The fintech industry experienced strong growth in 2017. More startups were acquired, Bitcoin rose in value, and consumers gained access to more services.
The financial revolution shows no signs of stopping. It’s reasonable to expect that 2018 will be yet another big year for fintech. Those who wish to follow the industry’s development should pay attention to the following key trends in the coming months:
Artificial Intelligence Will Play a Bigger Role
Artificial intelligence isn’t science fiction anymore. The technology is rapidly developing, and it won’t be long before it plays a major role in the fintech industry.
Specifically, many experts predict that AI-based investing will soon be a popular trend. While it’s unlikely that brokers will need to worry about being completely replaced by robots anytime soon, AI is fast approaching the point where it will be able to reliably assess data and identify strong investment prospects. Some believe it has already reached that point.
AI financial advisors will also become more commonplace in the near future. Again, human financial advisors will still have jobs. Since they generally tend to work with high-net-worth clients, most customers who would benefit from their services simply can’t afford them. AI will allow more people to obtain sound financial advice. This is yet another example of fintech expanding people’s access to financial services.
In 2018, we can expect to see more fintech startups incorporating AI into their products. While the aforementioned applications will take some time to catch on, this year will very likely see a rise in AI-based fintech services.
Augmented Reality to Become More Widespread
Augmented reality tech went mainstream due to the success of apps such as Pokemon Go! and Snapchat. However, gaming and social media are far from the only industries that this technology will revolutionize.
AR products superimpose virtual elements over the real world. Typically, this is undertaken via a mobile device screen. However, as wearable headsets continue to improve, developers will likely create AR apps for them, as well.
This technology, like AI, has many potential applications in fintech. For instance, imagine pointing your phone’s camera at an item in a store and immediately having your account balance, credit information, and other relevant data displayed on the screen.
Consumers won’t be the only ones to benefit from AR’s expanded role in fintech. Investment bankers, for instance, must pore through large sets of data in the course of their day-to-day work. They need tools to visualize that data efficiently. AR can transform a banker’s surroundings, superimposing the data over the real world so bankers can more easily review and evaluate it.
Customers Will Have Greater Access to Banking Services
For years, when banks strategized to offer a greater degree of convenience to customers, proximity to a branch was the highest priority. The closer that customers were to a bank, then the easier it would be for them to take advantage of its services.
However, fintech has already substantially benefited unbanked and underbanked individuals by allowing them to use banking services regardless of how close their homes are to the bank. Visiting a physical branch to conduct any sort of banking transactions is becoming far less necessary for customers than it once was.
For this reason, banks are starting to adjust their strategies. Proximity to a branch will no longer be the most important factor to consider when trying to expand access to services. Instead, banks are starting to focus on making it easier for customers to start, access, and manage their accounts digitally. This factor is now much more important.
Financial Services to Become More Personalized
Fintech products provide banks and financial professionals with the opportunity to more effectively tailor their services to customers’ needs and preferences. By recording and assessing data related to users’ behavior, they can find out what types of services a given customer will take advantage of most often and what kinds they’ll be less likely to use.
Chatbots will also enable bank services to become more personalized. This is another way in which AI is set to transform fintech. Chatbots are becoming more sophisticated. Soon, interacting with one will be similar to communicating with an actual human.
By incorporating chatbots into their apps, fintech companies and banks can learn exactly what kinds of questions customers have and make it easier for them to use the services in which they’re most interested. Now, when you open an app, you must access a given feature via the same process as everyone else. In the near future, more apps will feature chatbots instead of traditional interfaces, allowing customers to request specific features or services that they wish to use right away.
As with any technological revolution, the odds are good that there are some coming fintech trends that no one has predicted yet. With that said, these examples illustrate what types of developments we can expect in the near future. The year 2018 is expected to be an important one for the fintech revolution.