H&R Block does pilot study with CFPB on use of their prepaid card

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Tax preparation company H&R Block, in a study done with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), found that emails notices and incentives were effective ways to encourage customers to use their prepaid card.

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The study, “Planning for Tax-Time Savings,” randomly assigned a subset of H&R Block’s prepaid card customers to one of three groups. One group was sent an email with a message encouraging them to save using a savings feature on the prepaid card, one was sent an email message offering them a $5 incentive to save on the card, and one was not sent any savings message.

The study showed that the message that included the incentive offer was most effective at encouraging customers to use their prepaid card, but the message simply encouraging customers to save also increased the number of customers using the prepaid card compared to customers who were not sent any savings-related message.

Further, the study found that customers who made a deposit into the savings feature before tax time were more likely to make a deposit at tax time than customers who did not.

“One of my priorities is to move the needle in the number of Americans who can cover a financial shock,” CFPB Director Kathleen Kraninger said. “There are many statistics underscoring the lack of savings, including a recent one by the Federal Reserve showing that 40 percent of Americans would turn to credit to cover a $400 emergency. As the Bureau continues to identify solutions to encourage consumers to save, the results from this study shows that even with small encouragement, consumers will save.”

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