A Life Less Analog, Gaming

Financial education is fun with BPI Foundation game

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Who says financial education has to be boring? Adulting can be fun when you play BPI Foundation’s Breakthrough mobile game.

“One of the key advocacies of BPI Foundation is financial wellness, and a key component of financial wellness is education. This particular app provides greater access for financial education opportunities. Simply because around 70% of the population has a smartphone. It’s also aligned with BPI’s vision to create a more financially inclusive society, providing access to those underserved,” said BPI Foundation Executive Director Owen Cammayo in reply to my question at the virtual press briefing.

Learning by playing

Who says financial education has to be boring? Adulting can be fun when you play BPI Foundation's Breakthrough mobile game. Image credit: BPI Foundation
Image credit: BPI Foundation

Apart from access, Cammayo said the Breakthrough: The Financial Choices We Make mobile game provides an enjoyable experience — teaching financial concepts in a fun and relaxed environment.

“Especially if you’re coming from the unbanked sector — which is 70 percent of the population — going through financial concepts would be very daunting,” he said.

Breakthrough effectively breaks down financial concepts into easy-to-digest elements of an interactive digital board game. Somewhat reminiscent of Monopoly, Breakthrough introduces basic to complex financial concepts such as saving, budgeting, retirement planning, insurance, debt management, and investment. You learn by playing against AI opponents, experiencing the different highs and lows of adulting — from working, paying rent, getting promoted, buying a house, purchasing a car, and suffering setbacks such as accidents or phishing scams.

Learning though games is not just enjoyable, but also effective. I’m not just saying that as a gamer. Game-based learning is a growing movement that’s backed by academic and medical studies. As that Entertainment Software Association article noted:

It’s clear that when learning becomes fun, people are quicker to engage and benefit.

Cammayo also pointed out that the development of Breakthrough is BPI Foundation’s response to the World Bank’s study recommending the use of edutainment to teach financial concepts to the public.

Embracing digital

Who says financial education has to be boring? Adulting can be fun when you play BPI Foundation's Breakthrough mobile game. Image credit: BPI Foundation
Image credit: BPI Foundation

He added that the game is part of the ongoing shift to digital not only of BPI Foundation, the social responsibility arm of the Bank of the Philippine Islands, but also of the digital transformation of BPI as a whole.

For instance, as I have previously reported, BPI Asset Management and Trust Corporation has tapped Spotify for financial education, launching its revamped podcast channel “Wealth Radio” on the streaming service.

Since this isn’t a run-of-the-mill mobile game, what would be BPI Foundation’s strategy in rolling it out to the public?

“We will also leverage on the partnerships that we have already developed. For instance, with like-minded organizations who are focused on migrant domestic workers and their families. We also have partnerships with uniformed personnel, and with the Department of Education for the teaching and non-teaching personnel,” said BPI Foundation Program Manager for Financial Education Janelle Monsanto.

“We will maximize those partnerships and roll out the game to them and to their target beneficiaries. So that the game will also reinforce the financial learning from the programs we have previously implemented,” Monsanto said.

Developed by Taktyl Studios, the Breakthrough financial education mobile game is now available on Google Play and the App Store.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to roll the virtual dice to find out if I got promoted.