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Goals, Gamification and the Future of Financial Services





by Ashwin Rajan

Banks, are you paying attention?

If one thing is clear about the future of financial services, it is this: "Future financial services will be built around human behaviour." (link) I want to explore a few examples of this here.

Takeaways from the article above:

"CEO of fintech startup Moven, Brett King, said that financial technologies around the world are progressively “removing the friction of [physical] interactions”.

"They are being designed around “low latency contextual experiences” and are personalised to the user based on behavioural patterns and individual needs.

“… the tools you see emerging here are changing people’s behaviour when it comes to savings rather than promoting a savings account.”
“This is an important shift because we’re working on where a value store fits in your life and we’re changing your behaviour rather than using the product as an artefact to encourage savings.”

Spot on. That's the big shift: designing financial products for behaviour change rather than focusing on how to sell homogeneous offerings at volume.

Here are two standout examples of these new game-changers:

Qapital (link) secured a $30M financing this year and has behaviour design at its very core.

From the link above: Qapital is “a new way to bank designed around people's goals” and “it uses a "Rules" and "Goals" approach to personal banking. Users decide on their Goals – whether they are short-term Savings Goals, like a trip to Hawaii in 2018; long-term Savings Goals, like saving for a dream home; or Spending Goals, such as a target budget for discretionary expenses like coffee or restaurants. Users then decide on Rules for these Goals that are automated.”

From the article: "Every Qapital feature is designed to help people feel happier about, and more in control of, their money. Qapital uses behavioral economics to design its product to help people achieve real, positive change in their financial behavior."

And then there's the colourful Current (link) making moves into the teen personal banking market. I do think the focus on teens is a sound offering strategy. That allows the product to be designed around more specific behaviours, and to drive more focused behaviour change and habit creation. I don't know if the experience is goal-driven, and words like 'empowerment' and 'decision-making' sounds intriguing.

Image source:

I’m overall not too sure if the messaging is right, as it seems directed towards parents and doesn't address teens directly. “Empowering teens” is not how you address teens, you rather say: “Save for a scooter in months” or something like that.

Meanwhile, "Behavioural modelling and experimentation have allowed workplace relationships specialist, Employsure, to chalk up a 109 per cent uptake in conversions." (link).

"Employsure focused on a test page promoting the Advice line, highlighting simple offers and generic messaging. After applying behavioural models, the team realized these users were in crisis and were actually viewing the Advice line as an emergency hotline .This data led to a pivot. With language that shifted towards empathy, Employsure was better able to communicate with customers about their fears."

With goal-driven behavioral design, gamification cannot be far behind. I'm surprised Current and Qapital, haven't yet mentioned gamification as an engagement strategy they apply.

Also, Crypotcurreny wallet Jaxx is applying gamification to its user experience. (link) From the article:" the 2.0 version of its wallet — dubbed “Jaxx Liberty” — offers a gamified interface to assist newcomers in experiencing the blockchain arena. We believe Jaxx Liberty is a crucial step in this journey, and we hope the platform — designed as an interactive game — will transform the way that everyday consumers interact with and secure their digital wealth. Jaxx Liberty will create wins for everyone. Our partners will have a broader network of engaged individuals, and the more users engage with our partners, the more Unity they can earn.”

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