There is an outburst of applause at the football field as the UAE team scores the winning goal. Image Credit: Ramachandra Babu/Gulf News

The crowd goes wild. There is an outburst of applause at the football field as the UAE team scores the winning goal. Moments later, a spectacular fireworks display rains down on the stadium, to celebrate the UAE's 3-0 football triumph over India.

No, this is not a narrative of another sports victory.

Such a momentous feat is the final scene of an interactive video game, which is designed to educate people about finance. Recently launched by Visa, Fin-ancial Football is a fast-paced, quiz-style game that engages users while teaching them money management skills. Single players or teams gain ground towards the opposing team's goalpost and score goals by answering finance questions while playing the FIFA World Cup-themed football.

The game is one of the key features in Visa's newly created website mymoneyskills.me, also designed to provide fundamental personal finance information in both Arabic and English on topics such as learning how to plan a budget, preparing for the future, using a credit card wisely and spending responsibly. Both the game and the website are part of Visa's global financial literacy campaign.


The Middle East is the fourth region in which Visa has rolled out the game, following Brazil, the US and Mexico. In the lead up to 2010 FIFA World Cup, Visa will introduce the financial video game in 20 more countries including Canada, China, Japan, Russia and South Africa.

Since interactive computer games and football have a huge following especially among teenagers and young adults, Visa decided to launch an educational video under the international football competition theme. The company holds the global rights to all FIFA World Cup events up to 2014.

"This relationship gives Visa the unique opportunity to harness the popularity of the world's most popular sport and use this as a platform to educate people the world over about [finance]," Lama Kabbani, corporate communications manager for Visa, tells Gulf News.

"We chose to create Financial Football as a way to make improving financial literacy fun and engaging. Video games are a popular entertainment mechanism for young people, so the financial football game taps into that, and makes learning what could be a daunting subject matter fun," Kabbani adds.

The video game is free and is open to anyone looking to test their financial literacy, brush up on their money skills and have fun at the same time. A player can be teenager, a student, a graduate or someone using credit cards for the first time.

"The game is designed to help both children and adults improve their financial knowledge and has three difficulty settings aimed at [different age groups]," explains Kabbani.

Kabbani says the game can also be used in classrooms as an interactive way of encouraging students to learn about a subject that can often seem dull and daunting.

Players will find themselves answering questions mostly about banking, among other finance-related topics: What are fixed rate mortgages?, Which savings has the most risk?, A legal tender cannot ...?

"Financial literacy refers to an individual's ability to make informed judgments and effective decisions about the use and management of their money.

For most people, the bank is the conduit for their relationship with their money, so we do believe it is important for people to understand the ins and outs of banking," says Kabbani, when asked about how they decided what types of questions should be included in the video.

Have traditional methods of learning about financial literacy become ineffective? Would this way of learning appeal to you?