Fintech Predictions for 2021 – What The Experts Say

  • TechRound has collected 2021 fintech predictions from industry experts.
  • Sheila Kagan predicts that “2021 is going to be the year that our traditional, high street banks regain ground against challengers and Big Tech”.
  • 2021 will allow for cryptocurrencies to gain wider adoption according to Gary Nuttall.

 

The global fintech industry has grown massively during 2020 despite the global pandemic. 2020 pushed digitisation faster than one could have expected, especially in Fintech. But, people are unsure of what to expect in the coming year.

So, what exactly will 2021 bring for the fintech industry? We’ve collected a list of 22 industry expert predictions into what we can expect from the fintech industry during the course of this new year. Everything is hard to predict at the moment, but these experts have had a go!

 

Our Panel of Experts:

  • Sheila Kagan – CEO of PayKey
  • Alexander von Schirmeister – Executive Vice President for Europe of SumUp
  • Yishay Trif – CEO of Moneynetint
  • Robert Ang – General Manager Asia Pacific at Unlimint
  • Ricky Lee – CEO and Co-Founder of sync
  • Anton Komukhin – Head of Product Management at Unlimint
  • Gary Nuttall – Emerging Technology Consultant and Founder of Distlytics
  • Matthieu Guerville – Marketing Manager at Valutico
  • Ian Johnson – Managing Director for Europe of Marqeta
  • Ahmed F. Karslı – Founder of Papara
  • Jason Cozens – CEO of Glint Pay Services Ltd.
  • Matthew Glickman – VP Customer Product Strategy, Financial Services at Snowflake
  • Barak Rabinowitz – Managing Partner of F2 Venture Capital
  • Sarah Bateman – Senior Digital Consultant of Altus
  • Alex Latham – CMO and Co-Founder of Chip
  • Nick Cousins – CEO of Exizent
  • Siamac Rezaiezadeh – Head of Product Marketing at GoCardless
  • Colin Brown – CEO of the Arzya Group
  • Matthew Williamson – VP of Global Financial Services at Mobiquity
  • James Klein – Head of Technology Sector and Partner at Shoosmiths
  • Bryn Jones – Senior Associate at Shoosmiths
  • Susan Ysona – VP of EMEA at Talkdesk

 

 

For any questions, comments or features, please contact us directly.

 

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Sheila Kagan – CEO of PayKey

 

Sheila Kagan at PayKey

 

2021 will see the rebirth of traditional banks

“2021 is going to be the year that our traditional, high street banks regain ground against challengers and Big Tech.

The past 12 months has seen them under threat from the increasing presence of Big Tech in the financial services space, with WhatsApp Pay finally launching and Google Pay revamping its offering. But the tide is turning – only 310,000 people in India have used WhatsApp Pay out of 400 million users across the country, and changes to the Facebook-owned app’s privacy guidelines has seen users flocking to smaller competitors. The ‘growth at all costs’ model is now damaging Big Tech’s reputation.

The cracks have also started showing with other fast-growth consumer fintech challengers, which have come to realise this year that digital bells and whistles aren’t enough to retain customers if customer wellbeing isn’t at the heart of what you do.

This year we’ll see banks take this challenge head on by partnering with fintechs to gain a deeper understanding of their customers in non-financial environments and using this to deliver personalized financial products that meet their needs. But unlike tech companies, who have used this data for advertising purposes, banks will be focused on improving their customers’ financial wellbeing. This will be key in 2021, as financially healthy customers become loyal and lead to financially healthy banks.

Partnerships with fintechs will also allow banks to step up their digital game, helping them maintain this customer relationship in a world where physical branches are in decline. Expect to see innovative new embedded finance solutions which simplify the banking experience for consumers and make it more immediate through new digital channels, much like e-wallets have done.

By growing consumer trust by putting their customers’ financial wellbeing first, backed up by powerful data insights and cutting-edge digital innovations, there’s nothing to stop the resurgence of traditional banks in 2021.”

 

Alexander von Schirmeister – Executive Vice President for Europe of SumUp 

 

 

Alexander von Schirmeister

 

“In 2021 we should expect continued growth all around as consumer behaviours keep demanding better and more innovative products. The general acceleration towards online (which was particularly accelerated by the 2020 pandemic) will continue, and fintech will be a natural beneficiary of that trend.

