Many individuals, especially from low-income backgrounds, tend to cash their checks instead of putting some of their earnings into savings, leaving them with little in their savings accounts over time.
We launched an experiment aimed at increasing deposits among Latino Community Credit Union (LCCU) members attempting to cash their checks (LCCU provides ethical financial products and education to empower communities). We tested the effect of modified check cashing slips that created additional costs when cashing. The slips contained different combinations of depositing 50% of their checks and signing a risk waiver that highlighted the opportunity costs of not depositing (which increased the pain of paying for the check cashing fee).
In 9.26% of cases, the slips prompted a behavior change, switching check-cashers into depositors. These members deposited an average of 22% of their check’s value.
Why it matters
Individuals and groups focused on empowering communities can leverage this insight to help people save money.
Note: This project was possible through the Common Cents Lab initiative, supported by MetLife Foundation
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