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How Traditional Banks can Stay Ahead of Fintech Firms with Conversational AI

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FinTech firms present a credible threat to incumbent banks. Leveraging a combination of technology, consumer-centric service, and flexible business practices, fintech firms reduce the cost of doing business, extending their customer base, and taking market share from established traditional banks.

Despite this threat has been present for some years now, many banks believe they are still unprepared to compete properly. However, to respond to the challenge, banks should adopt Conversational AI technology that can help them to compete with the fintech firms that threaten them.

According to a survey, 53% of banks and 69% of credit unions view technology giants like Apple and Google as their top competitors in 2020 and believe they will become the hallmark of well-managed credit unions.

As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, banks saw a rise in online banking activity and a decline in trips to brick-and-mortar branches. Europe is the prime epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis, with nearly 75 percent of new cases reported globally on March 18th. The impact of the crisis was huge on the banking system and on the bank-customer relationship in the European region. In fact, the pandemic has made the banks believe that the Conversational AI transformation is not only beneficial but it’s also crucial for their survival in the competitive market.

How will traditional banks stay ahead of fintech?

Conversational AI is the only means by which banks can stay competitive in the market, retain their customers, and find and pursue new leads. For example, Gen Y, Gen Z, and many who find the traditional way of banking monotonous and tedious need only one real solution — AI. Nowadays, people don’t want to be visiting branches to make deposits and transfers — and very few people are mailing paper checks anymore.

What is needed from modern-day banking?

Quickly get up to speed with conversational banking, including adding a payee, bill payments and Peer-to-Peer (p2p) transfers. Many options can be added across multiple channels and in the language of customers.

Now let’s break down why banks need to embrace a technology like Conversational AI to sustain, including everything from creating new revenue sources to adapting to changes in consumer demand.

What do customers really what?

1. Customers Want Quick Contactless Payment Methods

One of the top drivers of Conversational AI adoption in banking is customer preferences. The increased health concerns and a need to avoid physical contact because of the COVID-19 pandemic have caused customers to drift toward digital payment options.

A recent Mastercard poll found that contactless payments grew twice as fast as traditional payment types in-between February and March of 2020.

The same poll revealed that 79% of respondents typically use contactless payment methods. In response, tech companies like Google Pay, Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay have started offering contactless payment apps.

Leveraging AI assistants that are available 24/7, through multiple channels like Telegram, Facebook Messenger, or email and more will be a win-win situation for both customers and the bank. From a millennial’s perspective, simple requests such as password reset or adding a payee, or making an international transfer can be done instantaneously. There’s no need to visit the bank or spend an hour in the IVR puzzle menu to speak to a human agent. Banks adopting AI are, in fact seeing increased customer satisfaction rates and sales.

2. Legacy Systems Costs Banks Huge Chunks of Money

Banks’ legacy systems deserve special attention as they are costing banks a lot of money and have led to expensive failures in getting new leads and customer retention. They’re simply not capable of supporting the market’s changing expectations and may soon expose banks to additional risk and liability.

Also, the operation and maintenance of these legacy systems are becoming more difficult. Imagine the bank’s data records are all in papers, but with Conversational AI, every record will be saved in Cloud. Cloud technology has the potential to transform a bank’s operational efficiency because it obviates investment in infrastructure – what’s needed is ready and available in the cloud.

3. Offering Omnichannel Banking Services

The Omnichannel approach came to the forefront in retail in the early 2010s. Since then, it’s been making its way into industries like telecommunications and media, and banking. Traditional banks allow digital banking but not omnichannel banking. For example, Sara wants to perform her transactions via mobile and web channels.

She wants to send money, apply for personal loans, add payees, pay her bills, and more, all through channels like Whatsapp, Facebook messenger, or Telegram. And this cornerstone feature can only a bank with Conversational AI adoption avail her.

4. Conversational AI is a Key to Increase Revenue

Another reason banks should embrace Conversational AI is that it offers new outlets for following leads and increasing revenue. As customers increase to interact with the AI-powered assistants, it becomes easier for banks to track their behavior patterns.

They can see what resources customers look up frequently, and they can send pop-up survey alerts to find out more details about users’ financial needs and reasons for using the assistant. Banks can then make personalized product recommendations based on that gathered data.

By 2021, more than 50% of enterprises will spend more per year on bots and chatbot creation than traditional mobile app development – Gartner

5. Conversational AI Adoption is a Survival Imperative for the Banks

Leveraging Conversational AI-powered assistants like the ones powered by the Kore.ai platform that is fully functional, omnichannel, and domain trained assistants can handle more than 80% of the queries asked by your customers through Mobile/ Web channels. The AI assistants can also be customized to add more use cases based on what your customers frequently ask for, unlike the live agents who need to be hired and trained for each scenario.

6. Banks can Avail Enterprise-Grade Security

Leveraging enterprise-grade Conversational AI-platform builds security into your banking operations to boost banking confidence and growth.

For example, when you chat with a bot or a live agent, they get to know your bank details and can track all your personal details. Just imagine they can father all your confidential information. But here’s the catch. Virtual Assistants built on Enterprise-grade Conversational AI platforms like Kore.ai focus a great deal on ensuring the most critical aspect of any business security.

7. Conversational AI Helps Banks Adapt Quickly

It is crucial for the banking industry to remain not only agile but also be able to adapt to changing economic circumstances quickly. Having a robust technological setup means a bank can rapidly respond to crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. Banks need to unexpectedly shut down their branches, operate with fewer staff members, or limit in-person services.

Conversational AI adoption in banking also enables the banks to respond rapidly to changes in demand. Conversational AI-powered assistants come with cognitive intelligence that helps businesses roll out new offers and respond to customer requests or market changes.

Not only does Conversational AI better help banks respond to economic crises, but it also helps them react to industry changes and stay competitive.

Competition in the banking sector will likely intensify the post-pandemic, requiring the banks to transform themselves into an innovation unit to not only survive but thrive in the future banking landscape.

The post How Traditional Banks can Stay Ahead of Fintech Firms with Conversational AI appeared first on ReadWrite.

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AI artificial intelligence banking and finance Blockchain financial technology Fintech FinTech Development Tech

Fintech Development Trends that You Must Know About

Fintech Development Trends

Fintech Development Trends are ever-changing and to keep yourself updated with these essentials. One of the most renowned words – Fintech, is a blend of “Financeâ€� and “Technology.â€� Here are Fintech development trends that you must know about.

Fintech defines any organization that uses technology to either automate or improve the financial process along with any other services related to it.

Fintech shows the acceptance of people for on-demand finance instead of the traditional slow-paced methods involved with financial management and transactions.

With the blooming of Fintech throughout the world and it’s better and secure ways, financial and banking services have become faster and more incredible than it was before.

From the preceding several years, there have been many new implementations and innovations on the way Financial Technology must work.

It has brought a new Finvolution and by the end of 2020, there will be different approaches and trends of fintech that will blow every person’s mind away.

FinTech Development Trends And Their Effects

You will want to know about these trends and how they are about to affect the way you currently deal with finance. All the latest trends of Fintech will be beneficial for you, no matter how you are involved with it.

1. Blockchain

A blockchain in FinTech offers a more comprehensive, accessible, and secured network for businesses, reduced costs, and efficient service/processes.

Over the years, security and transparency have also increased because Blockchain is a decentralized system. When finance is involved with blockchain, any organization can assure security while saving the cost.

Apart from that, it can also increase the speed of transactional processes amidst banks because of their protected and dedicated servers.

Blockchain will be a great approach for financial institutions as it will provide data integrity and allow full transaction history for the customers as well.

Read Also: Blockchain – A Platform for IoT Solutions

2. AI Adoption

Just like all the other industries, fintech has also concluded AI or Artificial Intelligence in its working.

AI when introduced or adopted by the financial industry can eliminate the cost of operating from banks, credit unions, loans association, and many other financial units.

The AI-based systems when implanted helps in the collection and analysis of data so that an investor can make a better decision on their investment.

Loan providers also use the AI system so that they can offer their services with less to no risk in returns. The AI used by creditors evaluates the applicant’s financial health.

3. Regulatory Technologies

RegTech manages the regulatory processes of the financial industry using technologies such as Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Cloud Computing, etc.

As the businesses spend a higher amount of money, they need to acquire the reporting, monitoring, along with compliance that is regularly upgraded by the government.

With the help of RegTech, all the financial institutions can secure themselves from the constant updates in the system because of the changes made in the regulations and laws by the government.

Some of the RegTech offerings that you can easily find anywhere are:

  • KYC (Know Your Customer) Solutions
  • Risk Management Solutions
  • Data Management Solutions
  • AML (Anti-Money Laundering) Solutions
  • Trade Monitoring Solutions
  • Records Management Solutions
  • Tax Management Solutions
  • Reporting Solutions
  • Quantitative Analysis Solutions
  • Regulatory Change Management Solutions

Read Also: Challenges of Adopting AI in Businesses

4. New Payment Methods

When you will look back just one or two decades prior to today, you will find that the payment and transactional methods were as limited as swiping a credit card or signing a check.

Recently, there is a sudden growth in the ways to process a transaction and make a payment which is also the trendiest in the FinTech industry.

