SAN FRANCISCO-A new study from the Filene Research Institute indicates that SaveUp-a financial education and savings rewards program piloted by several CUs earlier this year-has raised financial awareness and helped participating institutions deepen relationships with members.

The study, titled "SaveUp: Making Positive Financial Behavior Fun" is an independent review of the six-month pilot program. It found FIs that used SaveUp saw increased visits to their websites (64% visited weekly and 49% visited three or more times each week). Industry benchmarks show the average consumer visits his or her online banking site twice per week.

According to the study, nearly 8,400 users utilized SaveUp, linking it to more than 33,000 accounts, making $43.3 million in deposits and paying down $32.4 million in debt.

More than half of the participants reported SaveUp participation had helped motivate them to save money and pay down their debt, and 40% of survey respondents reported a more positive opinion of their FI after using SaveUp. CUs also saw increased Net Promoter Scores. CUs using SaveUp saw a 76.4% NPS, rivaling the likes of USAA and Apple, and 75% of participating members recommend their CU to family and friends.


Figuring Out What Resonates

Filene Chief Research Officer George Hofheimer explained that the appeal of SaveUp-along with prize-linked savings programs running in several states-lies in that it makes a dull concept more exciting. "I think we're at the beginning of figuring out what resonates with consumers, because for the most part logic has not worked; talking about long-term benefits haven't worked."

But Hofheimer also noted that because the study only examined a six-month pilot program, researchers weren't able to delve into the long-term impact of SaveUp (and similar programs) on consumer behavior. Filene approached SaveUp about conducting the study, and Hofheimer pointed out that the report is a different track for the organization, which normally examines ideas and concepts, not specific products and services.

Priya Haji, CEO and co-founder of SaveUp, said that there are no large-scale plans to change SaveUp based on the results of the study, though new financial education tools like webinars, one-on-one counseling and more are added regularly. Haji said that SaveUp is only being used at about 20 credit unions right now, but more CUs are signing on-SchoolsFirst FCU in Orange, Calif., is a recent addition-and a new partnership with CU Solutions Group could vastly expand it in 2013.




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See also: "Twenty CUs Piloting New Savings Reward Program," April 9

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