How the Metaverse Can Help with Financial Education


The metaverse is a 3D integrated network of virtual worlds that is increasingly attracting the attention of major corporations looking to make a digital appearance in front of billions. Through augmented reality and virtual reality (AR users can create their own digital avatars to interact with each other in different worlds without leaving their homes. These worlds can immerse users in anything from gaming to social networking and beyond.

Anybody with a computer and internet connection can explore the metaverse, though many use VR headsets for full immersion. There are several different “worlds,” also called platforms, in the metaverse that users can enter, such as Decentraland, The SandBox, and CryptoVoxels. Each platform offers a different type of experience for users, and thus attracts different companies wanting to establish their presence. For example, The SandBox offers users more opportunities to build, play, and monetize their experiences, while Decentraland is geared toward users wanting to buy, sell, and trade virtual real estate plots.    

With an approximated 1.07 billion users in 2022, the opportunities to meet consumers in the metaverse are only growing. Consumer brands like Chipotle, Gucci, Nike, and more, are already establishing their presence in the metaverse, allowing users to interact with their virtual products in a variety of ways.

Some games and applications even allow users to earn virtual currency (or cryptocurrency in some cases), to be spent on virtual products such as clothing and accessories for their avatars, plots of virtual land, or even NFTs. The opportunities in the metaverse are vast, and customizable to every user.

With all the opportunities the metaverse presents, real-world education seems to have taken a back seat. For example, in the platform “Roblox,” players (typically ages 9-15) can participate in a game called “Bloxburg,” where they purchase their own homes, establish careers, earn paychecks, own vehicles, and pay bills, yet have no financial institution to organize their funds through, or even the foundational knowledge to handle their currency. Budgeting, loans, and savings accounts are non-existent, even as they receive paychecks, pay electricity bills, and invest in new furniture for their virtual homes.

Financial institutions have a unique opportunity to enter the metaverse and supply financial education, financial well-being, brand awareness, and even employee training.

How is the Metaverse Being Used?
Although the metaverse has a strong reputation for gaming, it is not always in the traditional sense, and there are many other ways for users to participate.

Meeting Spaces
There are tons of “hangout” spaces in the metaverse, with uses such as business meetings and conferences, concerts and other events, virtual museums (with NFTs on display), and more. In these open worlds, users can meet with each other either fully immersed with virtual reality headsets, or just on a computer screen.

Virtual Investing & Cryptocurrency
Metaverse users can invest in virtual land, NFTs (such as avatar clothing and accessories), and more. Some spaces in the metaverse offer cryptocurrency as incentives for game play or participation, which users then store in their digital wallets and use however they please.

Shopping & Branded Game Play
Chipotle launched a game in the metaverse called “Burrito Builder” and ran a promotion on National Burrito Day in 2022 which married the metaverse with reality. The simulation experience challenges players to roll burrito orders to earn in-game currency (dubbed “Burrito Bucks”), of which the first 100,000 players to earn enough were able to redeem for a real burrito via the Chipotle app.

Similarly, Gucci created Gucci Town in the metaverse, a luxurious virtual world for users to explore, shop, and learn about the brand’s origins in a played story.

Union Bank of India recently launched a virtual lounge in the metaverse, where people can enter the lounge to access available banking services such as social security, loans, and other banking products, as if they were physically in a branch.

Other banks that have made an appearance in the metaverse but are not necessarily offering full banking services (yet), are JPMorgan Chase and HSBC.

With limitless uses for the metaverse and more people logging on every day, financial institutions have a unique opportunity to enter this digital space to establish a presence and educate their consumers.

The metaverse presents ample opportunity for financial institutions to meet their consumers in the digital space for the purpose of education. Let’s look at what traditional financial education exists today, and how the metaverse currently provides educational content.

What Financial Education Exists Today?
Traditional financial education is typically outdated, difficult for consumers to access, and not user friendly. For children specifically, some banks and credit unions offer programs to foster financial wellness and teach account management skills. However, this usually requires parental initiation and involvement, and more importantly, the engagement and attention of children.

