Banks and Fin-tech Innovation War

Adewale Adeleye
3 min readMay 31, 2018

Most Nigerian banks are becoming more innovative with the rise and rise of new Fin-techs. The emergence of Fin-techs has really put the banks on the run with fear of losing consumers to Fin-techs. Fin-techs in recent years have disrupted digital payments in different countries across the world and with new players entering into payment space, it’s becoming more difficult than ever for banks to keep up with the pace of Fin-tech.

Banks, however, battle a lot of regulations and policies that may enable them to innovate at a snail-like pace while Fin-techs, on the other hand, can wake up one day and decide to add a new feature that will make transaction experience better for consumers. Banks had been like kings over the years, albeit threatened in their kingdom by Fin-techs.

In recent times, we have seen banks building clones of Fin-tech apps to target their customers but the fact still remains that most banks don’t do more than providing their customers with Online Transfer, Airtime recharge, and payment of some bills. We seldom see many banks in Nigeria provide payment infrastructures for consumers and developers to build custom solutions that interact with their API (if they have one).

The ones with payment solutions have processes and documentation that gives you a migraine. Unlike some popular Fin-techs that give you seamless signup and verification process and it takes less than an hour to integrate and test some of the Fin-tech’s infrastructure due to the beautiful documentation provided.

It’s interesting to see some banks coming up with smart baking chatbots and USSD service for transactions but it is still not compared to the service offered by Fin-tech companies. Fin-tech is making Nigerian banks to lose focus on essential things needed to keep their customers which is support, ease of transactions and fewer charges.

Most banks have poor customer support service and it takes like forever to get an email response from a typical Nigerian bank and most of them do not operate 24/7 service apart from Sterling bank which I have tried their customer service by 2am even though I don’t have an account with them but the experience was awesome. Some Fin-tech companies provide thunderbolt response when you have an issue.

Innovation in banks could save a lot of money spent on physical infrastructures and as well focus on customer experience. I think banks shouldn’t wait for Fin-techs to build something great before taking further steps to replicate the exact solution provided by the Fin-techs or they can also partner with Fin-techs instead of reinventing the wheel by building a clone solution.

Banks should have a unit that plans on emerging products that will make payment easier, better and cheaper for customers. Recently, I have seen some banks using mobile money to shut down another bank’s nearby ATM. It’s really interesting that transactions are becoming easier in Nigeria.

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