Fintech Innovations in Mobile Finance
By Alia Noor, Associate partner, Ahmad Alagbari Chartered Accountants, UAE
The Payment Space goes back! As long as Mankind goes back!
But what is Exciting in Payments?
Mode of payment has become fast, faster, fastest.
“Technology” had moved us from wagons to trains to planes
with ability to move slowly to more quickly to much more quickly to much, much more quickly.
Money and payments are at the center of the financial services industry. The Journey of payment started from Barter system to Cash and moved on to Cheques, Credit Cards, Debit Card – from Postal money order to Private Money Order and Bank Transfers – from Electronic Fund Transfers to digital products, like PayPal and Crypto Currencies.
Technology has changed the way we deliver financial services. Moving money from one owner to another requires systems and technologies which are facilitated through the fast-evolving Smartphone’s Digital Wallet, Integrated Billing, and In-app payments.
What is Interesting about moving Money around and Payment System?
Digital change will reduce cost, boost margins, and deliver a competitive advantage to ensure that you are up to speed with your customers.
“Mobile Banking” offers services to their customers enabling them to perform and monitor financial transactions through smartphones. You can get your money when you like it, pay online, purchase securely and complete international transactions more cheaply.
Fintech firms including Paypal, Alipay, Stripe, and Square are offering services where customers can pay for goods and services online. Whereas “Transferwire” and “Worldremit” are saving the end-user a great deal of money by allowing international transactions at a very low cost.
The impact of mobile and digital payments has become more evident as organizations and governments are working together towards financial inclusion in emerging economies. Previously unbanked/underbanked population can now transact globally as mobile and digital payments have become a gateway for people who did not have access to financial services.
“It isn’t the big that beats the small, but the fast that beats the slow”.
M-PESA —A Revolution started by Accident!
The UK Department for International Development was having a hard time in delivering funds to Kenya rural farm areas as the average rural Kenyan lives several kilometers away from banks.
In 2007, M-PESA created by Vodafone’s Kenyan subsidiary Safaricom designed a system to allow microfinance-loan repayments to be made by phone, as approximately 54% of the population was using a cell phone or had access to one. It reduced the costs associated with handling cash resulting in reduced interest rates.
At that time, many Kenyans working in urban areas had relatives living in rural (farm) areas. They were facing problems while remitting money to their families due to a lack of infrastructure. Travelling was even more expensive, hence they started using M-PESA platform to send money to their relatives instead of using it as a loan repayment tool.
When operators realized that M-PESA has been used as a mode for transferring money instead of loan repayment tool, they decided to set up a network of physical agents that could payout or receive deposits over a Safaricom account. The financial inclusion, driven by Kenya’s M-PESA, has greatly led to the growth of Kenya’s digital economy revolutionizing the way people spend, save, and send money.
“Kenya’s M-Pesa proves that when people are empowered,
they will use digital tech to innovate on their own behalf.”—Bill Gates.
Amazon Go — Imagine a cashless world!
For the past 3,000 years, when people thought of money they thought of cash. As of today, digital payments have taken over and tapping your plastic card or swiping a smartphone has replaced traditional thought and become a norm.
In early 2017, Amazon launched “Amazon Go” a cashier-less convenience store, which allows customers to shop and immediately leave the store without checking out at a till machine counter. Later, this will be automatically charged to the customer’s account. Currently, Amazon has seventeen stores in the USA.
However, Amazon is not the sole player in this tech space. “Grabango” and “AiFi”, two tech start-ups, are also in a battle with Amazon in mounting checkout-less technology war.
“It Is Not the Strongest of the Species that Survives
but the Most Adaptable”— Charles Darwin, 1809
Crypto today is like the Internet in 1995!
Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency, was birthed in the aftermath of the traditional financial market crash in 2008. Bitcoin took the world by storm by offering a currency alternative to the government-backed currencies. There are other cryptocurrencies as well called Alt Coins, such as Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple, and all of them are entirely digital, with no physical equivalent such as banknotes or coins.
“A lot of people automatically dismiss e-currency as a lost cause
because of all the companies that failed since the 1990s.
I hope it’s obvious it was only the centrally controlled nature of
those systems that doomed them.I think this is the first time we’re
trying a decentralized, non-trust-based system.” — Satoshi Nakamoto, 2009
These crypto are operated though “Cryptocurrency wallet”. This technology allows consumers to store digital assets, manage security issues, storing secret keys and identity verification passwords, in a wallet allowing customers to transact through their smartphones. Some of the leading players in this space are Coinbase Wallet, Robinhood, and Exodus.
“Advancements in the area of FinTech Innovations have been happening
at lightning speed.We have just touched the surface of Innovation,
beyond which lies the whole universe yet to be discovered”. — Alia Noor, 2020
Note:This article was originally published at www.frontrunnerinnovate.com , Jan, 2020