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Mobile Banking: Engaging Users During COVID-19

Friday 11 of September, 2020.
Reading Time: 3 minutes.
By Avantica



Amid social distancing regulations, financial institutions are reshaping the way they serve their customers and are no longer requiring them to physically enter a bank branch to access financial services. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has fueled a shift in how people conduct banking transactions. According to Fidelity National Information Services (FIS) from the USA, mobile banking traffic rose 85% in April and new digital registrations increased by 200%. 

Also, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported a 50% growth in mobile banking since the beginning of 2020. 

This new panorama not only pushes financial institutions to strengthen their digital platforms but also to broaden their range of digital services and products. 

“With the pandemic, it changes everything in many ways, starting with how I reach my clients so that they can open accounts, create a new client profile, make transactions that normally, due to security, were required to be physically done at a bank branch,” says Gerardo Chaverri, Mobile Unit Manager at Avantica. 

Chaverri emphasizes the challenges banks have to overcome in order to make their customers feel safe, along with providing user-friendly and transparent platforms. 

Usability vs. Reliability 

According to Chaverri, it is imperative for banking institutions to promote digital channels not only for regular banking services such as money transfers but also for other services, which in the past could only be made by conventional channels. For example, it has been necessary to innovate the process of opening accounts digitally. 

“The problem is how do we ensure the real identity of the person who is opening the account, especially if the account was not previously registered in the banking system,” states Chaverri. 

In this case, multi-factor authentication could be the answer. 

  • Biometric components: Banks can deploy fingerprint recognition with cell phones or even a face comparison with an ID card. People could take pictures from different angles for an algorithm to verify their identity if they don’t have a previous bank account. 
  • Cross checks: Users can receive a token by text messages or by emails. These are the most common banking controls, but when combining them with biometry, they could become stronger security checks. 

The real challenge is not only about launching new digital solutions but it’s also about addressing security vulnerabilities and about promoting confidence among customers. Security standards have become the cornerstone of digital developments due to a new wave of digital fraud. 

“Banks’ digital channels should implement all the services they provide in their branches. Indeed, newest trends aim to personalize a user’s experience based on data collection and artificial intelligence algorithms,” says Chaverri. 

1.7 billion people didn’t have a bank account before the pandemic, according to the World Bank. The restriction of human interaction due to COVID could be the key to attract the unbanked population to the financial system. Now more than ever, banks should take advantage of this momentum to gain new customers with safe and user-intuitive mobile solutions. 


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KEY TAKEAWAYS

  1. The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a shift towards digital banking, something that has forced banking institutions to strengthen their digital platforms and diversify the services they offer online.
  2. Banks should prioritize making their users feel secure as well as ensuring their platforms are user friendly and transparent. 
  3. Multi-factor authentication using biometric components (fingerprint or face recognition) combined with cross-checks (receiving a bank token through text messages or email) can be the key to the safe use of online banking platforms.

 

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