Why gamification is fintech’s next big disruptive trend

By Jeremy Baber
Lanistar's Jeremy Baber asks whether gamification – the incentivisation of app usage using game-like mechanics and rewards – is set to become a big trend

As human beings, we love to play games. Whether it’s played on grass, a board or console – playing games is hardwired into us at a young age. Today, we are seeing the rising popularity of ‘gamification’ in the world of app and platform offerings. To boost user engagement and experience, business leaders are harnessing our love of games into their offerings. 

The fintech industry’s success has been built on its creativity and desire to push the boundaries of disruption. In light of previous trends such as, mobile banking, DeFi (Decentralised finance) and open banking to name a few – can we expect gamification to be fintech’s next biggest trend?

Explaining the rules of the game 

The idea of ‘gamifying’ non-gaming offerings is a concept created by designers to heighten a user’s experience of a service they are using. Introducing gaming elements such as avatars, leaderboards and reward stores etc, help maintain a fresh feel around an app or platform. 

Driving users back to a service through the power of entertainment and competition has grown into a powerful tool for many UX designers and certainly one which should not be overlooked. No longer do users need to make a mobile payment, gamification now prompts them to want to interact and find out if they have unlocked a new avatar or a shiny new colour for their virtual card. From the perspective of fintech, there is a lot of potential on offer to attract new and retain existing customers through gamification. 

Fintech to capitalise?

Smartphones and apps now dictate the way we live our lives and for many of us, this includes our finances. It is likely gamification will be widely imbedded into most fintech offerings in the near future. Gamification remains a relatively new concept in fintech, so we are only really beginning to scratch the surface now. 

Data is another driver we are seeing influence the popularity of gamification. We are seeing fintech’s – particularly neobanks – harness data by sending their customer’s spending habits and categorising the activity at the end of each month. Neobanks don’t need to do this, but it creates a sense of fun in a world dominated by financial numbers. Customers wait for their latest data so they are able to see if they achieved their spending or saving goals for that month compared to previous ones. 

It is important for fintech designers to remember gamification is not a one-size-fits-all idea. We will likely see the concept approached in different ways – whether that’s rewarding customers with mystery NFTs (Non-fungible tokens) or a more traditional reward such as air miles – it’s all about the game!

Promoting sustainable and meaningful change 

Not only can gamification boost the attractiveness of fintech from a UX perspective, it can also influence the way we spend and management our money. 

Fintech’s opting for this approach when rolling-out gamification will find themselves more appealing to the more conscious-minded user. Planting trees or rolling out an interactive charitable donation meter are both gamification concepts which can really impact positive change. Customers can either redeem rewards or buy sustainable products to help achieve these goals. 

Creating an engaging experience for users to contribute towards meaningful change is just one of the utilities which will evolve gamification into a future key ingredient of the fintech offering. 

Not all games are fun 

Although gamification is an exciting tool – in some circumstances designers can get the approach wrong and damage the user experience. Gamification which encourages overconsumption and spending will lead to vulnerable customers spending beyond their means.

Features such as lucky dips, spinning wheels and mystery pay-for-play rewards promote an unhealthy approach to what should be a light-hearted and fun concept. Before customers know it, they have overspent as a direct result of gamification, which should never be the case.

Evolving fintech even further 

Fintech industry growth has exploded over the past decade. Industry players continue to search for the most exciting and innovative ways to ensure customers are experiencing secure and seamless solutions. The simplicity of gamification taps into our competitive and fun side to keep us engaged with our fintech services.

As we evolve into the Web3 era, gamification will contribute massively to ensuring fintech customers are satisfied as their appetite for greater interaction continues to heighten. It will be important for designers to consider how gamification should be approached as it has the potential to deter or even lose customers.

Once adopted en mass, gamification can become the latest disruptive tool to further advance the fintech user experience like never before.

About the author

Jeremy Baber

Jeremy Baber is CEO of Lanistar. A forward-thinking CEO with a wealth of experience under his belt, he is energised by the ever-evolving fintech landscape and the potential it holds. Leveraging 30+ years of experience, he is set on driving the future of the industry through innovation, efficiency, and strategic growth.


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