How Fintech is helping us with COVID — 19 and pushing us further towards digitalization

Fintech can help society across various aspects of our lives during such a challenging period of global pandemic. All this is a part of a wider digitalization that has been developing before and get a further acceleration in 2020.

2020 has prompted the majority of the world to suddenly go digital due to Coronavirus circumstances. However, the global trend in digitalization has emerged prior to the pandemic. Nevertheless, industries, from education to the hospitality industry went online as far as feasibly. And today I would like to talk about Fintech helping the business today to adjust to the new realities and proceed from survival back to development.

Customer service experience

In light of today’s realities any online service, designed by a Fintech-team, is most certainly in advantage. The number of personal and professional transactions has grown since COVID — 19. As for example, the use of Fintech apps in Europe surged 72% in a week at the end of March, according to the research from financial advisory deVere Group. After the limitations on people’s movements and lockdown had been imposed, the use of cash in the UK dropped by 50%, according to the UK ATM network Link.

Again, Mastercard recently reported on the 66% increase in the number of contactless payments across MEA amounting to 500 million AED ($136 million USD). Last year, prior to the pandemic, Mastercard saw an increase in contactless payments in that region. The indices are positive rather than revolutionary, because they simply show the common trend.

Artificial intelligence and analysis

The Spanish flu which happened over 100 years ago was probably the last time when humanity faced the global pandemic of such scale. There is where neural inventions, which are ambitiously named AI, help. Nevertheless, the ability to process data files, carry out analytics and make forecasts, determining the further steps is exactly what is needed to combat the pandemic.

Technological anti-virus measures are mainly used in Asian countries (South Korea, Singapore and China). To a lesser extent, the countries in the Middle East. In some countries by virtue of self-organization, somewhere due to an authoritarian regime, but the governments has the ability to track the physical contacts of people, that helps to control cases of the disease and generally control the virus. For instance, there is an application in Bahrain called “BeAware”. Residents can track proximity to someone with COVID 19 using location data to be aware if they are approaching a person with a known case.

Big data

Big data is instrumental in helping combat COVID — 19. As mentioned above, the raw data is needed for AL to work. This require relevant IT infrastructure and big data capabilities, but not many governments are prepared to get through with it. For instance, surveillance cameras like CCTV and mobile tracking are essential for big data, which could later be used in containing the virus and promoting social distancing. The more important question, however, is how they will find a healthy balance with respect to human rights, with people regularly suffering the leaks? The answer to it is beyond the field of my competence, but, obviously, the authoritarian regime is directly proportional to the usage capacity of such tools.

In addition to the fight against coronavirus, big data is very important for gaining access to information. In some parts of Asia, such as Japan, the concept of remote working is still relatively new. This could explain why many companies or government departments have appropriately adapted to mode of work, and many others who theoretically can work remotely do not even have laptops. In the United States, there have been difficulties and delays in processing unemployment benefits for many Americans. Out of date government systems written in the old COBOL computer language are one of the reasons.

The problems in our daily lives resulting from the COVID — 19 pandemic are obvious. But a solution appears to any problem, first or last. From safe shopping to helping contain the virus, technology will forever change many of our behavioural patterns that may become the part of our lives even after defeating the virus.

CEO of the international payment system LEO, the shareholder of IBOX Bank