Unveiling the Collaborative Dynamics Between Traditional Banks and FinTechs in the South African Market
Welcome to another exciting edition of “Talking Success,” where we explore the innovative world of financial technology (FinTech) and its intersection with traditional banking. In this episode, we sat down with Kumaran Selvarajalu from the Banking Association of South Africa (BASA) to discuss the evolving relationship between banks and fintechs in the payments industry. Our conversation covered the rise of neobanks, operational resilience, and the role of trade bodies like BASA in shaping the future of the financial landscape.
The Shift in Dynamics: A Synergistic Approach
Kumaran highlighted the changing dynamics between banks and fintechs, emphasizing the importance of collaboration. As fintechs drive innovation and introduce new ideas, they also rely on banking partners to ensure compliance and utilize established infrastructure. Kumaran stressed that operational resilience in the payment system is about more than technology; it’s about banks’ ability to track economic changes and adapt to fluctuations in credit and money flows.
Challenges and Opportunities: The Trust Element
Our discussion also touched on the challenges of adopting soft pause technology due to the trust element. Kumaran explained that the spot model plays a crucial role in allowing the free market to operate and emphasized the significant opportunities in the cash environment. He highlighted the importance of trial and error and letting the demand side generate ideas and tools that facilitate the transition from an idea to execution.
The South African Market: Cash Dependency and the Road to Digitization
Kumaran noted that South Africa’s highly cash-dependent population means the shift to a fully digital world will take time. He argued for a vision-first approach, starting with a clear problem statement before product sales. While cash is unlikely to disappear in South Africa soon, he sees notable advancements in the fintech space, particularly in cashbook management and helping businesses become more entrepreneurial and risk-averse.
This episode of Talking Success offers valuable insights into the evolving world of FinTech and the role of banks and trade bodies in shaping the industry’s direction. As Kumaran observed, banks and fintechs can coexist and adapt to changes in the industry, underscoring the importance of considering the business case, not just the technology, when implementing digital payments.
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