Square has been at the forefront of financial services innovation wave. Aside from their dongles that allow just about anyone to take card payments, they’ve recently come out with a very slick solution called Pay with Square. The solution feels like a solid evolution of the over-awaited mobile wallet generation. Not only does it rid the merchants and the end users of the need to have an NFC-compatible device, but also enhances the transaction security though using photo ID instead of pins or signatures. The way it achieves this is by employing geofencing that alerts the merchants of the customers’ presences whenever they come within close range of the store, thus ridding the customers of needing to use their phones or cards whilst shopping.
I’ve been a fan of organisations such as Kiva and Zopa for a while now. Peer to peer loans make many-a-business-ideas and lives possible around the world and today I found out about an equivalent type of service for students in developing countries. Vittana is still in beta, but is already creating connections with many microfinance institutions in the developing countries to stimulate regional student loans.
I never fully agreed with the idea of free education, but I’ve always looked for systems that make it universally accessible whether through loans, scholarships or offering students part-time work. In principle, if you really want to go to university and you’re willing to work hard for it, nothing should stand in your way. If it’s complicated to get a loan in the EU, I can’t even imagine what it must be like in developing countries. Back in my student days, when I first moved to the UK, I was denied student loans in this country and the Polish banking system back home told me that since I’m not studying in Poland they didn’t want to have anything to do with me.
Education is a key way of changing societies, governments and the economies of developing countries. Ironically, the countries that most need educated people often cannot support their own domestic intellectual potential. Provided they take off, organisations like Vittana might be the single non-governmental way to allow more students to have a university education in developing countries.