By  Posted on Mon Nov 7, 2011

Bank of the West Pilots SaveUp Rewards Program

Saving and paying off debt are financial moves that should not need extraneous incentives but Bank of the West gives more of a reason for customers to do so.

Through a partnership with SaveUp, a free, nationwide rewards program, Bank of the West seeks to encourage sound financial behavior.

Having recently launch its public beta, SaveUp is a free, nationwide rewards program available to customers at many U.S. financial institutions. After linking their financial accounts, users will earn credits whenever they increase their savings or cut their debt.

It could mean bulking up the savings and checking accounts, contributing to an IRA or 401(k), or paying down the balance on a mortgage or credit card.

Additionally, credits are also rewarded for engaging in financial literacy activities such as watching an educational video or completing a money quiz.

The credit can be redeemed for instant win prizes and entries for drawings. The gifts include gift cards, electronics, vacations, a car, and even a $2 million jackpot.

Game of Good Money Moves

With over $60 billion in assets, the San Francisco-based Bank of the West is among the first nine financial institutions to pilot the SaveUp rewards program.

Andrew Rosen, chief marketing officer at Bank of the West, called SaveUp a “unique and fun” approach to rewarding Americans for positive financial behavior.

Financial institutions like Bank of the West who’ve entered partnerships with SaveUp can customize, in terms of content and branding, the educational activities to better engage and cater to its customers to improve customer relationships and drive loyalty.

SaveUp takes a direction opposite of popular personal finance management tools like Mint.com or Quicken.

As PFM tools saturate the financial industry, critics have noted that these tools lack a call-to-action. Consumers can watch their accounts and track their spending but there is little initiative to improve one’s financial situation.

SaveUp has a level of “gamification” that could incentivize users to act rather than watch.

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