Bank of New Zealand is using advanced facial recognition software to help customers visiting its Web site explore their emotional attachment to their personal finances.
The online experience, named EmotionScan, has been developed by BNZ in partnership with psychologist, Dr Stuart Carr and Swiss emotion recognition software company, nViso.
Massey University Professor of Psychology, Dr Stuart Carr says that emotion is becoming an increasingly recognised factor in financial decision-making.
"We think we're rational about it, but we're now recognising that emotions influence our financial decisions more than we realise," he says.
EmotionScan uses advanced emotion recognition software to analyse facial expressions as participants listen to a series of scenarios designed around eight financial areas of interest; cash flow, budgeting, mortgages, retirement, financial security, financial control, debt, dependents, donations and savings.
It aims to highlight to New Zealanders the financial areas they are most comfortable with and which they might need to address.
"We know that only 9% of people strongly believe that they are competent at managing their finances so we wanted to provide them with a way of honestly assessing what areas of their financial planning they need to address," says BNZ chief marketing officer, Craig Herbison.
"We think that if we can help New Zealanders to face up to how they really feel about money, then we can help to set them on track in addressing any areas they're concerned about and putting them more in control of their money."
This is the first time the software has been used to gauge people's emotional response to their financial situation. It was initially developed to help with researching consumer reactions to advertisements and new product development ideas.
Herbison explains that after completing EmotionScan, he hopes participants will go into a BNZ store to have a talk about the areas of their finances they are least comfortable with.
"Highlighting areas of financial concern and addressing them directly can make a huge difference to the financial situations of New Zealanders," he says.