By: 18 April 2023

More customers will see the value of sharing data, how it will work for them, and it will become more popular

IFGS 2023: Payments fintechs need to boost financial inclusion and sustainability

Fintechs focused on payments should be driving financial inclusion and sustainability through greater and better use of data, according to a panel discussion today at the Innovate Finance Global Summit (IFGS) 2023.

Dan Graf, chief executive officer and co-founder of Earthchain, highlighted the importance of data to the mission of sustainability, as it “can be used to act as a proxy for climate change”.

Currently, many businesses offer a green incentive, such as planting a tree when a customer buys a product, but a lot of this can be dismissed as greenwashing, Graf claimed, as it cannot be verified.

Earthchain is different, Graf said, as the blockchain technology it uses provides measurable and transparent data.

The dream, Graf said, is to help solve the climate crisis by integrating actions into everyday transactions that support in some small way, a verified green project.

Aside from data, fintechs can also do better in open banking, where financial inclusion may not be a good as required.

Duncan Cockburn, founder and chief executive officer of OneBanx, which aims to make banking services, whether digital or physical, more accessible for all, said: “Open banking is game changing.

“It enables third parties and banks to access what they otherwise can’t reach, such as push payments.

“Also, by leveraging third parties to enable payments, it encourages third parties to build relationships with customers.”

Despite these benefits, Graf argued: “There is some resistance to open banking. It can do so much more if it is used differently.”

Emilian Siemsia, founder and chief technology officer of Planky, added: “Fintechs have a responsibility to deliver sustainable and inclusive open banking.

“But research says more than 70% of customers don’t trust the technology, so it isn’t shared.

“We need transparency and trust. What is happening with the data? Where is it shared?

“It is getting better every year, but fintechs must focus on this education aspect and financial inclusion.”

Cockburn agreed that more must be done. “Open banking isn’t that inclusive,” he said.

“It can do better. You need online banking to use open banking. It needs to be more accessible, so everyone can use it.”

Despite these calls for more action, the panel did envision a brighter future.

Graf said: “More customers will see the value of sharing data, how it will work for them, and it will be more popular.”

Cockburn concluded: “Open banking will continue to gain traction. It will drive inclusion and sustainability. But we can’t leave people behind.”

Image: Canva
Josh Poyser
Josh Poyser is an editor at FinTech Intel. He has written about fintech for several years and appeared at FinTech Connect 2023 on the 'Unlocking Success: The Art of Fintech PR' panel.