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Do not offer standard UI to Expert and Novice.

We are moving towards industry 4.0, but for Digital Financial Services we are still producing mass market and off the shelf products with very little customisation and personalisation. Can the Fintech product managers customise the UI of a Financial institution application for different personas (or customer segments)? For example, a few questions can be asked during sign up about his or her experience of using Digital Financial services and accordingly UI will change on the go. But why is it important?

Expert user vs Novice user

A research by MeasuringU finds out that novices encountered more total problems/insights compared to experts and almost twice as many unique issues that experts did not.

Product managers know that an expert will be able to see a different interface while a novice will have simpler clutter-free basic features and gradually handhold him or her to the expert level. Therefore, the beauty of technology Advancement must be in Personalisation and Customisation. However, even with enormous data most of the products and their features are very standard.

Thus the proposition that we are making is simple: Before signing up, ask the users a few questions based on the usage of the product and why they need it. If users turn out to be a novice, that is, have no experience of the product or service then show them an interface that will help them adapt better to the product. Similarly, if users turn out to be quite well versed with the product and application, then show them an interface that will help them use the app smoothly.

We can basically do three divisions.

1. Novice: < 3 months of experience

2. Intermediate: > 3 months but < 1 year of experience

3. Expert: > 1 year experience

Why is this necessary?

This is necessary because a product or app should give users the best experience. For example, suppose you are an expert user. You signed up for the app, and it started showing you which icons will lead to which actions. On top of that, there is no option to skip this compulsory tour. You will get frustrated with the app. Just like this, there can be tens of other examples as to how a novice gets frustrated when he or she does not understand something and how an expert user gets frustrated when he or she understands something but still has to use the much obsolete app as they have to be content with an interface that is understandable by all.

Some pundits will argue that by asking a few questions in the beginning, product managers might be trying to drive the users away as they are impatient.

If an organisation understands its segment well then we can get away with other proxies of questions through pattern studies and other tools. However asking a few questions in between at different intervals may give insights into the latent needs of the customer.

But offering a standard UI to both an expert and novice may not be a good idea.

Why offer the same interface to all users? The maximum number of personas for any financial institution would be, say 5-8, not more than that. If it is more, then the institution either does not know its customers or has done some wrong calculations to come up with the personas.

Product managers are continuously improving on different fronts like UX, digital marketing, payments innovations, A/B testing, etc. These do ease the lives of consumers, undoubtedly. But, companies are missing out on building a one to one contact with their customers in this way. If brands want, they may use this opportunity to build a relationship with their users. A site or app that asks users fewer questions in the name of not driving them away or irritating them or worse, retaining them might ease things for them while leaving behind the opportunity to know their users better.  Such preliminary questions might help them in understanding a lot of important factors like demographics, wants, and needs to name among a few. So, neither the users nor the product managers ever walk the extra mile to build the relationship. In other words, these payment service providers, by easing things for you, deprive you of the opportunity to return to their page or answer their questions to see things for yourself.

In the case of uniform and standard UI, intuitiveness became the main goal in the case of novices and irritation in the case of experts.

To design for both experts and novices, one needs to understand that they have different workflows and information density needs. Most of the time, the focus is on novices because everyone starts as a novice. On the other hand, this can be to the detriment of the expert. In an article by Jakob Nielsen  and Bruce Tognazzini, one of the earliest employees of Apple Inc, both experts in the field of User Experience and Interaction Design, they argue that the focus on the learnability of a UI has made the idea of designing for the expert a taboo. This is because experts will not be going to need the same user interface elements that may be visually displeasing to interface designers. Thus, this argument proves quite similar to our proposition. Do not make standard User Interface for both experts and novices. Try to make the User Interface adjust according to the needs of the user. Fintech companies are becoming popular because of their customer centric approach. If they do not pay much heed to things like User Interface (which is the central element of an application), they might become like the banks and the legacy financial institutions.

Users who do not spend a lot of time with the software are going to have different (and low) levels of knowledge, or even repeated frustration, with the same user interface. Initial successes or failures will also affect the success of future interaction with the software. User Interface elements are also styled differently for different types of users, and this styling can impact how well they perform with the same UI element.

Experts always need extensive features, visual clutter, and a much larger information display density than the novice as they have spent much more time on the app or service and need more features. Roughly, this means that the user interface that encourages learning (about the app or its features) is not necessarily the right interface for the expert. User Interfaces that encourage learning have open spaces, clutter reduced, and text to tell the user how to be successful; features that are contrary to what experts may want and need. Thus, user needs are quite diverse. Users who are more familiar with different types of technology (even though they are new to the app) are more skilled at transitioning skills between applications. Trying to weigh all of them with the same weighing machine is not justified. 

The last word

Users have different perspectives. This is why companies invest in good human resources so that they understand what the users want and design the products accordingly. This is no rocket science. Yet, it turns out to be one of the hardest topics to discuss without offending any product managers, even though some of the earliest product managers of Apple Inc agrees with it.



The 3Vs of Future- Voice, Vernacular and Video

Google’s mantra for growth is clear, it is time companies serve the 3Vs of the upcoming digital medium — Voice, Video and Vernacular language. In this article let us understand why Google and the world are fascinated with this.

The search giant mentioned that access to technology and products in Indian languages will only improve user experience, and data analysis, analytics, augmented reality. Further, virtual reality and data science are set to be the new technologies of the future of digital media. The statement is made by Rajan Anandan, Vice-President, South East Asia and India, Google. He further said artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation are set to cut across all of these, and every advertiser and company have to focus on the 3V’s to expand their business.

If we quote him word to word, this is what he said: “In this world of faster evolution cycles, smart people across industries want to learn, and to be governed or managed by really smart people. Skills are going to be critical”.

He further noted that “the machine vs human” conflict has already started, and that he has been a part of several discussions on “whether the machines will decide what am I going to do,” Anandan said: “The premium now is on learning. Learn very fast and keep re-learning or you are toast,” he said.

According to Google’s VP, 400 million users are online monthly, and corporate CEOs who do not understand digital are likely to fail, thus he spoke at length about the reach of the vernacular medium. He said that to harness the power of the world wide web and to reach out to non-English speaking people on the web, marketers would need to make ads in local languages. He mentioned this as well, “Today, there is a 50 per cent probability that if you are showing an English ad, the person who is watching it does not understand it.” Further, what is also important is vernacular digital assets. This is because the website, app, landing page or transaction page has to be in the local language to reach more consumers. This is more likely to double conversion rates.

According to a recent study by KPMG, internet surfers in vernacular languages have grown from 42 million in 2011 to 234 million in 2016. Further, nearly 70 per cent of Indians consider local language digital content more engaging. By 2021, it is estimated that over 201 million Hindi users will form 38 percent of the Indian internet user base. Nearly 90 percent of them are more likely to respond to a digital advertisement in their local language as compared to English ads.

After reading Google VP’s take, it is clear that digital is the future of marketing. Let us have a look at the numbers too, see what they say –

  • According to research, 71% of consumers are more likely to purchase products and services based on social media referrals.
  • The same research states that 54% of social media users use social media to research products.

Therefore it can be concluded that the internet has facilitated better one-to-one connections thus helping in faster decision making. This is a sign for businesses around the world to re-align marketing strategies with digital at the core as the upcoming digital trends will shape the future. Previously, digital was driven primarily by ads, referrals or user search but recently with technology becoming more accessible and vibrant demography using it, the ones that have found the most traction are commonly referred to as the 3 Vs of digital – Voice, Video and Vernacular.

Let us understand them one by one.


A study states that nearly 54 percent of the Indian population uses at least one wearable device out of which 30 percent use a smart TV, 16 percent use a voice assistant speaker like Alexa powered Amazon Echo devices or Google Assistant driven Google Home, 36 percent use smart home devices like Internet connected home audio systems, lighting or thermostats. Here are another set of facts as stated by The Voice Playbook

  • Out of the worldwide search volume, 28% is voice search across the internet in india
  • Hindi searches are going up by 400% year on year.

In 2016, Indians got the Jio powered internet that was accessible easily. With an increasing urban population and the little time they have, voice search provides the flexibility of multitasking. Thus, almost every device, as well as apps today, are voice search enabled in some form or the other. Therefore it is only a matter of time before voice becomes the primary source of search. Voice lets people search easily, including children, elderly and modestly educated. Therefore, the Google USP of voice search is a highly targeted search as mostly driven by long-tail keywords.

In the FinTech domain, Voice can be used for commands, transaction authentication, KYC along with Video, translation, advisory services for wealth to crop management services. It can further be used for Identity, Authentication, Personal Finance, Banking, Advisory and Insurance.


Youtube is used by a whopping 225 million Indians thus it directly implies the preference of video over other formats of content consumption in the country. Even, Indian video content delivery platforms are rising quite fast, especially with the popularity of OTT and the ban of TikTok. Even industries like entertainment, news, marketing, edutech, social networking and some more have moved to video content consumption. According to Oberlo, 87 per cent of companies used video as their medium of digital marketing in 2019 as a video has a higher engagement rate and higher retention too. The USP of video is the higher engagement of the users.

Video in Fintech can be used for KYC Authentication, digital content consumption, learning, entertainment, banking, e-commerce, Interactive Video etc. In Germany, Video KYC is already quite a popular method of verification. It also makes the process of Consumer onboarding hassle free.


