FinTech Present and Future

The present of financial technology reflected itself this week in the IPO of payment processor Square. Regarded as a test of FinTech investment potential, shares soared by 45% after offering, reports The New York Times DealBook. Meanwhile, the relationships between banks and startups continue to shift toward mutual cooperation. Yet the future of FinTech belongs to distributed ledger and smart contract technologies, as Microsoft sponsored Ethereum Devcon1 in London last week.

Boston Consulting Group’s annual global payments focuses on consumer preferences

Boston Consulting Group’s annual payments report covers wholesale transaction banking, consumer preferences, and regional reports from a survey of nearly 5,500 consumers in France, Germany, the U.K., and the U.S. on payments preferences. If you think Global Payments 2015: Listening to the Customer’s Voiceconsiders disruption in the industry, you would be correct.

The “strange” and evolving relationships between banks and FinTech startups

“Simple and BBVA have a strange relationship,” reported Payments Source in its Nov. 18 “Morning Scan” email. Spain’s banking giant BBVA Compass owns Simplelock, which provides “banking as it’s supposed to be.” Banking as it is has been good for Simple’s growth, suggesting that “maybe (FinTech startups) need banks as much as banks need them.” Online lender Kabbage, eagerly wooing banks to license its technology, provides another example. As for banks, putting money on the table and building relationships with FinTech startups can help integrate them better into banking systems, reports Bank Innovation’s article.

Securing banking’s role as relationship gatekeeper

Meanwhile, The Financial Brand outlines how banks could seize the opportunity to provide better customer experiences. Yes, traditional financial institutions will have to step up to compete with FinTech startups chipping away at their services. But they have one key advantage—vast customer relationships.

Financial institutions flock to blockchain technology, while bitcoin divides opinions

The future of FinTech belongs to the blockchain, the technology that powers bitcoin, and smart contracts. One of the biggest FinTech trends of 2015 is the fast shift—in technology development, acceptance, and investment—to blockchain from bitcoin. Brave New Coin provides an excellent and enlightening roundup of opinions from payments consultants and investors on the present development and future possibilities of permissioned, distributed ledgers for all financial institutions.

The global landscape of blockchain companies in financial services

To see the companies creating the future of financial services, review William Mougayar’s comprehensive look at the Blockchain in Financial Services Landscape. This chart and analysis divides the landscape by technology layer—applications and solutions, middleware and services, infrastructure and base protocols—and reflects a long-standing blindspot on the part of financial institutions. “In my opinion, the FinTech onslaught happened because the financial services industry did not innovate enough when the internet came along 20 years ago,” he writes.