In this age of internet publishing, it's really easy to gain access and subscribe to free publications. I, for one, take full advantage of many of them. One such publication - enemyofdebt.com - published an article about institutions and websites that reward customers for saving money. The article It's a Win-Win: Get Rewarded for Saving by Suzanne Cramer gives some dire news about the lack of savings in this country and inform the reader of programs that incentivize for saving.
Of course, I had to investigate.
According to the article, the "... prize linked savings account make you want to save by dangling the carrot of a potential reward...The general concept is similar to the lottery, except you don’t have to “spend” anything to win. Instead just by depositing money into one of these accounts you are automatically entered."
Wow, which bank offers these types of accounts?
Unfortunately, the concept is not all over the US, but "states such as Michigan, Nebraska and Washington offer these types of accounts, typically funded by a credit union. Recently Maryland passed legislation to allow credit unions and banks to participate in prize-linked savings programs as long as the contests are designed as sweepstakes and not lotteries.", Cramer says.
I don't reside in any of these states, but I still wanted to sign up.
Cramer offers the "Save Up website. [On this website,] just by registering your financial accounts you can be awarded “credits” when you save money or pay a bill". Yes, this is for me, I thought, so I signed up.
I have to say I am impressed. The site uploads the financial information you enter, similar to the way sites like Mint.com download the information, and every time a deposit is made, credits are deposited. The credits can be used to play games or enter a lottery for chances to win prizes such as store gift cards, cash cards (like American Express gift card), money to pay a bill and even larger prizes such as a certain amount to pay off a debt.
The games are lottery style, like a lottery scratch off (scratch off all the tiles and if 3 match you win). There are also opportunities to just win prizes without playing a game. Choose the prize and receive a "raffle" ticket for that prize. I haven't run across any negatives yet.
I am definitely intrigued and a little more 'excited' to save.