You might see us throw the word fintech around on social media or in our blogs.
But what does it really mean? And why is it relevant to you, me, or anyone else?
Fintech in its simplest form is a technology-based financial product. It’s banking’s Brangelina. Welding the words finance and technology together into one; it symbolises the synergy of two forces otherwise characterised as mutually exclusive.
I stumbled out of University as a fresh faced grad last summer and despite having always banked online, religiously (and unfortunately for my balance) using apps like Paypal, Amazon and Uber, I had never heard the word ‘fintech’.
Instead, I saw those things as intelligent, but no more intelligent than the other tech I was using. The only difference was that my money was involved.
To give a very very brief backstory to fintech (whilst avoiding a political, technological or economical essay), the products we’re seeing now really took root in the wake left by the 2008 financial crisis.
A lack of trust in the big banks accelerated change, meaning that tech companies were catapulted to the public as providers of a new wave of product. Faster, safer and simpler.
Fintech therefore emerged as a counterpoint to the established players.
Saving time and energy, technology is now making money simpler for a generation of mobile users. The days of unhelpful paper bank statements and frustrating visits to the branch are being left behind.
When there’s an app for everything, we have the ability to more easily navigate the market to find the best deals, whether we’re looking for a mortgage or just getting our friends to pay us back.
Challenging traditional financial models, fintech delivers smarter technology to do money differently.
So in reality, fintech has come to mean much more than just ‘financial technology’.
From where we’re sitting, being a fintech start-up is all about creating a customer-focused product and building a faster and more accessible way to respond to everyone’s financial needs.
But it’s more than just speed and ease too.
It’s a movement towards streamlined services that prioritise customer experience. Because what’s the point in new tech if the company behind it is full of the same flaws as the companies that run on old tech? Fintechs believe in listening to the customers and in technology that solves real problems.
And the best bit is it has started to make tangible changes for the UK already.
A perfect example of this is the fintech success story, TransferWise.