Digitalization of Financial Services

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Relevance and use of the article in UPSC prelims and mains examination:Dear aspirants, technology if properly used can become a tool of public revolution. And now time has arrived that technology infusion in various forms will serve the last men to achieve the aim of digital inclusion. This article basically features of Technology which disrupting the traditional banking and finance landscape in India, across a spectrum of services – credit, payments, savings and insurance. upcoming fintech companies that are finding solutions to a variety of traditional financial roadblocks.

Introduction:

  • Digital technology is disrupting traditional financial services in India by expanding access and putting customer centricity and convenience at the fore. Innovative digital solutions are successfully starting to address the challenges with which traditional financial service delivery processes have been afflicted.
  • Aided by regulatory and infrastructural support with India Stack specifically, various technology solution providers have been able to create platforms that are approaching the objective of total financial inclusion in multiple domains –credit, savings, payments and insurance.

Credit services:

  • Banks, traditionally, have a laid out process of assessing the creditworthiness of a customer and providing credit. With a comfortable, sometimes lengthy turnaround-time, customers are assessed based on their historical bank statements and other factors like credit histories and CIBIL scores that banks have learnt from their experience in the industry.
  • At present, digital data is getting harnessed to generate credit histories for entities with previously no formal financial footprint in the different stages of the value chain and to provide customized loans to small businesses. Various Service providers provide ready credit to suppliers affiliated to e-commerce companies which act as a loan provider, designs repayment plans for working capital loans based on the business cycles of small businesses, as evidenced by their digital transaction history.
  • A startup called ZipLoan is linking into the supply chain of offline large manufacturers or suppliers,These technologies enable small businesses associated with large companies in meeting their working capital requirements and small scale capacity expansion. The solution is aimed at mainstreaming cash collection in the retailer-wholesaler-manufacturer value chain and expanding scope and access to credit to the retailers.
  • There are organizations use data innovatively to provide credit assessment as well as credit underwriting – contributing in a hybrid lending model, where various NBFCs and banks contribute some portion of capital to be lent to customers based on an algorithmic assessment of their creditworthiness. They also come up with a solution that facilitates the conversion of financial data stored in physical form, in bank passbooks, into digital formats, making credit assessment easier and faster and making credit itself accessible in remote areas.

Savings and Investment

  • App based savings solutions like SQRRL and Gullak, are being introduced to tap “lazy money”, lying in bank accounts, to enhance the utility of money, along with inducing a saving behaviour in the customers.
  • Organizations such as Payse are piloting digital hardware wallets in the self-help group space to digitize records and transactions, wherein all the SHG leaders are provided with a Payse hardware wallet called PURSE which is used to convert cash to e-money and store it for repayment with the help of an agent.

Payments related solutions:

  • In the space of payments too we find innovations along the value chain: While we initially saw mainly consumer level solutions like standalone wallets offered e.g. by Paytm and Mobikwik or those linked with mobile service providers, like Airtel or Vodafone are gaining traction, business solution start-ups are now following suit. Budipay, a Unified Payments Interface based app (yet to launch in India) aims to work to digitally facilitate bulk transfer payments and is focusing its efforts on enabling wage payments and pension.
  • The wallet enables the users to remit money back home, using their mobile phones. The wallet also enables basic bill payments and is piloting payments at stores that have an established POS payment mechanism, like chemists and organized retail of groceries.
  • Digital solutions tapping business networks are aimed at facilitating the flow of funds digitally. In the process, they facilitate quick payments and improve availability of credit to the cash-based units in the network.

Solution of Insurance issues:

  • In the insurance space, Telenor, a mobile network operator is looking to replicate the success of their mobile insurance product. The micro-insurance product, available to subscribers of the network, works on a “Fremium” model: if the subscriber recharges his connection, he become eligible for an insurance product, where the premium is ascertained based on the usage history of the subscriber.
  • These are only a few instances which echo the fact that it is an exciting time to be in the digital financial space in India. It is imperative for solution providers to simultaneously target their products towards retailers and other stakeholders in the business supply chains along with end- consumers.
  • Only then, they can build a functioning ecosystem on a digital platform. While a large number of these efforts are at a nascent, experimental stage, it will be interesting to see how the existing technical infrastructure is utilized to scale up these solutions and fuel individuals and small businesses to prosper digitally.

conclusion:

  • When they do so, it will be important for solution providers to factor in the currently low levels of use of digital financial services among low income households and small businesses and understand the key drivers of change while convincing the target consumers to switch from cash-based operating models. At every nodal point of the value chain, the solutions will have to be convenient, adding tangible, easily demonstrated value while also being secure.
Question:
“Digitization of financial services is necessary now to serve the end consumer”.Do you agree with this statement. And discuss the role of multi organisations and private players to achieve the aim of financial inclusion.
Suggested points:
  • Discuss the concept of financial inclusion.
  • Role of digitization of financial services.
  • Discuss the role of government and private player to achieve financial inclusion.
  • Discuss about the service delivery mechanism of digitization at various labels in banking.
  • Suggetions.
  • Conclusion.


Source: xaam.in

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