“Obopay is an payment system that works on your cell phone–kind of like a mobile PayPal. The service is cheap, easy to use, and fantastically convenient. Not only that, it’s well-backed; today Nokia [NOK] announced it would funnel an additional $70 million into the startup in exchange for a minority stake in the company. So why isn’t everyone using this thing? […]
It’s no fault of the concept; mobile payments have exploded in popularity in Africa and other developing regions. Obopay itself operates in both Indian and American markets; in India, they’ve garnered a strong customer base. In the U.S., not so much. Why won’t Americans get with it?”
Posts in category 'Financial'
For anyone designing for consumer finance — banking, investing, billpay, money management tools, insurance providers or any business selling “savings” as a value proposition (as a consultant, I’ve learned a lot through having had opportunities to touch all of these areas) — here are some design principles you can employ to make saving a little easier for us all:
– Create perceptions that motivate.
– Make the abstract concrete.
– Equip the mind to control the flesh.
– Architect complex choices carefully.
Not sure it is enough to address people’s deep distrust towards financial institutions in the current financial crisis.
KashKlash is an open forum and web project focusing on alternative economies in a post-money future. What will such a world look like? How will the concept of value be measured? What concepts will shape the formal and informal economies? Bright thinkers from around the world came together online to discuss, debate and ideate in this innovative and exciting project.
KashKlash is a collaborative project between Heather Moore of Vodafone, Experientia and a group of independent visionaries. The project started with four bright and innovative provocateurs, Nicolas Nova, Joshua Klein, Bruce Sterling, and Régine Debatty, and as the debate gathered steam, contributions, comments, flickr photos and twitter streams rolled in from more than 50 additional participants to shape and envision possible futures.
Download booklet (pdf)
Information will be used as money (transcript)
Ethan Zuckerman, who specializes in the implementation of transformative technological innovations in developing countries, observes how a system for transferring money in Uganda has anticipated a trend in the use information such as cell phone credits as a viable currency for day to day transactions. These alternative payment systems will be mediated by phone companies and anyone who is in the business of turning money into information.
Shedding new light on Kenyan violence (transcript on same page)
Ethan Zuckerman describes a project called Ushahidi, a project which resulted from the elections in Kenya, that allows anyone around the world to gather reports by mobile phone, email and the web – and map them.
Mobile reporting deepens global narratives (transcript on same page)
If we don’t have reporters in Gomah, but we do have a lot of connected citizens in Gomah, how do we take advantage of that? How do we take advantage of their ability to witness and report, and how do we knit that together into narratives that tell us something we didn’t know previously?
“I’d love to see a boom of cheap m-banking software, designed by people who know how poor people want to use their phones. Although lower-income, non-Western users make up 80% of the world’s new mobile consumers, the guys in Finland, Sweden and South Korea still decide how people’s phones look and feel. But for how long? I’m interested, because I expect usability to be one key in how fast poor people are willing to adopt mobile-based financial services (which CGAP believes can blow open the frontier for access to finance for the poor).”
“Researchers at the Center for Future Banking, in collaboration with Bank of America, will explore how emerging technologies and insights into human behavior can transform the customers’ experience and elevate the role of the bank in their financial lives. We seek to invent new ways to anticipate the needs and desires of customers down to the level of the individual, to put every customer in total control of his or her own financial futures, to rethink the experience of customer-bank interaction as virtual and physical reality become increasingly intertwined, and finally to leverage the unique position of a bank to make people’s lives simpler and more fulfilling.
The Center brings together disciplines ranging from behavioral economics, to computer science, to urban design in order to take a truly holistic approach to imagining and realizing new possibilities in banking. Its research will span a wide range of physical and social scales, from one-on-one interactions with customers, to new modes of global transactions.
AT&T Associate Professor Deb Roy, chair of MIT’s academic program in Media Arts and Sciences and a pioneer in cognitive modeling, communication theory, and human-machine interaction, serves as the Center’s founding director and principal investigator. He is joined by a multidisciplinary team of researchers and students with a passion for invention—a team that is not only developing new ideas for the banking industry, but also building and testing working prototypes.”
