NEW DELHI: A smartphone widely believed to be priced below $50, likely the world’s cheapest, will start selling a week from now.
If Mukesh Ambani’s JioPhone Next, an Android device custom-built for India by Alphabet Inc’s Google, is a hit in the price-conscious market, it will solve one problem for banks while posing another.
With the country’s remaining 300 million feature-phone users going online, there will be a surge of customer data that can stand in for collateral. The question is, how will banks get their hands on it?
An answer has come from iSPIRT, a small band of policy influencers quietly setting up technology standards for India’s digital markets, inducing firms to enter new, open-network markets from online payments to healthcare.
The Bangalore-based group is championing a fresh set of players — account aggregators — to unlock a much sought-after prize: Bringing into the folds of formal credit the 80% of adults in developing countries (40% in rich nations) who don’t borrow money from traditional institutions.
But these people and their micro enterprises are increasingly online thanks to innovations like JioPhone Next. They’re paying rents, rates and utility bills and receiving payments on their smartphones, scattering their footprints all over the internet.
Account aggregators will gather those digital crumbs for people to share their own data in a machine-readable format for a bank loan application.
Introducing a layer of consent managers is…