Financial Technology and COVID-19

Financial technology, or fintech, is a subset of technological advancements that improve monetary systems. This can include everything from digital payments to peer-to-peer lending and even the emergence of cryptocurrency markets. It also refers to the use of data analytics to enhance risk assessment in banking and investing activities.

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is a vital tool to support and promote financial inclusion for all. Fintech can unbundle conventional financial services like mortgages, investments and business loans into individual offerings to allow consumers and businesses to bypass traditional routes to obtain these services. This not only increases access to financing, but it can make these products and services more tailored to their specific needs.

Some argue that fintech is a recent development, but the concept of using technology to streamline financial services has been around for decades. The first automated teller machines were introduced in the 1960s, and the use of computerized mainframes (and a Gordon Gecko sense of finance) took off during the 1980s as banks moved to online banking. Even the credit card, which predates ATMs, is an example of a financial technology innovation. Today, new innovations continue to grow at a rapid pace, particularly in the payments space. Several fintech companies are challenging established players, including PayPal, Square and Affirm, by being more agile than their counterparts and serving an underserved market. Increasingly, these startups are also taking advantage of big data and analytics to provide more personalized service.






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