How would you like to win a television, a $50,000 makeover or even a way to get lower interest rates on loans? While we’re used to being rewarded by banks for spending money, a new start-up called SaveUp reverses the formula by giving users a chance to win prizes by saving money and paying down credit card balances.
SaveUp’s inspiration comes from foreign banks that take the pooled interest of many accounts and offer them as a winnable prize to account holders. However, since this type of activity is not permitted in the United States, SaveUp instead gets its prize money from sponsored advertisers who front either prize packages or money to promote themselves on SaveUp.
Not Just Fun and Games
SaveUp aims to educate users on compound interest, saving money and being financially responsible. At the same time, they turn saving into a game with great prizes. Users start by linking bank accounts, retirement funds and other accounts to SaveUp’s system. SaveUp has partnered with Intuit to make sure this sensitive data stays encrypted and secure.
Save Money to Win Money
New contests appear on a weekly basis. Additionally, users can purchase “scratch cards” which are instantaneous chances to win smaller prizes at any time. The prize that everyone has their eye on is the $2 million dollars.
While SaveUp is not meant to be a financial tracking or budgeting application, it is meant to give users an incentive to work toward financial goals and save money. The frequently asked questions page on their site hints at lofty goals like changing the way American culture views money. Even if you don’t win a prize, you’re still winning by saving money each month.
How To Play
You’ll be rewarded credits for depositing money into savings accounts and paying off credit cards. Credits are then used for participating in all sorts of online games that offer real prizes. Even saving as little as $10 is enough to get you started. When you develop responsible saving habits, you’ll be able to play regularly and have even greater chances of winning.
My Experience With SaveUp
The site, while relatively new, states that it has already helped its users save over $10,000. I had to see for myself, so I signed up for an account. In a matter of minutes, I was able to create an account. After a quick tutorial, I was able to easily navigate the site.
Initially, I was worried the setup process was going to send me scrambling for bank documents and entering 20 digit account numbers. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I simply supplied the login information from my bank’s website and all four of my accounts and credit cards were instantly added.
I was excited when I realized I received 800 credits just for adding my accounts. Of course, I decided to start playing right away. I picked my numbers for the lottery-like jackpot and entered a raffle ticket win a new iPad. However, regardless of the amount of credits you have, you can only play a few times per day. This will definitely keep me coming back to the site for more. From my experience, SaveUp was easy to use and fun. I’ve got my fingers crossed about that iPad raffle!
Currently, SaveUp has prizes offered by Virgin America, Banana Republic and GameStop. SaveUp’s cash prizes are sponsored by an insurance company and plans to include more sponsors and banks are already in the works. Referral bonuses from banks also encourage users to involve their friends.
Since more and more users do all their banking via smartphones and tablets, plans are being made for Android and iOS applications that will allow users to access their SaveUp accounts. SaveUp certainly offers a unique approach to encouraging saving and giving people something fun to do at the same time.
Jessica Bosari is a freelance writer and blogger for various publications and her own blog. You can read more of Jessica's work here. If you have any comments or questions about SavingTools or about saving money, leave your comments in the form below or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!