Alessandra Bacà, a Fintech and Retail Payments Policy Analyst at the Italian Central Bank (Banca D'Italia), will explain in simple terms how fintech innovations are changing our economy.
FinTech (financial technology) is a catch-all term referring to software, mobile applications, and other technologies created to improve and automate traditional forms of finance for businesses and consumers alike. FinTech can include everything from straightforward mobile payment apps to complex blockchain networks housing encrypted transactions.
While fintech seems like a recent series of technological breakthroughs, the basic concept has existed for some time. Early credit cards in the 1950s generally represent the first fintech products available to the public in that they eliminated the need for consumers to carry physical currency in their day-to-day lives. From there, fintech evolved to include bank mainframes and online stock trading services. In 1998, PayPal was founded, representing one of the first fintech companies to operate primarily on the Internet — a breakthrough that has been further revolutionized by mobile technology, social media, and data encryption. This fintech revolution has led to the mobile payment apps, blockchain networks, and social media-housed payment options we regularly use today.
Over the years, fintech has grown and changed in response to developments within the wider technology sector. In 2022, this growth was defined by several prevailing trends:
- Digital banking continued to grow: Digital banking is easier to access than ever before. Many consumers already manage their money, request and pay loans, and purchase insurance through digital-first banks. This simplicity and convenience will likely drive additional growth in this sector, with the global digital banking platform market expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.5 percent by 2026.
- Blockchain: Blockchain technology allows for decentralized transactions without a government entity or other third-party organization being involved. Blockchain technology and applications have been growing quickly for years, and this trend is likely to continue as more industries turn to advanced data encryption. Check out our guide to blockchain technology if you’re interested in learning more.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML): AI and ML technologies have changed how fintech companies scale, redefining the services they offer to clients. AI and ML can reduce operational costs, increase the value provided to clients, and detect fraud. As these technologies become more affordable and accessible, expect them to play an increasingly large role in fintech’s continued evolution — especially as more brick-and-mortar banks go digital.
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