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Contactless Banking : Focus on Process Digitization in post pandemic era

The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly disrupted the  banking and financial services business arena as it has done to many other facets of our lives. The word ‘contact’ is extensively associated with the pandemic with various ramifications. Hence ‘Contactless Banking’ has found a new meaning and speed of adoption post the pandemic period. Banking processes are undergoing redefinition post the pandemic as a new normal. Here is a focused analysis of process digitization in contactless banking.

There was belief blended with regulation- both mandating customer presence before bank officials for KYC purpose. Such processes are forced to be rethought. The contactless banking avenues are surfacing with much enforced acceleration and vigour than ever before. 

Let’s look at a few focused use cases that are  worth considering to  in the post pandemic situation.

  1. Account Opening: Even though there were new age banks, financial institutions offering fully digital onboarding facilities, the traditional banking process for account opening was never 100% digitized. Even if the happy path scenario was to a large extent digitized, that was not always the case given the nature of banking business and regulation. The customer journey for account opening often faced manual visits, contact through IVR for completion. With limited option to meet the customer face to face, the process is being re-imagined even to handle the alternate flows for the standard processes.
  2. Closure of Relationships: There has always been focus on digitizing customer onboarding process, but the banking industry has not been upto the same mark on the account or relationship closure process. Often it requires visits to bank premises or IVR contact to close the checklist items. Post pandemic such processes are getting more digitized. Formal applications, disclosures, statements, returning artefacts (like cards, chequebook, etc.) are getting completed through digital or contactless (courier etc.) process.
  3. Document Signatures: Often signatures were physically done on papers, either by the customer visiting the branch or bank executive visiting the customer residence/office to take signatures. E-signatures are not new, but they were not accelerated in case customer is ready to sign physically. E-signature process is highly accelerated in the new normal. Even technological advancements have getting adopted like mimicking the signature of the customer on a signature pad from a remote place on a physical document  with a physical ink pen.
  4. True Omni-channel Processing: Often the digital channel and branches in traditional banks were out of sync for many customer  activities. Start and stop from digital to physical channel was never true omni-channel. With the pandemic breakout, banks are focusing on to achieve true omni channel offering overnight, in lack of options.
  5. Video Banking: Interactions with customers, where face to face talks are required, are preferred now on video conferencing. More use cases in the banking process than ever, are getting added to the list for banks. Even branches and kiosks are being rethought through to enable video banking rather than meeting in person. Spare of thought for the bank’s processes. They need to be tweaked significantly to accommodate modified channel avenues.
  6. Fraud prevention: While contactless banking has been accelerated heavily in the post pandemic era, fraud prevention has now increased significance. Technology as an enabler sometimes can be fooled with, e.g. while digital onboarding inability to distinguish between a photograph and human face can be potential threat area. Digital contactless banking processes must ensure such loopholes are addressed.

Conclusion: A sudden and large change always is difficult to adjust with, both from customer and banks’ point of view. There are significant challenges for banks to balance between dealing with the digitally naïve and the ever-demanding digitally savvy customers.

The customer expectations are also muffled at this stage as the processes are evolving very fast, not everyone is as fast to accommodate changes with their trust on banks intact. Under such circumstances, the banking processes demand to be leaner and generic with ability to be customized easily.

So, there is a big juggle to manage between standardization and personalization while meeting optimization and cost effectiveness.


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