Need to send money to a friend? It’s now instantaneous. Need to quickly deposit a check? It’s now so straightforward and simple you can do it by taking a picture. Want to start investing your money? It’s now no longer an intimidating process because you have unfettered access to advice and information all at the tips of your fingers.
While fintech’s adoption was relatively slow-going at first due to integration issues, it is now spreading more rapidly across the globe. Some of you may not have even noticed just how enmeshed your lives have become with financial technology, but for those of you who regularly use fintech, you would notice its absence quite quickly — and quite frustratingly. You probably don’t have cash in your wallet right now, right? And I bet you haven’t stepped foot inside your bank’s branch in the last six months, either. This is thanks to advancements in fintech. Even something as second nature as using your smartphone to make a payment is only possible because of financial technology.
These apps, tools, and resources are not only revolutionary, they are also affordable and accessible regardless of income. These are the three most significant ways consumers stand to benefit from financial technology:
1. No more cash or plastic credit cards
Fintech is changing the nature of money. Some small businesses still require cash transactions as payments for their goods or services, so it may seem nonsensical to talk about how cash and credit cards are becoming obsolete, but the “death” of cash and credit cards is referring to the actual paper and plastic itself. This is a welcomed prospect by many consumers because, on average, we have around four credit cards in our wallets at all times (and when you think about it, how often do you use every single one of them?).
Companies have begun to create “all in one” credit cards, which will allow consumers to add as many payment methods as possible under one central credit card. In America, the Coin app allows consumers to combine all debit, credit, and loyalty cards together for easier access. Overseas, London-based app Curve also offers this same accessibility and convenience.
2. The rise of peer-to-peer lending
We’ve all been in situations where we need fast funding. Say, for example, you had an emergency expense come up but didn’t have the money to pay for it. Or, you were traveling and ran out of money before the end of your trip. Before, you’d have to go to a bank, apply for a loan, and wait a few weeks before you find out whether you were approved or denied. In other words, you had to hope for the best. Today, there are alternative funding options, like Lending Club, that allow you to borrow money from other people. You will get approved or denied in minutes, and you won’t have to worry about high interest rates and being tied to a financial institution.
3. An easier (and more affordable) way to save money
In the past, if you wanted someone to inform you on investment best practices, you would have to work with a financial advisor. Getting a third-party person involved in your personal finances comes with steep fees, which is counterintuitive when you are taking measures to save more money. Acorns is a great place to start for consumers who aren’t as familiar with available investing apps. When you shop, it will round up to the next dollar and pull that money from your account and into the app, which helps you save and invest all at the same time without even thinking about it.