As Rajan Anandan stated, “Today, there is a 50 per cent probability that if you are showing an English ad, the person who is watching it does not understand it”. This is because of the higher penetration of the internet beyond the English speaking minority. Hindi searches are increasing by 400% year on year. This is because with easy access to technology, the demographics of the internet has expanded. Even children, elderly and modestly educated it will only be into the voice search vertical that too in vernacular platforms (probably).

According to Sapna Chadha, Senior Marketing Director, Google India and Southeast Asia, 90% of India’s new internet users are choosing to consume content in their mother tongue and that is massive. The USP of vernacular is to reach to first time users and that too a loyal bunch, higher personalization appeal.

In Fintech, vernacular based applications and systems will add more people to the mainstream Fintech apps, hence increasing the market size and fueling the demand for technology-based services. AI and its components ML and DL, NLP can help. Vernacular means more financial inclusion.

The Last Word

To summarise the article above,

  • Voice could be helpful for KYC, Personal Finance, Banking, Advisory and Insurance.
  • Video is meant for KYC too. Further, it can educate people on personal finance and other Fintech offerings.
  • Vernacular add more people to the mainstream Fintech apps and should be exclusively undertaken if need be.



Digital KYC, a cross country comparison

With the innovation in FinTech and virtual banking internationally, customers’ expectancy of absolutely virtual experiences has accelerated to each nook of the economic offerings realm. To reflect this shift, over the past few years regulators have been slowly introducing new e-KYC regulations to permit financial institutions to do KYC checks and allow customer applications electronically.

Contrary to popular belief, the Covid-19 pandemic is proving to be a further catalyst. The Financial Action Task Force also issued a statement stating “the use of technology, including Fintech, Regtech and Suptech to the fullest extent possible” so that social distancing measures can be undertaken for digital customer onboarding too.

On national levels, many countries have already issued revised regulations on remote customer verification so that financial institutions can continue operations smoothly and onboard clients during lockdowns. For example, in New Zealand reporting entities will be accepting scanned copies of documents instead of originals and will perform electronic verification to avoid physical contact with customers. Similarly, the Securities and Exchange Board of India has started allowing foreign portfolio investors to provide scanned versions of the required documents during registration. In another set of events, the Philippine central bank has temporarily restricted the presentation of a valid ID card during customer onboarding (however this only applies to small transactions).

The Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) also released new guidance instructing financial institutions to take a risk-based approach to e-KYC. According to the risk associated with the customer, either simplified or regular e-KYC procedures should be followed. The regular e-KYC involves more steps of information gathering. Both simplified and regular procedures should follow one of two biometric-based models, either using fingerprint-matching or face-matching technology.

There are different types of similarities and differences between existing e-KYC schemes around the world. So, to simplify it for you let us do a cross country-wise differentiation to see which rule is followed in which part of the world.

Identity Authentication & Matching: The Hong Kong model

Previously e-KYC regulations were a little vague. In Spite of specific technologies or guidance, there was a general regulation for all. Specific procedures can be approved or rejected by financial institutions on an ad hoc basis.

In this regard, Hong Kong is an interesting example. Hong Kong has an Anti-Money Laundering Ordinance and Counter-Terrorist Financing Ordinance (AMLO). It was first published in 2011 and is the city’s principal piece of legislation that takes care of customer due diligence and record-keeping requirements. It has some special requirements for when clients are not physically present for identification purposes but maintains a somewhat high-level approach.

In February 2019 the Hong Kong Monetary Authority released an updated circular on “remote onboarding of individual customers”.

This circular did not talk about a specific checklist of actions to be followed but mentioned the technology to be adopted for virtual onboarding. This technology should cover identity authentication/verification and identity matching (e.g. facial recognition, liveness detection). This technology embraced the new age RegTech solutions thus stating how Hong Kong practices its commitment to innovation without mandating overly restrictive limitations on what software to be used or such procedures to be followed.

This Hong Kong model can also be found in Malaysia as in 2019, Bank Negara Malaysia issued draft requirements for financial institutions looking to implement e-KYC such as the use of biometric technology, fraud detection and liveness detection.

The advantage of this flexible regulatory model – that depends on identity documents as well as liveness detection – is that it leads to a broad ecosystem of solutions that is not prone to anyone attack that could work across the whole financial system. A demerit will be the uncertainty that these requirements pose for the responsible compliance teams that want to adopt innovative new technologies.

Video Verification: The German model

One more traditional way to prevent fraudulent personification during the e-KYC process is to conduct two-way video calls rather than a face to face meeting.

One of the first countries to adopt a video verification approach was Germany. BaFin, the German regulator, finally responded to the demands for more convenient onboarding processes in a 2014 directive that was updated in 2017. It finally enabled customer verification and identification via a two-way video call with a compliance professional.

Even the Reserve Bank of India announced in January 2020 that it will give the option of a video-based KYC to establish the customers’ identity. In India, the financial industry has always avoided performing video KYC because of the high costs of physically reaching out to customers, especially the ones in remote locations. Similarly, in 2018, the MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore) openly supported the idea that real-time video conferencing can be a suitable model for customers’ verification and might replace and be “comparable to face-to-face communication”.

Video verification can easily prevent some versions of identity theft. It is usually thought of as simply a digital version of traditional face-to-face onboarding by regulators and financial institutions alike. However, it places a huge burden on the team that is managing the series of incoming video calls. Also, it does not have any upper hand in scalability as compared to traditional in-person onboarding.

Digital ID Schemes: The Swedish, Singaporean and Indian models

One of the most unique and radical approaches to e-KYC is the creation of either federated digital IDs or centralised KYC utilities. This model actually creates a trustworthy official source of information. However, it is not always backed with the government laws – that financial institutions can refer to when checking the identity of a prospective customer.

India, with its Aadhaar e-KYC system, was one of the forerunners of the centralised variety of this model. It was launched in 2009 and is seen as the global eID archetype. Aadhaar now boasts of more than 1.21 billion users. To put it simply, Aadhaar is an individual identification number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) for establishing a unique identity of every subscribed individual.

However, a centralised scheme is more exposed to huge risks from hacking attacks or implementation faults. Recently, a report by a cybersecurity firm Recorded Future Inc stated that Chinese state-backed hackers might have broken into the Aadhaar database.

In Singapore, the government introduced a virtual personal data platform called MyInfo in May 2016 to streamline identity verification during online transactions. With this platform, Singaporean financial institutions have access to a customer’s MyInfo data. Now, they do not need to obtain any additional documents to verify the customer’s identity. Singapore has even been successful in protecting the MyInfo user data by coming up with a highly secure system that works without distributing said data in multiple places.

Sweden is another interesting example of the different varieties of digital ID schemes. There is a federated digital ID scheme first introduced by banks. However, the eIDs created in this way are now accepted as a form of identification by government authorities too. A group of large Swedish banks like Danske Bank, Länsförsäkringar Bank and Swedbank introduced the BankID system in 2003. However, it has become very popular in Sweden now. In this scheme, the identity data stays with the bank of the user. Unlike India, it is not in a centralised place and is, therefore, less exposed to hacking attacks or insecure implementations.

Enhanced vs Simplified Due Diligence: The UK model

Most KYC schemes and AML requirements take a risk-based approach that advocates for different levels of scrutiny based on the potential risk associated with a prospective customer. The Financial Conduct Authority in the UK is also on this line.

The Joint Money Laundering Steering Group (JMLSG) is the body responsible for guiding and assisting financial services providers with their obligations in terms of UK AML/CTF legislation.

Under the current JMLSG regulations, low-risk customers can take up Simplified Due Diligence (SDD). Under SDD, financial institutions can verify their identities by simply collecting their name, date of birth and residential address information and verifying them against official sources like electoral registers, court judgements, credit institutions.

Under JMLSG guidelines, the criteria for verification is called 2+2. This is because it requires financial institutions to match the 2 data points given by the customer to 2 data points from an official source. For instance, the name of the person plus their date of birth, or the name plus their address.  These sets of regulations are probably the easiest of them all.

The 3 Steps KYC Compliance Framework- EU

A three-step compliance framework is followed in the EU. It includes:

1. Customer Identification

The first step in the KYC process is to identify the customer. This is a process that is most effectively performed digitally. For example, ID Proof is a tool that can be part of the online KYC procedures. It can be used to verify customers via electronic identity, NFC chip reader or a Passport/National ID card selfie check. It depends on the territory they are based upon.

2. Customer Due Diligence (CDD)

Customer due diligence requirements are concerned with verifying the potential customer and checking if there is black and grey lists for potentially criminal behaviour against them.

If they prove to be low risk, according to the compliance experts, they can perform simplified due diligence, although most clients require standard CDD. However, the high-risk customers should undertake enhanced due diligence (EDD).

3. Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD)

Enhanced due diligence can be activated by a number of factors. It can be that the UBO of the organisation is a PEP, or the customer deals with persons or entities in countries under FATF blacklist or greylist or the client has a history of complex or unusual transactions or another troubling finding.

Upcoming KYC methods

1. The Blockchain KYC Process

The process of using Blockchain for KYC is a multiple staged process that takes place in a Distributed Ledger Technology.

