Fintech's Impact on Underbanked Communities

Published on 10 May 2023

Underbanked communities

Access to financial services is a key part of being able to make your own money and being included in society. But a big part of the world's population is still underbanked or doesn't have a bank account at all, especially in developing countries. These people need access to simple financial services like bank accounts, loans, and insurance. 

Fintech, which stands for financial technology, is changing the way financial services are done by using technology to close the gap and give more people in underbanked areas access to financial services. This blog will talk about how fintech helps people who don't have bank accounts and promotes financial inclusion around the world.

See also: Post COVID-19: The Rise or Decline of Fintech?

Mobile Banking and Digital Wallets

Fintech has made it possible for mobile banking and digital wallets to grow quickly, making it easy for people who don't have bank accounts to handle their money. With the rise of smartphones and mobile internet, fintech companies are using these devices to offer banking services through easy-to-use mobile apps. These services include starting an account, transferring funds, paying bills, and checking your balance. By getting rid of the need for real bank offices, mobile banking makes it possible for people in rural areas to receive financial services anytime, anywhere, even if they don't have a standard bank.

Digital wallets, also called e-wallets, are a safe and easy way for people who don't have bank accounts to store and move money. Users can link their bank accounts to these wallets or put cash in them. This lets them make digital payments, get money sent to them, and use a variety of financial services. Digital wallets give people who don't have bank accounts a safe way to take cash and access banking services that they didn't have before.

Microfinance and Peer-to-Peer Lending

Fintech has changed the microfinance industry, which gives small loans to people with low incomes and businesses who don't have access to standard banks. Fintech-enabled microfinance organizations can speed up the loan application process, figure out if someone is creditworthy using data other than credit scores, and give out money. These platforms also make it easy for borrowers to pay back loans by using mobile banking or digital funds. This makes standard microfinance models less complicated and less expensive.

Peer-to-peer banking (P2P) systems, which allow people to give money directly to each other, have also become a powerful financial innovation. Platforms for peer-to-peer lending connect lenders and users, so people who don't have bank accounts can get cheap loans without going through traditional financial middlemen. P2P lending sites can reach overlooked groups and offer low interest rates by using technology to check credit and give out loans. This plan gives people the ability to get funding for schooling, starting a business, and other personal or business needs. This helps the economy grow and gives more people access to money.

Know Your Customer (KYC) and Digital Identity Solutions

For the underbanked, the need for proper identification papers to start an account and use other financial services is one of the biggest hurdles to getting financial services. Fintech companies are working to solve this problem by making digital identity solutions that use biometrics, like fingerprints or face recognition, to establish and confirm a person's name. With these digital identity options, people who don't have bank accounts can make a digital identity that is both unique and movable. This gets rid of the need for real papers and makes it easier to get banking services.

In the same way, fintech improvements in the KYC process have made it easier for underbanked groups to get started with banking. Digital channels can be used by fintech companies to collect and check customer information through remote or electronic KYC methods. This means that you don't have to go to a bank store in person, which saves money and time. By using safe digital platforms and advanced verification methods, fintech-enabled KYC solutions have made it easier and faster for people who don't have bank accounts to get access to financial services.

Insurance Technology (Insurtech)

Access to insurance is important for communities that don't have enough bank accounts to protect themselves from unplanned threats and build financial strength. Insurtech, a part of fintech, has come up with new ways to make insurance more available and cheap for people who don't have bank accounts. By using data analytics, artificial intelligence, and mobile technology, insurtech companies can make insurance plans that fit the wants and budgets of people who don't have bank accounts.

Mobile-based insurance systems let people buy and handle insurance plans from their phones, so they don't have to deal with paperwork and other annoying steps. Also, insurtech companies often use non-traditional data sources, like the use of mobile phones or the past of transactions, to figure out dangers and set insurance rates. This lets people who don't have bank accounts get insurance that fits their needs, like microinsurance plans that cover specific risks at prices they can pay.

Financial Education and Robo-Advisory

Financial education is a key part of helping the underbanked get access to financial services. Fintech companies use technology to make financial education tools and resources that are easy to use and connect with. Financial literacy training, planning tools, and custom suggestions are available through mobile apps and online platforms. This gives people who don't have bank accounts the information and skills they need to make smart financial choices.

Robo-advisory platforms have also come up as a way for underbanked groups to get financial help and wealth management services. Robo-advisors can give unique investment plans and strategies based on a person's risk profile and financial goals. This is made possible by algorithms and automation. This means that people who don't have bank accounts can get reliable and cheap financial advice, which was previously only open to people with more money, and take part in chances to build wealth.

Blockchain and Cryptocurrency

Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies could make it easier for the underbanked to use banking services in a big way. Blockchain technology provides a safe, open way to make financial deals without the usual middlemen. This can make cash transfers, cross-border payments, and peer-to-peer trades much cheaper and more efficient, which is good for people who don't have bank accounts but need these services.

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are a different kind of digital cash that anyone with an internet connection can view and use. Cryptocurrencies make it possible for people who don't have bank accounts to get access to digital financial assets, even if they don't have a regular bank account. Cryptocurrencies can be used as a way to save money, to buy and sell things, and to access financial services through decentralized apps (DApps) that are built on blockchain technology.

Agent Banking and Digital Payment Solutions

Agent banking is a new way to provide financial services to people in rural places who don't have access to banks. It mixes traditional banking with technology. Agent banking lets approved people or companies, called "agents," do simple banking work for banks on their behalf. With the help of mobile devices or point-of-sale (POS) systems, these workers can help people start accounts, deposit and take cash, and make digital payments in places where there aren't many standard bank offices.

Access to financial services has also grown a lot thanks to digital payment options like mobile money systems. People who don't have enough bank accounts can use their cell phones to do financial activities even if they don't have a standard bank account. Mobile money systems let people store money online, make payments, send and receive money transfers, and use other financial services through their phones. This has made it easier for people who don't have bank accounts to get money, especially in places where there are a lot of cell phones.

Collaboration with Traditional Financial Institutions

Fintech companies are working with established banks more and more to use their infrastructure, legal systems, and customer reach to help more people get access to financial services. By working with banks and other financial institutions, fintech companies can use their current networks, customer bases, and experience to help underbanked areas with new financial services.

Collaborations like these can take many different forms, such as white-label solutions, in which fintech companies build technology tools that traditional banks use to offer digital financial services. Fintech companies can also work with lending institutions, cooperatives, and credit unions to improve their services and give people in poor areas more ways to get money. These partnerships use the best parts of both internet companies and standard financial institutions to help more people get access to financial services.

Regulatory Support and Policy Advocacy

Support from regulators and good policies are very important to the growth of fintech for underbanked groups. Governments and governing groups have a big part to play in making sure that the financial sector is safe, secure, and stable for consumers while also encouraging innovation.

Regulatory sandboxes give fintech companies a chance to test their solutions in a safe setting. This lets them come up with new ideas while keeping risks in check. Governments can also set clear rules and standards for fintech companies working in the financial services sector to ensure openness, responsibility, and compliance with anti-money laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) requirements.

See also: Open, embedded, modular, and on a platform: The opportunities of Banking as a Service


Fintech is changing the way financial services work by using technology to help people who don't have access to banks. Fintech companies are changing the way financial services are received and provided. They do this through mobile banking, digital accounts, microfinance, P2P loans, digital identity solutions, insurtech, blockchain, agent banking, and partnerships with traditional financial institutions.


Featured image: Image by freepik


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