Rachel RoizenThis is a guest post from Rachel Roizen, a researcher serving eBusiness & Channel Strategy professionals.

Gamification, which Forrester defines as the insertion of game dynamics and mechanics into non-game activities to drive a desired behavior, has rightfully been a hot topic of debate in many roles and many industries. We’ve blogged about it here, and written reports on success stories ranging from Club Psych on the USA Network to the use of games in education

The banking industry has been using some features of gaming for years, such as by offering redeemable points based on credit card purchases, but some remain wary of combining games with finances. Forrester’s view is that game mechanics can be used to draw in new and existing digitally connected customers. Digital teams at financial firms that have begun experimenting with gamification are seeing positive results, including increases to online engagement, online banking use, product sales, and social influence. Here are four leading firms that are betting on gamification and implementing it in innovative ways:

  • PNC Bank in the US incorporated gamification in a simple way with the Punch the Pig feature in its Virtual Wallet. While banking, whether online or on mobile, a piggy bank pops up, prompting customers to “punch” the pig to transfer money from their “Spend” account to their “Growth” account. Mobile users shake their phone, rather than punching it. The customer decides how much money to transfer, and can adjust the settings for how often the pig pops up.
  • OCBC Bank, one of the largest banks in Singapore, has teamed up with PlayMoolah to draw in brand loyalty from the next generation of customers – while they are still children. The OCBC Mighty Savers program, launched in November 2012, uses the PlayMoolah Adventure platform to make financial education fun for kids by creating games where saving money brings greater rewards than instant spending.
  • Commonwealth Bank of Australia has created a game to simulate property investment, providing users with access to real-time market prices and ongoing costs, without the user having to spend a dime. Investorville is aimed at existing homeowners, and those who already own property investment, aiming to allay the fears and misconceptions that individuals can have about owning a second (or third) property. The game stays simple for the user, while utilizing complex economic modeling and real market data, to familiarize users with the experience in order to make them more comfortable when considering property investment in the real world.
  • BBVA in Spain has created a game — called BBVA game — with links to Facebook where customers gain points that can be traded in for prizes or entries in raffles for bigger ticket items. BBVA’s aim is to increase the use of online services, with users earning points for banking transactions, like checking an account balance or paying a bill.  The game, which has been around for a little over 12 months, has already generated 125,000 users. My colleague Stephen Walker has written a case study about it that Forrester clients can read here.

We expect to see a lot more digital banking teams following these leaders and embracing game mechanics over the next couple of years. What are the best examples of games you’ve seen?