With significant number of users moving towards smartphones in the developing world, so much so that the smartphone adoption is predicted to outpace opening of new bank accounts in the emerging markets. Clearly, there is demand for more multifaceted financial services, but this could be hampered by range of technical constraints that show up in networks in emerging economies.
In emerging economies not all network service providers are equal, with slow networks prevalent in the rural areas, where the sizeable target customers reside. Therefore, the smartphones offerings need to better cater to the varying network constraints in order to ensure that the final digital products designed are compatible not only across emerging markets but also between rural and urban areas.
There is a greater need to tailor the app offerings to the local environment in order to ensure that the apps are not only data sensitive but also customized according to local languages, ensuring the best and most effective use possible.
Keeping in mind that the potential new customers are mostly situated in emerging markets and rural areas, they are more likely to have variety of low-end devices. These devices have wide ranging specifications from screen size, memory, computing power, software version and battery life. In order for digital financial services to succeed, it is crucial that when designing the digital products and services, the financial service providers take all these factors into account.
Smartphones can provide a window into the digital world for the next billion users but only if we pay attention to their current reality. Not only will it unlock the door to sustained growth but also help in increasing financial inclusion across the communities.