The Future of Fintech
By Jude Irshaid
With all the talk of Fintech, people often don’t realize what it actually is and how it is transforming the way we complete our daily financial transactions. In simple terms, Fintech is technology applied in the financial services industry to deconstruct traditional financial operations, such as mobile payments, money transfers, asset management, etc. Using Artificial Intelligence, as well as specialized software and algorithms, all financial services will soon be automated – making any transaction faster and easier, while keeping it user-friendly and focused on improving customer experience. Fintech services today include mobile payments through digital wallets, stocks and crypto trading applications, robo-advisers for wealth management, and budgeting software.
The Fintech industry is fast-growing and has developed many innovations, such as Digital Wallets, Blockchain, and Cryptocurrencies. Digital Wallets are an innovative way to make payments online or in store using your smartphone. The Digital Wallet system securely stores your credentials and requires your authorization before making a payment and it is already implemented popularly through Apple pay or Android Pay. Despite the strides in these developments, Blockchain is one of the most important Fintech innovations. Blockchain is a decentralized, public database that allows companies and individuals to complete transactions very quickly and efficiently, without the need of any intermediaries. Once a transaction is made and verified, it is given a unique code and then made publicly available for everyone to view.
Cryptocurrency is based on Blockchain and secures payments or transfers of money between two parties online, in terms of a digital “token”, without the need of a bank or credit company.
For the past decade, Fintech companies growing all over the world have been implementing the technology and services discussed. Betterment, for example, is an online investment and financial advisory platform using robo-advisors that advise you based on your credit record saved on Blockchain. Square is another popular Fintech company that processes payments by INTERAC, credit card, or Apple Pay. There are also many online platforms, such as CoinBase and Cex.io, that allow you to buy and exchange cryptocurrencies anywhere, anytime.
The biggest question that comes to mind given these advancements in the field is: does this mean that banks will perhaps become obsolete? Not necessarily. Fintech services have disrupted the way banks operate and seem to even be slowly replacing banks. Robo-advisors, online banking, and digitized payments eliminate banking jobs, since there will be no need to go to the bank and speak with an advisor in person. However, banks are constantly investing in technology to keep up with the changes made in the financial technology field and by investing heavily on R&D, to ensure that they maintain their existence and create new services to adapt to and integrate this young and growing industry.