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国际资讯监管与政策

印度最高法颁布新裁决 金融科技走向何方

国际资讯监管与政策

印度最高法颁布新裁决 金融科技走向何方

数字金融之路并不是一条笔直的大路。 作为金融科技重地之一,印度凭借重大问题的本国解决方案脱颖而出。为了将12亿公民中的一大部分纳入金融系统,印度已采取多项非货币化措施。比如,印度通过Aadhaar计划和一系列API,为金融科技公司提供许多其他国家未见的数字认证工具。但是不久前最高法院通过最新裁决,对印度金融科技界造成了巨大冲击。

什么是Aadhaar?

印度政府运行着世界上最大的公民生物识别ID系统。Aadhaar是一个基于12位数码识别的生物学数据库,数据包括虹膜和指纹扫描等生物识别数据,功能类似于社会安全号码,与移动SIM卡和银行账户绑定。Aadhaar是India Stack的支柱,是由政府、创业公司、企业和开发商组成的生态系统使用的一组API,服务12亿印度人,以实现无现金社会为目标。

印度金融科技初创公司使用数据库对新用户进行数字身份验证,因此Aadhaar这样强大的数据库十分有用。印度今年一季度的金融科技投资打破了记录,总量达到39次,而2013年同期仅为3次。而Aadhaar正是这种增长背后的其中一个原因。对于人口众多、人口统计学和地理位置方面多样化的国家而言,身份验证才是进入现代科技社会的真正障碍。

Aadhaar作为一个e-KYC平台,在验证银行系统不显示的无银行账户和无法获得银行账户的客户身份方面特别有用。

据统计,目前Aadhaar覆盖了99%拥有数字身份的印度人。

会发生什么变化?

上周早些时候,印度最高法院宣布,禁止私人公司获取Aadhaar数据。这意味着依靠Aadhaar提供贷款、互惠基金或保险的金融科技公司需要另寻他路吸引新客户。创业公司的成本将大大增加。在线支付解决方案提供商Razorpay首席执行官兼联合创始人Harshil Mathur表示,"目前e-KYC验证和准入花费为每人15美元,不久之后,使用同样验证程序,进行实物KYC人均花费将达到100美元。" 此外,规定出台之后,金融服务的速度也会被限制。 据估计,在印度,传统实物认证至少需要几天时间,而Aadhaar只需要几分钟。这项裁决必然会导致本地数字公司与金融机构竞争难度加大。

印度金融科技何去何从?

预计创业社区的成本和速度都将受到影响。印度消费者不得不接受更高的成本和更长的处理时间。而且影响很可能会传导到数字身份认证之外,金融科技公司筹集资金的难度将大大增加。

但有趣的是,这项裁决已经引发了印度金融科技公司数字化真实程度的评论。在世界各地的金融科技界,"先伪装后实现"的例子十分常见。从这个角度看,金融科技公司告诉投资者他们在做数字认证,而实际上,操作更多依赖的是手工流程。

一位匿名金融科技高管表示,"裁决内容会影响企业如何聚焦新客户,反过来也会影响投资者信心。"

The path to digital finance doesn’t run in a straight line. As a fintech destination, India stands out with its homegrown solutions to big problems. The country has made serious moves towards demonetization as it attempts to connect a large percentage of its 1.2 billion citizens to the financial system. The country, with its Aadhaar program and series of APIs, provides fintech firms with digital authentication tools unseen in many countries. But now, with a new ruling, the Supreme Court has dealt a blow to the Indian fintech community.

What is Aadhaar?

India runs the world’s largest biometric ID system on its citizens. Functioning like a social security number, the Aadhaar number is 12 digits long, can be linked to mobile sim cards and bank accounts, and include biometric data like eye and finger print scans. Aadhaar is the backbone of the India Stack — a set of APIs used by an ecosystem of government, startups, businesses and developers to power a move to a cashless society for 1.2 billion Indians.

Having such a robust database like Aadhaar has been a boon for Indian fintech startups that use the database to digitally authenticate new users. India has seen a record number of fintech investments in the first quarter of this year (39 versus just 3 in 2013) and Aadhaar is partially responsible. For such a populous and demographically and geographically diverse country, authentication was a real barrier to entry.

Aadhaar functions as a e-KYC platform that is particularly useful to authenticate the unbanked and underbanked, who were previously invisible to the banking system. Aadhaar covers 99 percent of Indians with a digital identity.

What changed?

Earlier this week, the Indian Supreme Court barred access to Aadhaar data by private companies. This means any fintech company that relied on Aadhaar to offer loans, mutual funds, or insurance needs to find another way to onboard new customers. This is expected to increase costs for startups.

“Till now, an e-KYC verification and on-boarding cost ?15 per person and soon the same verification will cost ?100 per person for a physical KYC,” Harshil Mathur, chief executive and co-founder of Razorpay, an online payments solutions provider, told LiveMint.

It also crimps the velocity of financial services. It’s estimated that old-school physical authentication takes at least a couple of days in India, while Aadhaar sped things up to a manner of minutes.

The ruling definitely makes it harder for digitally-native firms to compete against incumbent financial institutions.

Where does Indian fintech go from here?

Costs and speeds are expected to be affected for the startup community. Higher costs and slower processing times will be passed on to the Indian consumer. It’s possible that, pushed to the outside of digital identity, fintech firms will have a harder time raising capital, as well.

But interestingly, this ruling has spawned some honest comments about how digital Indian fintechs really are in the first place. There seems to be a lot of the fake-it-until-you-make-it, common in the fintech community around the world. Seen through this lens, digital authentication was something fintechs told their investors they did while in reality, their operations relied on much more manual processes.

“What this judgement does is affects the way in which we could target the next set of consumers which in turn loosens our pitches [to investors],” said one anonymous fintech executive to the Economic Times.


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