3 Things Plaid Found in its Fintech Study


Open finance network Plaid commissioned a survey from Harris Poll earlier this year to provide insights and analysis on fintech’s consumer impact in the U.S. and U.K. This fall, Plaid published a report based on the survey that detailed three overarching conclusions about the state of fintech.

Here’s a look at each of the findings below, along with what they mean for banks and fintechs in 2022.

Users’ switch to digital is permanent

Plaid’s survey found that for about half of the respondents using technology to manage finances is a habit. In fact, 58% said that they, “can’t live without using technology to manage their finances.”

Additionally, almost 70% of survey respondents said they use technology “as much as possible” to manage their money due to the pandemic. And it appears that this trend isn’t isolated to pandemic times. The study found that between 80% and 90% of respondents who used fintech in the past year plan to use it the same amount or more in the future.

Fintech spans demographics

According to the answers from respondents in Plaid’s survey, fintech is helping to level the playing field of financial management. Respondents across racial lines and generational divides are turning to technology to help them not only manage their finances, but also get further ahead.

For example, 37% of Black respondents and 31% of Hispanic respondents use online-only banking services to minimize fees they may incur with accounts. Additionally, 32% of Hispanic respondents use earned wage access tools to receive their pay early and avoid payday loans. In addition to offering access to tools, fintech also enhances financial education. Plaid’s study found that 28% of Black respondents and 24% of Hispanic respondents didn’t track their credit scores at all before they started using fintech.

The survey indicated that the youngest generation surveyed (Gen Z) and the oldest generation surveyed (Baby Boomers) have been the most impacted by fintech. More than 70% of Gen Z respondents said that fintech helps them build better financial habits. When it comes to Baby Boomers, almost 70% of them reported that they feel confident using technology to manage their finances. This figure is up 16% from the year prior.

Fintech is becoming part of every day life

Perhaps the most noteworthy statistic in Plaid’s survey is that almost half (48%) of Americans use fintech on a daily basis. This figure is up 30% from the year prior, when 37% of respondents said they use it daily.

Interestingly, the survey indicates that this usage is more heavily weighted toward positive aspects of financial management, such as budgeting and investing, versus negative ones, such as billpay. In its analysis, Plaid suggests this is because the negative aspects are often automated.

In its conclusion, Plaid indicates that fintech is no longer separate from traditional financial institutions. Rather, because of embedded finance, fintech is simply the new way of conducting finances digitally.

Looking ahead

What do these shifts mean for banks and fintechs in 2022? In short, they indicate that there’s no going back on the road to digital. Even some of the most reluctant user groups have switched to digital and their usage is only increasing. The findings also indicate that the sector is poised for even more growth. The increase in demand, combined with new capabilities brought forth by enabling technologies, ultimately means that there will be new opportunities to serve users in new ways in the years to come.

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