A new Minnesota law allows credit unions to offer cash prizes for people saving money

Want to $100 cold hard cash? How about $500? What about $5,000 pure dinero?  Of course you do.

14 credit unions in Minnesota now offer you those cash prizes for opening a unique savings account with them. The program is called “Wincentive Savings.” A new program made possible by a new Minnesota law that went into effect January 1st allowing financial institutions to raffle cash prizes to customers.

“Wincentive is a great way to encourage people to save in a fun way,” said Andrea Molnau Director of Communication for the Minnesota Credit Union Network.

Here’s how it works -  for every $25 you deposit into your Wincentive Savings account you're signed up to win either a monthly $100, quarterly $500 or annual $5000 cash prize.

“You can earn up to four entries per month,” Molnau said.

To maximize your monthly raffle entries all you have to deposit is $25 a week. That’s $100 across the span of every month -- and unlike the lotto all the cash you deposit is yours to keep.

According to legislative  numbers Minnesotans spend $500 million every year playing the lottery. Yet nearly a quarter do not have a savings account of any kind. The new law allows for prize-linked savings - designed to reverse that trend and encourage more people to put some money away.

“When you look at statistics nationally and in Minnesota, very few people have adequate savings in their account. There's a large number of people who couldn't sustain sort of a $300 unexpected bill in a month and have adequate funds to cover that,” said Rep. Jenifer Loon R-Eden Prairie.  Loon sponsored the bill in hopes of encouraging more Minnesotans to stash their cash.

Rick Blood the senior vice president of member service at U.S. Federal - a participating credit union - says saving can be daunting, but stresses it’s  best to take it one day at a time.

“Sometimes your savings horizon can be out so far you have to wait so long to get to the goal. This gives you an opportunity maybe to win something along the way,” Blood notes. “Six months of income in your savings account is great .For many of us we'd love to have that, but how do you start?

“If you put just a little money aside it starts to add up,” Rep. Loon said.

Because credit unions are non-profit any money they gain goes towards Wincentive  prizes, lower interest rates on loans, and lower fees.

80 credit union branches across the State are participating.

Also worth mentioning, when a similar incentive program called “Save to Win” started in Michigan more than 11,600 people signed up. Every person who did ended up saving  approximately $1,000 by the end of the program’s first year. 

For a full list of participating credit unions click here.