The founders of digital money transfer company Azimo have pulled together a few of their key trends and predictions for 2016.
Technology will change our relationship with money
Next year we’ll see a real shift in power from banks and financial heavyweights back to the consumer. We’ll finally start seeing an end to the toxic mix of hidden charges, rip-off exchange rates, unhelpful customer service and little choice for the consumers. From new people-focused, digital-only banks, like Tandem and Atom, to mobile payment apps like Zapp, these new services will give people more control, all of the time. Technology is democratising financial services, and it will force existing incumbent banks and financial services firms, to up their game in 2016.
Bitcoin/blockchain strategy tops the ‘must-have’ list
Five years ago every business needed a ‘mobile strategy’ and ten years before that it was a ‘web strategy’. Next year every financial services firm – consumer or institutional – will need bitcoin/blockchain strategy. Government and regulatory acceptance will rise following the EU ‘VAT exempt’ and US ‘commoditisation’ rulings. While it is unlikely to have a massive impact on core business processes next year or even the year after – everyone needs to start building a plan, as like every major tech revolution, when the change comes the game will change completely.
Smartphones will accelerate financial inclusion
When we look at the European refugee crisis, the number one item people took with them was a smartphone: to stay connected with family on social media and messaging services, to use maps and GPS services or manage money far from home. Next year we will see the $30-$50 android handset. That coupled with 2 billion unbanked adults in the world, means that mobile banking will rapidly replace branches and fast-track financial inclusion in an unprecedented way. Along the way digital access will improve education and put the next billion customers on grid. That’s a reasons to be excited about the coming year.
Mobile 3.0 Realised
By being able to pay for products and services from your mobile phone, we’ll see faster checkout lines, a reduction in transaction costs, and a renewed focus on customer service over handling cash. Apple Pay and Zapp have started to help make that a reality this year, but in 2016, the next phase of mobile payments –mobile 3.0. – will finally start to become the norm. It’s not only about payments innovation, it’s allowing consumers to do the things they want, when they want – whether that’s paying for groceries if they’ve left their wallet at home, or sending money to loved ones overseas.
Tech for good, not for kicks
The European refugee crisis sparked a discussion around tech industry focusing too much on resolving first world problems, rather than responding quickly to crisis. The rallying cry was answered with several start-ups and initiatives emerging like GeeCycle and Techfugees. Next year, the bright spots in the tech world won’t be the latest drone or supped-up smartphone, it will be a solution to everyday needs of normal people. Airbnb for the homeless?
Women of (Fin) tech uprising
Every fintech conference I go to, the same limited pool of women are present. While it’s great to see them being centre stage, but the general consensus is that it’s still not enough. It’s proven that women-run companies, specifically tech, are more capital efficient and bring in a 35 percent higher return on investment. With fintech now a multi-billion dollar industry, driven largely out of the UK in the past year, I predict we’ll start to see more women rising up in the industry, sitting at the leaders table and mentoring the next generation of women and men who appreciate diversity.
What would our industry look like then?
[author title=”Marta Krupinska & Michael Kent” image=”http://thefintechtimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/azimo.jpg”]
Azimo is a London-based digital money transfer service, changing the way people send money around the world. Honest, transparent and social, Azimo is the cheapest and easiest way to send money to over 190 countries across the world, from any internet connected device.