How Lottery Savings Accounts Fool You Into Saving More

Posted in Savings Account , Mutual First Credit Union • April 29, 2014

lottery savings accounts

What if you could enter a lottery that actually boosted your savings in the process, regardless of whether you won? Rather than squandering your savings account on scratchers and lottery tickets, lottery savings accounts provide incentives to save, with an opportunity to score big bucks — a win-win situation.

More states are legalizing lotteries and raffles held by credit unions. It began in 2009, when eight Michigan credit unions offered prize-linked certificates of deposit through the Save to Win program; that number grew to three other states and 58 credit unions today.

The Save to Win program awards depositors with a lottery ticket for every $25 invested into a 12-month CD, with a maximum of 10 tickets allotted per month, or $250 deposited. As is standard with share certificates, there usually is a penalty charged for early withdrawal, with withdrawals limited to once per term length.

Credit unions award prizes starting at $50 through monthly drawings, with the grand prize winner chosen from all participating credit unions in the state. In Nebraska, the grand prize winner gets to take home $25,000; in Michigan, the financial institution pays a subscription fee of $1,000 to $10,000, which is pooled to pay $10,000 out to 10 different winners annually.

With only fellow credit union members as competition, the odds of winning are far better than those for national or statewide lotteries.

Related: 31 Ways to Save Money (Up to $3,000 This Month)

Lotteries Prove an Effective Incentive for Non-Savers

According to CNN, a recent survey of Save to Win members found that between 42 and 59 percent of participants describe themselves as “non-regular savers”; between 35 and 55 percent said they earn less than $40,000 annually.

In Michigan, the average savings balance of a participant grew from $734 to $2,873, thanks to the program.

The benefit to participants is clear. But why would a credit union elect to participate in this program?

According to Save to Win’s survey, between 55 and 75 percent of depositors said they were more likely to use another product with their credit union after enrolling in a prize-linked savings account.

These accounts help build loyalty and membership for participating credit unions, with the program boasting 40,000 accounts overall and $70 million saved between 2009 and 2012. These findings were corroborated by a recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, which found that lottery savings accounts do persuade account holders to save more than traditional deposit products.

Over 60 credit unions have also partnered with SaveUp, a program that awards members who accomplish financial goals like paying down debt.

“The Save to Win program encourages our members to save through a win-win situation,” said Nikki Rue, marketing manager for Mutual 1st Federal Credit Union. “…The drawings are exciting for our members and our staff — we’re always delighted when we see our members on the monthly drawing list! If anyone is interested in saving money, we highly recommend this program.”

As of now, federal law bans banks from running raffles or lotteries; however, a new bill introduced in Congress last October aims to change this. Prize-linked savings accounts are legal in Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Washington, according to the Doorway to Dreams Fund.

Related: 5 Easy Ways to Save Hundreds For Your Savings Account

Which Credit Unions Offer Lottery Savings Accounts?

Depositors can only take advantage of these special-incentive savings accounts by joining a participating credit union. Below is a list of Save to Win credit unions in each state.

Michigan

1 Alpena Alcona Area Credit Union 18 Grand Rapids Family Credit Union
2 Awakon Federal Credit Union 19 HarborLight Credit Union
3 Besser Credit Union 20 Jackson Community Federal Credit Union
4 Case Credit Union 21 Lake Trust Credit Union
5 Central Macomb Community Credit Union 22 Menominee County Federal Credit Union
6 Christian Financial Credit Union 23 Michigan Community Credit Union
7 Co-op Services Credit Union 24 Muskegon Co-op Federal Credit Union
8 Communicating Arts Credit Union 25 North Central Area Credit Union
9 Community Alliance Credit Union 26 Peninsula Federal Credit Union
10 Community Driven Credit Union 27 Peoples Trust Credit Union
11 Credit Union Advantage 28 SIR Federal Credit Union
12 ELGA Credit Union 29 Soo Co-op Credit Union
13 Family Financial Credit Union 30 South Central Credit Union
14 Filer Credit Union 31 Sunrise Family Credit Union
15 FinancialEdge Community Credit Union 32 TruNorth Federal Credit Union
16 First General Credit Union 33 U.P. Catholic Credit Union
17 Frankenmuth Credit Union 34 United Financial Credit Union

Nebraska

1 Centris Federal Credit Union
2 Family Focus Federal Credit Union
3 Gallup Federal Credit Union
4 Kearney Federal Credit Union
5 KEE Federal Credit Union
6 Liberty First Credit Union
7 MembersOwn Credit Union
8 Mutual 1st Federal Credit Union
9 Police Federal Credit Union
10 SAC Federal Credit Union
11 Western Heritage Credit Union

North Carolina

1 American Partners Federal Credit Union
2 Greensboro Municipal Federal Credit Union
3 Mountain Credit Union
4 Piedmont Advantage Credit Union
5 Premier Federal Credit Union
6 Telco Community Credit Union
7 Winston-Salem Federal Credit Union

Washington

1 Connection Credit Union
2 Express Credit Union
3 Fibre Federal Credit Union
4 North Coast Credit Union
5 Peninsula Credit Union
6 TwinStar Credit Union

Mutual 1st Federal Credit Union is a GOBankingRates client.

Photo credit: Magnus D

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