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Recent Posts

Gamification and the Future of Finance

February 1, 2019

 
Some people have asked us about what exactly we're doing over here at Odin, and we wanted to share more of our vision with you.

Our vision is to make personal finance easier, more transparent, and more fair. We believe that wealth should be accessible to anyone, and we are appalled that most financial service companies do nothing to help you build your wealth.

Odin Money aspires to be different - everything we do is engineered to help you save more money and achieve your financial goals. To do that, we need to create the best money experience around - a financial experience that helps you achieve your goals by keeping you on top of the little everyday things that really matter. The things that are hard to keep up with when life gets in the way.
 
That's why we are creating a system that incentivizes that good behavior. It all starts with gamification.
 
 
 
What is Gamification?
 
Gamification is that thing that all companies claim to have, but few seem to do well. Simply put, Gamification is using game theory and mechanics to guide people through everyday tasks. It has become increasingly popular as more and more companies compete for your attention. Fitbit tells you how many steps you’ve taken, DuoLingo rewards you for practicing your German, and LinkedIn rewards you for filling out your profile (and paying for Premium) by telling you to reach “All Star” Status. All of these companies have taken something mundane and made it “fun” to do, or at least given you a better reason to stick with something you might not otherwise want to do.
 
We say it’s not enough.
 
Most of these companies use these game mechanics to make their apps addictive, and to increase their own bottom line, while leaving a huge opportunity on the table -- to actually help people improve their lives. This misses the biggest, most crucial aspect of customer engagement: when the customers’ benefit, the company benefits.
 
It’s cool to know that you’ve walked the length of the country, but does that actually help you walk more? It’s great to get points for spending money, but does that help you put money away for an emergency? Companies are constantly engineering “gamification” solutions that help them make more money. We have a different ethic at the center of what we do. We know we can use those strategies to help our customers first.
 
 
 
The Future of Gamification
 
A trend we’ve long awaited, and have yet to see fully realized, is that next leap into the possibilities of what Game mechanics can really do for people. We see so much potential to take the basic elements beyond their fledgling, yet misguided, roots, and nurture them into something truly world-changing. 
 
That’s why when Haden came to me with his own vision of a gamified mobile wallet designed to help build financial wellness, I leapt for joy. I had finally found my chance to make this dream a reality. I heard the standard, “We want to have point, badges, and a leaderboard!” and I went “Yes, yes, we’ll do those things — but also…”
 
 
“Let’s give them levels that actually mean something!”

 

Our Financial Health bars show you where you are in your journey toward a better financial future.

 

 

 

“Let’s show people how to reduce their spending over time!”

 

Our Financial Health bars show you where you are in your journey toward a better financial future.

 

 

 

“Let’s reward them for hitting their goals month after month!”

 

We reward you for doing things that help you reach your goals.

 

 

 

 

Let’s take it a step beyond in every way we can imagine, because we can do so much better than what’s already out there. We owe it to our users to push the boundaries of what exists to bring you something extraordinary.

 

 

We started by asking ourselves “How can we actually improve people's lives.” We heard over and over from people that they felt like no one had ever taught them how to manage their finances, that they didn’t really know if what they were doing was “right.”

 

 

 

 

A Different Kind of Business Model

 

Right now, you can get a 100 different credit cards that give you increasingly attractive “rewards points” for spending your money. Your local sandwich shop will give you your 12th sandwich for free as long as you pay for the first 11 at full price.

 

When you stop to think about it, what is the real motivation behind giving you those “free flights” and “free sandwiches”? Their ultimate goal is really to make you spend more of your money to pad their margins. The more you spend, the more money they make — and the less money you have in your pocket.

 

If we were to follow the model everyone else is using, we might say “what people need is to be given points for spending money.” We see plenty of rewards programs out there chasing this standard. Yes, it works, but at what cost? They incentivize people to spend more money and get into debt, and then punish them with fees when they do so.

 

Instead, we give you rewards points for saving your money, never for spending it. We give you points for for looking ahead to the future, for setting goals and sticking to them. And for paying your bills on time.

 

We do this because we don’t make more money when you spend more money. Our business model doesn’t rely on sucking your hard-earned cash out of your wallet. We offer you the services you need at a low cost, and that gives us the freedom to reward you for the doing the right things for you.

 

And we’re not stopping there. Up next: customized weekly and monthly challenges that help you reach your goals faster, tips created using machine learning algorithms that actually help you reduce spending and increase saving, and much much more.

 

I may be biased, but this is where I believe the true magic of Odin lies. We start with the user. We start with you.

What we came up with was a badging system that informs our users as well as rewarding them, a points system that shows people how to spend more responsibly, and a leveling system that makes learning how to manage your finances feel easy.

 

 

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