Dreams, the Swedish Fintech Using Gamification and Behavioural Science to Help Banks Engage New Audiences and Enhance the Digital User Experience of Their Customers

  • Banking
  • 25.08.2021 10:15 am

Dreams is a provider of behavioural and engagement banking solutions, which is powered by cognitive science, and helps some of the world’s largest financial institutions engage critical new target audiences and increase loyalty, by boosting their customers’ financial health and empowering them to save and feel better about their money. Dreams initially launched as a consumer app, which is live in the Nordics, and currently the top-rated app of its category across all app stores in its native Sweden, where it has helped over 460,000 users save over 440 million EUR to date.

Through the integration within a bank’s own digital tools of the Dreams Platform, customers can set and achieve money-saving goals through clever, automated saving features, in addition to nudges and saving hacks and the option to invest through mutual funds. Users can also utilise the platform’s ability to consolidate loans for more efficient payment towards credit card debts, in addition to bespoke insurance offers, providing customers with the necessary asset and debt management skills to live more sustainably. In turn, banks can leverage Dreams’ B2B2C offering, its methodology and behavioural science concepts to engage and cater to the needs of new, underserved target audiences, and ensure their solutions stay relevant in the era of digitisation and challenger banks.

Initially launched as a money-saving app in Sweden in 2016, and then in Norway in 2018, Dreams has achieved a 16% market share of all 20-39 year olds in both countries, in just under 4 years. In 2020, Dreams announced two strategic partnerships with banking software provider Silverlake Symmetri, and Ukrainian commercial bank UKRSIBBANK, marking an expansion of the company’s business model into the B2B space, as it evolves its services as a provider of digital banking solutions for financial institutions. To support this strategic shift, Dreams also recently unveiled a new department in Stockholm dedicated to the development of its B2B partnerships.

How the Dreams platform works:

Dreams leverages an effective and universal method, based on behavioural science, to offer users a personalised and engaging savings experience. Through the Dreams platform, users, rather than the bank, are in control of how they handle their money and what they save for.

Once customers open their new ‘Dreams’ savings account, they can then set a ‘dream’ or saving goals, and choose to activate multiple saving hacks. 

The saving hacks are powered by different algorithms which leverage certain behavioural science principles and gamification to challenge users to improve their financial lives and change their spending habits for the better. Through these innovative hacks, users can benefit from automatic and seamless transfers of money from their current account to their ‘Dreams’ savings accounts. Altogether, there are 16 localised saving hacks to choose from. The two most popular hacks include:

  • ‘The Thief’ - the in-app thief ‘steals’ varying, small amounts each week from the user’s salary account and adds it to their ‘Dreams’ savings account.

  • ‘Autopilot’ - automatically calculates and withdraws from the user’s bank account the amounts necessary for them to reach their dream on time, taking into consideration other saving hacks activated and manual savings made by the user. If no other hacks are activated, automatic withdrawals are made on a weekly basis. 

The rest of the saving hacks are rooted in behavioural change, inciting users to save money by changing their lifestyle and implementing more sustainable consumption and spending habits. These include “Quit Smoking”, “Skip Takeout Food” and “Exercise Outside”, to name a few. 

Beyond in-app savings, Dreams also offers asset and debt management products to enable users to allocate the money they have saved through the app towards debt repayments or fund investments.

Research Partnerships and Dreams Institute 

Dreams utilises collaborations with academia to design its products and methodology. This work is conducted in close partnership with the Dreams Institute, a separate entity founded to initiate relevant studies with some of the world’s top universities on matters relating to money, behavioural science, and personal finance management. Current research partners include academics from UCLA, University of Toronto, Stockholm School of Economics, University of Linköping, the Max Planck Institute, Stockholm Royal School of Technology, and Stockholm University. 

Dreams Institute is headed by its CEO, Elin Helander, a celebrated neuroscientist formerly working for the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.


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