Fintech operators have said that the needs of consumers will play a pivotal role in driving innovation within the fintech sector.
During the 2023 Future of Payments and Commerce Conference, in a panel discussion titled “Fintech Innovation and Open Banking for Inclusive Financial Services,” Akin Ajayi, who serves as the Director of Business Development for Fintech & Enablers (EEMEA) at Mastercard, emphasised that for fintech companies to drive innovation, they must first understand the requirements of the consumers they aim to serve.
The panel discussion, moderated by Peter Oluka, the founder of TechEconomy.ng, also included prominent participants such as Ebenezer Akinyele, head of fintech partnerships and ecosystem at Parallex Bank, and David Adeleke, the co-founder and CEO of Zeeh Africa.
According to Ajayi, customers are the paramount element across the entire value chain. Creating products that resonate with customer needs primarily revolves around ensuring security and availability. Technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and the Internet of Things (IoT) have the capability to directly comprehend the intricacies of customer preferences.
“The innovation within the fintech industry will be guided by the preferences of customers, driving the creation of technologically advanced products. However, fintech companies must also actively employ analytical data to understand the broader consumer base, with the crucial support of regulators to facilitate seamless innovation.,” Ebenezer Akinyele said.
He added that “identifying consumer needs has empowered banks to invest in fintech solutions, allowing them to address these needs more seamlessly. However, it’s worth noting that banks operate under significantly higher regulatory constraints compared to fintech companies. This often results in a significant disparity in turnaround times, where what might take a fintech just 30 minutes to approve could take banks days, potentially prompting more users to migrate towards fintech services.”
Speaking on the future trends in open banking, David Adeleke highlighted a significant development to watch for – the capacity of open banking to drive personal financial activities. For instance, open banking is anticipated to have a pervasive impact across a spectrum of financial services, including Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL), credit facilities, personal insurance, and the introduction of universal debit/credit cards, among others.