The use cases of the decentralized technology in KYC is not just a Blockchain in Fintech offering. There are a number of areas where Blockchain development companies are exploring this technology.

Distributed data collection

The introduction of blockchain in KYC allows data on a decentralized network to be accessed by parties after permission has been given to them. Also, the technology provides efficient data security as the data can only be accessed after permission has been given by the users. So instances of unauthorized access are eliminated.

Better operational efficiency

The advantages like an unhackable digital process and sharing user information on a permissioned network can highly decrease the effort and time needed in the early stages of KYC. This also decreases the customer onboarding time and the regulatory and compliance costs.

Validation of information accuracy

KYC Blockchain systems allow transparency and immutability. This in turn lets financial institutions validate the trustworthiness of data present in their platform. This decentralized KYC process is like a streamlined way of having secure and swift access to up-to-date user data. This also decreases the labour-intensive efforts that an institution puts behind gathering information.

Real-time updated user data

Every time a KYC transaction takes place at a financial institution, the information is shared within a distributed ledger. This Blockchain technology KYC system also allows other institutions to access real-time updated information. However there is a guarantee that every time there is a new addition in the documents or there are any modifications, they will be notified.

2. The AI KYC Process

Artificial intelligence can easily extract risk-relevant facts from a huge volume of data. Thus it makes the process of identifying high-risk clients even easier. It can also track the changes in regulations around the world, identify gaps in customer information stored by the financial institution and provide KYC alerts to perform regulatory outreach to customers to collect the outstanding information. Here are five key ways in which AI can help improve KYC and client onboarding processes:

1. AI can automatically create and update the client risk profile and match this against the classification process (i.e., high-, medium- and low-risk). It can easily ensure continued compliance throughout the client life cycle. It can also make the process of identifying high-risk clients much easier.

2. AI can “read” vast amounts of data (including unstructured text) and derive meaning. This can help in producing comprehensive, accurate and auditable risk profiles on companies and individuals in a matter of minutes. It can prove highly beneficial to compliance teams who have to weave through complex webs of data on shareholders, beneficial owners, directors and associates. It will enhance their ability to draw accurate conclusions for a risk-based approach to compliance.

3. When AI is applied to workflow automation, it can transform the generation of documents, reports, audit trails and alerts/notifications thus improving client onboarding and document management automation.

What is the future of Digital KYC?

These days it appears that regulators’ understanding and willingness to adopt RegTech on a large scale has increased vastly.

Familiarity with technologies like facial comparison, AI-powered ID verification and liveness detection has increased. As a result, references to such innovations are being explicitly included in regulations around the world. Digital KYC regulations not only leads to the smooth functioning of business organisations, and financial institutions but also improve relations among countries. It was visible in the case of the EU that also accounts for FATF blacklist or greylist. If one country is following strict digital KYC rules to avoid being a negative part of such lists, then the other countries will also account for their technology.

Want to learn more about Identity Tech – Digital KYC?

To have a good understanding of Identity Tech – Digital KYC, you should check out what we have for you.

Why should you enroll in this GFA Course?

Global FinTech Academy aims to make the knowledge behind Financial Technology available to all. We offer a range of courses that make the understanding of Technology easier for you. You can use this to strengthen your career, knowledge, disrupt the FinTech market with new and innovative product/s that are full of potential, or for literally anything. The good news is you get to learn all this in an easy language and from ground zero. Our aim is to deliver the best knowledge to you in the easiest way possible.

In this business-oriented overview course, we will talk about

  • Aadhaar which is the world’s biggest digital identity programme
  • e-Estonia
  • Blockchain-based identity (just an overview)
  • Future of identity
  • Grievance redressal in digital identity. We will further add the Bank ID programme and new happenings in Digital Identity.

Identity is the base of any individual to claim the government and private sector benefits. We got it easily so we take that for granted, think of those who do not have a formal identity. They struggle day in and out to prove who they are to get different basic needs. It’s tough for them to open a Bank account, get a mobile SIM, get any financial services, can’t buy properties etc. For these people the cost of getting an identity is also too high, they need to do and spend a lot to get identity proof.

Digital identity also reduces the cost of acquisition for an institution and hence serves their customer profitability at a low cost.  Further, an identity issued by any formal institution is important to establish citizenship, ownership of property and many more.

Get this course here.

You can also get this on Udemy, get it here.

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  1. Blockchain: The Solution to Inefficient KYC Process
  2. 5 Ways AI is Impacting AML and KYC Compliance
  3. KYC Requirements For Banks in the US
  4. AML Know Your Customer Requirements In The EU
  5. The Four e-KYC Models Around the World

CBDC a cross country comparison

Ever since 2020, the concept of digital currencies has become quite popular. From decentralized cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, to country backed digital currencies like CBDC, they have gone quite mainstream. Currently, countries like Sweden, China and India are talking about launching their version of CBDC. China has even launched one.

In this article, we will discuss digital currencies and how they differ across various countries. First, let us start with the basics, so every reader (be it amateur or expert) is on the same page.

What is the central bank digital currency (CBDC)?

A central bank digital currency (CBDC) is an electronic record or virtual token of the official currency of a country. In other words, it is the digital version of a fiat currency for a particular nation or region. It is an electronic record or digital token of the official currency and is issued and regulated by the country’s supreme monetary authority.

The popularity of cryptocurrencies has made the way for central bank digital currencies. Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and Ethereum are decentralised, this means there is no governmental authority looking after it. Since currencies have always come under the purview of the ruler or government, this was the first time their authority was challenged. The use cases of digital became clearer with the popularity of these cryptocurrencies. So, even governments started launching their own versions of cryptocurrencies.

The main merits of CBDCs are that they promote financial inclusion and ease the implementation of monetary and fiscal policy.

The main demerits of CBDCs are that they are a centralized form of currency (unlike cryptocurrencies) and can erode the privacy of citizens.

CBDCs have an edge over cryptocurrencies as they are not volatile in nature. Many times we have seen how the prices of these cryptocurrencies have fluctuated. With CBDCs, there will be a government backing that will look after this price volatility nature of cryptocurrencies.

Many countries around the world are exploring the introduction and use of CBDCs in their economy.

How are nation states reacting to CBDCs?

Here we will talk about how different countries like China, Sweden, Russia are planning to ring their digital version of fiat currencies. Then we will try to do a comparison of all on the basis of various factors.

A study by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) from January 2021 finds out that 80% of worldwide central banks are involved in CBDC-related research. The percentage of central banks that are undertaking experiments or proofs-of-concept is also growing. It is almost 50% now. 10% of the central banks surveyed are planning to introduce a generally available (retail) CBDC in the next three years and 20% in the next six years. So we can safely conclude that CBDC efforts are very dynamic and it will only increase in momentum within the next few years.

China- DCEP

Among all the other economies in the world, China is currently leading the race of Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). The country completed a pilot project of the DCEP, the formal name of its digital currency in September and is currently making it available for retail use on major e-commerce platforms within the country.

The Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP) is a digital version of the yuan, China’s national currency. This CBDC is backed by Yuan deposits kept in China’s central bank. It has been under development for around more than five years. The current system dictates that banks will have to convert a portion of their Yuan holdings in virtual form. They will then distribute the digital currency among businesses and citizens via a mobile application.

The biggest reason why DCEP got introduced in the first place was to challenge the popularity and the legal status of existing decentralised cryptocurrencies. It is further proved by China’s current decision to ban the use of all cryptocurrencies.

The second reason why DCEP was introduced is because of its superior technology. The Chinese digital currency can be used as a payment mechanism. One does not have to keep cash or card with them to make payments. It is acceptable as legal tender, throughout the country which the other cryptocurrency certainly are not.

Payment firms like Alibaba Group Holding Limited’s (BABA) AliPay and Tencent Holdings Limited’s (TCEHY) WeChat are currently leading this change. With China’s crackdown on cryptocurrency and technology companies, a digital yuan fits in nicely with this transformation. This is because it serves the government’s needs to surveil citizens as digital tokens are easier to track than cash.

Furthermore, there is a good side to it. A digital Yuan will help Chinese authorities to bring its unbanked population into the mainstream economy, thus increasing financial inclusion. China has a big number of unbanked people. They do not have access to a bank, so a digital currency will make their participation more mainstream in the economy without having to introduce any government scheme or expensive banking products or infrastructure.

One more reason behind the introduction of the digital yuan is to end the US financial hegemony in the world and lift Yuan to the status of the dollar. After the financial crisis of 2008, the trust in the US Dollar has started to decrease. It was around this time when Satoshi Nakamoto anonymously published a white paper discussing Bitcoin, that can possibly replace the US dollar. The idea suited well with international bankers and economists too as they started discussing the possibility of a replacement to the U.S. dollar for international trade. The Chinese CBDC too has similar motives to make Yuan an international currency. As China is continuously replacing the US in many fronts (from Olympics to economy) it will be interesting to see how this CBDC will play a role in the same.

Another benefit of CBDC is that it improves the possibility and convenience of cross-border RMB payments. Bloomberg too mentioned how a CBDC has the potential to strengthen the international use of the RMB and thereby help to internationalize the Yuan. If the digital Yuan falls under capital tax according to cryptocurrency laws of countries, the internationalization of the RMB might not be successful.

