SaveUp Courts PayPal Prepaid Users with Prizes

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In SaveUp's first foray into the payments industry, the financial management provider is linking its reward program to PayPal's prepaid MasterCard.

The partnership will help SaveUp attract younger consumers, such as those in the Generation Y and Millennial demographics, says Priya Haji, CEO and Co-founder of SaveUp.

SaveUp has a gamified approach to rewards, encouraging positive actions rather than focusing solely on budgeting. "You can actually reward people for paying bills and paying down their debts," Haji says.

By linking to SaveUp, PayPal's prepaid customers would be eligible for prizes such as gift cards and up to $2 million in cash. SaveUp offers credits that can be applied to rewards such as vacations, scholarships, music downloads, ringtones and other items. These rewards are funded through sponsorships, advertising and referrals.

This model encourages "doing smart things with a prepaid card, such using direct deposit or maintaining an active balance on the card, or paying off student loans," Haji says.

SaveUp uses Intuit's aggregation technology to allow users view their financial accounts and track progress toward goals that motivate consumers to adopt healthy financial habits.

For PayPal, the SaveUp program should encourage consumers to use the card more often and for a longer period of time, Haji says. "If you can make a card a more compelling choice, there's a better chance it will go to the top of the consumer's wallet," she says.

SaveUp introduced a mobile app in late 2013 also offers its services to financial institutions on a co-branded basis.

PayPal has offered a prepaid MasterCard for about two years through an agreement with NetSpend, a unit of TSYS.

Users can also receive rewards for linking SaveUp to PayPal's digital wallet. "They can also link accounts such as student loans or 401(K) accounts," Haji says. Rewards are often used to encourage adoption of mobile wallets.

SaveUp hopes to leverage gamification to increase engagement with users. There's evidence that using elements of gaming can improve customer engagement because it evokes positive emotions, as well as more of a willingness to attempt something new.

SCVNGR's LevelUp uses elements of gaming in its mobile payment app, which rewards users with customization options for repeated visits to LevelUp merchants. Pizza Hut in Brazil 

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