Why so serious? – Gamification trends in the banking industry
As pointed out in many articles gamification is a trend that started creeping into every aspect of our lives. You can lose weight, do shopping or just plainly play online games that encourages you to continue engagement by using game mechanics. But also gamification is more and more adopted by businesses. In the most cases this is to strengthen brand loyalty and improve customer engagement. But why should gamification be a good idea particularly for the finance industry? Because people hate banking. Most people don’t have a warm feeling in their heart when they think of managing their finances. To most of us it is a boring and unloved chore. Yet everyone has to do it. Given these preconditions banking activities scream for including a little more fun to become more exciting and enjoyable.
But not only bank customers could benefit from a little more fun. According to BBVA, demographic data backs up the idea of gamification being an effective means to attain a customer group that financial service providers are particularly interested in. 53% of gamers are between the ages of 18-49 and 55% play games on mobile devices, the future face of financial institutions.
Current examples of gamification applied in banks show basically two different approaches – using games to deliver financial education to customers or providing rewards and applying game psychology to increase costumer´s product and service engagement.
One example of the first category is the game 56 sage street from Barclays. In this free online game, situated in an interactive virtual city, players learn basic money management and life skills, working their way up levels by mastering life lessons and making wise financial decisions. There is also games out there just for children like the Great Piggy Bank Adventure®. This for example, is supposed to teach children the importance of wise financial planning and key financial concepts as inflation or asset allocation. Apparently something that is deemed to be very important to learn at the age of four.
An illustration for the second case is the BBVA Game. This game wants customers to create a profile and make financial operations online, watch videos or answer questions about BBVA. Doing so will gain you points that can be exchanged for online music or videos or other awards like lottery coupons to win tickets for the Spanish Football League.
Whereas these examples sound somewhat entertaining for costumers there are also critical voices raised against following the gamification trend in the finance industry. Some argue that mixing a game into business that should be taken very seriously just won´t be widely accepted by clients. Finances are a quite sensitive matter and introducing playful concepts to deal with money might undermine banks reputation of being a thoughtful and earnest partner. As the reluctance to adopt gamification concepts in Northern American banks exemplifies, this notion currently still seems to prevail in the majority of banks.
What do you as a costumer think? Would you engage in or promote educational banking games or playful quests for banking rewards? If so, which concept would you think will be most successful in the future? Or do you think that banks should waive this trend and stick to being serious because that´s what you expect from someone who is responsible for managing your finances?