Gamification Whitepaper





White Paper

The serious business of fun – What gamification and social media mean for banking

Gamification and social media are changing the way people engage and

expect to engage with their friends and increasingly their employers

and service providers. Banks now have new ways to be relevant, engage

customers and improve sales. This paper sets out Misys’ view of the key

trends and opportunities for banks.


Fun is big business. Annually, the computer game

industry makes $115bn. The phenomenal success of

this industry, which is now bigger than Hollywood, is

attributable to the fact that it appeals to fundamental

elements of human nature: competition, reward,

problem solving and social connection. Gamification

is the term for an approach to marketing and sales

that employs the attributes of gaming to engage

customers, change behaviours and expectations.

The basics of gamification have been around for

some time. Foursquare has been awarding badges

and ranking users for location check-ins since 2009.

The principles of gamification have also been

adopted by companies like IBM 1 and Salesforce 2 .

Gartner has also highlighted gamification as a key

trend for CIOs 3 - and it has been covered in American

Banker 4 .

Social media has also changed the way people

connect, discover, recommend and share. With the

internet providing a huge amount of choice, index

search is being replaced by recommendations from

friends, family and people we trust, through social

media. It’s a self-moderating quality control system

that threatens traditional marketing and distribution

models whilst simultaneously providing viral means to

spread the word, good or bad.

Financial services companies are experimenting with

these concepts to get ahead of the curve and

differentiate themselves in the market. Misys believes

this trend will grow. In a world where customer

relationships are increasingly digital, banks cannot

afford to be left behind.

1 Kudos Badges

2 Salesforce Rypple

3 Gartner Press Release:

4 American Banker


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The serious business of fun – What gamification and social media mean for banking

What is Gamification?

Gamification is the use of games or competition to

encourage a user to complete an action or set of

actions. Users respond to a range of prompts and are

encouraged to return regularly to the application. The

prompts include:

Competition – adding league tables motivates

participants to try and come top. Users either

compete with friends (if there is integration with social

media) or other users like them. This is a core feature

of Foursquare.

Awards – giving badges and rewards provides a

sense of achievement and progress and encourages

users to continue to use the application.

Countdowns – by making certain features and

actions available only for a limited time, customers

are motivated to act before it’s too late.

Scarcity – we assign more value to opportunities

perceived to have limited availability. Scarcity can

drive us to act based on opportunities being scarce

or likely to become scarce. This is a concept used by

Cokezone and

Incentives & Penalties – here penalties, traps and

roadblocks are used to steer people away from

certain behaviours. Rewards and access to privileges

are used to encouraged desirable behaviours.

Penalties can be applied for not doing things, e.g. if

you don’t make a regular payment, you will be

removed from a competition or giveaway or slip

down a league table.

Goal Setting & Progression – we love creating and

working on things we can then “own”. This is a

perfect dynamic for financial services companies and

is exemplified by, whereby customers

create goals and work to achieve them, such as a

house, a renovation, car or a child’s education. This

dynamic is often coupled with progression, providing

a user with statistics and historical data along the way.

Personalisation – by letting a customer add their

own images and choose their own themes for their

account, a customer has a great sense of control,

investment and can continue to develop their

relationship with the site or app. This can be seen in

the new Facebook covers concept.

Team work – as well as individual pursuits, we can be

drawn to collective goals, providing an opportunity to

help others or be rewarded as a group. Groupon

have had great success with “The Deal is On” feature.

Offering a reward if a communal target is hit has also

been the basis of American Express’ Small Business

Saturday on Facebook in the US 5 .

By deploying these dynamics in a co-ordinated

application, a bank can use games to motivate

behaviours and drive outcomes for both the customer

and the organisation.

Gamification should not be confused with simple

marketing. Certainly it can provide excellent

promotion. The Barclaycard waterslide app is an

excellent example of gamification as marketing –

however, used properly, these dynamics can be used

to provide the foundation for long term relationship

and behaviour management.

5 AmEx Small Business Saturday


White Paper


The serious business of fun – What gamification and social media mean for banking

What is Social Media?

