Digital Frontiers

*Technology and FinTech

ARTICLES

Beyond Credit: 3 Emerging Opportunities for Fintech Startups in the Gig Economy

According to BFA Global’s Catalyst Fund, experts from India and East Africa suggest that fintech startups and digital platforms should consider three additional opportunities: offering additional financial services; supporting skill-building and structured paths to career formalization; and expanding to serve adjacent populations.

Impact of Covid-19 on Fintechs

Like other businesses, FinTechs too have been struggling to cope with the Pandemic. The reports compiled by MicroSave Consulting, highlight the impact of the pandemic on FinTechs in Indonesia and India.  

Inclusive Tech: Overcoming Barriers to Scale in Emerging Markets

Technology undoubtedly has the potential to improve the access, quality and relevance of financial services for underserved customers around the world. Dynamic tech startups lie at the forefront of innovation in this space, harnessing technology, data and lean operating models to design more affordable, accessible and appropriate products that meet the unique needs of underserved…

Inclusive FinTechs in Francophone Africa: Benin report

Although in early stages, the upcoming National Financial Inclusion Strategy of Benin will help increase opportunities for FinTechs in Benin, especially if they spend time to understand the market and understand how they can add value to it by working with incumbents. The key success factors for FinTechs to stimulate financial inclusion in Benin are…

FinTech Start-ups in Côte d’Ivoire amid COVID-19: Expectations from the Government and the Regulator

This overview from Microsave gives a unique glimpse of the FinTech ecosystem of Côte d’Ivoire, how it has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and what measures and guidelines are being proposed and implemented by the government and regulators of the country. It can also be accessed in French here.

The Global Fintech Index

The Global Fintech Index launched the world’s first real-time ranking of fintech ecosystems and fintech companies globally. It ranks over 60 countries and 230 cities according to the strength of their Fintech ecosystem.

Innovation Ecosystems

Innovations of all kinds contribute to greater economic growth, and tech innovations, in particular, can increase digital inclusion for individuals. But this doesn’t happen in a vacuum. For an innovation ecosystem to flourish, you need tech-savvy entrepreneurs, access to finance and a balanced network of connectors, plus an enabling environment. These ecosystems consist of, among…

The Global Impact of COVID-19 on Fintech Adoption

This paper draws on mobile application data from 74 countries to document the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the adoption of digital finance and fintech. It estimates that the spread of COVID-19 and related government lockdowns have led to between a 24-32% increase in the relative rate of daily downloads of finance mobile applications…

Mozambique Annual Fintech Report 2019

This Fintech Report is the first of its kind to be written in Mozambique in a collaboration between FSDMoç and the Mozambican Fintech Association. Fintechs are companies, in most cases startups, that develop innovative technologies in the financial sector, creating disruptive services for the final consumer. In an industry strongly linked to systems, processes, paradigms and…

Payment Aspects of Financial Inclusion in the Fintech Era

Technological innovation has made major inroads into financial services, especially payments. The pace of innovation has substantially increased in the past five years, leading to the “era of fintech”. Fintech presents both opportunities and challenges for financial access and inclusion. It can support improved access to safe transaction accounts and encourage their frequent use. However,…

The Contribution of FinTechs for MSME Development: What can Mozambique Learn from FinTechs in South Africa and Kenya?

This study, the Contribution of Fintechs for MSME Finance was produced by Helder Buvana as part of his journey to become a Certified Digital Finance Practitioner. It looks at how innovation, mainly technological innovation, is contributing to change the traditional way financial services are delivered to customers and how these new waves can reduce the…

API Deployments in Inclusive Finance

APIs are often viewed as potential solutions for traditional financial institutions, particularly small and midsize banks, to partner with upstart financial technology companies (fintechs) to offer innovate products, especially to low-income customers. In practice, however, due to the maturity of the fintech market, fear of losing competitive advantage, and a variety of strategic errors in planning…

Digital Banks: How can they deepen financial inclusion?

New technologies and business models are upending long-established markets across virtually every major sector, including the financial services sector. Traditional retail banks are joined by a growing number of digital partners and other competitors. One example are digital banks – firms that adopt new technologies to offer more effective banking services. This slide deck from…

Fintech Benchmarks Proof-of-Concept Report

Investment capital is flowing into fintech startups, yet it is still challenging to get capital to many fintechs addressing last-mile challenges. Evidence suggests this is driven in large part by a lack of information. Using data collected to test an initial set of Data Standards for Inclusive Fintech, this report from MIX presents insights into…

Space for Finance in Developing Countries

This research was conducted by Caribou Space for the International Partnership Programme, a five-year, £30 million per year initiative run by the UK Space Agency. This report outlines why and how the space industry has a role to play in addressing challenges within the finance sector in developing countries. It is part of a series…

The Rise of Challenger Banks – Are the Apps Taking Over?

