Rewards | Behavioural Science in Banking


We know that financial wellness is intrinsically linked to overall wellbeing, and as such, forming good financial habits is an essential tenet to achieving that wellbeing. The development of good habits is facilitated over time through repeated behaviours, but there are several factors which can affect the rate at which these habits are developed. 

How does being rewarded affect our behaviours and goals?

Studies have shown that being rewarded has an impact on the way we build and repeat good practices. Rewards trigger the part of our brain linked to immediate gratification, and therefore when being done repeatedly it helps to positively reinforce actions and support a positive feedback cycle towards our goals. 

In a similar way, we are able to train our learned financial behaviours by tying rewards in with spending or saving, using it as a tool to evoke a sense of brand loyalty or even as a way to promote our levels of commitment and productivity. 

Financial institutions can use rewards to build a more meaningful relationship with consumers while also helping them make better financial decisions.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs describes the elements we need as human beings to thrive and succeed. Typically depicted as hierarchical levels in a pyramid, we can understand financial wellbeing as a basic need; achieving it helps us achieve our established feelings of safety and security, which provides an important foundation for the pursuit of the heir-tiered needs. 

Beyond security alone, growth in confidence regarding financial behaviours and decision making and habits can also promote aspects of our self-esteem and can even provide avenues towards self-actualisation. 

Rewarding customers through gamified experiences 

The gamification of digital banking activities don’t just help with consumer engagement levels, it also helps reframe the way users view financial tasks that would normally be perceived as tedious or boring. Gamification can be applied to several aspects of digital banking to help create more compelling customer journeys, while also creating the opportunity for financial institutions to understand consumers and their needs better. Most importantly, it creates the opportunity for banks to reward users and be really creative in the way they do so. 

Rewarding your loyal customers is a long term investment

A personalised loyalty programme is an integral part of the relationship between banks and consumers today. 75% of consumers today have said that they would switch brands for a better loyalty program, and they are shown to influence the decision making process for consumers in general. Rewarding your consumers for their continued in-app activity and improvements in their financial wellbeing helps build trust, increases their lifetime value and helps develop a more meaningful relationship with them in the long run. 


Financial institutions should consider the impact rewards (and being rewarded) have on individuals when building personal financial management tools and implementing loyalty campaigns or financial wellbeing programmes. A reward strategy can be really effective when tied in with gamified experiences, so get creative and have fun rewarding your customers today!