It’s fair to say that the industry greets every new year with a sense of excitement and optimism. Every year is described as the year FinTech innovation truly kicks off and whilst that is true, it misses the bigger – or should I say smaller picture – as what truly makes every year exciting are the particulars of FinTech innovation.
This week PaymentEye attended Finovate Europe and saw some very exciting companies showcasing their products. We saw some early trends coming out that are set to dominate this year. From financial institutions getting personal, to person finance management getting intelligent, here are the five hottest trends for 2016.
1. Next-gen payment cards
Have you ever looked into your wallet and were annoyed by the fact that you need to have a separate card for each separate bank account you have?
Or rather, multiple accounts one card. The idea was formed by Dynamics, a company that designs and manufactures intelligent, battery powered payment cards and has managed to raise over $100m over three rounds. Their cards come with two or three buttons on them. Each time you choose a different button, you may as well be holding a new card in your hands because the card’s inbuilt computer wipes and replaces all the data to correspond with the new card. One of the company’s investors is MasterCard so these next-gen cards have a very strong chance of going mainstream in the future.
2. Tailored personal finance management
At a different conference last year, a speaker from KPMG said that personal finance management apps will become a huge part of the FinTech industry. She wasn’t wrong as Finovate was full of companies all seeking to ‘empower’ the users and take finance by the scruff of its neck. Companies like Spiff, which was interestingly designed specifically with women in mind, allow its users to create personal budget plans, set targets and even included a social media feature so users can tweet to get other people involved. Other companies such as Infosys’ Finacle Youth Banking App allows 12-18-year olds to get to grips with finances by allowing them to create wishlists, goal managements, and even provides assistance when they decide to shop online. They also offer quizzes and games. Apps such as these show that not only is personal finance management evolving, it’s becoming very specific – which can only be a good thing.
3. Intelligent banking
Now this is a very interesting idea. Companies such as Personetics and Sandstone are promoting services that would allow banks to interact with their customers on a much deeper, intelligent level. Both companies provided similar examples of going abroad. In Sandstone’s case, when someone decides to go abroad and purchases a plane ticket, the next time they access their banking up, it would be aware of that transaction and would actually be able to offer relevant options such as budgeting options when abroad as well as keep track in real time of all the tourist-related expenditures. In Personetics’ case the app would offer insight into the important things to consider when going abroad such as currency rates, credit card fees etc. The company’s CEO, David Sosna stressed that the personal element is crucial as banking technology evolves. “I think they [banks] have to really think about how to be personal with customers. It’s as simple as that,” he told PaymentEye.
4. Fraud, fraud, fraud
Just like people and shadows, fraud is never far behind FinTech innovation. Companies like Risk Ident showcased their powerful anti-fraud engines that take in vast amounts of data to sift out fraudsters. They look at things like the device used, geographical location, use of VPNs as well as the basics such as phone number and email address to authenticate the transactions. Other companies like Ethoca focussed on improving the communication between all parties in the instance of fraud. Its network seeks to ensure the merchants, clients and issuers all work together in real-time when there is an instance of suspected fraud.
We’ve really been banging the FinTech/Transport drum here this year. Understandably so considering a city or country’s network can make or break a new innovation. This trend just keeps getting more and more interest as Passport, a mobile payments and parking company, showcased their product that allows people to pay for their parking, top up the meter and even pay fines all on their mobiles. For American cities, there is also the service for buses: you can purchase bus tickets and get live updates of your bus’s location, Uber-style.
Mastercard is working with Stripe to expedite the payment process for American sellers on the latter's marketplaces using the instant payouts feature from Stripe.
Lloyds has launched biometric finger print authentication for mobile banking.
Barclaycard has partnered with Case Station, a company that makes personalised phone cases, to embed contactless technology in the latter's smartphone cases.
Digital challenger bank, N26, which has been live for one and a half years and has more than 200,000 customers, rolled out a new feature that allows its customers to transfer money using Siri. All they have to do is talk to it.