These advanced payment methods have helped the users in easy transfer of funds from an account to another with just a few touch of their fingers.

Having accessibility to the mobile wallet or other banking or payment applications has become more convenient for all users. Moreover, by the end of 2020, almost every individual will have access to the contactless cards derived by various banks.

5. Online Banks

Online Banks or Digital Banks are the new initiatives towards Financial Technologies. Let’s think about banks that are only virtually available and do not have physical existence yet the customers get global payment methods.

Also, there are numerous benefits from the virtual banks as neither anyone will have to deal with the different temper of bank teller nor have to wait in lines for completing a transaction.

On the other hand, already existing banks can extend their reach to the area where they haven’t constructed a building yet and save all the hectic and costs effortlessly. However, customers must proceed carefully before opting for any virtual bank.

6. Big Data and FinTech

FinTech Companies use structured as well as unstructured data which is collectively known as Big Data to divide customers, identify frauds to manage any risk factor with ease. These companies evaluate the big data and add certain algorithms to them to make necessary decisions.

By the utilization of Big Data in Fintech, one can easily predict the fraudsters that any human eye can’t.

Analysis of big data assists in understanding the behavior and usual buying habits of the customers and any fintech corporation can detect suspicious behavior of the users that tends to be dangerous for the entire operation of their business.

7. Identification From Biometric

With the continuous growth of mobile banking, one of the major concerns that customers face is the security of their data as well as money. That’s when the Biometric

Identification comes in action for any Fintech Company as it assures the security of the transactions from different customer authentication methods while preventing any kind of fraud.

If you are using any payment application from your phone then you knew that without providing either your fingerprint or password transaction cannot be processed.

Similarly, there will be more such methods in the upcoming years where almost everyone will be using biometric payment methods.

8. RPA or Robotic Process Automation

The addition of RPA in a FinTech institution is quickly becoming the main center of attention. It not only improves the timely value but is also reducing human errors while enhancing the efficiency and accuracy of the transaction, record maintaining, performing queries, or calculations.

Soon every bank or financial unit will indulge themselves in it. So be ready for the most required and amazing transformation to come sooner than later with more opportunities for a better business to financial institutions.

9. Fintech Cyber Security and Stability

Customers were really worried about the protection of their sensitive personal information when it comes to FinTech as technologies have never been reliable and bring a lot of threats like money laundering or identity thefts.

Majorly cybercriminals focus on small banking firms as they might not have invested in the security which means that by the end of 2020 FinTech organizations will be taught about cyberattacks and its survival.

There will be more security and stability on the customer’s personal information and funds.

10. Converge on Unserved 

Based on the reports by the World Bank, around 1.7 billion people around the world have never been a part of the financial system. Many have never had a bank account of their own because 26% of people find it expensive, 30% were never influenced by the bank need, and the rest 46% do not have money.

The main focus of financial leaders is in this unserved area. Instead of focusing on the already established area, fintech startups are trying to focus on the new area and finding creative ways to reach more customers.  

11. Low Use of Physical Money

Another important trend that indicates the more use of fintech is fall in the use of physical money.

Starting from 2016, around the world either people started using payment wallets or net banking or the merchants have declined any cash payment.

In 2020, the percentage of low use of cash has accelerated and the contactless payment has become one of the greatest trends. Also, with the ongoing pandemic and social distancing practices, it has become common for the people to use cards and payment wallets for purchasing as they don’t want to come in contact with others. 

12. Inclusion of Voice Search

According to stats, around 50% of the world population will use voice search in 2020. It is enough reason that fintech will transform the banking and financial sector with voice search.

The voice search in the fintech industry will offer methods to encrypt and support communication with voice assistants and will also guide customers to easily access banking services. It also reduces the need for physical customer executives to help customers with their problems and will help financial institutions to save up to $3 billion dollars3 billion dollars.

The innovations for payment such as online banking and mobile wallets help in moving past the borders financially while allowing users to shop or make payments throughout the globe efficiently. 

What are the Insights on Fintech Trends?

Customers have admired the complete idea of all-time access to finance. It can be said that Fintech or financial technology is a hot topic nowadays.

Additionally, the traditional institutions of finance are enhancing their investment in Fintech to provide better and efficient services.

FinTech is on its way to bring transformative changes with the flexibility and agility they offer. So let’s get to some of the major insights on FinTech Trends.

1. Growing Blockchain benefits

With the elimination of central intermediaries for the fund transfers, Blockchain enables peer-to-peer or decentralized transactions.

These transactions are not only limited to funds but also includes the transfer of vehicles and home as well. It is removing all those steps to authentications on transfer before the settlement which can take up to 2-3 days.

The Blockchain method helps the customers in making transactions faster and the settlement to take place within a few seconds.

2. Technology Implementation 

Excitement can be felt among both customers and financial institutions with Fintech and other upcoming innovative technologies. But, with innovation comes numerous transformations to previous architecture and the implementation challenges which will eventually get removed. 

A benefit that financial institutions will achieve with the use of financial technology is the ability to save billions of dollars. Apart from that, the tech implementation of finance helps in fraud reduction. 

FinTech is being used by the banking industry with Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Client (B2C) financial transactions as well. Because of the B2B, businesses are now able to easily acquire loans and other financial services.

With B2C comes the ability to pay anywhere anytime to the businesses. These payments can be made via apps like Google Pay, PayPal,  Apple Pay, and many others.

3. Financial Firms Indulging in Fintech

Those days are gone, where customers used to visit banks for their needs. Whether one wants to open a bank account, transfer money, or want to stop a check payment — customers can do it either while being in their comfort zone.

Financial firms like banks are extremely indulging with fintech to improve the overall banking process. Some of the key changes that FinTech has brought are:

  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Opportunities for Financial Inclusion
  • Increase in NBFCs
  • Easier KYC process
  • Better Wealth Management
  • New Banking Models
  • Improve in Loan Approval & Distribution
  • Secure Transactions

4. Rising Interest of Regulators 

Several regulators are slowly taking leads and showing interest in the Financial Technologies to foster better innovation.

The regulators are testing scenarios to identify the ways in which technology can be intensified. It will also help them to solve problems in transfers.

The FinTech Investment has been increased in the past few years by 500%. Along with that, there has been a paradigm shift in the scale and scope of financial services.

There are factors that can be improved by the regulators. But, they are waiting for the players in the Fintech industry to figure it out. Besides, they are trying to figure out the way in which innovation can become more risk-free.

Many are in the observer pace as there’s no guidance in this industry yet. 

5. Fintech: A Marathon 

Investment in FinTech is expected to reach a whole new level by 2022, i.e., from $127.66 billion to $309.95 billion. This growth is going to give an annual hike of 24.8%. There has been an incredible amount of hike in this industry.

A large number of people have realized that Fintech is not some short term race. It will not come and go within a matter of time. FinTech is a marathon where they have to run for the long-term to achieve their goals. Additionally, there’s nothing stopping this industry from the tremendous growth in the upcoming years.

Creative FinTech Trends Are Offering Complete Business Solutions

With huge banks and card organizations out of the market, Fintechs are offering help to organizations with installments and consistency. Here are a few of the zones in which fintech companies are offering assistance for startups and other businesses, like:

  • Business Checking Accounts
  • Online Banking
  • Business Invoicing
  • Escrow services
  • Money Transfer
  • Taxation Transmittal
  • Shopping Cart Integration
  • Patient/consumer retail
  • Full Cash Management services
  • Track N Trace
  • Inventory Management
  • 360 closed-loop risk/compliance management

Conclusion

The entire FinTech industry is continuously growing. But, with the changes comes challenges from internet banking. To keep customers and companies safe, finding the right solution for them is important.

With the trends, this brilliant combination of Finance and Technology will dominate the world for a long time. It will make the transactions easier, give high-end security, and settlement faster.

FinTech will also offer efficient loan approval, instant KYC, and personalized offers to the customers.

With so many advantages and ongoing trends, one needs to always ensure to protect the customer’s data & reduce the chances of fraud.

The innovations for payment such as online banking and mobile wallets help in moving past the borders financially. It also allows users to shop or make payments throughout the globe efficiently.

Image Credit: bongkarn; Pexels

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Cloud Computing for Businesses: Will Covid-19 Surge Cloud Adoption?

A wise man once said not to let a good crisis go to waste. The Covid-19 has shaken the world upside down, many businesses experienced heavy losses while the others started to rise. The pandemic not only changed the way businesses operate but also the way they managed to survive.

Globally, the education system became online, doctors examined their patients over the Internet, and the corporate professionals worked from their home delivering their productivity; the world, in a way, started connecting virtually more than ever before.

But this global crisis came out to be the cloud having a silver lining for the cloud computing market. The cloud has not only been a boon for the businesses but also for the consumers to cope with the struggles of effective work management, entertainment, collaborations, and much more.

This article will throw a light on the cloud computing adoption by businesses and its future scope in the Covid-19 era.

But, what makes enterprises adopt Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing offers huge benefits to the businesses for expanding their business capabilities such as:

  • Pay-as-you-go
  • Scalability and flexibility
  • Minimize capital investment
  • Higher service quality
  • Secure collaborations
  • Safety, security, and compliance with regulations

These factors help the businesses build the resiliency to navigate during the crises.

