Saver Survey Reveals Most Save Money in Traditional Bank and Credit Union Accounts and Save Money Automatically

Survey Also Finds Differences Between Those Under 25 and Those Over 35 Years of Age

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Washington - Today, America Saves released the results of a survey of America Savers that details the products and methods they use to save money – not counting savings for retirement. The survey revealed that a majority of respondents continue to use traditional bank and credit union savings accounts to save and save automatically. The report also highlights the difference in saving products and saving methods used by those under 25 years of age compared to those over 35. 

The online survey was undertaken by America Saves in August of 2015. Respondents, America Savers who had taken the America Saves pledge between January 2012 and July 2015, were recruited through direct emails. By taking the America Saves pledge, individuals identify a savings goal, an amount to save monthly, and a time period to save for – creating the simplest of saving plans. 1,389 America Savers completed the survey. While the results of this survey cannot necessarily be generalized to the entire America Saves community, the findings provide insights into the savings attitudes and behaviors of America Savers.

Predominance of Bank and Credit Union Savings Products

For the second year in a row, respondent’s top two primary savings vehicles included a traditional bank savings accounts (43%) or a credit union savings accounts (20%). This remains fairly constant from last year’s survey where 34% reported saving in a bank savings account and 30% in a credit union savings account. Noteworthy is that respondents under 25 were much less likely to choose credit union savings accounts as their primary saving method.

“This along with other data from the Consumer Federation of America and America Saves continues to show that basic savings accounts remain important savings products for Americans, especially for low- to moderate-income families,” said America Saves Director Nancy Register.

However, respondents also reported using non-traditional savings products as one of the ways they save money. When asked “not counting savings for retirement, which of the following do you use for putting money aside as savings” 34% of respondents reported using their checking account, a transaction account that is not optimal for saving, and 21% reported using a safe place at home, where they make no interest and risk losing their money if lost or stolen. When asked “which is the primary savings product or option you use,” only 10% chose a checking account and 6% choose a safe place at home.

Predominance of Automatic Savings Methods

Saving automatically through direct payroll deposit (39%) and automatic electronic funds transfer (25%) remained the top two selected savings methods by America Saves survey respondents. Nearly two-thirds of respondents use one of these automated methods as their primary way to save.

“For years, savers have told us that setting up automatic savings is one of the best ways to save because they can set it and forget it. America Saves promotes automatic savings as the best way to save and these results highlight the key role this method plays in the lives of responding savers,” said Register.

Differences Among Youth and Older Savers

Compared to those age 35 and older, those under 25 were:

  • Much less likely to select “credit union savings” or “money market” as the main savings products they use.
  • More likely to select “checking account” or “safe place at home” as the main product they use to save.
  • Much less likely to select “automatic electronic funds transfer” and “website” as their main savings method used.
  • More likely to select “ATM or teller,” “mobile app,” or “prepaid card” as their main savings method used.
  • Somewhat less likely to “agree” that the products they use help them save, are convenient, are easy to understand, and feel safe.
  • More likely to choose saving for education, motor vehicle, and special event.

Saving for Multiple Goals

The majority of respondents reported saving for multiple goals. Only 16 percent reported they were saving for just one goal. Nearly a third (33%) of respondent’s selected three goals, nearly a quarter (22%) selected four or five goals, and a quarter (22%) selected two goals.

Download the full report:

America Saves, a campaign managed by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America, seeks to motivate, encourage, and support low- to moderate-income households to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth. Nonprofit, government, and corporate groups participate in America Saves nationally and through local, regional, and statewide campaigns around the country. America Saves encourages individuals and families to take the America Saves pledge and organizations to promote savings year-round and during America Saves Week. Learn more at and

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