Priming an associations to one’s future self (or dissociations from one’s past self) to drive sign-ups?

In-app prompts
Experiment Type
Field Experiment
Increase program enrollment
Reduce expenses
Focus Areas
Behavioral Concepts
Partner Type

What Happened

It didn't work. Based on these results, this intervention was not sufficient to impact sign-up rates.

Lessons Learned

Although we did not see any difference in sign-up rates, we did see that adding two extra screens to an enrollment flow did not significantly reduce completion rates of the flow.


While overdraft fees and other fees can be detrimental to someone’s overall financial health, people continue to underestimate how much they pay in bank fees. Instead of fighting uphill to motivate people to avoid these bank fees, perhaps we can simply encourage them to opt-in to a system where there are no fees to begin with. To help people not have to pay these fees, we partnered with Chime, an online bank with no monthly fees, no minimum balances, no foreign transaction fees, no overdraft fees or transfer fees.

Key Insights

To help more consumers sign up for Chime, we conducted an in-depth behavioral audit of their sign-up flow, analyzed their conversion data to identify significant drop-off points, and conducted in-depth interviews with Chime employees.

Our analysis led us to two key findings:

  • There’s a limited emphasis on benefits. Their sign-up flow focused on simplifying the amount of inputs a user has to read and process. This is generally a good practice, but our behavioral analysis also found little callout to the benefits of opening a Chime account, that may have attracted applicants in the first place.

  • There’s a long delay before being able to use the card. Due to the time constraints of physically mailing a debit card, and the technical restrictions of Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfers, it takes a couple of days for a user to receive their Chime debit card and activate their account. We know that motivation decreases sharply with time, which was reflected in the data as a sharp drop-off in the number of users who continued on to the activation step.


Together with Chime, we designed an experiment with the goal of increasing conversion, and ultimately savings, through their enrollment flow.

Past research from Dan Bartels and Lance Rips has shown that a closer association with one’s future self can increase one’s desire to save. Similarly, it may be the case that disassociating from one’s past self can increase one’s desire to avoid past sub-optimal financial behaviors. With this in mind, we ran an experiment within their enrollment process.

We tried to leverage this research by randomly presenting new Chime users with either a control screen or one of two experimental screens that force respondents to respond whether they are ready to start or stop being a kind of person.


Just over 31,000 people were shown either the control screen or one of the experimental screens during their sign-up. We did not see any differences in sign-up rates between the three different conditions.

Although we did not measurably change behavior with this experiment, we did learn that adding two extra screens to an enrollment flow did not significantly reduce completion rates of the flow.