Oral Users and Digital Payments: Can Existing Interfaces be Adapted?

6 March, 2019

Original Source: CFI

The digital payments revolution is aided in part by the rapid adoption of smartphones. In India, several enabling factors have contributed to this favourable outcome:

  1. Smartphones are increasingly available at prices within the budget of low-income people.
  2. Fintech APIs are emerging to meet the unserved financial services demand of this segment.
  3. There’s a push from the government to improve internet connectivity and provide an enabling regulatory environment for fintechs.

However, universal access to digital financial services (DFS) is constrained by the fact that, globally, 14 percent of the population is illiterate. Many low-income people have difficulty decoding the meaning behind numbers and words when they’re presented as text on a screen. This poses a great barrier for this segment to decipher the user interface of smartphone applications. As they have grown up without formal literacy or numeracy, these people are likely to be reluctant to shift away from the oral culture they are used to, where information is recorded, processed, and managed without text.

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