Financial technology may still be in its early stages, but 2016 was nonetheless a whirlwind year for the FinTech world. And it's about to get even better. According to the annual FinTech Report, cumulative investment globally will exceed $150 billion in 2017.
Here's what experts at the Commercial Equipment Marketplace Council (CEMC) conference say FinTech businesses should know.
1. Trust will continue to become a consumer difference maker
Although factors such as price play an important role in deciding whether someone should become a customer, the key aim for any business should be to establish trust.
It's extremely important that FinTech companies ensure sensitive client information stays secure. They should also use their social media channels to communicate concerns on data breaches and other business slipups.
A great example of this is Max Levchin, the founder of and most recently Affirm. Affirm as an organization is built upon trust in the millennial world which shows their strong success including raising an additional round of funding.
Affirm is focused around making banking more transparent which is an important factor that millennials consider when picking a bank for them. If you look at their website, they mention things like making banking more for you, mentioning they are on "your side" and being the modern bank.
2. Buying behavior is changing
One of the largest trends we are seeing in FinTech is that more traditional experiences will move from offline to online.
This doesn't just stop at consumer-focused projects like commercial banking, but even businesses like Currency are taking this change in consumer behavior and using it to their advantage with facilitating equipment leasing through their online portal.
3. Mobile is helping an older world of FinTech companies become more modern
Like other industries, 2017 is expected be a big year for mobile-first products that consumers are used to using more often. More importantly, the focus on mobile-first is enabling FinTech companies to become more customer-driven, which equals better experiences for consumers.
According to a recent Google study, 82% of smartphone users turn to their devices to help them make a product decision.
"There is an important shift in the industry that is driven by mobile technology at the point-of-sale, integrated with a finance marketplace that is finding innovative ways to help small business get funding for mission-critical equipment, said CEMC founder and currency CEO, Charles Anderson.
4. Blockchain will continue to be hot
Blockchain is an attractive phenomenon because of its ability to let companies make and verify transactions on a network instantaneously without a central authority.
Blockchain is a data structure that makes it possible to create a digital ledger of transactions and share it among a distributed network of computers.
As appealing as blockchain seems to many enterprises, questions still linger regarding the security and privacy of the technology. Enterprises must agree on a common network protocol and technology stack, in which many companies already contain their own mix of back-office systems.
5. The level of security will be the key differentiator
Hackers are on the constant prowl to steal customer data from financial institutions. Firms keep customer information like social security numbers and background history.
In 2017, we will see a significant shift toward personal authentication through services or products that are owned by you. For example, iris scans and facial recognition will help make sure that your data is completely protected.
6. Everyone will soon have access
FinTech has given people access to products and services that normally would be out of the public's reach. For instance, online banks have allowed people to open accounts with lower balances and no fees.
FinTech has set itself apart from traditional brick and mortar by breaking down high barriers and giving access to the masses. So how will that change in 2017? Companies will continue to focus on the little person.
An example is Ovid Life, an online life insurance settlement exchange. While traditional brokers only work with those holding policies above $100,000, Ovid uses software to automate the process and drive down transaction costs.
Focusing on those who normally wouldn't quality for services has opened new doors for FinTech which will be rapidly explored by other companies in 2017.
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