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Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

Fintech companies see silver lining post covid

Seizing this opportunity, digital fintech platforms have leveraged their delivery mechanisms to meet consumer needs during this challenging time

The covid-19 crisis has transformed the fintech sector in the last three months and proved to be a silver lining, according to financial payments companies at the virtual Global Fintech Fest 2020.

“…Adoption of digital technologies accelerated in smaller cities with a surge in online payments and consumers opting for contactless payments. Small and medium businesses also focused on online tools and increasing their presence digitally and this gave opportunities to fintech and lending companies," said Anish Achuthan, co-founder & CEO, Open Financial Technologies, in a panel discussion moderated by K.T. Prasad, managing director and RVP, India and Saarc, Zendesk.

Seizing this opportunity, digital fintech platforms have leveraged their delivery mechanisms to meet consumer needs during this challenging time. For instance, as demand for groceries and essential items has increased, companies like PhonePe have enabled virtual stores on their mobile app to enable local businesses to sell products online.

Fintechs have also leveraged technology to innovate and scale.

Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning have been used to provide superior digital experiences to consumers, said Vikas Bansal, Director at Amazon Pay. Bansal said more than 75% customers preferred Amazon Pay's newly launched video KYC through partner banks, which shows that customers are looking for contactless solutions.

The pandemic has also highlighted the need to protect health, wealth and assets and thus we will see lot more focus on protecting consumer wealth and assets, which in turn will give a huge boost to the insurance industry, Bansal added.

The role of technology will be pivotal in delivering customer service as customers will be looking for instant offerings, executives said. Technology will also require deep integration and be able to provide end-to-end solutions without customers coming or calling the payment provider. Startups should also be able to use data to make sure that the customer is at the centre of data and the consent framework is seamless.

Shivashish Chatterjee, co-founder and Joint MD, DMI Finance said in the first wave of fintech (2016-18), start-ups were filling a gap which was not being addressed but now, in the next phase, fintech players will need to differentiate themselves and their offerings from other players.

By 2025, the customer would have become more discerning, will have more needs so the fintech startups would need to be prepared for that, Chatteree added, and there will also be large deep-pocketed behemoths so smaller startups would need to fight those back.

Hemant Gala, vice-president, Payments and Financial Services, PhonePe said customer interaction would need to be proactive, not reactive and companies would need to use AI to develop powerful, intelligent systems that will deliver superior customer experience, look at biometric and voice to solve and use tech to help in detecting fraud.

For the new fintech consumer in 2025, technology would need to be both ubiquitous and invisible. "Tech cannot be in your face," said Chatterjee, adding that credit will need to be a background process so that tech is both invisible and a powering experience.

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