The banking sector is experiencing a major shift globally, as Challenger Banks are becoming increasingly formidable competitors to traditional banks and have begun to capture significant market share. Furthermore, the lines between banks and other consumer financial services providers are blurring, with several alternative lenders and robo-advisors beginning to offer banking products to their customers.…

Global Fintech Index 2020 Rankings Report

This is the first index designed to rank fintech activity globally, to understand the scale and scope of fintech activity in different regions of the world.

A FinTech Strategy for Ireland

This document aims to set the scene with a definition of FinTech and an overview of FinTech in Ireland and Globally – setting out key investment statistics which demonstrate the significant growth in FinTech which has taken place. It then examines the key success factors or attributes of a well-functioning FinTech eco-system and analyse Ireland…

Improving Operational Efficiency of MFIs Through Tablet Banking

Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) provide a range of financial and non-financial services to low-income households around the globe as it is costly for financial institutions to provide the same services. MFIs have been offering these services to the unserved and underserved population but they are also struggling to balance outreach with costs. Use of technology,…

Deciphering the Trillion-valued Unicorn – Ant Financial

World Bank rated Ant Financial as the most valuable fintech company worldwide in  their 2019 World Development Report. Its valuation is approximately $160 billion. Ant Financial is growing rapidly and outperforming financial institutions, both the innovation capability of is financial business adn the technical output capability serving third-party financial and non-financial institutions are indispensable consideration…

Fintech Development and Regulatory Frameworks in Indonesia

This paper from the ABDI Institute showcases the growth as well as the challenging factors for fintech development in Indonesia. As the eighth-biggest economy in terms of gross domestic product, and with an internet participation ratio of more than 50% and more than 50 million micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), the country shows huge…

The Fintech Landscape in Rwanda

This report by UNCDF provides findings and proposed recommendations from an assessment of the fintech landscape in Rwanda. The report looks at four ecosystem attributes: 1) availability of talent, (2) demand for products and services, (3) availability of capital for start-ups and innovators, and (4) government policies and regulations regarding innovation.

Designing fintech solutions for inclusion

Part of the mandate of BFA’s Catalyst Fund is to share insights and lessons learned from their experience accelerating 25 inclusive fintech companies in emerging markets globally. This article discusses best practices in designing solutions for low-income populations, around the idea of Conscious coupling: how to ensure tech innovation does not undermine inclusion.

World FinTech Report 2019

The World FinTech Report 2019 from Capgemini and Efma explores how the future is moving to a shared marketplace where banks must think beyond open banking and transition to an impending phase called Open X. This is a shift from: Product to experience Ownership to shared access Assets to data Building/buying to partnerships

FinTechs in Sub-Saharan Africa

FinTechs in Europe, North America and Asia have caught the attention of many financial institutions and investors in recent years: the trends and effects of FinTechs in these markets have consequently been thoroughly analyzed. This report from EY aims to shed light on a market that exhibits tremendous potential for FinTech investments, but which has…

World InsurTech Report 2019

World InsurTech Report 2019 The World InsurTech Report (WITR) 2019 from Capgemini and Efma explores the Insurance marketplace of the future and offers insights into how established insurers and InsurTechs can remain competitive in a dynamic business environment.

Java, Python or Kotlin for Fintech?

There are many different development languages being used by Fintechs. This blog post explores the differences between Java and Python, and their application within digital finance. This second article advocates more for python for Fintechs. This third article explores the advantages of Kotlin for mobile applications and apps.

Exploring Africa’s digital platforms: Insurance in e-hailing

In recent years the platform economy has rapidly transformed various economic sectors such as hospitality, ecommerce and transportation. One of the most important subsectors of the platform economy is e-hailing. E-hailing platforms connect passengers and drivers of cars, taxis or any other form of transportation using virtual devices such as a computer or mobile device.…

Inclusive Fintech 50: White Paper on findings

Fintech investment is booming. In 2018, a record USD 111.8 billion was invested in fintech, and the sector garnered extensive media coverage and interest. But despite fintech’s growing profile—and even though it can help unlock trillions of dollars in value by reaching financially underserved households and businesses—fintech solutions have yet to reach the majority of…

FinTech for Financial Inclusion: A Framework for Digital Financial Transformation

The full potential of FinTech for financial inclusion may be realized with a strategic framework of underlying infrastructure and an enabling policy and regulatory environment to support digital financial transformation. Drawing from experiences in a range of developing, emerging and developed countries, this research from afi suggests that the best approach is staged and progressive,…

Digital Economy Report 2019

The rapid spread of digital technologies is transforming many economic and social activities. While creating many new opportunities, widening digital divides threaten to leave developing countries, and especially least developed countries, further behind. A smart embrace of new technologies, enhanced partnerships and greater intellectual leadership are needed to redefine digital development strategies and the future…

Fintech founders up close

This series of videos from Accion gives an insight into the mind and experience of Fintech founders. They share their reasons and experiences with starting up their companies.

