I’m not one to talk about specific social media sites or offer advice on what tools to use (since I believe those choices should be based on what your specific goals are), but I figured I’d make an exception for this one — especially given my interest in financial communities online as of late.
If saving money was more fun, do you think more people would do it?
Someone thinks so.
Payoff.com is a new interactive site that takes social gaming elements like those we enjoy on platforms like Foursquare and SCVNGR and applies them to valuable things like saving and debt reduction… think of it as Mint 2.0, with a bit of a wink.
Basically, once you’ve set up an account and connected your various bank, credit card and investment accounts, you can create goals (e.g. pay off debt, save for a house, etc.) to achieve. Just like Mint, right?
But with Payoff, as you progress through your goals, you win badges — reinforcing the good things you’ve accomplished with a little smile, and some fun motivation to keep going. You even have a chance to win “sur-prizes” when you successfully complete the challenges you set for yourself.
You can add another social layer to the experience by connecting your Facebook account.
Don’t worry — your Facebook friends won’t see how much you have in your 401k. Payoff will use the connection to let them know when you’ve created or completed a goal (not the amount — again, that’s your business alone), and when you’ve achieved new badges.
Perhaps down the line, we’ll see deeper engagement within Payoff via the creation of an internal network, allowing you to “friend” and connect with other users — and offer them encouragement on their own personal profile on the site.
Payoff supplements user efforts through the provision of tips and motivation, both on their blog and through their Facebook Page, as well as through links to relevant third party sites. The goal seems to be to convince users that saving money and reducing debt isn’t as daunting — or as boring — as it may seem.
I’ve only just begun to experiment with the service, but I can see how applying social gaming techniques to seemingly mundane tasks (like building an emergency fund, or paying down a line of credit) could inspire more people to think about their economic situation in a positive way.
Have you tried Payoff.com yet? What do you think? What other innovative ways are you seeing social gaming being used?