Three online companies have come up with products that could help banks and adviser firms gather college savings assets by offering a compelling proposition: cash in the form of rebates from name stores like Barnes and Noble and Toys R Us.
"This is similar to an employer match on a 401(k) plan. Why should anyone miss out on free money?" asked Jim Doyle, a spokesman for Upromise, a Boston online broker-dealer. "This works because it is simple. You sign up, and you are saving for college just by buying gas, or eating at a restaurant, or shopping at a bookstore or a drugstore."