Digital adoption in remittance payment flows

Varying rates of digital adoption across send and receive-sides impact payment-flows

Very simplistically put, payment is the movement of money from A to B. And the world is becoming increasingly comfortable with money flow going digital. Whether its a consumer paying another consumer (P2P) or consumer paying a merchant (P2M) or business paying its vendors/suppliers (B2B) – the levels of digitization of these use-cases is very impressive. But, what happens when the speed of digital adoption is very different at point A vs point B. What does that mean for the digitization opportunities, challenges and product related nuances for the send and the receive side. Let’s take domestic remittances as an

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Finding out what is really broken, usually takes more time than fixing it !

Find what’s really broken before fixing it

I enjoy coding. While I have a long way to go as a programmer, coding does put me in a zen kind of a state. The mix of learning and building something new, is almost magical. It does fuel and inspire the problem solver in me. And it is a great teacher too. I just learnt that …. Finding out what is really broken, usually takes more time than fixing it ! Last week, I was trying to fix a bug on a piece of code that was first written few years back. The software itself has undergone multiple iterations

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HDFC vs Citibank Cards

A tale of two cards

“Building a visionary company requires one percent vision and 99 percent alignment.” —Jim Collins and Jerry Porras, Built to Last And I believe the alignment needs to show not in meetings but on the ground – in customer interactions, in every process and the decision making across all levels. A recent experience drove home the point very clearly. Background: Over the years, I have consolidated all my credit cards to just two – one from HDFC and another from a MNC bank. And yes both are Visa ! I have also been using my HDFC Credit card as the primary one, with

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Factory and Lab mindsets in product management teams

Factories and laboratories evoke very different images. With a factory – I am usually thinking the industrial revolution in all its glory – machines, assembly lines, robots, workers, all working in a disciplined and predictable manner – churning out products that are all identical and meet the claimed specifications. Low room for error. Designed for scale. On the other hand, when I think of a lab – I usually come up with a white coat wearing team of specialists pouring over data. Going deeper into a topic. Asking fundamental questions. Pushing boundaries. New ideas being discussed and prototyped. While I

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Payment friction

Quest for Friction Less Experiences

Yesterday, I got to experience the WhatsApp payment flows. It surely felt like a neat friction-less experience both for adding/mapping bank accounts and for in-chat payments. And in my excitement I forwarded it to a friend who didn’t have any UPI handle so far. And I was surprised by the reaction. How does WhatsApp know my bank account ??!!  And frankly I had looked at it the other way round – they are showing me the specific account that I want to associate here. And this got me thinking about friction in digital consumer experiences. I remembered my Amazon experience.

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pegasus bridge

Why so serious ! Need for humor at work

This happened yesterday – We settled down for a discussion first thing in the morning and a colleague says- smile guys, its a good day! But, it was a spirited discussion . And the smiles quickly vanished. We shared our views and debated. And I realised I was talking with a lot of emotional energy. I told myself, its ok  – because I am committed and passionate about this. But there was clearly another voice telling me – its not ok. And then something interesting happened later in the evening. I was reading Pegasus Bridge  June 6 1944 – By Stephen Ambrose and came

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Migrating away from cash is intimidating – Stickiness of Cash Part 2

Ask any payment professional, and while they might disagree on what’s the best payment experience, they would all agree that Cash is sticky. And one of the core reasons for the stickiness of cash is that the migration journey is intimidating for most cash-heavy users. Too many choices Here are some of the many questions the cash users who want to migrate away from cash, grapple with: Is it safe to use a card for payments Should I use a separate card for ATM withdrawals and purchases What should I start using – prepaid, debit, credit , mobile wallets If

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Cash is not the enemy – Stickiness of Cash Part 1

Why is cash so sticky in our society? Many of us have argued for the need to build convenience, security and ubiquity for digital payments. And then cash would start receding. No debate there. But we forget that as individuals our brains are wired to go back to cues that are triggered at the sub-conscious level. We are not always the rational individuals economists would have us to be. Our decisions are influenced more by emotions. CASH IS NOT THE ENEMY To appeal at the emotional level, we need either a villain or a hero. While bankers and payment professionals

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Fast data Elevators

Beyond Big Data – A Small and fast data example

Big Data is all the rage. Everywhere you go, any meeting or presentation one sits through, Big Data seems to be there. But there are opportunities beyond big data. E.g. how we handle small data fast. Here’s an example of small data that I experience almost everyday. In many corporate buildings in India, you would notice that you need to punch in the desired floor into a panel, which prompts you which lift-car to hop on to. Simple yet brilliant solution. You club the waiting passengers into specific cars by their desired floors. The average wait time is lower, the

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Immediate reactions to the banning of Rs 500 & 1000 notes

As Anshul & I sat listening to the PMs announcement and then all the experts on CNBC, we couldnt help discussing what all must be happening around the country in the next 72 hours. We are surely living in interesting times. Managing high denomination notes: All secret saving places in the homes/offices/godowns will be cleaned and reviewed today. Piggy banks of kids will be broken tonight. And parents will have a hard time telling the kids why they cant wait for the kids bday  Many would queue up at petrol pumps to get their cars tank-fulled. People with blackmoney would

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