Lessons from Pokémon GO for the financial services industry

In the age of instant gratification, only a few trends manage to cut through the noise and endure the test of time. Pokémon GO, a location-based augmented reality game, seems poised to succeed where others have failed. I downloaded the game to see if it was worth all the hype.

As a digital game anchored in the user’s physical space, Pokémon GO has unraveled a new realm of “phy-gital” engagement opportunities for all industries. The game tags real-world locations as PokeStops, where users can discover digital caches to power up. Some locations have received so much traffic that warning signs are popping up all over the world. The game’s ability to use digital engagement to drive real-world physical action is unprecedented.

Many industries can benefit from leveraging Pokémon GO–like technology to craft holistic strategies and consistently engage with consumers. This article touches upon some of the features of Pokémon GO that are relevant for the banking and financial services industry.

Augmented reality

Not to be confused with virtual reality, which creates a totally artificial environment, augmented reality overlays digital information on top of the user’s existing environment in real time. In the Pokémon GO context, characters appear on the screen when the camera faces a particular location, creating the impression that they exist in that physical space. Similarly, banks can send virtual offers that pop up depending on the user’s camera angle. For example, customers can use the mobile camera to hunt for dining offers, cash-back opportunities, ATM locations or apartments that are pre-approved for home loans.

Geolocation data

Users can set “lures” to attract Pokémons to a specific location or visit “gyms,” famous landmarks in the real world where Pokémons can engage in digital battle. Banks can leverage similar components in their apps by dropping offers near locations that have high foot traffic—museums, churches, parks, cafes—effectively creating lures in the places their customers are most likely to be.


Because all users can see the location of lures, Pokémon GO players in the vicinity are likely to run into one another, creating a social element to the digital game. Banks can benefit from increasing footfall at a certain restaurant they have a relationship with, for example, as customers are likely to engage with like-minded people and post feedback about their experience on social media.

Customer engagement

Pokémon GO drives people to get out of their houses and take walks to catch characters. By following this lead, banks can encourage customers to go out and spend on dining or make other lifestyle-related purchases with their partner companies. Customers will not only have easy access to information on bank and ATM locations, but will receive real-time offers without having to scout for them.

Like in Pokémon GO, the banking and financial services industry can capitalize on the power of geolocation and augmented reality. The intelligent insights on customer engagement derived through gamification will allow the industry to provide offers that will benefit customers, banks and their partners alike. Pokémon Go has undoubtedly upped the ante for disruptors.

Learn more about Mindtree’s full set of digital solutions for the financial services industry.