Milan Ganatra is a Serial Entrepreneur as well as Co-founder & CEO, 1 SilverBullet. A first-generation entrepreneur, Milan has carved a niche for himself in custody technologies, leading the field with his various ventures. Former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Co-Founder at Miles Software, Milan is now closely involved in his multiple ventures in the fintech space that include 1 Silver Bullet, Financepeer & Finalyca.
Fintech services are driving the new-age financial economy by leveraging the best qualities of tech and traditional finance systems.
We hear of the word ‘disruption’ being used far too many times in the context of digital technologies permeating into our lives. However, when it comes to fintech, its usage couldn’t be more apt. The fintech industry is a prototypical example of disruption; the pace of innovation and statistics prove so. India is currently home to 2,000 fintech companies and as per a report by the Boston Consulting Group, by 2025, the country’s fintech sector will be valued between $150-160 billion.
Technology has obviously been one of the key drivers for growth in fintech’s exponential growth. Innovations such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, machine learning, IoT, cloud computing and much more have enabled the fintech industry to offer more hyper personalised and hassle-free services.
The Synergy of Finance and Technology
After the global financial crisis of 2008, big tech companies were seen as wary of dabbling in finance. However, both the sectors have now come a long way and some of the biggest companies today are all products of a unique blend of tech and finance. It is also important to note that there is a significant blurring of lines between technology and finance. Companies like Google and Apple were primarily tech companies that have now stepped into the financial services space. This increasing merger is a clear indication that for financial services companies to be successful, they have to wear the hat of a tech company as well.
Below are the few ways in which tech and financial services have come to complement each other.
This has been one of the most prominent upsides of fintech. ML and AI technology have allowed for the use of algorithms to create robo advisors in the financial space. This has led to a vast gamut of services such as investment advisory, wealth management and tax computation to be offered via online platforms. And while people may be reminiscing over the loss of a personal finance manager, it has led to greater accessibility for those who couldn’t afford exorbitant fees for such services. The doors of financial advisory and other services have thus opened up for a whole new category of young millennials who’re less wealthy but keen building wealth.
Technology has also meant that traditional areas such as insurance are overhauled by customers having the power to choose and compare. Online insurance buying has meant greater access to information and comparative analysis for customers buying insurance. And fully digital D2C insurance companies provide more customisation and better pricing for consumers.
Better use of data
Financial companies are increasingly looking towards technologies such as smart analytics in order to improve their customer service. Digital tech now allows for better data mining and enhanced insights into customer requirements. It also allows for companies to move away from traditional methods of, say calculating credit scores and look for more data points that can determine a customer’s ability to pay back. For example, a straightforward credit rating agency score might not reflect everything about a customer; hence, several lenders are now relying on behavioural or soft data to gauge creditworthiness. Examples of this would be to analyse a potential borrower’s shopping habits and travel history through their banking, credit card, social media activity. Such new parameters not only add more levels of security but also include first time borrowers and other middle-income groups who might not meet traditional credit score criteria.
Enhanced customer experience
Technology has almost always looked at making the lives of companies easier; however fintech companies have had a different approach all along. They start by identifying customer problems and then move on to solving them by building new digital tools. This customer-centric approach allows most fintechs to create thriving business models that actually impact the lives of consumers in a positive way. Chatbots and virtual assistants are one of the prime examples of this; better customer engagement is another. Machine learning technology can help banks to selectively target their customers with offers, schemes etc. This can help them to not lose the essence of customer engagement by bombarding customers with too many offers. The decisions about whom to target are based on analysing customers’ likes and dislikes and extracting valuable insights from data gathered.
This sector witnessed a meteoric rise during the pandemic as it allowed for hassle free payments and transactions at a time when it was most needed. The online payments industry has felt the biggest impact of this merging on financial services and technology. And judging by the volume of transactions and number of providers such as Paytm, Whatsapp Pay, Google Pay and many more, fintechs offering such facilities are here to stay even after the pandemic abates.
Technology-driven transformation in financial institutions was already underway; the pandemic just acted as a catalyst and sped up tech adoption. As more and more customers flock to digital channels and remote collaborations become a way of life, fintech companies will play an even larger role in the world.