Saving money isn’t sexy. Today’s hottest savings apps, like Acorns and Digit, take that premise as a given, encouraging users to entrust their saving habits to algorithms that set aside a dime here, a dollar there. “Our long-term stance is to introduce … new ways to help our customers grow their accounts over time automatically in the background of life,” says Acorns CEO Noah Kerner.
New entrant WinWin, which launched this week in the App Store, has taken a different tack. In WinWin, saving money is front and center–and it requires attention and effort. The app revolves around a weekly $1,000 giveaway, distributed on Friday. Each dollar a user has set aside through WinWin doubles as a “lottery ticket,” and a chance to win the $1,000 prize. (The app also encourages users to play daily games that boost their chances, via digital and cash rewards.)
Founder David Ronick, who cofounded investing app Stash, has been developing WinWin since last July. “Americans just suck at savings, but we lose more money on gambling than any other country in the world,” he says. In 2016, for example, Americans spent $44.7 billion on instant or scratch tickets. WinWin, which plans to target the 138 million Americans struggling to get by, is an attempt to harness that bad behavior for good.
Like Acorns and Digit, WinWin is relying on subscriptions to fund its operations. Acorns charges $1/ month (for accounts under $5,000), Digit charges $2.99, and WinWin charges $2. The startups say that their users prefer the transparency of a set-rate monthly payment to the variability of traditional banking fees.
WinWin pools dollars deposited via its platform in a Wells Fargo account, and plans to pass the interest that accrues back to its users. The app also allows for distribution of funds without cost. “I want to keep it guilt free,” Ronick says. “I want you to be able to take out money for stuff that’s important to you.”
WinWin has raised $1.5 million in seed funding. At the time of launch, 20,000 people had added their names to the WinWin waitlist.