When was the last time you checked your bank account online or paid for groceries with a handset? Chances are it was today, and yesterday, and the day before that, and so on. Financial services have become so interwoven with our everyday lives that we just fail to notice how often we use them—and digital technology is a great helper here.
All that would be impossible without FinTech. In a nutshell, FinTech is about delivering financial services via digital means, which have proliferated and become ubiquitous over the last years. This includes, but is not limited to, mobile banking, digital currencies and financial jobs, open banking, algorithmic trading, and much more. The financial industry has been using various technologies for a very long time to meet the needs of its clients. Fintech is one of the fastest growing industries in the world because it is safer and more convenient than traditional forms of financial services.
With the COVID-19 pandemic making the world separated as ever, FinTech looks to be among the most prospective career fields. It helps conduct financial matters at distance—even from the comfort of one’s home. The factor of convenience is a strong one, too, as FinTech saves one’s time by foregoing red tape and unnecessary in-person contact. Fintech is also called an industry where companies use new financial technologies and solutions to compete with traditional financial institutions for the hearts and funds of customers. Most often these are tech startups and companies that use fintech tools to improve their services.
The very active digitalization of the life of modern society observed over the past 30-odd years has led to real changes in the current economy. The global financial sector is at the center of digital transformation, led by fintech, which is currently shaping a new segment of modern financial markets. At the same time, the most well-known objects of fintech are cryptocurrency and token. Cryptocurrencies, regardless of the attitude of regulators towards them, have become a virtual reality in the financial sector and are actively used to pay for goods and services. A feature of cryptocurrencies is their anonymity and lack of control by the state, which determines a whole range of risks for society and the state. However, cryptocurrencies, along with risks, also provide opportunities – from the development of innovative technologies to the creation of new jobs and replenishment of the national budget. Fintech’s penetration into the segments of the financial market traditionally occupied by banks has sparked a debate about their future. At the same time, it is likely that there will be no crowding out of banks, but their fintech transformation.
According to PwC, a consultancy, 75% of financial organizations are creating jobs at the intersection of finance and technology. There is every reason to say that the field offers lucrative and promising career opportunities, given the fact that a tangible number of FinTech vacancies remains open. The reality, however, is a bit more complex.
FinTech is obviously a dynamic and financially rewarding field. In the U.S., the median FinTech salary amounts to $125,000 a year, putting it well ahead of the average median salary of $51,000. Entry applicants should expect to earn less—in the order of $85,000—but the opportunities that the field offers often mean quick promotions and, consequently, a higher pay.
Another pitfall to watch out for is specific and sophisticated expertise required for FinTech specialists. This includes not only knowledge of financial services and products and technology (like web design or artificial intelligence) but also legal, marketing, and other business skills. It is the case of either having that already—which means having had a notable FinTech career—or learning on the job, by trial and error.
Moreover, soft skills such as creative thinking, problem-solving, and networking are also a must, since one’s working environment is going to be either unstructured (in the case of business start-ups) or rather loosely organized (when it comes to established financial institutions). This is not necessarily an advantage or a setback, but an important factor one should keep in mind when considering a FinTech career.
The main unique value that fintech provides is the ability not to be fooled and not stress when making payments. You do not need to remember the pin code, carry a card, worry that someone will find out the cvv code, cover the buttons on the ATM with your palm, and so on.
Banking applications, p2p lending services, analytical systems, company verification services, and many other fintech projects have arisen because the traditional financial system has become too cumbersome. In the 21st century, it is already inconvenient to use it. But it is changing slowly, precisely because it is seriously regulated. Therefore, fintech emerged – an industry at the intersection of finance and technology.
Fintech applications are attractive because they can be used to quickly and with minimal effort on the part of the user to solve the necessary problems. This could not be overlooked by giant companies such as Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook. They also added financial services to the list of basic services: online wallets, sending money in a messenger, and so on.
Companies and financial institutions should take a closer look at these types of applications and quickly implement them in their work in order to gain benefit and customer recognition.
All in all, there is strong evidence that FinTech is here to stay and, perhaps, “every company will be a FinTech company,” as Angela Strange famously put it. Financial services and products will adjust to the new normal, influenced by the pandemic and proliferation of digital technology, and be in need of specialists able to work across the fields.