Before we delve into the subject of unbanked and underbanked, here’s a look at some statistics – Seven countries across the globe account for 50% of the world’s unbanked population, and India is second on the list. 11% of India’s population is completely unbanked, and even more are underbanked. Although there has been a decline in figures in recent times, there is no ignoring the fact that a large part of the population still needs to be catered to.
Who is an unbanked or underbanked customer?
An unbanked customer is one who doesn’t have any savings or current account with a bank, owing to which they cannot use traditional banking services either. On the other hand an underbanked customer has access to savings and current accounts, however, these are through alternative financial institutions and not banks.
There are plenty of reasons as to why someone may be unbanked. Some of these being
- Not having enough savings
- Having concerns about privacy and security
- Not wanting to pay bank charges; and more.
But the primary concern, at least in India, continues to be that firstly, rural areas don’t have enough transport facilities to reach the bank. Secondly, the interiors do not have enough bandwidth to support online banking processes, even if the branch is distant.
Why you need to bank on the unbanked?
When banks don’t engage with the unbanked and underbanked, many financial institutions lose out on the opportunity to reach out to them as well, because they don’t appear on the financial map. Additionally, owing to the current digital shift, there is a growing need to reach out even to the hinterlands because digital is the future, and the only way to be all-inclusive is to reach one and all and offer a standardised payment process for all.
Some other reasons why you should focus on the unbanked include:
- Higher revenue for financial institutions
- Connects you to an emerging market
- Safeguards the interests of the lower income groups
Here’s how you can reach them:
Eliminate barriers: Many people from rural areas fear banking, offline or online, because of illiteracy or language barriers. Using technology like chatbots, translators, Neurolinguistic programming, virtual assistance, etc, you can assure your potential customers that they can bank on someone who understands their needs well and is willing to guide them thoroughly with every step of the process.
Reduce physical branches: If the underbanked find it difficult to go to banks, you bring the bank to them. With digital opportunities like Video -KYC onboarding and internet banking, customers don’t need to step out anymore to complete the banking formalities. Promise your customers that the system is completely secure with AI based features like liveliness, facematch, and two-step authentication, so they don’t have any security concerns. At Kwik.ID we noticed that these additional security features in our V-KYC tool made a huge difference while onboarding customers who were worried about their data being misused.
Offer a low-bandwidth facility: How are customers going to opt for digital banking if high data requirements won’t let them complete their procedures? Building a low-bandwidth infrastructure for your unbanked and underbanked population is imperative for noteworthy results. Let media upload sizes be at a minimum, and let your software adjust to data speeds as low as possible. Offering a data speed as low as 170 kbps, we noticed that our Video kYC onboarding call drops reduced drastically and we had an 85% success rate owing to low bandwidth and easy accessibility.
Encourage financial education: Another significant reason why the unbanked don’t invest is because they aren’t aware of banking benefits in the first place. Train your employees and agents to educate them better. They can use digital media in the form of short videos, flowcharts, images and more, to explain the onboarding and banking process, needs for savings, credit application, and many other topics that can easily be conveyed over video. Connect your customers to regional agents who are comfortable speaking the language and can understand the client better. This is necessary especially during the Video -KYC onboarding process, or any other video interaction that makes the conversation more smooth-sailing.
Banking the unbanked isn’t as tough as it looks and doing so has its advantages for both – the banks and the customers too. With the right technology, the right V-KYC tool, and the right goals, the 11% of unbanked India can soon be well-banked and serviced too.