At this point, it is not sure if the Chinese central bank will focus on the internationalization of the Yuan or on capital controls.

Sweden: e-krona

In March 2017, the Swedish Riksbank started its CBDC pilot project, the e-krona. A pilot is planned from 2020 until February 2021. Then, the Riksbank decides whether to continue with issuing the CBDC. The Swedish CBDC pilot project will initially focus on a non-interest-bearing CBDC.

The aim of the pilot project is to ensure instant payments at any time, along with offline usability, as mentioned in this report. Unlike China’s CBDC, Swedish e-krona would ensure anonymity. The only condition that comes with anonymity is that it needs to be in line with regulation if e-krona transactions are happening peer-to-peer. For the pilot project, the Riksbank is planning a two-tiered operational structure.

Only 20% of all the payments in Sweden are conducted with cash. There is a growing number of merchants that are expected to stop accepting cash in the future.

The deputy governor of the Riksbank, Cecilia Skingsley predicted that Sweden might go cashless by 2023 as Swedish businesses are not obligated to accept cash.

The Swedish central bank is also under threat from the private players who are entering the payment system industry. These firms are profit-oriented and thus in times of financial crises or instability might not take as sophisticated measures to ensure the functionality of payment systems as public institutions like the central bank.

Therefore the central bank is planning a CBDC as it would provide a robust alternative in times of financial crises or turmoil of private payment service providers, thereby ensuring the stability of the Swedish payment system.

The Bahamas: Sand Dollar

The Bahamian CBDC project is called “Sand Dollar”. It’s prototype had already begun in the district of Exuma in December 2019 and two months later on the Abaco Islands as well.

The national currency is called the Bahamian Dollar and it is kept at a 1:1 peg with the U.S. dollar. Bahamas, unlike China, has a large number of banked population. 80% of Bahamian adults have a bank account — compared to a global average of 69%. However, there are significant gaps in access to Financial Services as opening bank branches on remote islands is not always cost-efficient for banks. Also, the presence of stricter anti-money laundering (AML) and counter financing of terrorism (CFT) standards has made banking services more expensive in the country thus reducing citizens’ interest.

 However, this decline in bank branches was not met with broader adoption of electronic payments but a higher cash usage. Therefore, the primary goal of the Sand Dollar is to make digital payment services more attractive by increasing efficiency in the payment systems. CBDC of Bahamas will be a substitution of cash, it would save expenses related to storing and distributing cash.

Further, economic surveillance can also be improved by the implementation of a CBDC. As digital money, Sand Dollars will allow for surveillance. With the information obtained, the central bank of Bahamas can introduce better products for the allocation of money that will also allow for better tax collection and policy-making.

Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU): DXCD

In March 2019, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) rolled out its CBDC project called DXCD. The ECCB is the issuer of the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (ECD). It is the legal tender in eight of the eleven member states of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) that together forms the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). The islands that are a part of OECS are located in the Caribbean Sea and are inhabited by more than 1.4 million people. Since 1976, the ECD has been pegged to the U.S. dollar.

The economy of the OECS is not digital- 80% of payments are still carried out with cash or cheques. These two modes are both old and inefficient.

The aim of ECCB will be the digitalisation of payment with the introduction of Central Bank Digital Currency. Furthermore, it will work at financial inclusion, growth, competitiveness and resilience.

Russia: CryptoRuble

The CryptoRuble is the digital currency of Russia. It is currently in development and is commissioned by Russian President Vladimir Putin. No mining will be required as in bitcoin as it will be solely issued by the government. The first pilot group for the testing of the digital ruble was formed in June 2021 and includes 12 banks.

Vladimir Putin announced in October 2017 that Russia would be issuing its own state-sponsored digital currency called the CryptoRuble. The CryptoRuble is not formally launched yet. However, it began its testing phase in June 2021. The digital ruble will be issued by the Central Bank of Russia as a central bank digital currency (CBDC) and managed by the Russian government.

Many Russian banks including the Credit Bank of Moscow and Crimea’s Russian National Commercial Bank have expressed interest in testing out the digital ruble.

In 2022, the central bank might allow citizens to test the currency. The idea behind this CBDC is that CryptoRuble will help decrease costs within the financial system while increasing competition among banks. It should be noted here that Russia still does not recognize digital tokens or cryptocurrencies as legal tender.

One of the main reasons that are expected behind the formation of this CBDC is President Putin’s interest in blockchain. The transactions are encrypted, and therefore it is easier to discreetly send money without worrying about sanctions placed on the country by the international community.

This theory became more popular after the Financial Times reported in early 2018 that one of Putin’s economic advisors, Sergei Glazyev, mentioned during a government meeting that CryptoRuble suits the sensitive activities on behalf of the state. The accounts with other countries can be settled without worrying about the restrictions imposed on them. For the record, Glazyev himself was placed under sanctions by former President Obama. The restriction prevented him from trading in or travelling to America in 2014.

Another reason for Russian CBDC is that it can help in containing other cryptocurrencies that are beyond government control like Bitcoin and Ether. Russia is not a fan of cryptocurrencies, with Putin himself mentioning in October 2017 that cryptocurrencies were used mainly for crime purposes. So, this CBDC, much like its Chinese counterpart, will be used to counter the popularity of decentralised cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

CBDC a cross country comparison

CBDC a cross country comparison
CountryMain ReasonThe interest given on currency depositsTestingOffline usability
ChinaCounter popularity of cryptocurrenciesFinancial Inclusion of unbanked Chinese citizensNoYesYes
SwedenAlternative to Payment service provides robust digital currencyNot decidedYesNot decided
BahamasLessen the use of cash among CitizensFinancial Inclusion of unbanked citizensNoYesYes
Eastern Caribbean Currency UnionLessen the use of cash among CitizensFinancial Inclusion of unbanked citizensNoYesNo
RussiaCounter popularity of cryptocurrenciesUndertake cross border payment even if put under restrictionsNot decidedNoNot decided

The last word

The popularity of cryptocurrencies gave birth to central bank digital currencies. It will be exciting to see in 10 years’ time how each currency turns out to be. While some countries are doing it for financial inclusion, some to reduce dependency on cash while some to crush the popularity of existing cryptocurrencies, in the end, we will find out it also turned out to be competition among countries to come up with the best CBDC infrastructure. It will be exciting to see if the world gets the IMF or CBDCs or not.

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Homeville Raises $7 million, WhatsApp adds Rupee symbol and more.

1. Housing credit fintech Homeville raises $7 million

Homeville is a financial technology company in the housing finance space. Recently it has raised $7 million in funding with participation from 9Unicorns, Varanium NexGen Fund, JITO Angel Network, CREDAI Members Network, BlackSoil and Earlsfield Capital, among other investors.

It was founded by IIM alumni Lalit Menghani, Madhusudan Sharma and Prasad Ajinkya. The startup offers technology-enabled solutions for home buyers.

Read more about it here.

2. CRED’s Kunal Shah: Self-regulation will save fintech ecosystem

Speaking at the Global Fintech Fest 2021, Kunal Shah spoke on why it was important for fintech players to self-regulate, the need to increase the inclusion of women in financial services, why he was an angel investor in over 200 startups and more.

He also added that while the fintech ecosystem was witnessing immense growth, the opportunities would come with setbacks of malpractices by a few players in the ecosystem. Regardless of this, founders must focus on doing the right thing themselves to avoid coming under the lens of regulators.

Read more about it here.

3. 3 stocks riding the fintech megatrend in India

India’s fintech industry is the fastest growing industry in the world. This comes as no surprise. Here are three stocks riding the fintech megatrend in India.

CDSL: the largest securities depository in India and a key beneficiary of the fintech megatrend.

CAMS: a mutual funds registrar and transfer agent. The company is seen as one of the best plays on the country’s adoption of financial technology.

Paytm: Although not listed, it is a direct play on the fintech megatrend. The company is the largest payments platform in India with a gross merchandise value (GMV) of ₹4 trillion.

Read more about it here.

4. India is poised to become one of the largest digital markets in the world: Piyush Goyal

India’s fintech adoption rate of 87 per cent easily trumps the global average of 64 per cent, Commerce & Industry Minister Piyush Goyal has said. Goyal has said the government will continue to support the sector.

He was speaking at the 2nd Global Fintech Fest-2021 hosted by the Fintech Convergence Council, Payments Council of India, National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and Internet and Mobile Association of India.

He also mentioned that 224 banks participated with UPI and recorded 2.6 billion transactions worth over $68 billion and the highest ever, more than 3.6 billion transactions, in Aug’21.

Read more about it here.

5. American fintech firm FIS will hire over 10,000 people in India

Florida-based fintech firm Fidelity Information Services (FIS) provides technology solutions for merchants, banks and capital markets firms globally. Now, it is looking to hire over 10,000 individuals in India over the next 12-months to fill positions across various roles at all levels to fuel its future growth.

The recruitment drive will focus on hiring people through campus placements at leading educational institutes in India. The successful applicants will be staffed across FIS offices in Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Indore, Mohali, Gurugram, as mentioned by the company.

Read more about it here.