Make sure to also check out the somewhat hidden Macro Trends section.
He said that web technologies like remote cameras can enable individuals to bypass traditional financial systems and engage directly in transactions like mortgages and business loans. Assuming we can created a mechanism to establish trust and legal guarantees he sees the potential for the rapid emergence of a new type of economy.
Ariely also outlined the requirements that are necessary to facilitate remote access financial transactions including a good technology for reputation, guarantees and legal language.
Dan Ariely is the author of the best-selling book, Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, (HarperCollins).
Join us for a workshop to explore alternative methods of exchange. The focus is on a possible future ecosystem – in a new world where today’s ageing, less useful and even dangerous financial systems are replaced by (or mixed with) more disruptive innovations and exchanges. Imagine yourself deprived of all of today’s financial resources. Maybe you’re a refugee or stateless. Yet you still have your handset and laptop and Internet and a broadband cellphone connection….
This is one of the provocations posed on KashKlash , an open forum and web project focusing on alternative economies in a post-money future. What will such a world look like? How will the concept of value be measured? What concepts will shape the formal and informal economies? Bright thinkers from around the world came together to discuss, debate and ideate in this innovative and exciting project.
KashKlash is a collaborative project between Heather Moore of Vodafone, Irene Cassarino, Mark Vanderbeeken and Michele Visciola of Experientia and a group of independent visionaries. The project started with four bright and innovative provocateurs, Nicolas Nova, Joshua Klein, Bruce Sterling, and Régine Debatty, and as the debate gathered steam, contributions, comments, flickr photos and twitter streams rolled in from more than 50 additional participants to shape and envision possible futures.
Intrigued? We are looking forward to exchanging ideas with you. See you at the workshop!
Lifestream – Visualizing my data
Explorations of large quantity information visualization
Current technologies allow people to capture, warehouse and retrieve vast amounts of data; more information than we can comprehend as individuals – more than we will ever need. As we move through our days, generating text messages, phone calls, photos, documents, and their inherent metadata, we are not conscious of the cloud of information that we create and carry with us.
In a world where we are constantly bombarded by more information than we can process, it is tempting to entrust this information to computers to store and organise for us. It is tempting to think that the more we store, the safer our memories and important ideas are. We let paradigms that are logical for computers govern the way our personal data is organised and accessed, at the expense of more human forms of interaction.
This workshop explores new paradigms to overcome the defects of current visualization methods. How can interfaces support traditional ways of coping with large amounts of information? How best can we facilitate such cognitive processes such as forgetting and constructing memories? Can our data be presented to us in such a way that it accrues layers of meaning, enhances nostalgia about our past, keeps us in contact with the present, while aiding us in thinking ahead? How can we design information patterns to make visible the connections, patterns and coincidences in our lives, remind us of favourite memories and moments, and allow all that is no longer relevant to fall away like dust.
The workshop by Willem Boijens, Vodafone, and Jan-Christoph Zoels, Experientia will introduce insights and examples of information visualizations, engage the participants in interactive exercises and team discussions.
I might want to add that the original concepts on both projects stem from Willem Boijens (Vodafone) as well, who was also the driving force in making sure that these projects would be presented at the LIFT conference.
A third workshop might be added still. More soon.
Around the globe, various initiatives use the mobile phone to provide financial services to those without access to traditional banks. Yet relatively little scholarly research explores the use of these m-banking/m-payments systems. This paper calls attention to this gap in the research literature, emphasizing the need for research focusing on the context(s) of m-banking/m-payments use.
Presenting illustrative data from exploratory work with small enterprises in urban India, it argues that contextual research is a critical input to effective “adoption” or “impact” research.
Further, it suggests that the challenges of linking studies of use to those of adoption and impact reflect established dynamics within the Information and Communication Technologies and Development (ICTD) research community.
The paper identifies three crosscutting themes from the broader literature—amplification vs. change, simultaneous causality, and a multi-dimensional definition of trust—each of which can offer increased theoretical clarity to future research on m-banking/m-payments systems.
