These Are the Fintech Trends to Watch, According to 13 Experts

November 8, 2019
Written by Built In Staff

From cryptocurrency to AI technology, it’s an exciting time to be in the fintech space. Like last night’s football game, the latest fintech trends not only make good water cooler chatter, but they also dictate how companies across dozens of industries do business. Not to mention, they could change how consumers like you and me do everything from manage our paycheck to pay back student loans.

We talked to 13 industry professionals to hear their forecast on upcoming fintech trends and how they'll be transforming everything from identity fraud and horizontal integrations to debt repayment and authentication strategies. 

 

Summer fintech trends 2019
Summer

Summer

Summer’s mission is to fix the student debt crisis. By staying up to date on fintech trends, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer Paul Joo shares how he is helping the next generation enter the workforce without drowning in debt.  

What are the top three fintech trends you're watching that are significantly impacting the industry?

I’ll start with the democratization of information. With more resources available at our fingertips than ever before, consumers have much more direct access to data and expertise that were previously the domain of a limited number of gatekeepers.

We’re also seeing a major trend of data integration as both individuals and fintech companies understand that financial service verticals do not exist in separate vacuums: debt repayment strategies should inform investment preferences, for example, and consumers increasingly expect to have a holistic view of their financial lives.

Another trend we’re watching is the deployment of software to distill key decision variables and cut through complicated processes. Software is excellent at cutting through complexity, and we’re seeing it used effectively in a growing range of creative fintech verticals.

We also believe that the next wave of fintech innovation will be rooted in increasingly autonomous finance.

 

What under-the-radar fintech trends are you watching that the industry isn't talking about?

Despite the push for financial literacy, we also believe that the next wave of fintech innovation will be rooted in increasingly autonomous finance. Consumers will look to fintech innovators to understand the nuances of individual financial preferences and execute strategies in their best interests. 

The relationship between growth in the freelance economy and fintech is also often overlooked in personal finance product design. With a fundamental shift in how many younger workers approach their careers, products that assume more traditional income growth and other input variables can miss important factors that are relevant for individual optimization.

 

How are these trends affecting the future of your company?

At Summer, we’re launching products with both data democratization and autonomous finance in mind. Student loan borrowers trust us for our aligned incentives and policy expertise, and we’re happy to provide autonomous optimization for the millions of borrowers that have little interest in becoming student loan experts themselves. At the same time, we design our products to be transparent and allow for individual exploration.

We’re also keeping a close pulse on expected policy changes and welcome efforts by lawmakers and policy advocates to repair the student loan system. New policies will create opportunities for borrowers to recalibrate their financial plans, and we’re building tools based on policy-agnostic frameworks that will help our users manage uncertainty and achieve their financial goals. 

Ocrulus fintech trends 2019
Ocrolus

Ocrolus

Just like you would use a calculator over mental math, Ocrolus believes in using intelligent automation review over manual review for financial documents. Vice President of Engineering Zoheb Sait explains what fintech trends he’s watching to ensure their technology is up to date.

 

What are the top three fintech trends you're watching that are significantly impacting the industry?

Fintech companies continue to dominate AI and machine learning. Fintechs are using AI and machine learning in everything from document processing to customer authentication to risk analysis. Meanwhile, traditional financial institutions are struggling to overhaul their core processes using these technologies, giving fintechs an advantage. 

Second, many traditional banks are continuing to partner with fintechs. In all, about 80 percent of banks have entered into fintech partnerships, and will continue to do so to meet market needs. Last, there is the growing sophistication of fraudsters. Whether the threats come in the form of synthetic identity fraud, loan stacking or fraudulent financial documents, there are a growing number of costly scams that fintechs must develop processes to neutralize.

Blockchain will make packaging, securing and exchanging loans more efficient.

 

What under-the-radar fintech trends are you watching that the industry isn't talking about?

First, I think of the importance of human intuition. Computer vision algorithms can miss blurred characters, and AI algorithms can fail to properly classify documents. Fintechs that want to offer data of the highest integrity must address these process gaps with some sort of embedded human intervention. On the customer-facing side, fintechs must also strive to provide a human touch for service interactions. 