The push from regulators to go cashless will speed ahead, with Italy as a forerunner, and we’re certain to see the continued closure of branch banks in small towns across Europe, eliminating easy access to cash. Concurrently, we’re likely to see a wider variety of mobile payment solutions, in addition to new ways of paying via QR codes.

Within the fintech industry by and large, we also expect some consolidation. This may be in the form of larger players acquiring smaller players, or as national champions merge to create bigger regional players. We’re sure to see some of the larger legacy banks go shopping among the fintech scene in order to introduce innovation into their offerings.

An important trend of “rebundling” will also continue to reshape our industry in 2021. Until fairly recently, fintechs used to focus on narrow product categories in which they excelled, for example, in lending, current accounts, payments, etc., where they essentially unbundled a wider range of financial services traditionally offered by banks. Customers will surely continue to look for one-stop-shop solutions with transparent pricing, so fintechs that have reached a certain scale will follow the reverse trend of rebundling (by going broader in product categories) in order to drive greater revenues.”

 

Yishay Trif – CEO of Moneynetint  

 

Yishay Trif

 

“Brexit is a massive shock to the European financial ecosystem, and the tremors are already being felt by UK fintechs searching for top talent. UK financial services are operating under a looming cloud of uncertainty: no one knows what the future holds for our relationship with the EU.

Will the City lose its crown to Frankfurt? Will UK fintechs be allowed access to European markets? We simply don’t know.

Until the UK and EU come to an agreement over services, which was so conspicuously absent from the exit deal, it will be a brave decision to join UK financial services at such an uncertain time. Fintechs will likely find it extremely difficult to acquire the talent they need from abroad, and we also face the prospect of a brain drain, with our brightest minds departing for more solid and certain opportunities elsewhere. For the financial services and fintech industries it will be talent, not market access, that will be the defining issue of Brexit.

Businesses will need to work hard and think extremely creatively, about how they can acquire the skills they need to build their post-Brexit future.”

 

 

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Robert Ang – General Manager Asia Pacific at Unlimint

 

Robert Ang

 

China’s Big Tech regulatory crackdown presents opportunities for international brands targeting the market 

“The recent move by Chinese regulators to curb the growing monopolies of Ant Group, and other tech giants in the country, will create new opportunities for international brands selling into the market.

While it remains to be seen exactly what the final regulations will be after the consultation stage, the expected measures promise to spur innovation and bring greater competition into e-commerce, payments and across wider financial services.

This levelling of the playing field is good news for outside brands looking to target Chinese consumers, as it will open up the market and lead to a wider variety of platforms and channels to reach customers, freeing them up from an over reliance on the current dominant players, such as Taobao and JD. This is sure to create a more favourable and lucrative business environment for international brands to better compete and succeed.

In banking, the moves will provide a window for traditional financial institutions to try to catch up to the fintech behemoths. However, I don’t see any closing of the innovation gap for at least five years, as they are so far behind. Interesting progress is being made in Asia by the likes of DBS Singapore, pushing its Paylah e-wallet with good success, but nothing yet compares to the user experience of the super apps of Alipay or WeChat Pay.

I look forward to the introduction of a new clear regulatory framework, as I believe the increased competition and innovation will, ultimately, benefit the consumer most of all, and help to drive new and more diverse business opportunities in the long-term.”

 

Ricky Lee – CEO and Co-Founder of sync

 

Ricky Lee

 

“The last 12 months have been a time of slow growth and development for all markets as we all ride out the Covid-19 storm. We are going to see the next wave of challenger banks accelerate and grow in 2021, giving the established neobanks a real run for their money.

Customers will increasingly look for more than a simple product that works. Neobanks need to add real value to the customer on a daily basis and bring new features to the market, like cashback, zero FX fees, an advanced PFM, or a seamless Open Banking experience. Another feature that customers are increasingly looking for is environmentally friendly credentials. In 2021, customers will increasingly look to buy into a brand that shares their own values and cares about the planet.

At sync., we are going to the next level in 2021. We have spent much of the last year refining our product and setting up strong foundations to grow from. Now we are preparing to tell the world what sync. is really about. We have a lot of exciting features as we prepare to launch, so watch this space.”

