#MoneyReport2023: Access  for fintechs & customers


Alan Kay, a computer scientist & pioneer in the design and development of the first modern windowed computer desktop interface, said “the best way to predict the future is to invent it,”.

Well, that invented future is here today and it’s awesome to see what it is has brought to humankind. Technological advancements, as seen today, have taken the world beyond the future of the future Alan Kay talked about and recent trends show what we are witnessing is just a minute fraction of what the future holds.

Talk about Artificial Intelligence (AI). It is here now and is still evolving, very much with the future in mind. The science behind AI is to make machines think like humans and do things considered smart. AI processes large amounts of data in ways unlike humans. It has improved information processing and decision making and is transforming every walk of life. There is AI in healthcare; retail and e-commerce; logistics and transportation; travel; real estate; and entertainment and gaming.

AI has also permeated finance and banking and assumed an increasingly important role in providing technologies for many useful purposes. Chatbots, for example, are replacing the front-desk scenes at banks as these AI-led machines provide next level digitized and customized interactive experiences to customers. AI is further being used to verify the identity of customers, set up accounts and provide guidance on available products. But the much broader discussion of how technology has transformed traditional banking today is mind-blowing.

Fintech, which is a shortened combination of “financial technology”, is used to describe new technology that seeks to improve and automate the delivery and use of financial services. It is made up of specialized software and systems built for use on computers and smartphones. Fintech aims to help companies, business owners, and consumers better manage their financial operations, processes, and lives. Fintech companies use a variety of technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI).

Well, do you have a mobile app and do you transact some of your banking services on your mobile phone? Do you have a card that allows you to pay for services using a point of sale (POS) device, etc? Can you transfer money from your mobile money account unto your bank account and vice versa seamlessly? Are you able to shop and pay for goods and services online? Is your bank account linked to an app on your phone to allow you to access utility services like electricity or pay for TV? That is Fintech at your door step and in its simplest form. That is the future and it is currently playing out and making the lives of most people simple.

The opportunities Fintech provide for product developers and banks is immense and is still evolving and so are the benefits and opportunities for those using them now and the many likely to come on board. In other words, innovating and expanding the borders of Fintech provides access to a first level of opportunity for players in the Fintech industry. The second level of opportunity is for the many customers who gain access to Fintech so their lives are improved. This dual access mission is being pursued on the continent and in Ghana by Access Bank.

“Access Bank is a thought leader in the Fintech space and we are creating partnership opportunities and improving our customer acquisition,” said Pearl Nkrumah, Executive Director, Retail & Digital Banking.

Access Bank, she said, has a long-standing vision to be the go-to bank regarding digital transformation, and to be a leader in the Fintech space,  a place where traditional banking and Fintech institutions interface.

In line with this, the bank is accelerating and broadening the deployment of Point of Sale, Mobile Point of Sales, interactive ATMs, credit scoring with machine learning among others. This is in addition to the promotion, development and utilization of a broader range of digital financial products and services in lending, pensions, savings and insurance to meet the varying needs of all segments of the financial market. Agency banking is also part of the Access Fintech agenda and the bank is facilitating this through partnerships and full digital enablement. The bank is currently working with 13 Fintechs to develop lending capabilities, collections and payments solutions. To innovate and predict the future, the traditional banks and companies in the financial technology space solving everyday needs of clients in technology must come together. Access Bank becomes that platform that orchestrates that and makes that happen.

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