SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- SaveUp (www.saveup.com), a free, nationwide rewards program for personal savings, today announced the launch of its public beta. Starting today, Americans who bank at more than 18,000 US financial institutions can sign up for SaveUp and begin earning credits that can be redeemed for a chance to win exciting or life-changing prizes by saving money, paying down debts and improving their knowledge about their finances.
Unlike traditional rewards programs that focus on driving consumer spending, SaveUp rewards users for performing positive financial actions, such as contributing to their savings or retirement accounts; paying down their credit cards, mortgages or other loans; and engaging with SaveUp's financial education content on the site. The credits users earn can be redeemed for chances to win instant prizes and entries into weekly and monthly drawings. SaveUp's prizes range from the exciting (retail gift cards, consumer electronics) to aspirational (luxury vacations, home or wardrobe make-overs) to life-changing (a new car, money for college tuition or debt pay-off, or a $2 million jackpot).
"The driving force behind SaveUp is to help Americans succeed financially," said Priya Haji, CEO and co-founder of SaveUp. "We hope to do this by building a fun and engaging experience that rewards them for saving money and reducing their debts instead of rewarding them for spending. SaveUp is the only rewards program that focuses on improving the lives of Americans by focusing first and foremost on their financial well being."
"SaveUp makes saving money and paying down debts fun and definitely more rewarding," said Hana Yang, a San Francisco Bay Area resident, who won an iPad2 prior to today's public beta. "It's hard to save money and keep on top of bills in today's economy – but I have to do it regardless. If SaveUp is going to give me a chance to win great prizes every time I pay my student loans or contribute to my 401K, then you bet I'm going to keep playing it as often as I can!"
SaveUp's prizes are furnished through advertising and sponsorships with top consumer brands, including Virgin America and others. SaveUp's brand partners receive significant exposure to a highly aspirational audience through frequent brand placements, exclusive content or category ownership, social media linkage, and the ability to offer coupons, promotions and other exclusive deals to SaveUp users on the site. SaveUp will continue to add additional brand partners to keep its rewards program engaging and exciting.
For financial institutions, SaveUp provides a free savings rewards program that banks and credit unions can offer to their customers with no capital investment or technology integration required. These financial institutions may also choose to sponsor the educational content on SaveUp or engage in other exclusive experiences for their depositors. By encouraging Americans to increase deposits and decrease their bank-held debts, SaveUp can help financial institutions strengthen customer relationships and improve their own financial foundations.
Currently, nine banks and credit unions are participating in a pilot program to promote SaveUp to their customers, including Bank of the West, Spectrum Federal Credit Union, and Plastyc UPside Visa pre-paid card.
"Bank of the West is committed to helping our customers achieve their financial goals – whether that's buying a home or a car, or saving for the future," said Andrew Rosen, Chief Marketing Officer at Bank of the West in San Francisco. "SaveUp's approach of rewarding Americans for positive financial behavior is unique and fun, and it fits nicely with our bank's culture of doing what's right for our customers."
Americans are focused on reducing household debt and increasing savings, but the challenges are real. According the US Federal Reserve(1), the total amount of consumer debt in the US is more than $2.4 trillion. A March 2010 Employee Benefit Research Institute study showed that 43 percent of workers said they have less than $10,000 in savings (up from 39 percent in 2009) and 27 percent said they had less than $1,000 (up from 20 percent in 2009). Only 69 percent said they saved for their retirement in 2010 (down from 75% in 2009).
To participate in SaveUp, users simply create an account at www.saveup.com and link any savings and debt-bearing accounts so that SaveUp can award credits for their savings and payment transactions. SaveUp's technology partner enables secure online data aggregation from more than 18,000 financial institutions, and supports many popular online and mobile financial applications currently used by millions of Americans.
"In addition to making SaveUp fun and rewarding, we've also made it safe and secure so that our users can participate in SaveUp's innovative rewards program knowing that organizations like MacAfee, VeriSign and TRUSTe have certified our privacy and security policies and procedures," said Sammy Shreibati, SaveUp's CTO and co-founder. "SaveUp protects its users with the same high level of security employed by banks, and we don't store any of our users' financial account information. We will never share our users' personal information with anyone, so their privacy is protected as well."
Founded in 2011, San Francisco-based SaveUp created the first free nationwide rewards program that encourages Americans to save money, pay down their debts and make positive changes to their financial behaviors. By partnering with major consumer brands and financial institutions, SaveUp gives users the opportunity to win exciting or life-changing prizes for performing positive financial actions. The company is funded by BlueRun Ventures and True Ventures. To get rewarded for your positive financial actions or to partner with SaveUp as a bank or sponsor, please visit us at www.saveup.com.
(1) (Source: Federal Reserve's G.19 report on consumer credit, July 2011)