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The banking sector usually needs to keep its customers apprised of their transaction history. Back in the day, the only available channel for banks to communicate with customers their detailed history has been through sending a letter in a mailbox. The letter had to include pretty much everything credited or debited to an owner’s account.
In the last two decades, the waves of digitization has affected everyone – governments, businesses, and consumers. The ensuing effects of digitization has opened other trusted channels for all – the SMS. With mobile penetration nearing or exceeding a 100 percent in the MEA, the SMS has become the de facto mode of communication for businesses, and in this case, banks, to connect with their customer base.
The alerts and notifications sent by banks are many. They include the transactional SMS, Two-factor authentication (2FA) SMS, One-Time-Passwords (OTP), payment reminders, and SMS for marketing. Transactional SMS can be for any transfers done between accounts, for any use of the credit cards, or solely for the use of other cards.
The early use of SMS to relay banking transactions was initially handled manually, and on a daily basis to boot. At the end of each day, a list of banking transactions was entered into an excel sheet. From there, the excel sheet was used to notify the users via SMS of their daily activities. While the above method kept the user informed, it was not a method that was scalable or sustainable, was error-prone, and most importantly, it wasn’t a timely notification, and thus not effective in fraud prevention.
With the use of programmable telecom, Cequens has been able to completely uplift the way banks kept their customers informed. The use of their APIs, Cequens Integration Platform, and when necessary the on-prem solutions, banks have been able to improve the quality of their notification systems and prevent fraud. As system integrators, it was clear that we are not software vendors but rather a bank’s strategic partner with the breadth and depth of transformation capabilities mandated to lead and deliver the challenging transformation journey. Our role was, and continues to be, to help the bank define and implement the future state business architecture, processes, and technologies while overseeing the transformation with proper governance and controls.
As such, Cequens has positioned itself as MEA cloud communication platform provider market leader, specializing in omni-channel messaging over A2P SMS, Voice, and Video. Cequens facilitates the embedding of voice, messaging, and video into software for cost-effective, flexible, and agile cloud communications.
Even though digitization has taken the world, including the MEA region, by storm, there are many challenges that the banking sector specifically has faced. Deep-seated institutional barriers have proved to be a hindrance to technology, impacting the pace at which institutions and governments implements a solution. For example, it’s not uncommon for banks, especially national or local banks to take up to two years to decide on implementing a solution. Another major challenge, providers and financial institutions face is the rigidity or rather the lagging regulations.
Also regulations in the MEA region play a significant role in the banking sector’s use of the SMS. For example, some countries stipulate that an SMS be sent every time the credit card has been used, with the location, time, and amount credited.
With the used APIs, the banking sector is now able to send all kinds of notifications instantaneously, with setup requiring minimum effort.
Users nowadays are expecting a secure and frictionless user experience, just as they do in their everyday life, notably online shopping, and social media. Going forward, the sustained and continuous growth of digital and more demanding users will fuel the banking sector’s adoption of tools of the era – technology and all the tools that come with it.
Editors Note: A version of this article has appeared on TADBlog.