Why Gamification Works (and Why Your Credit Union Should Care)

by | Sep 4, 2020

Let’s talk about my day yesterday: 

  • First, I woke up and went on a run. I turned on an app on my phone that tracks my distance and pace and compares it with my past performance. 
  • After my workout, I headed to Starbucks for a coffee. I used the Starbucks app to pay for my drink — for every dollar I spend on the app, I earn a star that can be redeemed for a reward later on. 
  • Then, I came home and opened my laptop. I’ve spent the summer trying to learn some basic French (a quarantine hobby of mine), so I headed to Duolingo to take my daily French lesson. I complete some small vocabulary and grammar exercises while the program’s mascot — a lime green owl named Duo — cheers me on and rewards me with virtual gems.

I hadn’t even started working, and already my morning had been gamified from start to finish. That’s the power of gamification: Its principles can be used everywhere, for all kinds of products. It can motivate us to run a little longer, spend some more money or keep working toward a goal. 

But what exactly makes gamification so effective? Here’s a super-simplified explanation, from a Gen Zer who uses it every day: 

It provides a sense of control. Gamification puts users in the driver’s seat of their own experience. In a chaotic world, it’s nice to be the master of your own destiny.

It’s satisfying. When you play a game, you know what you’re working toward and exactly how to get there: all you have to do is earn more points, or complete another level. Human psychology is hard-wired for logic and goal completion — so there’s something profoundly satisfying about knowing that all we have to do to “win” is follow the rules. 

It comes with a reward.  Few things feel better than achieving a goal, no matter how small. Achievement is a basic human desire, and it’s even better when you add in virtual or real-life reward like stars, points or gems. 

So, gamification works, primarily by tapping into fundamental aspects of human psychology. But why should it matter to your financial institution?

What if you could apply the principles of gamification to create a better experience and better financial life for your members? What if you could make it fun to pay off a loan, start saving or learn about finance? 

That’s what we’re trying to do at Zogo. Gamification has the power to change the future of finance — are you ready to start playing?

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