Trends That Are Changing Finance As We Know It

Dmitry Dolgorukov is the Co-Founder and CRO of HES Fintech, a leader in providing financial institutions with intelligent lending platforms.

Today, we are seeing tech integrate with almost every area of the financial world, from payments to insurance to saving and everything in between. What comes next? Here are the top trends and technologies impacting fintech that we are seeing today and how I predict they will change the industry forever.

What are the top trends?

Driven by the increase in customers with access to either a computer or a smartphone, both highly powerful technologies, the financial world is adapting its strategy to offer more remote services. By 2022, it’s expected that the fintech market value will reach $309.98 billion, more than twice its 2018 value of $127.66 billion. But this investment isn’t just about the numbers. It goes much deeper into how clients interact with a company and even dictates business processes from staffing requirements and technology needs.

• Contactless services

Undoubtedly the challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic caused a shift in consumer behavior. Faced with the need for social distancing, businesses took up the mantle and adapted to the new reality at a never-before-seen speed. According to research by Visa, almost 33% of businesses now accept less or have stopped accepting cash, with 78% of consumers changing how they pay for items as well. For companies seeking to stay relevant today, taking into account the needs of consumers and being readily able to adapt to them will remain crucial.

• Digital Society

According to data by Statista, there are over 6.37 billion cell phones in use in the world today, up from 3.6 billion just five years ago. While it’s important to remember that this number may not equal unique users, it does indicate an upward trend in access to the digital world. This could deliver exponential potential not only in the diversity of service delivery but also in providing access to the world’s unbanked.

Let’s look closer at finance, an industry deeply intertwined with our personal and business lives. In 2021, more than 52% of online purchases were made using a digital wallet, according to research from Worldpay from FIS. Meanwhile, the use of non-cash payments is rising at a rate of 32%, and this year (2021), digital payments could overtake cash payments for the first time ever. Society is becoming ever more digitally orientated, and this trend is one that directly influences banking behavior.

• Automated Processes

It’s a long-known fact that manual services are time-consuming and not always the most efficient for business. However, embracing automation is costly. Despite this, in recent years, companies are investing huge amounts in automating business processes in finance from back-end core functions to front-end services, from payments to lending. Automation not only improves efficiency but boosts client satisfaction due to speed of communication, and in the long run, may reduce operational costs, leaving additional finances for future tech development. 

What technologies are becoming increasingly adopted?

Knowing the overall industry changes, let’s dive into the specific technologies that more and more businesses are adopting to boost efficiency and continue to deliver on consumer demand.

• Cloud Technology

In the past, businesses often had to invest not only in the technology costs of data storage but also in housing large systems, taking up physical office space. And that’s before we get into the costs of technology management and labor costs, or even the need to have physical access to the data.

Now, with cloud technology potential, more and more financial businesses are migrating to the cloud. This delivers agility in world flow and offers employees increased potential to access work systems from wherever they are. However, it is vital to note the costs and labor for transferring to the cloud and the ongoing maintenance required, making cloud migration a serious decision that businesses will need to face in the coming years.

• AI & ML

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are two computing concepts that are closely related but serve slightly different functions — AI solves tasks, while ML focuses on learning from data. In the coming years, both will be heavily employed by companies seeking to automate their services, deliver smarter solutions and, in general, boost their capabilities. For example, AI-powered modules can easily calculate data and deliver decisions based on facts, not industry stereotypes, including the potential for lending providers to offer individualized tariffs for loans, etc.

• Module-Based Solutions

Ever since the beginning of the pandemic, more and more companies are onboarding financial elements to aid in the delivery of services. For example, POS (point of service) services, such as in-store loans, insurance, etc. This year, it’s estimated by Statista that as much as 38% of personal loans in the U.S. were completed via fintech platforms. However, not every business is prepared or capable of investing in fully tailored software. Conversely, module-based solutions allow companies to gain new functionality that easily integrates with their current systems without the hassle of developing them from scratch.

• Blockchain 

Although we’ve heard a lot about blockchain technology in recent years, we are set to see more of its true potential. Blockchain, at its heart, is a secure system that allows for transactions — not just financial — to be carried out. For example, such technology can be used to support the growing peer-to-peer lending industry, which is set to grow to a value of $1 trillion by 2025.

How should companies invest to make the most of the latest trends?

For businesses seeking to stay relevant, upgrading their current tech stack is a must. However, it’s important to remember that not every trend will suit every business or industry.

Creating a plan, carrying out market research, consulting business analysts and experimenting are vital steps for digital transformation in finance. To get the most from growing tech potential, it’s essential to tie technology to the underlying business needs of your business and upgrade intelligently based on strategy, not tech fads.

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