Blockchain will reshape fintech. As blockchain enters a more mature cycle, the technology is poised to anchor fintech products. Blockchain will make packaging, securing and exchanging loans more efficient. The public ledger system will also make fintech activity more transparent.

 

How are these trends affecting the future of your company?

Ocrolus is an intelligent automation platform that combines all the stages of document review (classification, data extraction, data validation, and analysis) into a single solution. The platform merges AI and hyper-efficient human review into a core document processing engine that powers 99 percent accurate data capture. The fintech trends discussed above will reinforce our strategic commitment to hybrid human and machine processing models, which are the only way to build a document analysis solution that blends speed, accuracy and data completeness, along with the analytical firepower to tackle emerging challenges like document authentication.

 

lukka
lukka

Lukka

As a fast-growing SaaS solution for cryptocurrency nuances, Lukka is all about creating efficient solutions. Director of Sales and Account Management Duke H. Kim shares what fintech trends he looks at to make business easier.

 

What are the top three fintech trends you're watching that are significantly impacting the industry?

From a Lukka perspective, I see more institutions entering into the cryptocurrency space because there is more regulatory clarity and tools such as ours that make crypto an investable asset class. More broadly, I see firms maturing in their expectations of what blockchains and DLT can reasonably do, right now. There was a lot of hype early on, and expectations are being reset (for the better). Beyond that, I see more companies understanding that not everything needs to be done in house; companies are really focusing on what they are best suited to build and buying everything else.

 

What under-the-radar fintech trends are you watching that the industry isn't talking about?

We are now a knowledge economy and competition for smart talent is fierce. So I see fintech being used in many ways. Smart contracts are really interesting as a tool, but also as a recruiting hook; who doesn’t want to work on the next new thing? Because of the competition for talent, I think the underlying trend is actually putting power in the hands of employees, empowering them to take ownership of their work culture and work-life balance.

I see more companies understanding that not everything needs to be done in house.

 

How are these trends affecting the future of your company?

I think our strength as a company is that we know exactly what we can bring to the table; a platform that bridges the gap between ‘traditional’ financial operations and crypto. By building best-in-class infrastructure and tools, we allow companies to focus on their core competencies and run successful enterprises. As a startup, I think it’s great that we empower our teams to build processes and culture that both solve incredibly complex business problems and suit their lifestyle. Allowing our teams to focus on what they do best is ultimately the most beneficial to our customers, and maybe even the crypto ecosystem as a whole.

 

etoro
etoro

eToro

eToro is a social network platform designed for trading, networking, and investing cryptocurrency. Managing Director of eToro US Guy Hirsch told us which fintech apps will disrupt the industry this year.

 

What are the top three fintech trends you're watching that are significantly impacting the industry?

More and more, large corporations are accepting payments via cryptocurrency, as more people become aware of how easy using cryptos can make cross-border payments, causing the interest in acquiring and trading of crypto to go up. There’s so much untapped potential in cryptocurrency as an asset class, and studies show that millennials and Gen Z are passionate about learning more. It makes sense that another trend is the social element of payments and trading. Venmo is socially based by connecting users via their social media and allowing them to view and comment on other people’s payments. eToro itself is a social trading platform, and we are constantly making strides to increase connection between our users. This brings us to the third trend, which is the increased prevalence of AI in everything from algorithmic trading to analyzing social media sentiment. It’s a useful tool in harnessing data to generate profits.

...we think that the tokenization of assets is going to be the next big disruptor.

 

What under-the-radar fintech trends are you watching that the industry isn't talking about?

Though most of the traditional industries haven't caught on yet, we think that the tokenization of assets is going to be the next big disruptor. Tokenizing, or issuing tokens on the blockchain to physical assets, could be applied to almost anything: real estate, fine art, landmarks, or small businesses. Tokenized assets offer a slew of benefits, including increased liquidity, faster and cheaper transactions and greater transparency. 

 

How are these trends affecting the future of your company?

We built our company for the future we envision, as well as in response to the desires of our users. We invest a lot of resources and launching products and services for the purpose of normalizing and creating greater access to tokenized assets. We expect there to be a monumental shift in how wealth is held and managed, and we believe it will be on the blockchain. 

