FinTech Friday is our weekly check-in here at Spreckley, where we share all the most interesting and useful financial services and financial technology news, innovations and trends.
This week, we look at Forbes’ view on the latest trends in fintech for 2021 and consider the latest developments in cryptocurrencies, as PayPal finally allows you to pay using bitcoin.
We also ponder if fintech jargon is actually ruining opportunities in the sector for many. And we look with interest at the news on a tell-all new book from Starling Bank founder, Anne Boden.
Fintech trends for 2021
Firstly, Forbes Finance Council lists nine surging fintech trends to watch out for in 2021 this week, noting how, “with so many businesses and consumers relying on online transactions, the rise of financial technology has accelerated since the pandemic began.
“As remote operations stay in place for many companies and consumers adapt to — and embrace — technology to simplify their financial transactions, the growth in fintech is a trend that can be expected to continue.”
Forbes’ fintech experts lists the following nine trends to watch over the next year: Enhanced Digitisation of Operations; Robotic Process Automation; the Growing Variety of Mobile Payment Options; Partnerships with Financial Institutions; an Increased Focus On Cost Savings; the Rise Of Embedded Finance; a Bigger Focus On Cybersecurity; Capturing Real-Time Data For Underwriting and, finally, a Reliance On Behavioural Science Tech.
For more detail on each, check out the full piece over on Forbes.
Good crypto news from PayPal
Next up, Jemima Kelly over on the Financial Times opines on PayPal’s move to allow its US users “to buy, HODL, and sell bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ether (the crypto that powers Ethereum) and litecoin.”
This is a huge step forward in mainstream acceptance for cryptocurrencies, although there is a major caveat for cryto fans: “Only thing is, PayPal will not actually be allowing anyone to transfer their crypto out of their PayPal wallet into another wallet, even if it’s another PayPal wallet, or to deposit crypto from another wallet. Users won’t have access to their private keys — the long string of numbers that allows users to spend their crypto on what they want.”
Obviously, everything must go through PayPal, who will of course take a significant fee for allowing you to use its platform to pay with bitcoin (specifically, 2.3 per cent on transactions of less than $100).
Alex Mashinsky, the CEO of Celsius Network, told the FT: “This is definitely a bullish sign for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Crypto is all about trust, and PayPal has a very high level of trust with its users: it has helped many people do their first web and mobile-based transactions in the past 20 years. If the UI/UX of the service is done right, we will see millions of new users join each month. We are convinced that many of these new users will want to try additional services like lending and interest income after buying their first few coins — this will be a rising tide for all crypto players.”
Peak fintech jargon?
Have we now reached peak fintech jargon?
While the idea of fintech has slowly reached mainstream acceptance over the last decade, the E&T Magazine notes this week that: “the Covid-19 pandemic has shown how much potential exists for [fintech] to be used outside of traditional banking services if the industry can persuade potential customers.
“Financial technology has become increasingly prevalent over the past decade, with both businesses and consumers becoming increasingly comfortable using digital solutions in place of cumbersome physical processes.
“The rise of fintech promised to empower consumers, giving them more choice and hassle-free experiences. More open banking – or rather, open data – which sits at the heart of the fintech revolution was meant to make it easier for the public to manage their financial affairs from one place, rather than using lots of different platforms.
“It is important to return to the core idea of the fintech revolution: open banking, open data, cloud-based and interoperable solutions that will completely change the way banks and their customers interact. Now is the opportune moment to push ahead with this vision.”
Fintech insider: Starling founder’s new book
Finally this week, whoever thought that a fintech CEO might write a potential bestselling book?
‘Banking On It’ is the title of the new book out next month from Anne Boden, the founder of Starling Bank.
Sifted.eu reports how Boden – one of the most recognised faces in fintech – “is revealing the full story of how she got there by publishing a memoir… [including] a detailed discussion on her legendary fallout with the founders of Monzo, including Tom Blomfield and Paul Rippon, who were early executives at Starling.”
“Banking on It will be the second book authored by Boden, having already published an academic theory of the future of personal finance in The Money Revolution.”