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How companies can make intelligent decisions and deal with risk in a better way?

Simon Edström CEO at Instantor

The last few years have been transformational for the banking system and underbanked population in India, with 66% more people having a bank account today compared to 2014. We know that having access to financial services can help people change their lives for the better.

At Instantor we know people are the most important part of everything we do. The people who work at Instantor. The people who work with Instantor. The people who use our products. With this in mind, to get the most out of AI and machine learning, the first and most important thing we need to do is to understand people. How does the timing of withdrawals relate to continuity of employment? What does it mean when someone regularly pays their bills? Is someone who has spiky cash spending more likely to default on a loan?

That’s what Instantor is all about. We understand the behaviours that lie behind bank transactions. We have reviewed millions and millions of bank transactions and we know what really matters. We help companies make intelligent decisions and deal with risk in a more logical and responsible manner.

One of the things motivating us is democratizing the financial system. We give companies the opportunity to reach many more people around the world and in many more nations than they would otherwise be able to access. As we have grown we have been able to increase the number of banks integrated and markets covered. We now offer access to half a billion people in 25 countries.

Recently at Stockholm Tech Fest, a gathering of over 30,000 industry experts and tech enthusiasts from across the globe,  we offered free access to our API for new customers until the end of the year. This gives startups an opportunity to explore the possibilities of what transactional data can be used for. We don’t pretend to have all the answers for what it can be used for, which is what makes this so interesting. We are trying to encourage start-ups, scale-ups, developers and companies wanting to try something different to try out their ideas with real data. We can’t wait to see what happens over the next few months.

It isn’t enough to simply gain access to data though. Relationships in the fintech industry in particular, but also in the whole financial sector, are built on trust. Trust between companies and trust between businesses and their customers. When their customers give us consent to access their data, they need to be able to trust us. Our customers know they can rely on us to provide a real-time, smart, secure, fast and easy service. We have spent 8 years developing our technology to help financial institutions make tough calls easy. We sure that everything is secure and that privacy is maintained throughout. We always have data privacy in focus when we work and that applies to everyone who works at Instantor.

Improved access to technology, the prevalence of mobile devices, and increased internet penetration levels have led to decreases in unbanked and underbanked rates. Establishing a solid banking system is a key part in developing any economy, but this does not happen overnight. Each market is different when it comes to the level of digitalisation of banking services, and each market has its own mixture of digital and face-to-face transactions. This means that the traditional methods of assessing a customer’s financial situation, which is always time-consuming, often don’t tell the whole story. Credit bureau data can contain outdated salary and loan information and regularly penalise customers whose file is consulted by multiple companies. Our combination of technology and insight into transactional data means that we can offer a more accurate assessment help our customers to act faster at less risk.

The number of adults in India with a bank account rose to 80% in 2017, a dramatic rise from only 53% in 2014. Of those, 36% were using digital services, demonstrating the increasing demand for digital banking in the region. In other areas such as retail and entertainment, trends in Indian consumers have been towards products and services that offer the best customer experience. Banks need to follow this trend and start offering products and services that meet the demands of their customers.

After initial skepticism towards the changes that arose through open banking, there has been a realisation it is possible for traditional banks, challenger banks and fintech companies to coexist. Banks are beginning to identify the potential in the new ideas and technology coming into the market and starting to partner with FinTechs to be able to offer the level of service expected in other industries. Our products and services are a compliment to their offering. They have existing processes for verifying ID and income, but we can help them to do it faster, fairer and more responsibly.

Our aim is to help as many people as possible enjoy the benefits that come from using digital banking. We want an open playing field for companies and consumers alike. We want to help make tough calls easy. We want people excluded by traditional credit bureaus to have access to products and services based on their real financial situation, rather than how they look on paper.