Are we ignoring the most important factor to increase financial inclusion?
Over the years, India has witnessed a significant growth in digital and financial inclusion. India has 504 Mn active Internet users, out of which 277 million belong to rural India. In fact for the first time in 2019, internet users in rural areas outnumbered internet users in urban areas by 10 percent. There are still 70 percent of rural population with no access to internet, therefore there is still immense headroom for rural growth.
In case of financial inclusion, over 80% Indians now have bank accounts, all credit goes to government’s Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana. But having just a bank account does not amount to being financially included. In order to be counted under financial inclusive segment, these people need to have access to banking facilities, credit and financial literacy.
A digital transformation is taking place in financial services industry, with host of financial institutions coming up with innovative and advanced technology product to bridge the gap that exists between unbanked and financial services. But there is one most important factor which most financial institutions seem to be ignoring while addressing these people in rural region, that is focusing on regional languages. Financial products designed with emphasis on vernacular approach have more chances of acceptance with rural people.
India is a land with diversity in cultures with home to several hundred languages. According to reports from Google, 90 percent of India’s new internet users consume content in local languages in India. Financial literacy is undoubtedly very important to promote financial inclusion in India but it is necessary that these people are provided with financial products or services in their regional languages only so that they actually gain some value out of it and understand the impact of access to formal financial services in their lives.
One can design a product using all the advanced technology in the world but it is necessary to establish that trust and comfort level with customers. This trust and comfort level is built only when they connect with the product or service at personal level. People in the rural regions are more comfortable with their local languages. Therefore, focus on regional languages can play a crucial role in boosting financial inclusion. Most of the products available in market offer services in English which sort of limits their usage & acceptance among customers. On the other side, PaySe is a financial inclusion enabler designed with multilingual approach supporting all the regional languages which allows customers to use its services in the language they are comfortable with. PaySe has introduced their mobile application in Hindi language which is widely accepted language in North India. This makes PaySe very user-friendly and convenient to use eventually bridging the gap between financial access and usage.