FinTech Matures

This year’s Money20/20 conference showed a maturing FinTech industry, with a focus as much on the how and why of financial technologies as on the what and the new.

Crypto and blockchain weren’t as evident as they’ve been in the past while AI and machine learning discussions focused more on how to make impersonal technology processes at least seem more human, with more emphasis on ethical solutions than shiny technology. Practical challenges like data exchange and cannabis banking in the United States were more of the rule.

The conference more tightly integrated commerce and technology; FinTech is now another plank in software development for ecommerce and financial services, an expectation. With that, a shift to looking less at new tech and more at smarter use cases was inevitable.

Money20/20 photo

The role of and challenge to traditional financial institutions is growing, as digital technologies for retail payments, consumer lending, and personal financial management enable nonbanks to provide unique takes on financial products. Other areas, including B2B payments, wealth management, and regulation, are following suit. Over the rest of 2019, I’ll be taking a deeper look at four FinTech themes I followed at Money20/20.

Integrating Financial Services into Business and Consumer Transactions

From conversations with firms supporting software developers, providing banking capabilities to FinTechs, and building payments platforms, it is clear that a focus on making banking and payments part of the overall consumer or B2B business process is maturing.

Making Life Easier for Mid-Size and Small Businesses

The rise and maturation of B2B FinTech platforms and services continue as software developers and platform providers help small and mid-sized companies compete with systems that automate business and financial processes.

Creating Banking and Payments Ecosystems

Broadening the offerings provided to targeted communities—like Uber drivers—to include financial services continued with major product announcements, such as Uber Money. This strategy works because the business lead has access to something outside competitors lack: data on the habits and needs of community members.

Adding Human Values to Automated Systems

What we in marketing call “personalization” isn’t always personal. Products and services may be selected based on a customer’s past—and personal—purchasing. And that can and certainly does lead to another purchase—or what we call a “conversion.”

Conversions, however, are not personal. Conversations are. Conversions transact; conversations connect.

Yet in the grand scheme of financial services, where customers number in the thousands to the millions, personal hardly seems possible. Several financial services firms and consultancies tackled the problem.
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