The worlds of technology and finance are continually evolving. Their most recent evolution has brought them to an intersection – a concept known as fintech. It is one of the best stories of the 21st century, offering investors a new way to make their money work for them. Here, Daniel Calugar, a financial investor with a background in business, finance, law, and computer science, looks at this intersection of finance and technology and provides an overview of fintech.
The term fintech applies to any technology that enhances financial transactions. Payment apps, instant mortgage websites, and even cryptocurrencies are all examples of widely-used fintech.
Any company that provides financial services via mobile phones, tablets, online, software, or cloud technology is considered to be a fintech company. Fintech is primarily used by consumers, although it can also be developed in a B2B role, particularly with entrepreneurs and small businesses.
With fintech, consumers can conduct a number of financial transactions without ever leaving their house. Because of this convenience factor, fintech has recently seen exponential growth. It is disrupting the financial industry, posing a serious threat to traditional brick-and-mortar financial institutions such as banks and insurance companies.
Payment apps are perhaps the most common use of fintech. Fintech can be used to transfer funds, complete purchases, and conduct other online financial transactions. These transactions are exclusively digital and are often completed within minutes.
Banks, eager to remain relevant against the rise of fintech, are embracing this new technology. Online banking apps have been developed where consumers can make payments, transfer funds, and even deposit checks – all digitally.
Cryptocurrencies are the perfect example of fintech. This money exists solely in a digital capacity, yet it can be used in purchases and investments. Despite being a relatively new concept, the use of cryptocurrency continues gaining in popularity. Although Bitcoin is arguably the most well-known cryptocurrency, there are thousands more.
Cryptocurrency exchanges, which are virtual markets that connect cryptocurrency buyers and sellers, have also cropped up. As cryptocurrency becomes more commonplace, expect these online exchanges to flourish.
Once conducted almost exclusively by wealthier consumers, investing is now accessible to almost anyone with Internet access due to fintech. Investment apps make the process easy and inexpensive, with the download of a free/inexpensive app and a low minimum investment. With just a few clicks on the phone, new investors can begin trading stocks.
For potential investors who are not comfortable with picking stocks, there is the option of robo-advising. These apps require a low minimum investment (usually just $1), and an automated algorithm does the rest.
Another financial sector that is rapidly changing due to fintech is the insurance industry. Whether it’s car insurance or home insurance, consumers no longer need to meet with an insurance agent for quotes and options. Instead, they can get all the information they need via an online app, then make their decision and purchase insurance on the spot.
Fintech is here to stay. Moving forward, expect to see even more crossovers between the fields of technology and industry.