6. DMI Alternatives raises $40 mn for fintech fund

DMI Alternatives Pvt. Ltd on Thursday announced it has raised $40 million for The Sparkle Fund, which is part of its DMI Alternative Investment Fund (DMI AIF).

The Sparkle Fund by DMI Alternatives was set up in 2017 to participate in investment opportunities in India’s rapidly growing digital finance ecosystem. This fund has invested $10 million across multiple companies, including M2P, Credgenics, Servify, Uni, and Mobikwik.

Read more about it here.

7. M2P Fintech acquires SaaS platform

Chennai-based M2P Fintech, formerly known as Yap, on Thursday announced the acquisition of – a Bengaluru-based Software as a service (SaaS) technology platform. allows both fintech and traditional lenders to manage their collection operations and repayment analytics through intuitive analytics.

The integration of into M2P Fintech’s platform offering sits perfectly with our vision of co-creating products by leveraging our API infrastructure,” M2P Fintech co-founder Muthukumar A said in a statement.

Read more about it here.

8. India is Set for Next Evolution Arc in Financial Services with Neobanks: Report

On day two of the Global FinTech Fest 2021 (GFF 2021), Jitendra Gupta who is the Chairman of the FCC’s Neo Banking committee and CEO of Jupiter Money; Anish Achuthan, Co-Founder and CEO, Open Financial Technologies; Anurag Sinha, Co-Founder and CEO, FPL tech/One Card and Vivek Belgavi Partner, Technology Consulting, Alliances & Ecosystems at PwC, released a report on “The Evolution of Neobanks in India”. The Neobanks strive to achieve superior digital experience, superior customer experience.

The report highlights that India is seeing a radical shift towards digitised banking services, provided by FinTechs for a niche set of customers. As Neo Banking is a fast-evolving segment, it will be important to assess its impact on other stakeholders such as banks, customers, regulators, etc.

Read more about it here.

9. The International Cricket Council Announces Strategic Partnership With FinTech Infrastructure Leader, Nium

The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced today that it has entered a multi-year strategic partnership with Nium, a leading global financial technology (FinTech) infrastructure company.

Nium is founded by Prajit Nanu. It provides banks and businesses with access to a suite of fintech infrastructure services through one API. This partnership includes involvement and integration in three global ICC events through to the end of 2023 such as the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates and Oman, the ICC World Test Championship Final in 2023 and the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 to be hosted in India.

Read more about it here.

10. WhatsApp adds Rupee symbol in chat composer to ease sending payments.

WhatsApp on Thursday presented the ₹ symbol in its chat composer to make sending payments using the app easier for users in India. It has also announced that the camera icon in the composer can now scan any QR code to enable paying at more than 20 million stores in India.

With these features, payments on WhatsApp are expected to become more inclusive and intuitive as users can now send money using two of the most iconic and recognizable symbols all within the WhatsApp chat composer.

Read more about it here

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Youngsters are digitally rich than asset rich

It is the time when not only tools but even definitions should be redefined.

The digital economy is on the rise in India and eventually many people are choosing freelance or gig work to earn their living and to get work satisfaction. Few have left their well-paying job to do so, while many started it because they didn’t get a job for a long time, got unemployed, could not work due to family commitments etc to name a few big drivers. People who got success in this pursuit got addicted to it and never wanted to go back to a full-time job but decided to pursue their passion and profession. Many who did not get much success, got bored, got stuck, got a wonderful job offer etc and left their passion and interest, to join an employer.

People who are in a job, get a loan easily due to the fixed salary date and amount, however, it’s not true for a gig worker or freelancer who follows his/her passion. They get evaluated based on their income tax return and not on their potential to earn money from the virtual assets which they have created. And if they mention that they have an online business and not a regular income they are mostly denied a loan. Thanks to COVID-19, we realised that even a fixed looking job can end at any point with no surety. However, in the pandemic, people who were working on the virtual assignments, online etc did not get much affected unless their parent industry got threatened.

Lockdown increased the time spent at home or time on the internet, which means more internet consumption, ultimately more content consumption. And who benefited from the entire process? The content creators, bloggers, YouTubers, movie creators, online teachers etc. They observed an upsurge in their subscription and income which further motivated them to create more content. Entire world economy changed, and we started exploring the new normal, which was virtual. But one thing did not change. The business became digital, but mindset could not leave the legacy systems, and banks and traditional lenders still believe that a job is more secure than a gig.

The concept

With the reducing cost of smartphones and the internet, India is getting into Bharat and vice versa, this cultural and technological transfusion between the two worlds is creating a new and digital India. Technology is reaching everywhere, and we can see a lot of talent, unseen and unheard actors, and professionals on TikTok, youtube, Facebook, bloggers, WhatsApp, Instagram, etc. These social media tools become their medium of expression and distribution. We all appreciate it and share it with our network creating a viral loop and increasing their reach and confidence.

Now, these talents want to touch newer heights however they are restrained by the limited availability of finance to them. Most of the traditional lenders and credit bureaus still rely heavily on salary slips, income tax returns etc. However, many gig workers do not make it to the minimum slab of the income tax return and hence are not required to file the return, but they need capital to break that slab and earn more. Through this concept note, authors want to develop a model which can be used to assess the earning of a gig economy worker as collateral and provides enough comfort to lenders that their money is safe.

Case in point

Imagine a person who is earning an average of Rs. 15,000 per month from Youtube, blogging or by selling their courses online. If s/he wants to use these assets as collateral with any traditional lender, we know most probably it will be a big no. But what about these platforms, can Youtube, blogging websites and course platforms assess the past earnings and extend a line of credit to these freelancers and gig workers. And as collateral, they can take the right of these virtual assets on which their entire business works on. These virtual collaterals are the raw material for these social media platforms on which they run their business empire.

A few proposed Business models

Single Party Model – These social media platforms extend a cash advance to these people when in need, depending on their past earning and potential etc

Two-Party Model – Social media platform ties up with a lending company, where the platform helps to get control on the virtual collateral and date for underwriting and the lender provides loan at an agreed rate of interest. The platform also shares a % risk.

Three Party Model – Platform provides information for underwriting, the second party provides a specialised service in assessing the worth of virtual collateral, the third party provides the money. Here the second party’s role can be taken up by the third party as well. All three/two share a % risk.

Need or purpose behind this

While reading the article, some thoughts like these would have come into your mind. Let us try to understand what the concerns are behind this proposed system, and how can we overcome it.If you are an entrepreneur, give special attention to this section in order to brainstorm more about this proposed credit system.

1. The rise and rise of Social Media – If we go back a few decades, who could have thought that people might actually earn through social media platforms. When Facebook was launched, it was just used to keep up with friends and family. However, social media content writing and marketing sounds like a lucrative career option these days. Making memes was considered a hobby. But now companies are hiring people who can make good memes for their social media page. Even NFTs sound like a good career option now. Similarly with time, it might be possible that banks start considering the channels of content creators as social collaterals and assigning a relevant number according to its actual worth.

2. Fintech firms are becoming more innovative – if you need credit assistance these days, the available options are wide. Banks are no longer the only source of credit. So, there are a lot of options available to an average borrower. Given how new age fintechs (Like Cred) use social media to advertise their product, it is highly expected that this might be the next big thing in digital lending. The best part here is that one does not have to rely on legacy institutions like banks to secure credit. It is seen that usually these legacy institutions are the last to adopt a new age idea.

3. Change in mindset – earlier, salaries were considered the most secure form of cash flow for an individual. However, with the pandemic, one has realised that any business might be forced to shut or any employee might be forced to resign. So, the cash flow of a salaried person is as insecure as that of a gig worker or content creators. This is why people are giving up on their legacy job hunt and turning towards the gig economy to earn extra bucks. They are even becoming content creators across various social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and quite recently Telegram. There are full fledged courses available on why one needs a digital audience. So, as a higher number of people who want to take loans belong to a certain category, it is pure innovation and business shrewdness to come up with different forms of products (or offerings) for them. If one business or firm successfully implements it, others will follow for sure. And if we look at some of the best fintech companies across the globe, we will find that they took up one pain point of the customers or users and built their products on that. Famous examples include Stripe, Zerodha, PayTM, Klarna and more.

The Last Word

New age Fintech firms have proved that anything is possible especially in the pandemic. With the growing number of digital content creators in the world, we first saw creator agencies coming up. Then came up digital marketing firms or channels (or accounts on Twitter, Instagram, etc). Creators are taking to different sources of earnings like affiliate marketing. To disrupt this creator economy, this new form of lending might be the next big thing. To keep up on the same, follow this space. We are keeping an eye on it and we will be more than happy to reach you first.


Who will own the customers: Banks or FinTechs?

This decade is dedicated to Fintech companies both nationally and internationally. With companies like Square, Zerodha making it big because of their innovation and acquiring millions of customers, the battleground for financial services has become a little tough.

The world has seen a rise of big tech companies in the USA. Governments across the world have hit them with antitrust bills as well. Even the USA Congress is hitting them with enquiries now. These companies have acquired large customer bases, thanks to their huge network effects. In India, the regulator and custodian, Reserve Bank of India do not want the FinTech companies to meet the same fate. Probably,  because we have seen how the big tech companies utilise this endless power.  In India at least the Reserve Bank of India does not want that to happen. So, here Fintech companies collaborate with banks (both public and private alike) to deliver financial services. For example, Neobanks are quite popular in Australia. However, in India they still do not have the license to operate on their own. They offer services under the blanket of a bank.

