The Founder of Evolute group, India, Mr. Parag Metha in this interview with Ibiyemi Mathew, shares the success story of India in its quest to reduce the rate of financial exclusion and the solutions also applicable in helping to reduce that of Nigeria. He disclosed that taxing imposed in Nigeria is quite high but his company is set to utilize the opportunities therein. Excerpts.
Being an operator in the Fintech industry in India, what is your company doing diffe-rently in the Fintech market?
We at Evolute private systems are contributing to the fintech ecosystem by providing Point of Sales (PoS) terminals and making various android devices which are based on the use of biometric technology via android and other latest platforms that deliver a seamless service to the end-user.
We have been able to tackle problems like awful battery problems and provide solutions to bigger issues which are prevailing like distribution channels in the Fintech ecosystem.
Our products at evolute are not just products but solutions. They are products bundled with a thoughtful understanding of the situation of the pinpoints of the industrial end-user.
What are the approaches that are been adopted by Evolute in satisfying consumers?
Our approach is to have a positive impact on end-users. For example, banking services to be offered at the doorstep in the rural areas, villages.
The residents of these villages are always challenged because they don’t have a bank branch within their vicinity so they have to travel a long-distance or they decide to keep the whole transaction in cash.
Hence, they are deprived of the basic facilities because the infrastructure is not present. We have been able to put out a technology that makes banking more mobile and secured.
As regards the area of security, how secure are your products?
Security is very important because the moment we are talking about financial transactions, the trust element is at most important and that’s why we are on a mission to techpower the world where ultimately the delivery agents will be banking agents.
Agents should be empowered with tech not only to deliver the solutions seamlessly but also to win the customer with utmost trust; loyalty in the course of transactions would become more enhanced.
Due to financial frauds, the technology has been chipped with more and more ways of curbing the frauds.
When talking about the security of card transactions, the EMV chip and pin is a more secure technology which we have all heard about but more importantly, we have also been working on the biometric technology.
We are aware of the BVN enrolment tech in Nigeria. The very step after the enrolment scheme is to verify and authenticate if it is the same person that is transacting.
If we are able to identify the person, there will be no possibility of making the transaction go wrong as we know people don’t remember their pin number and we see people easily trusting their agents by telling them their passcode and they misuse it.
In all, we have been able to use this technology along with mobile phones because of the increasing penetration of mobile phones in Nigeria and I have seen many people carrying a minimum of 2 mobile phones.
Transactions are done in a different means and the notification sent and that’s how the multiple technologies will help in delivering financial services at a very affordable cost.
In a bid to ensure the security of your platforms, do they have an effect on your price as many Nigerians live below the recommended standard of living?
Yes, asides trust and security, the affordability is also important considering the high rate of poverty in Nigeria.
We cannot charge a customer who cannot afford the charges. so it is a big challenge and that’s why our success story has been seen in parts of Asia, especially in India which is very similar to Nigeria in terms of population and challenges.
These challenges have been prevailing with the unbanked people and the financial inclusion is absolutely a very important programme of the country to takes the biggest stride in the economic development and that’s why there is a need for financial literacy to bring people into the mainstream banking.
In ensuring the country grows faster at pace, we plan on making whatever affordable solutions that have worked in India available here due to our similarity rather than taking the solutions to the western countries.
Personally, at Evolute, we believe in the triple bottom line concept which is people, planet and the profit, so our conscious capitalism can be introduced entirely to the emerging undeveloped nations.
We are not so terrible to take the technology to the western world because they possess so many resources, the people who are actually in the need are the people in the emerging economies and that’s why we want to give a 100per cent effort to help and support those countries.
You made mention of how India was able to tackle this problem of financial exclusion with Biometrics. Can you brief us on the success story of how it worked in India?
Biometrics is one of the new channels India invented although it was originally already present in the security aspects as we know. The use case in the financial aspect was after the implementation of the Adhar programme which is the world’s largest biometric programme in the world having enrolled more than 1.25 billion people.
The beauty of this system is that it is government backed and opened platform so it is not run by any private big fintech company.
The databases belong to the people and for the people and that’s how this new channel which is now a perfect means of delivering a very affordable delivery of financial services to the deprived ones; especially we are targeting the LMI group which is low and middle income earners.
The people in the upper class of the society of course are people who are already getting a lot of support from the government but the people who always suffer are the LMIs because they don’t get those subsidies from the government and they don’t have any more means to go out against the upper class, so they are the people who are really in need of the good services and affordable means.
There are talents everywhere. Talents are not limited to the rich in the urban areas but could be discovered anywhere. We need talents. Everybody should get a chance and that’s what our firm believes in.
Considering your commitment to the financially excluded in Africa, do you plan on extending your reach to those in Nigeria and what solution do you prefer for the government and financial services provider in eliminating financial exclusion?
We are looking into that already, though the taxing imposed is quite high but at least from the technology, financial services, we are set to go.
It has taken western countries a decade to jump from one technology to another. The best example is mobile technology.
From 2G to 3G to 4G to LTE, countries like India and Nigeria have got a privilege to move from 2G to 4G by jumping 3G and we are now making use of the LTE tech.
We are not that far from the western world, maybe two years or three years at most.
If we are able to leverage and frog leap based on available resources, we will be able to utilize it in a much better fashion. As you know the data cost in Nigeria/India is the cheapest in the world.