Scratch & Save: Engaging Digital Experiences Build Financial Security

Scratch & Save: Engaging Digital Experiences Build Financial Security

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Commonwealth and EARN tested a digital prize-linked saving campaign called Scratch & Save to motivate weekly small-dollar savings on EARN’s SaverLife platform. This report provides an overview of Scratch & Save and highlights key takeaways that can inspire and inform future efforts to use engaging digital features to drive savings and financial security. The Federal Reserve reports that two in five Americans do not have savings to handle a $400 emergency. Financially vulnerable people, in particular, stand to benefit from new ways to save for the future. Scratch & Save demonstrates the potential of prizes combined with engaging digital experiences to help people save.

Background Commonwealth and EARN partnered to test “Scratch & Save,” the first weekly prize-linked savings campaign with a “digital scratcher.” (Digital Scratchers are a digital form of a popular lottery game in which players “scratch away” a layer to reveal whether or not they have won a prize.) The goal of the test was to motivate and reward small-dollar savings among members of EARN’s digital savings platform, SaverLife. During the tax season preceding the Scratch & Save test, EARN and Commonwealth worked together to test a prize-based tax time saving campaign called Savers Win on EARN’s SaverLife platform. SaverLife is an online tool that provides financial coaching content and resources and allows members to connect a bank account in order to receive small-dollar incentives for regularly setting aside savings.

Savers Win encouraged people to save some of their once-a-year tax refund windfall. Based in large part on Commonwealth’s long-running national SaveYourRefund campaign, Savers Win yielded rich insight into SaverLife members’ behavior and preferences and provided learnings that laid the foundation for additional prize-based campaigns.1 Following Savers Win, EARN and Commonwealth wanted to test a different approach that used an ongoing prize-based intervention to motivate weekly small-dollar savings. We tested this intervention in a ten-week campaign called Scratch & Save.

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