Case Study

The SMS Study


Even when people intend to save for health expenses, they often forget to do so.


Research shows that savings reminders can help bridge the intention-action gap and increase savings. We predicted that providing people with a low savings target in SMS savings reminders would increase savings on a mobile health wallet compared to no target or a high target. We predicted that using a high savings target would serve as a barrier and would result in less savings.

 We sent SMS savings reminders to mobile health wallet users and manipulated the number used in the SMS. The control SMS message had no savings target numbers while the two treatment SMS messages had either a low (10 Kenyan schilling) or high (100 Kenyan schilling) savings target numbers.


The low savings target number resulted in the greatest number of people saving and the highest amount saved. Moreover, users saved greater amounts when they were given any saving target as opposed to not receiving anything.

Why it matters

The SMS study demonstrates the importance of using target numbers when reminding people to save on a mobile health wallet. It is helpful to provide people with target numbers, but more testing is required to determine the optimal figure.