Fintech trends – What to watch out for in 2018
Penetration rate of mobile phones in Africa is high across most of the continent. This, coupled with low penetration rates when it comes to traditional banking services, makes Africa a breeding ground for fintech innovation. It may be surprising to some that the continent is actually miles ahead of many other developing – and even some fully developed – markets.
According to the 2017 Finnovating for Africa report, there are 301 fintech start-ups across Africa and South Africa is home to about a third of these. If you’re a fintech business looking to keep apace with the latest trends and happenings in the industry, keep an eye on these four trends:
A decentralised digital ledger, the value of blockchain is that no single entity holds the keys to the data, making it impossible change the ledger once data has been recorded. While blockchain has already disrupted the global finance market, it has the potential to make further waves. According to a 2017 PwC report, 20% of finance businesses will incorporate blockchain by 2020 and it is expected to become more mainstream within the financial industry in the very near future.
#2 Next gen chat bots
More and more banks are seeing the value of adopting chatbots for supporting customer interactions. And in 2018, we can only expect more chatbots to be deployed with improved quality of interactions, greater accuracy and speed of responses.
#3 From start-ups to real businesses
Historically, the fintech market has been made up of small start-ups looking to innovate swiftly and capture the public’s imagination. Those days may not be over but larger, more established firms are increasingly adapting to and embracing these new technologies. While these bigger organisations generally have more resources and more expertise, smaller start-ups are often more “in touch” with the public.
2018 is set to be the year of automated financial decisions and actions. It’s out with manual processes and in with platforms and apps that help people live a more automated financial life. Similarly, as banks become more automated, they will develop smarter workflows that prevent bottlenecks in their operations and improve process efficiencies.
It would be remise of us to not mention cybersecurity. While the fintech space may present a world of opportunities, it also opens business up to a world of risks. Security breaches are on the up and the sinister characters in question are becoming increasingly sophisticated. It’s important for the fintech space to ensure that they’re adequately equipped to mitigate risks and develop strategies that successfully combat cyber threats.
The fintech space is heavily rooted in technology and with the technology space constantly changing, fintech businesses need to adapt just as fast. The winners will be those that stay ahead of the curve and find the perfect mix of innovative thinking and practical application.
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