Cloud Computing for Financial Inclusion: Lessons from the Philippines

Earlier this year, Cantilan Bank became the first financial institution in the Philippines to fully leverage cloud computing technology. After an 18-month pilot the rural bank transferred its core banking services and data onto a community cloud service.  This milestone was the result of a cautious but forward-looking application of the Central Bank’s “test-and-learn” approach…

Lessons learned from the rise of “super apps” and the disruption of banking as we know it

Why would a user go to a bank when ecommerce marketplaces exist? Haven’t ecommerce players perfected the art of predicting and serving users’ purchase needs? Are banks too late to the Super app game, or possibly in the wrong game altogether? The Innovation & Design group at Visa, found these questions intriguing and they looked into some of…

Price Comparison Websites

The large and growing industry of price comparison websites (PCWs) or ‘web aggregators’ is poised to benefit consumers by increasing competitive pricing pressure on firms by acquainting shoppers with more prices. However, these sites also charge firms for sales, which feeds back to raise prices. This report investigates the impact of introducing PCWs to a…

Micro-entrepreneurs in the Platform Era

This research by FiDA involved talked to 27 micro-entrepreneurs in Kenya about how they use platforms (from social media sites to e-commerce marketplaces and online freelancing websites) in their day-to-day business. The platform practices these conversations revealed include: the prevalence of social media use, the intermingling of online and offline worlds, the adjustments made to tweak online credibility, and the unique approaches…

FinTech: The Experience So Far

The Bali Fintech Agenda (BFA) was approved last year by the IMF and World Bank Group. It lays out key issues to consider in how technological innovation is changing the provision of financial services with implications for economic efficiency and growth, financial stability, inclusion, and integrity. In approving the BFA, IMF Executive Directors asked staff to review fintech developments and…

E-commerce as a Potential New Engine for Growth in Asia

The use of e-commerce around the world has accelerated in recent years, with Asia, led by China, spearheading the rise. Using cross-country enterprise survey data, this paper from the IMF shows that firms engaged in e-commerce have higher productivity and generate a larger share of their revenues from exports than other firms. This is particularly…

API Pricing for Digital Financial Service Providers: Getting Started

Digital financial services (DFS) providers face several challenges when developing pricing strategies for open application programming interfaces (APIs). They must balance their own business objectives, including the need to achieve a return on investment, with the needs of API consumers to experiment and learn as they build and grow their businesses. This guide from CGAP aims to help…

Leveraging Technologies to Improve the Quality and Maximize the Productivity of Agent Models

Despite the growing volume of agents, the agent network model is rife with utilization and operational challenges. This brief from CFI examines the role of technological innovation as a potential driver for improving the quality and maximizing the productivity of agent models. Despite the growing volume of agents, the agent network model is rife with…

The Rise of Digital Money

This paper by the IMF offers a conceptual framework to categorize new digital monies, identify some of their risks, think through the implications, and offer some policy options for central banks to consider. The focus is mostly on the interplay between new forms of money and the banking sector; thus on financial stability and consumer protection. Other risks and implications—touching on financial…

EY Global Fintech Adoption Index 2019

FinTech has evolved in significant ways since the publication of the first global EY FinTech Adoption Index in 2015. That year EY observed that FinTech, while nascent, was “clearly more than just hype.” The next report, in 2017, found that the industry had grown rapidly and had “achieved initial mass adoption. This 2019 EY Global Fintech Adoption Index reviews interviews…

Inclusive Digital Ecosystems of the Future

In this white paper, Inclusive Digital Ecosystems of the Future, by FIBR (partnership between BFA and Mastercard Foundation), the likely effects of the rise of digital superplatforms on the digital finance ecosystem is discussed. This paper describes and explores the phenomenon from different angles in order to explore potential implications for Africa in particular and generally…

Africa’s digital platforms and financial services: An eight-country overview

Explore i2i’s latest research on Digital Africa, the platform economy and associated financial services. This focus note gives the key findings of multi-sided digital platforms in eight sub-Saharan African countries – Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

UNESCO’s Internet universality indicators: a framework for assessing Internet development

UNESCO has produced a Framework for Assessing Internet Development, based on the four ROAM categories: R – that the internet is based on Human Rights O – that it is Open A – that it should be Accessible to all, and M – that it is nurtured by Multistakeholder participation. Safety, gender, children, sustainable development…

Key Drivers, Emerging Trends and Developments in Corporate Banking

Finextra, in association with Oracle, has put together a summary of the key market drivers, emerging trends and developments affecting corporate banking. Digital innovations, such as virtual accounts, AI, machine learning, open APIs and blockchain all feature in the report which you can download here.

