Banking Is Boring? Breaking the Stereotype with Gamification.

Updated: 5 days ago


“Ma’am, please help me with your documents to proceed with your ICICI credit card application.”

Navya from ICICI Bank messaged me on the morning of 22 January, 2022.


A few days ago, I’d received a call from her offering me an ICICI Bank Credit Card and I’d agreed because


  1. I’d been missing out on ICICI Bank Credit Card offers while shopping

  2. The credit card benefits such as Reward Points seemed interesting


But here’s the thing. The enthusiasm with which I’d agreed to apply for the credit card couldn’t really sustain when it came to its process.


ICICI-Bank-Credit-Card-Banking-Gamification

I remember uploading my documents only after numerous follow ups from Navya. Why? Because it’s a tedious task, to be frank.


Gathering bank statements, payslip, Aadhar card and what not, ugh!


Anyway, I did upload the documents eventually but the monotony of credit card application steps didn’t end here. Next was the Video KYC. While it was convenient, I still had to do things which were boring like signing on a white paper, re-verifying my profile etc.

I mean, can you see what was happening here? I was just not motivated enough to complete my credit card application! Things got worse when the VKYC couldn’t go through so I had to go through a biometric verification.


One thing led to another and I simply fell out of the whole process.


Making the Journey As Exciting as Destination


When I applied for the ICICI Bank Credit Card, my destination was clear. I’d get a fancy-looking card which I would use to get discounts and benefits. But the journey? The process of filling up details, uploading documents, KYC? That wasn’t exciting. As a result, I didn’t complete my credit card application as a customer. This is a challenge when it comes to the finance and banking sector. The annual percentage of lost customers (churn rate) is estimated to be 20-25% during the first year (Accenture).


So how can banks overcome this? Could ICICI Bank have engaged me better, so that I went back and finished my incomplete application?


Absolutely! I’d have completed my KYC registration if the bank had provided me with the following 3 customer experiences.


1. Personalised Banking Experience


Let me weave you a scenario. Say I’m browsing through on my phone and Ding! I get an SMS after a while from the bank’s side.


“Priya, we got a customised savings plan based on your monthly income. Start saving now!”


As someone who appreciates financial literacy, I read the notification, get curious and click on the link in SMS.


Upon visiting the bank’s page, I see that they offer me savings tips based on my monthly salary. The tips are divided into 4 parts. Now after completing 2 parts of my savings plan, I see that I can unlock the other 2 parts if I complete my credit card KYC!


You see the logic here? Let me break it down.


1a. Contextualization

When I registered for a credit card, I filled in my basic details including my monthly take home salary. Bank used this customer data to create a customised saving plan around it. Next, it sent me a message regarding the same.

1b. Incentivization

Research says that incentives act as commitment techniques to get people going about a task. Having a customised savings plan as per my salary worked as an incentive for me to complete KYC.


1c. Endowed Progress Effect


One is more inspired to finish a task if provided with progress toward doing it. In my case, the bank gave me a head-start by letting me access 50% of my savings plan. Then it smartly locked the rest 2 parts of the tips, encouraging me to complete KYC.



Here’s how TaxBuddy, India's most trusted tax filing service company uses such personalisation to offer a contextual discount.


TaxBuddy-Customer-Personalisation

Personalisation is indeed one of the greatest ways to map customer needs to business metrics.


Gartner research says that brands that personalise customer experiences are likely to see a 16% lift in commercial benefit.


2. Reward-Based Banking Experience

What comes to your mind when I say rewards for financial services? Probably offering a discount or gift card on a bank transaction? Well, that’s there but I’m talking about using rewards for customer acquisition.


For this, let’s pick up from where I left off. ICICI bank’s goal was to ensure that I complete my video KYC and complete my credit card application.


All they had to do was give me some reward points/coupons on KYC completion, which I could redeem for offers on fashion, travel, entertainment and more.


Now interestingly, ICICI bank did something similar with their Pockets app, an e-wallet that bank customers can use for recharge, money transfer, shopping, bill payment and more.


In April 2018, they offered ₹50 wallet cashback upon completion of KYC norms on Pockets.


