The retail space within the financial sector has come so far in terms of digitisation. There are, however, still a few hiccups in terms of trying to digitise it all.
The main frustration is for consumers themselves. They’re the ones who still need to go into a bank for large transactions such as loans and each time they’re required to submit new forms. These forms must be physically scanned and digitised, a slow and frustrating process that can lead to angry customers.
For banks to fully and efficiently digitise, they must be able to automate the whole process so the required content can be easily accessed from a central point, thus removing the need for physical forms completely. Imagine what that would do for customer service and business as a whole?
One great example of the benefits of digital banking has been mobile banking. Mobility has changed business practices for the better; allowing customers to do most of their transactions from their personal devices.
Another development worth mentioning has been the rise of cryptocurrencies such as AfriCoin and Bitcoin. These are global currencies recorded on Blockchains.
“Blockchains support a highly distributed master list of all currency currently outstanding. It’s validated through anonymous consensus using a very strict set of technical rules on a networked public ledger, a full and exhaustively complete copy of which is held by every entity holding Bitcoins around the world,” explains Andy Brauer, chief technologyofficer of Business Connexion. Recently, big names such as Microsoft and the New York Stock Exchange have started using it as currency and it’s slowly becoming globally acceptable.
With these types of advances in financial services, there have been a few challenges, mostly for the retailer. These include EFT payments and mobile banking, as retail outlets are no longer able to make money out of the consumers through transaction fees. Banks and businesses on the other hand are using these challenges as an opportunity to offer more services directly to the retailer.
BCX has used IBM’s services to help businesses address financial crimes through risk-monitoring, prevention and detection. With these services, BCX customers will be able to provide enterprises with a wide view of all suspicious activities.
So where exactly is the world of smart finance headed and what’s in store for the future? Brauer seems to think we’ll see greater integration “We can expect software defined SIM cards and credit cards, which will be unique to the individual by the uses of BlockChains,” he says.
As more businesses explore smarter finance, BCX together with IBM are providing a forum for discussion. It is hosting a seminar on 8 October focused largely around smarter finance in today’s world.