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When living in uncertain times and staying at home remains our best option, it is vital one adapts to the online way of working your finances.

Although we currently live in a pandemic-struck period, because we still are effectively also part of a digital age, getting all things to go online comes easy to most.

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It is vital one adapts to the online way of working your finances.

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While many investors have already started taking steps in this direction when it comes to their savings and investments, it is important to know what financial dealings can one move online in times like this.

Being able to transact digitally eases most pressure
It is a given that, even before the pandemic, one could carry out most of the bank transactions by using the internet banking facility or mobile app.

Even if one wasn’t in the habit of doing so, with the recent restrictions in movement, they would be now compelled to bank online.

190901 digital priorities
Image Credit: José Luis Barros/©Gulf News

If one still hasn’t, remember that giving your contact details like your mobile number and email id to the bank in order to receive one-time-passwords (OTP) is integral to transact online.

Several mobile apps allow account holders to map their bank account and carry out payments and transfers using it.

With the onset of the pandemic, lenders that may not have made digital banking a key priority up until now, have been seeing to it that their online platforms are up to speed by making it much user-friendly.

Research proves shift in digital banking perception
All generations largely preferred opening accounts in person rather than doing so online, a pre-crisis research showed.

The study indicated that 64 percent of baby boomers (individuals born between 1946 and 1964) and 56 percent of those from Generation Z (those born between 1997 – 2012).

But with the COVID-19 pandemic having challenged nearly all in-branch processes, lenders are thus leaning into these and other digital means since the outbreak to ensure availability of their services.

As a result, digital banking has quadrupled since the start of the contagion-induced lockdowns, several research show.
Banking internet
Online it here to stay Image Credit: Pixabay

• Most market investments are now website-friendly

It isn’t news that most investments in this day and age are already being tracked and traded online.

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Every mutual fund house or trading platform allows investors to view their holdings and carry out transactions though their website, with the help of trading accounts.

If any trades have been carried out by the investor, a message about the same is sent on the registered mobile number and email id of the investor. Which brings us to the topic of KYC or know-your-customer.

Know-Your-Customer (KYC) procedures can be done online too!
KYC is a mandatory requisite for investments in mutual funds or other investments which essentially helps ensure a hassle-free transaction that saves incredible amount of time. And yes, this too can be done online.

It is a process by which banks obtain information about the identity and address of the customers, which helps ensure that banks' services are not misused.

Most lenders and trading platforms complete the KYC procedure is to be completed by the banks while opening accounts and also periodically update the same.
New Digital Banking
The new digital banking experience is about agility, mobility, connectivity, efficiency and data Image Credit: Supplied

And the added benefit is if the investor has already completed the KYC requisite once with a brokerage, all the subsequent transactions in be it funds, bonds or stocks can be made on the basis of the same KYC compliance.

• Even getting an insurance policy has turned e-friendly

Life insurance policies are brought with an eye on the future and therefore there’s a need to preserve this documents for long term, in order to make the claim at the right time and enjoy the benefits.

If you are not good with managing and preserving documents, then even something as useful as insurance could give you added problems in the time of need.

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But maintaining the physical documents for a long time could be tricky with them being vulnerable to getting misplaced or defaced. The savior however is eIA, or an electronic insurance account.

How one can go about investing in an electronic insurance account (eIA)?
An electronic account that can hold the policy documents in digital form and allows the insured to access those documents at a few clicks – basically allowing policyholders to manage all their insurance policies online.

To go about it, one needs to open an e-insurance account by filling up an account opening form online, using the above mentioned KYC steps, which again can be done paperless and offline.

Proof of identity, proof of address and proof of date of birth need to be uploaded. Once the account is created, insurance policies can be converted into electronic form using the policy conversion form.

What are the benefits to opting for an eIA? - No more physical policy documents. View and manage all your life insurance policies under a single account.