But this in no way means that there is no scope of innovation in the country. With the type of products offered by FinTechs increasing and widening, they might not always need the help of banks in order to operate. Think about this. Cred, a popular application in India that lets users earn cashback and rewards every time they pay their credit card bills, has started peer-to-peer lending on their platform. The typical process to take credit from a bank looks very tiring and lengthy. There is a high chance users will start lending and borrowing from more such peer to peer lending apps. There are BNPL apps that provide loans of small amounts to customers easily and instantly. Banks could not have thought about such a product or offering before BNPL became famous.

With this comes the question, who will own the Customer, and will have the upper hand with FinTech changing the face of financial services and the way they will be delivered?

You may wonder why this question is relevant.

This is because FinTech companies are essentially an aggregator or a platform that just takes a pipe from one or more institutions to deliver financial services. All the customers are on-boarded on both platforms, but it is the FinTech company that serves these customers.

What if suddenly the FinTech company decides to cut the pipe of one of the financial services providers to them, due to pricing or any other issue? Will big banks or financial service providers be able to reduce their prices or negotiate? So now comes the question: have the FinTech companies achieved the stature to negotiate and flex their muscles with biggies and incumbents? Will FinTech grow so big in the future that banks and other Financial Services Providers will just become a warehouse of their own services?

Let us answer these questions one by one and understand who will own the customers; Banks or FinTechs.

1. What if suddenly the FinTech company decides to cut the pipe of one of the financial services providers to them, due to pricing or any other issue?

FinTechs have become too big to ignore. This is why even banks are using them to reach out to new customers who might not use their services directly. If a Fintech company decides to cut the pipe of one of the financial services providers to them, due to pricing or any other issue, banks will have three paths.

Firstly to reduce the prices as demanded by the companies. Secondly to ignore the phenomenon and keep doing their operations. Thirdly, to play the FinTech game too.

The last one requires full attention. Banks can play the FinTech game as well. If we look closely, Fintech companies take up a niche and then concentrate on it very well, innovate them accordingly and gain a good Customer base. A McKinsey analysis of a sample of startup data shows that 62% of startups are dealing with the retail banking segment, while only 11% focused on large corporate banking offerings. It also shows that payments is the most popular area to disrupt and lending is the most lucrative area of banking by revenue being targeted.

Banks can use different methods like better branding, gamification, better customer services, flexibility in operations etc to appeal more to the customers. The aim should be “Customers are kings” just like FinTech to attract more customers.

Our advice to the incumbents will be not to copy or buy the FinTech product and company but adopt their thought and nimbleness.

2. Have the FinTech companies achieved the stature to negotiate and flex their muscles with biggies and incumbents?

Fintech companies are more desirable than banks (for the users primarily) for a number of reasons like innovation, flexibility, leaner virtue operations to name a few.

So the answer to the question might be yes. What is more desirable and profitable will be better in the longer run. However, there are other reasons as well.

Based on the current situation, banks are sitting in the top left quadrant because they have shown low motivation despite their high ability to respond to fintech. Though they have the wealth and staff numbers to respond to the disruptive potential of fintech startups, their responses have been either dismissive or passive. If you follow the news, you would have seen that not a week goes by without a financial services chief scoffing at Bitcoin or robo investing. Banks are passively invested in these sectors as they have mostly engaged with fintech through soft touch accelerators or direct equity investing which, in its purity, is a form of outsourced innovation.

So FinTechs are in a position to negotiate with the legacy institutions (under the radar of RBI of course). If a bank indeed wants to respond to the fintech movement constructively, they need to stop scoffing and start adapting. They might fight or flight.

3. Will FinTech grow so big in the future that banks and other Financial Services Providers will just become a warehouse of their own services?

The answer to this question is tricky. India, unlike the USA, has a custodian in the Reserve Bank of India. So, the monopoly of big FinTechs might not be a reality here. However, this in no term means that banks are not supposed to innovate themselves. Else the FinTech companies will invent one or the other way to avoid the collaboration with banks or the banks will just be the warehouse of their services while the FinTechs will be the face.

A response contrary to this (but one that is worth considering) is that banks acknowledge the inevitability of the unbundling of financial services and retreat back to their roots. They can use their infrastructure to be “enablers” of financial services, like custodians for deposits, while also applying their scale to limit themselves to the form of “human interaction” which is being avoided by fintech.

The last word

At the end of the day, banks also need to look at how the importance of certain staff roles has shifted inside the current environment. In Fintech firms, technology has always played a key role in banking and banks have a chance to possess competent resources in this regard given their huge financial abilities. Yet, in a tech company, coding and development skills are lauded and the employees with these roles play pivotal parts in business design. The tech in Fintech has played an important role in their popularity and growing usage. Banks, on the other hand, look at technology as a horizontal operation to support their teams agnostically. Maybe this is the reason why we can even think of FinTech growing so big in the future that banks and other Financial Services Providers will just become a warehouse of their own services.



RegTech & SupTech, cousins of Fintech?

Supervisory Technology, popularly called SupTech is a part of the broader Financial Technology (FinTech). It uses innovative technology to aid supervision. It supports supervisory agencies to virtualize reporting and regulatory processes. This in turn leads to more systematic and dynamic monitoring of risk and compliance at financial institutions. It supports supervisors by providing them with the necessary technology. According to The Bank for International Settlements (BIS), “Suptech is the use of innovative technology by supervisory agencies to support supervision”. It is the supervisory agencies that generally lay down the rules and regulations.

Regulatory technology, on the other hand, is used in respect of technology implemented by institutions to support their regulatory compliances. It is an innovative technology that lets the companies adjust to the weight of expanding regulatory reporting effortlessly. Also, it lets the companies be tech-savvy and secured at the same time. Because of this innovation, firms are more able to automate the method to monitor information. It is popularly called RegTech. RegTech improves the method of regulatory prerequisites.

Difference between RegTech and SupTech

RegTech and SupTech are different variants of FinTech, but can be used and explored in other financial and non-financial industries as well. Although they appear similar in nature, there is a basic difference between them. Let us look at it.

Difference between RegTech and SupTech
PurposeTo address the need of Financial and Non financial institutions to provide technology deployed by institutions to support their regulatory complianceTo provide aid to Supervisors and Regulators. To digitise reporting and regulatory processes  

Uses of RegTech and SupTech

The uses of RegTech include the following:

  • Dynamic compliance – RegTech provides easy ways to identify and keep an account of changes in regulatory requirements. Here, supervisors can do an automatic real-time survey and check the compliance levels and the related risk(s) based on  analysis of operational and other data.
  • Identity management and control – RegTech can be applied in anti-money laundering (AML) controls, fraud detection, as well as Know-Your-Customer (KYC) procedures that ultimately ensures ease of business.
  • Risk management – RegTech leads to quality production of risk data, risk data aggregation, internal risk reporting and automatic identification and monitoring of risks. This is all done according to internal methodologies or regulatory definitions. Besides, it also creates alerts or triggers action at predetermined levels.
  • Regulatory reporting – RegTech leads to routine regulatory reporting that can be automated to cut costs.
  • Transaction monitoring – RegTech focuses on conduct-of-business requirements. It also offers real time transaction monitoring and auditing, that includes using end-to-end integrity validation, anti-fraud and market abuse identification systems.
  • Trading in financial markets – RegTech leads to automation of mechanisms related to transactions in financial markets, for instance, calculating margins, choosing counterparties and trading venues, assessing exposures along with complying by conduct-of-business principles.

On the other hand, supervisors can use SupTech in the following ways:

  • Data-input approach – SupTech in reporting institutions can mechanise the collection of data in a routine and highly miniscule format according to regulations set by the supervisory authority and send it to a centralized database.
  • Data-pull approach – SupTech uses automatic processes that are activated and controlled by the supervisor. Then they collect and standardise raw business data directly from the firms’ operational systems.
  • Dynamic, predictive supervision – SupTech takes supervisory actions in a preemptive manner on the basis of predictive behavioural analysis.
  • Real-time access – SupTech lets supervisors pull or “see” operational data at their command (instead of predetermined reporting periods) as it directly lets them access the institutions’ operational systems. It can include monitoring transactions on a real-time basis.
  • Reporting utilities – SupTech reports utilities that are centralised structures. These function not only as a common database of reported miniscule data but also as a repository of the interpretation of reporting rules, in a format that can be read by computers. This feature is called “semantic reporting utility”.
  • Gathering intelligence from unstructured data – SupTech lets collection and analysis of unstructured data with maximum efficiency. It could let supervisors be relieved of the time taking tasks like reading a number of PDF files, surfing on the internet, etc.
  • Regulatory submissions and data quality management – SupTech lets fully automated procedures to look after the submissions by reporting firms and thus manage the quality of the reported data, including running validation tests.

Video: SupTech and RegTech Video

Contributions of SupTech

  • Exceptions-based supervision – SupTech automatically checks firms’ data and

other information collected and analysed for the identification of “exceptions” or “outliers” to predetermined parameters.

