August 17, 2016
Given that the greatest tech companies aren’t really tech and there is probably more ‘tech’ in FinTech than there is ‘Fin’, lines dividing industries and segments have become extremely blurred nowadays. Technology has become a defining factor in the financial services industry and traditional financial institutions are experiencing competition from unexpected rivals. The GAFA league alone have demonstrated that in 2016, the status of bank holds little to no meaning for challenging the value chain of financial institutions.
Yet, not all technology was born equal in shaking up the financial world and there is a particular source of one of the most significant transformations across the board – mobile technology. Mobile technology has shaped the concept of mobility in the modern society and in the financial services industry, in particular. Emphasizing the importance of the concept of mobility and the way it affects the financial world, the Monetary Authority of Singapore has defined three types of mobility – mobility of technology, mobility of ideas and mobility of payments.
Mobility in a literal meaning had a tremendous effect on the way device owners consume information/products/services. Some estimations suggest that by 2021, there will be over 8 billion mobile phones in use & around 90% of mobile data traffic will be from smartphones. Mobile devices unleashed the freedom to choose the place, the time and the way to connect with other people and with brands. They allowed owners to remain connected while on the go, to be up-to-date with momentary news and to perform a range of tasks on the move.
Connected mobile technology allowed businesses to reach their customers at any moment of time through customer-preferred channels and engage them in a meaningful way. The growing connectivity and increasing number of cellular-enabled devices will forever change the way financial and other services are delivered.
Three elements comprise the mobility of ideas: crowdsourcing platforms, real-time transactions & borderless connectivity.
Each element enabling the mobility of ideas has been powered by a set of innovators and underlying technological advancements. Crowdfunding platforms have exploded as a new way to raise funds for startups, inventions, nonprofits and even real estate investments. Dedicated to all kinds of purposes, crowdsourcing/crowdfunding increased connectivity and comfort of supporting various causes and sourcing ideas/funds from a community.
As for the real-time transactions and interaction, blockchain technology is believed to be a major force in transforming the global payments industry.
Finally, borderless connectivity and open innovation have enabled bright entrepreneurs to apply technology for higher financial inclusion and access to advanced tech-powered solutions, affordable financial services for people in almost every corner of the world.
The third type of mobility tremendously transformed not only consumer behaviour and habits but also the way businesses built marketing strategies to embrace the new ways to pay. The days when international remittances were costly and lengthy are lying in the past with FinTech startups enabling low-cost, safe and efficient cross-border payments.
As MAS stated, Today, online payment services have made it possible for people and businesses to transfer funds safely at very low cost. This has not only allowed e-commerce to flourish but also enabled faster and more efficient cross-border financial services, like lending and borrowing.
As for the regional leadership, APAC is expected to be leading in terms of revenue in global mobile payments hitting 37% CAGR by 2020. International Data Corporation (IDC) connected the region’s leadership in mobile payments with rising levels of mobile commerce as emerging nations come online for the first time and witness an Internet boom via smartphones. In addition, the limited state of credit/debit card adoption in APAC will force potential mobile payments behavior to shift to using bank account-linked mobile wallets.