The only safe place for humans is confined to their individual homes, as the world-wide outbreak of COVID-19 creates havoc in the public life of people. Every day the number of affected cases shows a sharp rise with some numbers on the way to recovery. The situation can be brought to control only with the right precaution and practice of social distancing.
During the lockdown situation, only the essential services have been kept open and banking comes under it as well. However, physical access to any place and even banks is increasingly becoming potentially risky and hazardous. To cope with the situation, digital payment systems come to the aid of people for the necessary convenience they require during this time. It not only provides help with the banking services during the lockdown, but it also helps people maintain the social distancing protocol during the pandemic. Since the spread of the virus is from person to person, currency notes could be potential carriers.
The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has recently declared that the payment systems in India were up and running during the coronavirus lockdown, following its business continuity plan, incorporating improvisation. Digital payment platforms are making life easier for people, as the payment modes like UPI are easy to adopt, along with being secure. Customers are able to purchase items, transfer money by registering to the apps after getting their mobile numbers verified.
However, the all-of-a-sudden surge in digital payments increases the risk for cyber-crimes. This can happen as the users may fail to take all the necessary precautions towards safe transactions. Also, smartphone users are easier targets than desktop ones. To keep the money safe, adequate precautions need to be taken to ensure safe transactions. A few things that need to be taken care of while making a digital payment include:
● Making the search on the internet carefully, as malicious links can pose hazardous threats
● Always typing and not clicking the URLs
● Ensuring that the links start with “https” and not “http”, wherein ‘s’ symbolises, “secure state”
● Using a dedicated device, and avoid using the same for casual web surfing to keep it clean of any bugs or malware attacks
● Logging out when apps are not in use
● Avoiding apps that one cannot trust, as smartphone apps carry malware
● Choosing only a trust-worthy merchant
● Avoiding public Wi-Fi computers, as hackers can intrude into public Wi-Fi networks and steal login details. A financial transaction must always be made on one’s personal and secure device
While small transactions can easily be made keeping the necessary guidelines and precautions, it is often the transactions involving big amounts and big assets, coming in the category of contingent-based transactions which become difficult in such times. Coming to people’s rescue, the escrow account services provide a safe and secure ecosystem where all parties are at stake with either products, services and high- value assets.
The escrow system follows a step-by-step timeline, which makes transactions speculation-free, as the transacting parties can track the movement of funds and progress of the contractual commitment. Since the transactions are conducted under the due supervision of diligent professionals, buyers’ funds and sellers’ offerings remain in secure hands.
In the past, opening of an escrow account used to be a tedious process, but not anymore. Some unique next-gen fintech players like are making the escrow service more accessible to the startup and emerging businesses in their specific-use transaction cases like procurement, supply chain, professional services, etc. By leveraging the escrow payment mechanism, such businesses can make hassle-free, efficient and safe business transactions and ensure seamless growth even during an uncertain crisis situation.
However, at present, more awareness is required for the people to understand how a three-way financial agreement can empower two parties to make hassle-free transactions securely.
To promote ease of doing business in the country, the government should look into making escrow based payments mandatory for certain transactions. If India has to become a modern economy, it must take a leap forward and ensure a business-friendly environment in the country. It can be done through policies that promote trust and ease of transactions. In this direction, escrow account-based deals can usher in a new era for the Indian economy.
The author is the Founder and CEO, Escrowffrr