 

Anton Komukhin – Head of Product Management at Unlimint

 

Anton Komukhin

 

Open Banking

“Open Banking has quickly moved from a mere concept to an inevitable reality for financial services brands. While markets like the US started this revolution a decade ago and already have tens of millions of open banking users, the full potential of this technology has yet to be realised worldwide. With PDS2 regulations in Europe turning three, plus countries such as Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia and Mexico moving towards an open banking format, I believe this technology will become truly global in the next two to three years.

The opportunities that will result from this are huge and give consumer and business customers a much more seamless experience. In 2021 we’ll see the beginning of this journey with smart onboarding becoming a reality – with fast account, identity and income verification, as well as affordability checks. While much has been said about how open banking will help consumers manage their personal finances, I believe there will be great benefit to SMEs to. Open banking will lead to SME services like account aggregation, automated accounting and affordability checks.

But this is only the beginning. Even now, financial institutions don’t know all the use cases that might be applicable for their business, without even mentioning the opportunities in retail, healthcare, and other sectors.

But to fully realise the opportunities of open banking, the major challenge remains the same – compliance. Current regulation makes access to this technology quite slow and painful which has stalled adoption for many.

An additional challenge is connectivity. The current system around the world (aside from the US market, where regulation is not as strict) of connecting services with banks on a case by case basis is very slow. There are currently only a handful of companies worldwide that provide an API gateway to help simplify the connection process, meaning the industry has a long way to go before this process is streamlined.”

 

 

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Gary Nuttall – Emerging Technology Consultant and Founder of Distlytics

 

Gary Nuttall

 

  1. “Payments and messaging will merge – Following the lead of Wechat in China, we are likely to see messaging apps such as Whatsapp, Telegram and Signal integrating chatbots with  payment services.  This will see the next generation of mCommerce as mobile phones provide both contactless payments and the ability to pay for goods and services online.
  2. Open Banking will evolve into Open Finance as it extends beyond just banking to cover other financial services such as pensions and insurance.  Linking up with the growth of the gig economy this will allow customers to access on-demand insurance and to make ad-hoc micropayments into pension and savings plans.
  3. Cryptocurrencies will continue to gain wider adoption as wallet providers, exchanges and custodial services develop user friendly platforms.  This will see legacy firms, such as banks and custody providers, exploring how to extend their existing platforms and services to incorporate digital assets.
  4. RegTech will grow within the FinTech domain as more solutions are developed to provide regulatory compliance.  This will see a growth in providers of “out of the box” Know Your Customer (KYC), Anti-Money Laundering (AML), Sanctions Checking and Counter Terrorist Funding (CTF) services.
  5. Decentralised Finance (DeFi) will remain a niche area but will see the ecosystem continue to grow as microservices using cryptotokens to provide interoperability will be developed.  We will see DeFi mirroring traditional financial services but operated across a common platform that will allow DeFi services to be “plug & play” rather than monolithic and standalone.”

 

Matthieu Guerville – Marketing Manager at Valutico

 

Matthieu Guerville

 

“Broadly speaking there are 3 mains trends to watch for in fintech, each playing out at a different pace and layers of the financial ecosystem:

  1. Democratization of the “high finance” stack, whereby complex instruments and products or complex processes surrounding particular financial activities are being reinvented by startups to lower barriers and friction. Plaid, despite its botched acquisition by Visa, is the poster child of this trend, as they lowered the barrier for app makers to create financial products. Other facets of this trend manifest in the modernizing of the corporate finance toolkit (Valutico for M&A, Summit for FP&A, Bill.com for invoicing, etc.)
  2. Decentralized finance (DeFi), which is arguably just a new name for blockchain, trying to avoid some of the noise around the former while retaining the positives the first wave brought on. Technically a subset of the democratization trend, DeFi is more of a cultural shift, analog to the healthy/organic foods movement in the FMCG industry, in that it doesn’t fundamentally alter the the offerings on the shelves but rather offers alternatives. Smart contracts (Ether-based, EOS or Cardano) may be the exception in that they bring about a deeper change to the use cases they tackle.
  3. Increased oversight, on privacy, security, and regulatory compliance dimensions. Beyond KYC and AML, expect the new congress to legislate on consumer finance matters, including a possible landmark action against Robinhood for its overgamified approach to retail investing.

Orthogonal to these, AI/ML is on the rise and about to hit its second wave, moving beyond the robo-advisor use case and into more complex and often less visible layers of the stack.”