How Pandemic drives Cloud Computing adoption?

In the phase of unprecedented disruption, as consumers, we all witnessed how we gave a tough fight against social distancing practices with the accelerated use of Netflix, Zoom, Twitter, and Slack – the Amazon Web services (AWS) public cloud-hosted services.

From the market perspective, many businesses are actively adopting cloud computing services to seamlessly manage their operations remotely by creating virtual workspace, managing workforce, storing crucial healthcare data, handling accounting and taxation, and supporting digitizing the manual processes.

A Flexera study indicated the increased use of cloud computing resources during pandemic among enterprises and small and medium-sized businesses. Out of the 57% of the respondents, 31% shows a slightly higher usage than they planned, and 26% shows a significantly higher usage than planned.

Change from Planned Cloud Usage due to COVID-19

Image source: Flexera

Opportunities in the impact of Covid-19 on the Cloud Computing

Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadela, recently said that the impact of Covid-19 was such that just in two months of its 3rd quarter, Microsoft has seen the two years’ worth of digital transformation. With a “big bang approachâ€�, he referred to the quick adoption by deploying the cloud services fast.

According to a study, The expected cloud market size in 2019 is to rise from USD 233 billion to USD 295 billion by 2021, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 12.5% during the predicted time frame.�

Public Cloud Adoption for Enterprises

  • The surge of sales in the eCommerce sector

Taking into consideration the eCommerce space, with the rising number of Covid-19 cases after unlocking in many countries, merchants have observed a huge shift in consumer habits. Shopping from brick-and-mortar stores while maintaining social distancing is causing unprecedented levels of disruption for buyers which has encouraged them to shift their gears to shop online.

As of May 31, 27 percent of the US respondents said that they purchased hygiene products online instead of offline.

The increase in the number of online shoppers during the Covid-19 times has caused a ton of light bulb moments for the retailers globally to migrate their businesses to online platforms. Besides, the existing eCommerce store owners have been nudged to escalate their eCommerce game by adopting advanced technologies to increase their sales in 2020, for better customer satisfaction and timely product deliveries.

Adopting cloud computing helps merchants easily upscale or downscale their business. It not only helps merchants to reduce the costs of goods and services but also enables new companies to grow. At the consumer end, the cloud provides ease of shopping experience, anytime and anywhere delivery, cashless digital payments, and much more.

The pace with which eCommerce sales is booming during the Covid-19 times, it is sure that they will outperform post-Covid and, thus, lead to an increase in cloud market growth.

  • Cloud adoption among enterprises

Many enterprises (organizations with a number of employees more than 1000) are choosing the lane of cloud computing technology due to its multiple advantages.

In a survey of 750 respondents who were asked to share their insights into what drove them to move their organization to the cloud-based platforms, 73% of the respondents said cost-effectiveness is the main reason for their adoption. And, 61% of the respondents said migrating more workloads to the cloud was the main reason for their cloud adoption.

Public cloud is the most popular cloud option used by enterprises with a usage share greater than 61%. Talking about the public cloud providers for the enterprises, the order of dominance is Amazon, Microsoft, and Google over the rivals Alibaba Cloud, IBM Cloud, and Oracle Cloud. Amazon Web Services hold the first place with an adoption rate of 76% followed by Microsoft Azure with an adoption rate of 69%, and Google Cloud is the third place holder with 34%.

The statistics below depicts the order of public cloud service providers adopted by enterprises till now in 2020.

Public Cloud Adoption for Enterprises

Image source: Flexera

The cloud adoption rate by enterprises in 2020 is expected to grow more as compared to the last year. Based on the existing trends, 59 percent of enterprises expect cloud technology usage to exceed prior plans due to Covid-19.

  • The rise in the video-streaming services

An estimate shows that this year in the U.S., the average time consumed with subscription OTT video content will exceed 62 minutes per day which is 23.0% up from 2019. With Netflix gaining the first position, the average time spent will exceed 30 minutes per day in the US in 2020, which is up more than 16% from 2019.

With most of the people staying at home, the exponential escalation in the video-streaming services has resulted in expanding the cloud market.

  • Transition to Work from home culture

Many IT and ITES companies are planning to opt the long-term work from home options. For instance, Twitter has announced a permanent work from home opportunity for its employees.

Based on the current scenario, the need for seamless collaborations over the Internet calls for strong cloud infrastructure has risen. The increase in the usage of SaaS solutions to support the remote workforce contributes to market growth as well.

Not only the IT companies, but the finance industry has also accelerated taking the route of SaaS-based cloud accounting solutions.

  • Inclination of Small business towards cloud

Many small businesses have shown interest in cloud adoption. Their major workload runs in public clouds (43%) as compared to the private cloud (35%) with AWS as the preferred public cloud.

In Covid-19 times, the cost-effectiveness and the data security that cloud provides without hiring the trained staff, it is becoming the need of the hour for many small business entrepreneurs.

  • Preferred choice of the Government sector

According to Gartner, 50% of US organizations are actively using the cloud. Both the private and the public cloud are being adopted by the government bodies with the public cloud services growing in double-digits.

And, through 2021, the spending forecast will grow on an average of 17.1%. The government bodies find effective cost savings and delivery services are the key drivers of cloud adoption in government.

  • Rise of cloud adoption in the Fintech industry

Like many businesses experiencing economic slowdown, the fintech industry has experienced the fiscal shocks and stock market slumps during the global crises.

Where everything came to a halt for some time, the finance industry changed the game at global level. They accelerated cloud adoption by providing the customers with branch-less banking, increased digital payment apps, and contactless payments via mobile phones to reduce social contact.

  • A changing trend in Bookkeeping

Bookkeeping has evolved with the changing technology trends. The traditional software is being taken over by cloud technology. With the pandemic, where work from home is the new fashion of working, many bookkeepers are now using cloud-based accounting software.

While many businesses were upended, shifting to cloud-based software has been quite a relief for the bookkeepers to save their employment and their employer’s business. Many bookkeeping apps are available which helps businesses eave an impact on their clients. The need to continue business operations has pushed entrepreneurs to opt for cloud technology.

Regardless of which time zone they are in, the cloud culture has enabled the accountants, managers, and bookkeepers to monitor their business’s financial health, providing ease of work collaboration and anytime or anywhere data access with enhanced security.

  • Cloud Adoption in Tax industry

Many companies are opting for cloud-based tax compliance solutions amidst Covid-19 situations. Both small businesses and big enterprises are considering choosing the digital approach for they provide the benefits of risk mitigation and flexibility.

Since, the Covid-19 occurred in the season of tax filing and returns in many countries, the tax professionals around the globe are pushed to pick cloud-based solutions for providing effective tax solutions to their clients. This approach not only enables the tax filing process faster but also allows the tax professionals to meet client’s needs in a cost-effective and the most reliable way.

The professionals are getting inclined to making a switch towards cloud-based tax software that post Covid-19 this trend will keep growing.

  • Paradigm shift of the Education Industry

As per a study, it is expected that the growth in cloud computing in the education market will be observed from USD 8.13 billion in 2016 to USD 25.36 billion in 2021. And, the compound annual growth rate expected is 25.6%.

But with the pandemic, the speed of adoption seems to increase from the expected rate. With unexpected lockdowns, the educational organizations experienced a complete shutdown, including schools, colleges, and universities, in many world sections.

The education however didn’t come to a halt, kudos to the man-made cloud technology. Though major universities are already running on cloud models for offering innovative eLearning experience, the pandemic forced many school-going students to go for their academics via online platforms which led to the expansion of the cloud market. Many higher education providing organizations are investing in cloud computing services to fulfill their need of a centralized system for academic process management.

Cloud computing has proved to be a boon for the educational institutions to bring everyone onto a virtually connected campus, transforming the learning process. Supporting the concept of ‘learning beyond classrooms,’ cloud computing vendors are sure to continue growing post-Covid-19.

  • Effective tool in Healthcare industry

The Healthcare industry has faced maximum challenges in 2020. With the number of Coronavirus patients increasing day by day, the generated data has increased more than before. Likewise, gathering the patient data, managing it, and storing it securely comes up as a big challenge for healthcare professionals. But, cloud computing has proved as the savior for the healthcare industry.

Cloud computing has provided immense benefits that have helped health care professionals continue providing their services remotely in a safe manner, even in pandemic times. The seamless collaboration of the cloud helps health professionals easily share the patient data with other healthcare providers, enabling them to provide them better services.

Besides, the adoption of technology by the healthcare industry, the increase of digitization, and the rising GDP helps in the modernization of healthcare services have added to the cause of the market growth.

Currently, North America tops the list of healthcare cloud market due to the presence of a huge patient population and major medical and technical companies. With more organizations opting for cloud culture globally during the Covid-19 crises, the healthcare cloud market is sure to boom at a great pace. And, Cloud computing, along with AI and machine learning is bringing the smart hospitals into existence.

In a nutshell, Covid-19 has been a catalyst to increase the space of cloud adoption opportunities in each industry bringing in the Digital Transformation by storm.

