Financial Technology

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Tag: banking

How is Inflation Impacting Fintech

How is Inflation Impacting Fintech?

More consumers are choosing online fintech over traditional banks and credit unions regarding financial management. The decline in the value of fintech stocks over the past year has been quite steep. This sector includes companies such as digital payments and insurance firms. According to Forbes, a little over 10% of consumers pay for the services of these providers. Most consumers pay for the services of fintechs through monthly subscriptions or membership fees. A third of those aged 21 to 55 subscribe to these services, while only half spend more than $10 a month. Despite the recent market turbulence, driven primarily by runaway inflation and rising interest rates, the decline in the value of financial technology stocks has been considered mild by market observers. However, analysts believe that the sector’s slump is a necessary step to improve the industry’s stability.

The term financial technology refers to various ways financial firms can improve the efficiency and accessibility of their operations by using software. These businesses typically use that technology to automate or adapt traditional financial services. Neobanks are online banks not based on physical branches. Instead, they offer a wide range of financial services through their online platforms. These nonbank neobanks do not have the same broad range of offerings as their traditional counterparts. Many of the founders of financial technology companies are not bankers; instead, they tend to focus on the user experience of their platforms. Most do not have a deep understanding of the financial services industry. One of the main factors that contribute to the profitability of these firms is the transaction fees that they receive when customers use their services. Financial technology’s rapid emergence and evolution has created new opportunities for banks and other financial firms. These businesses are constantly looking for new ways to improve their operations and meet the needs of their customers. Due to this innovation, traditional banks are forced to rethink their approach to operating.

According to a study conducted by Simon-Kucher, the world’s neobanks have a combined population of over 400. Out of the top 25 firms, only two have managed to achieve profitability. These firms typically make less than $30 a customer. The study also noted that the number of neobanks globally has increased over the years. Out of the 400 or so neobanks currently operating, it is predicted that around 300 will not be here for long. The value of financial technology stocks has been declining steadily over the past couple of years. As of 2022, fintech stocks are down around 25% from their peak, underperforming the Nasdaq-100, down more than 26% year-to-date. Financial technology’s rapid emergence and evolution has created new opportunities for banks and other financial firms. However, the flood of new financial technology companies backed by SPACs has all but evaporated. Leaders such as PayPal Holdings, Block Inc., and Robinhood Markets have lost more than 60% of their value since October 2021. One of the main factors that prevent financial technology firms from turning a profit is the vast amount of money they give to their customers. The key to profitability for these firms is to move away from being free and toward being fee-based. The potential of financial technology companies in traditional financial institutions is immense, considering the various sizes of financial institutions in the industry. Aside from being fee-based, financial technology firms can also benefit from the advantages of being backed by banks. With the ability to offer high-interest deposits, traditional banks can compete on a scale most neobanks cannot.

What Is Psd2 Jacob Parker Bowles

What Is PSD2?

PSD2 (or the second Payment Services Directive) is a law in the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe that has affected payments since January 2016. All payment service providers (PSPs) were required to adhere to the new policies by January of this year. Although many Europeans may not assume this law affects them, let’s look at the ramifications of adapting to these new standards.

What does PSD2 consist of?

In order to understand the impact of PSD2, we should first explore what it is comprised of. According to waar.ch, the law is meant to open the payment services market up to more competition by regulating standards. Some of these include:

  • Stating of exchange rates when making a payment in another currency, such as an online purchase from a foreign site.
  • Increasing security measures, including a two-factor authentication system.
  • Limiting payer liability in the event of an unauthorized purchase, either from information theft or vendor error.

How does PSD2 affect consumers?

Consumers had previously been exposed to unfair and deceptive banking practices, which includes limited access to fee schedules and hidden interest rates. A lack of competition in the banking sphere reinforced these practices. As a result of PSD2, customers can expect more transparency and open communication regarding the status of purchases, rates/fees, and other financial services.

Another benefit is the ability for third-party payment providers to offer better solutions to traditional banking services. This may include investment products, accounts, and payment vehicles. Even online banking can change, as consumers can use sites and apps to easily access information.

How does PSD2 affect the marketplace?

Competition is expected to increase as a result of this law due to exposing unethical practices. I expect many fintech companies to debut, with solutions for every client concern. These can range anywhere from budgeting apps to alternative payment platforms. One area that should see substantial growth is wearable payment devices.

Regardless of the amount of competition this brings, we can expect to see more secure platforms and better incentives for consumers. A bank cannot simply bring people in because they exist; they must now prove they are worthy of your money. Payment systems likely will increase their move toward digital, as new businesses provide vendors with plenty of options for cashless payment accessibility.