 

Ian Johnson – Managing Director for Europe of Marqeta

 

Ian Johnson

 

Alternative lenders to transform the loan experience, as specialist lenders open up the market to support post-COVID-19 recovery:

“The process of securing a loan has always been quite painful – involving lots of self-reporting, paper statements and credit reports. And it could take days to find out if you were successful and then even longer to access the funds. Thankfully, it is looking like those days might be coming to an end with the emergence of a new breed of alternative lender focused on transforming specific niches of lending.

Take SME lending, which has traditionally been regarded as high risk/low rewards and neglected by traditional lenders. New alternative lenders, such as Capital on Tap, are changing the stakes. Using data and modern payment platforms, they are able to make loan decisions in minutes, not months. We are seeing the same in Point of Sale lending with companies like Klarna – now, you can apply for a POS loan and get approved in seconds. These companies will set the standard in terms of expectations around lending, forcing bigger lenders to follow suit and helping to transform the loan experience.

Fintechs to continue leading front-end innovation, but banks maintain a tight grip on capital and current accounts:

Fintechs hold the monopoly on defining what ‘good’ looks like in terms of features. From money management tools, to saving incentives, fintechs have the agility to create new, attractive products with a speed and creativity that traditional banks simply cannot match. However, true success stories of fintechs paving the way to long term profitability are rare.

Established, traditional banks still hold all the capital and most of the main checking accounts, making it harder for fintechs to really get ahead. This is likely to continue into 2021, but we are seeing signs of convergence, with fintechs acting as the front-end for customers while banks provide capital in the background.”

 

 

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Ahmed F. Karslı – Founder of Papara

 

Ahmed F. Karslı

 

Increased importance of financial inclusion

“Financial wellbeing and inclusion are gaining increased public attention, and emerging market fintechs are on the rise.  We expect to see more fintechs in these regions enable the underbanked and underserved access into the financial system. This serves to addresses the UN’s aim to grow financial inclusivity, but also expands the customer base of traditional banks – a reflection of how fintechs and traditional financial institutions can increasingly work together to achieve a common (social) goal.

Digitisation of banking

We expect to see a major shift in how people perceive banking. The digitisation of banking will accelerate, and fintechs will play a substantial role in this process. The pandemic has accelerated the demand for, and adoption of digital banking services as it has pushed those who hadn’t previously used digital banking into that space. This in turn is normalising and advancing the way in which people interact with financial services digitally, and we expect this trend to continue in the following 12 months.

Rise in cross-border payments

Particularly in the post-Brexit landscape, we expect the number of cross-border payments solutions to grow. As cross-border companies based in Europe are set to face challenges due to trade relationships in the UK, they will seek out options for transferring money internationally without a local UK bank account. Fintechs that facilitate these cross-border payments in Europe in a free, fast and easy manner will become highly demanded.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) in banking

We are expecting the use of AI in banking and payment providers to rise. Particularly in the use for fraud monitoring and reporting processes. This will help both banks and customers protect themselves against suspicious activity in a more sophisticated and secure manner. In a similar vein, we also expect to see significant development in the use of biometrics, face recognition, and retina recognition technologies for increased security in the digital payments industry.”

 

Jason Cozens – CEO of Glint Pay Services Ltd.

 

Jason Cozens

 

Alternatives to traditional currencies becoming increasingly dominant – will gold replace cash as king?

“The rise of alternative global currencies will accelerate throughout 2021. Since the start of the year the fluctuating performance of some of the major cryptocurrencies have dominated the news but the key detail is that this activity is a wider reaction from consumers and investors alike in response to a financial system that has been punishing them for years.

The last 12 months saw a rise in consumer financial education that there are alternative ways to spend and save their finances and I expect this to gather pace over the course of 2021. At Glint, we’ve already seen a spike in new clients opting for gold-based accounts, as well as new corporate clients opting to pay staff in gold, suggesting that consumers and businesses are turning their backs on the traditional model in ever greater numbers.

Savers see their purchasing power crippled by historically low interest rates and rising inflation impacting the value of their wealth. Also, the value of government-backed currencies like Sterling, Euros and USD is eroded significantly by borrowing, which has soared due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and a willingness to print endless amounts of money, injecting cash into the economy whilst simultaneously slashing its value.

These are just some of the factors that are increasingly driving consumers towards alternatives, whether that is gold or crypto, that offer a more reliable performance for savings but also offer increased value on everyday spending.

