May 12, 2020 – Islamabad: Karandaaz has announced the launch of a new programme to subsidize design thinking services for Digital Financial Service (DFS) providers offering products and services through mobile and web-based platforms. Karandaaz aims to promote digital financial products and services that address the needs of the customers; create more valuable, appealing, and user-friendly solutions; and expand financial inclusion in the country. More often than not, digital financial products are complex when presented digitally and hence many customers are reluctant to use them. This builds a gap in trust leading to lower adoption. Creating the products using Design Thinking lowers the complexity and improves customer trust and adoption. Many upcoming DFS providers are unable to engage the services of expert design thinkers while developing solutions due to the paucity of resources resultantly missing out on critical insights, skills, and knowledge of international best practices. Subsidy offered by Karandaaz will bridge this gap and improve the efficacy of homegrown solutions.
The range of services covered under the programme includes design research, user experience design, user interface design, usability audit, and product and service design. DFS providers who are operating in payments, savings, credit, customer acquisition, lending, mobile wallets, e-commerce payments, digital on-boarding, account opening, and digital security etc. are eligible to apply. More details about the programme and the application form can be found on Karandaaz website at https://karandaaz.com.pk/design-thinking/
Rehan Akhtar, Chief Digital Officer Karandaaz shared, “A great design is crucial to creating trust with the customers while interacting digitally. A user-centric design is not usually intuitive as widely believed by product managers; it requires a design expert to unearth key user insights that when used in design can create a wow in user experience. Interested DFS providers can avail of these subsidized services after a due diligence process through a panel of design firms selected by Karandaaz. The design firms will bid on each assignment and the lowest bidder will be awarded the contract. Half the cost of the project will be borne by the applicant, while Karandaaz will bear the other 50 percent or up to PKR 500,000, whichever is lower. Karandaaz has selected three industry leaders after a competitive process: Ideate Innovation, Systems Limited, and Designist to offer design thinking services.”
Ali Sarfraz, CEO Karandaaz said, “A digital financial service or product must offer an intuitive experience to customers. In today’s economies, people and businesses need to bank anywhere and anytime, especially after the outbreak of a global pandemic that the world is still grappling with. It is imperative that every solution and service created is responsive to the emerging situation and caters to the wide spectrum of consumer segments; understanding their specific needs and behaviors. The customer-centric design of a solution is more critical than ever to ensure that not only are we widening the base of financially included but also making sure that the customers stick to using these solutions for the ease in comparison to conventional banking channels. I hope that the design thinking as a service programme of Karandaaz will incentivize innovators in Pakistan to spend more time and effort in making their solutions more user friendly and responsive to local needs.”
According to a State Bank of Pakistan report titled “Digital Financial Services Innovation Challenge Facility”, estimated the market potential of Digital Finance Services in Pakistan to cross USD 36 billion by 2025, providing a 7% boost to the GDP, creating 4 million new jobs and resulting in USD 263 billion in new deposits. National Financial Inclusion Strategy notes that while there are 120 million SIM cardholders in Pakistan, only 7% of Pakistani adults had used mobile money either through their own or others’ accounts. Over the counter (OTC) transactions currently represent 80% of all digital transactions versus only 14% of transactions are direct wallet-to-wallet (account-to-account). This indicates that more focus is needed to come up with applications that are easy to use for regular customers on their own and have instinctual designs, ensuring more use cases.
Karandaaz Pakistan is supporting an increase in access to finance for unbanked populations including SMEs and individuals by leveraging digital technologies, commercial investments, developing and disseminating evidence-based insights, and encouraging innovation in financial space. Karandaaz has been funded by DFID and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.