In Conclusion

Although you may not see immediate changes in your banking routine, you can expect to hear news of increased options in the near future. I anticipate this change will affect the general population in a very positive way. Even further, this law opens the door to fintech entrepreneurs who would normally shy away from competition. In a year’s time, I believe traces of this law will show up in our everyday lives, and it may even influence other countries’ banking systems.

The Push for More Online-Only Banking

The Push for More Online-Only Banking

While it is a fact that some people will always prefer a brick and mortar service to manage their banking needs, it is also true that more and more people are choosing online banking as a more viable alternative. For many, the benefits of online banking result in customers being split between banking with institutions that offer online banking along with brick and mortar services but also turning to banks that operate entirely without a physical location. If you are unsure about whether the benefits of online-only banks can outweigh those of traditional banks, let me give you some facts, and you can decide.

Convenience

The most straightforward reason for the popularity of online banking is ease of use. Online banking affords the user the ability to bank wherever there is an internet connection. A customer’s phone, laptop, or tablet can instantly become the portal that connects them to their bank. With online banking, there is no need for a commute, and there are no lines to brave in wait of a teller. Also, internet banks are not restricted to banking hours. With the use of personal devices, the internet banking customer can virtually enter their bank 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Better Account Rates

Internet banks have much lower operating costs than conventional banks. Many times these savings are passed on to customers in the form of more favorable account rates. For the most part, banking customers receive higher rates of return on savings and checking accounts, money market accounts, and certificates of deposit. This interest can cause accounts to grow exponentially, which means better long-term gains for customers.

Better Loan Rates

The savings enjoyed by internet banking customers does not end at savings account rates. Loan interest rates are also affected. Those who utilize online banks tend to get better interest rates for mortgages, mortgage refinances, auto loans, and loans for personal use. This can dramatically reduce the amount of interest these customers must pay back over the lifetime of the loan.

Relief From Fees

Disgruntled bank customers have lamented for many years about the cost of fees associated with brick and mortar banks. These fees are numerous and, despite numerous customer complaints, have only seemed to increase. Traditional banks regularly increase ATM fees, overdraft fees, monthly maintenance fees, and other fees, which make it more and more expensive for a customer to spend their own money. Internet banks have much fewer charges associated with their usage, and some do not charge their customers at all. In fact, some online-only banks will pay you back for any ATM surcharges you accrue by using their competition’s ATMs.

Customers looking to switch to an online bank should be careful to appraise the security of these banks identically as they would with a traditional bank. This means any bank considered must be insured at the very least. Insurance is essential for a bank to have, because it allows for customers to receive all of their money in the event of a drastic situation, such as a bank robbery or bankruptcy.

While it is clear that brick and mortar banks are in no danger of becoming extinct within the next decade, it is clear is that online banking will only become more popular as time progresses. Banks with no physical address will become more prevalent because of the perks they offer, while physical banks will struggle to keep up.

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Fintech: Startups vs. Big Banks

Fintech is taking control of the future of finance across the world. There are multiple aspects of financial technology that will be shaping the way we handle the exchange of money. Whether it be transactions from smartphone or advancements in accounting, fintech has full control of how we manage finances in the 21st Century.

Adapt or Die

With apps already out like Venmo, large corporations are trying to get ahead in the technological race to adapt fintech. Apple has already begun to get a leg-up on the fintech world by releasing Apple Pay. The accessibility of money has been demanded by consumers and Apple is listening. Big banks are starting to find they may be losing the battle against financial technology if they do not adapt. While this may be bad news for traditional small banks, large financial corporations are beginning to invest in fintech start-ups.

The advantages for big banks to invest in these start-ups are due to their ability to have fast innovation and edge. As well, financial technology allows users to make decisions that are more precise and fast. Why would customers stay at slow financial institutions when they have the ability to utilize resources like one-click loans or secure credit card processing?

A Mutual Relationship

Banks have viewed the growth of financial technological companies as a threat to their business and industry. Yet, there is a great opportunity between large financial corporations and fintech companies trying to gain traction. Large banks need the innovation that these start-ups have and the start-ups need the financial support and tracking that the banks can give them. Partnerships between the industries could prove beneficial for both.

Essentially, it comes down to both parties finding a middle ground to benefit from one another. The heart of fintech comes down to innovation, collaboration, and openness. If banks do not realize this and change their business model, they may end up on the sidelines while small start-ups take their place.

