Saving to Win: Extended prize-linked savings accounts OK’d by House with Kilmer bill

And the winners are … people who save.

The U.S. House of Representatives on Monday passed a bill introduced by Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Gig Harbor) that would allow banks to join credit unions in offering “prize-linked savings” programs.

The bi-partisan American Savings Promotion Act would allow banks and federally chartered financial institutions to offer customers a chance to win prizes, with entries based on the amount deposited into special savings accounts.

The Center for Financial Services Innovation in May called prize-linked savings accounts a “top impact innovation” and one of the best ways to encourage workers and families to save more by offering rewards for savings.

“A lot of families on our region are still struggling financially and many have had a tough time building savings,” Kilmer said in a Monday release. “By allowing more community financial institutions to offer prize-linked savings accounts, we can help folks build savings and be more financially prepared for what life can throw at them.

“The worst thing that can happen is that people save more money,” he said.

A companion bill has been introduced in the U.S. Senate, where it awaits consideration.