Following the launch of Acxiom’s new eBook, we talk to the author, Scott Woepke, about The Future of Fintech: Keys to success in the new world of Financial Services.
What is the eBook about?
The eBook provides a fresh perspective on the Fintech marketplace looking into key product developments, consumer trends and expectations, and a view into the future. As we peer into the future, we see new digital services replacing traditional banking products. But the road ahead is filled with construction, and Fintech providers will need to successfully navigate this environment and evolve their capabilities to remain relevant to consumers’ needs and interests. The eBook will investigate how Fintech companies can develop into successful, long-lasting organisations.
What is Fintech and how is it different to traditional banking?
“Fintech” has become a ubiquitous buzzword in the financial sector. The term “Fintech” is used interchangeably to describe both technology-driven innovation across financial services and it also references a specific group of companies that combine innovative business models with technology to enable, enhance, and disrupt the financial services sector.
There are over 10,000 Financial Services start-ups across the globe that could classify as a “Fintech” company. Many of these firms are focused on developing technology and services that the traditional financial institutions can license to improve front end processes such as account opening – or – back end processes such as payment processing.
In other cases, there are Fintech companies that are providing financial services directly to consumers and attempting to remove the friction that many consumers feel with traditional financial services providers
What kinds of services are Fintech companies offering to consumers?
Fintechs have made a difference with highly targeted products and services and their startup mentality has generated a lot of innovation. They understand that convenience and ease of use is a key driver for growth. Their products are focused on current accounts, personal lending (installment loans, mortgages, etc..), personal financial management, investing and other services. They have focused on areas where there is dissatisfaction with products and services from the incumbents and brought a digital offering that is better aligned with the way consumers want banking to function to meet their lifestyle and financial needs.
What are the benefits of Fintech to consumers?
For consumers they receive services that are better aligned with the way they like to perform banking – often in the palm of their hand wherever they are.
An obsession with the customer experience has delivered tangible benefits for customers across channels, including more choice, better services and lower prices. The overarching advantage Fintech solutions provide is the ability to make consumers’ lives easier. This deeper understanding of customers has driven the creation of specialized products and services that align with the way customers want banking to function in their day-to-day lives. The new customer experience is more personal, instant, relevant, and seamless.
What are some of the challenges Fintech companies will face as they grow?
While consumers have been the real winners as FinTech products and services have entered the market, not all Fintech companies will be winners. Some will demonstrate staying power, while others will fail to find their place in the market. As Fintech companies reach their next phase of growth, they will face several challenges.
Many Fintechs have entered the market with a single product proposition (such as personal loans or current accounts). It will be interesting to see if they can expand their proposition beyond a single product to develop stronger relationships with consumers and more engagement.
What is needed to help Fintech companies continue to grow?
We believe there are 3 key factors to survival and growth.
- Fintech companies must understand the importance of data. The ability to access and make sense of data powers Fintech’s acceleration as an industry. Startups are giving the incumbents a run for their money, not because they’re generating or accessing more data, but because they’re looking at it differently and using it in new ways. When a Fintech company gets clarity around the data, makes sense of it, organizes and cleanses it and combines traditional and non-traditional sources in new ways, they can out-maneuver and out-innovate the incumbents.
- To continue to grow, Fintech entrepreneurs also must maintain their operational health. Innovation will remain an important part of the mix, but it is equally important to have the technology and processes in place that enable companies to scale and ensure they continue to provide the experience customers have come to expect. This includes business continuity, regulatory compliance, data security, and the ability to work with other vendors or satisfy government regulators.
- Extend reach. The companies that survive will need to increase consumers’ awareness of their products and services to achieve broader adoption. To accelerate market advantage they must generate momentum through market visibility. Relationships and trust play critical roles in adoption, and endorsements from “champions” is vital –both online and offline social networks. It is also important to build a distinct identity because the market is getting crowded. Consumers have a lot of choice, and there is some confusion in the market.