Each week, The Fintech Times takes a look at the top stories in British fintech. In today’s roundup, we delve into multiple research studies to discover that challenger banks are less trusted by the self-employed in the Midlands, while cryptocurrency is leading to a north-south divide. We head back to school for edtech data and also look at the latest trends in payment behaviour.
Self-employed will drive drive economic recovery but ‘need a supportive bank’
Research conducted by Mettle, the NatWest-backed business account, estimates that small business owners, self-employed workers and side hustlers in the UK will contribute an estimated £125billion in turnover to the UK’s economic recovery in 2021.
According to Mettle, the research demonstrates how crucial it is for this group to be able to rely on their bank to help them easily navigate day-to-day processes.
Yet, more than half of those who use a traditional bank say they would want to know the benefits and drawbacks of using a challenger bank before taking the plunge. While 44 per cent would need to know how the banks protect their finances.
If you hail from the Midlands, the mistrust of challenger banks is at its highest. Half of those surveyed in the Midlands are concerned about financial risk, while 50 per cent say challenger banks are not as trustworthy as traditional banks.
Which ties in nicely with Mettle’s marketing message… that it has the agility and pace of a challenger bank while being trustworthy due to its incumbent backing.
Regional and gender divide over cryptocurrency
Londoners love a bit of cryptocurrency – having bought more of the digital asset than any other region in the UK, research has revealed. The survey of 2,000 Brits, commissioned by money app Ziglu, found that three in 10 Londoners have already snapped up cryptocurrency.
So far, only seven per cent of Scottish people have invested in cryptocurrency but more than a third are curious about doing so. However, it’s a no from those living in East Anglia, Wales and the South East – where more than half in each region declaring that they would never buy cryptocurrency.
The survey also revealed a gender divide on the reasons for buying crypto. Men mainly bought crypto to make money on it (53 per cent) while women chose to invest after hearing positive feedback about it (45 per cent).
Meanwhile, separate research from financial comparison site finder.com identifies that 10 million people in the UK have now invested in at least one cryptocurrency since Bitcoin was created in 2008.
The most popular reason why people have already bought, or intend to buy, cryptocurrency in this study is that they believe it is going to be very influential in the future (23 per cent).
In addition, 21 per cent of Brits also suggested the potential for higher returns as a reason they bought crypto. Plus, the fact it was more accessible thanks to dedicated investing platforms.
Research into edtech shows focus on the technology
Attention at the back! Less than a tenth of job vacancies within UK edtech companies is within an academic remit, according to recruiter Robert Walters and data provider Vacancysoft. Instead, new hires are focussed around competitive, growth and sales opportunities, such as technology, marketing and sales/go-to-market.
Around 11 million school-aged children have undertaken their education remotely during the pandemic and experts predict a move towards hybrid classrooms with the help of optimised learning platforms.
However, the study also warns that a lack of government funding is leaving UK firms competing for global funding rounds. China dominates the top five ranking – with Beijing taking the top spot and Shanghai in third, while San Francisco and Bangalore come in second and fourth.
Last year, London-based edtech companies raised a total of $124million in VC investment, ahead of Paris with $92million and Berlin’s $67million.
Give us instant payments and loyalty schemes, Brits say
More than half of UK consumers say that 75 per cent of their payments are now contactless, while an increasing amount of people care about instant payments and rewards. That’s according to the 2021 edition of daVinci Payments‘ Future of Payments UK study.
When asked if respondents would prefer to receive a virtual card delivered or a physical card mailed to their home, 52 per cent prefer to receive an instant virtual card.
New, non-traditional payments are becoming a mainstay, making it imperative for businesses to embrace new payment innovations to meet consumers’ demand and need for instant payments.
Eighty-six per cent of respondents said a loyalty programme is an important factor in making their purchasing decisions. While 40 per cent reported participating in four or more loyalty programmes.
Payment app usage also continues to rise in popularity; the payment preference of choice for 38 per cent of consumers. More than 50 per cent have received payments via payment apps and more than 20 per cent via mobile wallets in the last six months.
Brits prefer monthly to annual subscriptions
Insurance app Cuvva has grilled 2,000 Brits about subscription services. It discovered that two thirds prefer monthly subscription over a cheaper annual fee and one in five Brits pay for more than five subscription services.
Meanwhile, 43 per cent are likely to subscribe to new subscription services on top of the ones they currently have. And men are twice as likely to have started using more financial services subscriptions since the onset of the pandemic than women.
When it comes to reasons why Brits use subscriptions, convenience tops the list followed by freedom of choice and flexibility. The study also suggests that two-thirds would feel comfortable paying for financial services, such as insurance, in a form of a monthly subscription.
“Locking people into annual contracts is a thing of the past and we will continue to see a sharp rise in monthly subscription services that offer people a wider pool of choice and control.”