 

Papaya Pay team in conference room working
Papaya Pay

Papaya Pay

CEO Patrick Kanns said Papaya Pay wants to make the process of paying bills as easy as possible for consumers, since it isn’t a particularly fun experience. In order to do that, he said the company is investing energy into keeping up with how mobile payments are affecting the industry.

 

What are the top three fintech trends you’re watching that are significantly impacting the industry?

Firstly, we are closely watching and deeply involved in the growth of mobile payments. Traditionally, mobile adoption for fintech has been slower than other verticals like gaming, social media and e-commerce. This has recently changed with investing, lending and payments now prevalent on mobile.

Secondly, we are keeping up with the younger demographics. Generation Z is mobile-first and prefers apps for digital wallets, banking and sending payments. They also hold less cash and have an aversion to credit card debt.

Finally, we are watching AI and how it improves security for payment technologies. AI and machine learning software are able to detect fraud instantly and automatically, making mobile payments even more secure.

Mobile adoption for fintech has been slower than other verticals like gaming, social media and e-commerce.”

 

What under-the-radar fintech trends are you watching that the industry isn’t talking about?

The opportunity is concentrated in underserved segments of the U.S., especially those who are unbanked, have limited credit history or lower income. Bill payments are a major source of stress and anxiety in the U.S. Our mission is to help alleviate that, starting with a quick and easy way to manage and pay bills.

 

How are these trends affecting the future of your company?

We now rely on our phones for almost everything in our daily lives, and we expect the experiences to be instant and frictionless. Why not bill pay? In the U.S. today, only a small percentage of bills are paid via mobile device when compared to the other fintech verticals. Our goal is to provide a seamless mobile bill pay experience, so that consumers can save time and energy for what’s really important in their lives — which is certainly not bills.

 

Verifi leaders chatting
Verifi

Verifi

As a risk management and end-to-end payment solution provider, Verifi takes authentication and security seriously. CEO Matt Katz said his company is watching those two trends like a hawk. From 3D Secure 2.0 to efficient data-sharing, the leader said there is much on the horizon that could shape the payments sphere, and Verifi is ready for it. 

 

What are the top three fintech trends you’re watching that are significantly impacting the industry? 

We are focused on the impacts major card brands can have on merchants. One is card brand data-sharing solutions that can help reduce customer disputes and chargebacks. There is a new European regulation, Payment Service Directive 2, which sets requirements for merchants and acquirers to maintain a low fraud rate threshold and strong customer authentication. We are also monitoring updates on refund authorization requests and merchants operating negative option billing models.

We see the future of the security of payments being dependent on the integrity of the data that facilitates them.”

 

What under-the-radar fintech trends are you watching that the industry isn’t talking about?

Two important points come to mind, which are in-app authentication and 3D Secure 2.0. The widespread adoption of these and other authentication best practices could significantly reduce fraud and provide a more secure purchasing experience for consumers.

Another is the move toward frictionless, cross-border payments. We’re looking at senders, receivers and financial institutions, and the hurdles they face in government regulations and differences in technology.

 

How are these trends affecting the future of your company?

Understanding emerging technologies, the scalability of our solutions and anticipating the direction of the evolving payments industry are at the foundation of how we work with our clients and partners.

We address these growing trends in how we deliver our products as a holistic solution for end-to-end payment protection. We see the future of payments security being dependent on the integrity of the data that facilitates them. This helps us focus on how transaction data is captured, analyzed and shared to prevent fraud and disputes, and how we can better serve our clients.

 

Altruist team members outdoors smiling
Altruist

Altruist

Jason Wenk, CEO at software provider for financial advisers Altruist, said he views consumer-focused solutions as a hot topic in fintech, but he wants to see more attention paid to small- and mid-sized businesses. He believes that while it won’t be easy, there is a lot of potential in targeting fintech services at the SMB market-level.

 

What are the top three fintech trends you’re watching that are significantly impacting the industry? 

The biggest trend impacting the industry right now was actually the latest announcement from the large custodian banks. They have finally matched the commission-free capabilities of fintech companies that have been offering those things for some time now. 