The fact that Governments are working on Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) shows that they’re taking the threat of an alternative payments ecosystem very seriously. China is already trialling its version and preparing for a wider roll-out this year to secure a huge ‘first mover’ competitive advantage in the digital currency arena, other markets and central banks will follow suit. How this impacts consumer accessibility to alternative currencies will be fascinating to watch.”

 

Matthew Glickman – VP Customer Product Strategy, Financial Services at Snowflake

 

Matthew Glickman

 

“Financial services will see a growth in the reselling of advanced digital and institutional banking data cloud connected platforms from challenger banks, asset managers and fintechs, to other financial institutions to deliver more personalised customer experiences, automation of services, and cost efficiencies.

The challenges posed by COVID-19 will only accelerate the demand for cloud data platforms. Customers are looking for digital-first experiences and the cloud is a key enabler of this. Challenger banks for example, which are built in the cloud, are more nimble in adjusting to consumer behaviours, have far less technical debt and are far quicker in adapting to any challenges posed by the pandemic to ensure business continuity and disaster recovery.

Over time, digital banking platforms will evolve to incorporate more ML predictive models to drive more personalised banking behaviours, but this will require support from ever increasing volumes and access to datasets, both within and external to an organisation.

To achieve this, financial organisations will be able to connect to the data cloud and create their own network to share data across its business ecosystem of supply chain partners, business partners, and customers. By doing so, organisations can eliminate data silos and replace their cumbersome data sharing methods by instantly sharing live and secure data, and ensuring that digital banking systems are better equipped for future customer and market demands.”

 

 

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Barak Rabinowitz – Managing Partner of F2 Venture Capital

 

Barak Rabinowitz

 

“eCommerce and the consumption of digital goods and services accelerated dramatically during the pandemic. Lockdowns have prompted people to work from home, learn from home, and shop online for some solace and instant gratification. As a result, e-commerce online penetration jumped more during the pandemic than in the last ten years, combined, according to a recent study by Bank of America and Forrester.

Yet, just like with other extremely rapid transitions, infrastructure was not built for this sudden massive loads, and the incidence of fraud grew dramatically in the shadow of market share and revenue growth. Much of the payment flows are governed by massive incumbents like Visa and Mastercard with systems that have not exactly kept up with the cloud revolution.

As a result, I believe we will see new unicorns emerging in the fields of transaction fraud prevention, mitigation and optimization in 2021. Successful platforms will leverage big data and machine learning with cloud infrastructure and APIs that were not available until now, and hold enormous promise. There are literally billions of dollars of “lost” money just waiting to be recovered and processed, and merchants are ready to share a piece of the gains with innovative startups delivering immediate value.”

 

Sarah Bateman – Senior Digital Consultant of Altus

 

Sarah Bateman

 

“Cyber security will be sharply in focus this year. With a speedy move to working from home for many FS staff, the FCA has reminded us that any security shortcuts must be made good: look out for breaches!

The growth in AI and ML within FS is expected to continue. Anecdotal evidence indicates that although in the UK the magnitude of AI use in production may not be high, the rate of growth is significant. Let’s hope the Bank of England will repeat their 2019 review of Machine Learning in UK so the growth can be measured.

Increased take-up of Open Banking Account Information Services indicates institutions are keen to make the most of access to this data, with many focusing on becoming the financial one-stop-shop for their customers.

Cloud deployments are the de facto standard for business applications. Features such as flexibility and solid cybersecurity will continue to be a strong pull through 2021 and beyond. Embracing the public cloud, will continue to enable small organisations to “punch above their tech-weight”, making available cutting-edge tech, such as Microsoft Synapse Analytics, to small FS organisations that previously could only dream of using.

Initially as a response to COVID we have seen a huge trend of move towards making the most of data. Organisations tapping into previously underutilised data. As a response, 2021 will be a year of the “so what?”, how do we make sense of this sea of data? There is significant investment by big techs in this area of predictive and prescriptive analytics.

The revolution in the speed organisations deliver change was the most prominent trend in 2020. An enormous shift in mind-set, a revolution that we all hope will roll into 2021 and beyond. Without the pressure of COVID can this be maintained?”

 

Alex Latham – CMO and Co-Founder of Chip

 

Alex Latham

 

“It goes without saying that 2020 was a challenging year for all the industries. Fintech was no exception, but while parts of the industry struggled to adapt to new challenges and customer needs, others have managed to go from strength to strength.

