Financial technology (fintech) is a tricky space for innovation to thrive in.
While many will agree that banking services are in need of a refresh it’s rather difficult coming up with new ways to bank or transact when the data you need to test it on is so sensitive. We’re not keen on developers messing around with our bank accounts in hopes that they can shake things up a bit.
Fintech then is stuck between a rock and a complicated place, at least, until now.
Root, is an experiment being conducted by OfferZen and backed by Standard Bank that hopes to open up the fintech space to more developers.
Standard Bank involvement insures a users’ funds are secure as well as providing the underlying banking services and the regulatory framework within which Root operates.
“Developers are able to create solutions to problems in almost any industry, but are severely limited in the ﬁntech space by massive starting costs and barriers to entry,” co-founder of OfferZen, Malan Joubert says.
Root is made up of a Root account, an online interface, mobile app, APIs and a programmable credit card. This allows a developer to write code that interacts with transactions in real-time using OfferZen’s cloud-based RootCode.
“Through RootCode and other APIs to the bank account, users can quickly build any feature they dream up and easily integrate with other services to expand their account’s functionality,” said Root in a statement.
The firm goes on to provide an example of how this technology could be used.
Let’s say you give your daughter R500 pocket money each month, but you’re worried she might run out of money and be unable to afford an Uber home. So you write a little code and give her a Root card that a) gives her a limit of R500 per month, and b) lets her take as many Uber rides as she needs (enabling her to spend beyond the R500, but only for Uber)
Root is currently being tested in a private beta but the firm hopes to launch before the end of June this year. If you are a developer that’s interested in breaking into the fintech scene you can join the waiting list on the official Root website to get notified when the development tool is available.