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Bobber Users Gamification to Promote Saving

A new Seattle-based company is using gamification via Facebook to help encourage young people to save and practice proper financial management skills. The company, BobberInteractive, allows users to set goals, measure their progress and engage/interact with friends via a Facebook app that uses the social media site as a gaming and goal-sharing platform. The hope is that those using the social platform will use gaming to solidify and enhance their ability to save and invest. Sounds just like Farmville, right? Er...no. This game actually teaches something of value.

I recently had a personal demo of the back end of this system during a presentation given at the University of Washington in Seattle. The system is quite unique and is definitely the first of its kind on the market.  And what's there not to like about a game that actually has a meaningful purpose behind it? However, the question I first found myself wondering about was how will these guys make money? Unlike Zynga, which charges for virtual fish and animals, Bobber actually provides users with real prepaid debit cards to make everyday purchases. We're not talking about fake money here. This is the real deal. While Bobber does make money by sending referrals to e-commerce sites, the vast majority of its revenues are expected to be made from interchange rates, which merchants pay the card’s processors every time a purchase is made using the prepaid card. It'll be interesting to see how this catches on among the Facebook generation. Bobber raised an additional $1.4 million from investors in September, so apparently I'm not the only one that was impressed by what they're doing. Have you tried out Bobber yet? If so, we'd love to know what you think in the comments section below.

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Logan Abbott's picture

Logan Abbott is a personal finance and credit card expert with over 5 years of experience writing about each topic. He is a graduate of the USC Marshall School of Business, and also contributes to other online finance publications. He has been quoted in the New York Times, San Diego Union Tribune, TheStreet, and more.

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