The evolution of financial transactions had surged at the height of technology, but before Fintech had been popular, simple things like lending a small sum of money had to be done through physical means. This meant if you wanted to give 10 cents to your friend Nathaniel, you’d have to roll off your bed, take a walk to the station, ride the train and order a taxi to his secluded house in the countryside. However, Fintech makes it so that you can laze in bed all day and still give Nathaniel his 10 cents, saving you from all the hassle.
What is considered as Fintech?
Fintech is any sort of technology company that strives to either improve or help create financial products. This can range from e-wallets, cryptocurrency to even online trading platforms. Though all classified under Fintech, these companies all produce different types of products and might work with different types of technology.
On the surface, Fintech solutions are built to be as user-friendly as possible, making the system seem quite simple. We can take, for example, mobile banking apps that are set up by local banks. In a typical mobile banking app, actions like transferring 10 cents or checking your credit score can be done with a simple click of a button. Even more time consuming processes like requesting for a loan is as simple as filling up a form. However, most Fintech websites have very intricate systems running behind the scenes. For instance, if someone were to request for a loan, the system would have to run a digital background check and check the user’s credit score to confirm their eligibility. A similar process would happen during a credit card application.
Therefore, there can be multiple softwares powered by different companies that keep the banking system up and running. These companies are considered to be Fintechs just as much as e-wallets or other consumer facing apps.
Other forms of Fintech can include embedded finance (financial products that are set up by non-financial companies, e.g., in-app currency in a shopping app) or peer-to peer (P2P) lending (third-party service that allows companies or individuals to lend or borrow money from each other without the use of a bank).
How does Fintech work?
Fintech is powered by technology of different uses in the banking and financial industry. In order to keep the software up-to-date and trending with the rapid digital transformation happening, a lot of Fintech businesses invest time and resources into emerging and fast-developing technology that might be the next big thing. However, there are the basics of advanced technologies Fintechs are looking into that we can identify with a simple acronym: “A.B.C.D.”
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI is a popular concept even outside of Fintech, ranging from being advertised as robots working as a modern hotel receptionist to even self-driving cars. In Fintech, we tend to lean in more to making use of AI not for robotic machines, but rather for the machine’s (virtual) brain, though there are a few exceptions.
Using machine learning (ML), an application of AI, we can take advantage of the AI’s predictive learning ability to analyse large amounts of data from different sources and gain valuable insights. Basically, making use of AI technology to help reduce the time and cost of human resources spent on repetitive tasks and shifting human resources to dealing with higher value tasks instead.
For a more detailed explanation on how AI can be applied in the banking and finance sector, you can read about AI Applications in the Banking and Financial Services in APAC.
Used as the main technology to support cryptocurrency, blockchain is a decentralised, anonymous chain of record. Blockchain is renowned for being secure because it keeps a history of all the transactions in its system and multiple other devices.
Blockchain is another method used to transfer currency but with the added benefit of real-time database management. This ensures a record of all the payments and a platform where it is easier to organise, manage resources and so forth. It is also known to be more secure than other financial methods on top of being a solution to improve financial inclusion. The most popular example of blockchain technology is a cryptocurrency known as Bitcoin.
Note: cryptocurrency is a type of payment created using encryption algorithms
- Cloud Computing
Cloud Computing eliminates the cost of the hardware and software needed to be installed in servers by enabling businesses to “rent” out their own on a third-party software online. It also can be cost adjacent to the amount of users using the server and can provide data backups and other advantages at a much lower cost. For the Fintech sector, cloud computing enables them to operate across platforms/apps, have a low-cost solution for data storage and sharing, enhanced scalability, and have 24/7 uptime.
In more general terms, cloud computing is an umbrella term that covers services that are offered online. You might already be using cloud computing without realising! Web services like Google Docs, Google Meets, Email or Whatsapp are all considered cloud computing.
- (Big) Data
Fintech and other softwares such as Google or Facebook thrive on data. Most big companies do. One of the many ways to utilise big data would be to personalise their user advertisements, to find out what they like and the products they’re looking for, the sort of content they’re into, or even to find out what they’re craving for dinner on a Saturday night. This is all known as consumer behaviour data.
Financial institutions need to understand if you’ve been a good borrower, if you pay taxes on time and how likely you are to pay back your loans. Big data is essential to understand if a customer is dependable or not.
All in all, although Fintech can be a dry topic to consume at times, it is an essential part of our day-to-day lives. It has brought convenience to us in ways we cannot fathom unless we understood the days before it. Fintech is a difficult topic to grasp and exponentially more difficult to understand. The global Fintech market is reported to have reached more than USD 194.1 billion in 2022 worldwide and is expected to reach USD 492.81 by 2028.
If you want to learn more about Fintech and how you can be part of this growing industry, head over to our insights where we discuss numerous sub-topics and subsets of the industry. You can even join us by applying through our Careers page.
JurisTech (Juris Technologies) is a leading Malaysian-based fintech company, specialising in enterprise-class software solutions for banks, financial institutions, and telecommunications companies in Malaysia, Southeast Asia, and beyond.