The Frictionless Future of Cashless Payments Awaits

The payment revolution is here! And emerging markets worldwide might be celebrating this the loudest. As fintechs around the world race towards a cashless economy, regions such as MENA remain dominated by checks and cash. Hiren Raghuvanshi, Head of Cards, Payments and Direct Banking at Commercial Bank of Dubai, joins us to explore what needs to happen to accomplish a frictionless, cashless financial ecosystem.

Analysing How Payments Have Evolved Recently

Hiren first examines how the past has influenced the present. Historically, the number of digital payments across MENA totalled less than 20% of transactions, but Hiren informs us that that number is now approaching 50%. Although accelerated by the recent pandemic, Hiren— like many other key figures in finance— believes that this changing behaviour is unlikely to revert to pre-pandemic levels. Many transactions have shifted to card-not-present transactions, guided by the surge in eCommerce. Contactless transactions have also increased to up to 70%, indicating a strong desire on the consumer side for more frictionless payment solutions. Hiren believes that the bank’s role is to provide infrastructure support to ensure the secure growth of the industry.

Customer-Driven Growth

NFC payments are also starting to take over as Google and Samsung tap-and-go solutions become increasingly ubiquitous. Hiren reports that these behavioural patterns point to a future where customers can experience truly contactless payments, without the need for so much as a physical device present to complete transactions. Biometrics and facial recognition software have already advanced by leaps and bounds, and Hiren believes this could serve as the perfect platform for achieving frictionless payments.

What Causes Adoption-Hesitancy?

Hiren reports that security and fraud protections were amongst the most critical objections customers raised to adopting new technology. However, he also shares how there has been an influx of investment into the sector, helping to guarantee consumer security. By placing safety as a firm priority, Hiren believes that companies can easily encourage more users to sign on to frictionless payment opportunities.

Next Steps for the Banking Sector

Hiren shares how model to distribution will be a key element for banks to allow a frictionless future. Hiren believes that banks will slowly become an invisible partner to the fintech world, operating silently from the backend to power innovative payment solutions. You might not be aware of your bank working with Amazon or other major eCommerce platforms, but Hiren thinks embedded banking is essential in realizing a cashless future.


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