Lockdown or not, going to the bank shouldn’t necessarily be on the list of our regular errands anymore. Avoiding the banking halls’ long lines saves us time and money while slowing down the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Banks started introducing us to online and mobile banking services before the outbreak of COVID- 19. We were slow to adopt to the restructuring of the business landscape but circumstances are finally pushing us to embrace change.
Opening an account and usual transactions like deposits, withdrawals and transfers can be done online. Bills can be paid and statements can be obtained online. Having fully integrated mobile money transactions into our daily operations, the ease of transferring money from our bank accounts to our phones propels us a step closer to the cashless economy.
Where do ATMs fit in this transformation? We use ATMs primarily to withdraw cash but when electronic transactions eliminate legal tender, the machines become useless. Who would have thought the beginning of the end of the glamorous money-spitting booths would come this fast? In a near future, digital banking will be embedded in the rest of our daily activities with the help of AI, voice interfaces and other emerging technologies.
During this global pandemic, the importance of avoiding unnecessary movements can’t be stressed enough. Some cases still require clients to visit their branches but the vast majority of us should not consider banking an activity that makes it necessary to walk out of the door when the situation is this dire. Yes, our banking digital infrastructure is not yet fully developed but basic transactions can be done from home. Apps designed to simplify the customer experience are already at our disposal. Every bank operating in 2020 is in a position to build one.
Across the board, customer service agents are just a phone call away. Improving service delivery and keeping up with the ever evolving needs of their clientele is a continuos process.
The digitalization of banking in this part of the world is still under construction but progress has been made. As more and more elements of the financial ecosystem go digital, the eventual automation of the entire banking experience will revolutionize the bank-client interaction sooner rather than later.
Banking from home is not yet seamless in many developing countries, mine included. I have had my fair share of frustrations caused by technical hiccups and loopholes in automated support services during these crazy times but I understand this crisis caught everyone off guard. We didn’t see this coming. Rest assured, financial institutions will step up their games.
Your nearest branch may be closed as a result of the lockdown instituted by the government to curb the spread of coronavirus but ironically, the temporary closure is a dress rehearsal.