- Hard lockdown and the regulations brought about by the pandemic has influenced the way people transact
- Virtual bank cards are now considered the safer and more convenient alternative to physical transactional cards
- It seems the world is shifting to wards secure, contactless payments and it is a trend that is considered as the future
BY FREELANCE JOURNALIST - FARAI DIZA
Consumers have in the past complained about the hassles of opening a bank account and spending days waiting for a transactional bank card. It gets worse when the bank card is lost, stolen or cloned.
This has called for massive innovation in the fin tech sector. And that innovation roared during the first Covid-19 hard lockdown in 2020.
The Covid-19 pandemic not only changed the way people live but also the way they transact.
The hard level 5 lockdown shifted dimensions as consumers no longer trusted their wallets and banks in fear of contracting the virus.
South Africans have changed the way they bank thanks to some evolving technological advancements.
Virtual banking is one of them. It is similar to physical banking except for the fact that everything is done digitally through a Mobile App or website.
Virtual banking and cards explained
Virtual bank cards are used to make payments, transfers and other banking operations.
Virtual bank cards are now the in thing. Virtual cards are loaded onto smart phones and smart watches enabling the devices to make secure, contactless payments.
Even though virtual cards have been around for many years now, they took South Africa by storm during the first hard Covid-19 lockdown last year.
Virtual cards trounce transactional cards when it comes to security issues and that is one of the reasons why the local banking public has embraced them.
In this digital era, security is everything. Transactional card cloning has seen many South Africans losing large stashes of money from their bank accounts.
The benefits of virtual banking
Virtual cards address the complications that arise from card cloning since their numbers rotate.
Virtual cards are often considered safer and convenient than traditional cards because they use random digits instead of the standard number on your physical card. The absence of a physical representation make them ideal.
In an exclusive interview, Discovery Bank CEO Hylton Kallner said the surge in the number of their customers who have shifted to virtual cards since their introduction last year has been phenomenal.
"The convenience and reliability is just awesome. We have seen some customers set up multiple virtual cards for different transactions. They have become the primary card option for some clients," said Kallner.
A big local telecommunications giant has also introduced virtual cards on their digital wallets.
This has positively changed the way people bank and transact online because it has afforded them the luxury of doing their banking on popular social media platforms WhatsApp.
"The Telkom Pay virtual card, which was launched in June, lets its subscribers make digital transactions without the use of a physical card. To pay for purchases, users receive a 16-digit card number, security code and expiry date on WhatsApp," said Telkom Financial Services managing executive Sibusiso Ngwenya.
But why have South Africans embraced this innovation and is it here to stay?
Financial technology expert and Chief Information Officer of a well renowned bank, Noma Sithembe believes the influence comes from changes in the dynamic fintech sector.
"Bank customers have varying needs. These are driving the growth in the financial sphere and simplification of the banking process is driving the change."
"As more people transact online, e-commerce opens up access to finance. The addition of a MasterCard to digital cards makes it easy to pay online merchants.
"It must also noted that digital bank cards do not replace the traditional transaction cards. The former is used for online and App purchases," said Sithembe.
While inclusion is often considered as a buzz word, things are different when it comes to digital bank cards. Their convenience has literally transformed the banking sector.
The shift to virtual is not only in the banking industry, as times change, the need for physical interaction is diminishing. Educational technology has seen a rise as more schools take the virtual path to education.
The rise of educational technology amid the pandemic
Briefly News reported that the global pandemic has forced the world to adapt to a new way of living. From remote work to remote schooling, life has changed and technology has had to innovate to keep up. There has been a growth in the utilisation of educational technology (EdTech) as classrooms adjust to online learning.
Educational technology is the use of computer hardware, software, and educational theory and practice to facilitate learning. Educational technology - or EdTech - is beneficial for users as they can engage with the content in a paced manner and receive feedback.
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