How Banks Use Gamification

Like most industries, the banking industry is influenced by customer demands and how to stand apart from the competition.

Management firm McKinsey & Company found that between 80 and 90% of banking customers in the Nordic countries are open to purchasing digital products for many financial products. This is incredible. This is compared to 50 to 60% of respondents from North America and Southern Europe. What does this mean? That there’s an opportunity for banks to rethink how they provide services.

The banking industry has used game mechanics for some time, especially when it comes to gamifying savings. But it’s about more than making use of a game mechanic, it’s about using gamification to improve the overall experience. 

McKinsey & Company explains that “retail banks have also not kept pace with the improvements in customer experience seen in other consumer industries.” 

Given that banks are evolving slowly, this opens up the industry for competition. And fintech companies have found the opening. In addition to digital being a part of the DNA of fintechs, they also may be more trustworthy to consumers. A recent Trustpilot study found that over 40% of survey respondents considered fintech companies “very trustworthy,” which contrasted sharply with other finance ‘sub-industries’ like personal loan providers, mortgage lenders, and insurance companies. Fintech companies are also known to be more agile, so coupled with being more trustworthy, this shows that banks need to rethink their strategy.

Here’s three examples of gamification being used effectively in the financial industry.

How banks are using gamification

1. Work together to achieve the reward

For years, banks have used different game mechanics to help their customers save. We recently came across a new-to-us example of using a common game mechanic: rewards. The financial services company Barclays launched a credit card in the United States called Barclays Ring. It’s described as a social credit card which includes things like a discussion board and even collecting badges for ‘good’ behavior like switching to paperless billing. 

The reward is interesting, too, because it depends on the entire Barclays Ring cardholder community. Basically if the cardholders collectively stay under an overall percentage of their collective limit, they all receive the reward. 

In addition to providing a potential reward, it also helps encourage card users to work together so that everyone can benefit.

2. Improve the customer experience

Danish bank Jyske Bank decided to create games for kids. While they are available on Jyske Bank’s website for anyone to play anywhere, perhaps more importantly, they were created for children when the families go to visit their bank branch. Jyske Bank recognized that sometimes their customers come in with their children, and they wanted to create a positive experience for the entire family

While this may not be what you typically think about when it comes to customer service, it is a clever way to improve the experience for everyone. 

3. Gamifying savings 

Gamifying savings, in some form, has been used by banks for years. It could be as simple as showing what people in your demographic are saving, to creating a competition. We recently came across a clever example that uses game mechanics, looks like an actual mobile game, and is focused on helping its users save a nest egg of £1,000 in 12 months: Nestlings.

Nestlings uses different creatures to help you in your micro-savings, or a little bit of saving from each purchase. Here are few of the nestlings that will help users save:

  • Shellberate takes 50 pence every Friday to celebrate the end of the week
  • Wonda takes the £2 you save by not taking public transport one day
  • A tall, dark creature (no name) visits your bank account every time you spend money after midnight and takes 75p 

The last one is our favorite. It’s this kind of creativity and relevance that make Nestlings so appealing to us. Nestlings is developed by a fintech company, Thought Machine, and a game studio, Glitchers. It hasn’t launched yet, but we thought it was too cool to leave out. 

What’s next?

There are two main takeaways here:

  1. Banks need to evolve so that they meet their customers needs, or they will be disrupted.
  2. Gamification can be a great tool for banks to use to engage their customers.