This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures
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One of our portfolio companies, PipIT was just named one of the top ten payment and card providers by CIO Applications Group in Europe. PipIT is based in Galway, Ireland. PipIT enables the unbanked to send money around the world so they can pay bills. It’s digital cash, but it is not crypto or blockchain.
52% of the world’s population is unbanked. In developing nations where people may have a bank account, 25% of them go unused. Just having a bank account isn’t the total answer.
Here is a link to an article and interview with PipIT CEO Ollie Walsh describing how they do it and why they do it.
Here is a short video describing what they do.
One of the things that people underestimate is that a cashless society puts financial inclusion at risk. We talk a lot about income inequality and the lack of for poor people. When a disaster hits, like the situation in Venezuela, physical cash is a store of value and in demand. Going to an entirely digital society with no physical cash can make things very tough for people. What if there isn’t electricity? This can happen in natural disasters.
As PipIT says,
Financial inclusion is not about going ‘cashless’ but about increasing the ways in which people can use cash. Rather than drawing a line between the ‘haves’ with access to digital payments and the ‘have-nots’ whose don’t; innovative cash-friendly programs will boost inclusion by building upon the things that these communities know and trust best. Even when money is sent electronically, it is most often converted into cash.
A recent Bundesbank study found that paying with cash is still cheaper and faster. The study found that an average payment transaction at the point of sale takes around 22 seconds, compared with roughly 29 seconds for card and PIN payments and as long as around 38 seconds for card and signature transactions. In Germany, 75% of all transactions are settled using physical cash. If I am a bitcoin fan, I see this as opportunity. The reality on the ground is that many of these transactions are being executed by people without knowledge or access to bitcoin.
PipIT has signed up a lot of global service payments providers to be on their network. If you are interested in becoming a part of the network, click this link and they will engage you in a conversation on how to make that happen.