If you missed the presentations, or if you’d like to hear them again, you can now access the archived presentations and video.
Introduction by Elizabeth Littlefield, CEO of CGAP
Session 2: Buildng a viable, motivated network of agents
Moderator: Mark Pickens (CGAP); Panelists: Nick Hughes (Vodafone Group), Sam Kamiti (Equity Bank, Kenya), Carl Johan Rosenquist (c/o Maldives Monetary Authority)
The Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion will be the first to explore how the world’s poorest people spend, store and save money. The institute will study how these habits are affected by the emerging mobile banking industry, known as “m-banking,” which could make financial services and the security they provide available to millions of poor people for the first time.
It also will fund research in developing countries, host conferences and provide scholarships to those who conduct such research. An archive on the emerging m-banking industry for use by researchers in the U.S. and around the world also is being planned. […]
UCI anthropologist Bill Maurer will serve as the institute’s founding director. He is widely known for his research on the anthropology of money, finance, law and property.
The institute officially launched Thursday, Sept. 18, at the beginning of the “Everyday Digital Money” workshop, that Putting People First reported on earlier.
“There are no cheaters ’cause in my system cheating is the most positive activity.”
“Faulty residents are charged with negligence and sent to live in ‘financially active’ communities.”
“[The will be] a never-ending variety of new richness values that makes the informal economy supremely superior to the current nonsensical cash culture.”
KashKlash (see also here) is a lively public domain platform where you can debate future scenarios for economic and cultural exchange. Beyond today’s financial turmoil, what new systems might appear? Global/local, tangible/intangible, digital/physical? On the KashKlash site, you can explore potential worlds where traditional financial transactions have disappeared, blended, or mutated into unexpected forms. Understand the near future, and help shape it!
The questionnaire is still open and it takes five minutes to compile. Please fill it out.
And if you are a Facebooker, you can also go here.
With the banking sector moving towards consolidation, it is crucial that customers are understood, reacted to and rewarded for their loyalty. With the UK office of national statistics estimating that almost half of the UK population is now banking online, the role of the website in the customer journey has never been more important to financiers.
Our best advice is for banks to follow the examples set by some of the big online giants who we monitor. When looking at several of our top-rated commercial online retailers, their sites are well optimised, regularly updated and contain clear content and strong usability.
(via Usability News)
The workshop examined this emerging, complex, and unevenly distributed landscape of digital money innovation from cultural, psychological, legal, artistic, technological, and industrial perspectives, in order to identify key topics for future research within and across disciplines; such as:
- M-banking, m-payment, and electronic remittance systems
- Design tradeoffs; e.g., security/accountability vs. accessibility/empowerment
- Financial literacies and numeracies
- Regulatory conflicts and opportunities
- Formal and informal experimentation with new electronic moneys
- Connections to physical and virtual mobilities
The workshop blog contains a lot of materials, including the presentation abstracts of each of the sessions:
- Opening keynote: Money in the Digital Revolution by Professor Keith Hart (Goldsmith’s College and author of the book “The Memory Bank: Money in an Unequal World” – make sure to check out his very rich informational blog)
- Session 1: Alternative monies – contributors: Hugo Godschalk (PaySys Consultancy), Peter Etherden (CESC.net), and Michael Linton (Open Money)
- Session 2: Credit and debit cards – contributors: Hélène Ducourant (University of Lille I), Timothy de Waal Malefyt (BBDO & Parsons, The New School for Design), and Allison Truitt (Tulane University)
- Session 3: Innovation design and adoption – contributors: Jan Ondrus (ESSEC Business School), Tapan S. Parikh, Jenna Burrell, and Coye Cheshire (UC Berkeley), and Kazi Huque and Narayan Sundararajan (Grameen-Intel)
- Panel discussion with Julia Elyachar (Professor of Anthropology, UC Irvine), Amolo Ng’weno (Senior Program Officer, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) and Paul Thomas (Chief Economist, Intel)
