FINTECH

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Fintech trends that evolved in 2017 and what 2018 could hold for us

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Change is inevitable, and it becomes all the more important to embrace it if you are an entrepreneur. After all, staying in line with the changing trends is what keeps you in the game and at par with your competitors.

One such change that has taken the business world by storm is fintech, or financial technology. In 2017, a lot of new fintech trends came to the fore and created a lasting impression on the financial scene.

Here is a quick recap of these trends:

OPEN BANKING APIS

The idea of open banking evolved during 2017 and made for better management of finances. With open banking, third parties can easily access the data of the financial organisations. Open APIs (application programming interface) are a secure way to share relevant and critical data of banks and other financial institutions with third parties. It also allows third parties to develop various tools and services that can enhance customer service and satisfaction.

RISE OF AI

AI, or artificial intelligence, has brought about a revolutionary change in the industrial arena and is bound to do so in the years to come. In fact, the trend which started off with industries has fast been accepted into other arenas like business processes, software and big data, too. Additionally, the evolution of chatbots simplified various operations and functions like tracking of activities, managing financial transactions and understanding the spending and investment attitudes of the people.

METAMORPHOSIS OF LENDING AND LEASING

The fintech trend of 2017 brought about a positive change in the lending and leasing arena. To be market leaders, conventional lending and leasing methods were done away with by financial institutions. Instead, newer technology and automation of the operations have been included. This has made way for enhanced efficiency of processes which in turn has lowered the costs and increased customer satisfaction.

TRANSACTIONS GO CASHLESS

With the modern generation going “mobile” in the literal sense, the use of debit and credit cards has considerably reduced. Instead, people are relying more on online banking. Also, with the transformation of the shopping habits of the modern customers, the physical wallet has made way to mobile wallets like PayTM, Apple Pay, etc.

ALL ABOUT BIOMETRICS

This is a fintech development that is undoubtedly ubiquitous in the 2017 hallway of trends. The age-old method of passwords and pin numbers are now definitely passé. Instead, financial organisations and banks have enhanced their security measures by implementing biometrics to identify and authenticate their customers. These include voice identification, facial recognition, signature analysis, touch ID, gait analysis, etc. This has solved the fake identity issues.

These were some of the trends that evolved during 2017. More changes and developments are on the horizon. Here’s what you can expect from the fintech arena this year:

ADVANCED CHATBOTS

During 2017, many leading banks adopted the use of chatbots to enhance their customer support system. These chatbots were in their initial stages and were said to possess the intelligence of a child. However, in 2018, it is expected that advanced chatbots would be deployed, which would be more accurate and would interact better while also promising better and quicker responses.

BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY TO THE FORE

An integrated data system is what would curb fraud and improve the transparency of operations. This is precisely what blockchain is all set to do. Major companies have already begun work on pilot projects to decide as to how they can benefit by introducing blockchain into their operations. Since all the data stored on the system is marked with a time stamp, the system is practically impossible to hack. Experts believe that this would be a blessing in disguise for financial organisations, which can use it to transform and improve their back-end operations.

SMARTER WORKFLOWS WITH AI
With AI becoming an integral part of businesses, an intelligent workflow is assured. Since bottlenecks and issues are more likely to be identified and addressed quickly, one can look forward to enhanced efficiency and better results.

IMPROVED OPEN BANKING SYSTEMS

Open APIs which evolved in 2017 have transformed the banking scene. Now with newer ideas like AEPS and UPI, one can look forward to a more open network that will guarantee quicker and simpler transactions. This, in turn, will enhance customer satisfaction, bringing more benefits to the bank.

MACHINE LEARNING

This year, financial organisations are likely to adopt the regression models to proffer better services to customers. Powered by machine learning, this will help organisations to understand customer behaviour, their expectations and their responses. But, such far-fetched insight will only be within the reach of brands that adopt big data tools. However, equipped with this knowledge, firms can understand the needs of their customers and meet their expectations.

AUTOMATIC PERSONALISATION

With the world taking to the internet like never before, organisations would make use of various fintech trends to customise their pages as per the browsing preference of customers. This will help in creating a better connection between the customers and the organisations. Also, past interaction history, habits and preferences will be tracked and saved, which will provide users with pre-filled information, when they visit a site again. This will not only improve customer experience, but will also save a lot of time.

MERGING THE PHYSICAL WITH THE DIGITAL

With the evolution of fintech, it has become easier for financial organisations to reach out to more customers. However, there are still a lot of people who are not well-versed in the digital way of things.

To get these people to join the digital bandwagon, various banks and financial firms are merging the physical with the digital experience. This will enable customers to get a firsthand experience of rudimentary automatic transactions and thus encouraging them to go digital.

Fintech is here to stay, and it is bound to change the way business is done. It will improve the speed, accuracy and efficiency of operations. Additionally, it will also help the laggards and late majority in the tech adoption cycle to ride this incoming wave.

Rajeev Mahajan is cofounder, director and CEO of Antworks Money, an online financial services portal.

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