Muscle Shoals, ALABAMA—For explorers Lewis and Clark, it was the American northwest. For aviator Charles Lindbergh, it was a nonstop flight across the Atlantic.

According to Listerhill Vice President of Marketing Kristen Mashburn, the adventure for Listerhill’s team was exploring a new kind of kids account to replace one it had in place for more than twenty years.

“Listerhill is proud to announce that we have launched Explorer Rewards,” said Mashburn. “We’re happy to provide this exciting new savings account to our members 5-14 years old.”

Through Explorer Rewards, members can make deposits and earn online rewards redeemable toward tickets for destinations such as zoos, ball games, museums, or amusement parks, according to Mashburn.

Like the Lewis and Clark expedition or Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight, Mashburn said that creating a new youth savings account was challenging and unpredictable, but ultimately rewarding.

However, looking around the financial services industry to find inspiration proved frustrating, said Mashburn.

“Everywhere we searched for ideas, we ran into the same idea,” said Mashburn. “It forced us to think holistically about what our young members want and need and then to go out and build it.”

Mashburn said that Listerhill’s goal was not only to revamp their kids account, but also to offer a rewards system that would encourage young savers to interact with an account more closely tied to Listerhill’s brand. This meant using actual members as the faces of the account rather than focusing on a children’s character, Mashburn said.

“We also wanted to create something that not only appeals to kids through event-based activities, but that also allows them to form a stronger emotional bond with their parents,” said Mashburn. “Through Explorer Rewards, our members can create lasting memories and experiences with their families through their interaction with this account.”

“With Explorer Rewards, we want to get our young members more excited about not only saving, but also exploring new adventures through rewards received by developing strong saving habits,” said Listerhill Marketing Manager Drew Edwards. “We’ve already seen a very positive response to this new account.”

Edwards said that current members recently received their Explorer Rewards welcome kits in the mail, which each included a membership card with a unique Navigation Code. Parents or guardians of the members could then log on to listerhill.com/explorer to create the online rewards account along with registering any of their children who received membership cards with Navigation Codes.

“When members successfully created their accounts, they saw that they had already earned stars through recent deposits that could be redeemed toward rewards,” said Edwards. “They can also see all rewards we offer along with some that are possible through just a few more deposits.” Edwards added that a star is awarded to the member’s online reward account one business day after a deposit is made to the member’s savings account.

Once Explorer Rewards members earn rewards from multiple adventures, they qualify for online badges, Edwards said.

“We want to make savings not only more fun, but especially more rewarding,” said Edwards. “The gamification of this account makes it more appealing to kids who are already used to playing games online.”

To create more excitement about the new account, Edwards said that a point-of-sale piece is being employed in each Listerhill branch featuring a free paper hat that young members can fold, wear, and even encourage their parents to post to social media.

“The hat has its own social media hashtag so that our members can share photos showing where Explorer Rewards takes them in their adventures,” added Edwards.

 “Explorer Rewards is one example of how Listerhill strives to serve the needs of our members at whatever stage of life they may be,” said Brad Green, President/CEO of Listerhill Credit Union.  “Whether it is our Good Start, Explorer Rewards, The Hill, Pick 5, or Young At Heart accounts, Listerhill members of any age can find an account vehicle to take them where they want to go.”

About Listerhill Credit Union

Listerhill Credit Union is a nonprofit, member-owned financial cooperative.  Founded by Shoals residents 62 years ago, Listerhill has grown to include 81,000 members, $639 million in assets and 18 branches serving northwest Alabama and south central Tennessee.  For more information, please visit http://www.listerhill.com/services/savings/explorer-rewards or call 800-239-6033.