Business Technology

Casting an eye over the 2017 fintech industry

6 min read

09 January 2017

The New Year is here and the 2017 fintech industry holds the potential for exciting new developments, as well as having to come against a fast moving landscape and political impacts.

There is no doubt that 2016 was a year full of surprises and pivotal moments. We will feel the repercussions of the past 12 months for years to come, in the 2017 fintech industry as well as across other sectors.

Of course, it is hard to predict what lies in store for 2017, but a New Year promises a fresh start and unearthed possibilities.

Here are the four main factors that those working in the 2017 fintech industry need to have in their mind’s eye:

(1) An intelligent future

Call centres and service lines are one of the biggest gripes for consumers, with “Your call is very important to us, please continue to hold” extremely common, especially in financial services.

Thanks to advances in artificial intelligence, however, the customer queries on a large scale can now be answered quickly and efficiently via a chatbot, with human help only required for the really tricky questions.

With consumers becoming more digitally-savvy and confident, they are becoming open to more technology-assisted services. The days when they would worry about a chatbot spying on them are, for the most part, long gone.

As a result, consumers’ relationship with money will continue to evolve and we will see them become more confident with using “robo-advisers” and wanting more interaction with technology.

Soon, the idea that we need to phone up our bank as part of the 2017 fintech industry to get things done will seem as antiquated as writing a cheque.

(2) Machine learning, making financial services a safer place

It is no secret that Tesco Bank had a huge security lapse a few months ago, and 2016 on the whole was another year of numerous banking fines for financial service players who didn’t abide by the rules of multi-million and multi-billion dollar consequences.

In addition to this, criminal sanctions for senior executives were also added into the mix in several countries this year. With so much at stake, compliance has become one of the biggest growth areas in financial services.

But given the vast amount of data that needs to be monitored and crunched, machine-learning technology is increasingly being applied to seek out and analyse trends and risks to keep us all safe.

Continue on the next page for a look at where low cost mobile and global events will fit into the 2017 fintech industry.

(3) The proliferation of low-cost mobile payments

We are a society becoming increasingly dependent on our mobiles. We use them to keep up with daily events and news, for our banking, controlling our homes and keeping in contact.

Payments are a part of that so we fully expect the numbers to climb in the 2017 fintech industry. Smartphone sales are reaching saturation point in developed markets, and the growth of technology adoption today are now firmly fixated on emerging and developing nations.

Subsequent to the triumph of domestic millennial-focused payment apps such as Venmo in the US, sending money mobile-to-mobile around the world – instantly and at low cost – will take off in 2017.

(4) Global uncertainty

The events in the US and Europe this year has had a rippling affect across the world, generating political and economic uncertainty, the likes of which we haven’t seen in many years.

There is no doubt that that we are sailing into unknown territory on the whole, and in the 2017 fintech industry.

While America’s new president elect seems to have the financial markets excited, there’s also an underlying concern that we’re witnessing an era of free trade and globalisation being replaced by isolationism.

Donald Trump’s first 100 days in charge, and the results of the 2017 German and French elections, will tell us more.

In our own ecosystem, the main concern is how a badly-handled Brexit will have an enormously negative impact on the UK technology and fintech sectors, with talent and capital relocating elsewhere and London tumbling down the list of attractive places to start a business.

The year is set to highlight a number of unchartered waters that the 2017 fintech industry is set to come up against as and when they arise.

Players in the 2017 fintech industry are going to need to be vigilant and able to adapt to these new circumstances, so that their businesses are able to keep up with this new digital “always-on” world so as to best prepare themselves for a testing year ahead.

Michael Kent is CEO and founder of Azimo

Image: Shutterstock