For centuries, technology has changed the way we live, communicate, work, play, interact and do business. Although there are still many ways that we are trying to catch up with technological advancements, many sectors have evolved with technology resulting in ease of operations and better customer service. The financial industry is one of such sectors that has grown at an exceptional rate.
In the last few years, traditional banks have joined forces with Fintech companies to utilize more financial technology offerings. For one thing, there was a need to eradicate the long queues in banking halls, make cash transactions easier and faster without a visit to the banking hall and resolve other issues associated with payments and financial transactions.
In 2015, an article in the Huffington Post stated, “Fintech is beginning to disrupt the financial world as we know it. The financial industry is now more focused than ever on technological innovation than at any other time”. The same article goes on to define Fintech as “financial technology; a digital revolution. It is about major changes to asset management, business and personal loans, fund raising, money transfers, and the way to invest. Fintech involves disputing the way all business operate, as well as our personal finances”.
Indeed, the financial industry is growing so fast with technology. Banks are now able to deal with changing customer expectations and are able to recruit new customers based on varied offerings that meet the diverse customer needs. Beyond banks, other corporations and service companies are able to provide simpler payment solutions because of financial technology.
Initially, customers were apprehensive about using Fintech services. There were issues about trust of the system, fraud, system hacks and failed transactions. However, with technological advancement, many of these issues have been minimized.
In Nigeria, financial technology has greatly influenced e-commerce and payment solutions. According to a PWC 2017 Fintech Survey Report, over 62% of customers will make use of mobile applications for financial transactions within the next five years. This implies that Fintech companies are going to do more for customers especially on mobile.
Another implication of this is the rise of a shared economy. For example, Cable TV Companies collaborate with banks and Fintech Companies to provide a platform where customers can pay for their cable TV on the Bank’s Mobile App platforms. This shared economy is being witnessed across sectors – power, education, environment, health, transportation and even entertainment.
Financial technology has huge benefits for all businesses, especially new startups or small-scale businesses. With Fintech, these small businesses are exposed to a world of benefits in terms of access to funding, e-commerce, online order/supply channels, crowd sourcing and customer transactions options. Fintech also helps businesses to have improved payment systems and, customer relationship management. Consumers can now carry out transactions through their mobile devices, thus improving response/feedback time.
When it comes to the unbanked and underbanked, some Fintech companies have made efforts to develop and provide solutions that gives them access to financial services, thus contributing to efforts for financial inclusion.
One of such Companies making efforts to develop new and innovative ways to deliver Fintech solutions that are convenient and easy to use is itex Integrated Services Limited. Itex is an innovative Fintech Company that designs and deploys secure solutions to diverse Pan-African customers.
Itex has for several years focused on the development and deployment of convenient, reliable and secure payment solutions to its customers in Nigeria and across Africa. In fact, the Company played a critical role in the implementation of the ‘Cashless Nigeria’ initiative. Itex is one of the first organizations to successfully deploy and manage Point of Sales (POS) terminals in Nigeria. Until date, the Company continues to make custom payment applications to ease electronic payments, revenue collection, payment of utility bill and value added services payments such as airtime, electricity, cable TV, tariffs, toll payments, etc.
Most commendable about Itex’s efforts is the Company’s extension of financial services into rural areas such that the unbanked become the banked and, areas without access to banks can still enjoy financial services without entering the banking hall.
Efforts like this need to be encouraged. Fintechs should get the needed support from both government and private corporations. The education on the need to be financially included and on the need to embrace financial technology need to be taught to people across levels and especially in the rural areas.
The impact of financial technology on the economy cannot be over emphasized. Several research and evidences point to the fact that Fintech is the future of the business economy. This is the time therefore, to grow our technological strength and support Fintech Companies to drive us to that growth that Fintech will bring about.