Globally, the COVID-19 pandemic has put more pressure on businesses to find ingenious ways of serving its customers while keeping them safe. The banking industry which is no exception has been on its toes to ensure that while customers are given access to financial services to keep them going, their employees are also kept safe.
In the wake of the pandemic e-commerce demand is soaring and has risen significantly while dominance of cash payments continues to decline significantly. According to a new “Global Shopping Index” report published by Salesforce, the number of unique digital shoppers rose 40% year-on-year. Digital shoppers drove 20% revenue growth compared to 12% in 2019. A 2018 Global Payments Report by McKinsey & Company, e-payment volumes exceeded $3 trillion in 2017 and will more than double by 2022.
In Ghana, we have seen an exponential rise in e-payments over the past decade. This burgeoning rise in the ease and speed of making payments has positively impacted the financial services industry. Banks have responded positively by introducing innovative e-payment systems and platforms to help corporates and small businesses meet their aspirations.
With over a century of experience in providing financial services, Standard Chartered continues to delight clients with their revolutionary payment infrastructure and a comprehensive suite of digital products, making banking services simple, more accessible and convenient.
The Bank operates three key payment modules: bank to bank transfers, mobile wallets and channels. These modules provide real time funds transfer capabilities to customers, helping them to effectively manage their finances through the list of platforms/enablers.
The platform offers both payment and collection services including:
Traditional Payables – Tax and statutory payments, payroll, on-site cheque printing, telegraphic transfers, real-time gross settlement (RTGS), automated clearing house (ACH) and domestic book transfers.
Advanced Payables – International ACH, instant payments, virtual account for payments, mobile wallet payments.
Additional Complementary Features – Integrated FX and cross-border payments with SWIFT global payment innovations.
Enabling real-time faster payments has been a core area where the Bank continues to invest in line with the evolving needs of clients, particularly with the growth of e-commerce platforms and wallet apps. The Bank has a dedicated payment team with a global mandate to build ‘best-in-class’ capabilities to ensure that clients are provided with the widest range of options possible in facilitating their banking transactions.
To the Bank, payments represent the life force/bloodstream of the global economy and with the advent of Fintech disruptors around the world, the Bank collaborates with Fintechs to continue to deliver increasingly convenient and seamless payment capabilities in the provision of comprehensive financial services.
Driving financial inclusion via mobile devices
More than 70 percent of working Ghanaians are in the informal sector and lack access to traditional banking distribution channels. In 2018, according to Newzoo’s Global Mobile Market Report there is a 24 percent penetration of smartphones in Ghana.
In 2019, the Bank launched a fully digital bank on mobile – SC Mobile, to provide the best digital lifestyle for clients of the bank. The App has enhanced features allowing clients to execute all banking activities from a mobile device, making the banking experience more convenient and enjoyable.
With a range of up to 70 client journeys the SC Mobile app offers services which include:
Cardless Cash – This feature enables SC customers to withdraw cash in times of emergency or when they do not have immediate access to their bank cards.
Transfers – The transfer functionality supports customers’ transactions between own account services as well as local transfers in Ghana. International transfers to support client SWIFT payments are also available. Clients can add a new payee and beneficiary details. Due to COVID-19 crisis, charges on local interbank Instant Pay and ACH transfers were waived.
Payments – The proliferation of digital and e-commerce has resulted in increased numbers on the SC Mobile app. The app, which is mobile money enabled, supports “Pay to saved billers” such as Airtime purchase and other mobile money payments to all three major Telcos, as well as “One Time Bill Payment.” The app also supports “bank to wallet” and “wallet to bank” services.
Service Requests – The service request centre is an amazing feature with endless functionalities. It comes with up to 70 branch level activities. Some of the services available are “Report lost/stolen credit card,” “Replace credit card,” and “Change my debit card pin.”
Investing – Clients are able to build risk profiles within the app. The investment section provides clients with latest market insights with on-the-go global market outlook and weekly market view. Clients can also buy treasury bills or government bonds right from the palm of their hands.
Apply for Products – This functionality supports customers to apply for various products of the Bank and track the status of the applications in real time online.
SC Mobile provides 4 channels for clients to fund their accounts without having to visit a branch. Accounts can be funded through the Mobile Money wallet to bank service for all the 3 major Telcos, transfer from another bank through local bank transfers. Also, there is a cash deposit option on SC Mobile that requires customers to use the Cardless Cash Deposit function on the ATMs to fund accounts and receive deposit slip advices confirming the transactions. The Debit Card Deposit is another option through which clients can fund their accounts on ATMs.
To ensure that SC Mobile is safe for all to use from the comfort of one’s home, the app has been enhanced with security features such as second factor authentication for all financial transactions on the App.