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Human touch crucial to build trust in payment instruments

Categories : Cash is efficient, Innovation contributes to the efficiency of cash
October 24, 2017
Tags : Africa, collaboration, Consumers, France, Mobile, Mobile Payments, Mobile phone
Who said cash and technology aren't compatible? Indeed, they can coexist and benefit each other. The human touch offers trust and technology can enhance convenience.
Communication Team / Equipo de Comunicación

The payment landscape is continuously evolving and is characterised by the proliferation of new digital instruments regarded as competitors to cash. Nevertheless, the example of mobile money operators – especially successful in Africa – demonstrates that cash and technology can benefit from each other and should not be seen as rivals. Indeed, technology brings convenience and flexibility while cash enables trust through human interactions – an essential parameter necessary for the establishment of a new payment method.

Africa has been especially quick in adopting mobile money transfer services such as M-Pesa, allowing customers to transfer money to other users via their mobile phones, pay at various retailers and withdraw or load hard cash at partner merchants. While the service is extremely widespread over the continent, 94% of retail transactions are still made in cash, showing that the two options can perfectly coexist. Experts explain the success of mobile money operators by highlighting that it offers convenience and efficiency thanks to the mobile network, while the human touch is preserved at local retailers. The face-to-face interaction is crucial to build people’s trust in the payment method, an element that is often missing in new digital instruments. Indeed, these almost only involve machines, leading consumers to be mistrustful.

Another example that illustrates the need for human touch is the recent acquisition of fintech start-up Compte-Nickel by French bank BNP Paribas. Compte-Nickel provides banking services at local newsstands, enabling consumers to carry out banking transactions around the corner with people that they know and trust. With 2,500 partner newsstands, BNP Paribas’ customers benefit from the largest network in the country. 

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