Fintech giant FIS has opened a financial inclusion lab in the Indian city of Bengaluru (Bangalore) that will work on developing ways to bring banking to the country's millions of underserved citizens.
The lab will operate as a hub for FIS as it works with business leaders, government organisations and NGOs across the country to create and test technology designed to help increase financial literacy for the majority of India’s unbanked population.
Despite its population of more than 1.2 billion, India has fewer than 500 million bank account holders. However, authorities are seeking to boost financial inclusion through regulatory change, recently giving "in-principle" approval to telcos and tech firms to operate as so-called payment banks.
With its rapidly expanding middle class and high mobile phone penetration, the country is also an attractive market to many, including Visa, which has just opened its own technology development centre in Bangalore that will house 1000 staff, as it prepares for the roll out of a new m-payment service.
One of the FIS lab’s first projects is the development of kiosk-based applications that can be deployed throughout the country to help promote financial literacy with students.
Raja Gopalakrishnan, EVP, global financial institutions, FIS, says: "FIS’ Financial Inclusion Lab will provide a platform for knowledge sharing and enabling high impact sustainability programs that can be utilized by banks and other financial institutions in the future."