Combining Technology and Touch to Reach More Women

Tuesday 31st August 2021

During the latest Fintech Friday, we heard from leaders at three fintechs on how they’ve successfully combined technology and touch to build trust with women. 

This lesson was top of mind for Buhle Goslar, CEO of Africa operations for Jumo, a provider of low-cost infrastructure and predictive analytics to banks and mobile payments operators across Africa and Asia. The company supports financial services providers serve hard-to-reach customers and has dispersed more than $USD 8 billion to 18 million people so far.

Doubling the share of women in their customer base from 20 to 40 percent meant Jumo adapting their sales funnel. This included creating “thin-file strategies” for approving women who lacked sufficient data because they had not yet engaged with mobile money systems even though they were credit-worthy. And recognizing that digitally inexperienced people need to understand and trust the platform before they use it, Jumo placed agents on the ground to take them through the customer journey step-by-step.

This “phygital” approach — mixing user-friendly digital technology with on-the-ground service — has also been a winning women-centered strategy for Wave Money, the leading mobile financial services providers in Myanmar with a network of 68,000 agents serving more than 26 million customers. Chief Commercial Officer Arvinder Grewal shared that women customers were key to Wave Money achieving a positive EBITDA in just two years from its launch: They account for 45 percent of the company’s monthly transactions while being just 28 percent of the customer base. This is driven largely by P2P transactions, which are high among women ages 40 to 50. Additionally, the rate of combined registrations and downloads — a highly desirable performance metric when taken together — is more than double for women customers.

For these reasons and more, Wave Money is focusing heavily on acquiring additional women customers. “If we increased our penetration of the women’s market by just 5 percent, we would see revenue jump by 11 to 12 percent very easily,” Arvinder told us.

To get there, Wave Money holds women-led events to build trust and also offers incentives for referring women customers, with a cost-per-install that’s 50 percent lower for women compared to men. 

Time is a key constraint for women, and Kubo Financiero, a startup fintech that has grown into a challenger bank in Mexico with savings and loans products, figured out that streamlining the onboarding process was key to acquiring female customers.

“Ninety percent of the company’s loan applications are completed on a mobile, and so you have to pay attention to how women use the phone,” CEO Vicente Fenoll told the group. “When they are on the mobile using the app, we are on mute, and the only way we communicate with the client is through the design and the text that’s on the app.”

Because of the highly regulated financial environment, applicants are faced with over twenty questions when applying. So, Kubo has worked to simplify the process by translating legalese into wording that people understand and reducing the text as much as possible. The company has also begun working with the government to change the language requirements to be more easily understood by people in Mexico’s many different regions.

Similarly, Jumo worked to simplify the wording used on its platform after realizing that language considered intimidating by women was causing high drop-off at particular stages of the customer journey.

The three participating fintechs unanimously agreed that the right combination of technology and touch within the marketing mix is key to being gender intelligent.

Watch this and previous #FintechFridays here.

Partnerships between fintechs and incumbents are key to success, and our next session on Friday September 3 will showcase successful partnerships in action. REGISTER HERE.