Today’s financial education options typically involve creating new accounts, sharing personal information, and keeping up with their curated content. Through videos, online courses, and eBooks, organizations aim to teach topics such as understanding mortgages, credit, and loans. While valuable, these offerings typically have low interest and attendance rates.

While these programs offer important and helpful information for consumers, the simple fact is that they are generally not interested, and children are certainly not engaged.

Enter the metaverse. Adding a new element to financial education, disguised a bit with gamification, can keep people engaged and learning financial wellness without necessarily knowing.

What Types of Education Exist in the Metaverse Now?
Some organizations have already recognized the substantial opportunity for education in the metaverse. Meeting children (and adults) where they’re already spending their free time is a simple way to keep them engaged in educational content.

For example, hundreds of millions of people currently spend time in metaverse games like Roblox and Minecraft, and educators are taking advantage of interest-driven learning. Tasking children with simple coding and building activities within these platforms gives them an engaging and fun way to learn new skills, including communication, teamwork, technical skills, engineering principles, and problem-solving.

Anzu, an in-game advertising platform, launched a campaign in the metaverse for World Autism Awareness Day in Turkey. The goal was to spread awareness about autism as well as promote social responsibility among kids and teens. Children with autism were encouraged to meet each other in virtual spaces and “paint” pictures, which were displayed in-person at the Istanbul Grand Airport and even auctioned off as NFTs to raise funds for an autistic support foundation.

Although many other organizations rave about the opportunities for enhanced education in the metaverse, none have seemed to take actionable steps to make it happen.  

How Financial Institutions Can Utilize the Metaverse
Financial institutions have a golden opportunity to enter the metaverse now, especially considering that in games like Roblox, children already have a chance to make their own virtual money, and even must pay their “bills” and handle paychecks from virtual jobs.

Financial education for children can come from banks and credit unions making themselves known where they are already playing in the metaverse. Comparable to how Chipotle allowed players to roll burritos behind the counter, financial institutions have an opportunity to accept players as “consumers,” and help educate them on handling virtual money.

For example, establishing your bank or credit union as a part of game play where people are making virtual money can help them to learn how to budget, set up credit cards, establish a line of credit, apply for loans, etc. – all for their virtual assets, of course. Users could visit virtual branches, establish a savings plan, withdraw from ATMs on the go, take out loans for virtual assets like clothing and accessories, and more.

Children can smell educational content from miles away; meeting them where they are already making and budgeting their own virtual money, paying virtual bills, and even purchasing virtual vehicles, keeps them engaged and interested on their own accord while promoting healthy financial habits from a young age.   

Use Cases for Banking in the Metaverse
With or without a VR headset, people can enter the metaverse. The only difference is that a VR headset makes the experience immersive, with 360-degree views of where the user is, responsive to where they move their head to look. However, many users experience the metaverse just from their computer with a mouse and keyboard.

  • Financial education: A user visits their bank’s branch in the metaverse and completes a course or speaks with an employee about understanding mortgage lending, all from their computer at home.
  • Financial well-being: Still at their virtual branch, this same user sets up a new savings account and explores the amounts needed per month to save for a large purchase.
  • Brand awareness: A non-member is “walking” around in the metaverse and sees a credit union advertisement on the side of a virtual building with free game play or another virtual offer. They redeem the offer, then look up the credit union online and inquire about becoming a member.
  • Employee training: Bank or credit union employees enter the metaverse for hands-on training from a computer, with or without a VR headset. They learn how to operate equipment, check ATMs for signs of skimming, handle cash, and more.  

To learn more about how your financial institution can live in the metaverse and provide financial education to users, schedule a discovery call with our experts today.

Hear more on the metaverse in person at FTSI's ExCITE 2022 - Into the Metaverse event, Dec. 2, 2022, at FTSI's Executive Experience Center in Monrovia, CA.

Article by FTSI, a California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues business partner.