facebook pixel

Can FinTech Provide a Financial Future Designed for All?

“Money makes the world go round”

There is no denying the famous saying; so, while we enter an innovative new world where technology is rapidly changing various industries, even the finance sector isn’t impenetrable from digital disruption and breakthroughs.

DisruptX’s latest Impact episode: The FinTech Revolution was a truly engaging discussion, but also one that I feel only scratched the service regarding the developments and opportunities within FinTech.

Fintech, a market that is soon set to surpass $3.5 billion, is the integration of technology into financial services to improve customer experience. Advances in FinTech have boomed since the Covid-19 pandemic where the need for future growth in financial digital services
was greatly highlighted, and today, society is eager for even more progress.

While other countries have been using digital platforms for some time to offer secure and speedy services, the MENA region is finally catching up and we have seen a rise in start-ups providing the likes of online payments services, digital wallets, mobile banking, and online fund transfers. Guests’ speakers in the podcast episode referred to government strategies within the UAE created specifically to support and encourage the growth of FinTech which I feel is an excellent standpoint to have in looking towards a country’s future and ensuring first class financial services for its residents.

An unbanked population

For some, access to our finances seems so basic, a privilege taken for granted. But for many, secure and easy access to money is not part of their daily lives. Guest Padmini Gupta, Co-founder and CEO of XARE developed her start-up due to a specific need for migrant workers in the UAE to send money back home. In this moment, I realised how important innovative technology can be in providing access to what is a fundamental part of living in modern society. Less than 1 in 6 adults have access to a bank account in the MENA region, however, Padmini, explains that today ‘financial inclusion’ is not just about having a bank account but also ensuring financial literacy and credit, highlighting how FinTech has the opportunity to provide support and education to our financial rights as well as needs. In most countries the younger generation are still missing out on a financial education despite numerous calls for its implementation within their curriculum. Therefore, catering for the mass in this new digital era despite a diverse range in knowledge and attitude is a huge consideration for FinTech companies.

Is it the end for banks?

During the episode, guests discussed the ongoing barriers within FinTech such as the cost of start-ups and the fact that this is still a new market to penetrate. But I was more interested in hearing about the potential opportunities to improve the finance industry by using technologies to smoothly incorporate financial services into society’s daily lives with prospective services such as instant payments using just a phone number; getting a loan despite the transient nature of the UAE and, easy cross-border transactions which are extremely popular in the region. Arvind Krishnamurthy, Vice President – Global Product Owner, Emirates NBD briefly mentioned that new verification methods using AI were also in the works, something I understand is an important part of bringing banking into the digital age, as many are still sceptical of using online services due to a perception of lack of security and safety.

As I listened to the episode’s conversations, my mind wandered to a blissful paradise where there would no longer be unnecessary anguish for customers when trying to access certain financial services and support which, let’s be honest, are still not as easy as we would like for our busy, 21 st century lives. And when there is so much ease in other areas of society it feels about time that the financial sector got on-board. Arvind very candidly said he thinks that banks should be obsolete in the future and removed from the front line of service. There was a time where Fintech was seen as a threat to the banking industry, however, more sincerely, Arvind went on to share how he sees a genuine urge for banks to collaborate with FinTech companies and to help fill gaps in the finance sector. There needs to be no fear that the “robots are taking over”, but an excitement for how they can offer better support and service for customers across the globe.


Upasna Barua

Editor in Chief and Producer of DisruptX

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *