By Vanessa Malone
Fintech, refers to technology or software innovations meant to disrupt current financial processes from the enterprise level down to the consumer. As the name suggests, it represents the intersection of finance and technology to reduce costs, simplify processes, and expand financial services to digital storefronts. Players include governments, traditional financial service companies, and fintech startups like Horizon.
While fintech originally referred to the back-end infrastructure of incumbent financial service providers, it is increasingly gaining mainstream traction for its impact at the consumer level.
And when you observe this shift among the various sectors of fintech it becomes clear that fintech is not just a technological shift, it is a cultural shift.
Peer-to-peer lending, crowdfunding, mobile banking and other major sectors of the fintech industry all reflect the evolving values and perceptions of today’s consumer. Some of these shared values include accessibility, community, and transparency.
With more services and resources available with the click of a button or swipe on a smartphone, consumers are gaining direct access to data and information that was previously only accessible to a small group of gatekeepers. Fintech enables individuals to manage their finances, investment portfolio, and payments anytime and anywhere. Apps have even enabled millions of people in remote areas to participate in the economy.
In addition to ‘access’ in a general sense, consumers also expect companies to translate complex processes into simplified, user-friendly technology solutions. They demand fintech innovators to cater to their individual financial preferences and create tools to execute these strategies.
Many major fintech sectors including peer to peer lending, blockchain, and crowdfunding represent a move away from centralized entities and towards one another.
These sectors all saw a rise in popularity during the recovery years that followed the 2008 financial crisis. The dire state of the financial industry led people to move away from traditional service providers to seek funding and support through alternative means. As a result, entrepreneurs looked to the internet and to their peers for financial support. This fueled the digital evolution of early-stage capital raising, lending, and other financial processes.
Today around seven-in-ten Americans use social media to connect and share information. People are connected in unprecedented ways and that desire to stay and feel connected has translated into today’s fintech market.
The digitization of financial services helps to remove the information barrier between the company and the consumer. Instead of sitting across from a bank employee to open a bank account, users can see and manage each step of the process from their computer. This transparency has also opened the doors to comparison shopping with costs, qualifications, and benefits enabling consumers to choose a service that best fits their unique needs.
A Transparency ROI Study showed that 94% of consumers are likely to be loyal to a brand that offers complete transparency. Transparency is fueling consumer choice and educating consumers about personal finance.
The story surrounding fintech has always surrounded a clash of the old with new disruptive innovation.
Is it the cultural shift that is causing the technological evolution or is it the technological evolution causing the cultural shift? What do you think? Regardless of the catalyst, it becomes easier to understand the growth of fintech if you understand the shift in beliefs, values, and demands of today.
Horizon offers a suite of integrated securities software applications for compliant issuance through secondary trading of electronic securities. Truly a compliance-first business, our solutions combine Wall Street and Silicon Valley to power the next generation of exchanges and securities offerings in the U.S. and globally. Visit us at https://www.horizonfintex.com.