Fintech Trends in 2021 and Use Cases

From NFTs to Robo-Advisors - these are the Fintech Trends to watch out for in 2021. Read our article to be on top of what's happening in the Fintech Industry.

Ostap Zabolotnyy
Ostap ZabolotnyyDigital Marketing Manager
Fintech Trends in 2021 and Use Cases

Financial experts predict that banking will be quicker, convenient, and easy to use with a wider reach than ever before.

Technology is making it easier than ever before to access money without relying on physical locations like banks or ATMs. Since people have grown accustomed to moving entire libraries worth of information from place to place via USB flash drives, CDs, and email, they will continue to seek out the same convenience in their financial transactions.

With advances in technology come changes in consumer expectations when interacting with brands. For example, customers no longer want self-service via automated menus and hold times because consumers can help themselves with online forums. 

Consumers also want to initiate transactions with brands via a self-service approach through mobile devices instead of waiting on the phone for customer service reps to answer questions before getting down to business,

As payment options change, so will shopping and purchasing habits. Instead of using traditional credit cards whenever they shop or pay bills online, consumers may consider paying bills by skipping the traditional checking account altogether and opting instead for payment services like Google Wallet and PayPal. Because these types of services are easier than ever to use, customers are likely looking for more ways to make business transactions seamless as well. 

Here are the top fintech trends to look out for this year.

Real-time Money Transfers

Trends in finance are headed toward real-time payments, rather than the traditional one- or two-business-day transfer that is common today. The need for immediate financial access means that companies catering to this need will be leaders in fintech trends for years to come.

Example: P2P Payment Services

Looking at Millennials and the way they pay their bills, we can see why a growing number of experts predict technologies like peer-to-peer (P2P) payment services will continue to grow - and why these types of services will become more popular between parents paying children's tuition bills, roommates splitting utility costs evenly or coworkers paying each other back for office supplies. 

Just as cell phones have become another appendage for today's younger generation, P2P payment services will continue to grow in popularity as mobile devices become more widely used.

Mobile Banking and Payments

As opposed to going into a branch, people in the future will be making bank transactions via their phones or other smart devices. According to Google, online search interest in "bank transfers" has increased by 41% this year over last year - even though there have been no changes to federal law regarding these types of transfers. 

Since customers are already using their phones and tablets for everything else, from watching videos to ordering rides, it would be logical for them to use these same devices as a gateway for financial transactions.

Social Media Integration

Companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ have become social media platforms to keep up with friends and share information. Now that payments are becoming part of the mix as well - from peer-to-peer mobile payment services like Square Cash on iOS and Android devices to a wide range of other online P2P payment methods - companies may start including financial transactions within their messaging capabilities too.

In addition, sites like PayPal already offer consumers the ability to send money via social media networks such as Facebook. Since users love sending messages using these types of networks, it could be an easy transition for them to add some financial transactions into these conversations. 

Online Personal Finance Management (PFM) Tools

According to a FIS study, "U.S. consumers ranked managing finances as the top priority of personal finance management (PFM) tools, followed closely by tracking spending." It makes sense that consumers want to manage their money efficiently online to pay bills on time and set aside savings for future purchases.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is taking off in a big way, and this will also help fuel fintech trends for years to come. For instance, cloud storage services like Dropbox have already helped people cut down on how much memory they use on their phones or computers; banks could also use the same type of technology to help customers track their spending.

Location-Based Payment Systems

For businesses that offer multiple locations -such as coffee shops, restaurants, and movie theaters that have different menus at each location - consumers may prefer paying via smartphones or other mobile devices instead of carrying cash around everywhere they go.

Even though some businesses are using proprietary digital wallets such as MasterPass or Visa Checkout to make it easier for consumers to pay, location-based payment systems such as Google Wallet and Isis Mobile Wallet will grow in popularity.

Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies

As of January 2014, there were over 13 million Bitcoin wallets - or three times as many as the year before. This number has continued to grow in 2015, with a new report from Juniper Research predicting that the value of Bitcoin alone could reach $1 trillion by 2025

It's still early days for these types of currencies, but if they continue to gain acceptance, it will mean more people have access to them via mobile apps on their smartphones than ever before 

Video Content As a Medium

If you look at how Millennials like to spend time online - especially on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram - then it becomes evident that they love to create and share videos. According to Hubspot, "86 percent of marketers plan on using video as part of their content marketing in 2015." In turn, this will mean that we'll start seeing more financial services companies incorporate video into their engagement strategies too.

Greater Focus On Transparency

The rise in the popularity of financial technology has helped to bring about more transparency into the market. For instance, a 2012 Javelin Strategy & Research report showed that ATM-related fraud declined for the fourth consecutive year. Likewise, FICO stated that credit card fraud dropped 19.5 percent between 2010 and 2013.

