The intervention we designed worked as follows. First, we identified 11,000 members of the credit union who had some eating-out spending in the previous three months and who used FinanceWorks (a personal financial management tool that would let us track their actual spending).
Eight thousand of those members were offered the chance to estimate their monthly eating-out spending via an email and the remaining 3,000 were not sent the email and kept as a control.
Those that choose to participate via the email were then shown how their spending compared to people like them (people with similar incomes and household size in their geographic region).
To accomplish this, we collaborated with Plaid to leverage anonymized, aggregated data insights. Plaid empowers consumers to securely connect their financial data with third- party applications. They power some of the top financial tools and services available today, including Clarity Money, Digit and EarnUp.
On that same page, after seeing what other people spend, participants were asked if they wanted to increase, decrease, or keep their spending the same.
Finally, they were also asked how much they planned to spend next month and what cost-cutting behaviors they wanted to commit to.
For the subsample of AZFCU’s population that was using FinanceWorks, we were able to track their real-life transactions and see how their eating out spending changed following the intervention.
Sample screen of social proof intervention