Life is full of uncertainties and the sudden need for cash is a surprise waiting to happen. Every one of us has been in that situation at some time or another.

There are instances when we quickly need extra money — to repair a broken down car, an upcoming anniversary gift, back-to-school expenses or an overdue utility bill.

We can fall back on a credit card, but if we do not have one the task of getting it is onerous. Or we can place a friendship in jeopardy in asking for a helping hand and losing face. For this and several other reasons, obtaining a loan is one of the most strategic ways of gaining liquidity and solving one’s immediate problem.

It gives a person that much needed breathing space and time to consolidate his position. If there is a downside a person faces in getting a quick loan, it is often the stress that accrues from the waiting time and uncertainties in the loan decision process. This delay factor can prompt customers to apply for multiple loan applications to increase the odds of approval.

But what it can do is further clog the pipeline and slow things even more.

To overcome this lacuna, banking and personal finance ecosystems are seeing a marked rise in the demand for personal loans and other forms of financial assistance, with a marked preference for those that offer instant gratification. Using digital platforms and services can vastly increase the speed of the service.

With a markedly high 12.8 per cent of the UAE population actively seeking a loan, the ones who can provide a quicker loan solution will come out on top. In particular, it is the millennials who are driving demand for more innovative methods to meet their banking needs, paramount among them being banking at any time.

In the vastly competitive banking sector, early adopters who harness digital technologies that improve their service offerings enjoy the greatest advantage and customer satisfaction. Asian banks are working to meet growing demand by improving the loan disbursement times for unsecured loans. Because of improved personal loan turnaround times, companies have achieved greater efficiency, reduced their costs and delivered a more satisfying customer experience.

Yet, there remains a gap between emerging and mature markets: the turnaround time for personal loans and credit cards range between one hour to 2.5 days in the mature market, whereas emerging markets can require up to four days to achieve the same result.

Financial service companies are beginning to recognise that the best way to keep pace with the times is to offer faster loan approval and processing times. Financial solutions have to be more responsive than ever to accommodate client schedules, especially since today’s customers are disinterested in going through traditional branch channels.

With the current market research, the major gap is in disbursing smaller loans with a great deal of convenience and security. The ideal option would be a frictionless digital service that provides micro-loans at the point of purchase or through an easy-to-use mobile app. Such a seamless digital experience eases the loan approval process. When getting a loan is a breeze, customer satisfaction peaks and loyalty is well-served.

While the traditional risk-scoring methods of evaluating the applicant’s salary, job history and credit score are still the core of credit decisions, a wider array of data with the potential to provide a more comprehensive risk profile is another benefit of this digital option. By aggregating the unprecedented — and invaluable — amount of data from social media accounts and evaluating the circle of friends, browsing behaviour and frequency of interaction, an applicant’s creditworthiness and rating are established seamlessly.

Numerous layers of process and internal systems need to make way for this digitalisation and innovation in banking to achieve the trifecta of greater efficiency, reduced operational costs and a more satisfying customer experience.

The writer is the CEO of Monami Tech.