– Andy Cease, Product Marketing Manager, Entrust
Describing 2020 as a disruptive year would be an understatement: from how much time we spend at home, to how the finance industry operates. The pandemic has also drastically accelerated some of the trends that were just taking a hold a few years ago; remote working and more robust mobile experiences have become the norm over just a few months.
As we put 2020 behind us: remote ID proofing, instant card issuance and single sign-on authentication are going to be key priorities – here are my predictions for the year ahead:
ID Proofing Authenticates Identity Remotely.
In 2021, due to the ongoing restrictions in some countries and the permanent customer behaviour changes caused by the pandemic, remote identity authentication will become a finance industry standard process. Financial institutions will keep customers safe by reducing the need to interact with people and step foot in public spaces while continuing to securely open new accounts or access certain services.
The customer will use their device to photograph an official form of photo identification, such as a driver’s license or government issued ID card, then the customer takes a selfie for comparison via facial recognition technology. ID proofing like this, involves collecting sensitive personal information, including biometric data and copies of government documentation. As such, it’s important to protect customers’ privacy by partnering with security providers that prioritize protecting personal data, as well as implementing strong cryptography strategies to avoid data breaches and other disruptions.
It’s important to note that ID proofing won’t work for every customer in every situation. No facial recognition algorithm is perfect, and some customers lack official photo IDs or mobile devices with facial recognition capabilities. That being said, the AI engines that refine these algorithms are getting better by the day, and soon ID proofing will enable everyone to open new accounts and access services without leaving their homes. This capability will continue to pay dividends after the pandemic by making the customer experience more streamlined and convenient, creating a frictionless customer experience.
Widespread Adoption of Instant Card Issuance
Although the pandemic has driven many to adopt cardless payment methods like digital wallets and smart devices the physical payment card will still reign supreme in 2021. The tap-and-go card will take precedence over cash and ecommerce applications as a convenient and simple preventative against transmitting the virus as people continue to battle the pandemic and attempt to return to some semblance of normality.
The pandemic has further ingrained the on-demand culture in our society and consumer appetite has transferred to financial processes. In 2021, customers will continue to want access to financial services, including their payment method options. Instant card issuance will enable customers to pick up a new payment card right away, rather than waiting several days for it to arrive in the mail. In the future, financial services providers can even offer touchless instant issuance, so customers reduce the risk of exposing themselves to the virus when collecting a payment card.
Instant card issuance technology is relatively easy to adopt. All that is necessary is an instant card printer and either an on-premises or cloud-hosted software stack. Printers that are user-friendly and able to handle multiple card designs, including both credit and debit card profiles are already growing in popularity. Some businesses already offered personalised cards with printed images or alternative card materials before the pandemic and I believe that this need for personalisation will be another driver behind the widespread adoption of this technology.
This trend will only continue to develop and spread around the world. A great number of customers will transition to predominantly using contactless payment cards and this technology will be particularly important for the finance industry to address that need.
Single Sign-On Authentication (SSO) Streamlines Customer Access
Financial information is incredibly sensitive and requires the highest levels of protection, but the strongest passwords are often the hardest to remember. If a customer needs to remember multiple passwords to access different services or accounts — or secure areas of a building — the difficulty is multiplied, and so is the potential for password theft or password fatigue.
In 2021 and beyond, Single Sign-On (SSO) authentication will be implemented to securely link access to multiple accounts to one password. Customers can sign in once on a mobile phone or alternative devices and gain access to accounts and services without the need to manage multiple passwords.
It is important to note that with SSO, cracking one password can give a bad actor access to multiple platforms, so it’s especially important to avoid easy-to-guess combinations. This places even greater importance on ensuring customers knowing what constitutes a strong password and why it’s vital that theirs is secure.
Businesses can further support their customers by implementing additional layers of protection, like two-factor authentication, as well as strong cryptography strategies that keep sensitive information safe. While no plan is 100% fool-proof, having a clearly defined strategy and team dedicated to protecting sensitive information is essential to maintaining customer and employee trust.
Thinking Ahead to the Post-COVID Future
With widespread distribution of vaccines on the horizon for 2021, there is a chance for us to return to normality in 2021 and there will initially be a surge in people returning to old habits like visiting bank branches for face-to-face interactions. However, financial institutions will continue to transform and will implement a balance between in-person and digital-based customer experiences going forward. Within that transformation: remote ID proofing, SSO and instant card issuance will provide a transition to frictionless financial processes, a demand that will continue long after the pandemic is over.
FINANCIAL INCLUSION WITHIN DIGITAL PAYMENTS
NICK FISHER, GENERAL MANAGER, SALES AND MARKETING UK, JCB INTERNATIONAL (EUROPE) LTD.
