The world economy and especially the US economy has done exceptionally well since 2017 and still in 2019, which has resulted in an odd slowdown of fintech technology. Innovation seems to take a back seat when things are going well. Yet, here are some trends that have almost snuck up on people in the finance industry.
Defining A Trend For 2019
Since there are hundreds, if not thousands, of fintech trends, this article deals with trends that have been consistently growing within the year 2019, even if the trends did not start in 2019. More importantly, these trends have not peaked, they are still going strong and are still something you should watch out for.
Voice Technology Is Here Again
As the financial brand pointed out, voice banking is now too loud to ignore. Since 2018, the number of people using smart speakers (voice recognition software) has increased by 78%, and a chunk of that is through the use of telephone banking. Oddly enough, the most requested voice control innovations are for cars, since we already have things like Alexa and voice recognition on PCs, laptops and smartphones.
Telephone Voice Technology Is Here If We Want It Or Not
Despite the lack of demand for voice technology with telephone banking, it is a growing trend where banks are reassuring customers that it is perfectly safe. They even claim that the noise recorder takes your breath into account too, which means somebody cannot be scammed because their voice was recorded. Major High Street banks are taking up voice recognition all over the world, with HSBC seemingly spearheading its use.
Automated Savings or Pay-Down Apps
What is bothersome about automated servicing and pay-down apps is that the idea has been around for years. In fact, the hit movie “Office Space” based a big plotline on how saving just a penny per transaction can lead to big savings. Yet, we have had to wait this long for round-up apps to gain in popularity (credibility?).
Round-Up Pay-Down Strategies Are Great
As mentioned a little later, the finance industry does seem to be a little sluggish when it comes to ideas. This is again evident in how bitcoin has been around since 2008, and yet the only banks genuinely using it are in Thailand (Omise with OmiseGO). The finance industry may be slow to take up trends, but ideas as great as rounding up the amounts in your transactions and then saving what is rounded seems like such a simple-yet-good idea.
Where Is Your Money Going?
There may be a trust issue when it comes to round-up savings apps as most apps are offering to use the saved money to invest, and investments are failing to produce a profit, which shakes consumer/user confidence. People want to know where their money is going if it is not sitting in a savings account.
Facebook Instant Messaging For Customer Service
You have probably heard of chatbots that are so sophisticated that they act like human users. The idea is to trick people into thinking they are chatting online with a human because the AI behind the chatbot is so sophisticated. With any luck, a customer service worker will chime in partway through the conversation and pick things up from wherever he or she enters.
Facebook Messenger + Chatbot AI
There may be Facebook Messenger apps, but there is not really a program that integrates Facebook Messenger with any form of AI chatbot technology. The problem has always been that the chatbot doesn’t have enough control over Facebook Messenger to act as a convincing customer support worker.
Facebook Messenger Answers Your Customer Support Queries
Things may now have changed since Facebook messenger can be used to both promote a service or brand and to act as its customer support contact line. Human customer support workers are still able to chime into the conversation when the time is right. More and more companies are using AI chatbox technology to offer customer support to people who contact them over the Facebook Messenger service.
Lead Targeting With Flexibility
When most companies are selling leads, trying to attract leads, trying to get clicks, they prefer a one-size-fits-all pricing plan. Thanks to the many dynamic ways a company is able to draw new leads, the pricing is now more flexible.
You Pick How Much You Pay For Leads
For example, the Leads Market sells fresh leads based on the type of service being offered and the process by which the lender operates. This means that two companies may pay a similar price for a similar deal but are offered completely different types of leads that are factored at very different prices per lead. It only seems to be the finance industry in which this is occurring.
Affiliate Advertising Is Great Too
Even time-tested affiliate networks are not becoming more flexible, due mostly to the fact that affiliate networks are already incredibly sophisticated to the point where there is no more room for expansion (they have peaked on a very high peak). Perhaps it is the inflexibility or slow-moving nature of the finance industry that explains why lead generation has changed so sluggishly over the last ten years.
Fraud And Theft Threats For Senior Citizens
New regulations set out by the UK government shook up the way senior citizens are protected by banks. We all know about the standard protocols, such as having your accounts or credit cards temporarily frozen if overseas transactions suddenly appear, but banks in the UK, Europe, and Hong Kong are starting to monitor the spending habits of seniors and people classed as vulnerable (couldn’t get clarification on the vulnerable point, though NatWest defines them as people who require a third party to authorize financial decisions).
New Visa Cards With New Protections Are Becoming More Common
Cards may be frozen for example if a lady spends her money in one area on regular things and then suddenly tries to drop several thousand in a casino miles away. There are also cards like the pre-paid Visa cards that allow the authorizer to block certain merchants. For example, a parent financing a child’s college may block merchants that sell alcohol, or an elderly person’s card may have the wire/transfer function disabled.
Conclusion – A Sluggish Industry Uptake
The finance industry has been sluggish on the uptake of most technological trends, but why isn’t cryptocurrency in this list? It is absent because it is not a trend of 2019 even though according to Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase “by lowering the barrier to create new digital currency applications, we’ll see an explosion in the number of ideas tried”. It is not being adopted at a faster rate than it was last year, and yet round up apps, Facebook Messenger customer support, and flexible lead targeting are being adopted in 2019 at a higher rate than usual.
Are there any trends to watch out for that may appear in the near future? The truth is that 2019 has been a great year for developed countries, especially the USA, where the economy is booming and people have money to spend again. It seems that when people are happy, innovations take a back seat because of the old, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. The only areas where change may happen appear to be in the machine learning area, so maybe keep a close check on how machine learning is changing the industry if you are looking to predict future trends.
Mónica Rodríguez is a writer, art historian, and editor located in the tropical island of Puerto Rico. She specializes in Art History, Art Conservation, History, Literature, Finance, Tech, Wellness, and Travel. In her free time, she’s usually roaming the halls of the museum or the local bookstore surrounded by stacks of books.