Fintech, or financial technology, is rapidly gaining ground with consumers as a more accessible alternative to traditional payment and banking systems offered by financial firms. As new fintech tools and software emerge to disrupt the established model, financial services are improving, offering enhanced efficiency, speed and accountability.
According to an EY study last year, fintech is growing in popularity, with roughly 15.5% of digitally active consumers using financial tech products — a figure that was likely to double within 12 months. The United States had the second-highest adoption rate of fintech tools (16.5%), following Hong Kong with 29.1%.
Below, 12 members of Forbes Finance Council talk about their favorite financial technology tools and software and how they can cause a shift in the current financial services market.
1. Artificial Intelligence
I am eager to see how artificial intelligence will create intelligent and centralized pools of data to provide superior decision making based on context-sensitive data. For example, Fenergo deploys A.I. to analyze unstructured data, including social media, intracompany communication and linguistics in order to more effectively satisfy Know-Your-Customer and Anti-Money-Laundering requirements. – Jason Lee, DailyPay
2. Peer-To-Peer And Apple Pay
I love the potential of peer-to-peer lending as an alternative to traditional banks for both savings and credit. The beginnings have been tough, but I believe in the concept and am sure that it is destined to take an ever-increasing share. Also, I am a fan of PayPal and Apple Pay. I tend to be lazy sometimes, and I love how these services allow me to speed up the entire payment experience. – Gabriel Grego, Quintessential Capital
There’s one major, game-changing technology that’s overlooked by most financial professionals, and that’s blockchain technology. Essentially, blockchain is a public ledger of transactions. Transactions in the blockchain cannot be altered, providing the potential for fully transparent, fully trustworthy financials in real-time. – Levi Morehouse, Ceterus
4. Accounting Software (Yes, You Read That Right)
Accounting is undergoing a very exciting shift. Cloud technology has ushered in a new era of collaboration. The result is a burgeoning new ecosystem of software players who are creating experiences that look less like a stack of papers and excel sheets and more like the technology we love. Intuit Quickbooks, for example, is paving the way when it comes to building out an ecosystem for customers. – René Lacerte, Bill.com
5. Riskalyze, RetireUp and Asset-Map
Riskalyze provides a user-friendly and client-facing software that allows us to tell the story of risk, which we believe is crucial for an investor to understand in order to have success. RetireUp, a user-friendly income planning tool, and Asset-Map offer very visual understandings to clients on where they stand when it comes to their finances. – Lance Scott, Bay Harbor Wealth Management
With breakthrough technology at our fingertips, new finance services and tools are integrating with some of the world’s most advanced digital minds. I recently ran into InvestFeed; their goal is to create optimal transparency for all kinds of investors across the world. – Shazir Mucklai, Omega Consulting
7. PeerStreet And WorldRemit
PeerStreet is democratizing real estate investing by giving investors access to real estate debt opportunities, an asset class that was previously not available to non-institutions. Services like WorldRemit are empowering immigrants with better choice, security and transparency in sending money back home to their loved ones. – Binna Kim, Vested
8. Faster Payment Rails
Our old ACH network is improving. Instead of settling payments once per day, as it has for decades, it will start to settle multiple times per day. This will improve settlement success rates and prevent e-check kiting. Coming right behind this improvement are a number of real-time payment initiatives. The most exciting of those is TCH by The Clearing House. Another worth watching is Zelle. – Charlie Youakim, Sezzle
9. Decision Logic
I’m excited about Decision Logic because it provides lenders the ability to verify a borrower’s sensitive information and understand their borrower’s financial history. In addition to preventing fraud, it also allows the borrower’s information to stay confidential, making the funding process faster. – Chad Otar, Excel Capital Management, Inc.
10. Peer-To-Peer Lending
One new fintech service that excites me is peer-to-peer lending, which directly connects borrowers and lenders through a platform that cuts out the traditional lending institutions. This gives lenders an opportunity to focus their dollars in a specific direction and borrowers an additional source of funding. Bypassing the middleman banks should also lower the cost of borrowing. – Jacob Alphin, Rillhurst Capital
I think it’s exciting to see more robo-advisers coming into play working with actual advisers — more of a hybrid mix between the human and robot features. This is especially appealing to millennials. While the robo-advisers still need more testing, it’s cool to see how they will come into play in the future. – Justin Goodbread, Heritage Investors
I just got my ten-year-old daughter a Greenlight card. It allows me to automate her allowance and potentially control the spaces where she spends money. I give her a week to spend anywhere and can designate more money when other parents take her out (i.e. to the movies), so I don’t have to give her cash. – Matthew May, Acuity