Using game mechanics to boost payments is a tactic that many service providers are adopting to boost usage and drive uptake. Gamification gives users clarity over the path to fulfil a transaction or reach a goal. While reward mechanisms set a target to aim for and create a smooth process which a user is more likely to repeat.
For payment providers, the usage boost achieved through gamification can drive bottom-line revenues by encouraging more interaction with the service through incentivisation. When combined with loyalty programs it creates an opportunity for users to realise value from their loyalty.
Gamification is already well established and widely adopted in Asia. Particularly in China, companies like Alibaba Group and Tencent have a range of game design features embedded into services such as bill payments, ride-hailing and credit scoring.
Within the context of mobile payments, gamification increases customer engagement for the provider while the client is incentivised and rewarded for their interactions with the service and benefits from a better UX.
Ideally, the gamification of payments presents a win-win outcome for both end customers and mobile money providers. However, the application of game dynamics when related to payment, especially when directed towards a less tech-savvy market also calls for a great deal of caution in order to avoid exploitative situations where underserved customers may be taken advantage of.
Gamification also presents the possibility of integrating financial education modules into what was once a mundane activity.
In emerging markets, only 28 per cent of adults are financially literate. Gamification techniques can be used to educate customers and reward positive behaviours such as reaching savings goals, paying bills on time or using mobile wallet functions.
In some emerging markets service providers are offering short financial education modules to users via the mobile. Those who successfully complete the education can accrue points with the provider for other services or even access better rates for micro-savings or credit.
Gamification is just beginning in payments, though it seems clear, it is an area where all players can be winners.