Slightly over 10 years ago, when someone said they needed money, the process of them getting it to them was tedious to over 50% of the population. With more than 70% of the population being unbanked, some had to travel more than 5 kilometers just to have access to money transfer. Belonging to an institution that required you to deposit money in a bank also meant wasting a few hours while standing in a queue to complete a deposit transaction. The risks we had to take to get money to our loved ones in different parts of the country would make you break out in a sweat now.
Necessity being the mother of invention kicked in and, in 2007 everything changed. We could now send money to each other using our mobile phones. More than half the population got on board with being able to send money to our loved ones, safely and conveniently. Over half of the unbanked population now got on to a formal alternative of sending and receiving money. A mobile money distribution network grew, big enough to rival all others, reaching out to the furthest and most remote places.
Banks found themselves with competition from an unlikely source. They had to find ways of tapping into the large percentage of the unbanked, keep the individuals already in the banking ladder happy and use the mobile phone penetration growth to their advantage. In walked Mobile Banking. Branch-less banking was born; bank account access was put in our hands. Mobile banking joined up with telecommunications money transfer platforms and we could move money from our bank account and send it to any unbanked individual via mobile phone.
A few years and a greatly innovative team of people later, we are able to pay bills and make purchases without having to carry large amounts of money around in our pockets. E-commerce gained momentum, and now we shop from home, work, on a bus…. and simply wait for the goods to be delivered. Small businesses stopped worrying about having too much money on hand and risking theft.
With access to money becoming faster, cheaper and more convenient, demand for credit services rose. Mobile lending platforms granting unsecured loans rose and gave a supply chain to this demand. We can now access lending from our mobile phones. Small business owners now had fast access to credit capital that could help them grow.
In recent years, we have had great leaps made in Fin Tech. We are crossing borders and making international money transfer easier. We are reaching out to our loved ones on different continents and making it easier for them to send money home. We are giving our country men and women in the diaspora the ability to pay their/their loved ones’ bills from wherever they are, comfortably, fast, conveniently and securely.
The future looks bright and there is no limit to how innovative we can become. Ideas that help people grow themselves and their business have great potential of growing big overnight.