This trend will continue in 2021 as well. As people become more comfortable with P2P payment methods like Venmo, they'll also expect their banks and other financial service providers to be just as responsive to making money transfers online.

Artificial Intelligence In Fintech

In 2011, Bill Gates said that "a modern computer … has more processing power than all of the brains of every human being who's ever lived." 

And today, this is still largely true. While we won't be able to match the brainpower of humans anytime soon, there are new technologies in development that could help us move closer to that reality. 

This includes artificial intelligence, which will continue to grow as an important tool for banks and financial services providers in the next five years. A study by Accenture predicted that AI can improve customer engagement by 20 percent or more.

More Advanced Data Analytics

According to a study by McKinsey & Company, data analysis can provide insight into how customers want better service, which can help businesses boost their revenue. Furthermore, a study by Teradata found that 90 percent of companies believe data analytics will help them gain a competitive advantage over the next three years.

In other words, financial services companies that use customer data for insights into what customers want from them are more likely to succeed than those that don't.

Payment Security Infrastructure

As consumers continue to embrace new payment methods such as Apple Pay, they'll expect retailers and other providers of goods or services - including banks - to offer more secure digital wallet options for paying online. Some of these may be based on biometric technology, while others will rely on two-factor authentication and advanced encryption processes. 

Likewise, some banks have already begun offering mobile security apps to their customers. These are just a few examples of how technology is being used for more secure online payments in the future.

Tokenization of Consumer Assets

In the next five years, we'll see more financial services companies take advantage of mobile technology to turn physical assets into tokens that can be exchanged online. Tokenization has a lot of potential uses and benefits for banks in particular. 

For example, it could allow consumers or businesses to sell shares in a company without needing approval from an intermediary like Wall Street or a stock exchange; Or perhaps tokenization will make it possible to use digital currency as collateral, just as some individuals are already doing. 

Either way, expect digital wallets in 2021 and beyond to hold much more than traditional cash or credit cards - including stocks and other types of consumer assets.

Non-Fungible Tokens 

Also known as NFTs, non-fungible tokens are a type of crypto token that can be linked to the ownership of physical assets. They're most commonly used in gaming and digital collectibles, but they could also be applied in banking. 

For example, if you own an apartment or house and other property development units, the bank could create and print its own NFT tied to your home. This would allow you to trade shares in your property more quickly than with traditional stocks or digital wallet holdings. 

Better Banking Apps

Because of how digital payments and banking work, banks and other financial services providers need to provide more streamlined mobile solutions for their customers. We already see this trend take shape.

For example, ING Direct just announced a new mobile app that allows its users to make deposits with their smartphones. Meanwhile, Wells Fargo is working on a digital wallet app that will enable users to make payments online and at store locations. 

Robo-Advisors For Wealth Management Services

Robo-advisors are online tools and apps designed to help people manage their investments. They use AI algorithms to analyze user data, craft personalized portfolios, and provide relevant investing information. For instance, a robo-advisor might tell you how or whether you should invest in mutual funds, bonds, stocks, or other financial products.

This is particularly useful for people who are not keen on meeting financial advisors face-to-face because of the pandemic of financial advisor misconduct and mis-selling.

Instantaneous Money Transfers

Fintech is making it easier than ever for people to send payments across borders. A few decades ago, transferring funds from one country to another would have been a complicated process involving lots of paperwork and the services of several intermediaries.

Now you can do this online in minutes or even seconds using fintech. This trend will only continue as more fintech solutions launch over the next five years.

Digital Payment Providers For Emerging Economies

As emerging economies continue to grow, they'll need access to digital payment providers. Countries like India are already seeing a boom in mobile payments thanks to their large populations, while new companies like MobiKwik are launching popular digital payments services in Africa. Over the next five years, more fintech solutions will launch in emerging economies worldwide to meet this need.

New Technologies for Credit Scoring

In 2021 and beyond, fintech will continue to innovate in the credit scoring field. For example, new technologies such as machine learning and AI could be used to analyze consumer data more accurately than humans ever could, which would help financial services companies improve their risk assessment models.  

As a result of this innovation, consumers will have access to better loans and other borrowing products because of their improved scores.

New Forms Of Lending

Although crowdfunding has become quite popular in recent years, we will likely see more startups launch new and innovative types of peer-to-peer lending platforms in the future. And as research shows, fintech is already making it much easier for people to borrow money. For example, peer-to-peer lenders are using algorithms to analyze customer data so that they can better assess their creditworthiness for various loans, such as mortgages. 

Final Thoughts

To conclude, fintech will undoubtedly change the way we handle money in the future. Indeed, fintech has already revolutionized banking and other financial services industries around the world. 

In just a few short decades, fintech has made it possible for us to send money across borders, invest in new investment vehicles, get affordable loans, and more. And given the advancements that are happening daily, these industry changes won't be slowing down any time soon!

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