Blog Powering up fintech with gamification: B...

Powering up fintech with gamification: Best practices and examples

As consumer prices skyrocket and inflation outpaces wage growth and saving rates, staying on top of finances is top of mind for many consumers. According to a recent survey, 77% of Americans are anxious about their financial future. Fintech apps aim to make users’ financial lives easier and more convenient; however, one of the areas where fintech apps struggle is retention—a recent report noted that 73% of new fintech app users churn within seven days. Adjust data reflects this, showing a 24% day 1 retention rate and a 17% day 7 rate.

One way fintech apps can address this challenge is by utilizing gamification. It's an effective and powerful strategy that many fintechs, including banks, stock trading, insurance, and personal finance businesses use to improve user experience and increase engagement. It makes routine tasks like money management fun and rewarding, which is becoming more pivotal than ever as stress around this topic increases.

Gamification explained

Gamification is the use of game design techniques in a non-game context to motivate users to stick with your app in the long run. This works because it satisfies the psychological need for achievement, reward, and recognition. You can include classic game elements in your non-game app including points, badges, and leaderboards. While point systems give a sense of meaning, purpose, and a feeling of progression, badges tap into the need for accomplishment and reward, and leaderboards appeal to our need for social status and influence.

Why you should gamify your fintech app

So what are the benefits of gamification for fintech apps? Let's take a deep dive.

Improved user engagement

Gamification empowers users to engage more with the app. For example, many fintech apps offer rewards (like money or points) to users who complete specific actions. This encourages them to check in and participate in the game, improving their overall experience with the product.

Gamification also helps promote learning and retention of information about your product or service and is instrumental during onboarding, as fintech apps often have large feature sets. As such, users need to learn how to navigate the app and understand its features before they can use it meaningfully. Gamification makes users feel rewarded for their actions while learning about the app's functionality.

Increased retention, stickiness, and customer loyalty

Game mechanics can help you attract and keep new users and drive up LTV. This is especially important for fintech apps, as the churn rate is comparatively high. Users interested in a product but yet to commit fully will stay engaged with an app if they feel invested in it. If you have a savings app that rewards users for saving money, for example, they will be more likely to stick around than if your app tells them their balance every time they open it up. Creating an enjoyable experience while rewarding users for their efforts can help increase retention and make sure they stay loyal to your brand long after they've downloaded the app.

Domains to implement gamification

There are several areas where you can implement game designs and mechanics within a fintech app; however, they need to be used in the right places and at the right moments. Determining these exact positions and optimal timing requires testing, and will likely look different depending on cohorts and segments, which is why it’s essential to measure, attribute, and have full visibility over the user journey. Here are some key methods by which you can leverage gamification:

  • Encourage savings: You can easily gamify savings by rewarding users for reaching their savings goals. Additionally, you can offer the option of capping or rounding up every transaction and transferring the difference to a savings account.
  • Boost financial literacy: Introduce short videos and games to explain complex financial concepts in a fun and engaging way to increase your users' financial literacy and encourage them to use more features, depending on your app’s model. For every new video your user watches, you can reward them with points.
  • Build a community: Gamified experiences will foster trust among members of the same financial services, increasing referrals and recommendations. For instance, you can reward users with points or money for recommending your app to a friend.

How to gamify your fintech app: 3 examples

Fortune City

Fortune City took a direct approach to gamification: it's both a budget tracking and gaming app by design. Functioning like a simulation game where users can build and manage a city while doing their finances, you can construct buildings by recording your expenses and income; different expense categories generate different types of buildings. By logging food expenses, for example, a food stall will be created. Alternatively, you can build a cash register structure by recording your income. The goal is to create a thriving and well-balanced town where every expense and earning is recorded. Citizens can then be hired to work on your buildings to generate coins. This in-game currency can be used to merge buildings into larger ones, upgrade existing structures, and improve town halls.


Qapital is a personal finance app that automatically deposits small amounts of money into your savings as you spend using a mixture of gamified and goal-based approaches. Users can set goals and save according to the rules they set up when they create their accounts. Some of the rules include the following:

  • Moves: Users can tie their personal fitness goals to their financial goals. When you go for a walk, bike, or run, you can reward yourself with a few dollars in savings.
  • The round-up rule: This rounds up your designated transactions and deposits the difference into your savings.
  • The spend less rule: This encourages users to spend less than they usually do. Let’s say you pay around $50 for groceries. With the ‘spend less rule,’ if you spend below that, maybe $40, the difference of $10 will automatically go to your savings.
  • The set and forget rule: This allows the app to save a certain amount every week or month.

Users can create any number of custom rules and Joint Goals, where any group of people can save for a goal together. All members of Joint Goal can view each other’s progress, fostering healthy competition. As Qapital makes money management easy and fun, they now have over 2 million users and more than 100 thousand 5-star ratings on the app stores.


Revolut is one of the leading all-in-one money management apps. The app allows users to budget, spend, save, transfer money, and  more. Today, Revolut has over 15 million users. The key to their success is partly due to their use of gamification features like raffles and leaderboards, ensuring a fun and engaging user experience.

In the beginning, Revolut offered university leaderboards to encourage students to sign up, tapping into the social recognition aspect of gamification that we touched on earlier  Plus, the potential prize of free premium helped drive interest and retain users. Revolut also makes use of lotteries and raffles to incentivize payments and users can earn points for making transfers and payments. In the UK, you can earn up to £10,000 in a raffle by acquiring these points. Additionally, a leaderboard shows how close you are to the top and how you stack up against your friends.

Things to remember when building a gamification model for your fintech app

Gamification is an excellent tool for boosting user engagement and improving user loyalty. However, you can only reap the benefits if you implement the game mechanics correctly. Keep these basic principles in mind when gamifying your fintech app:

  • Ensure that the goals you set for your users are achievable with reasonable effort. The goals should neither be too easy nor too difficult.
  • There should be fair and transparent rules about the gaming aspect to motivate users.
  • As users overcome challenges, their goals should align with them.
  • Positive and constant feedback is essential. The app should encourage users to work harder to reach milestones and goals.
  • Finally, ensure you don't overload your app with too many game mechanics, as it can make your financial product seem unreliable and suspicious. The key is to find the golden ratio of gamification.

Fine tune your gamification strategy with measurement and user journey insights

By working with a measurement partner and analytics platform like Adjust, you have all the tools necessary at your disposal to work out the gamification techniques that work and the exact moments to execute them. With Adjust Measure, you can identify what motivates your users at every stage of their journey. Marketers can track clicks, installs, and key moments of engagement, allowing you to determine the perfect moments to insert gamified elements into your UX. With custom audiences, you can then also improve retention, LTV, and ROI by crafting tailor made experiences unique to each of your cohorts. Some groups may respond to savings rewards, while others may prefer completing educational video courses. By harnessing the power of granular data, you can unlock the insights you need to drive growth.

With increasing data sources, however, it's challenging for mobile marketers to analyze their app's performance efficiently. Adjust Datascape solves this by bringing all of your data into one place, empowering you to make fast, smart decisions about how you allocate your budget or which experiences you serve specific users.

Find out what's trending in fintech in 2022 with our Mobile app trends report. Or, deep dive into fintech in INSEA with Adjust and MAAS's decryption of the fintech gold rush and learn more about crypto and digital currencies with Adjust and Apptopia's digital currency playbook.

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