Indeed, far too often, people with a permanent disability (physical, mental, age-related ...) are not only financially marginalized but are also considered easy targets for scams/fraud attempts. This makes them considered “risky clients” by the banks, which is why they are currently excluded from banking services or are provided with a service which does not suit their needs. Even though the development of online banking seems to be a good solution for customers with physical disabilities, the use of a website can remain a challenge for some. Some offers have started to appear in the UK, but the French banking system is still unable to provide offers suitable for an enormous part of the population
What it does
The banking service provided by HandPay will solve this problem by providing an app that will meet the specific requirements (both technical and financial) associated with a handicap. The app - with a double interface for the possible guardians to better manage the finances of their loved ones- will provide access to banking solutions through a system adapted to a type of disability (for example: an auditory environment -via OCR- for people with reduced vision). The app -through AI- will also provide a secure environment (in addition to the management of their guardians) to protect them from the risks of fraud and scams.
Each user will be able to customize his/her financial space within the app according to his/her needs (in terms of disability). For example: A person suffering from a reduced vision will be able to validate a payment/transfer via facial or digital recognition. A robot-advisor will also be able to assist him/her by voice, along with Optical Character Recognition. Additional services like the receipt of bank statements in Braille can be set up A person suffering from autism (with shyness) will be able to benefit from a virtual counselor via a chatbot using a simpler and more concise/comprehensive language A person suffering from hearing problems will also benefit from this chatbot -just like a robot-advisor- A person with reduced mobility will be able to use these robot-advisors, saving them from going to agencies (which are sometimes poorly equipped)
How I built it
We have tried to design the app as best for people with disabilities. Our solution is based on observations and the product was designed according to need, not a product that creates it. That's why we conducted a survey, which has not yet received enough responses to be usable. We also used two Finastra APIs allowing us to return payment information and an IBAN reader.
Challenges I ran into
For now, we have to deal with two major issues. The first one, is about our tech skills. Indeed, the six of us came from a financial background, so we have few coding abilities and there are not sufficient to build the ambitious project that we have. In that case, we have to find people with such aptitudes, and thanks to our network, we easily met those guys and strated the IT process. The other one, is the fact that we can not see each anymore other because of the confinement due to the sanitary situation. It compels us to reorganize our ways of work. We had to adapt ourselves to the agenda of each of us , we had to communicate and work as a team with limited communication tools. However, as we are used to all these technologies, we were easily able to be agile, and we managed to work efficiently even with the distance.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
As the project is a newborn and strated only from October, we have reahc only few milestones. But, we are proud of our project, among all the ideas we brought, it was the only one which was a big hit and everyone agreed about it. We trully believed that, we can bring an optimal solution for disabled people in a current context in which there is a lack of answer to their needs.
What I learned
We learned how to work as a team, that is to say how to delegate, to split the tasks. Also, we learned as to manage a team an incentive everyone to bring something new. And most of all, we learned how to think out of our academic vision. As we have to face a concrete issue without current solution, we had to think differently, and implement strategies far from the theoricals we learned.
What's next for HandPay
We hope that HandPay will initially raise awareness among the global public but also a bank. As impact investments are more and more important, we hope that handpay will awaken the curiosity of banks and neobanks.