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Saturday,August 15,2020 20:59 PM

Banks turn to tech to beat Covid-19

By Samuel Sanya

Added 1st August 2020 01:03 PM

Kiconco said that since the beginning of the year, Absa Bank Uganda had recorded a 40% increase in digital transactions.

Banks turn to tech to beat Covid-19

Kiconco said that since the beginning of the year, Absa Bank Uganda had recorded a 40% increase in digital transactions.

As social distancing and lockdowns limit physical movement of bank customers, the industry has gone to great lengths to roll out new technology aimed at keeping within COVID-19 guidelines while maintaining customer access.  

The recent innovations include contactless tap functionality on Visa debit cards and point of sale machines, digital wallets, digital branches and an intelligent ChatBots powered by Artificial Intelligence.  

"We witnessed significant uptake of digital solutions during the first half of the year which can partly be attributed to the restrictions on movement presented by COVID-19," Annette Kiconco, Absa Bank Uganda's acting retail banking director said at the launch of the banks' contactless Vertical Cards.  

She noted that the surge in the use of technology in banking will continue, even post COVID-19 as customers make the most of the anytime and anywhere functionality that comes with self-service platforms such as digital and mobile banking. 

Kiconco pointed out that the contactless ‘tap" function is necessitated by the current culture of physical distancing and growing safety concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, which can be spread through touching infected objects and surfaces. 

Although these are the first contactless cards in Uganda, a Mastercard survey in the Middle East and Africa shows that more than 70% of respondents were by March 2020 using some form of contactless payment.  

Kiconco said that since the beginning of the year, Absa Bank Uganda had recorded a 40% increase in digital transactions. 

In a similar fashion, Aggrey Nkuyahaga, the Housing Finance bank head of operations and business technology pointed said that during the lockdown, the use of digital wallets had increased by between 60% to 65%.  

"The future is about self-service," he said, adding that despite its growing popularity, financial technology is rife with fraudsters. Kiconco pointed out that contactless cards cut the risk of fraud especially through "card cloning" because the card never leaves the customers hand.  

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