Across The Globe

Countries like Brazil have started to see the effects of banks not collaborating with new fintech businesses. Many large banks such as Itau and Banco Bradesco has slowly been closing their physical banking centers due to the changes in the industry.

India’s banks, which dominate the country’s financial landscape, also have a grim outlook. An online payment company, Paytm, announced a $1.4 billion invest while large banks are struggling to keep up.

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Convenience Over Customer Service? How Online Banks Appeal to a Changing Clientele

There is an unfortunate tradeoff with the implementation of new technology: the more advanced technology becomes, the less personalized our world is as a result. When simple jobs can be performed by robots, as many now can, there’s no need to invest the money into human labor. At certain restaurants, people can place their orders via iPads. You can pay your friends back through an app on your phone without having to travel to an ATM to take out cash. You can book an entire vacation from your phone. You can place an order online without the need to talk with a human until your food arrives at your doorstep. Luckily, the need and desire for human interaction in the way we conduct business still exists, so technology has not eclipsed customer service entirely. But it seems that things could be headed in that direction, and banks are one sector where we can already see that trend.

Without that crucial customer service element, what remains to retain customers? As paradoxical as it may sound, banks are attracting new customers by keeping them away. “Banks are finding new growth opportunities through online and mobile channels, proving once more that consumers are increasingly attracted to the convenience and speed of mobile and online solutions,” says letstalkpayments.com.

When so many people, especially the millennial generation, turn to their phones for just about everything, it only makes sense that banks would tap into that lucrative channel, prioritizing convenience over customer service. Bank transactions dropped off by nearly 50 percent between 1992 and 2012, as online and mobile capabilities came into play. In order to retain customers, banks have had to play by new rules to appeal to a changing clientele.

Some banks are combining new technologies with traditional banking elements to appeal to a younger generation. For example, Savings Bank of Danbury in Connecticut just opened a new branch, and they pulled out all the bells and whistles to cater to tech-savvy millennials. Instead of a person, a large screen recounting the bank’s history in an ongoing loop greets customers as they walk through the door. The new branch features lounges with iPads and laptops where customers can interact with bank staff through technology, rather than face-to-face in a traditional teller line.  

According to Martin J. Geitz, president of Simsbury Bank, the millennial generation are outgrowing the baby boomer generation, and as such are coming to define the economy. Says Geitz:

We are now embarking on the threshold of the millennial generation driving the economy as so many are entering the workforce and their demands and tastes for products and services will really define what banks offer and other consumer-driven products. The millennial generation grew up with a smartphone in their pocket. They have a different relationship with technology than we do. It’s important that we provide functionality at their fingertips.

Banks are offering a variety of features that allow customers to conduct all of their finance needs remotely, without ever setting foot in a bank. For instance, people can now transfer money to one another through cardless ATMs and checks can be deposited through an app on one’s phone just by taking a picture of it. In fact, there is an entirely new breed of banks that’s risen up in response that is moving away from brick and mortar locations entirely, operating solely online. An example of an online bank is Simple, aptly named for its mission to make the banking process as simple and convenient as possible. The bank gained more than 100,00 customers in its first two years and was promptly snatched up by Spain’s second largest bank, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA).

For the time being, brick and mortar banks are here to stay. They may not be the grand, pillared buildings of years past, with imposing high ceilings and marble floors, but nonetheless, there is a large fraction of the general populace that doesn’t fully embrace or understand technology, and still desires a certain degree of customer service. Mobile banking technology will continue to expand, but it will need to do so in such a way that combines the service of traditional banks with the convenience of online banking.

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The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Finance

You’ve probably heard of the word fintech before, short for financial technology- just about everyone has these days. It’s usually a trending hashtag on Twitter. However, for those outside the finance sector, your understanding of what financial technology actually is and how it affects the industry may be somewhat limited. I don’t mean to insult anyone’s intelligence here; I simply mean that unless you actually keep up with trends in the finance industry, it would be difficult to have a firm understanding of the technologies that are being applied to it, as they’re constantly evolving.

Up-and-coming financial technology companies have the user in mind, as they work to optimize the user experience and streamline financial transactions through artificial intelligence. Artificial Intelligence, often abbreviated AI, can be thought of as a group of related technologies training machines to respond to and simulate the human brain. These related technologies include: “natural language processing (improving interactions between computers and human or ‘natural languages), machine learning (computer programs that can ‘learn’ when exposed to new data) and expert systems (software programmed to provide advice).” While this is all well and good for everyday people who just want to simplify their finances, banks are being forced into a position where they will have to either respond and adapt, or fail.

