Making life easier
The fintech trends that have been successful this year all have one thing in common. As with all good tech breakthroughs, they are adopted because they make lives easier. While it may take longer for some of the technologies to break through into the mass market, these trends will redefine our relationship with finance. Not so long ago, people doubted the trustworthiness and stability of online banking or contactless payments. Ultimately, promising fintech adapts so that people feel confident, and it then becomes indispensable.
At the start of the year, everyone was talking about the Metaverse and virtual reality. Financial institutions were drawn to blockchain’s unprecedented security, and it was expected to be a milestone year for cryptocurrencies. A Deloitte 2021 Global Block Chain Survey found that 76% of surveyed executives believed digital assets would be a solid alternative to, or outright replacement for, fiat currencies in the next five to ten years.
What happened to the value of cryptocurrencies took almost everyone by surprise in 2022. The price of Bitcoin plunged, shedding 72% of its value. Ethereum, Solana, and Cardano have also slumped. In addition, the crypto lender Celsius collapsed in June and filed for bankruptcy. As a result, millions of small investors worldwide had their entire portfolios wiped out.
There are currently heated debates between investors and market watchers as to whether this trend is similar to the dot-com boom and bust. Some say that the market overheated and will recover. Others say that it is just the timing that was wrong. For many, the jury is still out.
Apps used to be a lightweight version of their more robust web browser parent. However, in 2022, fintech apps have become the heavy lifters. In addition, many retail banks now advise their customers to use the app rather than the browser version for mobile banking as they say the app is more secure.
Powerful apps now offer diverse suites of services and a wide choice of products on one platform. They cover all services and products, including transport (Lyft / Uber), retail (Amazon), and food delivery (DoorDash /Just Eat).
Most people now skip between apps and, when on a smartphone or tablet, do not even consider using the browser version. PayPal has been working on a super app where users streamline and control data and information between apps. So whether a customer is playing at the best paypal casino, paying for a music subscription, or buying clothes using PayPal’s ‘pay in four’ service, all the financial information is held in one place.
Embedded finance allows companies to offer customers a credit option without having to leave the website they are on. When shoppers buy a high-ticket item like furniture, they might see a message that says, ‘pay $100 a month or are offered 0% finance’. This is embedded finance, and the offer is part of the check-out experience
Embedded finance includes card payments, lending, investments, insurance, and banking. Embedded investments have made it easy and inexpensive to access stocks and funds. What became mainstream in 2022 was the Buy Now Pay Later option that sites offered through Klarna and PayPal. Millennials and Gen-Z customers are the most significant users of these embedded payment options.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Automatic chatbots have been around for a while but have become increasingly sophisticated. As well as being used for customer service, fintech companies are now using advanced AI algorithms to assess an applicant’s suitability for credit and, in some cases, even mortgages. AI predicts consumer behavior and enables companies to target specific products on the customer journey. As a result, some finance products are being upsold to customers without human intervention.
AI frees up employee time to focus on higher-level customer service needs. It allows businesses to filter out more straightforward queries, redirect people to FAQs, or transfer them to human advisors if required. The chat function as a way to contact a customer service team has become standard in 2022.
Web3 has become more mainstream
Consumers and corporations are looking to have more ownership of their digital goods. Web3 has started decentralizing the internet and rebuilding it on the blockchain. Unlike cryptocurrencies, this blockchain trend has seen a tangible uplift this year. Decentralized Finance (Defi) allows peer-to-peer transactions and does not rely on financial intermediaries.
One example of this technology moving into the mainstream is The Sandbox, which is used for gaming development where people can create their own assets and trade them across games. While this sounds futuristic, the world’s most successful celebrity chef recently got involved in a Sandbox project – an NFT version of Hell’s Kitchen is being developed using this technology. With a net worth of $220 million, Ramsay is known to be a shrewd businessman.
This trend is also behind the latest open-source sports betting platform, BetDEX, created by the team behind the fantasy football platform FanDuel. The Scottish team has received $21 million seed capital from US backers Paradigm and FTX, amongst others. The BetDex platform is being created using Solana and will allow developers to innovate on the platform. Payments will be taken in USD, SOL, and SAMO.