Fiserv's new release of its CheckFree RXP bill payment product borrows from electronic gaming and social networks in an effort to get more people interested in paying their bills online.

"We're not pretending that paying bills can be fun; it's about getting people to feel accomplished," says Tom Allanson, division president of electronic payments for Fiserv.

The gamification elements are subtle, designed primarily to appeal to the user's desire to reach a new goal, such as the new progress bar that accompanies users through the registration process.

Fiserv also initially suppresses advanced transaction features, which are unlocked once a user becomes more familiar with electronic bill payment. This is similar how games withhold certain skills or power-ups until the player has mastered the basics, Allanson says. By enabling a few early "wins" in terms of users signing up for simpler services, Fiserv is hoping to build confidence, Allanson says.

Another element is the hand-holding when users attempt new tasks within CheckFree RXP. These are similar to the tutorial segments that introduce new features to people playing a game. By adding small amounts of content with context incrementally, Fiserv hopes to reduce abandonment, Allanson says.

Fiserv's is also attempting to emulate the registration process for social media sites, he says.

"The social networking site may tell you that your profile is 80% complete, and offer suggestions of the types of information that can be added to make it 100%," Allanson says.

Whereas Facebook may urge users to add a hometown or occupation, CheckFree RXP suggests which billers or funding options to enroll to complete the user's bill-payment profile.

Other companies are using game-like elements to encourage consumer behavior. SCVNGR's LevelUp mobile payments app has progress bars showing how close the shopper is to receiving a reward for spending at each merchant. It also rewards users for repeated use by unlocking different colors that display when making a payment.

Oink, formerly Virtual Piggy, goes a step further in its integration with Sulake's popular online game Habbo Hotel. The companies provide in-game items such as a "Golden Pig" and "Piggy Flag" when players open and use a Virtual Piggy online payment account.

American Express similarly worked with Zynga's Farmville to promote its Serve prepaid account with in-game items. Amex also provided statement credits to players who completed the Xbox game Halo 4, and provides in-game currency as a reward to players of the PC game League of Legends when they use the League of Legends prepaid card introduced last year.

 In banking, Grow Financial used games displayed on a video wall to lure consumers into its branches.

Fiserv plans to will gauge the success of its gamification elements by measuring how many new users sign up to pay at least one bill with CheckFree RXP, and then tracking how many bills or services they add on top of that. Fiserv did not reveal bank or consumer uptake in early tests, but did say that early results show more users add a bill to pay after signing up for bill pay, and more users schedule their first payment immediately after signing into the service.

"We're not turning bill payment into a video game, but what you can do is engage the users in a way that gets them motivated to do more," Allanson says, adding the service should appeal to younger consumers.

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