This year, the word “fintech” was mentioned in a Union Budget speech for the first time ever. It was an ambiguous 20th-century portmanteau. Today, fintech has pervaded our daily lives, impacting everyday money decisions. Fintech is the way to go for the financial empowerment of hundreds of millions of Indians.
Here’s how I feel 2019 would progress for the industry.
Consumer Traction Will Continue To Grow
More and more Indians will continue to turn to the internet to solve their money management problems. For millennials born in the age of the internet, their Internet-connected smartphones will be the gateway to the financial services industry.
Not just that, the number of internet users in India will continue to grow at a rapid pace: 500 Mn in 2018 as per IAMAI projections, and 700 Mn by 2020, as per other projections. Fintech will continue to churn out solutions for the internet-connected Indian.
Payday loans – short-term, unsecured loans – have been around for long in the west. But they’ve only recently started becoming popular in India. You’ll see not just the proliferation of lending startups but also see mainstream banks evolving short-term lending products.
Paperless Is Accelerating
The only way forward for fintech is paperless. A consumer should be able to buy her financial service from her smartphone, paperlessly, presence-lessly, without having to submit a sheet of paper or meeting a bank salesperson.
The Aadhaar verdict this year has shaped how eKYC for new account openings is done. New techniques of eKYC have also evolved, and we’re expecting to see some of them in action soon. For example, you may be able to complete your verification through video KYC.
Work is also going on towards making offline Aadhaar a possibility, wherein a user would be able to control the Aadhaar information she wishes to share with a service provider via XML. Offline Aadhaar will allow authentication without biometrics or the sharing of the Aadhaar number.
PMLA Amendments To Enable Paperless Banking
The Modi government has made amendments to the Telegraph Act as well as the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, following the Supreme Court’s Aadhaar verdict. This will pave way for the voluntary use of Aadhaar for new phone connections and bank accounts.
Therefore, not only will customers be able to instantly open accounts, there are now steeper penalties on entities who misuse Aadhaar data or business who withhold services for not sharing Aadhaar.
India is rapidly moving to paperless, presence-less delivery of financial products. With more first-time internet users entering the market, expect more developments and innovation in the customer onboarding space.