The health crisis and economic environment have shaken up the fintech industry. Some of the trends we saw at last year’s event have been placed on the back burner because firms are not only cutting costs but also are enhancing their focus on serving customers in a new way.
So while this year’s FinovateFall trends assessment isn’t a completely new set of ideas, it certainly doesn’t mirror our forecast from the beginning of the year. As you may have guessed, every trend at this year’s conference will be filtered through a COVID-19 lens.
Here is what you can expect to see:
By the end of 2020, every product and service must be accessible online. A solid digital customer experience has become table stakes. Because of this, at this year’s show, you can expect to hear the term “digital transformation” in every session.
There’s something almost comforting about seeing AI as a top trend once again this year. While much of the world, the economy, and our working environments have changed, AI still brings technological advancements to every sub-sector in fintech. And since most services must take place 100% digitally, companies need every improvement possible to maintain superior customer service.
Again, since most of our interactions must take place remotely, we have to re-think and re-invent many of the ways we used to do business. Everything from internal communication and collaboration to customer authentication to payments must now incorporate remote-friendly practices.
Fighting fast-tracked financial crime
While security technology was already a hot topic in the pre-COVID environment, it is even more so now. Now that many employees are working from home, hackers have taken advantage of wifi networks with weak security standards. Aggravating the situation, hackers have implemented new phishing attacks that prey on human emotion to gather sensitive information.
Like AI, this is another trend that the industry had on its radar in 2019. It has now, however, been heightened by the onset of the public health crisis. Now that consumers of all ages are accessing products and services remotely, financial services companies have had to not only fast-track digital transformation efforts but also create new initiatives to serve customers that are not digital natives.
The “as-a-service” trend has been around essentially since the dawn of fintech. However, the offerings are starting to mature now with the onset of open banking; the increased flexibility; and mutual benefits across banks, third parties, and end customers.
Because challenger banks were born in the digital realm, they were practically made to serve customers during a pandemic. In addition to their digital expertise, many of them offer products and services for consumers facing economic uncertainty. And investors have taken notice, challenger banks have been some of the top recipients of VC funds in 2020.
Because most people are dealing with the realities of a remote working environment and living situations, communication is extra challenging right now. Along with technologies that enable face-to-face conversations via video, many financial services companies are taking a second look at chatbots, their phone-based customer service, and other channels. In the end, we will not see a single communication channel come out on top as the winning one. Instead, we’ll see multiple winners as different consumer groups find the channel that suits their preferences.