Accessibility links

A week ago, the Bank of England reported that personal debt fell during July for the first time since records began (1993): people paid back more than they borrowed. Without picking sides in the debate running through the comments on Stephanie Flanders' blog post on the subject, being able to live with less debt generally seems like a Good Thing to an economic muggins like me. As Mr Micawber said...

Mr Micawber delivers some valedictory remarks - courtesy of http://charlesdickenspage.com/

Mr Micawber delivers some valedictory remarks - courtesy of http://charlesdickenspage.com/

A week ago, the Bank of England reported that personal debt fell during July for the first time since records began (1993): people paid back more than they borrowed. Without picking sides in the debate running through the comments on Stephanie Flanders' blog post on the subject, being able to live with less debt generally seems like a Good Thing to an economic muggins like me. As Mr Micawber said...

"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."

...et cetera, et cetra. Spending and money management is a behaviour I haven't thought too deeply about, but there are a few interesting instances of design that encourage particular money-related behaviours that immediately spring to mind.

A while ago when working on a university project on Personal Carbon Trading (a parallel currency of carbon credits often described as another card that people would carry in their wallets) I wondered whether incorporating a display that indicated how many credits remained on the card would be a good idea. Something like e-paper could work well; it's flat and consumes little power. Leaving aside the privacy issues and risks associated with displaying account balances on cards for everyone to see, a display on the card would give people some feedback (or self-monitoring) on their balance and could help them manage their account more effectively. Perhaps it could even take the idea of being in the red or the black literally and change colour according to the balance of your account.

Adding feedback to cards isn't a new idea. You probably remember BT's earlier phonecards, which had a strip which was marked each time the card was used. Here's one (it just happens to be prisons issue phonecard) that looks from the marks like it's been half-used:

id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Phonecard by Flickr user everydaylifemodern"]Phonecard by Flickr user everydaylifemodern

Another interesting example of design for behaviour change to help money management is given by Dan Lockton in his Design with Intent toolkit. Yahoo's loan simulator provides people with the ability to project their loan repayments into the future (it doesn't seem to work on Internet Explorer 6 by the way):

id="attachment_730" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Yahoo's loan simulator"]Yahoo's loan simulator

It's a helpful utility I think, but does it give the simulation in the right place? Maybe a loan simulator on a mobile phone be a better influence when you're out spending money? Would it be better if you could plot other big expenses you're expecting in the next few years?

Do you know of any other good examples of design, behaviour, and money management out there?

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