5 Fintech Trends happening right now
March
06

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5 Fintech Trends happening right now

The financial technology and payments landscape is evolving at an impressive pace. Businesses and customers are discovering new and more efficient ways to interact with each other. From breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI) to an increasingly more digitally-led retail industry, the role of Fintech in our world today is certainly influencing many aspects of our lives.

In this post, we take a quick look at some of the trends and topics unfolding right now.

Omnichannel experiences

More and more retailers are vying to provide their customers with omnichannel experiences that integrate brick and mortar stores with their online and mobile channels.

Some retailers have also started applying smart financial technology solutions as a way of allowing them to achieve this goal by also providing different payment solutions.

 

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An omnichannel approach provides an integrated and seamless customer experience, whether it’s online, by phone, or instore.

 

With 80% of customer sales still taking place in the physical retail environment, and with more customers expecting frictionless and seamless interactions with the brands they support, Fintech companies have more opportunities to come up with innovative ways to facilitate the payment process. Some examples are the buy now, pay later approach or transaction staging which allows customers to pay at their convenience after locking in their purchase price.

 

Chatbots and machine learning

The use of chatbots and voice search means that more consumer brands recognize the importance of offering their customers a personalised user experience. Currently, automated chats use deductive logic to draw conclusions via a logical thought-process providing limited choices which lead the user to a basic, yet often satisfactory end-response.

Machine-learning aims to revolutionise this process, leveraging AI advantages and allowing the system to learn new responses as more users interact with it.

 

Fintech

The time saving and efficiency gained from using chatbots is appealing to companies looking to increase sales and service productivity.

 

Aside from providing an opportunity for companies to respond more quickly to their customers’ needs, in the financial industry AI is also predicted to help people make smarter decisions about their money.

Enter the so-called “Robo-advisors”online software programmes that help people manage their investments, with users being introduced to truly conversational technology that becomes more attuned to their needs over time.

If you’re concerned that the machines are coming to take your job in the years to come, you may also like to set your mind at ease, by checking this BBC-compiled list here. It’s all going to be just fine… (probably).

The blockchain and cryptocurrencies 

These trending topics will come as no surprise to most, but it would be remiss not to mention them here.

Bitcoin was once a cryptocurrency at the periphery of economic conversation. J.P. Morgan Chase CEO, Jamie Dinon, famously criticized bitcoin in September 2017, calling it a “fraud” (a comment he has since backpedalled on), but 2017 saw the most famous cryptocurrency dominate headlines, gaining more supporters, investors, and credibility.

With its well-documented rise, regulators have also taken note of the world of cryptocurrencies and the sometimes questionable world of initial coin offerings (ICOs). And while not everyone is a fan of cryptocurrencies, there is one thing that the traditional financial market can agree on: the blockchain is here to stay. 

Originally conceived as a public ledger to record all bitcoin transactions, the blockchain has unfolded as a technology with great potential for other applications. This year we expect to see more businesses – and even countries – implement blockchain-based technology for identification, payments, clearing, settlement and much more.

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The blockchain is an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a permanent way. Some people think it could end up transforming a number of important industries, including finance.

Revised Payment Services Directive: PSD2

The European Parliament has adopted the Revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2), which calls for significant changes in the banking sector by giving third-party payment service providers access to their customers’ data and APIs.

PSD2 enables companies to more actively participate in the payments market and the directive includes aims to “promote the development and use of innovative online and mobile payments through open banking.”

As the term open banking suggests, this is a move towards open APIs, greater transparency in the banking sector, and the use of open source technology so Fintech companies – and others that serve the payments space – can build products which better serve customers, and drive innovation. However, the PSD2 isn’t without its critics, with some people believing that only the tech-savvy will benefit.

The regulation also removes entry barriers for non-banks to enter the financial market, promoting innovation and competition and heightening security, while keeping customers’ interests first, and adapting to their demands. This will ultimately translate into consumers’ trust in non-bank entities in the future.

Consequently, competitiveness within the financial sector should increase, by giving access to new players that generate more offerings for consumers. This is a big change with far-reaching consequences for those in European markets.

Mobile-first leads the charge

It may surprise some of you to learn that the smartphone is only around 10 years old. Yet with billions of people accessing the internet from their mobiles, many people are now using it as their first point of interaction with a business. According to information from the Interaction Design Foundation, in the developed world, around 50% of online interactions are now carried out via a smartphone.

Businesses are now expected to provide a smooth user experience (and often a mobile app) which is ideally seamlessly connected to the company’s other products, providing an omnichannel experience.

Mobile-first companiesbusinesses focused on designing an online experience for mobile before any other device – are also taking an active role in Fintech products, offering customers an easier way of managing everything from their health to their finances. An app experience can also offer a very different experience to that which is delivered via desktop, which means that user experience (UX) also becomes paramount if businesses want to attract and retain customers.

Overall, we expect to see Fintech companies make even bigger waves across several sectors in 2018. From finance to retail and everything in between, the result will be more innovation and more opportunities for enhanced consumer experiences.

At Ria, we are developing products which meet the needs of our customers, while navigating the evolving payments eco-system. By providing tools which allow customers to carry out money transfer or currency exchange in the most efficient way, we expect to integrate even more of these technologies into our business during the year to come.