Wal-Mart has a new program that offers prizes as incentives to get its legion of shoppers to sock away money in saving accounts.
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The "Prize Savings" program features Wal-Mart's branded reloadable pre-paid debit cards, which are linked to a free savings "vault." Savers are given one entry into a monthly prize drawing for every dollar they stash in the vault.
The sweepstakes will award 500 cash prizes every month, with the average prize being about $25. The monthly sweepstakes includes one $1,000 grand prize.
Wal-Mart says the program, launched without fanfare in August, is the first national and retail prize-linked savings program. The move underscores how the world's largest retailer is expanding its financial services, which already includes check cashing and money transfers.