The technological disruptions have brought many innovative solutions that have made it almost impossible to imagine a world without the internet or smart devices. They have reshaped our lifestyles and have become an integral part of any business or industry. The financial services industry is no exception. The constant advancement of digital innovations has altered the way customers use financial services and their needs. The traditional financial institutions – banks, insurers and asset management companies – have been forced to face a completely new reality by changing and adapting new models that deliver innovative solutions to customers. This constant demand to streamline and ease transactional processes has led to a new phenomenon in the market, known as FinTech.
What is FinTech?
A combination of words ‘finance’ and ‘technology’, the term refers to technology-driven start-ups, who use technological advancements to improve and innovate the products and services offered in the financial industry. Since its emergence in 21st century, FinTech has quickly gained momentum and has challenged the traditional financial institutions with its appliance of virtual currencies, distributed ledgers, blockchain technology and decentralized protocols. The industry’s global investment rose to $55.3 billion in 2018 as compared to $26.7 billion in 2017. This technology allows customers to complete cross-border transactions with a click of the button in a secure, fast and seamless way. Seeing the FinTech disruptive and long-term potential, financial institutions have started embracing its technology to respond to market trends, lower their costs and meet client demands. Recently, Kosovo has also become part of the ‘next-generation’ payment system, where two payment platforms already operating – IBAS and Paysera, while there are at least two other waiting to be licensed. These platforms are among the first to help the digitalization of the financial system in Kosovo.
How is FinTech being used?
Mobile payments via mobile apps have become the most used method of payment among Millennials and Generation Z. The technology has enabled the society to gradually move from a cash-based market system to paperless/digital currencies. Depending on the country, the main used mobile payment methods are Apple Pay, Google Wallet, PayPal.
Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Technology
Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology constitute the key enablers of Fintech. They have helped make the financial transactions faster and securer, by eliminating any barriers to payments. How so? By the use of a ‘decentralized blockchain system’, the FinTech companies are starting to utilize its technology that is incredibly hard to hack, ensuring security to their customers. Also, the system infrastructure allows the transfer of data almost instantaneously, bypassing any intermediary steps among parties.
Fintech has also revolutionized the insurance industry. Known also as InsurTech, Fintech has innovated everything from car insurance to home insurance. Such innovations have helped companies improve their efficiency, lower costs, enhance their risk assessment and provide better customer experience.
Budgeting apps have been some of the most widely used apps in 2019. These FinTech tools have been created with the mere purpose of helping customers keep track of their income, payments, and other expenditures – thus bypassing the traditional methods of navigating excel spreadsheets.
The adoption of FinTech will continue to disrupt the financial industry. FinTech companies are already pushing the limits and revolutionizing the payment, lending, blockchain and other financial services. Therefore, financial institutions will need to follow suit and invest in fintech to remain competitive and follow this transformative trend.
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