In three years from now, what do we hope will have happened within India’s digital finance industry? It’s a big question, and just one of a few that DFI co-founder Ignacio Mas had the chance to discuss with Sanjay Swamy during a visit to Bangalore, where he was doing some research for a new DFI course on digital money in India. Sanjay is a venture capitalist with Prime Venture Partners, founder of mChek, and an expert on mobile technology and payments. During the interview, for his PrimeTime podcast series, Sanjay and Ignacio talked about the difference between digitalizing payments (what most mobile money deployments are all about) and digitalizing money (the real challenge for growing financial inclusion), the early days of MPesa, and what they got right about the key roles of marketing and agent networks, and the newly launched United Payment Interface from National Payments Corporation of India. The new interface makes it easier for consumers to transact digitally, and that led them to share some thoughts about how interoperability, a critical issue that is often addressed late in the development process (when intervention is trickier) needs to be at the fore. The interface is a positive move in this direction.
So, what would Ignacio like to see for India’s digital finance industry? His hope is that in three years we see signs that India is moving from product-based and geography-based competition to usability-based competition, in which mobile money interfaces, money representations, and customer experience are paramount. What do you think? Listen to Ignacio and Sanjay’s talk here, and then join the conversation, by sharing your answers to these big questions right here on Switch.
By Xavier Martin