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

Continue reading

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

Continue reading
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.

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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

Continue reading
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

Continue reading

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

Continue reading
search-vs-social

Search Vs Social – the long tail of ad revenues

Google and Facebook together took away 64% of the total US online advertising spends. And Facebook had around 65% of the overall online display ad-spends. These are incredible levels of consolidation in the ad spends among the leaders. Enough has been said and discussed about the challenges Google is facing and how mobile ad revenues are critical for Google in its journey ahead or why Facebook ad revenues would keep growing While one cannot argue with the numbers and the line of reasoning, I somehow felt that this discussion has ignored the long tail of ad-revenues or the lead generation

Continue reading
Unit Economics

Unit Economics in the times of Auction Marketing Models

Unit Economics is all we hear these days in the consumer technology world. Unfortunately for many start-ups seeking venture funds, this is the biggest hurdle they need to cross to build a strong case for their business. What is the concept of Unit Economics I will not go into the definition and relevance of Unit Economics. That’s well documented here and here. Or just Google it. Lets refer to Microeconomics 101 for our discussion – Marginal Costs(MC) and Marginal Revenue(MR). We all know that its a healthy sign if Marginal Revenues are higher than Marginal costs. And this delta (MR-MC)

Continue reading

Payments are a critical piece – Digital Banking ToolKit

In India, digital and mobile Payments is a really HOT space right now. HDFC Bank introduced PayZapp which intends to be the gateway for all m-commerce transactions, with incremental offers as the initial incentive ICICI bank introduced “Pockets” – a way for even non-ICICI Bank customers to have access to mobile payments Axis bank launched Ping Pay and Lime 11 new Payment Bank Licences have been issued. This not only includes some of the bigger telecom players but also the likes of PayTm. All this action is triggered by multiple factors including a huge opportunity to move transactions away from

Continue reading