Next week, between 16 – 19 October 2023, the Center for Financial Education will host the eighth iteration of Financial Inclusion Week. As the industry gears up for the event, we reached out to find out what organisations are doing to ensure they’re going the extra mile to be financially inclusive.
Digitisation and the use of emerging technologies such as AI are rapidly showcasing the many benefits tech can have on the financial world. However, these are not being used to their fullest extent – especially when it comes to inclusion. Financial Inclusion Week is a forum where organisations around the world can come together to exchange ideas, research and perspectives on inclusion.
Ahead of the event, we reached out to experts across the globe to find out what fintechs are doing to lead the way when it comes to one of the biggest aspects of fintech for good: financial inclusion.
Cynthia Kleinbaum Milner, chief marketing officer at MoneyLion, the US lending and financial advice fintech explains how the company is helping create a more accessible market.
“Through our consumer app, MoneyLion is helping to bridge the financial literacy gap by providing personalised content and recommendations specific to a consumer’s financial needs and goals. We utilise original and licensed content that is entertaining and educational.
“Our app takes the innovation and digestibility of social media channels and applies them to finance, such as through short-form videos—engaging consumers in a way that actually appeals to you and simplifies the topics, allowing for more accessibility.
“MoneyLion is at the forefront of consumer financial literacy, inclusion, and access, providing technology that addresses the challenges faced by millions of Americans who struggle with managing their finances. Through our products and services,
“MoneyLion gives its users the confidence to take control of their financial health and money decisions. Through MoneyLion’s financial products, marketplace, and recommendation engine, we match our users with the products and offers they need for their individual goals and circumstances—supporting vast coverage across the credit spectrum—all in one destination.”
Raffy Montemayor is the co-founder and business head in the Philippines, Salmon, POS lending fintech. He explains how the company is making credit accessible for individuals, who until now were locked out of the traditional banking system in the Philippines.
“There are complex reasons why financial services were out of reach for many Filipinos, and having some 26 types of accepted forms of identification is one of them.
“Salmon overcame this by using facial recognition to help identify customers. We have also built a proprietary credit scoring engine based on multi-source data to help Salmon understand its customers better in a market without established credit histories.
“In September, we launched Salmon Credit for existing customers – 76 per cent of whom have never previously obtained any credit from a financial institution, and plan to roll it out to the general public soon.
“Salmon Credit has built-in QR Ph payment options, enabling customers to make payments at more than 600,000 QR Ph-enabled locations across the country. Merchants enabled to process QR Ph purchases outnumber those with Visa/Mastercard terminals by a factor of 10:1 in the Philippines.
“Salmon Credit helps people access transparent financing to improve their daily lives. I can’t wait to broaden our reach and transform the lives of more people, including in other parts of Southeast Asia.’’
One of the most important ways organisations can be financially inclusive is by extending traditional banking features to previously unbanked. Tosin Eniolorunda is the founder and group CEO of Moniepoint Inc., the Nigerian paytech. He says: “Since its founding in 2015, Moniepoint has focused on improving underbanked Nigerian’s access to payments systems.
“Initially focusing on business banking, Moniepoint’s provision of POS terminals and tools to help grow and manage their businesses has helped Moniepoint customers thrive – improving accessibility to capital and supporting the Nigerian economy.
“The company’s focus on financial inclusion – the right of every Nigerian – has led to its recent entry into the personal banking sector. Customers receive Moniepoint Microfinance Bank debit cards and access to a consumer app. This gives them opportunities to bank and payments on the go, with control over dispute resolution for the first time.
“In summary, Moniepoint is swiftly providing underbanked consumers with access to traditional banking services, and is excited to begin offering these services to a wider range of countries – beginning with Kenya, once its purchase of Kopo Kopo is complete.”
Fintech startup Finfra is a one-stop shop for businesses aiming to incorporate white-labelled lending products in Indonesia. The pandemic prompted the rise of digital platforms, facilitating Indonesian entrepreneurs to pursue asset-light business models.
Despite this, credit accessibility remains a challenge, as indicated by the fact that only three per cent of the population possesses a credit card. Offering credit and other financial services to existing customer bases can help boost user adoption, increase per-customer spend, deepen customer loyalty, and improve retention.
Markus Prommik, CEO and co-founder of Finfra explores this further: “Identifying the difficulties SMEs encounter in acquiring credit, Finfra’s API-centric platform allows digital businesses without a financial base to integrate financial products, predominantly credit lending. This means credit isn’t just confined to large entities but becomes accessible to deserving small businesses and, by extension, the communities they support.
“Finfra’s approach capitalises on non-public data through API integration, optimising its credit scoring system. The model also presents platforms lacking lending expertise with a distinct advantage. As of now, our data-driven approach has enabled us to score over two million individuals and businesses, underscoring our commitment to financial inclusion.
“By doing so, we’ve managed to provide credit opportunities to those historically labelled ‘unbankable’. Moreover, having secured a full lending license in Indonesia in 2021 – a feat unmatched by any other European-owned platform – we’ve expanded our horizons. We offer custom lending solutions to a plethora of startups and international partners.”
Raman Korneu, CEO and co-founder of myTU, the mobile banking platform explains how migrants are being included in the modern financial world through its platform. “We make it easier for economic migrants to become banked when they ordinarily have difficulty getting an account. myTU is 100 per cent mobile banking providing services in 16 different languages (we have already opened accounts to 107 different nationalities). You can open an account in a few minutes from anywhere.
“We offer cost-effective and convenient options for sending and receiving money across borders. This helps migrant workers from CEE (they are among the most mobile within the EU) support their families and improve the financial stability of their families.
“We also provide accounts to children aged seven years and older, encouraging parents to teach about accounts, payments, saving and financial decision-making. In the myTU app, kids can analyse their expenditure, track income and expenses, and view engaging statistics. Children can understand where money is being spent, find opportunities to save and observe the monthly progress. All services for children are free.
“Additionally, we open accounts and provide access to financial services to certain companies and their personnel who have relocated to the EU from Belarus and Ukraine, including IT companies, to whom we offer payroll projects. We have a strong understanding of their problems and can offer tailored financial solutions.
“We are able to provide all of this because myTU is a cloud-based banking platform built on extremely agile digital infrastructure. Our lightweight IT footprint allows us to offer more fluid and responsive banking solutions for a broader range of clients than traditional banks conventionally serve.”