Taking out a loan used to mean waiting in line at a bank for a whole day and not knowing whether you were approved or not. Many bank transactions normally took seven to ten business days, and simple matters like depositing money would take around 30 minutes to accomplish on a busy day.
And yet compared to today, these banking experiences feel so long ago. Gone are the days where we have to wait in line for a loan, deposit, or even opening a bank account. We don’t even have to go to an ATM to check our balance; most of the time, you can skip having an ATM card altogether.
Financial Technology for You and Me
Financial technology, or fintech, is really what its name suggests. It simply means the use of technology to automate or enhance the many financial processes that go behind the scenes. It can either be a form of software for public or industrial use, or a business provider for general consumers, or specialized cases. Fintech uses the innovations in technology to automate many of the tasks in the finance industry that would take to long to do manually- and thanks to this, we as a consumer get to enjoy an even faster and more efficient experience.
It has affected our daily life in more ways than one, and it seems like it will continue to do so in the future. But how has financial technology helped us? Below are some of the ways financial technology has changed the landscape.
Among the most common ways, fintech shows its presence is through the use of financially-related apps. As almost everyone has a smartphone nowadays, apps are a convenient way to access your financial information. It’s not just limited to your personal banking details, you can also check loans or even insurance information. These apps also provide you with a wider option, marketing insurance companies, and banks for you to choose from. These financially-related apps become the hub of financial activities, as these also allow you to make online payments to vendors, or even to receive money from someone else.
Instant Micro-loans and Online Lending
As mentioned before, taking out a loan used to take quite some time. It was near impossible taking out a small loan as well. Not anymore, as thanks to innovations in fintech, microloans are not just possible, but also very convenient. Setting up an account, getting it verified, and borrowing money is all possible through a computer or a smartphone. These instant micro-loans or online lending have changed the money-lending landscape, as these offer faster confirmation, but also faster payouts. Now all you need is an internet connection and a verified account for you to borrow money.
The Rise of Cryptocurrency
One of the truly new innovations to come out of financial technology is cryptocurrency, with Bitcoin being among the most popular. A cryptocurrency is a form of virtual currency with a focus on security, making it difficult to steal and counterfeit. It has received quite an attention in recent years, as more and more turn to cryptocurrency to store their finances. With its changing market value, many have also taken advantage of it to increase their financial capacity.
Secure Online Transactions
One of the biggest concerns in online banking, ever since its inception, has always been about security. As most of the transactions and deals happen in a virtual space versus a physical space, many people feel insecure and fear that their information can be stolen. However, just as financial technology evolves to make things faster, it has also evolved to make things more secure. Right now, online banking is the safest it has ever been, and many companies are not looking to stop improving their security measures. This is all to make sure that our data remains private and no hacker can penetrate their system.
The Crowdfunding Craze
Another financial technology’s biggest innovation is the possibility of a crowdfunded business venture. Any business ideas can be presented to a crowd who has the option of whether to support a project or not. Right now, there are multiple crowdfunding platforms, with most of them handling millions of dollars in transactions. In North America alone, around 17 million dollars is generated yearly, giving birth to the business dreams of many creators. This empowers many business owners and gives the people to support ideas and movements that they enjoy or appreciate.
We are living in a new age, one defined by its innovations and conveniences. And we can all thank financial technology for making our financial needs ever more convenient.