It’s not hard for most of us to take the technology that we have for granted. Everything is usually within arm’s reach, being either on our mobile phones or on our computers. The banking apps that we have on our mobiles are always updated with the aim of making our lives more convenient and when the times where a more important issue requires us to visit the local bank, it’s usually just a quick visit not too far away.
However, there are still many that live far away from cities and technology. Sometimes all they have is a phone with limited connection or technology, and getting to a computer or to a bank is not always a convenient option for them. That’s where FinTech comes in. Here’s one example case of something like this being utilized in places such as Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique.
Imagine having to organise and dispatch over 182 staff every time you needed to pay farmers and collect supplies. Now imagine those staff carrying enormous amounts of money. The chances for something to go wrong are almost endless. However, the Connected Farmer Alliance has figured something out:
Financial Technology has managed to make life easier for the buyers as well as the farmers in multiple ways:
Now that the staff no longer need to carry large amounts of fiat paper money around with them, the overall safety for both staff members and the company increases greatly. As this will deter any opportunities for rogue staff to mishandle the funds, and also discourage any ruffians from attempting any kind of robbery.
Convenience and speed
Payments can be made instantly, making everyone’s lives much easier. No need to later track down the same farmer and pay him the money he’s owed. Everything can be done straight away.
Stability and accuracy
With the inclusion of the technology, this allows less room for human error. Meaning the number of nuts recorded down by the farmers is faster and more accurate resulting in a faster payout for the farmer, and further helping the issue of convenience and speed.
But what about cases regarding people that aren’t connected to the internet? Either they don’t have access to a smartphone, or internet is just not available for them in their part of the world. It’s estimated that two-thirds of the world’s population has a mobile phone but out of that, it’s only a little bit over half that have smartphones and/or computers. Statistics can be found here.
That means the rest are still using cell phones and not smartphones. So, if they can’t open up an app or connect to the internet on their cell phones, how does financial technology help them? There are already quite many cases that help out people in these situations. In fact, I was just browsing Twitter and a perfect example came up:
CoinText adds support for #Litecoin
Send Litecoin to anyone with a mobile phone number or $LTC address without Internet using simple text messages.
— CoinText (@CoinText) September 24, 2018
And this is just one example! There are many cases out there that help out the ones without smartphones or access to the internet. Western Union lets you send money to anyone in the world. And as long as they have the tracking number specific to that transfer, they can go to any licensed Western Union agent to pick up their money. If you’re interested in the history of Western Union, you can check out our article on the topic, here.
Even though it’s not completely convenient as a Western Union agent is not always close, but at least it presents an option for those without bank accounts or access to the internet. We also see more and more penetration of smartphones each year, connecting the unconnected and helping them with the daily issues they may face.
Hopefully, in the future, people in these situations will be able to get hold of a smartphone of their own, as well as access to the internet for their regions. Production of phones does not have to be expensive and not everybody needs the latest and best phone. Cheap smartphones can be readily available, and hopefully, we will soon be able to see more of these phones getting into the hands that need them.
Cover illustration artist ISO25, DeviantArt