Mx-Takatak-Diwali-Campaign-Daily-Check-In

While the ₹50 cashback reward made sense for a wallet app, I wonder if I’d completed my credit card KYC had they offered a similar reward? Probably not!


For pre-added reward points for instant redemption on purchases? A big yes!


That’s why it’s crucial that financial institutions select valuable rewards.


Binance, a cryptocurrency exchange platform for instance, offers a guaranteed share of $45,000 in GMX tokens upon registration and KYC completion.


3. Gamification in Banking Experience

Finding motivation to do something that doesn’t interest us can be so tough, right? I faced this growing up while studying for exams.


I used to simply delay preparing for subjects that didn’t interest me, worry at the last minute and enter the examination hall underprepared.


But I had to do something about it and decided to gamify studying.


Well, of course, it was only after growing up that I realised that what I was doing was gamification.


Alright so here’s how I did it.


  1. I noticed what is it that I enjoyed doing when I wasn’t studying

  2. I found that it was mostly watching one of my favourite cartoons, Doraemon

  3. So I decided to watch 1 episode after completing 1 chapter


And bingo! I started to make progress with studying 1 chapter after another since I was motivated to do something I love towards the end.


This is exactly how gamification can help financial institutions like banks motivate customers to do monotonous tasks.


To understand this better, let’s take a look at some finely crafted gamification ideas in the banking sector.


3a. Emirates NBD Fitness Account

In 2015, Emirates NBD, one of the top banks in UAE, decided to tackle both physical and financial obesity with gamification. With a goal to increase account deposits, the bank created Emirates NBD Fitness Account - a fitness based savings account that would reward customer’s active lifestyles with higher savings rate.

The steps were simple.

  1. Open fitness account with Emirates NBD bank’s mobile app

  2. Sync the app to compatible mobile devices

  3. Set daily goals in number of steps

  4. Get moving and earn up to 2% interest rate on savings


12,000 Steps Per Day = 2% Interest Rate


Emirates-NBD-Fitness-Account-Gamification

So cool, right?


With a ‘Turn Health Into Wealth’ motive, the app recorded 53 million steps, $4.37 million savings via social media and strategic partnership with fitness brands.


Additionally, the app users could also challenge friends, earn badges and more!

3b. BBVA Game

BBVA Spanish bank was awarded with 2013 Bank Innovation Awards for its gamification strategy, BBVA game.


The platform rewarded its customers with points and medals for choosing and completing banking challenges such as


  1. Watching a financial literacy videos

  2. Using the bank’s mobile app

  3. Making simple banking transactions and more

Furthermore, customers could use points earned for music downloads, movie streaming or use them to participate in sweepstakes and win football match tickets.


BBVA-Game-Gamification

With a ‘Experience Reward’ concept, BBVA Game in its first 6 months attracted more than 100,000 players and 16x video views on product and web functionalities.


3c. Monobank Badges


Remember why I couldn’t gather any motivation to complete my ICICI bank credit card application? Because there was no fun about it. Routine banking tasks can actually get boring but gamification can change that and Monobank, mobile-only bank in Ukraine is a proof.


App users can earn its gamification feature, ‘Achievement Badges’ by performing various banking tasks.


Monobank-Gamification

With a ‘Accomplishment Experience’ mechanism, the app saw 1.3 million DAUs in April 2021 and sees a rough 100,000 new users monthly.


Another banking gamification feature that Monobank has cracked is its ‘Shake to Pay’ feature to enable cashless and waiter-less payment.


Customers can independently pay their bills and tips in cafes and restaurants by simply opening the Monobank app, shaking it and paying the bill.


Gamification Tool for Banking


Here comes my most favourite part, putting all the pieces together.


You know, we spoke about increasing customer engagement via personalisation, rewards and of course, game mechanics. This tree had its branches grown around customer behaviour, data, reward types and offers.

Now what if I told you that all of you can package all of this and more, into your banking platform with a simple SDK integration and create awesome challenges to attract, engage and retain customers?


Yes, that’s exactly what Flyy, a gamified referral and loyalty rewards solution, can help you with. Learn more here.


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