Article | April 15, 2020
Soon after, the World Health Organization declared the Novel Coronavirus outbreak an official pandemic, a sudden pandemonium busted across the globe. The COVID-19 crisis carries with it the potential equally disruptive economic fallout. It has brought a dominant shift in reality; in addition to the effects that the virus has had on our private lives, businesses in every industry are being forced to find innovative ways of operating on every level and the world of Fintech is no exception.
Investors began drawing out their money. The stock markets of the world collapsed. Central banks made off-cycle rate cuts and inserted liquidity to keep the economy running. The financial services are currently confronting challenges on multiple fronts: banks have reduced their opening hours serving a few customers at a time due to social distancing rules, putting additional stress on channels like telephone service, online banking, and social media.
Simultaneously, numbers of consumers are desperately trying to contact their bank with questions, concerns, issues, or to request appropriate solutions for their finances impacted by the fallout from the coronavirus. This is not the first or last global crisis. FinTech and banking companies of the 21st century need to be programmed to operate in such circumstances.
Being a fairly new sector, fintech companies are already well-positioned to adapt to a world that suddenly exists primarily online; most fintech platforms now exist in online formats anyhow. Still, the paradigm shift brought to the world by coronavirus is forcing the fintech sector to come up with creative solutions when it comes to supporting customers, building relationships, boosting company morale, and planning for the future in this unprecedented situation.
The behaviors that people can execute from their living room or from their den are going to grow, and behaviors that require face-to-face interaction or getting out into the community are going to diminish. What does that mean? You should have greater mobile apps and digital adoption in general. If I had been holding off on signing up for PayPal, for instance, I might just do that.
Nigel Morris, Managing Partner of QED Investors, Co-Founder of Capital One
“Fintech companies are probably some of the best-equipped organizations to take on this crisis.”
If you’re a Fintech, you’re probably no more than 10 years old and as a result, have built your backend and developmental stacks on cloud environments allowing for operations to continue anywhere. Also, many business-to-business (b2b) communication tools that FinTech companies have naturally adopted and made available to employees such as Slack, Teams, Skype have been more heavily leveraged. Legacy financial brands are more than likely finding this time to be a bit more difficult.
Paul Geiger, President, and Co-founder of Post-Trade Asset Management Firm Theorem Technologies
The coronavirus pandemic could be destructive for multiple companies, but it's also flashing a spotlight on the potential of fintech. It has the potential to revolutionize how consumers and businesses handle financial transactions. There will surely be hits and knocks along the way, but fintech can manage to make this transition a lot easier. Here’s how.
Table of Content:
- Moving Back to the Digital Infrastructure
- Utilizing Robotic Process Automation Software in Banking (Robo-Advisory)
- Acceleration of Cashless and Contactless Payment Methods
- Artificial Intelligence and Block chain Technology
- Fintech Firms Providing Free Technology During the Coronavirus Crisis
Moving Back to the Digital Infrastructure
As the number of cases ticks up in the U.S., many are choosing to go cashless to circumvent potential hygiene concerns around handling banknotes. Almost half of the world’s population is now practicing self-quarantine. Interaction between humans is limited. All the public gathering places are closed down. Businesses that rely on people coming in or the shops that are commonly crowded are now starting to close down.
The prevailing crisis will change our mindset and habits and make us re-evaluate our current way of doing things. All thanks to fintech, giving smaller communities a chance to keep their business open and operating. With digital payment options and online transactions, you can pretty much order any service, any product. You can even access your favorite types of entertainment online and all that without breaking the rules of self-isolation. Social distancing is the only effective method to fight the spread of coronavirus, and fintech has made this practice much more natural. Online services that we can pay for through fintech are now substantially covering every industry.
These digital services have become such an essential part of our lives, and we should be appreciative of how easy it is to quarantine these days. Ordering groceries, favorite food, watching the newest movies, stuffs delivered right to our door, all this is only possible, because of different financial technologies and digital payments that have made money transfer easy and secure.
Learn more: https://www.euronews.com/2020/03/19/next-day-delivery-the-challenges-for-retailers-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic
Utilizing Robotic Process Automation Software in Banking (Robo-Advisory)
Robo advisors, without human interference, provide automated support for all financial advisory services, such as trading, investment, portfolio rebalancing, and tax saving. It works with a pre-defined algorithm and analytics, calculating the best returns and plans for each individual as per his/her requirements and preferences.