The shift towards an economy that removes physical cash has long been on the horizon in many regions. Sweden is an example of a country rapidly heading this way. Two years ago, just 1% of Sweden’s GDP was circulating in cash compared to 11% in the Eurozone, and research by the Swedish Retail and Wholesale Council showed half of the nation’s retailers saying that they probably would not accept cash after 2025.
In 2019 in the UK, cash payments decreased by 15%, although physical money was still the second most frequently used method comprising of 23% of all payments. The Financial Inclusion Commission in the UK states that there are over 1 million people that do not have a bank account, and the World Bank estimates that there are some 1.7 billion adults globally that still lack access to a bank account.
The finance industry has collaborated over the years to develop various credit products for affluent communities. These customers are considered a lower risk. However, institutions should continue to prioritise the advancement of services to serve an audience which remains – ‘unbanked’. Research by EY showed that financial inclusion could improve GDP by up to 14% in more rural, developing economies like India, and by 30% in frontier markets like Kenya. While the positive reasons for fully embracing digital payments and eliminating physical cash are plentiful, including lower payment processing costs for the retailer and customer convenience, physical cash provides the ‘unbanked’ with the ability to function day-to-day with a legal tender.
To establish digital solutions for the unbanked, payment players should adopt an inclusive mindset. The race towards a digital cash society will naturally get closer to the finish line with the passing of each generation, but governments could lend a hand to the unbanked by encouraging financial institutions to sponsor organisations that provide legal quasi digital cash products. In my opinion, the financial industry has an important part to play in developing low cost solutions to support the unbanked with authentication tools – such as biometrics and risk tools to manage real-time credit risk reporting with anywhere accessibility.
In both developing and developed countries, QR codes can play a superhero role as they offer simple, low-cost ways of processing payments on basic mobile phones. In June last year, we collaborated with FIS to enable cross-border QR codes in the APAC region. The ‘Worldpay from FIS 2020 Global Payments Report’ found that digital wallets, at the time, accounted for 58 % of regional ecommerce purchases and were expected to reach almost 70 % percent by 2023.
In developed regions, we are issued with a formal identification when we are born, no matter our circumstances, and this comes in the form of a birth certificate or, later in life, a passport. This does not always happen in developing countries as resources are often limited. Yet, advances in biometric technologies, such as fingerprint or palm vein may offer a solution to the requirement for proof of identity to open a bank account or to create a mobile wallet. Biometric organisations, payment leaders and innovators, such as Google Pay and Apple Pay, have partnered to make this a reality, despite the initial cost implications for development.
In summary, understanding the reasons for why some prefer physical cash, and others prefer digital cash, provides holistic learnings to achieve a society that ultimately uses digital cash only. Empathy is paramount for building customer-centric commerce. For me, at least, a world without physical cash cannot be considered responsible, or fair, until everyone can be accommodated.
THE EFFECTS OF JOB HOPPING ON YOUR RETIREMENT OUTCOME
By Neli Mbara, Certified Financial Planner at Alexander Forbes
Job hopping – defined as spending less than two years in one position – is a very controversial subject. It can be an easy path to a higher salary but can also be a red flag to prospective employers, not to mention your future financial goals if you are cashing in your retirement fund every time you make a move.
When changing jobs, whether it be once a year or once every decade, one has to make decisions regarding career growth and retirement plans which affect one’s long term financial plans. One of these decisions is ‘what to do with my retirement fund?’
For many people, the first thing that comes to mind is using their pension money to pay off their debt. Alexander Forbes Member Watch statistics show that 91% of members do not preserve their retirement savings when changing jobs. As we are living in times where most household income is used to finance debt, most people use job hopping to gain access to their retirement funds, and use this money to pay off debt. However, a quick fix and instant gratification comes at a price, which in this case could be a delay in your retirement plan.
Your retirement savings are simply for that, your retirement, to pay you an income once you stop working.
Early access of your retirement fund can result in:
- Not having enough money at retirement – this is simply because most of us are already not saving enough for retirement
- Robbing yourself off the compound interest you could have potentially earned from the investment.
- Never making make up for the lost benefit
- Creating a bad habit that will delay you from achieving your retirement plan and desired income at retirement
It is easy to cash in your money from a retirement fund at resignation but it is much harder to make up for the lost benefit (capital cashed in plus interest). Calculations show that for you to make up the lost benefit depending on your retirement age and investment time horizon, you will likely need to invest more than double your contributions towards a retirement fund.
Since only 6% of the South African population are reported to have accumulated enough to retire comfortably, without having to sacrifice their standard of living, you will most likely have to invest much more towards your retirement fund to make up for the lost savings.
Therefore, leaving your retirement fund invested and preserved in a preservation fund is the recommended option when changing jobs, as this keeps you committed to your retirement plan.
Changing jobs is a life-changing event, and it is therefore important that you seek advice from a professional financial adviser who will guide you in your retirement planning ensuring that your retirement needs are taken care of, by providing solutions that help you to ensure your financial wellbeing.
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