As we covered in a previous post, Bank of America and Khan Academy’s educational partnership recently launched BetterMoneyHabits.com, a free tool for those in search of the financial basics. The site’s content is both helpful and informative, and the most important information is already summarized for users through the site’s printable Key Takeaways and interactive quizzes. For basic financial guidance, Better Money Habits is an effective tool.
The homepage design imitates Bank of America’s colors and branding. Users are presented with several options to begin their financial journey, including a “Choose a goal” link and a scrollable banner of popular topics. The interface is easy to navigate, displaying short videos covering essential financial topics such as Credit, Savings & Budgeting, Debt, Home Buying & Renting, Taxes, Car Buying and Banking Basics.
Once users watch a video, the site begins to track their points, and they can choose whether or not to log in and create a customized profile. Earned points can add up to achievements, which the site has dubbed “badges.” The badges however, do not serve a tangible purpose beyond praise for the user. The gamification of the website could be a very useful function beyond basic educational engagement if it offered real rewards.
Gamification in financial services is not a new concept. However, many firms have also caught on to the idea that gamification for its own sake may not be enough. If firms offer tangible incentives, like an entry in a sweepstakes or a statement credit, educational tools like Better Money Habits will engage a larger audience. It would serve the firm well (and garner more social media attention) to provide a rewards system that adds up to something more, especially considering the site anticipates that users will misinterpret the point system – it even included a statement on the How Achievements Work page to stress that points are not associated with a bank or credit card account.
Ultimately, the focus should be on the site’s free and useful learning content, but if the site is going to engage users through gamification, there are better rewards systems that could complement Better Money Habits’ service function.