For instance, as spending slowed down, people became more focused on building up their savings and financial safety nets. This is something we saw first-hand as our user base doubled and the amounts put aside by savers increased by over 100%, making it our biggest year for growth to date. Other areas that have seen rapid growth include investments and mobile banking, which skyrocketed off the back of bank branch closures.

I would expect to see these sectors continuing on the same trajectory, with both the fintechs and the traditional financial institutions focusing on on-demand, hyper-personalised digital financial services.

In terms of broader trends, I would like to highlight democratisation, which I think will take centre stage this year. 2020 had dealt a huge blow to the big banks and their ability to adapt quickly and offer competitive financial products, and I think that 2021 will allow fintech companies like Chip to claim a larger portion of the personal finance market. Now more than ever, consumers are seeing that one engineer at a fintech company can build a product that will benefit them far more than what 20 suit-clad men and women from the City could sell them.”

 

 

For any questions, comments or features, please contact us directly.

 

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Nick Cousins – CEO of Exizent

 

Nick Cousins

 

“In 2021, we anticipate a push to expand the scope of open finance to a wider range of financial products including savings, investments, and pensions. This is likely to be driven by the financial industry itself, eager to avoid a repeat of Open Banking which was mandated and implemented at significant cost.

Largely pushed by the pandemic, where home working and other restrictions have accelerated the need for bespoke tech solutions, we foresee a move away from finding use cases for new technology and towards using and adapting proven modern fintech architectures to solve known problems. We also expect to see fintech to start focussing a lot more on the better use of aggregated data and not just aggregation as the solution.

For example, the current process for administering an estate relies heavily on access to accounts and transactional information of someone who has passed, and while the technology is there, the access and infrastructure is not. We expect to see progress towards the use of open finance in helping the bereaved manage the administration of an estate more easily, with better connections between the parties involved and easier access to consumer data. This is a core part of the Exizent mission for 2021.”

 

Siamac Rezaiezadeh – Head of Product Marketing at GoCardless

 

Siamac Rezaiezadeh

 

“Building on the tremendous growth we saw last year, 2021 will be an exciting time for paytech. Start-ups in this space can capitalise on great opportunities driven by the continued rise of the subscription economy and digital payments, and the possibilities presented by open banking as the technology matures.

With the country in another lockdown and the uncertainty of when the ‘physical’ world will open up, the pandemic continues to accelerate the consumer shift towards online purchasing. It has also fuelled the popularity of subscription-based business models. Businesses are turning to new ways to diversify their offering – not just to survive, but to thrive throughout these times and beyond – and the subscription economy will keep growing and expanding into new industries. For example, in 2020, GoCardless helped both Brompton Bike Hire and Bridgestone’s tyre service, MOBOX, realise their subscription offerings.

A key benefit of subscription services is the convenience for the user. However, this becomes immediately disrupted if a payment fails. Creating the best customer experience is vital, so we can expect to see an increased demand for tech solutions that automate the process to deliver a seamless payment experience.

2021 will be an interesting year for open banking. Up until now there has been a lot of excitement around it but the use cases have been limited; for example, account information service providers (AISP) enabling consumers to see all of their bank accounts in one platform. The technology is now mature enough for payment initiation service providers (PISP) to create something meaningful. We predict 2021 will be the year many open banking-related payment products come to market, kick-starting a major challenge to the dominance of cards.”

 

Colin Brown – CEO of the Arzya Group

 

Colin Brown - CEO of the Arzya Group

 

“Despite the many challenges it has created, Covid-19 also acted as a catalyst for innovation, agility and transformation across the fintech space. 

Fintech firms look set to continue driving the financial services sector forward in 2021. By developing engaging product interfaces and more streamlined user journeys, fintech companies can boost consumer confidence in the lending, money and debt management process.

With a large partner behind them, fintech firms can focus on hand-holding consumers through as friendly a journey as possible, and we expect to see an increased number of strategic partnerships forming in 2021, with big name brands looking to innovate and appeal to changing customer needs.

Last year for example, we noticed a sharp increase in the number of lenders looking to automate the management of payment plans and collection strategies, aiming to provide a more convenient and personalised service during lockdown. At Aryza, we’re already noticing much higher engagement rates where we’d previously have seen minimal levels and expect this trend to continue in 2021.

