SavingsGoals: How Cowrywise helps users replace the habit of betting with the habit of saving

4 Mins read

SavingsGoals started out as a conversation about the possibility of helping people save whenever their favourite football team scored. For a team with people who have diverse interests (with some knowing little about football), it sparked an interesting conversation that ended with an action plan to be shared with the engineering team.

The first step was to figure out how our systems will know that a football team scored. As well as having the intelligence to automatically debit fans without anyone manually handling the process every single time.

The beauty of a tech startup

This is where the strength of a tech startup is displayed. In tech, anything is possible (to a large extent). No matter how absurd an idea seems at first, when it is well thought out, it can become something formidable!

How we set up SavingsGoals 

The engineering team set up a backend service that sources global football events through an API (Application Programming Interface – more on this below). This backend service does the heavy lifting and through the API, tells us when a match is starting and ending. It also sends the goal scorers, the number of goals and if the team won or lost the match.

Let’s say Arsenal is playing against Chelsea today, this API will notify us about this match and then will give in-depth details about how the match went. With this in place, we do not need to have someone in front of a TV, “monitoring” how matches go. Currently, it monitors and gives info about 10 major teams, however, we currently have 8 football savings teams on the app.

The 8 are:

  • Barcelona – Culers
  • Manchester City – Boys in blue 
  • Arsenal – Gunners
  • Liverpool – Never walk alone
  • PSG – This is Paris
  • Manchester United – Red devils
  • Real Madrid – Hala Madrid
  • Chelsea – Up blues!

How users are building wealth with SavingsGoals

When you join a SavingsGoal, you will automatically save N500 every week in your SavingsGoal plan. This continues until the first time your team scores. Once your team scores, you will then begin saving N500 only when your team scores a goal. 

Whenever a team scores, we multiply the number of goals by N500 and charge the user. This means that each goal saves N500 for you (Note: You can always top up the plan with more funds whenever you want). So, imagine you’re a Liverpool fan and your team is playing today; if they score 3 goals, you will automatically save N1,500.

If your team does not score a goal, nothing happens. 

Also, each SavingsGoal has a leaderboard where you can see who has saved the most. This encourages healthy competition in each team as the person leading rarely wants to “lose” to someone else.

What is an API?

For a non-technical person, API is like magic 🙂. 

Essentially, it’s what connects different technical programs or systems, such that software can interface and seamlessly offer a service to other pieces of software. An API allows 2 or more different systems to communicate in a language they all understand.

For example, Cowrywise is set up to help users automatically save and invest. Now, we’re building an API that allows other tech companies to offer this same service to their users – without having to go through the work of building a separate app for this purpose. 

For example, MTN is a tech company providing airtime services to millions of users. By just plugging into our API, MTN would be able to offer additional wealth-management services to users without them having to sign up directly on Cowrywise. This way, MTN could use our API to give additional benefits to users at no extra cost to them. 

See why I earlier said it’s like magic? But it’s not. It’s a truckload of codes set up to make things work smoothly on the front end. 

Has anything ever gone wrong with SavingsGoals

I asked our Senior Backend Engineer this question and got a really great answer. We all know that as great as tech is, it bugs breaks sometimes. Thankfully though, the Savings Goals API has had a 99% uptime so far, with everything working as it should.

Fulfilment beyond tech uptime

It is one thing to ideate as a team, it is another thing for users to use and love that idea when it’s live. 

For us, success is measured by how many people join these SavingsGoals and how many keep using them. So far, about 4000 people are in the 8 savings goals, with some being in more than one SavingsGoal – which is what happens when you love two things almost equally

Since its inception, the Football Savings Goals have grown month on month and as a team, we’re excited that people get to exchange football betting habits with automated football savings habits (where they still get to earn interests.)

Why this is a big deal

One of the main reasons we introduced SavingsGoals was to help people replace the habit of sports betting. As harmless as betting might seem, it can lead to addiction and the loss of your hard-earned money.

According to Scientific American, “Ten years ago the idea that someone could become addicted to a habit like gambling the way a person gets hooked on a drug was controversial… Now researchers agree that in some cases gambling is a true addiction.”

SavingsGoals on Cowrywise

This poll had 239 votes in total. It is alarming that out of 42% of people who have tried sports betting in the past, the majority at 34% have lost money. This isn’t a surprise because betting is not a money habit that eventually leads to wealth. You can get lucky a few times, but it is not sustainable. 

You might find this Twitter thread interesting.

Instead of building on a habit that can potentially damage you, SavingsGoals help you cultivate a money habit that is positive and sustainable.

“…doing well with money has a little to do with how smart you are and a lot to do with how you behave” ― Morgan Housel, The Psychology of Money

With SavingsGoals, we’re helping people do better with money.

What’s next? 

With the success and growth that SavingsGoals have experienced, we’re determined to do more. With more triggers that people are emotionally attached to, it means that you can automatically save and invest, say after booking a movie ticket, or after completing a ride.

It is still early stages with SavingsGoals and we’re excited to see other features that this births.

Now, over to you 😊

And this is where you come in…

What triggers will you like to see on Cowrywise? What things do you love and enjoy and would love to build the habit of saving and investing upon?

Please share with us in the comments. We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Don’t have a Cowrywise account yet? Then, start building wealth that lasts here.


Football, fandom and wealth – For the love of the game

How to Stop Gambling and Save Money

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