The continued fallout from 2016’s global political upheavals means that making any kind of predictions for the coming year is somewhat, well, unpredictable. One thing’s for sure, though – the next 12 months are going to be a thrilling ride for FinTech…
Instant mobile-to-mobile payments are about to go global
Smartphone sales are reaching saturation point in developed markets, but the explosive rise of the always-on generation shows no signs of slowing down in emerging and developing nations: according to Ericsson’s latest Mobility Report, there’ll be 6.8 billion smartphone subscriptions across the world by 2022, compared to 3.9 billion at the end of 2016. Domestic millennial-focused payment apps such as Venmo in the US have already enjoyed huge success and sending money mobile-to-mobile around the world, instantly and at low cost, is set to hit the big time in 2017.
Customer service chat bots are growing up fast
Nobody likes sitting on the end of the phone waiting for customer services to finally pick up, but soon the idea that we need to call our bank to get things done will seem as old-fashioned as writing a cheque. Thanks to advances in artificial intelligence, the vast majority of queries can now be answered quickly and efficiently via a chat bot – Azimo’s bot is growing up faster than your average teenager and will soon be able to help customers with more targeted FAQ support and faster responses to queries – wherever they are and whatever language they speak.
Machine learning is making financial services a safer place
Overall, 2016 was another bad year for banking fines with multi-million – and in some cases multi-billion – dollar penalties for companies that didn’t follow the rules. As a result, compliance has now become one of the biggest growth areas in financial services, with machine learning algorithms increasingly being applied to seek out and analyse trends and risks to keep us all safe by scanning for potential fraud using behavioural signals and rich payments data. Better for companies and better for the customers they serve.
Political risk – a journey into the unknown
It’s clear that we’re sailing into uncharted territory in 2017, and there’s an underlying fear that we’re witnessing an era of free trade and globalisation being replaced by isolationism. In the US, Donald Trump’s first month in charge has seen everything from travel bans to tetchy phone calls with fellow world leaders. In the UK, the main worry is that a badly-handled Brexit could potentially have a hugely negative impact on our technology and FinTech sectors. We’re still a global FinTech superpower, but post-referendum investment is down and strong political leadership is required. Otherwise, talent and capital will simply relocate abroad and London will tumble down the list of attractive places to start a business.
Dora Ziambra will speak on a panel discussion on the topic new approaches & emerging markets in FinTech at DTS on February 16 at 10:20am.