The need for no-touch and low touch investment solutions, which can deliver more informed intelligent analytics back to the user, will be more important than ever. Robo advisors are the next level in the evolution of asset management and financial advice. For the banking industry, robotics outlines a unique and underutilized way to increase productivity while minimizing traditional repetitive and manual-labor-intensive processes. The growth of Robo advisory services is attributable to the fact that it enables low-cost services, scalability, cognitive advice, and next-generation user experience.
Though, for the next generation, virtual agents may be an acceptable help for financial matters. It is a fact that client advisors must fit with Robo-Advisors and artificial agents and a human-led technology-enabled model to a technology-led human-enabled business model in financial services.
Acceleration of Cashless and Contactless Payment Methods
The new coronavirus fears could be enough to introduce mobile and cashless payments to those who otherwise didn’t see the appeal.
Learn more: https://capital.report/blogs/how-open-banking-is-catalyzing-payments-change/8262
Before the outbreak, mobile payments in the U.S. had not come close to global adoption rates. In China, by contrast, more than 80% of consumers used mobile payments in 2019, according to management consultancy Bain. In the U.S., major mobile payments apps had adoption rates of less than 10%.
Major payment companies have already warned of the virus hitting U.S. spending. Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal have all cut guidance due to the coronavirus.
I think this is an opportunity for a move to digital. Zelle, PayPal, and online banking could see a boost. I believe this crisis will accelerate and move people to utilize all forms of digital financial services.
Peter Gordon, Executive Vice President and Head of Emerging Payments at U.S. Bank,
The mobile fintech payment service that facilitates easy online and oﬀ-line payments are reaching millions of people and can truly capture the under banked population.
The coronavirus crisis represents a huge opportunity to accelerate cashless and contactless payments. Retail and consumer payments are leading the way in the adoption of innovative payment capabilities aided by the growth in e-commerce and increased penetration of mobile phones. B2B opportunities are also gaining increased traction as a result of being more efficient and cost-effective. Some key trends in digital payments are:
This includes Near Field Communication (NFC) adoption, host card emulation and QR code generation for electronic interactions between consumers and retailers.
Adoption of payment hubs.
Banks are getting interested in looking at investing in harmonizing their payment infrastructure by moving to payment hubs. These hubs can process any form of payments irrespective of the origination channel.
This is transforming the retail funds' transfer process by providing electronic cash to anyone in the span of a few minutes. Peer to peer money transfers has been around for a while and have witnessed high growth.
Built on blockchain infrastructure this offers greater speed and efficiency of the transaction.
Rise of marketplace banks.
Challenger banks are being supported across geographies and given licenses to operate freely. Banks, by adopting open banking, has started exposing their APIs to third parties for large scale payments.
Omni channel offerings.
The framework of digital payments provides a seamless customer experience across channels leading to better transaction experience.
The future of payments was already revolutionizing with new entrants such as contactless payment, NFC enabled smart phones, cloud-based PoS, and digital wallets. The crisis will merely accelerate the desire to tackle the issues with these new banking technologies.
Artificial Intelligence and Block chain Technology
Artificial intelligence and machine learning built upon distributed datasets and shared information are used for dynamic and psychographic client segmentation based on behavior and automated investment services. The adoption of such technology will become pivotal for large financial institutions to manage their client base and investment portfolios efficiently. In fintech, blockchain finds application in areas like digital ID, customer authentication, insurance, to name a few.
Blockchain practitioners are experimenting with this technology to bring out new use cases and applications to solve the complicated issues in the fintech industry.
PWC’s study of financial services and fintech shows that about 77 percent of the financial services industry is planning to adopt blockchain by 2020. The blockchain sector in fintech has been intended to provide banking with a more seamless and efficient experience. We will soon see the process of cash to crypto and vice versa to become ubiquitous.
Blockchain asset management solutions are an alternative to offshore banking because there are substantial efficiency gains for cross-border transactions, for both private clients and businesses. Traditional banking and blockchain solutions will converge over the next decade with blockchain to become a commonly used technology in financial services.
Learn more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffkauflin/2019/12/26/five-fintech-predictions-for-2020-according-to-kleiner-perkins/#40c46b7d3d5a
So, when we look at these phases of development in the fintech sector, we understand that it’s not just about inserting technology into banking, there is a larger shift here. Part of the shift is around trust and the utility of the bank.
Fintech Firms Providing Free Technology during the Coronavirus Crisis
Right now, you will be feeling the need for more reliability in software and information. Luckily, some fintech companies and teams are there to alleviate these issues. To help banks help their customers through these difficult times, many fintech providers are extending free, discounted, or accelerated deployment offers to financial institutions.
Business downturns are not uncommon. Sometimes there are unexpected circumstances. During these periods of change, the winners and losers will be defined by those firms able to make quick and decisive transformation reflecting the new environment. This is not just true in banking but in every industry. Fintech companies from across the world are all-in when it comes to coping with the current global health crisis.
The progressions in digital technology are making the crisis more bearable and are empowering businesses to keep working with access to key services (communication, payments, credit, collaboration, etc.) while enabling social distancing and helping to fight COVID-19. We expect digital technology to experience another boost during and after the crisis.
Article | April 15, 2020
Fintech has drastically improved the products and the services of the traditional financial services in the past few years. However, even after many financial institutions have readily adopted fintech services, there are still some hidden risks in the aforementioned industry. For instance, the integration of the fintech services in the existing banking solutions raised a severe concern for data security. Also, the rapid growth of digital platforms made the fintech industry and its customers uniquely vulnerable to various breaches in IT security networks.
Article | April 15, 2020
What does it mean to be financially literate? Is it more important to be able to balance a checkbook or to understand the power of compound interest? Does a financially literate person pay down student debt or consumer debt first? And does a truly financially literate person even take on debt in the first place? A growing number of fintechs – many of them Finovate alums you’ll meet below – have devised innovative ways to help young people in particular, become better earners, savers, spenders, and investors.
Article | April 15, 2020
There is a huge transformation underway in the financial services industry. Over the past year – as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic – clients have been forced to take on more of an active role in monitoring and planning for financial uncertainty. But the big change is that these clients have become much more emotionally invested in their organisations’ financial wellbeing. In a time where everything is digital first, it’s no surprise that many clients want to be able to search for answers themselves, escalate issues quickly and receive the support they need to better navigate the uncertain economic landscape, at speed.
Of course, as clients demand a smoother and more fulfilling experience, we’re seeing a shift in how financial services companies manage their business model for success in the long term. Whilst, stereotypically, the financial services industry has been considered ‘old school’, and in many cases still lags behind other industries in the digital transformation race, the pandemic is proof in point that relying on legacy systems is just not an option for the sector anymore.
Thriving during turbulent times
The good news is that many organisations in the sector are already rising to the challenge, adjusting their products and services to meet the needs of customers who might have been struggling through the pandemic themselves.
Siemens Financial, a division of Europe’s largest manufacturing company, for example, moved quickly to scale their service to meet surges in customer needs. The financial arm provides B2B financing solutions to a large client base covering both small businesses and large corporations. When the pandemic struck, while the company was quickly inundated with requests for support, they had the right mindset and tools already in place to keep things running smoothly.
At the onset of the pandemic, the organisation witnessed a 30 percent increase in customer support ticket volumes. Like with all other businesses operating in the service industry, the team were challenged with managing a huge influx in client requests, whilst maintaining their core offering of delivering a personal service to every client. Based on a data-driven decision, the team moved its entire operation online, within 48 hours. In doing so, they were able to respond to new tickets during the peak of the pandemic within just six to seven hours, plus decrease resolution time from 24 hours to little more than eight. What’s more, they quickly moved the entire team to a remote working set up.
Frictionless digital services are paramount to remaining resilient in the face of COVID-19. Of course, for all organisations, this means saying goodbye to those spreadsheets used to track customer data and instead, embracing custom built support solutions providing real-time insights to support businesses in making decisions, at speed.
Investing now, for a successful future
However, for organisations who have more traditionally operated off of old or outdated legacy systems, it can be hard for them to visualise what a more digital way of operating could look like in practice. As you think about the road to recovery, it might therefore be worth considering where to invest first for the best return. For example, according to the Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report 2021, 67 per cent of customers are willing to spend more at a company providing them with a good experience. Whilst it may feel like the thriving organisations are the ones investing lots of money into CX technology, it’s clear that investment - or lack thereof - is being felt by customers too.
We’ve reached the digital tipping point - where holding at the status quo will actually put companies further and further behind. It’s about equipping your employees with the right technology, at the right time. We saw that Siemens Financial could keep track of customer conversations remotely, with minimal disruption. This is because the flexible platform they used to keep track of the customer experience provided their service agents with a 360 view of all clients’ prior interactions with the team. For example, whether they’ve used WhatsApp, the phone, or email to communicate with the brand, for customer experience agents using an omnichannel platform, the conversation looks the same.