Marquina Marie Iliev-Piselli

Graduate and Professional Work

Archive for June, 2011

GLS 7.0 – ETC Press

Bank-It: A Mobile Financial Literacy Game

Marquina M. Iliev-Piselli, Department of Mathematics, Science & Technology

Cameron L. Fadjo, Institute for Learning Technologies; Department of Human Development

Joey J. Lee, Department of Mathematics, Science & Technology

Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027 USA,,


Mobile devices are quickly becoming the predominant platform for entertainment and communication between young adults in the US. While mobile gaming is a prominent activity among 12 to 17 year-olds (as 48% use a cell phone to play games, Lenhart, et al., 2008) and urban minority girls in this age group are likely to play games on these devices (Purcell et al., 2010), girls in this population are most likely to use mobile devices for maintaining social communications (Lenhart et al., 2008).  The app Bank-It is designed to incorporate the social communications aspect of mobile computing that are successful among the target population with game mechanisms (challenges, goals, feedback, and safe play space (Deterding, 2011)) that will make instruction of Financial Literacy an engaging, motivating, and fun experience (Deterding, 2011).

Can an engaging mobile game be used to both teach the fundamental Financial Literacy concept of income & debt management, and change Financial Behavior (Hung et al., 2009) among the teenage demographic (young urban females) who are, according to the PACFL (2008), ‘at risk’ of economic hardship due to inadequate Financial Education? Bank-It, a mobile game for providing informal Financial Literacy instruction to young urban minority girls, is being developed to provide a mobile experience for engaging in and learning about fundamental banking skills.  Specifically, the app is being designed to provide instruction on such critical basic financial topics as judgment and decision-making based on income and expenses and debt literacy (Lusardi & Tufano, 2008).

Using the Conceptual Model of Financial Literacy (see Hung et al., 2009), Bank-It is designed to develop Financial Knowledge through active money management and Financial Skills in a mobile game. Challenges are explicitly stated during interactive sessions and participation is reinforced through goal attainment. In the Financial Literacy literature it is often stated that the goal of financial literacy is to improve Financial Knowledge such that the individual will change her or his Financial Behavior (PACFL, 2008; Hung et al., 2009).  We are currently collecting pilot data on how an ‘off-the-shelf’ finance-related mobile game can be used to inform our design considerations for Bank-It, and quantify Financial Behavioral trends among users.

Citation: Iliev-Piselli, Marquina M., Fadjo, Cameron L. & Lee, Joey J. (2011, July). Bank-It: A Gamified Financial Literacy Mobile App. Poster session presented at the Games, Learning and Society Conference 7.0, Madison, WI.


Deterding, Sebastian (2011). Meaningful Play. Getting «Gamification« Right. Google Tech Talk, January 24, 2011.  Retrieved from: on April 4, 2011.

Hung, A.A., Parker, A.M., Yoong, J.K. (2009). Defining and Measuring Financial Literacy: Working Paper. Rand Labor and Population, Rand Corporation.

Lenhart, A., Kahn, J., Middaugh, E., Macgill, A., Evans, C., & Vitak, J. (2008) Teens, Video Games, and Civics. Pew Internet & American Life.

Lusardi, A. & Tufano, P. (2008). Debt literacy, financial experiences, and overindebtedness. Dartmouth Working Paper.

President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy (PACFL) (2008). 2008 Annual Report to the President. Accessed March 11, 2011 at

Purcell, K., Entner, R., Henderson, N. (2010). The Rise of Apps Culture: 35% of U.S. adults have cell phones with apps, but only 24% of adults actually use them. Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Reeves, B., Read, J.L. (2009). Total engagement: using games and virtual worlds to change the way people work and businesses compete. Harvard Business Press. ISBN 97814221465

Shuler, C. (2007) D is for Digital: An Analysis of the Children’s Interactive Media Environment With a Focus on Mass Marketed Products that Promote Learning, p. 6-31