The next trend we’re seeing is a race for deposit accounts with around 2 percent rates on cash becoming the standard, rather than the exception. Finally, mature startups are going more horizontal, offering multiple business lines in things like investing, trading, banking and credit. At face value, all of this seems like it would be great for consumers, but in reality, it just makes it hard to differentiate services and experiences.

Mature startups are going more horizontal, offering multiple business lines...”

 

What under-the-radar fintech trends are you watching that the industry isn’t talking about?

Everyone is in a race for consumer-facing solutions, which is great since there are a lot of areas of the financial industry that need to be fixed. But at the same time, people are sleeping on the needs and opportunities in serving small- and mid-sized customers. The time to get to market takes longer and the problems are sometimes more complex, but the opportunities to create positive change via a network effect are tremendous.

 

How are these trends affecting the future of your company?

These current trends in the market confirm that we are on the right track as we build a product to better serve financial advisors and their clients. We have been entirely focused on solving the gaps they face and our user experience helps them be more efficient in their practices. Through our consumer research, we’re able to create a clearly defined value prop that does not compete with our customers. As people get used to better and more accessible financial products, SMB providers — financial advisors in our case — will need to adapt to survive and thrive.

 

SoLo Funds team members watching presentation
SoLo Funds

SoLo Funds

SoLo Funds is an exchange platform for small loans meant to help people in need of some quick capital. Chief Product Officer Jon Blackwell said he is excited about the idea of his company and others assisting more consumers and entrepreneurs overseas by reimagining more traditional investment products.

 

What are the top three fintech trends you’re watching that are significantly impacting the industry?

More states are passing laws to move gig workers from independent contractors to employee status. This is a big win for gig workers to ensure certain protections and benefits for their hard work, but to me, it is just one small step in providing underserved communities access to the products and services they deserve. 

Emerging markets like Eastern Africa, India and Southeast Asia are seeing massive growth in fintech companies. The digitization of financial services has been hindered by outdated regulations that require lots of paperwork. However, regulators in these markets are quickly catching up and moving to paperless systems and accepting e-signatures, thereby removing significant barriers to growth. This is a favorable trend for entrepreneurs getting government support and can allow for faster scale and frictionless user experiences.

Tip-based revenue models are becoming more popular but increasingly scrutinized by regulatory agencies. The Securities and Exchange Commission is starting to evaluate if this form of payment is being used to potentially circumvent regulations. Companies like Earnin, Dave and SoLo Funds are proving the effectiveness of the donation-based revenue by operating it at scale. But it’s important to ensure that the donations are completely optional and do not provide donating users special access to services or a “pay to play” situation.

We’re now seeing early-stage B2C fintech companies begin to pivot their offerings to B2B to move out of a crowded space...”

 

What under-the-radar fintech trends are you watching that the industry isn’t talking about?

I recently read that more small businesses are created every year than babies born in the U.S. This is a huge shift and one that is largely attributed to the growth of entrepreneurs having the tools available to start side businesses and reach a large audience quickly. We’re now seeing early-stage B2C fintech companies begin to pivot their offerings to B2B to move out of a crowded space and take advantage of the growth seen in small businesses.

Those in the fintech space have been seeing companies like Robinhood and Wealthfront lower the cost and barrier to investing excess capital, but we’re also seeing a new wave of companies aimed at reimagining older investment products like real estate investment trusts. This shows a continued push to accessing more of the underserved market and providing potentially lucrative financial products to a previously overlooked population. With much of the U.S. fintech space becoming crowded in recent years, I expect this reimagining of legacy investment products to continue in an effort to reach excess capital that remains dormant.

 

How are these trends affecting the future of your company?

Several of these trends show that there is still significant friction and opportunity to provide underserved individuals domestically and abroad with access to financial services they deserve. Our product taps into the growth and demand of these underserved populations, providing alternatives for those in need or looking to better their financial futures.

 

Bento for Business team chatting in their office
Bento for business

Bento for Business

Innovation often sets off a domino effect of one breakthrough leading to another. Bento for Business’ Vice President of Product Jeff Pomeroy said he gets inspiration from seeing other fintech companies pump originality into the industry. Outputs of some major P2P payment companies encouraged Pomeroy to put Bento’s spin on the concept and release a B2B payment solution, a service he said was missing in the industry. 

