Oct 28, 2005

Why is enhancing the payment experience so important?

We are working on a new logo for Welcome and tweaking our mission statement to better fit who we are and what we do. The general approach we have taken is to start by describing something that looks like a mission statement, then asking “So what? Why is that so important?”, and go through several iterations of this to drill deeper toward a powerful mission statement that is exciting. We want to find something that appeals to anyone that comes in contact with Welcome, including customers, employees, partners, stakeholders, etc. I especially want to end up with something that makes our people proud knowing that they are doing something important. At the same time, we need to avoid something too cheesy that might not be genuine. A difficult exercise.

In the process of doing this, we looked through a set of documents and whitepapers from Visa, describing the positive impact of electronic payments on economic growth, increasing economic activity, GDP growth, economic access and inclusion and productivity growth. The reports point out that a cash-based society is a diminished society and show the benefit of using plastic as a way to begin banking the unbanked. See for example page 13 of “The Virtuous Circle: Electronic Payments and Economic Growth”:

“Roughly two-thirds of the world’s population is unbanked. Payment card products help to draw the unbanked into the banking system — promoting financial inclusion, institutional trust and capital accumulation, all of which build the foundation of a strong economy. When consumers transact in a world of cash, or in any form outside of the banking system, there is an immense loss both to them and to society. Individuals are excluded from the potential wealth gains that come from saving in an institutional world; the effective size of commercial markets is reduced; and credit for potential economic expansion is restricted because of an inability to funnel savings into investment. A cash-dominant economy is a diminished economy, unable to generate sustained wealth and growth. In developed economies, 60%-85% of the population holds bank accounts. Contrast that with less developed countries in which there is but 15%-25% penetration.”

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