Finance Trend: Social Value

Fintech is about more than convenience. The sector has the opportunity to create social value, and that's exactly what resonates with Millennials. 

This blog is a Trendwolves & B-Hive collab

Part I - Fintech is about more than convenience

Part II - And why that’s essential for Millennials

-----> Part I: Fintech is about more than convenience (By Frédéric Olivier/B-Hive)

Aaah, Fintech. Making our Western-daily-lives even more easy and more efficient. We don’t need to go to our bank branch around to corner to pay our bills, and why bother leaving your house for some shopping when everything can be ordered and paid for online? Thank God, we’ve got Fintech.

But Fintech is about much more than convenience and first world problems. The Indian government has used Fintech on a massive scale to make financial services available for the previously unbanked. Platforms and technology such as Aadhaar (digital identification), Jan Dhan Yojana (payment banks which hold money but don’t do lending) and India Stack (store and share personal data online) allow citizens to open bank accounts, transfer money instantly and lend wisely. By mid 2016, 270 million bank accounts had been opened. 

Making financial services available for the previously unbanked is an important step towards lifting people out of poverty. Without access to a bank account, you are doomed to be part of the informal economy and live your life in the shadows.

Today, only 2.2 billion adults of the 4.7 billion have a bank account. That leaves 2.5 billion adults (53%) unbanked, of which 88% is living in a developing country. This means that 22% isn’t, and that Fintech for the unbanked is relevant for society as a whole.

But most of these adults do own a phone or smartphone, and since The Googles and Facebooks of this world are putting a lot of effort in bringing internet to the most remote areas, the opportunities for Fintech are growing and growing strong

Another great example of Fintech for the unbanked is MPesa. This Kenyan payment app, founded in 2007, allows customers to deposit money to their mobile phone account, to withdraw money to others, to pay their bills, check their balance… M-Pesa is being used by 19 million Kenyan adults which is almost 90% of its adult population. And there’s more: 

  • Jana, enabling mobile connectivity in emerging markets by leveraging advertising to offset high data costs
  • Ewala, a Belgian startup which makes it possible to send airtime credit to prepaid phones all over the world,
  • Taqanu, a soon-to-be ‘bank for all’, using a block chain based digital ID to enable financial inclusion and create equal opportunities.

Fintech is about much more than convenience, also in Western areas. By bringing Fintech to the unbanked, there are more jobs for better educated and healthier people. Also, GDP and tax income increase, which leads to economic growth and better social welfare. Why not stress that a little more often? Why not stress that a little more often? 

-----> Part II - …And why that’s essential for Millennials (by Maarten Leyts / Trendwolves)

It’s no coincidence that Ewala, one of the aforementioned start-ups, is the brain child of two Millennials: Stephane Ugeux and Sinouhe Monteiro. Millennials believe that they can and must make the world a better place. Sounds cheesy to older generations, but for youngsters saving the world is a necessity, it’s about their own survival. 

Youngsters are very aware of the fact that their own actions affect the world around them, and that even their very small contributions can make a difference if combined with the small contributions of others. The next big thing will e a lot of small things, that idea. 

How can we design our lives in a way that benefit both society and the planet? By supporting businesses with that exact purpose. According to a study by trend agency Elite Daily, 75 % of Millennials find it very important that a company gives back to society. Brands that invest in sustainability and in local communities, brands that create social and ecological value instead of squandering it, are today’s winners. 

Gen Z (born between 1995 and 2010) goes even further than Gen Y (born between 1980 and 1994). The latter supports businesses with a cause, the first starts or wants to found them. For the youngest generation, Elon Musk is THE example: founder of Paypal, Tesla Motors, Space X, Solar City & OpenAI combines entrepreneurship, success (= money) and purpose. 

By stressing the social value of Fintech, the sector might gain more attention and approval from Millennials. By getting beyond mere convenience, the sector might attract dedicated employees, entrepreneurs, clients and users. Lots to gain. What’s to lose? 

Want more? This is the second Trendwolves/B-Hive column. The first was about Transparency : Click