The global financial sector has received its fair share of media coverage over the last decade, mostly unflattering. Now a new story is emerging, one that shows the evolution of consumer based banking services. Going by the portmanteau, Fintech, this expanding sector represents a raft of new technology companies entering the financial sector and in some cases disrupting consumer/banking relationships and overhauling how we interact with both banks and personal finance.
In a recently published White Paper by Transferwise, entitled The Future of Finance, CEO and co-founder, Taavet Hinrikus, wrote “In 2015, 68% of people had never used a technology provider for financial services. In five years’ time, half (48%) expect to use a technology provider for at least one financial service and a third (32%) expect to use a technology provider for 50% or more of their financial needs. In ten years’ time, 20% of consumers anticipate they will trust technology providers for all financial services from credit cards to mortgages ”.
Surprisingly Fintech in essence can be traced back to the 1950s. Technology has always been a key factor in the growth and development of our financial systems. The 50s and 60s saw a dramatic departure from the solely in-store banking where customers carried out all transactions face to face on the bank’s premises. First came the credit cards swiftly followed by cash machines in the 60s, allowing customers to carry out basic payments, withdrawals and statements at many locations. The 80s saw the development of more sophisticated bank mainframe computers, data and record-keeping systems. In the 90s banks quickly understood the power of the Internet and related e-commerce opportunities and here new web related business models flourished. Whilst mobile consumer banking had yet to be developed, online stock brokerage websites aimed at retail investors transformed stock brokering from a purely phone based activity. The remaining period has seen banks continue to develop more sophisticated tools and interfaces, allowing customers to manipulate funds regardless of time or location.