Michael Meyer, CRO & CSO,
MRS BPO, LLC
India is one the world’s largest, greatest and most advanced societies, and yet it is also one of the largest unbanked and underbanked countries in the world. Most of India’s population doesn’t have a bank account, nor have they used an electronic payment technology. With the third demonetization within the last 70 years (first one in 1946 and second one in 1978) taking place now, an opportunity of historically epic proportions exists for consultants to help erase this lack of monetary efficiency and bring financial technology (Fintech) to the masses.
To some, this might seem like an impossible and unrealizable dream because for the first-time hundreds of millions of common people all over the country, and in the rural country side, will need to embrace and use modern mobile electronic financial software and platforms. T his dream is in within reach, and is realizable, because there is a clear and compelling parallel in recent modern history. An entire continent that didn’t have a government driven mandate as a catalyst, or have renowned technology smarts, and didn’t have a modern infrastructure like India does – embraced and accomplished it.
What this continent, and almost every country in it, had was extreme poverty and a mostly fragmented rural society. The continent is Africa. The largest payment platform in use there today is called MFS Africa, and it has about 120 million mobile wallets throughout the continent. Their fintech mobile banking platform began in 2009. This easy to use solution requires just a regular mobile phone, to send and receive texts that are the equivalent of a money order. According to the World Bank in 2014, there were about US$32.9 Billion in remittances sent to just Sub-Saharan Africa alone. This figure doesn’t even include all the countries or the inter-country payments or transfers within Africa.
So, how can consultants make inroads into and replace some or all of the deeply rooted traditional paper cash and coin with a mobile payment solution? There are multiple ways they can participate. Just look at companies such as Paytm, Mobikwik, PayPal, PayU, RazorPay, ItzCash, CCavenue and instamojo along with others; that are expanding daily at lightening speeds to meet this new payment challenge. The same is true for the many cash, credit and debit cards and associated card swipe readers and ATM machines that are being added daily too. These payment tools collectively are enabling and encouraging one by one, the masses of everyday people, including shopkeepers and rural farmers to enter the modern financial era.
Each one of these new payment tools needs consultants to help teach all kinds of business owners large and small - how to install, use and optimize these new tools. This means that a new type of consultant – the financial or fintech consultant is here to stay for the foreseeable future. T hese new consultants will first focus on the huge new market for payment software or device installation and training services. Then once a critical mass is reached where everyone knows how to install and use these tools, the next financial knowledge wave will begin where advanced payment options, speed, rebates and targeted offers become competitive advantages. These more advanced tools will need specialized consultants that understand how to take advantage of their features, optimize and maximize their returns and ensure that their customers get the best deals possible.
Simultaneously along with the new payment tools, new types of mobile funding and lending tools are being created. With these tools, it will be easier to lend, track and receive money from businesses of all types and sizes. In the past, the lender was usually local and known to the merchant. Now with mobile technology, the person lending the money might even be in another country. These new entrepreneur lending services vary from micro-lending (such as Kiva) to crowd funding sites (such as ZingoHub) and are available in many countries. By Opening up these new types of funding sources, there will be a radical economic shift for small and midsize merchants and businesses, since they will now be able to avail themselves of dramatically easier, cheaper and faster funding options than ever before.
In addition to payments and lending, the new mobile fintech platforms will enable raw materials, crops, services and supplies to be compared, negotiated, purchased or sold faster and at a lower cost than it could be with cash. O n-line e-commerce and marketplace services such as FlipKart, Amazon, Snapdeal and eBay will explode in usage, because once people start to see and understand the time and financial savings they offer – people will adopt them and not look back.
When you add up the systemic financial improvements that mobile fintech will make to each of these three areas (Payments, Lending and eCommerce), they are significant and when you put them all together - they will create an enormous impact on the entire country’s financial efficiency.
I’m confident that with these changes, India will finally awaken the sleeping financial giant within and take its rightful place among the top Asian financial centers of the world.