IT in Banking

Digital banking app Bettr ventures into gamification, streaming

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African gamer, content creator and tech expert Grant Hinds has joined SA’s newest digital banking player, Bettr.App, as it looks to venture into gamification and content streaming.

An art director, Hinds is also a popular YouTube star and video gamer who later became a technology contributor to South African television shows Hectic Nine 9, Tech Report, Top Billing and Expresso, among others.

Hinds has personally invested in Bettr, and is now a co-founder of the fintech player in his capacity as head of gaming.

It was founded almost five years ago by entrepreneurs Tobie van Zyl (CEO) and Andrzej Stempowski (CTO) under the mother company, Bettr Finance.

The virtual banking platform seeks to create an open digital banking network that makes financial solutions accessible, transparent and inclusive by offering local customers an alternative digital-first banking service for everyday transactional use.

Bettr, which is in beta testing with a waiting list of over 22 000 members, is preparing for its local launch later his year, with a focus on Gen Z and Millennial customers.

While it is not fully licensed , the smartphone-powered virtual banking service offers customers a no-fee transactional account, an interest-based savings account, and an online marketplace offering financial products and services, such as loans or insurance via its zero-rated mobile app.

As part of its strategy, Bettr says it is on a power-drive to merge the worlds of virtual reality (VR) gaming, content creation and banking to offer innovative services to clients.

The move comes as more South African banks redefine their banking services with VR and augmented reality (AR), as they look to create immersive customer experiences on their online banking platforms.

AR and VR provide banking customers with multiple functions on their mobile banking apps − including branch location information, advanced gamification and education tutorials − as part of the banks’ platform strategies.

“Drawing on developments in gaming itself, Grant will also play a key role in gamifying Bettr’s various digital banking offerings,” says Dinika Govender, head of marketing at Bettr.App.

“As head of gaming, Grant will be playing a role in both product and marketing at Bettr, taking the lead on building tools – for gamers and professional content creators – that will integrate into the work that the sector currently does, facilitating financial stability, wealth creation and further development.”

Bettr is expected to stir up the local banking industry, which has seen a rise in digital banks over recent months. It joins fellow competitors TymeBank, Discovery Bank and Bank Zero, which is in the final stages of its beta testing.

Opening up gamification, streaming

Bettr says its business model is premised on artificial intelligence tools that provide each user with a financial graph that compiles their financial DNA (financial decision-making patterns), to customise their user experience and product preferences.

The graph helps to lower customers’ barriers to accessing banking services, by reducing distribution costs, origination costs and underwriting risks for financial products accessed on its marketplaceof financial products and services offered by third-party firms.

Bettr says key roles will be created at every phase of its evolution towards becoming an open-banking fintech that uses gamification to create opportunities for content creators, while adding value for users.

Gamer, content creator and tech expert Grant Hinds.
Gamer, content creator and tech expert Grant Hinds.

While the finteh says it is unable to divulge the details of its upcoming gaming offerings, it notes there’s an endless stream of technology lessons that banking can learn from the e-gaming sector – from advances in user experience /user interface and innovations in programming languages, to core principles on designing richer human-oriented digital experiences.

“Gamifying banking is not a nice-to-have in Bettr’s view, it’s an inevitability,” commentsGovender.

“Bettr’s gaming and content creation offerings are aimed at making video gaming, streaming, e-sports and content creation more accessible and affordable for consumers, by lowering the costs of payments. They also aim to make it more efficient for creators, by lowering the fees taken from international payment gateways like PayPal, and more accessible for emerging creators, by providing access to essential software tools and access to funding for equipment.”

Hinds will take the lead on building tools – for gamers and professional content creators – that will integrate into the work that the sector currently does, facilitating financial stability, wealth creation and further development for gamers and content creators.

“We don’t have services as content creators that cater to the way we make money,” says Hinds. “Banking establishments have really stifled our capability of making money. We need a banking industry that legitimises what we’re earning and how we’re earning that money – as a career – and helps us build a credit score for a brand new world.”

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