Financial services aren't synonymous with agility. However, today's consumers and business owners demand adaptability and rapid iteration, as well as instant gratification.
Fintech speeds up processes that used to take days, weeks, or even months. For example, you can request a credit report, or send an international money transfer. These tasks are completed in fractions of the time by platforms like Upstart or TransferWise, which is a marked improvement on the process five years ago. There has been speculation that fintech could help speed up traditionally slow-moving processes, such as the distribution of economic stimulus funds.
Fintech has the potential to increase financial inclusion. Fintech can be used in certain parts of the world to fill the needs of the unbanked where institutional or government support is not available.
Fintech's i2i ability to simplify complex processes that were once tedious is partly due to its reliance on one-to-zero versus human skills, opinions and opinions. Many fintech platforms combine elements of traditional brokers/advisors with algorithms. Others help users navigate complex financial tasks without having to interact with any real-life human.
Today's customers can apply for loans (Lending Club) and mortgages (Better) online. For casual investors, they no longer have to meet with financial professionals face-to-face to discuss the details of their portfolios. They can browse their options online or even use chatbots to help them make decisions.
To illustrate just how far fintech has brought the financial services world into a Jetsons-style reality, look no further than robo-advisors--digital platforms that provide automated, algorithm-informed investment suggestions and financial planning advice, with little to no human oversight. Betterment, an advisory company that claims to be the smart money manager, is one such platform.
Many fintechs are also mobilizing to help customers navigate the financial chaos caused by the pandemic. Lending Club is one example of a company that provides financial assistance and has established aid programs for those most in need. Others focus their efforts on the front lines. Stripe is a fast-tracking support system for telemedicine platforms.
The answer to the question about how fintech will affect your life depends on each individual case. Other than tasks that are part of day-to-day banking, such as online account monitoring, fintech's impact on your life will depend on how many services you use. You have the option to go as deep or as shallow as you like, but it is possible to stay at the surface.