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A Bank Card that Rewards you for Saving

Our group discussed the idea of a debit card that rewards users for budgeting and saving.

Photo of Lillian J Warner
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Who is your idea designed for and how does it support the dreams and obligations of those 50 and older?

Our card gives credit union members incentives to save and budget. It also gives credit unions more opportunities to connect with local businesses.

Saving and Budgeting: Our group discussed the idea of a debit card that rewards users for budgeting and saving. Similar to Bank of America’s Keep the Change savings program, customers would elect to have a certain number of dollars go towards a specific savings goal (or goals) every time they bought specific products. For example, a customer could create a “Savings Goal” for a family trip they want to take to Hawaii. The customer can manually add as much to the savings account as they want, anytime. In addition to that, the customer also chooses, through their bank, to have a percentage of every purchase made at a gas station go towards their Hawaii savings goal, too (e.g. customer chooses to automatically add 25% of all gas purchase amounts to their savings account--every time they spend $100.00 on gas, $25.00 automatically goes to their Hawaii savings account).

The percentage designated towards automatic savings can be changed by the customer whenever the customer wants. There are also different automatic savings options. Customers can choose to have a small percentage of every purchase amount go towards their special savings account (like Keep the Change), or, like in the example above, they can select percentage amounts of specific types of purchases to be added to their special savings accounts.

Credit unions could partner with businesses to increase the rewards customers see in their accounts. For example, the credit union could partner with a local restaurant chain to promote a special deal like this: “For the month of October, customers will receive 2% cash back (into special savings account) on every purchase made at a local restaurant.”

Customers could also open joint savings accounts to work towards their saving goals. Families could participate in saving for one goal together. For example, multiple parties could contribute to the joint savings account for the family trip to Hawaii. There would probably need to be one admin for the whole account.

Data Visualization: Credit unions want to improve the financial health of their customers. Offering help with budgeting is one way credit unions can do this. For users logging into their bank accounts from their mobile phones or desktops, they would be able to see a spending report every month. They would be able to clearly see how much they contributed to their savings account(s) through the automatic savings program. They would be able to sign up for email alerts congratulating them on reaching certain monthly goals.  Users would be able to sort and sift through their own data.

The online banking interface would offer several different ways of visualizing each user’s spending data every month. The visualization would intelligently recognize spending habits and personalize the data visualization for each user. For example, a user spending more money on Starbucks vs. a user spending more money at a certain time of day would have different visualizations, pointing out their spending habits. The app could generate tips on how to save money, based on each user’s data.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

We could create prototypes of the budgeting tool. We could create mock-ups of the types of data visualizations we want to give customers re: their spending habits. We could use a sample bank statement of a customer (with their consent) to draft some visualizations of their spending data. We could show it to them and ask for feedback.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

We appreciate all feedback. Our idea has many components and we are wondering if all of them are feasible. We especially wonder if giving members the option to customize their savings percentages would be too much. We also wonder about the rules and regulations of joint savings accounts--would what we proposed regarding joint savings accounts actually be possible?

Tell us about your work experience:

I work in Human Resources at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at NYU and I am getting my MS in Integrated Digital Media at NYU Tandon School of Engineering.

Please check all that apply:

  • I'm not currently involved in a credit union, but am curious to learn more!

This idea emerged from

  • A student collaboration


Join the conversation:

Photo of Anthony Chukwuma

This idea is great and similar to my 'Little Drops' idea. I really believe the banks and cooperatives should help people save. I have mwt people that have had more than 500 million Naira pass through their accounts/hands and become very poor between 50 and 60 years and it bothers me.Can we all collaborate on these ideas?

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