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Publication Date

March 2016


Jess Dorrance and Lucy Gorham


Center for Financial Services Innovation

The center’s evaluation of PayGoal, a payroll allocation and communication tool bundled with a prepaid card, offers key insights on how low-wage workers can manage financial volatility and improve improve their money management.

For many U.S. consumers, frequent, and sometimes unpredictable, changes in income and expenses can create significant challenges to maintaining financial security. Recent research sheds new light on the issue of financial volatility but there is still much to learn about how to help consumers effectively manage these fluctuations.

This report provides an overview of PayGoal, a product created by Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners (NTFP) to help consumers address cash flow management.

PayGoal is a workplace-based tool designed to help employees budget and allocate wages towards their top financial goals and improve how they save, spend and manage their paychecks.

Through careful tracking of multiple data sources and gathering insights from each phase of development, the PayGoal product journey produced some critical findings:

  • PayGoal users juggle multiple financial needs and aspirations. They have a strong desire to save, but struggle to manage ongoing uncertainty in income and expenses.
  • An analysis of early adopters of PayGoal shows that the tool is reaching the target population and appears to have broad appeal across segments. As expected, registered PayGoal users tend to be young and fairly financially savvy, but demographic differences between users and non-users (those that did not register) were minimal, suggesting interest across a potentially wide audience.
  • The initial take-up rates were solid and indicate an interest in the product offer, but users did not deepen their engagement with the Beta version of the tool. This lack of deeper user engagement over time suggests that there must be a clear value proposition in order to create greater consumer impact. Importantly, however, the data do suggest that users are willing to engage with a mobile-version of the product.
  • The delivery channel for reaching users and the timing of the offer are important considerations for enrollment. Some questions remain, however, about how PayGoal can best leverage the employee/employer relationship and effectively capitalize on the moment of receiving a paycheck, as well as the systems and processes that surround that profound moment.
  • An iterative product journey is challenging but can lead to more effective consumer products and solutions. This approach to product development requires diligent attention to data, a curiosity and openness to unexpected findings, and a willingness to pivot the product when needed. The result, however, is an efficient progression in creating a tool that best meets user’s needs.


Topics(s): Financial Capability, Financial Inclusion, Savings & Asset-Building