The financial landscape is rapidly changing, and it isn’t sticking around for stragglers. According to BBC News, “Machines are now responsible for most of the activity on Wall Street.” The stock market floor of a few years ago, with traders frantically shouting and signaling to make deals on commodities, is not the floor of today. Computers can respond in a matter of nanoseconds, whereas the average human response time is half a second. When it comes to stocks, every millisecond matters, so machines and high efficiency traders trained in these machines have started to take the place of traditional traders.

With Wall Street already responding to changing technology, it’s only a matter of time before banks and financial services will be forced to respond as well. As the latest Technology Tool for Today (T3) conference demonstrates, a number of finance companies are eager to jump on the bandwagon. Fidelity’s eMoney conducted a live AI demonstration of an interaction between Alexa and eMoney’s eMX personal finance platform in which Alexa could answer questions such as how much is in one’s bank account. EMoney also showed off a new virtual reality 3D financial planning experience where users can learn how to manage their finances through an online guide and communicate with an advisor afterwards through a video session- all from the convenience of home. Another fintech company, Redtail Technology, introduced a newer, more user-friendly version of their CRM software.

While AI presents a major disruption to business across multiple industries, the finance industry realizes its incredible potential. The finance industry is very much user-dictated, so any technology that will enhance the customer experience and make them more likely to trust in a bank’s services cannot really be a bad thing. Banks will simply need to rise to the challenge, because as research suggests, AI could double economic growth rates in 20 countries and increase labor productivity by 40 percent by 2035. According to Forbes:

Artificial intelligence provides banks, capital markets firms and insurers with an enormously powerful set of tools to transform and streamline some of their most fundamental financial processes. The challenge for many, however, is not only to identify and adopt the best AI technologies but to reshape and rethink their operating model and talent development to take advantage of AI’s transformative capabilities.

Jacob Parker Bowles: Digital Disruption Doesn't Have To Mean Disintegration

Digital Disruption Doesn’t Have to Mean Disintegration for Legacy Banks

 

The banking industry is old — centuries and centuries old. And while banks have certainly developed over the years into economically complex mega-institutions, those developments haven’t always translated into a better deal for the customer. To make matters worse, disatisfaction with banks skyrocketed in the wake of the 2008 crash until it was practically a household topic. In short, banking was ripe for disruption.

And disruption came. The fintech industry has seen explosive growth since in the last few years — the market has been steadily doubling each year. In fact, you may be hard-pressed to find anyone under 35 who isn’t relying on a mobile finance app or other fintech innovation in their day to day lives, whether they know it or not.

More and more, consumers prefer to turn to their mobile phones for services that banks have had a hold on for decades. If you need any further proof, take Venmo, which sold for US$26 million a mere five months after it launched, and processed $4 billion in person to person transactions in the second quarter of 2016 alone. The runaway success of Fintech startups staking claims in all corners of the financial sector isn’t an accident. Rather, they are revealing a gaping hole in the market where the needs of consumers went unanswered for a long time.

Rather than zeroing in unwaveringly on the bottom line and basing all decisions on risk analysis — and leaving consumers cold in the process — fintech startups are refocusing attention on the consumer experience. Faced with the the institutional power of legacy banks, financial startups are competing by providing services that are attractive simply for their quality, convenience, and accessibility. With startups left and right, there’s more variation in service than ever before.

So what will all the disruption mean? Big banks are left with two choices: remain entrenched in their traditional inefficiencies and poorer service, or embrace the changes and join the development race to give customers what they want — or someone else will.

The pressure for banks to rise to the challenge is enormous. Despite the popular portrayal, however, it doesn’t need to be a bitter rivalry. Big name financial institutions may not have the speed and agility of fintech startups, but their institutional power is not about to evaporate overnight. It took a while for banks to get with the times, but it’s highly unlikely that this period of disruption will lead to long term obsolescence.

More and more, we are seeing legacy banks joining the fray. According to one software company’s survey, 94 percent of banks are acting on digital transformation initiatives, and 76 percent are working to integrate new tech with their existing systems.

Rather than remain set in their old ways while customers flock to their mobile phones, legacy banks are waking up and starting to acquire successful fintech companies, set up new incubators for further innovation, and even begin their own development — see, for instance, Bank of America’s IT transformation.
And it’s good news for all of us. It’ll mean better services for everyone as startup mentality innovation meets large-scale power and funding. Luckily for all, it’s not a winner-take-all market; Venmo and Chase are both here to stay.

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