Reports

Fulfilling the Promise of FinTech: The Case for a Nonprofit Vision and Leadership

nLIFT, or Nonprofit Leaders in Financial Technology, is a new consortium of leaders from nonprofit organizations around the country. We come from different regions and have different operating models but two things unite us. First, we are committed to working in our respective ways to build the fina…

Rules of Thumb for Loan Repayment

Traditional forms of financial education, such as student loan entrance and exit counseling, have proven immemorable and unimpactful. Alternative and innovative solutions are needed, including rules of thumb. Rules of thumb are simple, memorable, actionable, broadly applicable, and inexpensive to pr…

The Case for a Well-Designed High-Deductible Health Plan

HDHPs are attractive because they provide short-term cost savings on premiums to both the employer and employee. However, unless they are well designed, HDHPs increase the risk of out-of-pocket healthcare expenses for employees. This can lead to medical debt, delayed medical care, missed work, and l…

Financial Security in the Workplace

In America’s human resources community, the moment of “financial wellness” has arrived. In growing numbers, employers are concluding that benefits to support workers’ financial wellbeing should go well beyond retirement benefits. More and more firms believe that personal fina…

WINcentive Savings 2016 Report

This report analyzes the performance of WINcentive Savings accounts throughout 2016, as well as data from a Commonwealth survey administered to WINcentive account holders by their respective credit unions. With the WINcentive survey, Commonwealth aims to understand who holds WINcentive accounts…

Prizes Facilitate Saving by Youth

In the summer of 2015, we worked with the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) to design and pilot a Payroll Savings Program for around 50,000 youth participating in their summer youth employment program. The goal of the program was to encourage young workers to save a …

Building Financial Security Through Integrated Financial Solutions

People’s financial lives are more deeply interconnected than traditional financial products suggest: income impacts expenses; expenses impact savings; savings impacts borrowing; borrowing impacts expenses; and uncertainty impacts everything.  Products that fail to acknowledge these interd…

Increasing Access to U.S. Savings Bonds: Recommendations for Bond Innovation

U.S. Savings Bonds fill a market gap for safe, no-fee, general purpose savings products with low minimum balances and a trusted brand. The Treasury Department can not only preserve bonds as they are currently available—including through the Tax Time Saving Bond Program—but can also take …

Rules of Thumb Toolkit

This toolkit focuses on the design of rules of thumb (ROTs), simple, actionable guidelines that can help consumers with financial decision-making. If designed well, they are easy for consumers to remember and clearly communicate the action required. This toolkit will guide you through a consumer-cen…

Consumer Engagement: Helping People Want What They Need

In partnership with the Asset Funders Network (AFN), Commonwealth wrote this brief to explain the importance of consumer-centric design. The brief includes an actionable framework and examples of how it can be implemented to create a product that consumers want to use.

The Faces of Financial Vulnerability in Greensboro NC

Commonwealth undertook an in-depth research project with a small group of credit union account holders in Greensboro, NC in order to better understand the granularity of challenges faced by the financially vulnerable and the role prize-linked savings accounts can play in engaging with savings a…

Building the Innovation Pipeline: Workshopping Solutions for Financially Vulnerable Consumers

With support from the J. P. Morgan Chase Foundation and the Ford Foundation, Commonwealth tested an interactive design workshop on March 1, 2016, convening a select group of experts to ideate around a specific consumer challenge: How might we combine savings and credit opportunities to help fin…

Behavior Changes and Prize-Linked Savings: Managing Financial Volatility

Consumers from across the income spectrum are faced with the challenge of uncertain income and expenses, but for low- and moderate-income consumers with limited access to financial products and services these challenges are magnified. Commonwealth undertook a year-long study with eight Gre…

Commonwealth 2015 Accomplishments

This report describes Commonwealth's most notable accomplishments that occurred at every stage of the innovation pipeline - discover, design, pilot and scale - in 2015. 

SavingsQuest: Creating Savings Through Gamification

Inspired by innovations in the field of health and fitness, SavingsQuest is a gamified savings app based on the principle that every contribution to a savings product, no matter how small, counts. D2D conducted a pilot of the app with consumers who used a prepaid card with an embedded savings pocket…

SaveYourRefund 2015 Evaluation Report

This report highlights the Save Your Refund 2015 campaign's new engagement techniques and shares insights gained. During its third successful year, SaveYourRefund encouraged over 2,800 consumers to enter and save over $2MM in tax refund dollars.

Opportunities for Innovation in Crowdfunded-Savings

Americans are struggling to save. New technology and new platforms, including crowdfunding, can provide opportunities for vulnerable consumers to access broader networks and leverage online accounts to help cover the costs of financial emergencies. However, most Americans don't even know these o…

Split Save Win: A Reflection on SaveYourRefund 2014

This paper highlights the approach and successes of Save Your Refund's second year. The campaign generated a nearly 400% increase in both dollars saved and number of entries while engaging over 75 community tax preparation sites in its efforts. With nearly 2,800 entrants and $2.6 million saved, …

The Mind of Low- to Moderate-Income Savers

Commonwealth explored receptivity by financially vulnerable families to savings product marketing using a cutting-edge marketing research tool, the Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique (ZMET). ZMET is an innovative research methodology that elicits insights about human decision making through…

Building Mobile Apps for Financial Capability and Access

Produced by D2D Fund and the Center for Financial Services Innovation, this report provides a comprehensive overview of FinCapDev 2013, a nationwide, public competition that supported teams in building mobile apps to help working Americans make smarter financial choices and gain better access to fin…