Fintech has gone from strength to strength this year. The sector has continued to rapidly evolve with traditional methods of banking now being replaced with digital solutions. So could 2023 welcome the industry’s most dynamic innovations yet? Here we prepare to step into a whole new world of fintech experiences.
Predicting this future is Intergiro, a Swedish EMI providing a financial toolkit for fintech innovation.
Its predictions are derived from analysis of Google search trends alongside the company’s own insight.
From tribe-based banking to embedded finance, here’s what the company expects to happen in the year ahead.
Buy now pay later 2.0
Despite concerns about how the service might impact credit scores and personal debt, buy now pay later (BNPL) has definitely emerged as one of the defining trends of the fintech industry.
The service allows customers to split their payments at the checkout into typically interest-free instalments paid back over a fixed-term repayment plan – three months, six months etc.
BNPL is popular with high-value purchases, and providers such as Klarna have even branched out of purely digital services into physical credit cards, something it announced this year.
The physical card enables customers to use the service when shopping in real life, splitting their repayments more frequently.
Intergiro says that in 2023, although it is expected to further expand, BNPL will be increasingly regulated in the UK.
The government will bring legislation into effect requiring lenders to carry out affordability checks before approving loans.
The financial promotion rules for BNPL are also set to change to ensure advertisements are clear and do not mislead consumers.
Searches for the service have increased by 130 per cent in the last five years, reaching its annual peak every December since 2017.
Intergiro predicts that the use of virtual cards will continue to surge in 2023.
Its research indicates that since 2017, searches for the term ‘virtual card’ have increased 216 per cent, and are currently at their peak.
But how are virtual cards being used by businesses?
According to Nick Root, the company’s CEO, their sustained popularity is due to their ability to offer “more robust security measures, helping eliminate misuse from hackers and fraudsters.”
“They…reinvent the way companies handle employee business expenses,” continues Root.
“Every employee has their own unique card, which means anyone can easily see who is spending what.
“Funds can also be assigned to team budgets and purchases can even be limited so that nobody spends more than what’s allocated to them.”
Searches for embedded finance have increased by 488 per cent since 2017, an interest that will see the technology’s growth into next year; the company says.
Its success will be predominantly down to distribution, trust and improved user experience.
Searches for banking as a service (BaaS) increased 176 per cent during the same period.
BaaS defines an ecosystem in which licensed financial institutions offer non-banking companies access to their services, typically through the use of APIs.
BaaS enables clients to embed financial services into their own products or build completely new financial services from scratch.
Use cases vary from virtual card issuing, creating in-app payment methods and building a neobank, to setting up traditional card programmes, white-label payment processing or embedding multi-currency IBAN accounts.
“The emergence of API-led banking services means that distribution is no longer an issue,” continues Root.
“That layer of friction has now been removed, with any digital company being able to offer a financial service without the headache and complexity that offering financial services used to bring.”
Cryptocurrency will become an everyday way to pay
In 2023, the company expects to see a growing number of financial institutions accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment.
Mastercard recently announced it is keen to start rolling out plans to make crypto an ‘everyday way to pay.’
Acting as a bridge between crypto trading platform Paxos (used by PayPal) and major banks, Mastercard will handle the major roadblocks, including regulatory compliance and finance.
Google recently announced a partnership with Coinbase, allowing customers to pay for some cloud services with cryptocurrency in early 2023.
“As more and more people invest in cryptocurrency, businesses are starting to adopt it as a form of payment,” explains Root.
With searches for ‘pay with crypto’ increasing by 136 per cent since 2017, Root predicts that more banks and financial institutions will be following in the footsteps of the likes of Google and Mastercard.
The Internet of Things is making waves in the fintech sector, allowing consumers to pay for goods and services with wearable technology.
The Apple watch is a clear example of this, showcasing an upward trend in 2022.
Smart rings are another example, with related searches increasing by 180 per cent globally.
The company sees wearables as a defining feature of 2023, and a trend that will continue to grow.
It predicts that fintechs will increasingly use these devices to gather insights into their customers.
Despite the term being coined in 2008, regtech-related searches have increased by 184 per since 2017.
Grand View Research predicts a 52 per cent growth in the technology market by 2025, giving it a value of $55.28billion.
The rise in digital products means there is an increased risk of data breaches, cyber hacks and money laundering; hence the necessity for regtech into the coming year.
Intergiro says that artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to drive infrastructure decisions in the fintech sector.
Over the last five years, searches for ‘AI in banking’ increased by 104 per cent globally.
The company predicts that chatbots specifically will become more sophisticated and could soon be the future of fintech customer service.
Studies from Juniper Research imply that successful banking-related chatbot interactions will grow by 3,150 per cent between 2019 and 2023; saving banks 826 million hours of work.
‘Digital tribe’ describes a digitally-connected community that shares a common interest.
In 2023, Intergiro predicts more businesses will engage with online tribes as a way to form deeper connections with consumers.
It anticipates more businesses launching their own financial services centred around the tribes they are connected with.
“In the past, people from diverse communities have been uncomfortable with legacy banks because they have not been represented, don’t feel empathised with, and aren’t open to communication,” added Root.
“In this new era, banks need to be more authentic and receptive to communication. People from these communities will soon be looking for a bank that gives them a sense of representation and openness.”