Experts: smart and easy-to-use solutions shall encourage the society to entrust their financial transactions to technologies
Considering a year spent under the mark of COVID-19 representatives of IT and financial industries are utterly convinced that smart, easy-to-use and fast solutions shall encourage people to entrust their financial transactions to technologies, completely getting rid of using cash. Virtual transactions shall be fostered by working from home, which today and in the future shall be a reality for a significant part of the workforce.
Almost half of the population of Latvia (51%) have used an electronic payment platform for internet purchases (for example, PayPal, Klix etc.) and at least 37% have used a mobile app for payments, 17% have received a loan using a remote solution (mobile app, website), 16% have made money investments in deposits, at least 17 % are using “virtual savings”, saving money by rounding up to the nearest euro the amount of each purchase made and creating a provision from the balance. Such data on the use of technology in money transactions was presented by a population survey conducted by AS Expobank in cooperation with Norstat Research Centre in February this year*.
According to the Chairman of the Management Board of AS Expobank Rolands Legzdiņš, “Significantly influenced by the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and remote work, customers increasingly wish to receive services in the digital environment. To complete money transactions in the digital environment people need convenient and easy-access platforms helping to pay the bills, pay for the services and goods, save money, receive loans etc. The possibility to perform the entire procedure remotely is vitally important for all the customers - both legal and natural persons, completely avoiding the need to go to the bank or to the service provider. If at any stage of the transaction actual presence is required (eg signing a contract or another document,) it is considered both a hurdle and a threat to personal safety, as one has to meet with strangers, which is not desirable during COVID-19.”
As R. Legzdiņš points out, seeing the needs of the customers and the ever-growing demand for finance technology solutions, last year, Expobank, for example, started developing an entirely remote term deposit placement platform SmartDeposit. Reaching customers this year and being the first fintech solution the bank has developed, it allows you to establish a term deposit account, sign an agreement with the bank and invest money in the deposit entirely remotely. If the customer provides all the necessary data accurately, the bank’s staff resources are not involved in the term deposit placement and all the process takes place automatically. The safety of the process is provided by a 2-step authorisation, as well as EU-certified biometric technology, comparing the data in the person’s ID or passport with the biometric data of the person’s face.
“The victory march of FinTech solutions will definitely continue even after the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ansis Šķibusts, CEO of the IT company CUBE agrees with the bank's representative: “According to the trends, people prefer to settle both daily payments and other financial issues remotely, rather than adjusting to the working hours and locations of banks. Seeing the trends, service providers, including finance institutions have to think, of course, how to satisfy their customers desires for remote communication, simultaneously attract the general public to the FinTech solutions. It is offered remotely, to apply for various types of insurance (we have been buying OCTA insurance policies online for years), to create term deposits (the already mentioned platform SmartDeposit), to receive loans and to join crowd-funding platforms, becoming an investor. If the developers of the platforms succeed providing the quality of their products long-term and, most importantly, the safety of the personal data and money, the daily money transactions will become more and more “virtual” and we shall see banknotes in our wallets less and less.
“During the pandemics, part of the people have moved to live in suburban or even rural areas. If they get a chance to continue working remotely, then some part of the people will never return to the city. As a result, for these people remote transactions will be a commonplace. They definitely will not be willing to spend time and money to go to the bank and open, for instance, a deposit account,” says Reinis Ēvele, head of the IT company Efumo. “I am quite certain that eventually, even the physical payment cards shall disappear, because all the financial information will be accessed and transactions settled by phone or smartwatch.”
According to R. Ēvele, a significant step further in using FinTech services would be the integration of services and service provider solutions, for example, attaching the multiple customer cards provided by stores to payment cards and platforms. “When that happens, we will be able to leave our wallets at home, because we will be able to certify our identity as a customer and receive the services with “one touch”, using the FinTech platform in our phones, bracelets or other accessories.”
* The survey on the attitude of the population against FinTech solutions was conducted by AS Expobank in cooperation with Norstat Research Centre in February this year *. 1400 Latvians from 18 to 74 years of age participated in the survey.