We are living in a time when information can become outdated pretty quickly, and that has become even more true because of COVID-19, where the world is under the arrest of novel coronavirus that is spread across countries. Partial and complete lockdowns have become a way of life in many countries, including India. During this difficult time, technology only strengthens the business to become something more than hardware or software. Since, digital technology becomes more pervasive and companies move further in the journey of digital transformation, digital strategy and business strategy will be the same thing.
Secondly, we have seen a huge shift from the consumers from across the globe embracing digital payments more than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic. Against this backdrop, the payment industry in the Asia-Pacific region remains attractive for venture financing.
A report ‘Smart Money Investing in the Financial Services Industry Q1 2020’, reveals that although there was decline in Venture Financing deals from 389 in Q4 2019 to 361 in Q1 2020, payment deals remained unchanged at 89 deals. This was due to increase in deals activities in the APAC region, with deal count increasing from 23 in Q4 2019 to 29 in Q1 2020. At the same time we can’t deny the fact that, that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it a significant increase in fraudulent activity.
Remote working is no longer a benefit, luxury or convenience. It’s also more than a current make-do for organizations looking to conduct business as usual. We argue that senior leaders will have to leverage this inflection point to drive sustainable competitive advantage for their organizations in the new normal.
With rapid digitalization, electronic payments tools are gaining prominence. This trend is more prevalent in emerging markets such as India and China, where a large number of consumers leapfrogged card payments by switching directly from cash to alternative payment methods. As a result, the payments industry in APAC will continue to attract investments over the coming years.
At the same time, the target of cyber crooks are the personal and corporate banking customers and there has been a significant rise in the number of ‘phishing’ emails connected to COVID-19 being sent to customers – emails that look like they are from the bank and that may be about financial support available in the wake of the pandemic, but which are actually a lure asking customers to provide or validate their account or identity information. Other emails may contain malware that downloads onto a customer’s system once a link is clicked.
Last but not the least, there has also been an increase in call center frauds. Fraudsters may engage in what we call social engineering – posting innocent looking ‘fun’ questions on social media platforms such as ‘what was the name of your first pet?’ in order to gather information from individuals that they can use to impersonate them with their bank or to make a false insurance claim.