Financial Inclusion/ FinTech Exclusion

Published on
26 Jun 2015
Initial Author
Janos Barberis

FinTech has helped increase access to financial services and products. Those living in remote locations or lower on the socio-economical scale have greater access to services as a result of the sector. But, there is no deigning the homogeneity of its creators and teams. Do they unintentionally colour and sex their products and services? And in doing so, do they contribute to creating the next generation of the financially excluded?

Prior to FinTech’s arrival there have always been questions raised about how technologies might hold the prejudices of its inventors and designers. Most of this literature was written from a gender or feminist perspective. Of course, consumers adapt how technology is used — sometimes in ways contrary to its original purpose. However, real influence on technological impact must occur upstream at the design stages.

FinTech’s contribution to the various segments of society will be uneven. For example, the disruption within the remittance arena will benefit more women than men. Western Union’s most recently released data showed women sent a larger share of their earnings, and were the main recipients of remittances. It is logical for any FinTech remittance products to be designed and made with greater female input — its primary consumers. It is vital women/other ‘excluded’ groups, who rely on these technologies, are allowed the opportunity to impact at the design stages.

By ‘exclusion’ we do not mean the sector necessarily practices active rejection of these other groups into the design room, and by extension from the benefits of FinTech. There has been a great amount of focus on women in FinTech: but what about the other minorities ‘excluded’ but even less heard? The sector needs to understand its current weakness or risk producing ineffective products of the “shrink it, pink it” type.