If 2020 was unprecedented then 2021 might be the year of unpredictability. Maybe it will be another year with uncertainties and unforeseen obstacles. But what is certain is that disruption in the financial landscape will continue to take place and here’s my take on the 6 major trends in fintech we will see this year.
01. The acceleration of the paradigm shift from ‘Attention Economy’ to ‘Creator Economy’
The shift from attention economy to creator economy started many years ago already but has as a result of the global pandemic accelerated even more. More and more people have had to – both forced and unforced – choose to freelance and work for themselves. So people are turning to their passions, becoming micro-entrepreneurs who build upon their niche and develop even stronger relationships with their audiences than the big brands do. The latest figures suggest there are now more than 50 million people that consider themselves creators. This massive shift is supported by the ongoing emergence of platforms, marketplaces and tools that empower individuals to become content creators globally. And while this isn’t all that new – we’ve all heard about the fashion and beauty influencers already – we see this shift happening fast for the financial services industry. People are increasingly trying to or are helping others make sense of personal finance, by becoming personal finance content creators themselves or by shaping new intimate communities that others can turn to for questions and guidance.
02. Understanding and solving information overload
In recent years technology has taken root in our daily lives. We are being bombarded with messages and notifications from every single device we own, and we just can’t seem to imagine a life without our smartphones or Netflix subscriptions anymore. We are seeing the same thing happening with the many banking, money and other financial management apps. The consumer wants to make more sense of their money moves. But what is happening is that all these personal finance apps only increase the cognitive load, leading to even more confusion, disengagement, and finally inaction. So we will see an even stronger acceleration of state of the art automated digital finance services that will look to take this load away and put the consumer’s mind at ease.
03. Consolidation of money super apps
Digital wallets seem to spring up like mushrooms but this won’t last. Single service wallets will reach their limits especially when the money super apps mature and become mainstream. The obvious ones are Grab, PayMe or PayLah, all trying to consolidate all your daily financial needs into one single platform.
04. Acceleration of banking-as-a-service
Traditional banks continue to lag behind and face obstacles with digital transformation efforts while new challenger banks keep emerging. So a new breed of fintech companies has risen in these recent years: BaaS fintechs. BaaS makes it easier for traditional and challenger banks to develop products with speed and efficiency, which will only lead to even more new banks, products and services. So even more confusion for the consumer.
05. Challenger banks disrupting themselves
The new challenger (more often than not virtual) banks are disrupting the landscape but will face similar challenges traditional banks have been facing especially when the landscape becomes even more competitive: revenue growth. It won’t be enough to look cool or to offer a nicely designed mobile app. Soon the challenger banks will have to disrupt themselves and ironically adopt models from the traditional banks, i.e. pursue revenue by for example introducing fees and capturing new affluent customers. We’ll see two sorts of challenger banks arise: 1) the ones that seek to get consumers to adopt behaviours that benefit the bank and 2) those who seek to create behaviours that benefit the consumer, but ultimately scale and profitability will win.
06. Seniors embracing digital
Everyone was designing digital solutions for millennials with an assumption that seniors are too set in their ways and don’t see a need to embrace digital platforms. But Covid-19 has changed this. Across our business, we saw a 10x growth in loan applications from people aged 45 and above, and we expect fintech companies to enhance their customer journeys to become more inclusive of seniors – who also just happen to be the largest segment of wealthy customers.
Written by Prashant Aggarwal, Chief Commercial Officer Hyphen Group.