Almost all banks in the UAE offer a variety of digital savings solutions Image Credit: Shutterstock

• Money spent shopping in stores is now spent on e-shopping

For many shoppers, the coronavirus pandemic was the push they needed to stock their pantries by browsing online instead of store aisles.

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If the online shopping habit sticks — even for a percentage of the new or more frequent customers — it could represent a meaningful shift in an industry that’s been slow to go digital.

Research again backs shifting paradigm
Only about 3 per cent or 4 per cent of grocery spending in the U.S. was online before the coronavirus outbreak, according to research by consulting firm Bain & Company.

That trend has lagged behind many other parts of the world, despite major investments by Walmart and Amazon.

In other countries, such as South Korea, China and the United Kingdom, customers have been quicker to adopt online grocery shopping.

In South Korea and China, 19 per cent and 14 per cent of grocery spending is online, respectively, according to analysis by Bain, Kantar and Forrester. About 7 per cent of grocery spending in the U.K. is online.
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One study by the Food Marketing Institute conducted by Nielsen projected that online grocery sales would reach $100 billion and make up as much as 20 per cent of total grocery retail by 2025.

In recent weeks online grocery shopping accelerated, as shoppers sought ways to avoid stores or at least limit visits.

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At the height of the pandemic, online grocery sales spiked five-fold to between 10-15 per cent of total grocery sales, sees Bain & Co.

As the crisis recedes, online grocery sales will remain at a higher level of between 5 per cent and 10 per cent, the firm further reveals.

As e-learning surges, so does educational investments
The COVID-19 has resulted in schools shut all across the world. Globally, over 1.2 billion children are out of the classroom.

As a result, education has changed dramatically, with the distinctive rise of e-learning, whereby teaching is undertaken remotely and on digital platforms.

What this simply means is that if you were earlier investing in a classroom-style teaching format, investment gurus predict that it is likely time to invest in more e-learning modules and educational technologies in the days to come.
As result of the shift to online teaching and learning, Blackboard has seen an unprecedented rise in volume and usage of its solutions Image Credit: Shutterstock

Research suggests that online learning has been shown to increase retention of information, and take less time, meaning the changes coronavirus have caused might be here to stay.

With this sudden shift away from the classroom, some are wondering whether the adoption of online learning will continue to persist post-pandemic, and how such a shift would impact the worldwide education market.

Research suggests that online learning has been shown to increase retention of information

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Even before COVID-19, there was already high growth and adoption in education technology.

Much potential was seen in education technology even before COVID. The pandemic just fueled it.
Global edtech investments was seen reaching $18.66 billion in 2019 and the overall market for online education projected to reach $350 billion by 2025.

Whether it is language apps, virtual tutoring, video conferencing tools, or online learning software, there has been a significant surge in usage since COVID-19.
e-learning curve lead
How are tech companies helping UAE educators bridge the e-learning gap? Image Credit: Shutterstock

There are, however, challenges to overcome.

Some students without reliable internet access and/or technology struggle to participate in digital learning; this gap is seen across countries and between income brackets within countries.

For example, whilst 95 per cent of students in Switzerland, Norway, and Austria have a computer to use for their schoolwork, only 34 per cent in Indonesia do, according to OECD data.

Some students without reliable internet access and/or technology struggle to participate in digital learning

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• Healthcare monies now lie in telehealth

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, there was some progress made in telemedicine; however, public health officials are pushing healthcare systems to expand their telemedicine through smartphones and other tools.

Technology can assist in triaging patients and in diagnosing those without the illness but are worried they might have it from seeking treatment at overcrowded facilities by talking to them through telehealth technology.

Telehealth systems can help critical patients get the treatment they need without endangering doctors Image Credit: Shutterstock
Potential in telehealth with the onset of the pandemic
Using telemedicine limits human-to-human contact, critically important to slow the transmission. There are certainly many advantages to telehealth but also challenges that need to be overcome.

Healthcare systems are being forced to address them sooner rather than later with COVID-19. Several governments are passing bills in favor of potential for telehealth in not only this current outbreak but in the future.