Embedded Finance: A New Dawn for the Public Sector
By Ivo Gueorguiev, Co-founder, E-money institution Paynetics
When we discuss innovation and developments in finance services, the public sector in the UK often remains overlooked. This is understandable as the public sector is rarely associated with innovative solutions. The latest ONS figures indicated that the UK’s economy has grown by 1.8% since the pandemic started, whereas the previous estimate was a 0.2% contraction. Despite this growth, the strain of a nationwide economic downturn has left the public sector ill-prepared to deal with the escalating cost of living.
As the pressure mounts, it becomes increasingly evident that the public sector needs innovative solutions to meet the demands of local communities, prioritising convenience, simplicity, and inclusivity. Businesses must rise to the occasion, addressing public sector demands such as the need for more accessible healthcare services, educational resources and efficient transportation services, all in a scalable and cost-effective manner. Failing to meet these demands risks impact delivery and erode the fragile trust of the public further. Embedded finance offers a light at the end of the tunnel to address these urgent challenges, boosting public sector efficiency and dismantling barriers to financial inclusion.
Decoding consumer expectations
Consumer expectations today have evolved drastically – people now demand more convenience, simplicity, and personalised interactions when engaging with public services. They expect the same efficiency and user-friendliness they experience with other online platforms, including apps to manage their finances or shop online. The fintech revolution has democratised payments and levelled the field, removing wealth-based segmentation when it comes to expectations for user experience. Embedded finance stands out for its capacity to improve user experiences by seamlessly integrating financial services into non-financial platforms, to create a frictionless user experience.
For instance, it enables individuals to access personalised financial services within their preferred government platform, streamlining tasks like tax payments, benefit management, and budgeting. By digitising and integrating payment functions directly into applications, embedded finance greatly enhances financial inclusion and the overall customer experience.
According to Bain & Company, financial services embedded into e-commerce and other software platforms will exceed $7 trillion by 2026. This trend poses a challenge for those avoiding mobile payments but also presents a significant opportunity for the public sector. It can boost efficiency for businesses and empower the public sector to revamp its customer service.
Embedded finance can help various public sector components meet evolving consumer expectations and notably enhance operational efficiency. By simplifying financial transactions, reducing paperwork, minimising human intervention, and speeding up processes, it fosters trust and satisfaction among the government and its constituents while delivering better value for taxpayers’ money invested in the sector.
Delving into community needs
Embedded finance can give the public sector rich insights into local communities and their financial needs, which is more important than ever in our current economic landscape. With a heightened demand for financial services due to the cost of living crisis and economic uncertainties, understanding and addressing the financial challenges the general public faces is paramount. Through data analytics and real-time transactions, government agencies can deeply understand the economic dynamics at play within their jurisdictions.
For instance, analysing spending patterns and financial behaviours means authorities can respond proactively to the identified trends. This data-driven approach can be valuable in disaster response, economic development, and resource allocation. Data analysis enables the public sector to make informed decisions that better serve community interests.
In a world where financial stability and inclusivity are critical, embedded finance emerges as a timely solution. Embedded finance can bridge the gap between the public sector and the communities it serves to provide essential financial support to those who need it most.
Paving the way to financial inclusion
Inclusivity lies at the heart of a thriving society. Unfortunately, according to The Global Findex Database 2021, 1.4 billion people worldwide remain unbanked and excluded from essential financial services. Embedded finance creates opportunities for individuals and communities to break free from economic barriers and participate more fully in the modern economy.
With embedded finance solutions, governments can create digital wallets or accounts for individuals who lack access to traditional banking services through user-friendly platforms. In healthcare, for example, public health agencies can leverage embedded finance to simplify patient billing. Instead of navigating complex billing systems, patients can pay for medical services and prescriptions directly through a healthcare app – accessing the care they need.
The public sector can partner with fintech companies to harness industry expertise to develop targeted solutions that address the challenges faced by different communities. Moreover, partnering with fintech experts can provide practical advice on improving community confidence and educate them on the benefits of managing their money and paying online, fostering a more inclusive public sector service.
At this pivotal moment, the UK’s public sector is navigating treacherous waters stemming from a prolonged period of underinvestment. Nevertheless, there is a glimmer of hope in the form of embedded finance — with promises of heightened efficiency, deeper community insights, and the expansion of financial inclusivity.
A collaboration between businesses and government institutions is essential to seize the opportunity. By joining forces, they can unlock the full potential of embedded finance. The public sector can ensure that local communities have the financial convenience, simplicity, and inclusivity they urgently seek to lay the groundwork for a future that shines brighter and fairer for all.
The choice is clear: embrace embedded finance as more than a solution. It’s the key to a more equitable and promising future.