Social Good – The intelligence of payments surpasses that of the recipient. The payments industry has undergone a significant transformation in recent times that is ten times quicker than that of the previous five decades. The emergence of payment intelligence is a novel occurrence linked to the advancement of technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, data science, and machine learning.
Before beginning this post, Allow me make it clear that I have no intentions of being judgmental or comparative towards anyone or anything mentioned herein. This write-up is not a definitive statement or assertion. It is merely my own personal interpretation and perception. The African markets are the primary point of interest.
Lets Paint the Picture on FinTech Market
Successive appearances of the FinTech movement exemplify the current state of affairs and inspire people to explore value, reflect upon it, and generate fresh insights or suggestions. Please share your thoughts and opinions in the designated area specified underneath. We appreciate and respect all opinions, regardless of whether they coincide with or differ from ours.
The evolution of financial systems has been happening for centuries. The journey of FinTech is interesting and challenging at the same time. Financial technology disrupted bank’s businesses with sudden changes in underlying technology and business strategy. FinTech’s golden idea, “You grow, then I grow,” almost killed banks banking styles.
Emerging technologies like AI, machine learning, and data science helped FinTech gain access to the banking space. Systems and strategies based on these technologies showed the world the power of prescriptive, predictive, and descriptive analytics. How has this analysis changed the FinTech intelligence space completely? Banking and financial services institutes are now becoming big data production factories.
Retail banking in Africa is far from where it should be; it has never followed the natural progression. Financial payments through the banking sector started in a very inefficient and traditional way. It was slow but still acceptable, but sadly not any longer. In this information age, the customer seeks speed, low cost, minimal KYC, and highly efficient systems.
FinTech and FinTech Industry Age
After spending almost a decade in a sort of FinTech industry, I am now forced to ask myself, “What’s next for me if not banking on emerging technologies to strengthen?” the FinTech industry banking industry. A new startup in fintech is popping up almost every day. Though we are living in FinTech 3.5, it still has huge potential to grow.
Every area of financial services is undergoing disruptive change, and the alternative finance market is producing a myriad of new and totally innovative business models. There seems to be no end to the wave of change sweeping through this industry.
The prospect of having to spend real money focuses the mind like nothing else. I read this some time back on the internet somewhere: “There is no teacher like the market and no purifier of ideas like the capital”. Alternative finance providers don’t necessarily have to be start-ups. Financial services employees are seeking more rewarding careers and want the ability to make a genuine difference.
The way I see and can test the real value (not in terms of money) of any startup in the FinTech domain is to try to sell their FinTech startup as a product. Learning, which will come from selling, is the only true feedback you can ever get on how your startup is doing or going to do.
All learning comes from the street, but it is very difficult to digest the feedback that anyone can get on the street. Build a product, a service, or an idea quickly and see if someone will pay for it. This will actually tell you what impact your product will have on people’s lives, how much social good or impact it will have, what benefits it will bring to the table, and what segment will benefit from it.
Digital Transformation of Financial Services
The digital transformation of financial services into financial technology has given this world millions of opportunities and startups. Banks are still thinking about what to do. Allow me to warn you: FinTech is not just about giving new innovative services in the financial services domain but also making easier what we have already.
FinTechs that came up without any real skill or business plan will survive in the ICU before they get written about in history books.
Most of the startups in this space came up with huge experience outside of the financial services domain. How they will transform and make it digital—let’s wait and watch. The opportunity has been seen, and actions have begun to explore the opportunity to disrupt financial services (banking services (not banks), insurance services, online selling or e-commerce services, etc.).
One of the biggest players in online business has recently announced an online lending capability geared towards selected businesses trading their goods on an online retail platform. In fact, banks face a huge threat from large technology players simply because consumers now trust their technology providers, like Google and Amazon, more than they trust their financial services providers. Technological innovation allows alternative finance players to do things better, cheaper, and faster.
