Fintechs continue to innovate through pandemic

By Nick Reeve

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced banks and their customers to rapidly adapt the way they interact with each other.

Predominantly, this has involved the increased use of digital services. This in turn has led many to predict fundamental shifts in usage trends once the pandemic has subsided.

Two financial technology providers last week announced new services aimed at making digital transactions more secure and efficient as this adaptation process continues.

Global payments services company ACI Worldwide rolled out a series of upgrades to its UP Immediate Payments tool “to address the increased demand for new real-time and digital payments during and beyond the pandemic”, it said in a statement.

The new functionality was designed to extend real-time payments to “additional digital channels” for customers, merchants and billers, ACI Worldwide said.

Real-time payments are set to experience explosive growth worldwide, with the global pandemic highlighting the need for new and innovative digital payment options more than ever before,” said Craig Ramsey, general manager and head of real-time payments at ACI Worldwide.

“The new capabilities within our UP Immediate Payments solution will enable financial institutions to be real-time ready, while at the same time create new value-added services for consumers and financial institutions.”

Meanwhile, Danish digital payments company Paiblock has extended its banking app services to Canada in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It rolled out its service to US retail banks last month.

The company’s tools allow customers to access their accounts, open new accounts, apply for loans and access other banking services remotely. Paiblock also allows digital signatures, removing the need for people to attend branches in person when accessing new products.

“Providing extended coverage for in-app banking is an integral part of Paiblock digital response to COVID-19 outbreak,” said Mark Arthur, founder and CEO of Paiblock.

Banks across the US and Canada moved to restrict access to branches from March as the pandemic took hold. In recent weeks, some states have begun to lift lockdown restrictions, but social distancing measures remain in place.

Last month, PayPal introduced a contactless point-of-sale service based on QR codes as contactless payment methods have become more important.

The global card and payments market is expected to hit $1 trillion by 2023, according to a study from the Business Research Company, driven in part by the impact of the pandemic.

Non-cash payments were expected to grow by more than 12% a year, the Business Research Company reported, driven largely by an increased take-up of digital payments across emerging markets.

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