4 Fintech Trends to Watch in 2017

Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert

Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert

Fintech, financial technology, is revolutionizing the world, affecting us all one smartphone at a time. Fintech, for those who aren’t familiar with the concept, is a combination of conventional financial services provided through apps and various other mediums, and brand new funding and banking alternatives such as crowdfunding platforms. Here are four fintech trends to watch in 2017 and their impact on the world.

In-App Purchasing

You can now pay for things through the Facebook marketplace via the Messenger app. It has been possible to pay for items through the WeChat app in China for ages. In-app purchasing is going to grow as more apps solicit items for sale through chat apps and apps try to directly sell things to people, whether extra lives in games or something the app developer is paid to promote.

Buying Behavior Is Changing

We’re already seeing more people buying through apps, such as ordering restaurant meals through apps. Apps even affect purchases not made through them. Customers are increasingly using apps as a way to research products whether they are standing in front of the store shelf or planning on hitting the store on the way home. Google’s studies say that four fifths of buyers use apps to check reviews before they buy a service and check product prices and reviews before they pick one off the shelf.

Financial Services? There’s an App for That

FinTech_FactorsYou can now apply for a mortgage, credit card and other financial services via apps instead of online websites. You can also buy insurance through a number of apps. Pay as you go auto insurance is at the forefront of this trend, allowing people to log in for commercial auto insurance as soon as they log into ride sharing apps and pick up passengers for pay. Cryptocurrency has moved from the dark web to the smartphone as a number of apps have arisen to let you buy and trade Bitcoin. The developing world is leapfrogging the developed world by adopting the smart phone and apps, letting them get information without having to install landlines or buy personal computers. And they are using apps to transfer money and make purchases to get around costly wire transfer services.

Many existing companies are playing catch up whether setting up apps to meet the demands of the unbanked and disconnected who get both internet connections and financial transfers via their new smartphones.

Gurbaksh Chahal, founder of the Chahal Foundation, sees these financial apps as a way to allow everyone at every economic level to donate to charity, check on relatives and transfer money for expenses even when mainstream institutions are shut down. He founded the Chahal Foundation with the main purpose of promoting tolerance for all religions. He also aims to eliminate child labor and promote female empowerment.

Internet Security

One of the longest lasting impacts of Bitcoin is not the use of digital currencies in place of national currencies, but the ultra-secure Blockchain that enables it. Many companies and consortia are developing end to end security via Blockchain. Whether to support digital contracts or utterly secure financial transfers, Blockchain is getting integrated into every aspect of fintech. The fact that it is both secure and fast could revolutionize bank transfers, allowing them to clear in seconds instead of days. Passwords and passcodes are being replaced by more individualized and difficult to fake security methods.

There are apps in China that verify your identity by asking you to take a picture of yourself saying a specific word or making a funny face, something more secure and harder to hijack than your password. Iris scans and facial recognition are rivaling your thumb print for personal authentication. Gurbaksh Chahal expects the application of big data to lead to new innovations in IT security beyond even these solutions.

Conclusion

In-app purchasing has moved from buying extra lives in Candy Crush to paying for items from other chat service users. Users use apps to make decisions, even when they are buying items in front of them. Financial services are being rolled out to the under-served via apps while new services like insurance and loan applications are being handled through apps by mainstream institutions. Internet security remains a major concern for fintech, though we’re already seeing the next generation in solutions.

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