Six Washington credit unions are launching a prize-linked savings program this month. Essentially, credit union members, at the participating credit unions, can open a twelve-month share certificate with a minimum $25 deposit. For that deposit and each subsequent deposit of at least $25, the member is entered into both a monthly drawing and an annual drawing. An individual can have up to 10 entries per month. There are monthly drawings with multiple winners and prizes totaling up to $5,000. The annual prize is $5,000 and will be drawn in April 2014. Even if a participant does not win, that person still has the money that was saved plus any interest earned. A chance to win comes without the risk of losing.
The program is called Save to Win and Washington is one of four states offering the program. The program primarily targets the “un-banked and under-banked” and helps them become prepared to reach their goals and survive every day emergencies. It has been successful in Michigan as well as other countries. However, the program is almost two years in coming. The Washington Legislature and Governor signed the law that permits the credit union to implement the prize linked savings in May 2011. It took a new law because as with most states, only states are allowed to run a lottery and other gambling is prohibited or restricted; the prize-linked savings product is essentially a lottery or gambling program because ultimately it is a game of chance.
So if you are a Washington resident, why not take a chance and save?