Fintech, short for financial technology, has been defined by Prof. Patrick Schueffel of the School of Management Fribourg as “a new financial industry that applies technology to improve financial activities”. Simply stated, Fintech comprises industries that use new technology and innovation for delivering financial services to get an edge over competing traditional financial institutions and intermediaries.
This is an emerging 21st century financial services sector, boosted by the internet and mobile internet revolution. Fintech, from back office computer-driven services, is emerging as an innovative financial force multiplier. For fintech, sky is the limit.
The 20th century offering of fintech was mobile-only stock trading free app Robinhood for trades and peer-to-peer lending sites, such as Lending Club and Prosper that reduced rates by upping the competition for loans to broad market forces.
The year 2020 is set to see plenty of other innovations, including mobile banking, mobile trading on commodities exchanges, digital wallets, like AAPL and mobile wallet systems being developed by Google, called GOOG. Also in the offing are financial advisory and robo-advisor sites that go by the name of LearnVest and Betterment, and all-in-one money management tools, such as Mint and Level.
Introducing new technologies
Fintech is undergoing a continuous process of upgradation with the introduction of new technologies, such as machine learning, predictive behovioral analytics and data-driven marketing. These are set to not only make financial decisions foolproof, but more focussed too.
The advanced technologies incorporated in fintech will be capable of discerning users’ habits to make their spending and saving decisions and help them at arriving at correct decisions. A case in point is Globcoin services that offer multicurrency account and a global prepaid MasterCard to purchase at real currency exchange rate without any mark-up, commission or hidden costs.
Vast user base
Fintech has been readily adopted by retail banking, corporate banking, private banking, life insurance and non-life insurance. It makes the conduct of certain business processes smooth, such as payments – both digital wallets and peer-to-peer ones, investments that include equity crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending, risk management insurance, etc.
Fintech presently contributes to four categories of users – B2B for banks, B2B business clients, B2C for small businesses and for consumers. This usage is set to increase manifold among these groups, what with mobile banking, more accurate analytics, decentralization of access and increased information and data.
Fintech is introducing newer ways of making its financial services seamless to service global populations. This increased technological intervention has helped fill a vacuum that had previously made financial services inaccessible.
The ultimate aim of fintech is to make financial services available to all individual and businesses, irrespective of individual’s net worth and the size of business, at affordable costs.
Fintech has made life easy for those dealing with financial instruments and this is just the beginning. It has made it easy to access financial tools and services at minimum cost. More innovations are in store for this unparalleled service.