Text Messages Can Make You Save More Money

Could a text message make you save more?

A new study says yes.

American researchers conducting a study overseas teamed up with banks to send text messages to consumers to remind them to save. There was a 16% increase in savings account balances by the cohort that got messages pointing out how the bank offered specific incentives for consistent deposits.

However, the messages that pointed out the bad things that could happen if you don’t save money did not affect the amount of money saved.

This could be a good strategy for US banks looking to shore up deposits (provided the service was opt-in, of course). Another idea is that you could program some self-help messages, personal finance or otherwise, into some kind of automated online text message service to help you reach your goals. I would probably use the calendar function on my phone because it pushes meeting reminders to the front of my phone.

What messages would you send yourself? What service would you use to do it?

Text Messages: Bad 4 Grmr, Good for Savings [WSJ via Consumer Reports Money Blog] (Photo: sfxeric)


Edit Your Comment

  1. FatLynn says:

    What kind of “incentives” are being offered? Interest?

  2. joshuadavis says:

    I’ve found the alerts Mint sends out to be highly helpful in reducing unneeded spending. So the results of this study don’t surprise me.

  3. savvy999 says:

    Or…. banks could raise savings (or short term CD) rates to the point where they actually beat inflation.

    Want people’s money? Make it attractive for potential and current clients to give it to you. Where’s the competition for attractive rates? Just looking at bankrate.com, seems like it’s a race to the bottom, not any sort of “market” to speak of in regards to good rates.

    A text message asking me to put my money into an account making 0.25% isn’t going to do crap. Move that decimal over, and I’ll on it. My money (and everyone else’s) flows quite easily in the direction of nice returns.

  4. CaptZ says:

    Text messages also save you tons of time. And as we all know, time = money.

  5. MercuryPDX says:

    “This Text Message just cost you ten cents.”

    • azntg says:

      @MercuryPDX: More like fifteen or twenty cents!

      (Which would offset whatever savings I’d get from saving in the first place – especially with today’s savings rates)

  6. floraposte says:

    Just to clarify, the researchers seem to be American, not overseas (two of them are named, and one’s at Darmouth and the other’s at Yale); it’s just that they conducted their research overseas.

  7. Colonel Jack O'Neill says:

    Ppl r s stpd f thy nd t gt txt rmndng thm t sv mny.

    Why nt d t yrslf, why th hll wld smn nd t b snt txt fr.

  8. props-nyc says:

    articles about text message reminders can also increase savings by 6%

    at least it did for me this month… this just made me go schedule a transfer

    • flugennock says:

      Can someone please explain to me how — at a cost to me of, what, ten cents per message — I’m supposed to save money being SMS-spammed by my bank?

  9. SPENCERG says:

    I would send myself a text message reminding me of the pitfalls I should stay away from during the week, and have it be sent “from Future SpencerG”.

    • XTC46 says:

      @SPENCERG: See, this is a great idea. Im going to build a website that can schedule texts messages to be sent at a specific time, so I can remind drunk xtc46 not to go to the beach at 3am next saturday

  10. whysthsncnsmrst says:

    Bank account texting is pretty nifty. I have a homemade Excel register and bump it up against my “transactions over $1.00” texts every morning. It is a lot more portable and I can also keep better track of the little charges that would be forgotten about.

  11. Blueskylaw says:

    “Could a text message make you save more?”

    Nope. After my Verizon phone started downloading songs on its own and Verizon wouldn’t credit my account I turned off the data option.

    It’s also been a huge timesaver because now I don’t get a text asking “hows work?”. If you feel it’s important to know “hows work?”, you have to give me a call.

  12. quirkyrachel says:

    Interesting. That sounds similar to a study that looked at helping people lose weight. They found that a simple email reminder or phone call during the week helped people stay on track with their food/exercise goals.