Fintech vs. traditional banking: first “round”
Mike Tyson used to say that “everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” The Fintech revolution, spurred on by the 2008 crisis and the global pandemic of Covid-19, is shaking the pillars of traditional banking and forcing a paradigm shift in the world of finance. We analyse the entry of these new players into a sector of the economy that until recently seemed immutable.
The birth and popularity of e-commerce were followed by the development of payment technologies and platforms tailored to this new reality. Online payment processors, such as PayPal, global, secure, free, and offering multiple payment options, led a trend where new companies that combine technology and financial services generate an emerging economic sector and are gaining ground in an area dominated by traditional banking.
The figures speak for themselves, the global fintech market was valued at 5,504.13 million dollars in 2019 and is expected to grow by 23.58% in the coming years.
New technologies have entered the financial sector with force, and the so-called fintech, or financial technologies, are taking over a market that is especially young, ‘digital native’, hyper-connected, and that does not understand the complication, slowness, and exorbitant commissions we have come to expect from traditional banking.
What are the main differences?
- Objectives: While traditional banks offer more products, and to a wider clientele, fintech specialise in products aimed at filling a gap in the market.
- Customer experience: The central premise of a fintech is a good customer experience based on agility and virtual accessibility to its services, without the need for a physical presence, and the lengthy paperwork often associated with more process-oriented banks.
- Technology: This is one of the main defining characteristics of fintech, extensive use of AI, machine learning, and automation to accelerate the introduction to the market of new products or processes that improve efficiency, free from a legacy infrastructure that limits interaction between multiple platforms and slows the launch of new products or services by traditional banks.
Renew or die
To meet the challenge presented by these new players, banks have also embraced new technologies, streamlining their procedures, or even creating their own fintech subsidiaries. But without forgetting their strengths, such as being subject to stricter regulation associated with lower financial risk, which still makes it possible to offer a wider range of services linked to this regulation.
These measures, together with the closure of physical branches and the reduction of staff levels to get closer to the most efficient customer-employee ratios, typical of fintech, are just some of the resources that traditional banks are using to win this second “round”. A fight that will go on for a while, but which already has a winner, the consumer, who has seen an increase in the range of more competitive financial services on offer, giving him or her more decision-making power in their personal finances.
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