Main Challenges in Cloud Adoption

Like any technology adoption, the cloud computing implementation comes up with a prominent set of risks and challenges which include:

  • Cloud Cost Management – Adopting cloud computing culture for business is undoubtedly the best move but meeting the business’s tailored needs can be expensive.
  • Lack of expertise –Another hindrance to employee skill gaps comes while adapting to the cloud.
  • Cloud Migration – Migrating the applications on the cloud can be difficult. According to a survey conducted by Velostrata over 95% of companies are making migration to the cloud, and more than half of them find it more difficult than the expectation.
  • Cloud Security – Storing sensitive business information can be the biggest challenge. That is why it is necessary to check compliance and security laws while hiring.

It is quintessential to have a trusted cloud hosting provider who can help you provide quick, reliable, and cost-effective solutions for successful cloud operations.

Final Thoughts on Cloud Computing Adoption

Now, if you ask, should you go for a cloud computing approach? The answer is ‘Yes’ as it has been successful in providing benefits of flexibility (37%), Disaster recovery (38%), and relieving IT staff’s job (36%).

With a huge number of businesses, including small businesses, enterprises, fintech industry, entertainment industry, education industry, etc. transitioning to the cloud computing models to provide enhanced and unified user experience, the global adoption rate is undoubtedly increasing compared to previous years.

In 2019, the US gained the top position by spending $124.6 billion preceded by China investing $10.5 billion, the UK spending $10 billion, Germany spending $9.5 billion and Japan spending $7.4 billion.

In 2020, the global crisis has further added fuel to the cloud adoption fire, making the investors spend more in the market. For example, China-based Alibaba Cloud, Hangzhou, which is the top cloud provider in Asia, has declared $28 billion of investment in its cloud infrastructure over the next 3 years.

Converting the crisis into opportunities, adopting cloud computing strategies to cope up with the challenges, this Covid-19 has definitely created a surge in cloud adoption globally.

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All You Need to Know about RegTech in 2020

RegTech

With the annual compliance spending of the financial institutions exceeding hundreds of billion dollars and the growing number of financial regulations, it’s no surprise that RegTech, or regulatory technology, has emerged to respond to a broad range of compliance issues. Here is all you need to know about RegTech in 2020.

As with all emerging technologies, two viewpoints exist on RegTech adoption. While some businesses are rushing to embrace the innovation, others treat RegTech with skepticism and suspicion. Many businesses don’t know much about RegTech and prefer to use what they presume to be their good-old strategies to meet regulatory demands.

If you fall into the latter bucket, let me leverage my fintech expertise to clear the fog and outline what RegTech is. You can understand how RegTech helps you address all kinds of risk and regulatory challenges, and where RegTech is headed.

What is RegTech?

RegTech implies the use of technology for supervising, reporting, and ensuring compliance mostly for the financial industry (essentially the most regulated one) while also covering the needs of pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing, the oil and gas sector, transportation, etc. Besides �ompliance solutions, RegTech is aimed at financial crime surveillance, focusing on fraud, money laundering, and insider trading.

History of RegTech

The history of RegTech goes back to the 2008 financial crisis that led to an increase in government regulations. Additionally, technological advancements in the financial domain spurred the appearance of numerous fintech solutions that aimed to serve customers differently.

Customers Data

The use of customers’ data for these fintech products caused regulators’ concerns about maintaining data privacy.

In particular, the General Data Protection Regulation appeared to handle how customers’ data was collected and managed.

Other regulations, such as the Payment Services Directive and the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, came about to manage the payment and investment sectors accordingly.

RegTech’s Response to Challenges

RegTech came as a response to those challenges, promising to help banks avoid billion-dollar penalties for non-compliance and become more cost-efficient with the nascent-state RegTech solutions. However, many banks were reluctant to adopt the innovation, relying upon their legacy technology and processes, disconnected IT systems, and siloed data.

The 2020 Mess of Uncertainty

In 2020, with a new wave of economic uncertainty and recession, we can expect more regulations appearing to prevent bankruptcies, unemployment growth, and other crisis phenomena. All of these 2020 issues may help RegTech take center stage and spur the wide adoption of maturing RegTech solutions to facilitate compliance, risk management, and regulatory reporting.

The RegTech Landscape in 2020

Currently, there are more than 250 RegTech companies in the market. The market is expected to grow from $4.3 billion in 2018 to $12.3 billion by 2023 at a CAGR of 23.5%. The list of the most innovative RegTech companies is spearheaded by 4Stop, Ascent, Dathena, Trunomi, and others.

Interestingly, startups, as well as incumbents choose to cooperate on the RegTech market, and the absence of competition typical of, for instance, Fintech, spurs the emergence of new RegTech solutions.

In 2019, RegTech broke a record in the number of global deals (145). The stat can be partially attributed to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2). Both the GDPR and the PSD2 have been applicable since 2018, and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is coming into effect in 2020.

However, there’s been a recent investment market drop ($2,5 billion in 2019 compared to $4 billion in 2018). The stat maybe because of the doubts individual investors have about the maturing technology and the downturn.

Key Benefits of RegTech

Besides the increasing regulatory burden and enormous non-compliance fines, another factor contributes to the growth of RegTech. Benefits brought by RegTech solutions are substantial and account for the rising RegTech demand. Among the key benefits achieved with process digitization are:

  • Ensuring continuous compliance with various regulations due to their automated real-time monitoring and keeping track of changes
  • Reduced compliance costs (physical infrastructure expenses of banks may account for over 40% of their total IT spending)
  • Efficient fraud detection, know-your-customer procedures, and anti-money laundering controls
  • Improved risk management
  • Effective regulatory reporting
  • Real-time transaction monitoring and auditing

Still, many financial organizations refrain from adopting RegTech solutions regardless of their growing popularity and tangible benefits. Let’s explore the reasons for it in more detail.

Major RegTech Challenges

Among the main obstacles that RegTech companies face are:

Varied Regulations in Different Jurisdictions

Despite a unified approach to regulation taken by financial centers after the 2008 crisis, various laws set different standards. For instance, U.S. banks abide by the Dodd-Frank Act, while the EU issued MiFID II for businesses under its jurisdiction.

Besides, there may be regional interpretations of the main provisions of these laws, so RegTech providers should keep this in mind and stay on top of the laws and local peculiarities of their implementation. In this case, they’ll be able to provide a solution that’s efficient for different jurisdictions.

Conflicting Regulations

Manifold regulations such as GDPR, MiFID II, and others coming into effect at the same time bring potential inter-regulation conflicts that may affect businesses of all industries substantially. RegTech companies have a significant amount of work to elaborate solutions that help their clients abide by these requirements and spot the issues that may cause a conflict.

Consumer Data Privacy

Being a hot issue, especially in the face of the GDPR that has come into effect, the privacy of consumer data becomes even more critical for any company, and RegTechs is no exception. They must ensure the secure management of customer data and enhance the protection of clients’ info from data breaches, loss, and other cyber threats.

The Quality of Data

RegTechs are heavily dependent upon the quality of the data provided to them. For instance, getting duplicated, inaccurate, or incomplete data from an insurer may result in output that lacks accuracy and insightful value.

The Price of Going Digital

Staying compliant with regulations without technology support requires a huge manual workload and a seamless process of audit and reporting.

However, the cost of digital transformation may be too high on the pocket for some of the traditional financial services companies, so they refuse to adopt RegTech innovations.

The Potential for Algorithmic Bias

The algorithmic bias may occur when an AI-based RegTech solution incorporates existing human biases into its relationship model and produces wrong outcomes. These outcomes may happen due to flawed or prejudiced source data or when an algorithm learns bias in the process of data analysis.

Such biases are infrequent and inadvertent, but they pose outstanding lending and reputation risks to companies and cause great resistance to RegTech products.

Regulatory Technologies and Their Use-cases

The list of mature technologies used in RegTech solutions includes:

  • Cloud Computing for Data Security and Cost-efficiency

RegTech products are typically cloud-based and offered using the Software as a Service (SaaS) distribution model. It allows for lower data storage costs and no expenses on IT infrastructure and regular data backups and efficient disaster recovery.

  • Natural Language Processing (NLP) for Supervising and Managing Regulatory Change

With natural language processing algorithms, manual and laborious reviewing of financial documents and processes prone to regulatory change has become obsolete.

Using NLP in RegTech products allows them to read and analyze numerous regulatory sources, identify any changes made to them, and notify financial institutions about those changes or additions.

More sophisticated solutions can also identify internal stakeholders (e.g., compliance officers) who need to stay in-the-know and notify them about regulatory changes.

  • Machine Learning (ML) to Improve Transaction Monitoring

Machine learning algorithms can help with transaction monitoring and alerting about suspicious transactions and cases.

Supervised ML algorithms trained on prior suspicious activities, can compare current rules and investigation results, and recommend rules refinement to reduce the number of false-positive alerts.

  • Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to Facilitate KYC and AML Processes

The Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations resulted in tedious manual processes of customer onboarding.

Employees of financial organizations have to review customer information and manually enter it in numerous internal systems.

RPA solutions eliminate manual effort and reduce the risk of human error by automating standard and repeatable processes of data input into numerous internal systems, screening automation, reports generation, and more.

  • Big Data Analytics to Improve Decision-making

RegTech solutions based on data analytics bring financial organizations deeper insights, 15-20 times quicker analysis of multiple data sets, and powerful reporting that helps make informed business decisions, uncover risks quicker, and manage them more efficiently.