Market and People in FinTech
While working in FinTech, I got one thing to believe, and it’s beautiful as well: “friendship of incredibly cool people”. Some of the most original and creative minds from big banks and startups alike make for amazing company and conversations. The commonality of most of the disruption taking place in financial services is a direct result of technological innovation.
The term “FinTech” was coined with reference to technology-led financial services. Since I straddle the worlds of necessary (regulation) and possible (FinTech), mixing with FinTech intelligence services provides a different and valuable perspective. It’s all about the future of financial services, and I hope that the financial industry is not yet all about documentation and fire prevention. However, even though the market is ripe for startups, it has challenges that must be approached with knowledge and proper planning.
Financial services are highly regulated, and launching in the wrong way can have not only adverse financial consequences but also personal liability for the founders and directors. This is because they could inadvertently end up breaching some regulatory requirements. So treating it carefully and seeking professional advice is very important.
Financial services like payments, investments, remittances, crowdfunding, consumer banking (not bank), insurance, e-commerce, lending, investment platforms, investment data and strategies, acquired capital, money management and budgeting platforms, debit and credit cards, prepaid debit cards, mobile banking services, stock trading services, social networks for investors and traders, digital wallets for payments and remittances, and mobile apps are just a handful of disruptive FinTech markets.
Blockchain & FinTech
With mobile, the financial services industry is becoming increasingly decentralized (blockchain is coming in), tailored for specific needs, and more widely accessible. Indeed, nearly 75% of them say mobile payments, banking, and money are important. Some of the best and most popular examples of the fintech industry from our earlier examples are listed below, and their business models include the following:
- Market place lending, including peer-to-peer and peer-to-business lending;
- Equity crowdfunding;
- Alternative forms of invoice or real estate financing;
- Payments systems;
- Disruptive insurance;
- Foreign exchange and other forms of remittance business;
- Providing innovative software to established banks and other financial services firms to deal with risk and regulation; or
- Developing an innovative platform for wealth management or trading
Many new individuals are venturing into this market due to its ease of access for entrepreneurs and employees seeking to transition into financial services entrepreneurship. Additionally, the abundance of resources, such as low-cost or even free capital, further supports their entry into the industry. One could easily mistake the current proliferation of alternative finance start-ups worldwide for a new gold rush. The reason could be that there is a scarcity of sectors that are expanding at a rate of approximately 200% annually.
Get up, spread your wings, and grab as much sky (I guess there is no more land left) as you can. While a good chunk of consumers doesn’t carry cash, I bet they will be wearing a smartwatch. After a long run, they may want to pay for a refreshing juice with the same wristwatch that tracked their route. One day, not far from today, they may transfer money to their own college-aged children or rebalance their investment portfolios with just a few flicks of their wrists. Will real FinTech tools end up on our wrists? Maybe. No doubt, this is an exciting time for entrepreneurs in the financial services industry.
Points to Note:
All credits if any remain on the original contributor only. We have covered all basics around the myth on mobile payments, its models and the importance of quality services. The next upcoming post will talk about implementation, usage and practice experience for markets.
Books + Other readings Referred
- Research through open internet, news portals, white papers and imparted knowledge via live conferences & lectures.
- Lab and hands-on experience of @AILabPage (Self-taught learners group) members.
Feedback & Further Question
Do you have any questions about AI, Machine Learning, Telecom billing/charging, Data Science or Big Data Analytics? Leave a question in a comment section or ask via email. Will try my best to answer it.
Conclusions: Running on the unknown path without a roadmap or direction with due respect running like a headless chicken often results in disasters. I have seen and taken part in programs to build my experience or hands-on mastery in such situations where Mobile Payments or Mobile Wallet based Cross Border remittances support country’s economy.
Given and proven in 100% confidence level that when it came to the crunch, many countries including Greece, Cyprus & Italy had no choice but to accept rescue terms that affected not only bank bondholders and shareholders – but many thousands of private deposit holders. Their cash or savings were simply scalped and went to help fund the closure of one bank and the propping up of others.
Opportunities are countless; one who seizes them first gets the upper hand. Thanks to regulation and central bank support through the Ministry of Innovation.
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