Financial technology, or fintech, is perhaps the perfect example of the modern economy’s brilliant ability to respond to the needs of consumers. Nothing has proven quite as convenient as modern fintech developments like the banking apps or services offering investment-on-the-go. So it’s no surprise to learn that this field is a huge employer, and that revenue in the industry is growing and growing. This blog post will explore some of the history of fintech, and will begin to look at exactly why it is the case that this sector has grown so much in recent years.
Making life convenient
On the whole, most people are content to go through life without taking full control of their finances. Aside from perhaps a pension pot and an owner-occupied home, many people don’t want to get involved in the hassle of savings and investments. It may be perceived as too complex, for example, or it could be seen as risky – especially if the means of monitoring or accessing the investment is clunky and requires something like a snail mail letter!
But fintech services have changed that. It’s now possible for individuals to save and invest in almost real time. The rise in investment apps such as Moneybox, which allows users to set their preferred risk level and then go ahead and invest with just a few taps of a screen, have revolutionised the way in which investments are managed. And while services in this field can sometimes be more expensive than a more complex yet more traditional investment offer, many people are willing to pay for the convenience of having accessible and easy to understand investment management tools at their fingertips.
But fintech’s phenomenal growth is not just limited to the investment sector. On the contrary, it’s now also the case that more simple financial transactions – such as basic consumer payments – are easier to execute thanks to technology. Mobile banking apps are a prime example of this: it’s now easier than ever to check whether or not a Direct Debit has been paid, and this has led to users being more in control of their finances – at least for the most part.
It’s difficult to remember the previous iteration of consumer payments technology, but in the relatively recent past many users were reliant on calling their bank or heading down to an ATM for a printed slip if they wanted to find out how much balance they had left or whether or not a payment had been made. Otherwise, it was normal to have to wait weeks for a monthly statement to arrive.
The world of crypto
No discussion of financial technology would be complete without looking at cryptocurrency. In some ways, cryptocurrency is almost in a category of its own. It has fast become one of the most compelling asset classes out there, and despite its tendency to move up and down quickly in price, it still works for many. The relationship between crypto and fintech is an interesting one given just how two-way it is. Firstly, fintech has impacted crypto, with investors in the crypto sphere now able use software tools including Crypto Group to enhance their portfolios, which is an improvement even on a few years ago when crypto was first popular and such a thing as a trading robot was hard to find.
But crypto has also impacted fintech, with many classic banking and finance functions now much faster as a result of blockchain technology. Anyone who works in the complex but interesting field of money transfer, for example, will have come across services such as Ripple – a blockchain tool which improves the liquidity of a bank or other financial institution and allows it to process payments in phenomenally short periods of time, perhaps as low as five seconds or so. With an increasing number of banks and payment organisations now signing up to Ripple and other services, the chances are high that this example of great fintech is going to grow in popularity.
Fintech is something of a buzzword in the modern age – but with good reason. Financial technology has proven itself time and time again to be a durable sector, something that has the power to the change the habits of consumers and investors who use it. From apps to websites and everything in between, it’s no surprise that fintech services of all varieties have really taken off.