Being unbanked makes it difficult for low and moderate-income (LMI) households to manage finances, save, and access credit. We assessed effects of an online tax-time savings intervention on savings account openings in the 6 months following tax filing among a sample of4,692 LMI tax filers. Treatment group participants had 60% greater odds of opening a savings account than control group participants (p < .05). However, statistically significant treatment effects were found only for participants who filed early in tax season and only for 5 out of 18 specific interventions. Low-cost messages delivered at tax time can encourage early season LMI tax filers who expect larger refunds to open savings accounts. Findings lend additional empirical support for financial inclusion efforts.
Project: Refund to Savings (R2S)
Despard, M., Grinstein-Weiss, M., de Ruyter, A., Guo, S., Oliphant, J., & Friedline, T. (2018). Effects of a randomized tax-time savings intervention on savings account ownership among low- and moderate-income households. Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning.