The COVID-19 has prompted several countries to implement various modes of lockdown measures to contain its spread. Safe distancing has become the new norm and work from home has become the default option for many companies and organisations looking to strike a delicate balance between safety and productivity. As a result, it accelerated the adoption of digital payments across many industries.
The fact that using cash or physical bank notes could potentially help the spread of COVID-19 is just one of the factors. While there is no definitive conclusion on this matter yet, many government leaders are taking a cautious approach and are limiting the circulation of cash or bank notes in their system. For example, South Korea, China and the US Federal Reserve have implemented a process to disinfect their banknotes. In fact, “all Chinese banks must now literally launder their cash, disinfecting it with ultraviolet light and high temperatures, then storing it for seven to 14 days before releasing it to customers,” says CNN in its report.
Could these actions be considered extreme precautionary measures? Perhaps. But one thing is clear: such interventions on the supply and circulation of bank notes will directly impact cash payments, further opening the floodgates for further adoption of digital payments.
Safe distancing has become the new norm and work from home has become the default option for many companies and organisations. As a result, it accelerated the adoption of digital payments across many industries.
Digitally ready banks are poised to emerge stronger
As the situation stabilises, and some sense of normalcy start to kick in, banks that are digitally ready are poised to benefit greatly. Investments that help bolster digital payments infrastructure, open banking, artificial intelligence, and data analytics will prove to be wise decisions. In fact, some of the initiatives that have started even before the current pandemic hits now provide considerable value to the customers and entities they aim to serve. Some of them are:
UnionBank’s Financial Supply Chain on Blockchain
In an age where exchanges of goods and services has never been more closely connected, Financial Supply Chain has never been so crucial. Financial Supply Chain on Blockchain enables transparency while protecting sensitive data and information through distributed ledgers and smart contracts. This enables UnionBank to offer non-traditional payment options to Small and Medium Enterprises, Distributors, Suppliers and Dealers while digitizing the invoice presentment and demand order processing.
The development (in partnership with IBM) of the Financial Supply Chain System on Blockchain gives the Distributors, Dealers and Suppliers that are enrolled in the system the confidence to avail non-traditional financing options on a single click of a button. This provides efficiency in managing their receivables and payables as manual processing takes too much time.
NETS Click enables the digitisation of NETS Bank Cards on third party merchant mobile applications for secure seamless payments. The product was conceived and built in-house with a lean project team comprising cross-functional domain experts from product, technology, security and compliance teams. The design is aligned to concepts of EMVCo’s Secure Remote Commerce (SRC) and fulfils equally stringent industry security requirements.
NETS Click features a highly advanced security design incorporating multi-layered mobile digital security, EMV-based tokenisation technology, bank card and consumer verification methods. Most importantly, it was developed with a human-centred product design. The result is a simple and friendly user journey incorporating advanced mobile runtime threat detection coupled with host-based AI-driven fraud and security monitoring.
TMRW by UOB’s Intelligent Assistant
TMRW’s distinct service delivery model brings together a complex orchestration of chatbot, live chat, and VOIP voice call similar to some of the leading messaging platforms – creating an experience unmatched by any typical bank. TMRW’s chatbot Tia (TMRW Intelligent Assistant) is right at the center of this experience.
The chatbot orchestration is the first digital service model that uses chatbot to orchestrate the delivery of customer service as a combination of self service, FAQ responses and human support through voice or chat – all without the user having to ever exit or switch away from the TMRW app.
The New Normal is Digital
It is still early to conclude what’s the landscape will look like once the dust fully settles. As it is, the battle against the current pandemic is still ongoing. From a purely financial context, we can clearly see the signs towards increased digitisation of payments. How big and how fast it will grow still remains to be seen.
We can only hope that the present crisis could be eliminated soon. As the world continues to rely on technology to solve many of today’s ills, our habits, patterns and way of living never ceases to evolve. One thing is for sure: the COVID-19 is forcing upon us a new normal – a new normal that thrives on increased digitisation.