You may not be familiar with the term “fintech,” but you’ve almost certainly been introduced to financial technology’s applications. In fact, you’ve probably been using fintech without even knowing it. Here are a few times you’ve been enjoying the seamless financial experiences fintech enables and how they are poised to keep improving your life.
1. PAYING WITHOUT A WALLET.
You’re probably using ‘mobile wallets,’ applications that enable you to conveniently complete a transaction simply by tapping your phone on a payment terminal. But you may not have stopped to think about how much easier this sort of mobile payment technology makes your life. You can pick up a post-workout protein shake with your phone rather than having to tote your wallet to the gym or easily settle all of your monthly utility bills from your phone while you’re waiting in line for a coffee. Smart digital wallets like the Citi Pay Masterpass can even help you check out online without sharing your account info with merchants, giving you an extra layer of confidence and convenience as you shop online. As mobile payments keep improving, you may find yourself reaching for your wallet less and less.
2. MOVING MONEY WITH EASE.
Just as fintech is revolutionizing the way we pay for things, it’s also making it much easier to move our money. According to one research service’s estimates, mobile payment volume in the United States may top $500 billion by 2020, via applications like mobile wallets and the peer-to-peer payment apps you’ve probably used to split a dinner check with your friends or expenses with your roommates. Moving money feels simpler than ever before.
Fintech is great for transferring money to friends, but it has also simplified moving funds to support brilliant ideas. Having a great concept is only half the battle for inventors who want to utilize crowdfunding. They’ve also got to find a convenient, scalable way to process payments from thousands of backers. If you’ve ever chipped in for a cool gadget that hasn’t been mass produced yet or helped fund a friend’s passion project through online donations, you’ve been helping others’ dreams come true via fintech. And you’re not alone. According to one research study, crowdfunding raised $16.2 billion around the world in 2014, and it has persisted as an important corner of the fintech world.
3. INVESTING ON YOUR OWN TERMS.
Whatever your investment needs, there is probably a fintech app that can help you. A whole new universe of investment apps and startups are making it easier for first-time investors and experienced traders alike by helping them build portfolios that work with their budget and lifestyle.
Some apps promote the micro-investment route, which is essentially the practice of investing small amounts of money regularly: starting with a dollar or five, and building your way up. Other apps round up your latest purchase – your morning latte, a couple of donuts – to the closest dollar and with your permission automatically channel the change to your micro-investment portfolio. Other investment apps may allow you to trade for free, unlike other firms which can charge you a fee for each transaction, or utilize artificial intelligence to automatically optimize the asset mix in your portfolio.
4. KEEPING TABS ON YOUR MONEY.
Budgeting, saving, making sure you live within your means—in another age, that meant hoarding your receipts and collecting your bank statements and sitting down with a calculator. But now, more than ever, taking stock of your personal financial health means logging into a budgeting site or pulling up an app that tells you how you’re doing this month. Fintech apps can do everything from connect you to educational resources, link your credit card to your checking account to make it easier to see your whole financial picture, simplify moving your money between accounts, or give you practical tips. The next time you pull up your budgeting app, you won’t just be making responsible decisions—you’ll know you’re using fintech.
5. PROTECTING YOURSELF AND YOUR BELONGINGS.
Insurance is such a rapidly growing offshoot of fintech that it’s even got its own cool shorthand: insurtech. The insurance industry is ripe for innovation, and some startups are rising to the challenge. Insurtech companies use technology to both amp up distribution and reach under-served customers, and to analyze data to make smarter underwriting decisions.
From health insurers that enroll patients digitally to car insurance that allows drivers to pay by the mile, fintech is helping make the insurance world more responsive to users’ needs. More people use insurtech than they probably realize—according to an industry report published in September, nearly a third of customers rely on insurtech solutions, whether exclusively or in combination with a traditional company. And with reports saying insurtech is currently among the most promising fintech fields, its presence in our lives may still be set to grow.
As fintech keeps improving, its possibilities and potential keep growing. To learn more about how Citi is facilitating easier financial experiences through brilliant fintech, visit https://sandbox.developerhub.citi.com/.