  • Automated implementation of supervisory measures – SupTech sends an automatic direction for capital rise based on automated data analysis, and decision-making.
  • Algorithmic regulation and supervision – SupTech can be used for overseeing high-frequency trading, algorithm-based credit scoring, robo-advisors or any service that automates decision-making.
  • Efficiency – SupTech can decrease compliance costs for the regulated firms and enhances risk management to improve marketplace stability and effectiveness.
  • Real-time supervision – SupTech supervisors can monitor data as it is made in the regulated firms’ operational systems.

Points to consider in SupTech

  • Data quality issues – SupTech leads to complexity in analysing or validating Big Data, especially the ones collected from non-traditional sources of information like social media.
  • Legal risk – SupTech supervisors need to be aware of the existent data protection laws in their jurisdictions like the continuous data collection and availability of more data from alternative sources.
  • Operational risk – In SupTech more data means that companies and supervisors have become a bigger target for hacking and might require strict cybersecurity measures so as to detect any forms of breaching.
  • Reputational risk – In SupTech improper validation of data by such applications like failure of algorithms can lead to misinterpretation and prolly wrongful supervisory actions. This will harm the reputation of both the company and the supervisor.
  • Resource issues – SupTech supervisors can also face budget constraints and pressure of limited skilled personnel to deploy to the respective applications. However, the problem arises when such data remains unused and insurers raise issues of regulatory burden.

Contributions of RegTech

  • Increased revenue for insurers – RegTech automation solutions can expand competitiveness and also increases customer satisfaction and retention as

onboarding and completion of KYC and AML requirements are faster.

  • Reduced costs – RegTech processes can be streamlined to decrease the number of people who need to check false positives and lower the overall compliance costs.
  • Efficiency gains – The automation of compliance protocols and reporting by RegTech allows more time for firms to focus on their strategic goals. Compliance officers are thus able to look after more substantial activities, like investigating cases.
  • Reduced risk – With RegTech, firms can comply with AML, KYC, and other such requirements more easily. Also do not suffer reputational damage, penalties and fines from compliance missteps.
  • Supporting innovation – Industry participants are building and adopting RegTech technologies to meet regulatory compliance easily. Innovative technologies continue to support firms to develop advanced data analytics capabilities, scenario analytics, trend and horizon scanning. Regulators consider them as important tools to improve the quality of risk management.

Points to consider in RegTech

  • Understand the firm’s readiness position – In RegTech it is important to understand the firm’s market position or expertise, determine the strategy, road map and senior level “buy-in” in addition to identifying the relevant compliance and reporting elements that can benefit from automation.
  • Existing regulatory compliance – Regulators need to clarify compliance risks, complexities and resulting requirements so that they can implement RegTech.
  • Upcoming regulatory data and reporting requirements – RegTech supervisors need to have the understanding of the existing and emerging regulations that might impact the business.
  • Skilled resources – It is imperative to have skilled personnel to deliver services and

manage change

  • Lack of a common position amongst regulators – Regulators do not have a clear position on solutions and standards due to different data protection regimes.

Examples of RegTech & SupTech

  • Regtech example: Institutes RiskBlock Alliance which promotes blockchain around the world.
  • SupTech example: Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN) that collaborates with other supervisors to learn, adapt and share technology issues that travel easily through capital markets, like cryptocurrencies.

Should you learn this technology?

As the technology has various applications, it is advised to learn it to leverage its uses further.

Why should you enroll in this GFA Course?

Global FinTech Academy aims to make the knowledge behind Financial Technology available to all. We offer a range of courses that make the understanding of Technology easier for you. You can use this to strengthen your career, knowledge, disrupt the FinTech market with new and innovative product/s that are full of potential, or for literally anything. The good news is you get to learn all this in an easy language and from ground zero. Our aim is to deliver the best knowledge to you in the easiest way possible.

In this Business-Oriented course, we will understand;

  • RegTech Definition
  • Transaction and Activity Monitoring
  • Identity and Control Management
  • Policy Management
  • Risk and Compliance Management
  • Regulatory Intelligence and Reporting
  • SupTech Definition
  • SupTech Use Cases
  • Challenges and Opportunities
  • Data Format and Digitization
  • Time Lag
  • On Site Audit
  • Technologies for RegTech and SupTech

Course on Regulatory and Supervisory Technology (RegTech & SupTech)

The First Course is in the category of Regulatory and Supervisory Technology (RegTech and SupTech). Currently, there are very few courses on the internet on Regulatory and Supervisory Technology, RegTech and SupTech and we are proud to launch this Introductory course on this emerging industry.

With so many regulatory lapses and failures of big companies and banks, people are raising questions on the efficiency of the Regulators and Regulated Entities’ capability of handling frauds and scams. This domain is heating up and this debate has given birth to RegTech and SupTech.

Enrol now in the course to understand how and which technologies will help regulated entities and regulators to sail through the frauds and risks prevalent in financial services and other regulated industries.

This course is for anyone interested in FinTech, Banking, RegTech and SupTech, Digital Payments, Financial Technology. Students, Professionals, Teachers, Trainers, Regulators, Companies, Entrepreneurs, Technologists and Financial Risk and Strategy Professionals.

To get this course for USD10 only, apply code GFA10 at the checkout page. Get it HERE

You can also avail yourself this on Udemy! Get it here

See you on the other side of the course.

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Are Neobanks the Future of the Banking Industry?

Neobanks are financial institutions that exist only in the digital world. In more detailed words, it is nothing but a FinTech company offering digital banking services ranging from faster account opening, mobile deposits, digital debit and credit cards, transferring payments, and many more such services without having to visit the physical branch of your bank. However, these special entities have to partner with traditional banks as they do not have the regulatory licenses to undertake such activities.

So, the partnership with banks provides them with a platform to develop and scale digital banking services such as infrastructure on top of the banks. Neobanks mainly adhere to providing a hassle-free banking experience to consumers and SMEs. The banking industry in India has not matured yet. It is still evolving and so it needs to be up-to-date with the recent technological trend to keep up with the existing consumer demand and provide the customers a seamless digital experience.

Neobanks vs Traditional banks

Neobanks mostly offer minimal functionalities as compared to traditional banks. This approach of neobanks to focus only on the lesser allows customers to enjoy the basic functionalities of a bank without any excess ruffle at lesser fees. Also because of this approach neobanks provide better interest rates than traditional banks.

Neobanks are based on the mobile-first approach and these entities focus on providing digital banking services to consumers anywhere in the world. Therefore, many times these words are even used interchangeably despite being different.

The biggest flaw of traditional banks these days is that they lack some basic consumer requirements in terms of better user experience, value-added services, etc. So neobanks fill this gap and take better care. Some of these merits include:

1. Offering such services so that millennials save money or manage their financial goals easily

2. Providing  better user experience so that the user does not have to ring the customer care each and every time they face any problem 

3. Using high-end problem solving Artificial Intelligence tools so that routine issues such as deactivating user’s cards or unlocking their card, etc can be done in just a few clicks.

4. As neobanks do not have to maintain physical branches and often offer a smaller set of services, so their fee is relatively lower

So, these were some problems that neobanks solve or the merits that they have over traditional banks. As mentioned in the article earlier, neobanks exist only in the digital world, so most of the time they provide the customers with digital onboarding. So customers can open their account in less than 2 to 3 minutes through a completely virtual onboarding process.

Neobanks vs Traditional banks
 NeobanksTraditional banks
User Experience.  BetterBasic
Onboarding Experience  BetterBasic
Different value-added services in a single interfaceOffers integrated payroll for a small business, bookkeeping, payment gateway, etc.  Limited
AccessibilityEasy as everything is virtualRelatively harder as most things are on paper
Fee structureRelatively lowerHigher
LicensingNo or partial licensesFull banking licenses

Therefore, to conclude, in the battle of banks vs neobanks, the latter wins.

How do Neobanks benefits the SMEs or small businesses?

When you start a business, you are required to use multiple interfaces in order to operate your business transactions. So for this purpose, you need a separate invoice raising tool, a separate payment gateway for payment collection, a separate accounting system, etc. This eventually becomes a headache for your business as managing and operating them becomes confusing and most importantly it increases their costs.

So, neobanks found this customer pain point and they started leveraging technology. Finally, they came up with an alternative tool that would link all the required and distinct interfaces such as payment collection, bookkeeping, raising invoices, etc in a single process. This makes the business banking process totally easy, convenient and relatively cheaper.

So, these are some basic ways in which neobanks are eventually differentiating themselves from traditional banks. These are the same benefits that you as a business owner want to look forward to when choosing between traditional banking and new-age banking.

Therefore, neobanking has been a life-changing experience for small businesses as it has completely changed the way traditional banking operates. Small businesses can now focus more on their businesses and cost-cutting instead of worrying about their finances. All thanks to neobanks as they have already automated that businesses’ banking transaction. They even help them to manage multiple business accounts through a single app.

Neobanks vs Traditional banks- Which one a business owner will prefer?
 NeobanksTraditional banks
Interfaces for different activities  SameDifferent
Technology offeredFaster- All through one appSlower- All through different interfaces
Automation for business banking system  OffersDoes not offers
Can you save time by not visiting the physical branches?  YesMostly no

Neobanks in India

India still lags behind in the matter of neobanks advancement. In India, there are 10 neobanks , and all across the world, there are over 250 live neobanks. The neobanks in India raised USD 90 million in 2019.

