7 Technologies Changing the Face of FinTech in 2018 and Beyond
There’s no getting around the fact that FinTech is growing more rapidly than many people could have ever assumed. As millennials and forward-thinking consumers become increasingly disillusioned by traditional banking methods, FinTech is gaining new adopters at an impressive pace, thanks in large part to trends in technology that have completely revolutionized the industry since its inception nearly ten years ago. While some of these trends have already created a seachange in how FinTech is known and embraced throughout the world, others are just beginning to make their mark and show great promise for the future of alternative commerce.
Here are 7 technologies that are currently changing the face of FinTech, all of which are worth paying close attention to both now and in the coming years.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
While the term “Artificial Intelligence” (AI) may have been coined nearly 70 years ago by English mathematician Alan Turing, its true power has yet to be established. AI is just now starting to have an impact on business and consumer technologies, and the concept of machine learning has greatly influenced the FinTech industry over the past couple of years. In particular, AI has the potential to recognize fraudulent activity well before a human could ever feasibly complete the same task. It can keep up with the latest in compliance regulations near-instantly—something that’s worth its weight in gold in an industry where rules are constantly in flux. AI is even beginning to integrate into chatbot solutions, which may prove essential to the future of online customer service.
While Bitcoin may have introduced the world to the myriad potential benefits of blockchain technology, it only scratches the surface of its capabilities. The background tech is simple: a decentralized digital ledger is distributed across a wide range of different users, taking keys to associated data out of the hands of one (or few) and instead corroborating it with a community of individuals. Much has been said about how blockchain can extend beyond finance and some day play a crucial role in the management of records in the healthcare industry, but its financial implications are impossible to ignore. From potentially aiding in property sales to influencing whether or not a person may be eligible for a loan or mortgage, the future of blockchain is exciting for those interested in all things FinTech to say the very least.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Virtual reality (VR) may be the buzz phrase that most people are familiar with, but the true potential for human-digital integration lays in augmented reality (AR). Take the AR proof of concept Visa unveiled in 2016, which allowed designer clothing to be purchased instantly at a fashion show simply by downloading an app, holding up a mobile phone and tapping the screen. “AR payment,” as it’s billed, has the potential to shake up the retail sector significantly, and while developers are still looking for that perfect integration between digital information and live images, the gap is closing faster than many people may have expected just a few years ago. In addition to the “wow” factor, AR may have the potential to speed up payments and add greater flexibility to the consumer experience across the board.
One of the most noticeable trends in FinTech over the past year or two has been the integration of biometrics into the user experience. It’s been advertised to death by cell phone companies looking to offer the fastest and most accurate face-unlock features, and many of today’s leading banking apps allow users to log-in with only the touch of a fingerprint sensor. Because biometrics are capable of authenticating a user without the need for extensive documentation uploads or similar hassles, they make it easier for both businesses and their customers to get from beginning to end with a transaction. For FinTech, this will likely become indispensable.
Near Field Communication (NFC)
Apps like Android Pay have incorporated near field communication (NFC) technology into the daily lives of millions of users who are now able to buy groceries simply by holding their phone near a sensor at checkout. Given the popularity of wearables such as smartwatches and certain types of headphones, NFC integration is becoming even more streamlined and effective than in the past. It may still be a few years before dedicated FinTech wearables make it to market, but there’s no doubt that the technology holds a great deal of potential for the industry; much of which has yet to be seen.
5G Mobile Networks
Most people are familiar with 4G mobile networks at this point, but don’t get too comfortable—5G is right around the corner. Set to launch in 2019-2020, 5G networks will be key drivers in the future of automation and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Since higher data speeds and improved signal fidelity are believed to be at the core of 5G, quicker payments should be expected, which will surely influence FinTech in a positive manner.
Natural Language Processing (NLP)
While technically a form of AI, natural language processing (NLP) deserves its own call to attention in how it may soon influence the FinTech industry. NLP allows chatbots (think Siri, Alexa, etc.) to recognize and answer questions that are effectively spoken in plain language; questions such as, “What did I buy at Target last night?” can now be answered verifiably, and the extent of how this may be incorporated into financial services is currently in its infancy. At the very least, however, NLP has the potential to reduce costs and improve efficiency if properly incorporated into an application.
FinTech is still an emerging industry and one which may experience significant change as new rules and regulations become implemented over time. For now, however, there are plenty of exciting new developments to keep tabs on—the rest is just getting started.
At True North, we build leading FinTech products designed for tech and financial services companies looking to offer cutting-edge commodities to clients and customers. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help take your offerings to the next level.