Prior to Covid, individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) success rates were starting to improve, with fintech playing a leading role in making the process easier and more accessible. According to a 2019 EY fintech report, the global adoption of fintech services has increased from 16 per cent in 2015 to 64 per cent in 2019 – strengthening the already compelling case for new technologies.

As we approach a year of further economic uncertainty, it’s completely understandable that those struggling financially may be reluctant to discuss their situation with a stranger and we already know that a higher proportion of consumers prefer to engage with lenders digitally – either from their phone, tablet or PC.”

 

 

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Matthew Williamson – VP of Global Financial Services at Mobiquity 

 

Matthew Williamson

 

“The acceleration of digital innovation last year sparked many sectors into action. As the transition from physical to digital continues, cyber fraud will continue to rise and it’s essential banks and financial institutions are prepared. Evidence from 2020 shows the need for greater data security and identity management to align with the societal shift to digital payments. Banks must take a human-centric approach to implementing a robust security and regulatory compliant framework to protect their customers.

Contactless behaviours have led to many positive benefits including increased convenience, reductions in waiting time and the protection of one’s own health and the health of those shielding from COVID-19.

With continued lockdowns across the world, remote working is firmly here to stay and with it the necessity to provide digital services which are easily accessible by all. Digital banking is continuing to provide access to millions unable to visit physical branches – presenting opportunities for all sectors to tap into the benefits of digital payments in 2021 and beyond.

My final prediction will be the continued importance of supporting societal challenges. For example, banks are already innovating new products and services to support those in debt, providing flexible lending options for customers affected by COVID-19. Meanwhile banks such as HSBC, are helping to improve the lives of homeless people by offering bank accounts. The Coronavirus pandemic has placed corporate social responsibility (CSR) centre stage, and we’ll see more corporations continue to innovate and collaborate in 2021 to create a positive impact across the world.”

 

James Klein – Head of Technology Sector and Partner at Shoosmiths

 

James Klein, Shoosmiths

 

“2021 will be a big year for fintech. Numerous fintech companies around the world have reached unicorn status in January and we expect transaction volume in the area to remain high – both from financial investors and corporates looking at mergers and acquisitions to gain a technological advantage.

Overseas interest in UK fintech companies has been growing and we suspect this will continue to be the case, but investors – from the UK and overseas – should be aware of the UK’s new national security bill which will introduce additional hurdles for transactions in this space – given the bill specifically targets deals in the fintech space as requiring disclosure and review. Increased adoption of blockchain – beyond Bitcoin – seems likely.”

 

Bryn Jones – Senior Associate at Shoosmiths

 

Bryn Jones

 

“As an example, NHS facilities announced earlier this month that they are using distributed ledger technology developed by UK firm Everyware and US blockchain organization Hedera Hashgraph to keep a tamper-proof digital record of temperature-sensitive vaccines and pick up on any irregularities in their storage.

We also see banking as a sector that is ripe for significant change. High-street incumbents and disrupters like Monzo and Starling are in an arms race to bring new products and services to customers which is fuelling innovation. In addition, new developments – like open banking – are likely to raise new opportunities – and new legal and commercial risks – that will need to be carefully managed.”

 

 

For any questions, comments or features, please contact us directly.

 

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Susan Ysona – VP of EMEA at Talkdesk 

 

Susan Ysona

 

“With the rise of challenger fintech brands and increasingly discernible consumers, the stakes have never been higher for financial services and insurance institutions to make a lasting impression and secure long-term customer loyalty. The rising popularity of digitally-native companies and mobile-first, always-on technologies is redefining consumer expectations. Fintech start-ups and long-established players alike will need to be at the forefront of a customer experience revolution to succeed in 2021.

As the pandemic has reduced in-person contact and access to branches, customers are primarily relying on contact centres and digital applications to service their needs, from applying to mortgages, opening new bank accounts or adding new insurance coverage. As a result, customers now expect these platforms to be both high tech and high touch.”

Talkdesk research showed that 63% of financial services customers felt that a single poor customer service experience would negatively impact their brand loyalty. In order to meet these rapidly changing consumer demands, fintech firms will be required to overcome the challenges of multiple legacy applications while implanting new digital touchpoints across the whole organisation to deliver a seamless customer experience.”

 

 

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