Qatar National Bank leads the way in adopting digital in the whole of Gulf:
Qatar’s first domestically owned commercial bank founded in 1964, Qatar National Bank today is a multinational bank with associates and branches spread over 31 countries. Today, the bank is deep into digitization. It has taken to technology transformation as a group-wide strategy with QNB Group CEO Abdulla Mubarak Al Khalifa defining innovation as a strategic enabler to identify new sources of revenue and create cost-saving opportunities.
The bank has almost totally digitized its customer interface with the aim of achieving ‘the highest levels of satisfaction and security,’ in the words of Al Khalifa, who adds that innovation requires the Group to be more creative and flexible to respond to the complexities of the new normal.
QNBEYOND, INNOVATION CENTER
The bank has recently set up QNBeyond, its global innovation centre, which is a think tank for innovation and an accelerator put together. Based out of Istanbul, Turkey, its goal is to further leverage and enhance the Group’s innovation capabilities centered around future proofing the banking business with a focus on digitization and automation. It also promotes startups and fintechs as an accelerator and incubator.
With Qatar hosting the World Cup Football Tournament in November this year, the entire QNB Group is readying to be a big facilitator as far as money-related transactions are concerned. It has already unveiled several digital banking products and services. One of the key solutions is for cross-border payments in association with Ripple, based on a technology that acts as a cryptocurrency and digital payment network. Through RippleNet, a connection to financial institutions with an API, the bank will enhance cross-border payments and expand its remittance service across multiple countries quickly. It enables instant payments, offering unique experience for customers.
MAKING PAYMENTS EASY
The bank also introduced WeChat Pay, a mobile payment solution developed in China, to retailers in Qatar. WeChat Pay is used by more than 1.2 billion users monthly worldwide, and the bank said it is using the solution for a cashless financial network. It is also offering QR Pay, a service that allows customers to make contactless payments for retail purchases through the QNB Mobile Banking app. Users simply have to scan the QR code displayed on the POS terminal screen to effect payments.
To enable those who will visit the country for the World Cup, the bank has come out with contactless cards on its credit, debit and prepaid products portfolio and has deployed POS terminals that are capable of handling both contact and contactless transactions. The bank is in the process of replacing its entire cards suite in its Qatar operation and becoming fully contactless enabled.
OPEN BANKING TO ALL
The bank has meanwhile opened its open banking platform to all its customers, partners and fintechs in the country. The bank is the first in Qatar to launch the open banking platform and providing access to the platform to its customers, fintechs and third-party providers that will enable them to have access to the bank’s core financial services, securely share customer data and facilitate payments between organizations. The enhanced API infrastructure of the bank will help it to cater to ever-changing demands and aspirations of the customers.
By allowing fintechs to have access to the platform, the bank hopes to transform the fintech landscape in Qatar and help launch futuristic solutions not just for the bank’s customers but for the public in general and visitors to the country in particular. The platform, built in collaboration with telecom firm Ooredoo, was initially intended to allow wallets operated by the firm to have access to banking facilities such as virtual IBAN, virtual MasterCard, payroll solution and remittances.
Fintech and IOT companies and other third-party providers, who have been looking for unified integration with banks for data sharing and payment processing, will also benefit by the platform and fintechs in the country can now introduce innovative futuristic solutions.
The bank has adopted solution-led approach rather than a product-push strategy in its wholesale banking. The focus will be on offering client-centric solutions, rather than taking a product-push approach, the bank has said. The approach will leverage on enhanced product range, upgraded data infrastructure, analytical tools and training, and will capitalize on development in areas like open banking, RPA, big data and analytics, AI and digitisation. The aim is to deliver a seamless transaction banking experience across the entire global footprint.
The bank also intends to offer advanced solutions and analytics beyond traditional banking products with the help of strategic partnerships. In doing so, its QNBeyond will have a pivotal role.
This article has been compiled based on publicly available information on the web, particularly the bank’s own website.