The efficiency and anytime, anywhere availability of the digital economy is something we’ve come to expect in theWestern world. We easily transfer funds between accounts, deposit checks using our smartphones and split the bill atdinner with an app and a few emojis. However, that perception of fintech isn’t universal. In developing countries, acash-based economy is often the norm and fintech is new, if not uncharted territory.
An opportunity for inclusivity
Fintech isn’t just about convenience, it’s also about inclusivity. Today, there are 2 billion unbanked people in theworld. The opportunity for fintech to bring great freedom to those people is evidenced by the $57.9 billion in fundingfintech companies secured in the first half of 2018 alone. With so many companies focused on bringing financialtechnology to market for consumers, it’s important to remember fintech’s potential to change lives around the globe.
If you’re thinking about developing a fintech product or are already down the path, you probably know that successfullybuilding products for global users who span different cultures, languages and comfort levels with technology isn’t asimple task. At Brightwell, we’ve learned a lot in our journey to help global migrant workers get paid and bettermanage, spend and share their money safely. We’ve discovered the smartest path to creating a fintech solution that meetsthe regulatory requirements of multiple countries, crosses language barriers and addresses the unique needs of multiplenationalities and economies. It takes considerations that go far beyond tech specifications.
One size doesn’t fit all
When building a truly global financial product, a “one size fits all” approach will fail every time. You have toconsider behavioral, cultural and socio-economic differences across the geographies you plan to serve.Designing one simple and intuitive product that covers as much of the financial spectrum as possible is noteasy. It requires research, an enormous amount of listening to what people need and a true understanding of themacroeconomic circumstances of the cultures and people who will use your product.
When building our mobile app, we knew that 77 percent of Filipino adults are unbanked. In the Philippines, a deeplyrooted and pervasive culture of migration has made moving abroad a common and even desirable option for earning income.For decades, sizeable numbers of Filipinos have left home in search of permanent settlement or temporary work overseas.Today, more than 10 million Filipinos are working and/or living abroad. Many of them work on cruise ships and need a wayto send cash home to loved ones who might not have money otherwise. While it was important to give our Filipino usersthe ability to send money home, it was critical that their loved ones could pick up those funds in cash.Without this option, our solution would be irrelevant to a very large segment of our users.
If you’re truly designing software for a global audience, you can’t approach it from the perspective of Western culture.The Western experience of how money works does not translate to other parts of the world. Being successful means gettingout and seeing firsthand how money works in the geographies you want to serve. Ask questions and immerse yourself in theculture.
Other tips for building a global fintech product that encourages inclusion:
The bottom line: if you build a product through the lens of the Western world, you’re setting yourself up for failure.Fintech is changing lives but bringing a life changing product to markets across the globe isn’t done overnight. Thereis no quick fix. If you put in the effort and truly care about understanding the people on the other end of yourproduct, you’ll not only be more likely to succeed, you’ll be doing something positive for people around the world.
View original content:https://www.banklesstimes.com/2019/08/08/building-a-fintech-product-for-global-users-lessons-learned/