This month, we are focusing on inclusion when it comes to financial services – from building an ecosystem that works for everyone, to hiring the right team to do so.
But how do you build products that are inclusive and suit everyone’s needs? Where do you start? We asked some FinTechs for their thoughts on the matter.
“Put simply, you don’t,” says Nadav Naaman, Chief Product Officer at global payments FinTech PayU. “Customers are ever more demanding and expect service providers to recognise them as individuals rather than a number on a profit sheet,” he explains.
“A payments service, be that through a payment app or an online service, is a great example of a FinTech product where personalisation is becoming ever more important. This was true even before the pandemic, but now the way payments players are utilising personalisation is a key differentiator in their ability to capitalise on the digital growth opportunity.”
Naaman says there are three key reasons why that hyper-personalised experience is so key when it comes to the payments sector – starting with the way it can help streamline the overall customer experience and achieve the seamlessness users expect. “Secondly, a personalised journey that recognises a customer’s preferred payment merchants and not only lists it, but matches it to the user, is powerful in creating a loyal, returning customer,” he adds. “It shows merchants have considered the end user.”
Finally, Naaman adds, personalisation has an impact on increasing transaction approval rates when it comes to the checkout. “By investing heavily in AI and machine learning technology, payment providers are able to detect the best route for a transaction and increase the likelihood of approval,” he comments.
At TPAY Mobile which operates across the Middle East and Africa, creating products is about identifying the problem you are trying to solve and gaining a deep understanding of who you are solving it for. “From the start, as you define the product and its core offering, it is imperative to understand the customer – not just their problems, but how they would like these problems to be solved,” says CEO and Founder Sahar Salama.
She adds that this can be a complicated issue for international businesses like TPAY. “To address this, FinTechs should explore the complexities of the markets they are building the product for, and look closely at their dynamics and demographics. Historic differences, cultural nuances and infrastructure implementations can all have a significant impact on the financial products that consumers and businesses in a given region will adopt.”
At London-based FinTech algbra which focuses on financial inclusion, individuality is key at a time when everyone wants to express themselves. “It is important to get to the nuances of individuals’ lifestyles, values and preferences,” says CEO and Co-Founder Zeiad Idris. “In this context, we find that there are clear correlations between access to finance and the profiles of those who are unbanked and underserved.”
For example, according to KPMG 91% of Muslims would prefer an Islamic finance provider, while ESG investing is particularly supported by the majority of millennials and Generation X – so this knowledge must be kept in mind. “Clearly it is important to build financial products a that are universally inclusive to ensure people of all backgrounds can participate in, and contribute, to the global economy. FinTech has the power to do this as it can offer individually curated products and innovative solutions distributed across mass markets,” Idris adds.
The algbra team are currently working with the Emerging Payments Association (EPA) to find out how lifestyle and value driven banking can change the financial inclusion landscape. “What we have found so far is a growing market of individuals who are increasingly concerned with how their finance providers reflect their values and the emergence of institutions to cater for these needs.
“Therefore, to create a product that serves everyone, technology needs to be married with an ethic that works by ensuring the business terms engage with the social, ethical and cultural elements of individuals’ lives that inform their decision making and means of transacting,” he concludes.