Executive Spotlight Series with Niranj Sangal the Group CEO of OMA Emirates Group

by Niranj Sangal 0

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What recent developments have had the highest influence within digital payments sector?

Mobile technology has opened up new and innovative possibilities for instance digital banking, e-wallets, etc. and will continue to do so in the longer run considering it is the medium today where consumers are active at all times. Such tech advancements and innovations undoubtedly have a positive impact on the economy.

There is also increasing acceptance of contactless payments and a cashless society will gradually see the light of day. Globally the payment sector is moving towards a stronger system where banks, merchants and service providers will work in synch to deliver greater services and benefits to the consumers with technology being the backbone to this system.

Millennials are increasingly using mobile wallets. Apart from the convenience of the mobile wallet, the payment system is more often linked to consumer incentives which include discounts and loyalty programs and enhances the customer experience.

With increasing number of security breaches being faced these days, how do companies like yours manage to keep up with data security and privacy measures?

Payments are becoming increasingly digital and with players like Samsung/ Apple (Mobile Manufacturers), Card Manufactures, Mobile Wallets, e-Wallets, etc. Currently most consumers prefer to trust the traditional players such as banks to share the most information as long as they ensure that there is highest level of protection. Though many feel that they should be responsible to be aware of the security and data privacy policies, others feel that it should be the responsibility of the government and other private players to protect such data. Today, there is rapid digitization and there is a need to ensure security of customer data and as a payments technology company we make sure that we follow all security standards to ensure data security of highest levels.

What is the primary challenges being faced within the payments sector?

With digital payments, there are 2 major challenges that are being faced.  First is ‘ACCEPTANCE’ of new and existing technology and second is ‘SECURITY’. These are challenges that the industry as a whole is facing when it comes to providing a complete digital payment ecosystem. Data security is a major concern for all parties involved –financial institutions, third party service providers and account holders. Moreover, whether it is Big Data or IOT, compliance plays a critical role. We make sure that we are absolutely ready, before we go to market even if it would mean engaging with additional level of testing and R&D.

Unattended payments are gaining popularity; How do you view unattended payments market?

From having prominence in the retail market, unattended payments technology is evolving across new and unchartered waters including utilities, airports, transportation, parking, entertainment and lots more. The technology has a far reaching impact on customer service levels, and are cost saving and introduce new revenue opportunities. According to a research undertaken by Markets and Markets, the interactive kiosk market was valued at USD 20.37 bn in 2016 and is expected to reach USD 30.53 bn by 2023 at a CAGR of 5.69% between 2017 and 2023. Tech advancements in unattended payments have been making progressive strides not only for customers but also for service providers. Today the unattended payments solutions accept the most advance payments options that include EMV and NFC and even mobile wallets. In addition to large format stores that have been the early adopters to the method, smaller departmental stores and specialty stores will also gradually integrate with such payments solutions.

Could you elaborate on how OMA Emirates has been innovating with technology to enhance payments and allied services?

At OMA Emirates, we have been working very intensively on building a closed loop loyalty. After researching for a while, we began creating a network of closed loop payment platforms where everybody saves. With this platform, merchants won’t require to pay margins to banks. They can make use of a closed loop network and simultaneously leverage multiple marketplaces using their market presence.

Another area we have been innovating in is with bots. There’s a growing interest however most don’t know how it can be cost-effectively integrated within businesses. We are testing and trying to integrate it with our loyalty platform Benefit Beyond which is equipped with a payment gateway. The bot will keep a track of what a customer buys and goes on to act like a personal assistant by reminding the customer to pay utility bills, etc.