Fintech and Gamification

This article was written by Phil Smy from Pocket Sized Hands. Pocket Sized Hands is a software company who have developed games using gamification techniques for St. Andrews University and for other clients.

There’s a consistent theme in the challenges that financial companies face when interacting with existing and new customers, engagement and education. Customers find interacting with financial services to be unengaging due to lack of understanding, complexity and jargon.

Many fintech companies are utilising new ways to tackle this problem, namely gamification. Gamification is the application of game concepts, features and game design principles for non-gaming applications. In practice these techniques come in the form of rewarding good behaviour, implementing interactivity to engage customers or visualising data.

The purpose of this is to engage and inform individuals through novel means. In the past, gamification techniques have been used within various sectors. Education have benefited from gamification to inform and engage students. Fitness companies have used gamification to encourage a healthy lifestyle. For many businesses, gamification has been found to be a cost-effective method of training in comparison to traditional training techniques.


Gamification within education is a growing trend. The basis of using gamification within a teaching context is that if users are engaged with games that communicate lessons through gameplay mechanics or objectives, users can learn without even realizing it. If you give a young person the option to play a mobile game, doing their homework or attending a lecture, most young people will want to play the game.

Applying this to the fintech industry and you can see how young people (or people of all ages) could play gamified applications with rewards and interactions to better engage with their financial future. Through feedback loops, customers can learn to make good choices with their money and stop spending their money recklessly. By utilising these techniques, fintech companies can reward and condition good financial behaviour.


Gamification rewards can be divided into two different sections, extrinsic and intrinsic rewards. An example of an extrinsic reward within gamification is the accumulation of points, achievements, places on a high score table etc. For fintech, instead of earning points, the user can be saving money.

For example, if a user saves some money through their pension pot or financial plan, the application would be able to visualise and summarise how much they have saved and reward the user for saving a certain amount, this can also work with real word rewards.

Companies in the past have experimented with real life rewards such as vouchers and money off products and services. In terms of intrinsic rewards, educating users of financial plans and other elements of finance can help financial companies engage and inform their customers.


The overall goal of gamification applications is to change the behaviour of consumers on a wide scale. Gamification does this by educating users of potential bad habits and rewarding users for their good habits. Dr. Iain Donald of Abertay University, the leading games design university in Europe summarises it perfectly.
The application of game design and technology to engage new audiences has proven to be extremely beneficial, both in the education and entertainment sectors. Increasingly that potential is being harnessed in other industries from medicine through to finance."