Even if you haven’t heard the term “FinTech,” there’s a chance you’ve used it before. Short for “financial technology,” FinTech has dramatically changed the financial landscape and looks to further change how we do business in the coming years.
Recent research reveals that at least one-third of consumers make two or more FinTech platforms a part of their daily lives. This data shows that FinTech is rapidly changing the boundaries of personal finance and altering the way businesses and consumers interact with one another.
What is FinTech?
In this guide, we’ll take an in-depth look at what FinTech is and how it’s shaping our financial future. As part of this, we’ll look at specific examples of FinTech and analyze the role FinTech plays in revolutionizing financial systems around the world.
Let’s dive into the types of Fintech examples and Fintech Technology Trends!
Let’s start by providing a solid definition of what FinTech is. In essence, the term refers to Internet-based financial technology that enables digital money transactions.
In many cases, FinTech bypasses traditional banks and allows consumers to invest, lend, and save money online.
More specifically, the term refers to any technological innovation that helps businesses and consumers alike control, improve, or otherwise automate their finances in the following areas: money transfers and payments, lending and borrowing, investing, fundraising, retail banking, and more.
Started as computer-based online banking services, FinTech has rapidly evolved through mobile platforms to provide revolutionary financial power to both companies and the average consumer.
Data reveal that people around the world are turning to FinTech to satisfy their financial needs.
But just how popular is FinTech? It was estimated that nearly $800 billion traveled through FinTech mobile payments in 2017 alone. This incredible growth is built on the convenience FinTech offers consumers.
Think about it this way: twenty years ago, even little acts such as sending money took extensive work. In order to do so, consumers largely had to go to brick-and-mortar banks or financial institutions and wire money.
Today, apps such as Venmo allow individuals to send money at the click of a button—straight from their mobile phones.
As such, it can be said that FinTech is completely revolutionizing the way the world handles money. In order to better understand this, let’s take a look at a few examples of FinTech that you’re probably already familiar with in some form or another.
Examples of FinTech
While FinTech largely refers to any advancements in financial technology that aid in the monetary operations of businesses or consumers, the field can be categorized into a few popular fields. Below are a few of the most popular best FinTech examples employed by consumers today.
Cryptocurrency refers to unregulated digital currency built on blockchain technology. Though not backed or regulated by any government or central authority, cryptocurrency remains secure through cryptographic protection.
Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum continue to pave the way for a new age in monetary transactions. Unlike traditional currencies, cryptocurrencies are backed by no overhead financial institution such as the Federal Reserve.
As such, they are increasingly attractive investment options for those seeking more freedom with their money.
Still, cryptocurrencies are a relatively new form of FinTech, with the flagship currency Bitcoin only ten years old (as of 2019). For this reason, it’s nearly impossible to predict the future of the industry, despite downward turns in the cryptocurrency market over the past couple of years.
- Peer-to-Peer Lending
According to an article published in the Journal of Internet Banking and Commerce, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending is a loan model that enables borrowers to “…receive a loan without a financial institution involved in the decision process” and lenders to have “investment risk coupled to the credit rating of the funded loans.”
In simple terms, P2P lending allows for borrowers of all types—even those who would be denied by traditional financial institutions such as banks—to receive money for agreed-upon interest rates from individual investors.
While P2P lending offers a more streamlined lending process, businesses and consumers who wish to receive unsecured loans through P2P platforms must work through for-profit intermediary companies who will determine interest rates and forward payments.
P2P is largely considered a form of crowdfunding, a recent money pooling phenomenon of FinTech that businesses and consumers alike utilize to fund projects. Expected to grow into a $300 billion industry by 2025, crowdfunding plays an increasingly-large role in project and fundraiser funding.
Perhaps the most impactful of all FinTech developments, mobile payment services continue to streamline monetary transactions for the consumer. If you’ve ever sent money through Facebook’s Messenger app, you’ve witnessed this firsthand.
In recent years, traditional FinTech giants such as PayPal have forayed into the realm of mobile banking. From this, apps such as Venmo, which allow instantaneous monetary exchanges, have come to dominate the way consumers do online banking.
In general, mobile payment services allow direct payment from consumer to consumer. Mobile payment apps allow consumers to store money outside of traditional bank accounts, thereby bypassing traditional monetary systems.
What’s more, these payment services can be directly linked to online banking through established financial institutions. This means that consumers can transfer money from mobile apps to their traditional bank accounts—usually within hours.
A 2014 study by the Federal Reserve found that 22% of Americans had participated in money transactions through mobile payment services. As tech giants such as Google, Apple, and Facebook continue their foray into the world of mobile payment and transactions, it’s safe to say that this number will only increase in the future.
This means that mobile payment services largely look to pave the way for consumer and business transactions in the future.
How Will FinTech Revolutionize the Financial Industry?
The FinTech Movement looks to fundamentally change the financial industry. In some ways, it already has in FinTech banking.
As noted in a paper by Thomas Philippon of New York University, FinTech can “disrupt existing industry structures and blur industry boundaries, facilitate strategic disintermediation, revolutionize how existing firms create and deliver products and services, provide new gateways for entrepreneurship, and democratize access to financial services.”
