American Express Serve Announces Research Pilot to Encourage Consumer Saving

Monday, December 15, 2014

American Express AXP, -0.85% today announced that it is kicking off a research pilot to study consumer savings behaviors using the Serve software platform. This research pilot can help identify new ways to promote saving and explore whether certain behavioral interventions are effective in increasing consumer savings. This program will also help inform research at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the U.S. government agency charged with making financial markets work for American consumers, to better understand how to promote saving among consumers.

Research shows that many Americans, particularly those who are underserved, do not have sufficient savings to buffer them from common emergencies. According to a new study from the Center for Financial Services Innovation and American Express, more than forty percent of Americans describe themselves as struggling to pay bills and credit payments, and more than one fifth have no idea how long they could make ends meet in the event of a job loss1. One of the reasons for this is that many families experience an unpredictability of funds coming and going. Pay days may not be regular, especially when working more than one job or freelancing, and expenses related to auto repairs, illness, or home repairs for common issues like a broken heater can come up unexpectedly. Establishing a savings buffer could benefit consumers by providing liquidity and making them less reliant on high cost borrowing.

“Rarely do researchers have the opportunity to test their theories in real world environments, using actual financial products, and directly with their target customers,” said Neal Sample, President, Enterprise Growth, American Express. “We see tremendous potential in enabling researchers to use our Serve software platform to improve the lives of the financially underserved. This is why we established our Financial Innovation Lab, and it’s why we are pleased to be working on this research pilot.”

Source: Market Watch (link opens in a new window)

financial inclusion