The cloud has been a standard buzzword in the world of data storage for a while, with most consumers associating it with the place they keep their photos, videos, and music.

However, “distributed computing,” as the cloud may be better understood, is quietly shaping the way people access financial products. Cloud-based technology is becoming a key component in the way FinTech companies offer and deploy their latest offerings.

Whether implemented as a private cloud, through a public cloud service, or hybrid infrastructures, this technology is revolutionizing the way people learn about and purchase financial products. Here are some of the most impactful ways cloud computing is improving access to financial products.

Providing Banking in Critical Areas

It takes an average of 42 minutes for people in Mexico to travel to a bank branch. As a result of this and a lack of trust in brick-and-mortar banks, less than half of Mexicans even have a bank account. In a financial services initiative, the Mexican government introduced strategies to include better access to banking through smartphone technology.

Digital currencies, which are tracked through distributed computing, are making it easier to get US dollars into Kenya, where the government places caps on interest rates that local banks can offer on loans. Because it can be so difficult to raise capital, 71 percent of women entrepreneurs in East Africa had no choice but to use personal funds to raise capital.

Whether through cloud-based banking systems or digital currencies, financial product providers are making it easier for citizens of the world to find funding and transfer money. BitPesa, for example, offers a digital currency exchange and payment platform service aimed at developing markets such as Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, and Tanzania.

Collaboration is Key

When a mortgage company introduced a cloud-based system to apply for and complete loans electronically, not only was customer satisfaction higher, but processing time was significantly lower. Cloud technology allowed for speedy collaboration between all of the parties needed for the transaction. Documents are digitally signed, stored, and transferred as needed. Borrowers never have to set foot in a brick-and-mortar branch.

Loan volume was increased by 34%, costs were lower, and there were fewer errors on the mortgage applications. By facilitating interactions between customers and banks, the cloud makes mortgages more attainable and allows people to shop around for the best product. This greatly levels the playing field for consumers looking to become homeowners who have previously lacked the time and resources to obtain a mortgage.

Artificial Intelligence Working With the Cloud

In Japan, consumers are known for being savers. They hang on to large amounts of money, but are behind compared to other countries in investing their cash. Why? WealthNavi, the biggest robo-advisor service in Japan thinks it all comes down to education. Using artificial intelligence, their bot gets the answers to some simple customer questions and makes decisions on how to invest for them without involving another real person.

This cloud-based service not only facilitates investments, but users can monitor their assets on their smartphone and see forecasts of how they might perform in the future. For many people, this helps close the knowledge gap as they seek financial products to help secure their future. It also provides a way to make investors out of consumers who otherwise would not have had the resources to prudently grow their assets.

Delivering More Agile and Dynamic Financial Products

Using cloud computing, banks can more easily change their systems to keep products in line with new governance. This flexibility also allows for scaling of financial services only as necessary. For example, dealing with the volume of online credit card transactions on Cyber Monday.

Also, when using a software cloud solution, banks no longer have to worry about the cost of maintaining their own servers or frequent outages. Cloud service providers have invested millions in ensuring that their infrastructure has built-in redundancies to minimize service disruptions.

Driven by the customer demands for financial services that are personalized and efficient, Goldman Sachs has invested heavily in enterprise-level cloud technology. This private cloud has allowed for more agility at a lower cost. Updates that used to take months can now be completed in days.

Being able to deploy the right financial products at the right time is critical in today’s economy. With financial data and forecasts constantly changing 24 hours a day around the globe in real time, it is essential that customers can access the financial products they need.

When combined with other emerging technologies such as AI and blockchain, the possibilities of the future of cloud computing are endless. As cloud security and infrastructure continues to improve, we will only see more accessibility to financial products in the future.