The following technologies are still evolving in their RegTech application:

  • Blockchain for Better Deals’ Transparency

Blockchain can be used for document tracking to streamline deals and ensure increased transparency, which is essential for regulatory compliance.

Additionally, blockchain facilitates KYC procedures that are typically paper-based and siloed. Implementing a blockchain solution for KYC allows sharing customers’ data across a bank’s divisions and even different financial organizations.

Thus, clients wouldn’t need to resubmit their info when applying to additional financial products, and their onboarding process for a new account in another bank would be made much more manageable.

The distributed ledger technology also helps to automate information collection processes for AML. What’s more, blockÑ�hain-based records can facilitate validation of the documents collated for AML reporting.

  • Biometrics for Better Identity Management

Biometrics helps enhance identity management using face scanning, fingerprint scanning, iris scanning, voice recognition, and other identification methods.

Besides helping to decrease identity fraud, biometric solutions can be paired with behavioral analytics to prevent illicit transactions and other financial frauds, thus saving companies from enormous financial and reputation losses.

Where’s RegTech Headed

The increasingly complex regulatory landscape makes compliance a weary load for businesses of all sizes. It spurs greater interest in automating the supervision of regulatory change, reporting, and financial fraud detection.

Besides, due to the ballooning amount of regulations, the cost of compliance continues to grow. According to recent estimates, it may take up to 20% of the entire financial firm’s budget just to stay in business and avoid fines from regulators.

Therefore, companies (in particular, those that operate across multiple jurisdictions) will have to keep up with current and emerging regulations, manage their compliance costs more wisely, and increase the efficiency of compliance processes.

For that, embracing the tech that eliminates manual paper-based workflows and reduces the risk of human error seems indispensable.

Thus, RegTech solutions addressing the ever-evolving compliance needs will be increasingly in demand. The same refers to compliance officers with deep domain expertise who can handle complex cases unmanageable without human judgment.

As for regulators, they’ll be encouraging RegTech adoption by leveraging RegTech solutions for more efficient and careful supervision over banks, insurance companies, and other financial institutions. Another reason for regulators to favor RegTech startups is the absence of licensing, facilitating regulators’ work.

One Final Note

For every company wishing to adopt RegTech innovation, I suggest following the 3-step approach. First, it’s crucial to spot the problems addressed with RegTech and analyze possible solutions in terms of the ROI and efficiency metrics.

Secondly, it’s necessary to summon an on-site dedicated RegTech team, accountable for elaborating solutions, supervising their implementation, and assessing efficiency.

Alternatively, if your local talent market lacks RegTech professionals, you may find a third-party provider that’ll make your RegTech project an endeavor, which brings its dividends.

Finally, it’s required to assess RegTech’s long-term sustainability by making sure that the RegTech you’re working with has a viable operating model, strong leadership, stable funding, and resources to manage any unexpected issues that may appear.

The post All You Need to Know about RegTech in 2020 appeared first on ReadWrite.

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It’s Time to Shift Digital with Visual AI

visual ai

A seamless digital experience has long been the focus of product teams and technologists. From disruptive startups to the leading brands in technology and media, an emerging question is now top of mind. How can visual AI-based inspection technology help to eliminate the mundane tasks associated with quality assurance? It’s time to shift digital with visual AI.

The visual quality of digital experiences results in positive customer experience and offers a compelling competitive advantage for those who have put a focus on quality. After all, it only takes 50 milliseconds or less (that’s 0.05 seconds) for users to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they’ll stay or leave.

digital customer experience
The visual quality of digital experiences results in positive customer experience.             Image Credit: Pexels

Don’t Jeopardize your Future by Using Outdated Methods.

In coming to grips with the new normal, users now expect quality digital experiences across all aspects of their lives. The quality has to be in how they stream media to how they order groceries, delivery, take-out, and even contactless dine-in.

McKinsey notes that even before COVID-19, 92 percent of companies thought their business models would need to change given digitalization. The new reality is to shift-digital or risk becoming irrelevant overnight.

Businesses that deprioritized digitalization now rush to shift-digital, are realizing the effort is daunting, and they need help. Businesses are making this transition with fewer resources and newly distributed teams, making the challenge much more difficult.

The typical digitally transformed brand has on average 28 applications, each with roughly 98 unique screens. These apps are required to be visible on an average of 5 screen sizes and 6 languages.

The varying sizes and languages amount to roughly 90,000 pages and screen variations that need to be visually perfect. 90,000 ways a company delivers the customer’s digital experience.

Traditional automated testing methods are slow and prone to false positives. Additionally, the design of these frameworks does not detect visual defects. Undetected visual defects detract from the seamless experience and can cost R&D teams between $1.75m and $6.9m annually to fix.

Visual AI to the Rescue.

Artificial intelligence and its use cases realize a growth trajectory that no one could have predicted. Visual AI is an example of how technology helps create an advanced approach to visual quality testing.

By replicating the human eye and brain, Visual AI is able to detect differences in a screenshot against a baseline image. This process is completed with incredible speed and accuracy and also creates a system that is becoming increasingly sophisticated as more businesses adopt it.

This technology is now so widespread that one Visual AI platform recently crossed over 1 billion images analyzed. With so many images analyzed for global companies, it’s hard to imagine someone who has not benefited from it.

The sheer amount of images analyzed also means  AI algorithms grow increasingly intelligent in identifying defects and eliminating false positives.

visual AI

How you have Benefitted from Visual AI (and didn’t even know it).

Visual AI positively impacts digital experiences for customers in many ways. It is a bit of an unsung hero, in that when it does its job – you don’t know it, you just enjoy the experience.

From popular day to day business apps to binge-watching your favorite show on a rainy weekend, AI is behind the scenes, improving quality.

E-COMMERCE

Many people spend a good amount of time putting together a curated grocery list for the week. When ordering online, you select your items, choose your delivery time, and proceed to check-out.

But at checkout, you cannot find the “Submit Order” button. There’s no way to buy what you want so you end up seeing if another grocery store has delivery available. Or worse, have to drive to the store’s physical location. This is a very real issue, one I have personally experienced. It’s incredibly frustrating, not only does it damage the grocers brand, but naturally impacts its revenue.

When ordering a new pair of noise-canceling headphones, a new phone, fresh new kicks, a Friday evening pizza delivery, or your weekly groceries, you are likely interacting with an application tested by Visual AI.

Forbes recently reported that the US and Canadian e-commerce orders are experiencing 129 percent YoY growth. Based on current trends, there is no slowing this train down.

eCommerce provides us a faster, safer, and oftentimes, lower-cost alternative to access the things we want. More importantly, the things we need. Visual AI ensures eCommerce platforms deliver on these promises.

ONLINE BANKING

It’s time to log-in to your banking portal to reconcile your account. You enter your username and password, but your password expired and needs to be changed. In going to change your password, you see the change password button isn’t working. You’re stuck mid-change as fear and anxiety are mount by the minute – sound familiar?

ConsumerAffairs notes that 8 in 10 Americans prefer banking digitally vs visiting a physical branch. The primary emotional connection is to make it easy for customers to use their products and services.

From cashing checks to auto bill pay and everything in between, Visual AI assists many global financial firms to test their mobile apps and web portals.

By testing with Visual AI, leading financial institutions can achieve primary emotional connection and ensure their customers have instant and easy access to their services.

STREAMING ENTERTAINMENT

You’re binge-watching your favorite show and the next episode auto-plays. Psych! It skipped ahead two episodes unveiling a spoiler in the recap. Thankfully, this is one of the reasons why popular streaming entertainment services use Visual AI.

When subscribers log in, they expect a fully immersive experience. Escaping bugs not only impacts that exact moment but can negatively alter the full streaming experience and harm the brand.

Streaming apps run on a large variety of devices including mobile phones, tablets and dedicated streaming devices. Streaming apps are also built into a countless number of televisions with different operating systems and software versions.

Visual AI technology captures screenshots from each of the platforms and divides the screenshots into visual elements. It then compares the extracted visual elements to compare against a baseline image. This process is all done in parallel and with incredible accuracy.

HEALTHCARE

You register for your healthcare provider app and schedule a doctor’s appointment. Ahead of the appointment, you get a notification and think, “nice touch.” Upon arriving at your doctor’s office you learn your doctor works from the other side of the city on Tuesdays. The app sent you to the wrong address.

As a result, this is now a missed appointment charge and seven phone calls to reverse that charge created. What a frustrating experience.

Healthcare services continue to evolve, especially since the recent pandemic. More providers offer in-home, virtual doctor consultations powered by web and mobile apps. These web portals and mobile apps create your health hub.

Patients get secure doctor communications, prescription refills, appointment scheduling, and find helpful wellness resources.

Leading care providers rely on Visual AI to ensure their member’s experiences work. Their customers now have quick and easy access to care and health information.

IoT and CONNECTED DEVICES

Your new smart car completes a software update and the music widget appears to have gone missing. It turns out it is hiding underneath another icon.

While not a critical issue, it makes you question the quality of the brand. Alexa – does Visual AI play some role in testing at least one of my household IoT devices? Odds are good that the answer is yes. IoT is everywhere.

