Common Cents Lab Reveals New Partners in Effort to Improve Consumer Financial Health Through Behavioral Science

2019 cohort represents commitment to bold experiments that can significantly impact financial decisions relative to savings, college education, and gig economy work

DURHAM, N.C., June 04, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Common Cents Lab, a financial research lab at Duke University supported by MetLife Foundation and BlackRock, today unveiled the 10 new behavioral design partners selected for its work in 2019. Each year, the lab chooses a new group of financial services providers to custom design, test, and launch new features and products that aim to increase financial well-being for millions of low- to moderate-income (LMI) households in America.

This year, the Lab has committed to focusing on bolder interventions that have the potential to reach more people or produce greater positive change in financial decision-making and financial health. The 2019 commitment to “Be Bold” stems from the results of Common Cents’ 2018 Annual Report, which concluded that delivering statistically significant improvements required similarly sizable commitments to change from financial services providers.

“We are excited to begin work with this outstanding group of mission-driven companies,” said Common Cents Lab co-founder Mariel Beasley. “With a strategy to reduce friction and spur motivation for consumers across these projects, we are leveraging innate human tendencies to design products and services that will naturally produce better financial health.”

“When we created Common Cents Lab, we knew that there was power in understanding human behavior and in pairing that with strong product and service design,” said Evelyn Stark, Assistant Vice President, Financial Health of MetLife Foundation. “This investment has paid off to the over 500,000 low- and moderate-income Americans and the institutions that are serving them – all of whom are building stronger financial health each day. And with this next cohort of partners, we anticipate an even bolder impact.”  

This mix of innovative companies and credit unions are focused on helping people earn more Gig Economy shifts, secure an affordable college education, reduce debt, build personal savings, and more. Many have partnered with Common Cents on prior projects and have indicated a potential for significant impact over the course of 2019 and beyond.

2019 cohort partners include:

  • Ascensus: the largest government savings facilitator in the U.S., helping millions of people save for retirement, education, and healthcare.
  • CollegeBacker: a free online service to set up a tax-free 529 college savings plan and grow investments with help from family and friends.
  • Digital Federal Credit Union (DFCU): a Massachusetts-based credit union that offers a variety of banking products and services to more than 800,000 members throughout the U.S.
  • Edquity: a Brooklyn-based edtech/fintech startup that offers a suite of technology platforms for primarily low- and middle-income students to ensure financial stability and access to emergency support.
  • Guadalupe Credit Union (GCU): a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and Juntos Avanzamos designee that provides financial education, products and services to help underserved communities in Northern New Mexico.
  • Simple: a large online bank that combines banking and budgeting into one simple app to help customers achieve financial well-being. 
  • Status Money: a free app that makes spending, saving and debt visible amongst peer groups to promote better financial decision-making through social proof.
  • Steady: a product for gig economy workers to easily find work opportunities and build their careers, as well as manage and better understand their income.
  • Washington State Employees Credit Union (WSECU): a nonprofit financial cooperative with 260,000 members, helping to build financial futures for its members and the Washington community.

“This year’s cohort features larger companies in new sectors that allow us to apply behavioral science principles on a broader scale,” continued Beasley. “We are excited to work closely with these partners to build experiments within fintech, workplace environments and higher education.”

Today, Common Cents also shared the results of its work with behavioral design partners in 2018 as part of its Annual Report. To learn more about participating partners for 2019 please visit the Common Cents partners page.

About Common Cents Lab
Common Cents Lab, supported by MetLife Foundation and the BlackRock Emergency Savings Initiative, is a financial research lab at the Center for Advanced Hindsight at Duke University that creates and tests interventions to help low-to-moderate income households increase their financial well being. Common Cents leverages research gleaned from behavioral science to create interventions that lead to positive financial behaviors. The lab is led by Behavioral Economics Professor Dan Ariely and is comprised of researchers and experts in product design, economics, psychology, public policy, advertising, business administration, and more.

To fulfill its mission, Common Cents partners with organizations, including fintech companies, credit unions, banks and nonprofits that believe their work could be improved through insights gained from behavioral economics. To learn more about Common Cents Lab visit

About MetLife Foundation
At MetLife Foundation, we believe financial health belongs to everyone. We bring together bold solutions, deep financial expertise and meaningful grants to build financial health for people and communities that are underserved and aspire for more. We partner with organizations around the world to create financial health solutions and build stronger communities, engaging MetLife employees to help drive impact. To date, our financial health work has reached more than 6 million low-income individuals in 42 countries. To learn more about MetLife Foundation, visit

About Social Impact at BlackRock
Social Impact at BlackRock’s mission is to help people achieve financial security and opportunity. We partner with nonprofits, start-ups, corporations and our employees to create impact, whether in our own communities or on a global scale.

About BlackRock
BlackRock helps investors build better financial futures. As a fiduciary to investors and a leading provider of financial technology, our clients turn to us for the solutions they need when planning for their most important goals. As of March 31, 2019, the firm managed approximately $6.52 trillion in assets on behalf of investors worldwide. For additional information on BlackRock, please visit

Press Contact:
Michael Azzano
Cosmo PR for Common Cents Lab