Walmart shop­pers win prizes for stash­ing cash

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Anne D’In­no­cen­zio

Walmart has a new pro­gram that of­fers prizes as in­cen­tives to get its le­gion of shop­pers to sock away money in sav­ing ac­counts.

The “Prize Sav­ings” pro­gram fea­tures Walmart’s branded reload­able pre­paid debit cards, which are linked to a free sav­ings “vault.” Savers are given one en­try into a monthly prize draw­ing for ev­ery dol­lar they stash in the vault.

The sweep­stakes will award 500 cash prizes ev­ery month, with the av­er­age prize be­ing about $25. The monthly sweep­stakes in­cludes one $1,000 grand prize.

Walmart says the pro­gram, launched without fan­fare in Au­gust, is the first na­tional and re­tail prize-linked sav­ings pro­gram. It’s also a way to en­cour­age sav­ing by its low­in­come shop­pers, many of whom might not have enough saved to cover even the small­est emer­gency, like re­plac­ing a dead car bat­tery.

The move un­der­scores how the world’s largest re­tailer is ex­pand­ing its fi­nan­cial ser­vices, which al­ready in­cludes check cash­ing and money transfers.

Sav­ings pro­grams tied to prizes are be­com­ing more widely avail­able in the U.S. with the en­act­ment of the Amer­i­can Sav­ings Pro­mo­tion Act, which be­came law in De­cem­ber 2014. That re­moved all fed­eral reg­u­la­tory bar­ri­ers to banks and thrifts of­fer­ing prize-linked sav­ings pro­grams.

Ex­ec­u­tives with Walmart said the “Prize Sav­ings” pro­gram is al­ready en­tic­ing cus­tomers to save more. When the pro­gram first started, the av­er­age cus­tomer sav­ings bal­ance was $413. Now, that fig­ure is $572, a 35 per­cent in­crease.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.