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How to Use Gamification in Banking to Increase Customer Engagement

The utilization of banking apps has been steadily growing over the past several years. The pandemic outbreak has fueled innovation even further, making more banks rapidly digitize their customer services. In its recent survey, S&P Global Market Intelligence revealed that the use of mobile banking apps increased from 20% in 2020 to 65% in 2021. Whereas 88% of respondents said that they’ll continue using banking apps after the pandemic officially ends.

A rapid rise in banking app popularity and changes in consumer shopping behavior due to the pandemic has led to growing competition among banks. To attract more customers and keep the existing ones, banking institutions have to search for new ways to engage their clients. One of the viable ways to do so is to implement in their apps successful digital and marketing trends borrowed from other industries. That’s why many banks have started adopting elements of gamification in their online banking services.

In this article, you’ll find out what is gamification, how to implement gamification in finance, and what is the further potential of this trend in the banking industry.

What Is Gamification in the Business Environment?

Modern customers place high demands on the goods and products they choose, including banking apps. For a customer to keep using a banking app, it’s not enough to provide them with a solution that only performs some basic functions.

Today’s banking apps should include a number of features such as swift and errorless fulfillment of financial operations, strong data security, and elements of entertainment. The mix of these three aspects results in effective and attractive FinTech solutions. Given that, in one of its recent researches, McKinsey has found out that during the pandemic crisis 75% of customers tended to easily switch among brands, trying new ones, including banking services. All these increase the chances that potential customers will try a banking app and carry on with it.

Gamification of digital solutions is a viable strategy for banks to engage with their customers and make them use their apps more often. It involves a novelty aspect that motivates customers to discover more and, as a result, spend more time in a banking app.

More and more banks are ready to implement gamification in their apps, though they do it with caution as irrelevant game elements can damage their apps’ reputation. Thus it is important to include the relevant gamification features in the banking app. Let’s investigate some of the most widely used ones below.

Key Gamification Features to Include

Although the term ‘gamification’ derives from the word ‘game’ it expands beyond the idea of solely customer entertainment and involves a wide range of marketing techniques. This way, by implementing gamification elements in their apps, banking institutions can encourage their customers to perform certain activities or change their behavior in the app.

Here is how banks can utilize gamification features in their FinTech solutions:

  • earning points for unlocking progress by accomplishing some tasks in users’ customer journeys, e.g. keeping a certain sum of money on their account throughout a month, paying most of the services via a credit card for two weeks, etc.;
  • gaining new levels – this shows a visible progress of a customer from a beginner to an advanced user level; banks can give some discounts or add extra services as a customer moves towards a higher level;
  • leaderboards encourage customers participate with each other, progressing in the app to a new level; by using this social element, banks can stimulate their users to spend more time in the app and discover their services better;
  • progress charts is an effective way to show app users how much effort they need to put to achieve next level in their competition; charts can be highly-motivating for the users, especially if they can share their progress with other competitors;
  • badges are another great feature to show what a user have already done in the app and visualize their achievements;
  • avatars are an element of customisation; banks should give their customers a chance to distinguish themselves from other users in the app;
  • quests is an effective tool to encourage users learn more about bank services or turn tedious tasks into a pleasant customer journey;
  • polls are a great way to receive customer feedback or gather more data on the app users to make it more adapted to their wants and needs;
  • lotteries can be used as a tool for bringing positive emotions; an element of luck is always fascinating and engaging, especially for those who love playing games;
  • Easter eggs can help banking apps to keep up with the latest social-media trends; they can be used only as a bonus but establish a closer connection with customers by including the sociocultural background they come from.

Benefits of Gamification in Banking

Apart from being an excellent marketing instrument, gamification helps banks educate their customers and increase their session/communication time with the banking app. Here are some other benefits that gamification can offer banks:

  • increase fund deposits;
  • form saving habits and cultivate a money-saving mindset;
  • better inform customers on the latest products, updates, and services;
  • simplify complicated customer journeys when using complex banking services;
  • provide more insights on customers’ preferences and other data;
  • spread financial literacy among customers of various ages from a young age to elderly users.

Examples of Gamification in the Banking Industry

There is a wide range of examples of how gamification is implemented in practice in the banking industry. Let’s have a look at the most prominent ones:

  • The BBVA game from a Spanish bank. The bank has launched a game where users earn points for watching educational videos on how to work with the service. These videos include diverse topics from how to perform simple banking transactions to how to pay taxes online. Customers can pay with their points for various services such as music downloading or movie streams. The app has become super-popular among users and currently accounts for over 150,000 users with 4.4 stars in Google Play.
  • Emirates NBD Bank Fitness Account is the app that according to the creators “turns health into wealth”. The fitness app designed for the Apple watch counts the number of steps their customers take daily and returns them as interest on savings or discounts for insurance. The app has already gained 105.3K users on the App Store with 4.6 stars.
  • “Punch The Pig” game by PNC Bank, the US. The bank has introduced a saving feature that helps customers to save extra money in a digital piggy bank. To send their money to their savings account, users need to tap the virtual pig and it automatically moves the savings. With this simple yet entertaining activity, the bank teaches its customers how to manage their short and long-term investments. Customers can specify the purpose of their savings, e.g. bill payments or buying an expensive item, and use them in the future by ‘punching the pig’.

Conclusion

An increased popularity of banking apps and change in customer behavior during pandemics has spurred massive digital competition among banks. Now, to attract more customers and provide an outstanding customer experience banks have to implement more marketing elements in their apps such as gamification.

Gamification is an excellent instrument for making boring and tedious banking activities much more attractive. As a result, customers spend more time in the app, learning about new services and performing financial operations.

However, it’s not easy to properly implement gamification in a banking app. Banking digital solutions have to combine the seriousness of the banking sphere and entertainment elements from the gaming industry. That’s why many banks search for a banking and financial software development company with experience both in FinTech and game development to create a robust, secure yet engaging banking app. If you are looking to develop an engaging banking app with gamification elements do not hesitate to contact our expert team.

Author Bio

Victoria Puzhevich Lead Business Development Specialist
Victoria has over 15 years of experience in IT, keeping track of the current and future trends in the sphere, sharing expert advice and relevant industry experience.

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