But as Philippon goes on to say, FinTech won’t revolutionize the industry without posing a few issues—namely in terms of regulation.
Unpacking what this means for the financial industry proves challenging, but FinTech’s revolutionary nature can be thought of in simpler ways.
1. It’s Digitizing Standard Services
For millennials, it may be difficult to envision a world in which one had to visit their bank to make major financial transactions.
FinTech proves responsible for that. With sophisticated machine learning, FinTech is the cutting-egde for smart financial technology development spanning across the world. New technology in financial services seemlessly integrates into existing Fintech applications such as Business Intelligence Tools for Finance.
With the digitization of many routine standard services, FinTech has changed the face of modern banking. For instance, consumers can now make transactions, borrow money, send money, and even pay bills all through convenient mobile and banking apps.
And that’s only a portion of the capabilities now offered by some financial technology. Some of the biggest messaging apps in the world now offer powerful financial services in addition to communication.
Facebook Messenger, for example, offers financial transaction services. An even better example, however, would be China’s most-popular messaging app WeChat.
This popular app has evolved to allow users to perform a variety of financial tasks, including: buying railway and airline tickets, paying bills, sending and receiving money, booking movie tickets, paying mobile phone bills, booking hotels, splitting payments, and even finding discount goods, among other things.
So what’s the point?
Consumers now have access to many of the most popular financial transaction services right at their fingertips—and these services don’t always run through established financial institutions.
For example, WeChat users can receive funds and have them stored in their user account even without a bank account. This represents just one of many increasingly-popular ways of sending and receiving money without storing it within a traditional financial institution.
As Philipson notes, these “mobile payment systems” are “examples of innovations that are central to FinTech today.”
2. It’s Democratizing the Financial Industry
Cryptocurrencies, in particular, represent a powerful new form of FinTech that seeks to disrupt traditional financial establishments. What makes them so attractive to investors has been their ability to provide consumers access to funds and transfer and payment services—all without going through traditional routes.
The effect has been to allow a greater number of individuals access to funds. Incredibly, many individuals who found themselves locked out of traditional financial institutions—those with low ChexSystems scores, for instance—now have solid financial access.
As we will see, however, cryptocurrencies in particular pose new regulatory challenges that will also have an impact on the industry.
3. Fintech Industry Overview: It’s Changing the Way Businesses Operate
With the emergence of FinTech, starting a new business proves easier than it ever has before. That’s because FinTech has streamlined the loan application process for entrepreneurs.
As pointed out by Bernard Marr of Forbes, FinTech allows for new crowdfunding avenues, as well as for new ways to take out business loans. It’s a process he says allows for crowdfunding times to go from months to “as little as a few weeks.”
This decreased timeline owes its thanks to the democratization of the industry, as aspiring entrepreneurs can now seek capital from across the globe.
Additionally, small businesses can now accept a variety of different payment methods—even from global sources. This expanded market base has opened a new era of business that allows even small-town businesses to attract a global audience.
The cost of making international transfers between businesses has gone down, as well, allowing for smoother operations between companies.
This has had other, less direct effects as well. For starters, as Marr notes, customer expectations have changed, forcing businesses to follow new structures. Businesses that fail to include up-to-date FinTech services typically fair worse in the market, for example.
What Does FinTech Mean for the Consumer?
So what does FinTech mean for the consumer?
Increased access to funds, more payment options, and an access to a greater variety of services. This has helped increase e-commerce from a new base of customers.
With this in mind, however, one must note that FinTech hasn’t been without its share of downfalls. Consider the following limits of FinTech.
Limits of FinTech
FinTech’s limits have been much examined—and two of the most-pressing issues have been identified. They are:
- A Lack of Regulation
FinTech’s lack of regulation has made it attractive for some—but a problem for the financial industry’s establishment.
As Philippon notes, this lack of regulation poses three main challenges to the financial industry:
- Because FinTech’s “interests are not naturally aligned with regulators’ long-term goals,” these firms may meet significant entry barriers and competition may be stifled.
- The lack of regulation offers a powerful new way to enhance “macro-financial stability,” but regulators must make sweeping changes to the field to ever realize this potential.
- FinTech will create new problems in regard to consumer protection. Namely, he states, “robo-advising will certainly create new legal and operational issues.”
As the FinTech Movement continues to grow, regulators must face these pressing challenges.
- Its New Age
FinTech’s new age means that it’s still rather limited in comparison to established financial institutions. As it looks to increase its foothold in the industry, it must compete against more traditional and powerful services.
What is FinTech: The Future of Money, Finance and Banking? FinTech offers a variety of game-changing services that have worked to revolutionize the financial industry.
As the digital revolution continues, FinTech looks to occupy a growing space in both private and commercial practice. With consumers and businesses already dependent on FinTech, it’s difficult to imagine the future of the financial industry without it.
From financial democratization to the standardization of routine transaction services, FinTech has already left a mark in the industry—and we should only expect these benefits to grow.
However, FinTech poses new regulatory and other challenges to the financial industry—and the answers to these problems could determine the landscape of the industry moving forward.
To understand more about FinTech, and how it shapes our financial future, check Amazon for some FinTech books on Kindle books, paperback, or audio books.