Savings accounts are important, but rarely fun. Even when you know that adding money to your savings account will add up, it still feels out of reach, or even like a chore. Centier Bank wanted to get people engaged in saving, and innovate banking, which is how Billinero a savings app that awards cash prizes to its users, came to be.
The savings account app is simple to use and carries no risk – users simply download the app, link their bank account, and make deposits. But there is a twist: for every qualifying $25 deposit, Billinero users earn one entry into a $1,000 monthly prize drawing, and every three qualifying deposits earns users a chance to win a quarterly prize of at least $10,000. Since Billinero launched last summer, winners have claimed $40,000 in prize money.
“The cash prize is definitely the headline,” explained Chris Campbell, Executive Vice President of Billinero and Senior Partner at Centier Bank. “That amount of money can make a big difference in someone’s life. We’ve already heard amazing stories from our winners.”
Cameron Blunt, a Lowell resident, was the first $10,000 quarterly winner last fall. When he started using Billinero, winning was not a realistic possibility in his mind, it was just a fun way to save. When he won, he used the prize money for the honeymoon he and his wife never had the chance to take.
“I was so surprised to be named the first quarterly drawing winner,” Blunt said. “I would use Billinero regardless of the prize incentive, but that definitely helps motivate me to use the app, and therefore, I end up saving more.”
In a stroke of great luck, a healthcare worker from Valparaiso claimed the most recent $10,000 cash prize. Paula Rankin conducts patient lab testing at a veteran’s health clinic and has been working on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With everything going on right now, we aren’t sure if we’ll be affected financially,” she said. “My husband is in ministry, and we’re bracing ourselves for an impact to our income as a result of coronavirus. I work in healthcare, and right now, I go to work every day to help our veterans who need care while trying to keep my family safe, too.”
Campbell said it’s the responsibility of a financial institution to help people get financially healthy, and a recent statistic showing 40 percent of Americans have less than $400 in their savings account was what inspired Billinero.
But how do users win? The prize drawings are randomized, much like a lottery—except unlike a lottery, users don’t risk losing any money in order to win the cash prizes. All they need to do to qualify for the prize money is make deposits into their Billinero account.
“Billinero users can increase their odds of winning by maximizing their deposits, but the winner selection is randomized,” he said. “It’s a wonderful coincidence that we are able to award $10,000 to someone on the frontlines of coronavirus, a small business owner, a U.S. Marine Veteran. The stories we’ve heard from our winners are outstanding, but the real reward for us is that we’re getting Americans back to saving.”
Rankin decided that the most prudent thing to do was save the money.
“I’m going to hold onto it and see what immediate needs come up, since we’re living with so many unknown circumstances right now,” she said. “I really enjoy using Billinero to make small deposits and then sort of forget it is there. It really encourages me to keep saving.”
Centier Bank’s brick and mortar locations are all in their home state of Indiana, but Billinero is open to anyone at least 18 years of age in 12 different states.
“One of the most exciting aspects of Billinero is getting to share our philosophy with people all over the country,” Campbell said. “Our goal is to promote good saving habits, and get people excited to save. Our next $10,000 quarterly drawing is coming up at the end of this month, and we can’t wait to see who is next.”
To learn more about Billinero, visit billinero.com or download it on the App Store or from Google Play. For more information on Centier Bank, visit www.centier.com.