Our Impact Our Impact

In this section, you will find briefs, research reports, videos, and infographics that describe our work and the impact it has had on building financial security and opportunity. At Commonwealth we believe that sharing the results of our work inspires others to act.

See below for our featured publications. You can also access All Publications here.


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…

Savers Win at Tax Time: Testing Digital Strategies to Promote Tax Time Saving

Commonwealth and EARN tested a pledge and prize campaign to promote tax-time saving among the digital community of low-income people on EARN’s SaverLife platform. Our goals were to better understand the behavior of financially vulnerable people at tax time, explore strategies to drive tax time…

Tax Time and Beyond: Future Directions for Advancing Financial Security

Tax time is a unique and critical opportunity for financially vulnerable people to build financial security. While there have been some efforts to build financial security at tax time, more can be done to help people take advantage of the tax time moment. Tapping a wide range of perspectives, C…

The State of Prize-Linked Savings

Prize-linked savings (PLS) is a proven, innovative, and engaging approach in which savers can earn chances to win prizes by making savings deposits. Commonwealth has been the leading voice for advancing the concept of PLS in the United States for over a decade. During that time, PLS has expanded in …

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…

SaveYourRefund 2018

Learn more about the winners and savers from SaveYourRefund 2018.

Integrated Product Design to Build Savings

In December 2017, Commonwealth and The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston (Boston Fed) hosted a Savings Innovation convening focused on integrated product design. Twenty-one banks, credit unions, and nonprofits in the region gathered to discuss financial security challenges and approaches to addressing…

Six Years of SaveYourRefund

SaveYourRefund (SYR) completed its sixth successful year in 2018. Learn about how it has grown and the impact it has made on tax filers across the country.

Webinar: The Changing Nature of Work

The nature of work has changed, and will continue to change, in ways that are hard to predict. But, all indications are that traditional full-time work for one employer will continue to diminish, while other forms of work arrangements flourish. Commonwealth has engaged in research to increase knowle…

The Changing Nature of Work: Amplifying the Voice of the Financially Vulnerable Worker

For many people, the nature of work is in flux. All indications are that the Traditional full-time job with one employer will continue to become less common as other work arrangements flourish. Those Non-Traditional alternatives are themselves evolving rapidly. To increase knowledge about how these …

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…

Raise-Centered Financial Security Strategies: Findings From Rise with the Raise

Across the country, financially vulnerable workers are witnessing increases to their take-home pay as companies boost compensation and jurisdictions raise statutory minimum wages. Through pilot interventions and consumer research with hundreds of workers, Commonwealth has studied how wage hikes…

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…

SavingsQuest: Gamification Brings Savings to the 21st Century

Commonwealth designed and tested a gamified savings app called SavingsQuest, a modern, accessible approach that facilitates microsaving and reinforces the principle that every contribution counts. As a gamified experience, the app makes engaging in savings behavior more interesting and desirable. Le…

SavingsQuest Infographic

Even with access to savings products, consumers still struggle to actually save. Engagement with video games, however, continues to soar. The problem is that saving just isn't fun, and it isn't associated with immediate rewards. We developed a solution that combines savings with the fun and …

Prize-Linked Savings in Credit Unions: 2017

In 2017, Prize-Linked Savings (PLS) products continued to expand and reach more people. All three of the PLS products highlighted in this piece saw growth, from the flagship Save to Win (STW) product to the two new products from 2016, WINcentive Savings Accounts (WSA) from the Minnesota Credit Union…

Commonwealth 2017 Accomplishments

In 2017, we developed new ideas, tested innovative solutions, and worked with partners to improve the lives of financially vulnerable Americans at scale. Here are just a few examples of the work we're proud of from 2017.

Minimum Wage Survey Results

In 2017, Commonwealth conducted a national survey of minimum wage workers. Our goal was to better understand the unique perspectives and financial challenges of those workers. This infographic shows some of what we learned.

Addressing the Emergency Savings Challenge

In June 2017, Commonwealth and The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston (“the Boston Fed”) hosted a convening, “The Emergency Savings Innovation Challenge,” to invite banks, credit unions and key regulators in the region to discuss the financial insecurity crisis and approaches to …

Walmart MoneyCard Prize Savings: One Year Anniversary Brief

Innovative financial products can help financially vulnerable people save money. Walmart’s MoneyCard Prize Savings program, designed in partnership with Green Dot Bank and Commonwealth, is demonstrating that case. Prize Savings uses the chance to win cash prizes to make saving fun and to engag…