Key takeaway about financial inclusion from SFF Spotlight

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Key takeaway about financial inclusion from SFF Spotlight

Financial institutions and fintech companies must ensure digital payment is simple and easily accessible, particularly for the underbanked and underserved segments.  

This is the key takeaway from the Singapore Fintech Festival: Spotlight held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Kuala Lumpur on 23 August. 

HSBC country head of global payments solutions Anand Mukati, a panellist in the discussion titled “Empowering Inclusion: Exploring Payment Innovation for a Financially Inclusive Ecosystem”, said banks have simplified payment processes for their customers.

“The name of the game is simplicity. A couple of years ago, when you made a payment, banks would ask for the brand code, brand address, 16-digit bank account numbers and so on. Now, customers only have to give a mobile number or ID number to make transfers.

“We have been able to simplify payments through innovation,” he said.

Curlec co-founder and chief executive officer Zac Liew echoed Anand’s sentiments.  Curlec is a Malaysian-based online payment company.

“You must ensure that even not-so-tech-savvy people can use the product. Good UI and UX design can help. Another problem, particularly in the rural areas, is the slow connectivity. We have merchants unable to collect payments because of that. To address the problem, we built a mobile application that can work with extremely low connectivity.”

 “So, it is these 2 things: making a super simple product that is easily accessible.”

On payment innovations, Anand said financial institutions and fintechs must continue to innovate payments, and that post-pandemic progress had reduced the world’s unbanked population.

Based on World Bank’s data, there were 1.7 billion unbanked populations in 2017, which reduced to 1.4 billion in 2021.

“Digital wallets, mobile money and instant payments are driving inclusion by reducing frictions traditionally associated with using cash. We must incentivise customers to use digital payments to improve financial inclusion, drive prosperity and lower poverty.”

SFF Spotlight is a teaser event for the Singapore Fintech Festival in the Lion City from 15 to 17 November this year. SFF Spotlight brings early insights on key topics that will be featured in the November event and networking opportunities for industry leaders. We will be there - so connect with us to see how our cross-border payment solution can simplify your processes and enable digital payments for your company.

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