When you talk about innovation and technology when it comes to online / internet based payments these days, the conversation often turns to Bitcoin, the innovative new monetary system that’s being used more and more around the globe. However, despite the increasing number of retailers that are beginning to use them and it’s run-up in value, there are quite a few other financial innovations that are playing more of a role in the daily lives of people around the world than Bitcoin, at least for now.
These innovations are changing things at a quicker scale, from how the average small business owner goes about business on a daily basis to how farmers in Uganda are handling their finances. Below are 10 of these financial innovations that, as far as the actual changes they’re making in our daily lives, are having a bigger effect than Bitcoins.
1) Paga. In Nigeria there’s a new service that allows you to quickly and conveniently make and receive payments instead of using the long lines that are usually found at ATM machines and banks. It’s called Paga and it just passed 1 million registered users back in November of 2013.
2) InVenture. One of the reasons that BitCoin has become so popular is because, as a new crypto-currency, it allows people without access to financial services to pay and get paid all over the world. InVenture is already helping people to do that using their standardized credit scoring system, something that will help the nearly 3 billion people who fall into that category worldwide.
3) Venmo. Want to send a payment through your smart phone with a simple text? Then you need Venmo, which allows you to do just that and has been advertised on subway cars all over New York City as of late.
4) Simple. If you’re looking for free online banking that lets you take advantage of ATM withdrawals at no cost, free checking account balance tools as well as tools to let you tag and categorize your purchases and deposit checks, then all you need is Simple, a new online bank that lets you do it simply, quickly and for free.
5) Splitwise. Let’s say you just went on to weeklong ski trip to Vail with 4 of your best friends and each of you paid for different parts of your vacation at different times. Using Splitwise, you can sort out who owes what easily and quickly and keep those friendships going after you get back.
6) M-Pesa. In Kenya, over 50% of the adult population is using M-Pesa to send money to relatives, pay utility bills, pay for shopping and even pay for taxis. You can now find the service in India, Tanzania, Afghanistan and South Africa as well.
7) Stripe. Startups looking to build user-friendly payment interfaces for their mobile apps or websites can use Stripe to do it.
8) Balanced. One of Stripe’s competitors, Balanced is a bit less cumbersome since it doesn’t require every client to sign up for it in order to use it.
9) Cover. Going out with a big group of friends for dinner? Trying to figure out the bill afterwards is sometimes worse than trying to ask Congress to pass a bill. But with Cover you can prearrange payment for that bill and, once the ordering is taken care of at whatever restaurant you choose, Cover takes care of the rest.
10) Ripple. Possibly the most ambitious of all of these new 10 innovations, Ripple simply wants to change how money is transferred on the Internet. If they have their way, the system that banks now use to transfer money will be completely replaced by a different and cheaper “rail” system.