In connected washing machines and dryers to home security equipment, blood pressure straps, smart cars, smart scales, smart rings, and smartwatches.

The list goes on and on. If an IoT device has a screen or an associated app, then Visual AI can test it.

Next time your smartwatch harasses you because you skipped a workout, you may have to thank Visual AI for reminding you.

AR/MR/VR

Augmented, Mixed, and Virtual Reality offers immersive experiences. These experiences can alter the real-world environment, bring real-world environments into an augmented space, or allow a user to leave the real-world environment behind all-together.

When creating apps for this technology, engineers innovate in the manner in which they are developing. This requires a level of innovation on how such apps are tested. Some leaders in this tech space are looking towards Visual AI to help.

Therefore, testing this next generation of apps requires expertise across multiple scenarios including 2D, 3D, and 360 Video. AR/MR/VR apps of the future will enable fully immersive movies and concerts, corporate meetings, and even civil engagements.

These apps offer new experiences that demand the highest quality to ensure the user remains fully immersed. Visual AI is paving the way to tomorrow’s experiences, today.

GAMING CONSOLES

You spend countless hours on that “game ++â€� dual-sword build and accidentally hit the wrong button. Now it’s deleted forever. The confirmation dialog did not appear as expected and getting pissed off is the understatement of the year.

With billions of gamers worldwide, every home is likely to have a gaming console. Gaming consoles provide instant access to games, smart apps, and of course, streaming content services.

Today’s consoles have multiple apps within their user interface, each of which requires testing. For example, the online store might be one app, the settings interface might be another, and then you may have things like communities, messages, play parties, and the list goes on.

On top of that, think about language support. Most modern consoles need to support at least 30 different languages.

Testing this variety of apps across multiple languages is no small feat. It requires top-notch test architects and the help of Visual AI. So the next time you’re playing your favorite gaming console, remember that Visual AI played a part in your experience.

Conclusion

In all of the use cases listed above, there has been explosive growth with no sign of things slowing down. We’re living in a digital world and its advantages are so much more relevant in 2020 than before.

Digitalization is no longer a matter of convenience. It helps us reduce risk and ensure safety, especially with our most vulnerable populations.

Artificial intelligence ensures quality web and mobile customer experiences and the benefits are obvious and proven. Organizations are transforming their business to shift-digital and remain relevant so that we as customers are delighted.

While you may have never heard of Visual AI before today, the next time you sit down and stream your favorite show, play a game, order groceries online, or set up an online bill-pay — remember there is some amazing technology that helped some really smart people build those experiences for you.

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Payment Solutions that will Flourish your e-Commerce Business

ecommerce business

While everyone is talking about how the capital letters of innovation — AR, AI and IoT — have turned our lives to online adventure — I’d like to discuss a bit more prosaic, but still promising sphere. It’s e-Commerce. Here are payment solutions that will flourish in your eCommerce business.

If you still think that going online will cost you a bundle, let me revise some numbers and show you statistics.

According to online-shopping research, the number of online customers will grow to 2.14 billion by 2021.

Statista and BigCommerce researches say, “eCommerce will make up 22% of global retail sales by 2023.�

Understand the whole picture — eCommerce was 14.1% in 2019.

The market itself will amount to $4.8 trillion by 2021.

As for the current worldwide situation and COVID impact on online shopping, the data shows that in comparison with January 2020 and 12.81 billion visitors, their number grew to 14.34 billion in March.

Hop on the train of online shopping and start generating a great amount of traffic.

Are these numbers not enough to drive you forward online retail? All in all, creating a website and a product catalog is a child’s play — integrating a payment API — a five-minute task. And generally, you’re all set and can expand horizons of the business, increase margins.

online payment

What if to approach the issue of integrating the API a bit more creatively? For example, develop a loyalty program that allows you to earn bonuses and use them for paying goods, give the clients a chance to pay for things either online or offline, etc.

Most likely, the question “why do I need to devote energy if the solution is already there, and it works?” The page does not hang, payment is not delayed, consumers present, and business grows. Everything is fine.

The answer is simple: increase audience loyalty, profitability, and expand the circle of customers. 

What are the steps in developing your e-commerce business and payment solution?

1) Apply various payment methods

website payment solutions development

  • Online payments

First of all, in the realm of the Internet, it’s online payments. Applying different acquirers, APIs, and payment platforms — you can gather around your website a whole system with various channels (Stripe, Due, Worldpay, PayPal, ApplePay, GooglePay, RBS, QIWI, China Union).

  • Off-line payment solutions

As strange as it sounds, you can provide off-line payment solutions in your store by integrating payment services with access to payment kiosk machines (Qiwi, Invoicebox).

  • Payments with a loyalty program.

Payments with a loyalty program, based on worked out business rules. What is more, the loyalty system with discounts and bonuses is always a plus.

No need to teach a serpent to hiss and tell, that the kinder you are to people and the more sincere your intentions are, the more money will flow into your wallet. The loyalty program solution minimizes possible extra charges and allows clients to pay for products partly with money and partly with earned bonuses. (if you, after all, decided on a loyalty program).

The sweetest part here is that you can create loyalty systems in various manners (integrating some features or bonuses, cooperating with banks on different conditions, and so on).

  • Blockchain

The technology everybody has heard of, but not all of us realize what it really means. Integrating your application with blockchain, you enable cryptocurrency payment methods and can accept Bitcoin, Ethereum, and hundreds of other currencies.

And right now there are decentralized platforms that allow product verification, their control, and management via blockchain technology. Why is the game worth the candle? Well, fast transactions, low pricing fees, and no chargebacks.

  • QR-code

It is the most favorite and popular payment solution in China. As well, most individuals know about WeChat. In this way, the system generates code with information about the product itself. After that, your customer will be able to pay for the purchase in their personal account on the store’s website, or you can send a QR-code by e-mail.

No bank cards, no personal data entries. The customer scans the code with their mobile camera and gets rid of the fear that the confidential data may be stolen by cybercriminals.

2) Employ payment routing 

Because you have created a more advanced system you can save on processing fees. How? A team of engineers can analyze the first 6 first BINs of a credit card.

The numbers will give you information about a payment system, an issuing bank, and a card type. The data can be used for payment routing and sending the payment request to a bank with the most preferred terms.

The payment routing solution, however, requires compliance with PCI DSS. It’s a certificate for the protection of customer payment data (card numbers, CVV, etc.).

With PCI DSS you can work with banks directly via payment interfaces of a bank. The PCI DSS solution excludes interaction between your buyer and a third-party payment website.

Besides, building your own payment system will allow cooperating with several banks at once. Not the simplest service, but with the right provider you won’t experience any pains.

3) Analytics 

data analytics for e-commerce

Another feature that you can add is data analysis. Moreover, you can provide such information to customers in their personal accounts. The set of criteria can be diverse. The most purchased types of products, the amount of money spent by month, you can add graphs and filters for clarity and easy search.

In turn, you will collect business analytics on customers’ behavior, profits, the most popular types of products, and lucrative periods.

This solution will help your clients plan purchases in the store more easily, and you can use the information to optimize marketing campaigns, build mailout, and launch targeted advertising. 

Conclusion

Once you look at a problem from a broader perspective, you’ll find a range of options on how to improve things. You can get a hosted or integrated customized payment page with a user-friendly interface that offers quick, simple, and secure transactions.

The hosted or integrated solution will allow payment routing, provide broad options of payment methods, and increase conversion rate, connecting all your sales channels to unify the customer experience. 

Your sales channels and unify of the customer experience will lead to increased profitability of your online e-commerce business, which is extremely important in a highly competitive online segment.

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Best Ways to Use Credit Cards to Increase Your Credit Score

increase your credit score

A plethora of websites may suggest to you a hoopla of best ways to increase your credit score but how successful are these tips and tricks, ever wondered? Your credit score reflects how well you use your credit and is thus, immensely important during the requirement of any kind of loan. It is, thereby, important to be aware of the factors that may affect your credit score as well as the measures that may improve it. I have brought you the best and some do it yourself ways on how to improve your credit score in UAE using your credit cards.

Ensure that you pay your credit card monthly bills on time

  • A history of late payments and other delinquent behavior can have a strong negative effect on your credit scores for many years.
  • To avoid missing your due date, set a reminder on your phone a few days beforehand or mark the date on your calendar. You can also adjust your online account settings to always automatically pay at least the minimum required amount each month.
  • Or, better yet, set up automatic payments to pay the full new statement balance each month. To avoid heavy interest rates, you must pay the bill in full.
  • This can help you both stay out of credit card debt and avoid interest completely with most cards.

Keep your credit card utilization low

  • Credit scoring models look at how much of your available credit you’re using on each credit card in UAE, and how much of your total credit limit is being used across all cards.
  • They do this by calculating the percentage of your credit limit you’re using, as reflected on your credit reports. This percentage is called ‘credit utilization.’
  • Using a high percentage of your credit limit is seen as very risky. It may indicate that you’re overextended financially and may have trouble paying your bills as a result.
  • Generally, the lower your credit utilization, both overall and on each individual account, the better it is for your score.
  • So, opening a new card or increasing the credit limits of cards you already have could potentially have a large positive impact on your credit scores.