 

What are the top three fintech trends you’re watching that are significantly impacting the industry?

Paper checks are going away faster than people predicted. Once people see how easy alternate payment systems are, they don’t look back. At the same time, business customers are increasingly looking for — and expecting — modular, integrated solutions instead of a long list of vendors. They want to run their businesses, not manage their expense-management systems. This calls for even more collaboration in the fintech ecosystem and beyond. Finally, in the B2B space, we still see a lot of focus on startups and tech companies even though the majority of businesses aren’t startups and aren’t in Silicon Valley.

...I tend to pay attention to features and functionality in new launches.”

 

What under-the-radar fintech trends are you watching that the industry isn’t talking about?

There’s not a whole lot that’s truly ‘under the radar’ these days. The fintech world sees a tremendous amount of innovation, so I tend to pay attention to features and functionality in new launches. I think about how each element can work with Bento’s existing features to create new meaningful benefits for our customers. For example, person-to-person payments like Venmo and Zelle have been popular for years, but there were no such business solutions readily available. So we introduced Bento Pay, which lets our business users easily send and track payments to any vendor using just their email address.

 

How are these trends affecting the future of your company?

This may sound old-fashioned coming from a fintech startup, but we find that many business owners still prefer to talk to a human being. Our willingness to have conversations has helped us prevent fraud, bring about valuable new features and partnerships and boost customer engagement and loyalty. AI won’t fully replace human interactions in customer support and businesses anytime soon, and that is important to remember as we continue to digitize traditional workflows and processes with the help of technology.

 

Young professionals working in an office - OneMain Financial
shutterstock

OneMain Financial

Sergio Rabiela, vice president of software engineering at personal loan provider OneMain Financial, sees white-label fintech products as an industry wave still relatively undetected by many in the space. He also commented on how team members at the company love working on products and tech being used in the forefront of the industry.

 

What are the top three fintech trends you’re watching that are significantly impacting the industry?

Mobile technology continues to be a top trend and having mobile offerings is table stakes for any financial services firm. Regulation is always a big trend to keep an eye on. The General Data Protection Regulation in Europe and the California Consumer Privacy Act taking effect soon are rightfully pushing data privacy to the forefront for fintech firms. Lastly, DevOps practices are making their way through many of the larger financial services organizations, and it’s interesting to see the delivery of their product roadmaps accelerate.

White-label fintech infrastructure is interesting because it increases the number of companies that can enter the space.”

 

What under-the-radar fintech trends are you watching that the industry isn’t talking about?

I think the increase in white-label fintech infrastructure is interesting because it increases the number of companies that can enter the space by licensing off-the-shelf loan management systems, decision engines, verification platforms and more. 

 

How are these trends affecting the future of your company?

They’ve turned out to be great employee retention tools for us. People are interested in solving the issues presented by these trends and adapting our products to meet these new demands.

 

Palette Software team member working at a computer
Palette Software

Palette Software

Palette Software sees automation as the future. They provide companies with automation-based accounts payable and purchase-to-pay tools. And Vice President of Americas Operations Michael Cichy said he’s watching how AI and automation will impact the future of the industry in a number of ways. From features that reduce human input in transactions to AI that helps fintech companies scale alongside the world’s changing consumption habits, there’s a lot the leader is keeping an eye on. 

 

What are the top three fintech trends you’re watching that are significantly impacting the industry?

The first is robotic process automation. Eliminating human touchpoints is of extreme importance in both B2B and B2C transactions. Whether it be a one-click payment, approval or purchase, the underlying business processes must be seamless and utilize artificial intelligence to ensure proper task distribution.
The second is compliance. Banks and fintech are highly regulated, for good reason. Data privacy laws and fraud prevention techniques are constantly evolving and are meant to protect the personal information and finances of business and consumers.

The final trend is payments. In the world economy, consumers and corporations need to be able to transact business efficiently by electronic transfer and cryptocurrency.

AI will play an important role in determining what data is critical for the fintech industry to evolve with global population growth.”

 

What under-the-radar fintech trends are you watching that the industry isn’t talking about?

