User Experience design (UX) has taken its rightful place in the product development cycle but there is still a lot of ground to be covered when it comes to driving adoption and ensuring eventual utility status for many products and services. This has nothing to do with the products and services themselves but in the larger environment in which they exist and also consume.

These gaps are often laid bare when markets are disrupted.

Since money is at the core of most interactions in the modern world, the ability to move it, receive it, exchange it et cetera is critical to daily living. It, therefore, gives an excellent medium through which to expose the access gap that exists with all the innovation that is built for and around it.

Digital representations of value

In its current primitive, money equals cash and cash in its hard currency state, continues to be the biggest competitor to any financial services rails that have come to make the digital exchange of value easier, faster, or a plethora of other claims.

With hard currency in hand, the issue that would occupy the owner is that of security, which can be addressed in different ways depending on its form, amount, the physical route to value exchange and time, but nothing beats the fact that it is on the owner's person, accessible immediately.

Welcome the digital representations of value, some on a one-to-one exchange with cash and others more fluid, pushed by banks, mobile networks, and many other financial service innovators. These sit behind one digital access channel or other, from the ubiquitous USSD code, native mobile application, web, voice, or bot interface.

The Fintech access angst

All these channels however require that the holder of value have the additional financial capacity to access that which is stored digitally and here is where cash still has an edge.

Running out of mobile airtime for USSD or voice access that comes in at as β€˜little’ as Kshs. 1, mobile data for access to apps, or a connectivity outage on a wi-fi connection either and even all happening simultaneously, then suddenly you have no access to funds or services.

Depending on the activity that was to be facilitated by access to the funds, the degree of inconvenience would vary.

Once experienced, the angst has cash as the more favored option, a position that is possible to unseat but not without reworking the cost of access into the overall business model.

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