- Session 4: Online money – contributors: Prashant Dewan and David Durham (Intel), Subhashini Ganapathy, Delbert Marsh, and Glen J. Anderson (Intel), and Bruce Davis (Freemarket)
- Session 5: Designing new experiences – contributors: Daisy Ginsberg (Royal College of Art) and Wendy March (Intel), and Scott Mainwaring (Intel) and Camellia George (California College of the Arts)
- Session 6: Mobile payments and transfers – contributors: Charles Bassey (Central Bank of Nigeria), Jenna Burrell (UC Berkeley), Olga Morawczynski (University of Edinburgh), and David Pedersen (UC San Diego)
- Closing keynote: Re-examining M-banking: Linking Adoption, Impact, and Use by Jonathan Donner (Microsoft Research India)
Some papers and presentation slides are available on various websites, including
- Money 2.0 by Michael Linton (Open Money)
- Why mobile payments fail? An analysis of the Swiss case by Jan Ondrus (ESSEC Business School)
- Facilitating richer exchanges using mobile technologies by Tapan S. Parikh, Jenna Burrell, and Coye Cheshire (UC Berkeley)
- Why alternative monies? by Paul Thomas (Chief Economist, Intel)
- Social life of money by Bruce Davis (Freemarket)
- Digital money in a digitally divided world: nature, challenges and prospects of ePayment systems in Africa by Charles Bassey (Central Bank of Nigeria)
- Examining the Adoption and Usage of m-banking: The Case of M-PESA in Kenya by Olga Morawczynski (University of Edinburgh) – related paper
- Re-examining M-banking: Linking Adoption, Impact, and Use by Jonathan Donner (Microsoft Research India) – related paper
Further browsing unearthed additional resources such as:
- Book: Money – Ethnographic encounters edited by Stefan Senders and Allison Truitt
- Exhibition: The Anthropology of Money in Southern California
- Presentation: Getting the Numbers Straight: Mobile Phone Usage Explained, a presentation by Tino Kreutzer on patterns of mobile/mobile internet use among low-income teens in urban Cape Town
- Presentations: Mobile use by micro and small enterprises; Bending ‘the rules of beeping’ for social marketing (miss calls); and M-banking/M-payments for social impact by Jonathan Donner (make sure to check out his excellent blog)
- Project: SeeShell
- Resources: Links and Glossary on Everyday Digital Money blog
The researchers presented their findings at the Day Zero press event for the Fall IDF conference.
They also created Navigating Future Moneyscapes, a comic-like scenario and personas to help convey their findings about the emerging global landscape digital money.
One size does not fit all
- Monetary literacies: There is no single or “best” practice with which to locate money in daily life, and the changing financial landscape requires on-going reassessment and skill development.
- Currency wrangling: People juggle public and private money forms (cash, credit and debit cards, loyalty points, airline miles, etc.) and create their own earmarked subdivisions.
People use money socially
- Relational banking: People consume financial services, but also produce them in the form of loans, donations, and partnerships with family, friends, and valued groups.
- Expressive consumption: Not just what we buy, but how we buy it, is an important part of constructing our individual, cultural, regional, and political identities.
The project seems to be quite related to another Intel initiative, with MA students in the Design Interactions Department at the Royal College of Art exploring the future of money when it disappears as a physical currency.
“Wells Fargo hired Pentagram in the fall of 2005 to begin work on a new user interface for their ATMs. Wells Fargo was in the process of upgrading their ATMs with touchscreen monitors. This was a relatively slow process, since there are about 7,000 ATMs in the field, and any upgrades are expensive. But with the vast majority to be converted during 2007, this was the perfect time to create a fresh UI that would fully utilize the touchscreen capability.”
(via Thinking & Making)
“Consumers seek meaning and a brand they can trust. They are busy at work on Web 2.0 platforms creating ways to cut through the noise in search of products and services that resonate with integrity and transparency; in a word, authenticity. That quest for authenticity is a call to action for any company intending to be relevant in the 21st century.”
“As the marketplace has shifted, so too must design. A single, beautifully designed product is nothing more than a beautiful object without the focused intent of a company that has taken the time to understand three things: the deep-seated desires of its customers, its own DNA, and the sweet spot where the two overlap.””
oung, tech-savvy South Koreans are making coupon clipping a thing of the past and turning to their mobile phones instead.
