We’re more than halfway through the year, and before you know it, we’ll be publishing trends predictions for 2023. However, a lot can happen over the course of five months, so we’ve decided to examine what to look for and what you can expect in fintech between now and the new year.
Beginning the era of “neo super apps”
Over the past year, there has been much debate on whether or not the U.S. and Europe will ever have a super app. Plaid CEO Zach Perret takes a different angle on this. He is expecting “neo super apps” to rise in popularity.
“Within lending, brokerage, and banking, super apps will emerge, adding every bit of functionality within financial services. Over time, they’ll actually be able to add in things that are above and beyond financial services,” said Perret in a Plaid report.
Accelerating M&A activity
It’s no secret that fintech funding is down, especially in later stage deals. Because of this, some fintechs have been driven to sell sooner than they had hoped. As for acquirers, many are looking to cash in on the “neo super app” trend by adding to their firm’s expertise, bundling multiple services into a single offering. In the first half of the year, we have seen an increase in M&A activity over 2019 levels, and we expect that to continue into the second half of the year.
Ramping up a focus on ESG
Fintech companies and traditional financial institutions alike have sharpened their focus on ESG initiatives in the past couple of years. And while climate change may be enough of a reason for firms to implement new ESG practices, the SEC is giving laggards an incentive to step up their game. The commission recently proposed amendments to rules and reporting forms to promote consistent, comparable, and reliable information for investors concerning funds’ and advisers’ incorporation of ESG factors.
Increasing solutions surrounding consumer credit
After dipping in 2020, Americans’ credit usage is now on the rise. Inflation, and especially the increase in costs of everyday expenses such as housing and gas, is prompting higher credit usage while consumers iron out their budgets and adjust their lifestyles to fit the extra expenses.
Dwindling conversation around digital transformation
We have finally arrived at the moment when digital offerings have become the rule, not the exception. While we can still expect to hear the phrase “digital transformation,” it is becoming less and less common.
More discussion around Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs)
The progress toward CBDCs has been slow, but steady. Currently, 10 countries have fully launched a digital currency and more than 105 countries are exploring them. Just two years ago, only 35 countries were considering a CBDC. This digital currency race will only become more heated as more countries seek to be among the first to offer a CBDC.
Growing competition in alternative business payments solutions
After launching just five years ago, Brex has quickly risen to become one of the most successful fintechs, boasting a valuation of $12.3 billion. The startup is a super app for businesses, offering companies credit cards and cash management solutions.
At three years old, Brex’s competitor Ramp isn’t too far behind. The company is valued at $8.1 billion. Clearly, these companies are filling a need for businesses that has not previously been met. We can expect others to follow their footsteps to cash in on the gold rush.
BNPL takes a backseat
It’s no secret that BNPL payment schemes are causing cash flow difficulties for younger, less financially savvy consumers. Many are finding it difficult to keep up with the repayment obligations. This, combined with a lack of regulatory oversight, is tarnishing BNPL’s reputation.
We can expect to see a slowdown in BNPL newcomers, though I do think we’ll still see more large firms add BNPL schemes to their existing offerings.
Subsiding talent acquisition
A year ago, the workforce shortage was taking its toll on the fintech industry and we were discussing strategies to acquire new employees. After the economic sedation started this spring, however, this discussion has slowed. Startups have started to worry about burn rate and corporations have shifted their focus to their bottomline, which has already resulted in layoffs. With VC funding down, we can expect to see a continuation of this decline in the next five months.
These days companies can fill holes in their offerings by purchasing just about anything as a service, including ESG-investing-as-a-service, credit-cards-as-a-service, accounting-data-as-a-service, and more. As banks, startups, financial services, and even non-financial players seek to build up their customer base and play into the “neo super apps” trend Perret discussed, we can expect to see even more companies take the “-as-a-service” model to increase their customer base.