Avoid applying for many credit cards in a short period of time

  • Opening many new accounts in a short period of time can be seen as risky financial behavior because it looks like you’re in need of money and are acting recklessly.
  • This ‘new credit’ factor considered in your credit scores is where the number of inquiries and length of time since your most recent inquiry comes into play. The length of time since you last opened an account can also be factored in here.
  • While every new inquiry and every new account won’t automatically have a negative impact on your scores, there’s always a possibility that it could. Many hard inquiries can have a negative effect on your credit scores.

Increase the length of your credit card history

  • The older your credit history, the better. If you established accounts a long time ago and have been able to manage them responsibly, that demonstrates to lenders that you’re less risky than someone who doesn’t have a very long credit history.
  • If you take the length of time each of your accounts has been open and average them together, that’s the average length of your credit history. This average is considered in credit scores because you’re seen as less risky to lenders the longer your accounts have been open. The ages of your newest and oldest accounts are also considered.
  • When you open a new credit card and already have some older credit cards, you’ll reduce the average age of your accounts. This could potentially have a negative effect on your scores.
  • There are two potential ways to improve your credit scores within this category. First, you can wait for the accounts on your reports to age. You should be careful about adding new credit accounts because every time you do you’ll reduce the average age of your accounts.
  • Second, you can ask a loved one to add you to an existing, older credit card account as an authorized user. If you’re added onto an older account with positive payment history, it might increase your average age of accounts.

Using the best credit card in UAE (moneymall) has a direct influence on the most important factors that go into establishing your credit score. So getting a credit card and using it regularly and responsibly is one of the quickest and most effective ways to build or rebuild your credit score. We hope that you will follow these guidelines for the effective use of your credit card.

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An Obscure Program Shows How FinTech Can Fight Stimulus Fraud

fraud

Sen. Chuck Grassley offered a scathing critique of the federal government’s EB-5 immigrant investor program and the potential for fraud when the Senate passed a bill last year reforming the three-decade-old program.

The money from foreign investors — who in return for investing $500,000 to $1 million were promised green cards — was supposed to spark economic activity in distressed and rural areas. “All of a sudden, investment dollars intended for communities in need were being sucked up for glitzy projects in America’s most well-to-do neighborhoods,� Grassley wrote in an opinion piece at the time.

If that were true, the episode would be another disgraceful nail in the coffin of an American dream that’s stimulated hard work, ingenuity and brought the dreamers and ambitions of the global community to this country. A dream that made it the glorious example of human achievement it once was. Now, just like an Ivy League education, can your parents buy it for you?

What’s EB-5?

Understanding what went wrong with the EB-5 program, and how policymakers and the private sector adapted over the past decade, is instructive. It’s especially instructive, urgently so, as we deal with a new wave of funding, ostensibly managed by the federal government, but largely relying on the vetting and fraud-detection capabilities of private financial services, from big banks to boutique investors.

We could be entering a golden age of financial crime. Six trillion stimulus dollars have been injected into the financial system. That’s equivalent to 27 percent of the U.S.’s gross domestic product with more than half of it in cash sent out in only about three months. I can’t think of a larger structural change in the economy, ever. Even after Pearl Harbor, it took a year to get the vaunted World War II economy moving.

Follow the money

Early criticism of the spending has focused on where the money is going. The Small Business Administration allowed funds to go to parts of the country that weren’t as hard hit, according to reports. It went to companies that many felt didn’t fit their idea of small main street shops. Billion-dollar sporting franchises have allegedly been exploiting the “small� business loan. The list only starts there.

Much of the money has already been lost to fraud and deception. In the banking sector the talk is all about “Know Your Customer.” Too late. There have been a huge number of projects to try to “knowâ€� the customer.

But the silos of diverse and distributed data, incompatible technologies and processes within a firm, and poorly executed mergers have all undermined really understanding the customer. Banks lose insight into the customer’s behavior, sentiment, risk and expectations. Or whether even the customer is real, or honest.

As we face a long road ahead in figuring out who inherits the debt and the associated risks from COVID-19 stimulus spending, what was Senator Grassley stewing over with the EB-5 jobs program?

Easy money

The EB-5 program started to grow in popularity after a previous series of reforms in 2005. Those reforms made the application process faster and easier. In 2015 alone, there were 17,691 applications for visas through the program.

As EB-5 activity increased, so did abuse of the program, ranging from a couple accused of double-dealing in their operation of a regional center for investment in California, to developers in Vermont accused of a “multi-year wire fraud scheme.�

The massive investments into New York City property, particularly Hudson Yards, also showed how a program meant to bring brains and ideas into the country, may have been just getting Green Cards for kids with more money.

There’s one particularly important lesson from the EB-5 program’s past troubles. The government and investors are quick to blame financial institutions. Due diligence and identifying fraud is a must.

The Government Accountability Office wrote in a 2015 report that “fraud risks in the EB-5 Program are constantly evolving, and continually identify new fraud schemes.� Like nearly all specialized conduits for high volumes of funds outside of normal channels, EB-5 is susceptible to bad actors.

How technology figures in

There are many stories of past scandals. But proponents have plenty of evidence to argue EB-5 works. It works when it’s effectively and correctly used. It is actually highly beneficial to the U.S. economy and job creation.

Looking back on the jobs created or saved by EB-5 during the Great Recession, the 174,000 jobs the Department of Commerce discovered came from EB-5 represented 4.3 percent of U.S. job growth during that time.

What few realized, and realize even today, is the role played by the rise of technology to support fund administration, like the work of NES Financial in Silicon Valley, which has since been acquired by JTC Group.

Purpose-built technology and processes enabled end-to-end process management beyond middle and back-office accounting and administration. Speed and quality have advanced. Early machine learning has delivered.

Investors and fund managers need a clear picture of investment, compliance and impact information. They need to manage and report on large pools of small limited partners. That had to be done regardless of average investment size. Doing that established best practices, protected investors and helped limit fraud.

Getting to success

Senator Grassley may continue to be concerned about where the money goes. But the financial integrity of the program is now impressive. Past problems with fraud have not reemerged.

Policy-making is now shoring up technology. Just recently a 2019 bill made many seemingly minor changes. But together they create myriad new opportunities. New chances to stop funds from going to bad actors. They also significantly increase the demands on the private and public actors involved.

The 2019 law established an “EB-5 Integrity Fund� — funded by fees from investors — to be used by the Department of Homeland Security for international anti-fraud activities including audits and site visits.

It required background checks of project principals; more disclosures to investors regarding business risks and conflicts of interest; and more oversight of projects and closer monitoring for securities compliance. The technology that’s now in place is key.

It makes these requirements possible. And it allows them to work, and not choke oxygen off from the program with frustrating paperwork.

A success? Actually, yes. But crime evolves quickly and so the test will be how long this success stays on target.

A menagerie of fraud

The government is not the only one shouldering the threat of fraud. That’s true, in both the EB-5 program and the more recent employment-based loans. It also falls on the various banks and contractors involved in the deals.

Here are a few examples of what could be coming our way.

Employee stuffing or shedding is a problem. For instance, it occurs when companies fraudulently expand their payroll to increase their fund eligibility. They may then get rid of staff and continue making ghost payroll payments to avoid violations of the loan agreement.

There are shuck and clean operations. Organized crimes take over distressed firms for cash. It’s not just for fraud. These operations are a wholesale assault by establishing hundreds of shell companies. And this one troubles us the most.

We should be very concerned about opening up the financial markets to easy access to crime. Entities are dangerous when ownership is the same, but control over it has changed without the bank knowing.

Identity theft and elder abuse are the types of petty fraud that often plague government-assistance programs. They will continue but will get worse, supercharged by the $350 billion in US stimulus.

Finally, cross-system abuse is another problem. This is where companies use multiple bank relationships to make multiple applications for the same staff pool and the same receivables. Don’t confuse this with legitimate companies trying to switch banks mid-process.

Due diligence

The government’s approach has a major weakness. The rush of stimulus occurring now is running through relaxed due diligence.

“If the PPP loan is being made to an existing customer and the necessary information was previously verified, you do not need to re-verify the information,� the Department of Treasure advised in April.

And this creates a perfect account takeover scenario both from within and now from outside the country. Companies can change hands and shed half their employee base without anyone noticing. The scale and urgency of the coronavirus crisis measures are enormous.

It’s understandable why the federal government has tried to get money out the door with limited friction. As we learned with EB-5, the risk of reducing friction is inviting fraud.

Technology has to be the answer again. It is the only answer frankly.

It will likely be years before we are able to account for the billions in COVID-19 stimulus funds distributed. The sooner we make smart investments in anti-fraud efforts, the more we will actually help legitimate companies. We can help companies hoping for a chance at recovery.

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Fintech Health IoT

It’s all in the wrist: Wearables are Helping to Treat Disease and Disability

wearables treat disability

Ever imagined a life with an impairment that is here to stay? Ever thought of being hooked to a disability that drives all your passions away? What if you can’t lift your leg straight up, or what if your arm doesn’t extend out properly?

While it is a difficult process of recovering from such disabilities, many of us suffer from not only the physical impairment but also from the mental trauma that accompanies.

Physicians, therapists, and coaches work day in and out to treat such patients through intense workout schedules. However, as soon as the patient is discharged and sent home, the constant monitoring process stops, which more than often culminates into more loss of functionality.

