What does Omnichannel mean to the digital payment ecosystem?

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NCHL

You might have been hearing about the word “Omnichannel” which is trending in the fintech industry in Nepal. Banks like NMB Bank and Mega Bank have gone into omnichannel systems to give a seamless banking experience for their customers. And they are promoting this as a grand upgrade in the overall digital banking experience than ever.

So, what’s special in Omnichannel?

A payment platform that integrates all aspects of a business’ payments, giving you a one-stop-shop for all your customer interactions as well as revenue-generating solutions across all your channels, is an omnichannel payments platform. In e-commerce, it is a connected experience that aims to ease all the processes like making payments at the point of sales as well as during the returns. It can be used in all financial services like digital banking, digital payments, and e-commerce experiences.

For instance, if you have to return something you purchased online using digital payment systems like mobile banking, mobile wallets, or other PSOs, is it hassle-free? Definitely not.

Moreover, the complications rise up when you have made payments through credit cards. Did the need for specific payment details such as a receipt or card number mean added complications?

If that has ever happened to you, you must know how easy it would be if there was an omnichannel-based payment system.

Omnichannel Payment System Unifies the Payment Channels

With the outbreak of Covid-19, digital payments and online shopping have increased at a considerable rate. The use of QR code payments has crossed billion in transactions, indicating significant growth in contactless payments.

The number of mobile banking users rose by 26% between 2019/20 and 2020/21. Similarly, non-cash transactions from various channels of NCHL crossed NRs. 7 trillion in the first 6 months of 2078/79.

As digital payments are surging in both volume and transaction amount, there is a dire need for interoperable and unified payment systems.

Then, there comes the role of the omnichannel payment system which eases in payments through the following ways:

  • The omnichannel platform offers payment processing that integrates across all channels. It means you can provide a fast, personalized service, easy checkout, and be sure of data security.
  • The customer can choose any platform among mobile, web-based channels, cards, and other options they have while making payments
  • Multiple payment systems are processed in a single frame such that one does not need to keep various payment options for making payments at different points of sales

Suppose you are shopping for groceries in Big Mart. While making payments, you will have non-cash payment options like:

  • Payment through QR scanning
  • Digital Wallets
  • Debit/credit cards
  • Mobile banking
  • Payment through PSPs and PSOs

In these various options, what if you could pay through a single platform using your mobile phone? Or what if you could pay through your digital wallet using the credit card option such that you do not need to enter the credit card number or swipe it?

Well, there are many digital wallets, PSPs, PSOs, and mobile banking systems that provide credit card options. But you may or may not find your bank since the options are limited. All the banks are not integrated into those systems which allow you to pay through your credit card using these platforms.

For example, Standard Charted Bank has recently been live on connectIPS such that you can pay your credit card bills through it. It is available in eSewa too. But what about the SCBN credit cardholders who do not have eSewa or connectIPS? What if they use other options like IMEPay, CellPay, etc?

This restricts the customers to enjoy a seamlessly integrated payment system. In that case, omnichannel-based payments can allow the customers to use various platforms through a single point. In the payment ecosystem, it is the integrated approach to various multi-channels of payment systems.

The following examples make it clear about the working mechanism of Omnichannel

NMB Bank has deployed the omnichannel banking service which allows the customers to access banking services and transact online with a uniform interface on both mobile and desktop devices. this can be done without having to visit the bank with just one user ID while banking from your mobile or desktop.

It hosts an array of beneficial features like:

  • Open a bank account online without visiting the bank
  • View all linked account information on mobile and web
  • Easy KYC update without visiting the bank
  • Reset PIN and Password by the customer themselves

Furthermore, Mega Bank has also introduced an Omnichannel system in its banking system where the customers of the bank will now be able to use the digital services of the bank on both in-app and web platforms. Moreover, those who don’t have their Mega Bank account can also use a mobile cash service to withdraw cash, a mobile voucher to deposit their amount, use OTP mobile code to receive and transfer money, fix appointments with bank employees via mobile app.

Another example is, if you are a user of Khalti, you can scan FonePay’s QR through your Khalti app and send money to your merchant who has Fonepay’s QR. You are originally a customer of Khalti, but you can enjoy the services of Fonepay as well.

Likewise, if you are using connectIPS, you can choose between PSPs, mobile banking, and connectIPS itself to make payments now. For that, you need to choose the option of NepalPay QR. Isn’t it amazing that you can use a single app and choose multiple payment options according to your convenience?

All the banks are yet to be integrated this system but the essence of the National Payment Switch that NCHL carries is aligned with the core of omnichannel and interoperability.

Does Omnichannel Promote Interoperability among the payment systems? Definitely

The existing digital payment systems like wallets, PSPs, PSOs, etc are also complying with the directives of NRB to operate integrated payment options with interoperability. Nepal Rastra Bank issued a circular to the digital payment systems in Nepal to facilitate interoperable payment services through their platforms. This, if implied sooner will help the customers in reducing their time and effort in making payments, waiting in line.

Moreover, the merchants can track customer behavior using accurate data to update their database so that they can target them effectively with the products and services they offer using omnichannel systems. Similarly, the banking customers can enjoy a digital banking experience, thereby getting rid of the hassle of visiting the bank more often to get services. Also, the integrated payment systems will remove the need of downloading numerous mobile apps for making different payments.

Also read: NEPALPAY QR Announced as an Implementing Infrastructure of NepalQR

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Hi, I am a postgraduate student of Economics, stock market enthusiast, an occasional storyteller and a habitual reader.

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