What is fintech?

Short for “financial technology”, it’s a catch-all term for any technology that’s used to augment, streamline, digitize or disrupt traditional financial services. Fintech’s part of the worldwide innovation boom. It’s the future of financial services.

In depth, Fintech refers to software, algorithms and applications for both computer- and mobile-based tools. In some cases, it includes hardware, too – like smart, connected piggy banks or virtual reality (VR) trading platforms. Fintech platforms enable run-of-the-mill tasks like depositing checks, moving money among accounts, paying bills or applying for financial aid. They also comprise technically intricate concepts like peer-to-peer lending or crypto exchanges.

Fintech branches off into a number of more granular industries: wealthtech (apps like Wealthsimple, an online investment management service), investtech (like Acorns, which lets users round purchases up to the nearest dollar, investing the change in a diversified portfolio) and insurtech (such as Next Insurance, a mobile-first carrier). It has use cases across nearly every industry, geographical market and business model

Businesses rely upon fintech for payments processing, e-commerce transactions, accounting and, more recently, seeking assistance with government assistance programs like the Payroll Protection Program (PPP). In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more businesses are turning to fintech to enable features like contactless payments or other tech-fueled transactions.

Australian Fintech

With over 800 fintech companies based in all Australian State and Territory capitals, Australia has one of the world’s most exciting and dynamic fintech industries. The majority of Australian fintech companies are founded or led by experienced financial services professionals, who are passionate about finding new ways to deliver financial services to the benefit of customers. They offer a diverse range of product offerings for businesses and retail consumers internationally. Australian fintech firms are also keen to explore opportunities to grow into international markets, including through forming partnerships with overseas fintechs.

By Lucy Ng

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