Walmart shoppers win prizes for stashing cash
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.