Because of the stay-at-home orders and social distancing of the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic brought about accelerated digital transformations across different industries, including finance. With customers now looking for accessible solutions for their banking needs, banks used this time to strengthen their virtual infrastructures and embrace significant growth opportunities. Here are a few financial technology trends that have come about as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
When the pandemic hit, brick-and-mortar bank branches were forced to reduce working hours, or even temporarily close their doors, to customers. The top priority became creating a comparable customer experience online without risking the health and safety of bank staff.
More and more banks prioritised developing online services. Some banks no longer have physical branches, operating solely online. This isn’t a new trend, but it has accelerated due to the pandemic. Digital has become the main delivery channel.
In order to attract more corporate clients, many banks, in addition to opening an account, began to practice this one-stop shopping principle, offering complete, digital business support cycle functionality from registration to records. This way, entrepreneurs only have to pay taxes according to the prepared-in-advance digital document. This significantly saves customers time and resources; no need to hire third-party staff to address these issues.
The COVID pandemic forced deferred demand for offline retail, and therefore stagnation in loans. But a temporary market downturn became a catalyst of increased demand for loans, stimulating development of loan processing through digital channels. Another great transition from offline to online is a digital mortgage. Banks now offer electronic registration of a mortgage and other related digital services.
An increased interest in online and mobile banking caused the widespread implementation of Open Banking initiatives. Open Banking enables customers to access their finances from different sources through open API’s.
Users have moved past a mono-functional approach. People now expect easy, hassle-free connection to external services that offer smart money management tools for tracking spending and savings.
THE VISUAL VIBE
Because customers are embracing a total transition to digital, mobile banking app usage has skyrocketed over the past year. With so many banking apps to choose from, customers are looking for a seamless experience. To survive on the market, banking providers need to keep up with the latest in app technology. From contactless services like facial recognition to on-the-go document scanning, digital financial solutions are becoming more and more complex. The goal is to create a user-friendly experience by providing customers with intuitive UX/UI design.
The user-centric design approach can be successfully used for internal banking solutions, as well as external solutions, to ensure ultimate customer satisfaction at all levels of the financial organisation.
THE FAST-APPROACHING FUTURE
Undoubtedly, mobile channels currently dominate the market — and there’s no crystal ball to foretell what tomorrow’s top technology will be. Even so, it’s clear that a trend that’s here to stay is virtual and augmented reality technologies. In the next several years, the fast-growing VR/AR market will become a popular side channel for financial technology, if not completely replacing mobile apps entirely.
For banks, it’s essential to monitor and follow technology trends to be prepared when the next big thing enters the mass market. VR/AR requires an entirely new design approach, which could cause difficulties if an adequate infrastructure isn’t implemented as the technology develops. But the fact remains: the banking experience is already, and will continue to be, deeply embedded in the real world through digital technology.
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