Rachel Schneider’s Breaking News: Monopoly Bank Fails

Rachel Schneider’s Breaking News: Monopoly Bank Fails

I’m honored that the one and the only Rachel Schneider (CFSI’s Innovation leader) felt compelled to share her musings on board games and consumer finance:

Hasbro is launching a new version of Monopoly. Described in the New York Times yesterday (“No Dice, No Money, No Cheating. Are You Sure This is Monopoly?), Monopoly Live is fascinating in a few ways. There is no more cash. The miniature, crinkly, color-coded paper money is replaced by swipeable “bank cards”. The rule book is gone, as are the dice. Instead, an electronic, computerized tower in the middle of the game board organizes the players and moves the game along. That way, the players can spend their time chatting instead of consulting a detailed instruction manual and negotiating about complicated rules. If the game is going too slowly, the computer can spice it up by auctioning off properties none of the players have landed on yet or announcing a surprise horse race. And, there is no banker. That bears repeating, I think. In the new, faster paced, digital Monopoly Live world, there is no banker.

After a successful 75 year run, a game that is an American cultural icon is being updated. It’s being revamped to take a shorter time to play, to work immediately after being taken out of the box, to be enjoyable without having to read detailed instructions and to be more conducive to socializing (and to require fewer math skills, by the way).

That sounds like perfectly good advice for a financial services company trying to lead the next round of financial services innovation.

Bank accounts, prepaid cards, credit cards, mortgages…to various degrees, they all require financial services customers to play “old Monopoly.” Terms and conditions are the instruction manual no one wants to read. The rules of play are often complicated, and they shift based on each player’s ability to negotiate with the other players. Traditional financial services are also slow to use by today’s standards: paper checks can take days to clear; financial statements report stale information from as long as a month ago.

Growth in the financial services industry needs to come from meeting the needs of the next generation of accountholders – youth and underbanked adults who currently don’t prioritize the use of traditional financial services to manage their financial lives.

To generate that growth, financial services providers need to be faster, more networked, more transparent and easier to use – right out of the box. Sure, those of us who loved playing the banker as a kid might miss old Monopoly, but we’ll benefit more from the new financial services game than we’ve ever imagined.