July 3, 2019
Studying the properties and composition that make up the FinTech ecosystem
Welcome to this week’s industry analysis with the FinTech Chemist. While I may not be literally mixing solutions and preparing reagents, I am studying and testing out the latest and greatest in FinTech. With the Fourth of July – the American Independence Day – being tomorrow, I wanted to take a few moments to reflect upon how FinTech has reshaped the way society views freedom; especially financial freedom.
Between the fireworks, family time, hot dogs, and corn on the cob, we have a lot to be thankful for when it comes to personal freedoms in America. In terms of personal finance, the industry continues to move at a blistering pace to meet customer needs. Gone are the days of just settling for what your bank tells you to do. As consumers, we can now pick and choose the services that best suit our lifestyle, with tons of flexibility and a plethora of options. Just like Isaac Newton rocking the scientific community with his discovery of universal gravitation, technology has completely altered and enabled faster and better banking and financial services. From P2P lending and robo-advisors to cryptocurrency and crowdfunding, the FinTech ecosystem is shattering old business models on its way to crowning new rulers in the world of money, and guess what: there is no turning back.
Thanks to the explosion of FinTech, financial services is no longer a club for just the elite. In under a decade, we’ve seen major pushes around financial literacy and solving challenges around the underbanked. According to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, even those living in extreme poverty are poised to benefit from changes in mobile banking. Over the next 15 years, it expects two billion people to open their first bank account and start saving and spending money with a phone. Consider this: no matter how rural you are, if you have access to the internet, you can perform banking functions online. Being able to bank digitally, or through a mobile application, is one of the biggest features that many consumers look for in a bank. Being remote, a full-service online banking interface can mean the difference between having access to banking services or being stuck without them. Again, just another example of technology enabling financial freedom.
The majority of us have been stressed about money at some point. Whether you are trying to track your spending or invest spare change, FinTech has certainly helped quell those money fears. FinTech now touches every market segment, from generation Z through the baby boomers. Take a look at the company Greenlight, for example. Greenlight offers a debit card for kids that parents manage from their phones with flexible parental controls. Now, parents can raise financially-savvy children, and when it comes to money, knowledge is power. Certainly beats my days of using a piggy bank!
If I could offer any advice from my own money management experiences, it would be this: AUTOMATE EVERYTHING. Automation has opened up several avenues on the constant trek to personal financial freedom. An article in Forbes said it best, "Technology is wonderful, and it can help save you time and avoid stress. Try and make as much of your financial life automatic. Set up a payroll deduction to your 401(k) plan at work. Pay yourself first, automatically, with monthly deposits into your long-term savings. Pay all of your bills automatically on a credit card (pay it off every month) versus manually paying every bill. While that may only save you a few minutes per bill, it can add up to hours and hours over a year."
All things considered, I could write an entire scientific thesis on how FinTech has empowered consumers more than ever before. Between free mobile apps, innovation in AI, ML, and blockchain, to name a few, FinTech is changing the way people interact with money, and there’s something for everyone. So in the meantime, let FinTech freedom ring! Now, onto my next scientific… I mean FinTech hypothesis adventure. And, as always, remember to take your vitamins!
Read the previous edition of The FinTech Chemist.