The constantly evolving face of the financial technology startups covers a wide variety of technologies, audiences, and services. How, then, do we sum up its contributions to business in one short article?
If we had to sum up the core commonality across the spectrum, I think the common threads would be increased accessibility and speed. Daniel McAuley used the word “efficiency” but even he second guessed its applicability to such a divergent set of companies and approaches. However, I believe that “accessibility” and “speed” are the correct choice of words here. FinTech provides different benefits for its various customers, whether consumer or business. Accessibility and speed play a part in every one of them.
For businesses, the accessibility gained is immediately obvious. Utilizing much faster, always on Internet connections, big data computing, and mobile connectivity, businesses are now able to buy in to complex, feature rich financial software suites and managed services that a decade ago would have cost millions of dollars in setup fees for equipment, program licenses, and trained technicians, not to mention the IT team to manage the whole solution. Smarter displays of information with real-time updates and the insights of big-data have provided business leaders with unparalleled business insights, allowing savvy businesses to update their marketing on the fly to take advantage of favorable conditions.
Those same factors also allow businesses to provide a similar level of enhanced accessibility to their customers. Greatly improved software designs and user experiences, fast internet bandwidth, and the universal adoption of smartphones has provided real-time access to financial information and transactions at a level never before possible. This has led to the rise of omnichannel payments processing, mobile banking, peer-to-peer payments, and even new ways of evaluating credit applications.
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