Mobile Technology for Matched Savings

Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), which offer a combination of financial education and matched savings, are an established intervention designed to help low- and moderate-income (LMI) individuals build assets. IDA programs vary in attributes such as match rates, savings goal amounts, program length, communication between savers and administrators, and other variables. Despite the benefits of IDAs, there are challenges that savers and administrators face that make IDAs difficult to scale, such as the associated administrative burden, program attrition, and a lack of efficient technologies.

Many savers struggle to meet their monthly savings goals, stay on track, and access their account information. There is evidence from behavioral economics research that reminders can increase savings and that text message reminders may affect IDA savings behavior.

Given technology’s potential to support low- and moderate-income savers, the Boston Fed sought to learn about efforts to incorporate technology solutions into matched-savings programs. From these learnings, examples of how asset builders incorporated technology either to 1) increase access to saving options and information, 2) respond to behavioral barriers to saving, or 3) simplify the enrollment and usage of savings options will be shared in a forthcoming community development publication.