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The bank account which offers the thrills of lottery and the security of savings

While the UK has had premium bonds for nigh-on 50 years, American charities and policy makers are now pushing a stateside equivalent known as prize-linked savings accounts.

Every deposit is treated as an entry into a raffle, using the thrill of a lottery to encourage people to save.

According to the New York Times, Congressional bills encouraging more prize-based accounts have received bi-partisan support from Democrats who see it as a way to alleviate poverty, and Republicans who support its market-based approach and emphasis on personal responsibility.

The accounts also offer an alternative to traditional lotteries which have long been castigated by economists as a voluntary tax on the poor.

Save to Win is America’s biggest cash-linked savings program, numbering 50,000 accounts.

Account holders get a raffle entry for every $25 deposit.

People with Save to Win accounts often withdraw cash for Christmas and holidays, but quickly build it back up.

“That kind of pattern and activity is more important than the total number of account holders,” program director Joanna Smith-Ramani told the New York Times.

“People are learning how to save and to forecast. That’s a huge psychological shift.”

Brad Allen
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