Emails increased myPay account reactivation by military retirees

Military personnel

Military personnel

What was the challenge?

DOD maintains an online platform called myPay to help military retirees manage their finances. While all military retirees automatically have myPay accounts, ~55% of the retiree population had inactive accounts (1.4 million of 2.5 million total retirees). This poses a problem during tax season, when the number of retirees contacting the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) surges as retirees try to either regain access to myPay or request copies of their tax documents.

What was the program change?

We designed 9 different emails to encourage reactivation of myPay accounts prior to the beginning of tax season. We created a baseline email template that added clear action steps to the existing myPay language. Eight additional email variants applied proven insights including: signature variants, emphasizing security, social proofs, and framing.

How did the evaluation work?

Emails were sent in four separate waves over a two month period, using two to three treatments at a time.

What was the impact?

During the two month period, myPay reactivations increased by 4.7 percentage points for those who received emails in comparison to the no-email group. While all email variations produced significant, positive increases in comparison to the no-email group, the most effective email appealed to the security of using myPay to retrieve tax documents, increasing reactivation by 5.45 percentage points.





Project Type

Impact evaluation of program change




Retirement Security

View Abstract (PDF)