Decoding Fintech: Multilingual Support in Digital Finance
It’s no secret that fintech is revolutionizing the banking industry. From chatbots and digital wallets to blockchain technology, fintech makes accessing services and managing finances more accessible than ever. And that’s just on the customer side. Financial institutions can use it to streamline processes, improve customer service, and increase efficiency.
Fintech can even help you go global with digital banking services, cross-border payments, and regulatory compliance tools. In turn, international customers enjoy the convenience of mobile banking apps, currency exchange services at low costs, and secure transactions through blockchain technology. But digital services are only part of the equation.
With multilingual support, you can reach a wider audience while improving the customer experience internationally and domestically. That’s because customers prefer to bank in their own language—regardless of location. However, multilingual support is about more than speaking the customer’s language.
In this guide, we delve into the importance of multilingual fintech support, the challenges of implementation, and best practices to ensure your success.
Why Multilingual Support Matters
Let’s start by exploring the benefits of multilingual support, which will serve as the basis for developing a comprehensive strategy. Here are three reasons why multilingual support is worth the investment.
Expanding Global Reach
Unlike traditional banking, fintech isn’t confined to a specific region or country. If you offer digital banking services, it’s easier than ever to enter new markets. But to reach audiences from diverse linguistic backgrounds, you must provide a website, app, customer communications, and support in their language.
Take PayPal, for instance. The company operates in over 200 countries and territories and supports numerous languages. It provides localized checkout pages in any PayPal-supported language and locale. Given that, PayPal is well-positioned to cater to the needs of a diverse customer base.
Meeting Compliance and Regulatory Requirements
Despite the relative ease of international expansion, fintech remains subject to stringent regulations, including language-specific requirements. In the European Union, for example, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) mandates that businesses communicate data protection information in member states’ official languages. Failure to comply can result in severe penalties, making multilingual support a must.
Facilitating Financial Inclusion
Although fintech promises to promote financial inclusion, language barriers can hinder this goal. Financial services aren’t always available in local languages, which makes them difficult to access if you aren’t fluent in a country’s official language. Culture also plays a role in banking habits. Immigrants and ethnic minorities may not be as familiar with traditional financial services and may prefer alternative forms of payment.
For example, about 4.5 percent of U.S. households were “underbanked” in 2021, meaning no one had a checking or savings account. However, 12.2 percent of Hispanic American households were underbanked. To reduce disparities like these, Restart launched a digital bank for immigrant and ethnic markets. The app’s interface is bilingual in English and the user’s native language.
3 Common Challenges in Fintech
However, like any business venture, multilingual support presents challenges. Here’s what to consider as you develop a strategy.
The world has approximately 7,000 languages, each with unique nuances and complexities. Providing support for this linguistic diversity poses significant challenges for fintech companies. While major languages are a priority, addressing rare and lesser-known languages is equally critical to true inclusivity.
For example, say you want to launch a banking app in sub-Saharan Africa. You’d include support for major languages such as English, French, and Arabic. But to reach the broadest customer base, you must also offer local and regional languages like Swahili, Igbo, and Yoruba.
Language is intertwined with culture, so understanding linguistic nuances is essential in fintech. Beliefs about money, trust dynamics, and financial literacy can all shape people’s feelings about banking. Consequently, you need to understand the cultural context of your audience and tailor your messages accordingly to ensure a successful customer experience.
In China, for example, people widely use digital wallets like Alipay and WeChat Pay. So, if you’re targeting Chinese customers, you should integrate these payment methods and highlight their compatibility with your platform.
Localization vs. Translation
Multilingual support extends beyond translation. It often requires localization, which involves adapting the entire user experience to match cultural and linguistic preferences, including processes such as:
- Changing the user interface (UI) design
- Altering symbols and images
- Changing the default currency
- Adjusting time and date formats
- Adapting text to meet space constraints
- Adding integrations with local banks and platforms
The goal is to create a seamless customer experience, regardless of language or location. For instance, the UK-based digital bank Monese allows Turkish-speaking users to send Lira to Turkish banks at lower rates than high street banks. This feature demonstrates the company’s commitment to providing customers with solutions that meet their unique needs.