One trend is globalization, as more consumers and corporations are sourcing goods and services in the international market. Expansion or acquisition leads to international operations. And core business operations must be normalized across borders but remain flexible enough to meet localized requirements. 

In the end, business solutions must evolve into translation engines for language, currencies and tax regulations to accommodate the purchasing, payment operations and normalization of data sets.

Another trend is data analytics. Access and mining of internal and external data sources provides access to key market-indicators and trends. AI will play an important role in determining what data is critical for the fintech industry to evolve with global population growth and consumption habits.

 

How are these trends affecting the future of your company?

Palette is fortunate to have its roots in a business process that is at the core of every company’s operation: the processing of supplier invoices. We provide a solution that offers global banks and fintech companies an international platform for payment of goods in a very automated manner. Because the platform is stable and feature-rich, we are able to implement new trends in AI, electronic data-capture and distribution and payment processing. 

 

RunTitle employees
RunTitle

RunTitle

In 2016, if your casual acquaintance’s brother wasn’t trying to convince you to buy Bitcoin, you either weren’t in the tech space or lived under a rock. At its peak, Bitcoin was insanely profitable not because of the product itself but because of its inherent properties, including data democratization.  

Well, it turns out the profitability of that characteristic extends beyond cryptocurrencies. We recently spoke to RunTitle COO Charlie Wohleber about what trends he sees moving into the fintech space and where he believes fintech businesses would benefit most. 

 

What are the top three fintech trends you’re watching that are significantly impacting the industry?

From portfolios of art to marine and real estate investments, alternative asset classes are becoming easier for the average investor to access online. Additionally, as a title company, we’re watching the insurance space evolve through blockchain and otherwise. Lastly, we think payment processing, especially between businesses, is ripe for innovation. In the oil and gas industry, all three of these trends are in their infancy. 

From portfolios of art to marine and real estate investments, alternative asset classes are becoming easier for the average investor to access online.’’

 

What under-the-radar fintech trends are you watching that the industry isn’t talking about?

Given the growth of investment in financial technology in the last three years, there are fewer and fewer under-the-radar concepts to explore. I believe debt collection is less of a focus at the moment than it used to be and is a particularly hard problem to solve. Even if distributed ledgers allow for payments and debt tracking, collection of funds has largely been manual.

 

How are these trends affecting the future of your company?

Unlike real estate, securities and more traditional finance, oil and gas has largely gone untouched by many recent consumer finance trends. At RunTitle, we’re attempting to build a central clearinghouse for mineral rights, democratizing access to oil and gas royalties. We’re hoping that the growth of investment in and adoption of fintech in other verticals helps change management in oil and gas.

 

AffiniPay team
AffiniPay

AffiniPay

Sure, you can now pay using your phone or other tech-savvy device at your local food truck or the new-concept store that just opened across the street. But how do professionals at more traditional businesses (think lawyers, accountants) step into the 21st century? AffiniPay was originally founded to help answer that question. We caught up with CEO Tom West about what electronic payments have meant for general productivity industry-wide and where he sees the trend going. 

 

What are the top three fintech trends you're watching that are significantly impacting the industry?

One of the biggest trends in the industry is the shift from paper payments to electronic payments. Over 50 percent of B2B payments are still made by paper check, but that number is declining every day. The vast majority of customers and businesses have stated that their preferred method of payment is credit card. Payments are seamlessly being integrated into every aspect of the service delivery experience, removing traditional barriers and creating effortless, amazing client experiences.

 

What under-the-radar fintech trends are you watching that the industry isn't talking about?

Vertical software companies are looking for ways to monetize payments and for partners who understand their industry. ApplePay and other new payment methods are quickly growing in acceptance and popularity. Professional service markets are seeing significant productivity gains by utilizing electronic payments.

We built AffiniPay from the ground up specifically to address these trends.’’

 

How are these trends affecting the future of your company?

We built AffiniPay from the ground up specifically to address these trends. We continue to be at the front end of innovation in our industry, creating new solutions that help professionals accept payment. As we scale from hundreds of thousands to millions of users, our biggest challenge is continuing to deliver surprisingly great client experiences and treat every customer if they are our most important customer.

 

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