Capitec Bank in South Africa wanted to help their clients manage their money better and so they approached Sea Monster Entertainment. The two innovated and created Livin’ it Up which is a gamified solution that teaches clients the fundamentals of managing their money while having fun.

Gamification is the use of game concepts and aesthetics in non-game environments in this case finance to positively motivate behaviour. There are a number of gamified mobile apps that encourage users to save money, budget better or improve financial literacy.

Livin’ it Up by Sea Monster and Capitec Bank stands out as a success story of gamification in finance from the continent with more than 100,000 installs. It simulates real life.

The in-game characters are required to use limited resources to balance their immediate needs and wants with what they want to achieve in the long term. Each character comes with different goals based on their unique bio. 

For instance, each character has to go to work, each piece of work is a mini-game and that’s where they earn their cash. Their investment or savings decisions are based on what they’ve earned. The main goal of the game is to reach one’s savings goal. 

Glenn Gillis the CEO of Sea Monster said, “ Capitec called us a couple of years ago and it was amazing to see that a big corporate like that was taking gaming seriously. They had a good idea of what their strategic goals were and we started the design thinking process which ultimately led to Livin’ It Up.”

“We want people to think differently about their money and to learn while having fun. The emphasis is on how you plan and prioritise your spending to balance your immediate wants with the dreams you have for your future,” said Jean Rossouw the head of financial education at Capitec Bank.

Gamification in finance is a brilliant way to give people a safe space to try different strategies around financial education to teach themselves new skills and ultimately to drive behaviour change. People see themselves in the game and they see themselves represented by the characters. 

The process of setting goals, tracking progress and hitting milestones to unlock a reward tap into the brain’s pleasure centres associated with rewards. Those tiny dopamine spikes compound and serve as future motivation to nurture healthy money habits. South Africans using Livin’ it Up are therefore more likely to meet their savings goals through incremental easily achievable wins.