COVID-19 has brought many new challenges to daily life– from working from home requirements to new budgetary restraints and stock market volatility. Fortunately, it is in times of crisis when fintech solutions shine the brightest. In a pandemic-burdened world, companies across the fintech sector offer answers (and to some, a sense of peace) to those wrestling with today’s new set of problems.
Even though many financial services offices are still closed to outside visitors, fintech tools can help maintain personal connections without requiring face-to-face interaction. Some roboadvisor platforms, for example, connect users with a dedicated certified financial planner to make sure their accounts are on track and to help them plan for the future.
And when it comes to replicating in-branch conversations, some banks– including Bank of America– have introduced video ATMs to offer customers a way to meet with a teller while social distancing. As an extra bonus, the video technology is making tellers available for longer hours, from 7am to 10pm.
Fintechs provide users access to their account information 24/7 via web and mobile interfaces. More importantly, however, are the integrated analytics and tools that many platforms offer to help users make decisions, answer questions, and offer scenario-planning to help them reach goals.
Keeping users well-informed about their current financial situation as well as their options can help empower them to plan for their future. This is crucial when many are struggling with the uncertainty of job security and stay-at-home orders.
Chatbots have gained popularity over the past couple of years, fueled by advances in AI technology. In the past few months, however, the need for chatbot and automated response technologies have accelerated. That’s because bank call centers have been overloaded with a spike in mortgage refinance request and calls from consumers who need help sorting out financial hardships. Banks are seeing increased value in chatbots, which help relieve pressure on call centers by offering a different channel for consumers to go to for answers.
Looking back, many fintech companies originated to help users work around a process or a service that just didn’t suit them. For example, there are a multitude of players that cater to unbanked and underbanked consumers, helping them work around requirements imposed by traditional financial institutions. Additionally, mortgagetech companies help banks process loan applications more efficiently by moving the entire process into the digital realm.
In a post-pandemic society we will see many new needs arise that aren’t well-served by traditional processes. Take the traditional, brick-and-mortar bank branch model, for example. Because branches have been forced to temporarily close their doors to customers, many have accelerated digital transformation efforts that make the majority of their services available online.
In a pre-pandemic world, digital identity verification was already a hot topic. Now that banks and fintechs are working with consumers almost exclusively online, there is an increased need for services that remotely authenticate users’ identities. Fortunately, there are a wide variety of instant identity verification offerings– from KYC and AML tools to blockchain-based identity networks– available to help banks and fintechs better serve their remote clients.