October 2013: Adoption of digital channels usually leads to significant consumer empowerment. Serious changes bordering on disruption happen – a few layers are peeled away and consumers tend to get closer to the manufacturer of product/service. Take IRCTC for example – it changed the way many Indians book their rail tickets. They do not go to the booking office anymore, they do not talk to a tout, they can plan their travels more confidently and they are happy paying the convenience fee charged in the online transaction. And this is world’s biggest rail network we are talking about. This is the kind of impact one scalable consumer service can create.
Mobile payments technologies/solutions holds a bold promise for Financial Inclusion. It also seems that the time is ripe for a mobile-led solution to lead the Financial Inclusion efforts.
Consider the facts that:
- Mobile penetration is rapidly increasing – its scalable
- Rates for voice and data are drastically decreasing – it can be used for low-ticket transactions also
- Mobile platforms are getting polarized – Easier to build an ecosystem with wider viability
- Mobile transaction security promises are getting bolder – security concerns are no longer a bottleneck
I am now embarking on a journey of researching this space more exhaustively and intend to write an “open thesis” on How Mobile Payments can influence Financial Inclusion.
Stage 1 : Research and Understand the historical initiatives on Financial Inclusion and Mobile Payments
Key Questions for Stage 1
- Basics of Mobile Payments – technology, processes etc
- What are the different mobile payment formats/models?
- What value/impact do mobile payments create?
- What is Financial Inclusion and what is the current state of affairs?
- Are there social benefits of Financial Inclusion? Can it be quantified?
- Does mobile payment lead/impact Financial Inclusion?
Stage 2 : Do deep-dives into specific questions
Apurv Jain – Apurv Jain is the Senior Portfolio Manager at Microsoft. He was a PhD student at MIT focusing on Empirical Asset Pricing. He holds a MBA from the University of Chicago, has done his Masters from Georgia Institute of Technology and his Bachelors in Engineering from the Delhi College of Engineering. He started a FX and commodity research daily at Deutsche Bank that was voted number 1 in the Euromoney polls within its first year.