The Growth of FinTech

This infographic outlines the growth if FinTech and gives an overview of the FinTech landscape, their areas and disruption, acquisition and adoption.

The ICAEW Economic Update: Quarterly Economic Forecast

ICAEW produce quarterly economic forecasts and insights for global regions for those in the finance profession. Their current quarterly Economic Insights look at the Middle East, South East Asia, China, Africa and the UK. The current Economic Update for Africa focuses on FinTech, GDP and Mobile Money, and looks in particular at Nigeria and Kenya.

FinTech in Sub-Saharan African Countries : A Game Changer?

FinTech is a major force shaping the structure of the financial industry in sub-Saharan Africa. New technologies are being developed and implemented in sub-Saharan Africa with the potential to change the competitive landscape in the financial industry. While it raises concerns on the emergence of vulnerabilities, FinTech challenges traditional structures and creates efficiency gains by…

The Mobile Economy: Russia and CIS

The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region has about 80% of the population being subscribed to mobile services. This puts it just behind Europe and North America and well ahead of the global average of 66%. Within the states there is a diversity of uptake, from 60% in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to 89% in Russia. This report by the…

Satellite Environmental Information and Development Aid: An Analysis of Longer-Term Prospects

This report is an analysis of the longer-term prospects for expanding the use of satellite-based environmental information in Development Aid operations and activities. The report has been commissioned by the European Space Agency (ESA) for European National Development Aid Agencies, International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and National Space Agencies. The report has features work by the…

FinTech ecosystem playbook

The FinTech ecosystem playbook gives you a panoramic view of a FinTech ecosystem in emerging markets in ASEAN, Latin America, Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe & Central Asia (CESA), the Middle East, Africa, and Asia-Pacific. The regulators and policymakers in these emerging markets are actively seeking to develop attractive FinTech ecosystems through a range of…

The future of FinTech and financial services: what’s the next big bet?

As a result of debates and discussion, the insights gathered were placed into the following common themes and topics of interest into this white paper by EY. The topics include: FinTech and startup investment trends – current and future Promising FinTech innovations and their impact on the investment and consumer landscape Foreseeable future with increasing…

The Tech Touch Balance

This report explores the combination between technology and the human side of customers and their preferences. Technology can be used to increase access to and efficiency of financial services but financial service providers and FinTechs must also consider the customer journey and experience when designing and implementing digital financial services, and find ways to engage,…

Fintech, Inclusive Growth and Cyber Risks: Focus on the MENAP and CCA Regions

Financial technology (fintech) is emerging as an innovative way to achieve financial inclusion and the broader objective of inclusive growth. Thus far, fintech in the MENAP and CCA remains below potential with limited impact on financial inclusion. This paper by IMF reviews the fintech landscape in the MENAP and CCA regions, identifies the constraints to…

Mapping the DFS Ecosystem with a Fintech Stack

The purpose of this paper, Mapping the DFS Ecosystem with a FinTech Stack, is to present a framework that permits a logical separation of the many elements involved in delivering rich digital financial services (DFS). This can be useful to identify patent capability gaps in the present financial inclusion solution landscape (whether of a regulatory, technological,…

Beyond Fintech: A Pragmatic Assessment Of Disruptive Potential In Financial Services

For years Fintech has been the hottest topic of discussion in financial services, with incumbents, regulators, and consumers all asking the same question: “Will small technology-enabled ‘fintech’ start-ups redefine the way that banks and insurers operate, and upend the competitive landscape of the industry?” Building on the findings of the 2015 World Economic Forum report “The…

How Fintech is Reaching the Poor in Africa and Asia: A Start-Up Perspective

This note produced by IFC explores the way traditional banks and financial technology companies, or FinTechs, interact in Africa and Asia, and their ability to offer innovative digital financial services that grant unbanked individuals access to financial transactions. The FinTech sector is experiencing explosive growth in both continents, but while Asian banks have managed to…

Technology Inequality: Opportunities and Challenges for Mobile Financial Services

