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It’s the latest craze sweeping the nation… No, I’m not talking about Fruit Ninja, I’m talking about gamification.

There's a reason "gamification" is the buzzword on the tip of so many tongues these days. It takes ideas and structures from games - the video kind and other types - to guide companies in their quest to affect consumer behavior. So should digital strategists at banks and financial institutions use gamification to meet their business objectives?

We’ll get to that, but for now let's start by clarifying what we're talking about. Forrester defines gamification as:

      The insertion of game dynamics and mechanics into non-game activities to drive a desired behavior.

These mechanics come in many shapes & sizes – SCVNGR, a mobile game developer, has a list of more than 40 – but here’s a quick list of four major ones:

·         Points. The most basic element of gamification, points is any type of virtual currency – or, in a few cases, IRL currency. Digital strategists at banks & credit card companies have used this tool for years in the form of rewards points. 

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Finovate Spring 2012: Digital Financial Services Innovation

I attended Finovatethis week to get a preview of new financial services digital technology vendors. I say preview because if you have ever been to Finovate, you know it’s a little like speed dating, where 63 vendors have 7 minutes each to show you their best moves.  The themes at Finovate this year were not much different as previous years with the focus being on mobile banking, personal financial management, and payments.  However, this year, a few new topics emerged:  rewards, coupons, and mobile banking services for Pre-Paid Visas customers.  Apparently, Pre-Paid Visas are the new black. 

 While there was plenty of interesting and innovative demonstrations, Forrester attended the conference to identify trends and solutions relevant for our retail digital financial services clients. Specifically, we looked at innovative solutions for our clients related to mobile banking, personal financial management, and payments. The following vendors stood out as innovative solutions for mobile banking, personal financial management, and payments:

  •  DWOLLAis a next-generation social, mobile and online payment network. Its financial service product, FiSynch, integrates its technology into financial institutions.
  • IP Commercesolves the development challenge of multi-payer acceptance and multi-payee disbursement
  • iQuantifiprovides users with automated and personalized financial advice online
  • Money Desktopoffers the next generation of personal financial management.  Its slick design makes excellent use of the native app features. 
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