $2.5 trillion, Arsenal Credit Union (Arnold) is participating in an innovative new pilot program to encourage its members to save money and pay down their debts.
On March 1, through a link on its website, Arsenal began offering its 22,000 members the opportunity to join SaveUp, the nation’s first free rewards program for saving money and reducing debt. The program rewards people with great prizes for engaging in positive financial activities.
The pilot program, co-sponsored by SaveUp and The Filene Research Institute, the leading non-profit think tank with a long record of bringing innovative ideas to life for consumers through credit unions, will evaluate the motivational effects that prizes and rewards have on helping consumers make better financial choices. Credit unions from 15 states are participating; Arsenal is the only participant from Missouri. The Filene Research Institute will work with SaveUp and the credit unions to track usage, monitor member feedback, and compile results of the six-month pilot.
SaveUp rewards users each time they contribute to their savings or retirement accounts; pay down their credit cards, mortgages, or other loans; or engage with SaveUp’s financial education content. For each positive financial activity, SaveUp users earn credits that can be redeemed for the opportunity to win exciting or life-changing prizes. Brands like Virgin America, TurboTax, and Banana Republic are sponsoring prizes to reward Americans for their financial success. Since the site’s launch in November, users have deposited over $40 million to savings and paid down over $27 million of debt. Hundreds of people have won prizes such as cash, retail gift cards, consumer electronics, free air travel, shopping sprees, experiential rewards, and a $1,000 savings deposit.
“It was an easy decision for us to participate in the SaveUp pilot program,” said Ken Moser, vice president of marketing at the $168 million credit union. “The notion of rewarding people for their positive financial actions – such as saving money rather than spending it – is both refreshing and long overdue. SaveUp’s unique approach of using prizes to motivate people to save money, pay down debt and increase their financial knowledge complements our own efforts to bring innovative new financial offerings to benefit our members. We see SaveUp as a great way for us to demonstrate to members that we are a trusted partner dedicated to helping them meet their financial goals.”