Some of the fastest-growing mobile phone services in the country let retailers send discount coupons and users send gift certificates for anything from lattes to movie tickets through their handsets.
The merchandise vouchers have a barcode embedded in the message. Users show the coupon on the screen and retailers scan the barcode to apply the discount. […]
SK Telecom rolled out a service a little more than a year ago called a “gifticon” that allows users to send gift vouchers for items such as convenience store merchandise and pizzas via mobile phones. The sender is billed for the cost of the goods.
(Papers are linked to their pdf downloads, if available.)
From meiwaku to tokushita!: lessons for digital money design from Japan [abstract]
Authors: Scott Mainwaring (Intel Research), Wendy March (Intel Research) and Bill Maurer (UC Irvine)
Abstract: Based on ethnographically-inspired research in Japan, we report on people’s experiences using digital money payment systems that use Sony’s FeliCa near-field communication smartcard technology. As an example of ubiquitous computing in the here and now, the adoption of digital money is found to be messy and contingent, shot through with cultural and social factors that do not hinder this adoption but rather constitute its specific character. Adoption is strongly tied to Japanese conceptions of the aesthetic and moral virtue of smooth flow and avoidance of commotion, as well as the excitement at winning something for nothing. Implications for design of mobile payment systems stress the need to produce open-ended platforms that can serve as the vehicle for multiple meanings and experiences without foreclosing such possibilities in the name of efficiency.
Human-Currency Interaction: learning from virtual currency use in China [abstract]
Authors: Yang Wang (UC Irvine) and Scott D. Mainwaring (Intel Research)
Abstract: What happens when the domains of HCI design and money intersect? This paper presents analyses from an ethnographic study of virtual currency use in China to discuss implications for game design, and HCI design more broadly. We found that how virtual currency is perceived, obtained, and spent can critically shape gamers’ behavior and experience. Virtual and real currencies can interact in complex ways that promote, extend, and/or interfere with the value and character of game worlds. Bringing money into HCI design heightens existing issues of realness, trust, and fairness, and thus presents new challenges and opportunities for user experience innovation.
UbiPay: conducting everyday payments with Minimum User Involvement [abstract]
Authors: Vili Lehdonvirta (Helsinki Institute for Information Technology), Hayuru Soma (Waseda University), Hitoshi Ito (Waseda University), Hiroaki Kimura (Waseda University) and Tatsuo Nakajima (Waseda University)
Abstract: As services embedded into public spaces become increasingly transparent, one peripheral aspect of use continues to demand explicit user attention: payment. UbiPay is a system that carries out small everyday payments in a way that minimises user involvement by choosing an interaction method based on context information. The aim is to make paying like breathing: something we are only peripherally aware of unless we exert our resources beyond the usual. This has powerful implications for business and design.
The new research center, which will be located at the Media Lab on the MIT campus, will […] explore new ideas in banking by inventing technologies that reveal and leverage insights across a wide range of physical and social scales, from one-on-one customer interactions to global transactions. Researchers will address such questions as:”“How can every customer be empowered with the knowledge and tools to take better control of their financial futures?” “How will banking interactions evolve as a customer’s physical and virtual worlds become completely intertwined?” and “How will social networks and mobile platforms transform customers’ banking experiences, making it easier, more convenient, and better integrated with their daily lives?”. […]
Professor Deb Roy, Chair of MIT’s academic program in Media Arts and Sciences and a pioneer in cognitive modeling, communication theory, and human-machine interaction, will serve as the Center’s Founding Director and Principal Investigator. “The Center sets the stage for potentially path-breaking research that will tap into core Media Lab capabilities and extend them in exciting new directions,” says Roy. “We will create a focus of intellectual energy that brings together researchers with radically different perspectives, including behavioral economists, social scientists, computer scientists, psychologists, designers, and others who share a passion for innovative thinking. It’s a recipe for producing unexpected new ideas that will trigger significant innovations in the world of banking.”
(via a thousand tomorrows)