’Social media’ refers to websites and applications

which enable the online connection of individuals

with their networks, facilitating collaboration and

sharing. The notion is epitomised by the likes of

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. New entrants into

the market include Pinterest and Google+.

Social media has changed the way companies gather

market intelligence, respond to changes, create

products and distribute products and services. A

number of social media functions are potentially

useful in the Mobile Banking and gamification


External connectors

Reading from and writing data to the social media

site. This could include adding and reading people,

photos, events, profile updates, likes and pages as

well as the connections between them.


Allows web, mobile, and desktop apps to login via

the social site’s identity. This feature can be used to

sign onto the application using a user’s Facebook

identity subject to privacy and security requirements.

For example, the FB SSO may be used instead of a


Social plugins

Social plugins include features like

Recommendations, the Like Button and Activity

Feeds that can be built into applications external to

Facebook. They are specifically designed so no user

data is shared with the sites on which they appear.

This feature can be used to add a Like button within a

gamification application


Frames allow applications to be created that are

hosted outside of the social media system, and be

displayed within the social media service.


Events can be created and surfaced between

applications including venue, location, time and

action information. This can be used for setting up

reminders and events for banking activities inside and

outside the application.

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Companies engaging in gamification

Across the world, enterprises are grabbing hold of

these constructs to change the way they engage with

staff, business partners and customers. In gambling 6 ,

retailing 7 , education 8 and travel 9 the examples

abound of how companies are using these dynamics

to get ahead of the competition. In Financial Services,

Amex, Barclays, SmartyPig, AXA and ING 10 are all

beginning to take the leap into social and gaming.

Banks are in a strong position to offer gamification.

Financial health is a subject of fundamental

importance and yet many people pay little attention

to it, finding it dull and uninteresting. By leveraging

customer account information, banks can provide

real-time data feeds into a gamified applications to

make personal finance interesting and engage their

customers. By encouraging customers to use these

sites regularly by employing gamification and social

design, banks can develop better relationships,

improve marketing analytics, sales and capital







The serious business of fun – What gamification and social media mean for banking

How can Misys help?

Misys is here to help our customers deal with this new

trend. At its heart, gamification is the delivery of

financial data and completion of transactions within a

user interface framework that can be managed by the

bank. As such, gamification sits in a space where

Misys has 30 years of expertise.

We have developed a proof of concept. To see this

for yourself, please go to our YouTube channel:

and search for ‘gamification’. This solution is an

extension of BankFusion Mobile – retail banking on

the go. Misys gives our customers the opportunity for

our clients to integrate their Mobile Banking and

Gamification applications – or to keep them separate.

Mobile Device


Gamification Gamification Server




Host Systems



Gamification App




Admin UI Data Integration

Admin Console

Core Banking


Functionality includes:

• Personalised Messages showing changes in status

and recent events

• Relevant Offers based on actions and targets

• Group Incentives; ‘if you and your friends deposit

$X in total, you’ll get Y”

• Limited Time Offers - showing countdowns and

calls to action

• Progression: The application will show progress

towards goals

• Loyalty, Status and Awards. The idea of a trophy

cabinet – showing status and trophies won

• Next status action: What the customer needs to do

to achieve the next award, trophy or status

• Cloud services in Salesforce’s Heroku platform to

provide abstraction services and in game

componentry to minimise back end impact and

extend security perimeter away from the bank

mBanking App

mBanking Server


To find out more please contact Misys at

About Author: Alex Bray, Retail Channel Solution Director.

Alex has spent his whole career in retail banking. He joined

Lloyds TSB in 2000 and worked in a variety of roles in channels

and product management. He spent 4 years in retail eBanking.

In 2010, Alex joined IBM as a consultant specialising in Mobile

Banking, social media and internet banking. At Misys, Alex is

the solution owner for branch teller, mobile banking and retail

eBanking solutions.

Twitter: @StGilesResident

Thanks to Dave Durbin, Colin Weir at Moroku, Marc Murray

and Shabri Lakhani

White Paper



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