The Future of Finance – Fintech Companies and Apps Geared Towards Transforming How You Deal With and Make Money

While financial technologies aren’t without challenges, the industry is changing the way we deal with money. The use of machine learning technologies partnered with robust artificial intelligence systems and the incorporation of bid data results in systems that can run without any humanized help. We may not like it now but, machines are taking over our lives especially since they can tap on the human need for convenience.

Looking at reports by KPMG, Forbes, and PwC, fintech is on the rise. With more stakeholders embracing blockchain technology as a means of trading in and out of banks, tech giants like Amazon and Google leveraging the power of machine learning and AI to increase sales and to process payments, and investors using these technologies to manage assets and to lower the risk of investments through predictive investment: we cannot deny the power of the future technologies that could be employed in the financial systems.

Apple Pay, PayPal, and Google Wallet are some of the examples of technologies in the financial sector, and as you can imagine, there are many others.

But how did all this come to be considering we used traditional financial systems not too long ago?

Well, it would appear that after the financial crisis between 2007 and 2009, the large players in the industries faced a considerable amount of heat from the industry’s regulators leaving room for the small and the agile firms, including startups to gain the upper hand. At the same time, 2010’s Consumer Protection Act and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform came up with several oversights which propelled the success of the smaller firms. And, the companies which offered integration technologies, data analytics for banks, and services reported an increase in the use of their hosted services. Eventually, these small companies with service changing technologies became the vital elements of the financial systems hence the rise of fintech.

Over the years, Fintech has been shown to be a significant driving force for global expansion, the increase of cost savings, increased efficiency, and a simpler way of approaching cyber threats.

Wondering how this is possible?

Well, besides the rise in blockchain technology, the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence has driven the development of savvy financial apps to the top.

Financial services have become more accessible thanks to mobile apps. These apps affect the banking sector while others have been shown to be effective in the management of consumer finances.

But, before we look at these apps, a look at the leading Fintech companies of 2018. Looking at global fintech reports, Q3 of 2017, was the strongest in fintech-related investments – 396 deals raised $12.5 billion. Of the amount raised, Tokopedia, a giant e-commerce site in Indonesia raised $1.1billion. At the same time, the top global fintech deals raised $3.3bn in Q1 2018.

The top dealers include OneConnect, Credit Karma, Armour, Robinhood, Snowflake computing, Cadre, Lendix, Atom Bank, Purplebricks, and Oscar.

  • OneConnect

Based in Shangai Chinam, OneConnect is a world-class financial technology services company. The company focusses on offering technological, financial solutions to small and the medium-sized banks; helping them lower operational costs and risks, increase revenue, and to boost competitiveness. To do this, it’s built on intelligent technologies like Financial Cloud, Big Data, Blockchain, and Intelligent Finance, among other technologies.

  • Lendix

This is a P2P online marketplace that offers business loans. It makes it possible for investors to lend money to small and medium-sized companies directly. It’s based in Paris, France

  • Credit Karma

This is a company that offers free credit scores, insights, and reports to its members. They also monitor changes to credit reports while offering insights for better decision making.

  • Cadre

This is a real estate investment platform that’s tech-enabled. The platform allows institutions and individuals to vet commercial real estate opportunities. To make this possible, the company combines institutional experience with modern technologies to give investors direct access, greater transparency, and lower fees. The use of technology facilitates differentiated sourcing, underwriting, as well as a transformative client experience.

  • Stripe

Located in San Francisco, California, Stripe is a fintech company that provides a robust set of unified APIs as well as tools which enable businesses to accept and also manages online payments effortlessly. It’s a software platform which facilitates running of different internet services. Stripes create the most powerful yet flexible tools for e-commerce, and you’ll find them to be a perfect fit whether you want to create a subscription service, an e-commerce store, on-demand marketplace, or a crowdfunding platform. All this is possible thanks to the company’s meticulously designed API systems which offer an unmatched functionality to help you meet the needs of your users.

  • PAYTM

Based in India, it’s the largest and the leading e-commerce/ mobile commerce platform in the country. It also lets your mobile process payments.

  • Transferwise

Based in San Carlos, California, this is a money transfer service-offering fintech company established in 2011, and it allows private businesses and individuals to send money abroad without any hidden charges. You could think of it as a company using tech to take over a critical role otherwise done by banks. It’s cheaper than banks, and you don’t have to worry about your money because it’s FCA-regulated.

  • SEEDINVEST

As the name suggests, this company is all about investments. Also based in Brooklyn New York, SeedInvest is a platform for equity crowdfunding. It gives investors an access road to some of the best and highly-vetted startups and investment opportunities.

  • Kickstarter

This is a crowdfunding platform specific for creative projects like movies, theater, art, music, games, comics, photography, and design. It’s based in Brooklyn, New York

Other companies worth your time include Lufax, SoFi, Avant, ZhongAn, Xero, Adyen, and Ant Financial.

Fintech-related apps

Now that we know some of the leading companies in fintech, and with the use of smartphones hitting a record high in 2017, how about a look at the apps that drive financial services?

