Smartphones drive fintech adoption
Digital financial services, part of the broader fintech trend, have been gaining traction among consumers for some time. By some measures, about one quarter of the global population are already using some kind of fintech innovation, while fintech start-ups have secured $45 billion in funding since 2015.
In France, for example, 793.4 million online banking payments were made last year, according to the European Central Bank, an increase from 586.2 million in 2014. Ernst & Young (EY) predicts the number of customers going online to open an account in France will surge nearly six-fold to 17 million in the next ten years. In addition, there has been an increase in bank licences being issued to non-traditional banks in international markets. In the UK, for example, there has been a steady influx of licences issued since the financial regulators relaxed rules for new entrants in 2013, according to the Bank of England. Overall, there has been a shift in industry perspectives about the feasibility of launching new banking products and competing with the incumbents.
Fintech providers are benefitting from the global adoption of smartphones, which is growing at an extraordinary pace: today there are about 4 billion smartphone connections, nearly double the figure of three years ago. As consumers are increasingly using smartphones for many aspects of their lives, brands, tech companies and whole industries are finding they are required to innovate to stay relevant, and banking is no exception to this rule. In many cases, incumbent financial services players have been slow to adapt to the rise of the smartphones, opening up an opportunity for newer, more agile players, such as challenger banks or mobile operators wielding new technologies and innovative banking concepts. Fintech players have a real opportunity to gain traction and customer share in this marketplace as incumbent players stall.