Modern society is becoming increasingly aware of the faults of the past and is focusing on building a better world with core values at its foundation. In the payment sphere, this tendency translates to shaping a financial landscape that embodies transparency, fairness, and accessibility. Yet, the journey toward providing inclusive financial services to every individual is a challenging one.
In this article, we break down the main strategic steps that financial institutions and PSPs need to undertake to ensure that the universal expectation of simple, fast, and secure transactions is met for every participant in the global payment ecosystem.
However, there are multiple obstacles on the way to achieving this goal, including:
Addressing these challenges calls for a combined effort from all payment industry stakeholders. Below, we will list the main steps that PSPs and FIs can take to promote positive changes in this regard.
Payment accessibility is a broad goal that requires a holistic approach. Therefore, FIs and PSPs need to take multiple steps to make a difference in the global scene, namely:
1. Participate in Regulatory and Standardization Efforts
It is crucial for FIs and PSPs to comply with such regulations as the European Accessibility Act and W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
What’s more, it is crucial to participate in the development of forward-looking standards in the payment field. For instance, the EU Commission often seeks input from industry stakeholders to shape policies that address emerging challenges, technological advancements, and changing consumer needs.
2. Get to Know the Customer Needs
Aside from conforming to legal obligations, PSPs and financial institutions need to be aware of the different consumer needs when it comes to the design and delivery of their services. In other words, they have to promote inclusivity in physical, cognitive, social, geographical, and technical aspects.
Such a holistic approach requires extensive user research and careful market analysis, which is why more and more financial companies establish dedicated departments to tackle these sensitive tasks effectively.
3. Seek Innovative Approaches
Neobanks are a great example of this approach, as they offer an inclusive and accessible alternative to traditional banks. These new-age fintechs prioritize accessibility through user-friendly interfaces, inclusive financial products, and reduced entry barriers.
Due to these factors, the popularity of neobanks keeps increasing, showcasing the importance of innovative approaches. In fact, the number of neobank users is forecast to surge from 210.02 million in 2022 to 350.12 million already by 2026.
4. Invest in Technological Advancements
For instance, leveraging biometric authentication processes helps to simplify access for individuals with visual impairments while boosting security and convenience for all users.
5. Foster Collaborations and Partnerships
FIs and PSPs can benefit from partnering with banks, non-governmental organizations, large technology companies, and members of the disability community. Such collaborations enable the exchange of valuable insights, support, and expertise, which, in turn, accelerates the development of more inclusive financial services.
6. Seek Solutions for Barrier-Free Payment Transactions
It is also essential to continuously develop and implement solutions that remove barriers to payment transactions. This may include offering online onboarding for those unable to visit physical offices, QR-code-supported audio content, and simplified card activation processes.
7. Leverage Testing and Feedback
Finally, PSPs and FIs need to conduct usability testing with individuals from diverse backgrounds and abilities to identify areas for improvement. It is also helpful to encourage feedback so that users can report accessibility issues and suggest improvements.
As you can see, there are plenty of steps that FIs and PSPs need to undertake to overcome the issues that currently exist in the payment accessibility sphere. However, despite these challenges, the future of payment accessibility looks very promising.
WIth innovative solutions like Braille credit cards and mobile apps designed for users with various accessibility needs, it is clear to see that the financial industry is on the right track. As these solutions continue to evolve and gain widespread adoption, the payment ecosystem where individuals of all abilities can seamlessly participate in digital transactions is a near-future prospect.
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