For real digital impact: every digital roadmap should include not only the urban millennial but also the rural Indians

Mobile Banking – a brief history

When we look at the ubiquity of mobile banking applications in the current digital ecosystem, it’s hard to imagine that mobile banking in its current form started less than a decade ago only, around 2009-10. Before 2010, mobile banking was mostly performed via SMS or mobile web. The rich UX/UI texture of modern mobile apps enabling high levels of interactivity for consumers with mobile devices have been a relatively recent phenomenon, driven by the rise of smartphone usage, cheaper data costs and innovation in manufacturing to drive down costs of feature phones.

Yet, in less than 10 years, mobile banking has achieved unprecedented levels of penetration and adoption.

Usage of mobile banking apps worldwide


Adoption for mobile applications for banking and financial services have largely been driven by millennials and digital natives – referred to as the segment of the population who have grown up with digital technology and are familiar with its functioning and comfortable with using the same.

While millennials have led the race in adoption of mobile banking, banks are increasingly looking at the demographic who have historically been excluded from the purview of formal banking and devising new and innovative digital solutions to extend it’s services to the rural and unbanked segment. Rapid mobile penetration, low cost of internet and availability of a national digital infrastructure is helping banks build the platform for it’s next billion users.

Digital India and the case for Digital Inclusion

In 2015, the govt of India launched the Digital India initiative, an all-encompassing campaign to digitize the various infrastructures in the country and provide services to the typically underserved sections of society through development of secure and stable digital infrastructure, delivering government services digitally, and universal digital literacy.

The Digital India initiative has seen a significant proliferation of financial services being offered digitally to all sections of the society, leading to financial inclusion of a majority of the population – many of whom are unfamiliar with digital services and digital applications. Many of these users are digital immigrants (a segment of population who are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with digital technologies) or digital illiterates (a segment of the population who have never been exposed to digital services and technology ever before). Yet, in order to make these services accessible to such users, we have witnessed significant innovation in how applications have been designed and deployed in order to make the customer journey extremely simple and easy-to-use. Digital India provides an interesting case study around introducing digital services to digital illiterates for the first time.

For eg., most of the direct customer onboarding/financial engagement models have been developed as a hybrid of self and assisted journeys making it a hassle-free and frictionless experience from origination of service to fulfilment. The development of the JAM (Jan Dhan – Aadhaar – Mobile) stack in India linking the three aforementioned services have led to single digital touch point of end-user by only allowing a single biometric validation via finger impression and iris. What is interesting to note is the transference of existing practices into this new digital ecosystem. Previously, in order to obtain consent from such customers, a signature or thumb impression would be captured on a physical paper to facilitate account opening or provide any kind of service. The practice of using finger impression for biometric validation doesn’t significantly alter the experience from the end-user’s viewpoint. Instead, it’s simply the medium that has changed.

There are other examples of significance – for eg., the provision of using mAadhaar digital card for KYC purposes and its use in substituting physical Identity forms in lieu of digital identity for everyone. Private entities can now build customer onboarding workflows to automatically detect mAadhaar from customer’s phone and digitally verify the customer’s identity. The development of FRS and live matching (authenticating a user from a live video capture) technology opens up new possibilities of user authentication thus reducing fraud and risk to banks and financial institutions. As a digital immigrant/illiterate, very little changes from a usage point of view; all one needs to do is point-and-shoot – basic mobile practices that are easy to use and adopt.

Building for the Digital Immigrant

For institutions providing banking or financial services, there is significant opportunity in serving the financially underserved and underrepresented. However, in order to facilitate this, institutions need to rethink their existing digital workflows to accommodate such customers. This can lead to significant rework/rethink of existing front end and back end applications as well. At Decimal Technologies, we have been at the forefront of pioneering this transformation and change for various Financial institutions to enable such services. Our configurations based front-end application development platform facilitates the creation of mobile and web interfaces that can be developed rapidly around evolving business needs. Our experience in developing both Aadhaar and non-Aadhaar enabled customer onboarding workflows allows us to quickly build scalable and robust digital solutions for enterprises. Our intelligent middleware solution harnesses the power of digital databanks and digital infrastructures to provide real-time authentication and validation services thus reducing the time-to-fulfilment for services. At our core though, lies the end-user’s comfort and interest towards adoption of the service to fulfil his/her need. Linear workflows, clean and crisp UI and ease-of-use define our mantra towards building digital solutions.

BCG, in a recent study reported that the next 1 billion users for digital services will be from Asia with India leading the pack. Decimal Technologies is making it happen!!  Drop us a note to know to know more.

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