Partnership Application

Common Cents Lab is pleased to announce that it is accepting applications for new partners for 2017. Apply Here.

Have questions after reading this? Check out the FAQs. 

Common Cents, supported by MetLife Foundation, is a financial research lab at Duke University that creates and tests interventions to help low-to-moderate income households increase their financial well-being. Common Cents, a three year $8M initiative, leverages research and insights gleaned from behavioral economics to create interventions that lead to positive financial behaviors.

The Common Cents Lab is part of The Center for Advanced Hindsight at Duke University.  Common Cents is comprised of researchers and experts in product design, economics, psychology, public policy, advertising, product design, business administration, and more.  The lab is led by famed Behavioral Economist Professor Dan Ariely.  Dan has written three NYT best sellers, including the popular Predictably Irrational.  

To fulfill it’s mission, Common Cents partners with organizations, including fintech companies, banks, credit union, and non-profits, that believe their work could be improved through insights gained from behavioral economics.    

Our partners have the opportunity to work with Common Cents to find and test solutions to many of our financial decision making challenges.  This year, we hope to partner with organizations that are focused on helping low and moderate income Americans:

  • Improve their cash flow management
  • Decrease expenses
  • Decrease debt
  • Increase short-term savings
  • Increase long-term savings

Our Social Proof

Since January of 2016, CommonCents has partnered with 14 organizations to design and test interventions that help Americans improve their financial health.

These current partners include: AARP, Digit, EarnUp, Gusto, Payable, Propel, Retiremap, RobinHood,Credit Union 1, Duke Federal Credit Union, Latino Community Credit Union, Self-Help Credit Union,GreenPath Financial Wellness

Over the years the Duke lab has worked closely with many more financial institutions and companies.

Our recent work has been highlighted in Forbes, Scientific American, PBS News Hour and WSJ.

Description of Partnership

Depending on the organization and intervention design, partnerships last anywhere from 6 – 12 months.  Our typical approach to partnership includes the following activities:

  • Kick-Off Workshop: Initial meeting with key stakeholders to get everyone up to speed on the partnership and core behavioral economic principles
  • Behavioral Diagnosis:  An assessment of the current behavioral environment, identifying key barriers and benefits in the ecosystem. This involves rigorous data collection (data requests, site visits, interviews, surveys, etc.).  This phase is instrumental in understanding what intervention to build.
  • Intervention Design and Implementation:  Using insights gleaned from our behavioral audit phase, we work with partner companies to create and implement an intervention designed to improve the financial well-being of the organization’s end customers.   We expect that each of our interventions is tested through a randomized controlled trial, in order to assess our true impact.  
  • Results Report:  Data analysis and presentation of the results.  We work closely with our partners to share results from the experiment in an aggregated manner.  This serves as a win-win for all of our partners, who are able to learn from past work, and current partners who benefit from our positive press.

All of this will be free, courtesy of generous support from MetLife  Foundation for organizations accepted.  For select organizations, especially for underfunded non-profits, small, unrestricted grants are available to offset costs to the organization, such as staff time or materials. These grants range from $5,000-$25,000.

Eligibility and review criteria

The following organizations are eligible to submit proposals:

  • Fintech companies and startups working to improve some aspect of financial well-being
  • Credit Unions and innovative banks that offer products, programs, or services for low- to moderate-income populations
  • Community colleges and universities that offer programs for low- to moderate-income populations
  • Non-profit, for-profit, and faith-based organizations that provide services to low- to moderate-income populations
  • Government agencies serving low- to moderate-income populations
  • Additional U.S. based organizations that fulfill the spirit of this work will be considered on a case-by-case basis

Each year, a committee from Common Cents Lab, along with Professor Dan Ariely, will select five partner organizations providing financial services to low- to moderate-income households. The selection will be approved by our Advisory Council, based on the following criteria:

  • Ability to address one of the five financial problems outlined above
  • Anticipated reach of solution to their customer base
  • Scalability of any potential findings
  • Commitment to run an experiment
  • Ability to run the experiment (technical, support staff, willingness)
  • Willingness to share learnings with financial inclusion community


  • Applications must be submitted by Friday, October 28 at 5:00 pm PST. Apply Here
  • Applications that advance to the interview round will be announced on Friday, November 18
  • First round interviews will be held from Monday, December 5 – Friday, December 9.
  • Accepted partners will be announced on Friday, December 16


Check our FAQ page. Your question may or may not be on this list. Check first and if it isn’t, please email us. Our email is listed on the FAQ page. 

We will also be answering questions at the October 17th  info session.