A headline in Finextra today (20 July 2022) caught my attention. It is not the first – nor will it be the last such headline as countries move to a more digital world. Yes, you will get the traditionalist anti-change segment fighting for cash, as they did centuries ago to hold onto sea shells as a medium of exchange, but the change is inevitable and rapid.
Digitalise or die.
Cash is horrendously expensive – the ultimate cost could be your life, depending on what part of the world, and it is inconvenient in the extreme. To pay a bill, you have to walk your cash to the office of the recipient as opposed to sitting in the comfort of your own home and making digital payments that are increasingly instant (real time), safe and very cost-effective.
All very good, provided you are part of the digital world – in other words, digitally and financially included. However, What if you are part of the excluded 2 billion people in the world with the only means of transacting that you have is with cash. Unfortunately, this is very real, and the government and banks collectively have to address this gap as urgent.
Opportunities are there, we need to look for them
The most significant opportunity comes with the SMME segment of the market which, up until now, does not have the means to accept digital payments. The fact is, they do not want to invest in the hardware (physical point of sale devices) that in the old traditional world were required to accept payments.
In the modern world, this hardware is now replaced by software on any NFC-enabled phone that most merchants have, enabling them to accept digital payments. This, in turn, allows the merchant to enter the formal financial world, build a track record, and access credit with other services that enable them to develop their business.
A win for everyone!
Read more about Finextra’s report:
Ireland’s AIB to scrap ATMs at 70 branches – here
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