Lemonade

Launched in 2016, lemonade focuses on the complicated financial area that deals with insurance. Lemonade, the company falls in the insurtech sector. Why do you need it? Well, this app distills the process of getting homeowners and renters affordable insurance. Thanks to advanced technologies, machine learning and artificial intelligence, Lemonade walks you down the insurance process.

You will like the app because it lets you make claims on your phone. As a result, it cuts down the time taken to make and process claims in the traditional setting. You’ll be happy to note that the app has fast insurance claims paying times of 3 seconds. With these processing times, why would anyone want to call an insurance broker?

Clarity Money

Following its rolling out, this personal finance management app has signed at least 100, 000 customers and raised more than $15million in funding. It appears that the reason for their success stems from the fact that the company takes time to help their customers through their financial difficulties and they do that promptly. The fast speeds and the ability to meet the exact needs of customers is a matter attributed to the use of machine learning technologies and AI.

As a result, Clarity Money offers its customers an avenue to lower their bills, create savings accounts, or to get rid of accounts it deems wasteful.

Mint

This is a financial app that lets you maintain order in your finances. With Mint, you can see your balances, credit score, and bills in one place. It has a simple design that is easily understood – the dashboard is intuitive. The app will also update and categorize financial information automatically helping you understand where your money goes and where your cash is. If you are looking for a solution to help you track your expenditure, then you will like Mint.

The other attractive feature is that the app will connect to your credit card alerting you if you’re paying more than you should in interest and it also recommends better credit accounts that come with better rates.

Starling Bank

This is a revolutionary app that makes possible banking without the use or the need of a banking branch. All you need is this app on your smartphone or even Alexa! Yes, you thought right! Starling Bank is one of the first mobile-based banks. Through the app, this UK-based company is looking at making it possible for all its customers to access the same financial services and products as would a traditional bank. Starling Bank aims to do away with physical bank branches by making it possible for its users to create and use digital accounts, use single bank cards and one mobile device.

The good news, something that will enhance convenience and the ease of use of this app is its integration with Alexa, your smart home assistant. Through the integration with its API, Starling Bank could be well on its way to the first voice-banking. According to the team working on the app, the use of voice features will be made available through different integrations such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and Siri, among other voice recognition applications.

What this means is that Starling Bank is opening your world to endless possibilities that will allow you to make payments without having to pick your phone.

Zelle

This P2P service app launched in 2016 is one of its kind – supporting at least 20 banks all of which can be integrated into some of the preexisting mobile apps, Zelle’s featured appear in the banking app of Bank of America, among others.

It is a universal app that is easy to use. Besides the partnerships with banks, Zelle facilitates the movement of money across different Mastercard and Visa payments creating a fast and a highly connected P2P ecosystem.

Amazon Cash

This is one of the newer innovations by Amazon, the leading e-commerce site worldwide. Its operation is more like the workings of a gift card which moves the process involved in loading the gift card into mobile, and no, it doesn’t work as a mobile wallet.

To use it (loading it up with money), you have to sign up for the offer, select the amount you want to load to your Amazon Cash and then you’ll receive a barcode via SMS.

Once you load it, you have to visit one of Amazon’s participating retailers and show the cashier the barcode for topping up your account balance.

Trigger

This is a mobile-first platform which lets all its users set conditional alerts on different stock movements and earnings reports, as well as corporate events and Twitter sentiments. After setting the alerts, the app will curate the triggers into what looks like a Twitter social space, and there, its users can browse and integrate the triggers to their individual dashboards.

Besides giving you investment alerts, Trigger has been influential in the political scene sending out alerts for different political events. How is this important? Well, we all know how much a tweet from a president can affect the markets, don’t we? Also, alerts from influencers will affect the operations of the market.

Daily Change by Wells Fargo

Well, Fargo learned a lesson from the fintech playbook and introduced their new personal finance management app, the Daily Change. This app leverages the power of gamification to teach its customers the best strategies for saving. By giving its users different challenges, one gets to save more money at the end of the day. The app also sends daily reminders to users to transfer a specific amount of money to their savings account encouraging healthy financial habits while driving engagement. The use of gamification is expected to run the future of personal finance education for millennials – something you could consider when looking for a reading tutor for kindergarten or upper levels of education.

Chip

This app calculates how much you can afford and how often you can put money away in a savings account as it connects to your online banking account and gathers information about your daily expenses. It works with accounts for leading banks.

With these apps and companies in mind, it’s true that Fintech represents an amalgamation of finance plus technology which paves the way for new and improved financial systems in the world.

Author: Kar

Dr. Kar is in the Information Systems & Management area in one of the top QS Ranked universities of Asia/world. He has extensive experience in teaching, training, consultancy and research in Indian Institutes. He has published over 100 high impact research papers. He has hundreds of citations as per Google Scholar. He has also authored/edited 4 books. He is the Editor and Founder of Business Fundas. Note: The articles authored in this blog are his personal views and does not reflect that of his affiliations.