This report urges regulators and technology providers to continue supporting mobile financial services on feature phones, even as they work to create paths for new-generation services. In fact, feature phone handsets are getting better, cheaper and smarter, and sales are rising. If mobile financial services are to be a force for financial inclusion, we must…

Consumers and Mobile Financial Services 2016

Mobile phones have increasingly become tools that consumers use for banking, payments, budgeting, and shopping. Given the rapid pace of change in the area of mobile finance, the Federal Reserve Board began conducting annual surveys of consumers’ use of mobile financial services in 2011. This report presents findings from the latest survey, fielded in November…

Blurred lines: How FinTech is shaping Financial Services

It is difficult to imagine a world without the internet or mobile devices. They have become core elements of our lifestyle and have brought a high degree of disruption to virtually every area of business. The financial services (FS) industry is no exception; the digital revolution is transforming the way customers access financial products and…

The World FinTech Report 2017

Backed by a survey of more than 8,000 customers in 15 countries, as well as over 100 interviews with senior-level executives, and a world-class Executive Steering Committee, this report goes beyond the hype of FinTech.  It looks toward the future of Finance and Technology by diving deeper into how leading firms are successfully applying innovation, while…

Digital Payments 2020: The Making of a $500 Billion Ecosystem in India

The global payments landscape is evolving at a dizzying pace. The last twelve to eighteen months have witnessed heightened activity with four major shifts being observed in the global landscape. Firstly, the ongoing digital and technology revolution, led by the ever-increasing penetration of smartphones and internet on mobile, has revolutionised digital payments. Second, the payments…

The Digital Disruption Battlefield

Digital technology has already transformed several industries, not only by digitalising the sales process but, in some cases, the product. Blockbusters and Borders branches have closed down not only because movies and books can more conveniently be ordered online but because they have become electronic products, deliverable online. Does a similar fate await today’s large…

Peer-to-Peer Lending: Examining the Industry and the Borrower Experience

Online peer-to-peer (P2P) lending websites, often referred to as “Shadow Lenders”, have gained significant traction since the credit crunch resulting from the 2008 financial crisis. The purpose of these rapidly-growing websites is to facilitate loans of under $35,000 between borrowers and investors. The result is a transparent loan platform where individual investors can determine a…

Competition in Mobile Financial Services Lessons from Kenya and Tanzania

Mobile financial services (MFS) are the main drivers of financial inclusion in many developing countries; they provide low-income consumers with access to transfers, payments, and increasingly more complex products such as credit, savings, and insurance.2 MFS channels can provide the advantages of convenient, secure, and cost-efficient product offerings to consumers. In several markets, MFS have…

Cutting Through the FinTech Noise: Markers of Success, Imperatives For Banks

Banking has historically been one of the business sectors most resistant to disruption by technology. Since the first mortgage was issued in England in the 11th century, banks have built robust businesses with multiple moats: ubiquitous distribution through branches, unique expertise such as credit underwriting underpinned both by data and judgment, even the special status…

The Evolution of Fintech: A New Post-Crisis Paradigm?

“FinTech”, a contraction of “Financial technology”, refers to technology enabled financial solutions. It is often seen today as the new marriage of financial services and information technology. However, the interlinkage of finance and technology has a long history and has evolved over three distinct eras, during which finance and technology have evolved together: first in…

Using Broadband to Enhance Financial Inclusion

The progress of financial inclusion in the Latin American and Caribbean region is constrained by the high cost of providing and accessing financial services. On the client side, micro- and small-sized firms, as well as low-income households, face high transaction costs as a result of the challenges of getting to points of service and meeting…

Payment APIs: What, Why, and for Whom? An Introduction to Payment Interfaces & the Kenyan Market

Open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are a necessary component of a robust digital ecosystem, and critical to the health of the surrounding economy. These interfaces allow businesses to connect in a manner that enables each to focus on developing and perfecting their core services while relying on the others for areas outside their expertise. Conversely,…

Innovation and Disruption in U.S. Merchant Payments

The U.S. merchant payments landscape is undergoing a period of rapid, technology-driven change. Mobile, online and social technologies are revolution- izing consumer access to information and sparking demand for new services that can support multichannel commerce, big data analytics, enhanced loyalty pro- grams and targeted advertising. Consumers use the new tools to move dynami- cally…

Financial Regulations for Improving Financial Inclusion

As recently as 2011, only 42 percent of adult Kenyans had a financial account of any kind; by 2014, according to the Global Findex database, that number had risen to 75 percent, including 63 percent of the poorest two-fifths. In Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole, the share of adults with financial accounts, either a traditional…