3 Innovative Ways to Offer Multilingual Support
Fortunately, technological innovations can help you overcome these challenges and improve customer experiences. Below are three industry trends that are propelling fintech forward.
AI-Powered Language Solutions
AI-powered language solutions have become indispensable in multilingual fintech support. Some popular tools include:
- Natural Language Processing (NLP): Chatbots and virtual assistants powered by NPL algorithms facilitate seamless customer interactions. Customers can ask questions, process transactions, and get personalized financial advice without waiting for a representative.
- Sentiment analysis: Sentiment algorithms analyze customer feedback across languages, helping financial institutions fine-tune their services. As a result, customers enjoy better experiences, and loyalty and profits increase.
- Machine translation (MT): AI-driven translation services help ensure financial documents and communications are translated accurately and quickly. Human translators can then review the translation to ensure accuracy before sending the documents.
Through AI, you can overcome language barriers, expand your global reach, and provide personalized support to customers everywhere.
Language Agnostic Design
A language-agnostic design is crucial for multilingual support because it ensures accessibility and scalability. By building chatbots and interfaces that don’t rely on specific languages, you can cater to global audiences without expensive adaptations. Plus, it streamlines development and maintenance while fostering inclusivity.
Remote Multilingual Support Teams
By embracing remote work, you can leverage a global talent pool, extend operating hours, and increase cost efficiency through reduced overhead. It also lets you quickly scale your support operations and integrate AI-powered chatbots. This approach improves response times and service quality.
10 Best Practices for Implementing Multilingual Support
As you can see, multilingual support is imperative for reaching a global audience and staying compliant. With that in mind, let’s shift to best practices. Here are ten steps you can take to ensure success.
- Comprehensive Localization: Don’t just translate the user interface but also all communication, documentation, and legal materials. And remember to make sure translations are accurate and culturally sensitive.
- User-Centric Design: Adapt the user interface to accommodate varying text lengths, character sizes, and right-to-left scripts. You should also conduct extensive testing to ensure readability and functionality.
- Global Compliance: Stay up-to-date with international financial regulations and tailor your fintech platform to comply with each region’s rules, including KYC (Know Your Customer) and AML (Anti-Money Laundering) requirements.
- Multilingual Customer Support: Offer customer support in multiple languages, including phone, email, and chat.
- Local Payment Methods: Accept local payment methods like digital wallets and region-specific credit cards.
- Multi-Currency Support: Allow users to transact and view balances in their preferred currency.
- Security and Privacy: Follow global standards for data protection and security, especially in regions with strict data protection laws, such as the GDPR in Europe.
- Testing and Feedback: Conduct thorough testing with native speakers and gather user feedback to identify and address language-specific issues or cultural nuances.
- Continuous Improvement: Monitor multilingual usage and engagement analytics to make data-driven decisions for ongoing improvements and expansion into new markets.
- Scalability: Design your multilingual infrastructure with scalability to accommodate future language additions and feature updates.
By following these best practices, you can successfully implement multilingual support, enhance user experiences, and expand your global presence.
Vistatec: Your Partner in Multilingual Fintech Support
In summary, multilingual support is no longer a luxury but a necessity in fintech. It drives financial inclusion, expands customer bases, and ensures compliance with regulatory requirements. That’s why overcoming linguistic diversity and cultural sensitivity is essential to success.
Nonetheless, implementing multilingual support requires careful planning and resources. And that’s where Vistatec comes in. Many of the world’s largest financial institutions turn to us to accelerate globalization, engage customers, and deliver high-quality personalized experiences. From translation and localization to software engineering, we can help you create digital products and services tailored to local markets.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you expand your global reach.