SaveUp Incentives Reward Financial Responsibility Today you likely know someone who is having credit problems due to the recession. In fact, you may be dealing with the problems caused by late or missed high-interest credit card payments as well as the lack of money to buy even the small luxuries that make life enjoyable.
Plenty of credit card companies offer cash-back rewards that only encourage you to take on more debt. Many consumers have the impression that paying off a credit card will hurt their credit score, but that’s incorrect. Even if you pay off a credit card and close the account, your credit score will only be affected slightly. You’ll take a much larger hit on your credit score if you have late or missed payments.
Until recently, there haven’t been any programs that provide incentives to stop taking on debt. However, a new free online program called SaveUp offers you rewards for putting money into savings and paying down your debt. SaveUp, based out of San Francisco, was created in 2011 by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who want to help consumers develop good financial habits.
By replacing the spend-and-charge mentality that has helped create the current economic downturn, SaveUp helps you take steps toward financial freedom and security. While similar types of online savings programs let you track how you’re doing, they don’t provide incentives to do the right thing. SaveUp works with companies to offer rewards for consumers who save and reduce their debt. Some of the larger prizes include home game systems, round-trip airline tickets and even two million dollars. Smaller prizes, such as gift cards to merchants such as Amazon or Banana Republic, are also offered.
It’s easy to become a SaveUp member. You simply identify the financial accounts that you want to connect with your SaveUp program. You can link your checking and savings accounts, your credit cards and investments such as your 401(k) to the SaveUp programt. You’ll receive credits, which are like reward points, whenever you take a positive step toward increasing your savings or paying down debt.
When you make a deposit, SaveUp will assign the transaction a certain number of credits. When you make a payment that reduces credit card debt, you’ll also get credits. You can link your mortgage, car payment or other loans to SaveUp to get credits whenever you pay your monthly bills. SaveUp also offers credits for watching videos on the website on ways to be financially savvy, for adding more accounts to your SaveUp membership or for inviting friends to join SaveUp. Every day you’ll have the opportunity to use your credits in a maximum of three prize drawings.
SaveUp can link to accounts from almost every financial institution in the US. Since the program tracks your saving and spending for you, you may have concerns about its security and privacy. You must provide your name, email address and a password when you register. SaveUp doesn’t store the identifying account numbers of your financial institutions when you link them to the site, and the program doesn’t sell membership information to third parties. The site also encrypts its information through a process similar to TurboTax and is monitored by antivirus and identity protection software.
SaveUp currently isn’t available on mobile devices such as the iPhone or the Blackberry, but these applications are expected soon. Just recently the program has added the ability for family members and friends to set up contests with each other in the areas of saving and debt reduction. While SaveUp is a great way to encourage paying down debt and saving, it isn’t a financial tracking program.
The simplicity of the SaveUp website coupled with many of the large prizes used to give people an incentive to pay down debt and save money make it worth a closer look. While the odds of winning a very large prize like the top $2,000,000 jackpot are very small, the company’s founders believe the benefit of getting out of financial debt and starting to save are important incentive themselves.
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