WINDHOEK, 30 MAY – Infants born in the 1980’s would stare in curiosity as parents pulled money out of a machine in the wall; or when they used a small plastic card and a signature to be able to take goods out of a shop. Money seldom changed hands.
That phenomenon has increased tenfold, as financial transactions, payments of goods or services rarely seem to involve actual money. We have something called Fintech, or Financial Technology to thank for that.
Obtaining cash from an Automated Teller-Machine (ATM) or swiping your credit or debit card will be rendered an ‘old school’ style of withdrawal within the next few years.
Part of the reason for this is that technology is proving itself a safer mode of conducting financial transactions in a wolrd where robbers await you at street corners in the hopes of plundering your hard-earned finances.
Online shopping is becoming an increasingly viable method of purchase; even here in Namibia.
A large part of the super-fast development of FinTech is that ‘cold hard’ cash is just simply a pain. It is bulky, dangerous to carry around, unhygienic to an extent, and you cannot pay for goods and services with cash using the online platform.
Solutions had to be created as no business in the present-day can wait for money orders, let alone accept a ‘snail-mail envelope purchase.’
Fintech is everywhere: Just look at internet banking. We no longer stand in line, but carry out EFT (Electronic Financial Transfers), and even something as seemingly simple as Mobile Money is based on complex and very secure technology.
With regards to Mobile Money, African nations and banking outshines the Europeans as a matter of fact. We can simply send people money by SMS, which is almost impossible in Europe.
Yet, we all know it’s perfectly safe to do, right here in Namibia. Transferring a couple of dollars to your loved ones, or receiving the much needed airtime from your mum, dad or very good friend. It all comes down to FinTech.
The subject is complex, diverse, with not just banks pursuing this technology, giving birth to service providers such as PayPal.
However, in Namibia we have our very own National Payment Solutions, with many new forms coming.
All facets of FinTech cannot be covered in a single article, though it remains a necessity to be aware of the uses, implementation, implications, benefits as well as pitfall of this technology.
Security and safety of transactions whenever money is involved is of course paramount, thus it remains a challenge whenever technology is involved.
Questions arise whether it is truly safe to consumers, whether business to business or private individuals feel comfortable taking their financial activities online?
So far, it seems they will and have. Customers have embraced the idea of on-demand finance, thanks to mobile and cloud computing. Fintech trends show that people are quite comfortable managing their money and business online. Mobile Money
remains the most basic example of the embracing of this new technology.
Overall, the financial technology sector is pulsating, with traditional financial institutions increasing their FinTech investments and competing with start-ups to offer financial services products faster and more efficiently.
But, once again, for FinTech to work properly, a solid, secure, always-on and connected array of technology needs to support FinTech.
Whether it is hi-tech mining of Bitcoin or still our well-known and trusted Mobile Wallet or electricity purchase with the most basic phones, right here in Namibia.
Online banking was only the beginning, and in a few years, our children’s minds will not tolerate the notion of using an ATM-machine, or swiping a card as payment.
Perhaps their minds will boggle at the fact that we are still using actual cash for transactions. Fingerprints, smartphones, crypto-currencies and peer-to-peer technology encrypted through block-chain will emerge as the standard.
Llewellyn le Hané
About Green Enterprise Solutions (Pty) Ltd
Green Enterprise Solutions (Pty) Ltd was founded in 2010, a truly Namibian
company providing information and communication technology (ICT) services to
corporate Namibia. Green is owned and managed by previously disadvantaged
Namibians. Our long-term objective is to sustain a Namibian business which
makes positive contributions to all our stakeholders. Our vision is guided
by Namibia’s national development plans namely Vision 2030 and the National
Development Plan 4 (NDP4) of the Republic of Namibia. Our operations focus
on services such as applications, networking, security, operating
environments, storage and data centre technologies, consulting, integration
and managed services to create customised client solutions.