Fitness trackers convert sweat into savings in a world first for personal finance.
The days of walking for free could soon be over as Russia’s Alfa-Bank has started to pay customers for every step they take. Using data from fitness trackers like the Fitbit and Jawbone UP, the new Activity platform monitors customers’ movements and transfers small amounts of their money to a special savings account depending on how much they exercise. The only way to gain access to this account, and its high interest rate of 6% per annum, is to get moving.
Noticing the growing popularity of wearable devices, Alfa-Bank teamed up with 42 Agency, a marketing consultancy and advertising agency in Moscow, to link fitness tracking to personal finance. The result is Activity™, a new software that rewards account holders for leading active lifestyles.The app is the first of its kind and can be used by any customer who has RunKeeper, Fitbit or Jawbone UP.
First, customers sync their activity with their online bank account and then decide how much every step or number of meters they cover during their daily routine is worth, which can be from 1 to 50 cents. From then on, for every move they make, the cash value of their exercise is transferred to the savings account, where it can earn the highest interest rate the bank offers. Beta tests show that the platform is proving popular, with users who are nearly twice as active as average clients, and saving up to twice as much.
As the wearable technology market booms, there is a wealth of devices to choose from and designers are coming up with creative ways to interpret the results. There are so many in fact, that there is even an infographic guide to understanding which device is meant for which body part. As well as earning money from your movements, you can put on a T-shirt to feel the same physical sensations as a rugby player on the field, create a social timeline of your dog’s daily activity, turn your heartbeat into a wall clock and let your dress increase your personal space.
Tracking steps and distance covered is not as outlandish as these examples but the Alfa-Bank’s latest venture is very innovative in what it does with the data collected. The Activity platform is a rare example of a bank rewarding customers for something other than a good credit rating. Unlike most of the highest-interest accounts, it’s accessible to anyone no matter what their annual income and the only way to access it is by working up a sweat.
This initiative cleverly taps into the burgeoning wearable tech trend and also delivers real benefits to consumers – and there are few better benefits that a bank could offer than giving customers more money. So if other financial brands follow suit, it could be that our days of working out without making a profit will soon be long gone. Check out the video below to see Activity in action.