Medical practitioners have long been perplexed with such concerns, amongst many others. Top of the list remains to help the patients with permanent (or even temporary) disabilities that limit their functionality.

Researchers, programmers, and high-tech companies have invested time, effort, and resources to develop cutting-edge technologies to assist such patients.

There is a new generation of wearables that are specially equipped to monitor, encourage, and also treat patients.

Many of these patients are suffering from chronic physical and mental ailments such as cerebral palsy and epilepsy, and even tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease.

Electronic health records software (such as with companies like CureMD, and others), have wearables that are smart devices that are easy to wear. An example of these is like smartwatches and Fitbit — that essentially collect user’s data related to personal health, fitness and behavioral patterns.

While these wearables initially launched as fancy gadgets that built up your social status by helping you count your steps or burnt calories, etc., they are now becoming mainstream in the healthcare industry owing to their profound impact.

Scaling way faster than we had imagined, wearable technology is today being widely used by physicians, surgeons, patients, and insurance providers. The wearable tech is radically transforming the entire dynamics of the healthcare industry.

Wearable the Smartphone Apps

Wearable health technologies, when combined with an intelligent smartphone app, can capture the most imperceptible symptoms of patients. The information can then offer the physician all the necessary statistics to make an informed diagnosis.

According to an Accenture Survey, the use of wearable devices amongst US consumers has literally more than doubled during the 2014-2016 period, from 9% to 21%. Interestingly, around 77% of the wearables consumers and 85% of practices applaud the benefits of using wearables for inpatient care.

How exactly do wearables change the face of healthcare?

Here are the top five benefits accruing from using wearables for patient care:

  1. Empowered patients – these wearable devices are specially equipped to empower the patients in terms of tracking and sharing their vital medical data with their physicians. Such devices allow them to track behavioral changes such as sleep patterns, exercise routines, vital stats, and so forth, which can then be shared with the practice.

    Careful, accurate monitoring tends to render a significant impact on the overall health of the patient, since the patient-physician relationship essentially changes from hierarchical to consultative.

  2. Remote patient monitoring – wearables have also proven their mark in radically improving the accuracy as well as reliability of patient monitoring at remote locations. For instance, checking blood pressure, tracking heart rate, measuring oxygenation, and monitoring blood glucose levels. Each of these can easily be done remotely using wearables.

    There are added benefits that accrue from the scalability of the devices. For instance, a single nursing staff can oversee hundreds of critical patients from a single computer source, undertaking appropriate action in case of an emergency signal.

  3. Remote treatment – yes, wearables can be used to treat patients remotely. For instance, Quell is a wearable device that is attached to the upper calf to block pain signals anywhere in the body through the use of electrical stimulation that triggers the central nervous system response.
  4. Virtual visits – wearables particularly allow the physicians to not only check on patients without a brick-and-mortar office but also offer ease of access and availability to their patients.

    For instance, a patient with an ear infection can be virtually consulted through a wearable device that conducts a virtual ear exam, off the specialist’s facility, doing away with the need for a follow-up.

    Similarly, wearables allow virtual monitoring of diabetes, neuropathic pain, macular degeneration, and many other conditions.

  5. Helping with disabilities – this one is perhaps the most acclaimed benefit of wearables making headlines in recent times.

    Wearables particularly aid disabled people in managing their daily life chores without external help. Simple innovations such as special glasses help the blind to see. Smart glasses help patients with cerebral palsy to use the internet with ease. Haptic shoes help the blind to easily navigate routes using GPS technology, and the list goes on.

Wearables Can Save Lives of Those with Disabilities

Yes, wearables are a magic wand for those with disabilities. The tech canvas is proliferated with technological breakthroughs that have largely facilitated disabled patients to enjoy a normalized life.

For instance, the Bruise Suit is specially designed for disabled athletes with a loss of sensation. it is essentially a smart injury detection suit that applies a recyclable pressure-sensitive film to identify the severity of injuries. Covering the high-risk areas with disposable and made-to-fit film, the film changes color in case of excessive stress. Hence, after training or competing, the injured areas can be easily spotted due to color change.

GlassOuse is another breakthrough wearable technology that allows patients without limbs to use electronic gadgets without having to use their hands. It basically moves the cursor on the screen using your head movements, while you can click on the screen by simply biting on a blue extension on the device.

More recently, a Tongue Drive System has radically transformed the lives of patients with high-level spinal cord injuries. It is a dental retainer embedded with sensors that allow the patient to operate a computer and maneuver an electrically powered wheelchair by simply moving their tongue.

Having discussed the life-saving impact of wearables on patients’ life, it goes without saying that wearables are a life-saver.

Some may judge it a petty thing with a wearable, such as tracking weight, diet and exercise routines. But it’s not to someone who must lose weight to stay alive.

Wearables have gone beyond the functionality of a fitness tracker, to revolutionizing preventive and diagnostic medicine, especially for those with diseases and disabilities.

Image Credit: Samantha Garrote; Pexels

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Customer Service Data operations DataOps Fintech Fund dataops ML Private Fund Data Operations Private funds

Private Fund Data Operations Should Provide More Protection

private fund data operations

COVID-19 has hit business leaders. It’s hit them with an endless parade of unexpected challenges. Leaders in private fund data operations are feeling it too. However, these challenges also present opportunities for technological advances.

Stretched Operations

Shrinking revenue and smaller budgets have reduced the margin for error. Risks are more severe. New risks are joining the ones that lurked in the shadows.

The time it takes to double-check numbers and make sure data operations are running smoothly is no longer a luxury. Fund administrators serving alternative investment funds, private equity, and venture capital are being stretched.

Exacerbating this are limited partners who are incredibly vigilant in checking investment reporting and statements.

Instead of relying on legacy systems that are dangerously susceptible to human error, this is the time to transition to an integrated platform that consolidates key data, automates processes with machine learning and adds clarity to data operations.

Operations Are A Worthy Investment

Moving away from point-to-point legacy systems to automated processes increases the speed of operations. And, it mitigates the risk of mistakes. Think about trying to say something fast and efficiently to a large group of people through a game of telephone.

The message gets garbled by the time it gets to its destination. So, moving to an integrated platform is like replacing the game of telephone with smooth, simultaneous communications. Get everyone on the same page.

Accuracy counts. It’s important to ensure your systems for managing data and fund operations are rock solid. Investing in good technology designed to improve operational productivity makes the business’ odds of running smoothly better. It will strengthen the business for what’s next when we’ve emerged from the crisis.

For many employees, remote work may end up being permanent. The accommodations being made now are becoming the norm. It’s crucial that the business’ operational systems sustain that transition as well. The move to automation can largely eliminate the risk of human error.

It can improve accuracy. However, that’s only true so long as there are checks along the way. Automation can also spread and multiply human errors if it’s not done right. Just look at Excel Macros, and cut and paste.

The goal is to remove human error from the data management equation. But, that does not equate replacing employees with automation. In fact, it’s a matter of putting energy where it’s needed, and in a way that’s simple.

The Best of Both Worlds

Get more simplicity out of complex internal systems. A fund can do it through automation. That’s even more important when employees’ efforts and the company budget needs to be aimed at keeping good investors calm.

In a crisis, human empathy is in high demand. If your team’s focus is on untangling accounting puzzles, their attention is not on the investor.

You’re responding to clients’ demands and getting more data online. You’re adding clarity. However, that also means clients need assistance adjusting to receiving services online. And, the volume of customer questions will only be amplified by the transition. Human connection is a vital tool.

Moving the management of business operations to an integrated platform frees up employees. It allows them to support customers in more personal, empathetic ways.

We’ve all found ourselves pounding “0� on our phone keypads in frustration to get past automated answering systems. Really, we want to speak with a human. In moments of crisis, people expect urgency, accuracy and empathy. They want to see clearly what is going on.

Implementing modern private fund data operations can deliver both. Automation means smarter, faster and more accurate data operations.  Employees are freed up to engage with customers.

Digital Doesn’t Have to Mean Complex

In a time when doubts are all around, business leaders still have a window to invest in security. That also means technological investments should be well researched. They should be checked ahead of time. Make sure they serve to improve the success of operations.

It’s essential that any integrated approach a fund goes after should first try to be more intuitive and easier to learn.

Funds need to integrate information from different places. And, they need to do it across the organization. So, funds have the general ledger. They have reporting systems, human resources systems, and market intelligence systems. None of these talk to each other. Really, they need to figure out a data integration strategy.

Before funds can ponder dashboards for people outside the fund, they need to consider internal interoperability. They need to consider ease of use. To move in this direction, they need to try to implement newer cloud-based solutions that will enable them to assemble data across the organization.

Everyone On Board

A good way to measure the success of new private fund data operations is how many employees are using it after integration. So, make data easy to get to, and easier to use by more people. That can help crack down on internal bottlenecks. Those jams can crop up when only a few people have a sincere understanding of how the system works. That limits progress.

Limited partners are focusing on capital statements. In fact, they’re relentless. But switching to an integrated platform can guarantee that statements will be error-free.

By taking advantage of the opportunities for technological wins, and investing in data smarts and fund operations, business leaders are aiming their businesses to emerge from this crisis stronger than before.

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