Indian neobanks are taking a less aggressive approach and are positioning their offering close to traditional banks. This is because RBI has not yet permitted such banks that only exist digitally. This is why most of them are only working in partnership with banks. On the contrary, neobanks all across the world are growing fast and are expected to generate 394.6 billion USD by 2026.

How does a neobank work?

Neobanks work on the “Banking as a Service” model. Currently,  the neobank landscape can operate in three ways:

1. A non-licensed fintech partners with a traditional bank. The fintech uses a layering around the products and services of the partner bank. The layering offers the branding of the fintech, along with their additional services.

2. Traditional banks have even launched their digital-only services and offerings as neobanks.

3. Licensed neobanks that can operate as digital banks. It is possible only in the countries that allow such stand-alone digital entities to operate.

As mentioned before neobanks do not have their license, not in India at least. Sp, they have a bank as their partner. Neobank provides an ease to the customers of banks and in return, the bank provides them with a platform enabling core banking services. Most of the time, these banks use legacy systems and therefore have outdated digital infrastructures and services. So, neobanks wrap the legacy systems with their digital products and services and work on top of them. This wrapper makes banking services much easier, flexible, and scalable. Customers can access this wrapper conveniently using the app provided by the neobanks.

Suggested: Course on Payment Gateway Strategies

Challenges faced by Neo-banking

The primary problem that neobanks face is that they still rely on traditional banks as they do not possess the license to provide financial services. Therefore it becomes very important for the consumer to know exactly with which banks they are partnered.

The digital banking industry is growing dramatically and there are already a number of competitors, which makes it difficult for a neobank to retain customers as there are multiple banks who are all set to grab the market share by providing similar services or niche-based services along with some amazing signup benefits, and hence one has to keep up with the trends so that the consumer always gets the best user experience.


The era of digitalization is here to stay. Especially in a post-pandemic world, traditional banks are expected to invest more in technologies that ensure ease of business. AI, IoT, and solutions for customer-facing operations such as CRM software will be used more than before. Even the financial service sector will look forward to virtual call centres, online account opening procedures, loan automation, and automated/chat-based customer support. That is where neobanks come in. Along with their tech expertise, they have an opportunity to function as a digital front-end to the core banking solutions.




QR Codes & The Future of Mobile Payment Systems

Quick Response code or QR code has grown in popularity for the last few years. Since it went mainstream, QR codes are visible almost everywhere. However, soon the perception of people changed as QR codes were used to redirect consumers to some websites only. Thus, people stopped using it as it was just used as a marketing gimmick.

However, QR code came back in a better way. Now they are facilitating mobile payments for users around the globe.

Juniper Research estimated that the usage of QR codes for electronic payments will increase to 300% over the next five years. Tech companies are making way for the upcoming QR surge as both Apple and Alphabet’s mobile operating software are putting integrated QR code scanners in the respective cameras app of their phones.

Back when QR codes were introduced, separate apps were needed to scan them. This limited the practical use of the technology. Now that they are easily available in the camera app, they can be used by a large number of people.

What is a QR code payment?

QR codes are like bar codes where they store data in a physical representation. These are a pattern of dark and light spots within a limited space.

Barcodes can store a relatively lesser volume of data, QR code can store more data.

It has the following implications for the merchants and their customers:

1. They can be scanned from digital surfaces like mobile phone screens. Thus it makes digital information transfer more open and possible.

2. They have built-in integrity checks. Therefore QR codes can be read even if some part of it is damaged or hidden.

3. QR codes have the ability to get integrated.

4. QR codes can also store URLs, payment confirmations, text or geolocation data.

A payment via QR code involves using A QR code payment uses a camera or scanner to read a code and process the information within the payment app or the website redirected. However, the device used to scan should have the software needed. QR Code payments can support app-to-app payments, POS scanning, and customer scanning from a smartphone.

Types of QR Codes

There are 2 types of QR codes – static and dynamic.

1. Dynamic QR codes are generated by the system at the time of a transaction. A seller or a buyer needs to scan a generated code by their devices. This type of QR code does not have long time validity. They include unique data elements for the transaction currently operating only. For example, after scanning a dynamic QR code, the buyer receives a form with the automatically filled in data of the product they want to buy.

2. Static QR codes usually come out in the form of stickers. Such stickers can be placed at different locations such as check-outs or any other location. They have static or unchangeable information. When buyers scan the sticker having the static QR code, they receive an all-payments form where they need to add product information manually.

Course on: The rise of Buy Now, Pay Later

QR Code Payment Modes

Payment modes are the payment relationships between a seller and a buyer. There are two main QR code payment modes – merchant-presented mode and customer-presented mode.

1. The merchant-presented mode- the buyer needs to scan the seller’s QR code to undertake a transaction.

2. The customer-presented mode- the seller needs to scan the buyer’s QR code to undertake a transaction.

How the QR Code Payment Works?

1 Make sure that the used device is connected to the internet

2. Open a payment app with the QR code scanner (can be a smartphone or a scanner device)

3. Scan the QR payment code

4. Input or just check the payment details and authorize the payment. The app connects the buyer’s bank with the seller’s payment system through API and fulfils the payment.

5. Receive the payment confirmation

Where are QR payments already being used?

China is the country where the QR code renaissance began. It started with QR-enabled mobile payments replacing cash as the preferred transaction payment method. Soon it took over every realm of transactions, from street vendors to high-end department stores. This is how it overtook more time-consuming payment methods like credit and debit cards completely. In China, the sum total of mobile payments surpassed $13 trillion dollars in 2020, as most of that amount was coming from QR code payments on the WeChat and Alipay apps. Chinese authorities recognized that these payments represent a big part of their consumer economy. Therefore they are taking steps to regulate and standardize mobile payments.

Therefore China is regarded to be a leader and disruptor in the fintech sector in the world.

Even India has taken steps to reduce the amount of cash circulating in its economy. The country made use of QR code payments enabled by mVisa filling in the gaps. In many other countries in the world, where access to traditional banking companies is limited and cash is unreliable or hard to come by, mobile payment systems have been widely adopted. Thus it imparted  financial empowerment to many people who had been shut out of these markets for many years

Over the past few years in particular, standardized QR code payments have become very famous in Southeast Asia, especially in countries like Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

Suggested: How do tokenization and encryption secure digital payment?

How QR code payments could change eCommerce?

The brighter side of using QR codes for eCommerce may not look convincing now. It seems less obvious because of the ways it can streamline and speed up brick-and-mortar store transactions. However, the security and cost benefits of scanning QR codes for payment could mean that the days of eCommerce companies saving credit card data for future purchases are numbered.

Stored card data is the most lucrative by-product for most of the digital thieves who attempt to hack into eCommerce companies’ servers. When a customer’s card information never leaves their own device, there’s nothing for the hackers to steal.

With QR code payments, the web is no longer the platform on which the transaction takes place—everything happens on the customer’s device.

QR code payments may not be a very famous concept in the West, especially in the United States. However,  as more retailers encourage their adoption with app-enabled loyalty programs and promotions, more and more consumers will also start using QR payments for the sake of concurrent convenience and added advantages.  Therefore, eCommerce companies who try to provide as many payment options in the checkout page have to adopt this as well.

 E-commerce companies need to look at the case study of eastern countries like India and China to understand how QR code payment can become famous even in the West. QR code payments might be the payment method of the future, or at least a significant part of it. Many other countries around the world are already using and regulating this technology. It remains to be seen what kind of response QR code payments will get in the U.S. Implementation among merchants has been slow. Therefore the customer demand for this payment method so far is also not quite good. But that could change if the benefits become more well-known.

Also Check: Digital Payment Fraud Prevention with 3D Secure 2.0

Should you learn this technology?

As technology is still a new concept in the West, there is a high chance of further development of it. So, you should definitely learn this program as it has a huge scope.

Our course on Fintech – QR code-based digital payments

Why should you enroll in this GFA Course?

Global FinTech Academy aims to make the knowledge behind Financial Technology available to all. We offer a range of courses that make the understanding of Technology easier for you. You can use this to strengthen your career, knowledge, disrupt the FinTech market with new and innovative product/s that are full of potential, or for literally anything. The good news is you get to learn all this in an easy language and from ground zero. Our aim is to deliver the best knowledge to you in the easiest way possible.

In this Business-Oriented course, we will understand;

  • Basics of QR code,
  • its components,
  • Static, dynamic and one time use QR code,
  • QR code payment,
  • closed and interoperable QR code,
  • authentication in QR code,
  • global adoption data and examples,
  • EMV Co QR code process for customer and merchant presented QR code,
  • backend transaction flow,
  • security and challenges and a comparison between QR code and NFC.
  • BharatQR, mVISA, Masterpass, Alipay and We chat Pay QR code system,
  • Mobile Payment,
  • Payment Processing
  • FinTech Digital Banking, Digital Finance, Financial Technology.

After completing and reflecting well on the discussed points, you will have a good understanding of QR code-based payments, their back end processes and challenges.

To get this course for USD10 only, apply code GFA10 at the checkout page.

Get it HERE

See you on the other side of the course.

You will get this course on Udemy too. Get it Here