What are the trends expected to drive Fintech innovation in 2015? I am happy to announce the results of the largest primary research study held to understand what Fintech influencers personally think of the future of Fintech. In December 2014, Yodlee Interactive® published my article on The Trends that Drove Fintech to the Limelight in 2014 and requested inputs on what you and experts think will be the trends of 2015. The extent and quality of the response was far better than I had ever imagined; with quite interesting viewpoints. A group of 40 Fintech experts commented on everything from incubator programmes to UX improvements, and security to customer experience, making this the first primary research of its kind specific to the Fintech industry. Who took the survey? We reached out to several Fintech influencers for their inputs. We had Fintech entrepreneurs, Industry Experts, VCs and Product Heads taking the survey from their unique points of view. Even the section “Others” (below) has inputs from Fintech experts (Industry Analysts from Gartner, Celent and Aite, a Fintech journalist, a Fintech legal expert, an Angel Investor, an employee at a Consumer Finance firm, a Professor and a Banking Analyst). Some of the other organisations that provided responses were Barclays, FinLeap, Mambu, Fincite, Planwise, The Center for Financial Services Innovation, CRIF, Unisys, EquityZen, ACI Worldwide, Yodlee®, Total Fiscal, Zooz, CoinX and SunTec.
Role in the Fintech Industry
How significant an impact did certain Fintech trends make in 2014? There have been several articles on emerging trends at the end of 2014, and they all pointed to common trends – but what did this group think were the key trends from last year? We asked the influencers how significant they thought the below trends were in driving Fintech to the limelight in 2014.
Significance of 2015 Fintech Trends
All the trends were deemed almost equally significant (5 is the highest level of significance) by the group. There is, however, a slight lean towards Payments Innovation, Security and Customer Experience as the most significant trends for the year. We can also see from the individual responses that there is agreement on the significance of most trends. However, Need for Better Security scored very high for respondents feeling it was extremely significant for the year, highlighting Security in Fintech as a key gap for the industry to focus on for 2015.
Significant Trends in 2015
Who are the Fintech players that made the biggest impact in 2014?
Key Fintech Players in 2014
The sheer variety of Fintech firms identified by the group was great – with the name LendingClub coming up again and again. Relatively new (less than 3 years-old) Fintech firms like Equidam, Robinhood, ZestFinance and 8 Securities found mention amongst veterans in the space like Bloomberg and IBM. Ramin Niroumand from FinLeap lists LendingClub, Wealthfront and Kreditech as the firms that made the biggest impact in 2014, while Jennifer Tescher from CFS Innovation listed LendingClub, Apple and OnDeck as the firms of interest. A personalized customer experience is something that several respondents identified as a must-have, as Melanie Flanigan from Yodlee notes the importance of utilizing available data for marketing and insights to create that experience. What do respondents think will be the major Fintech trends for 2015? All the respondents more or less agreed on the trends, revealing five themes:
- Cryptocurrency and the technology around it
- Innovation and convergence in payments
- Focus on customer experience and the evolution of customer-centric initiatives from banks
- User authentication and security (data security was highlighted too)
- New and alternative models of lending
David Brear from Gartner indicates that the future of Fintech and Banking could revolve around “digital banks”, but feels that the new banks launched in the UK need strong business models to find that success. The emergence of Bitcoins was identified as a key driver for future trends by most respondents. They felt that Bitcoins will continue to drive new business models, with Ron Shevlin from Aite Group pointing out that Bitcoins could be used for B2B and cross-border payments extensively in the coming year. The only surprise to me was that Big Data wasn’t as widely talked about as an upcoming trend compared to the previous year, which could potentially mean saturation of interest. It is clear though that the Fintech industry experts are not willing to compromise. The predictions are reminiscent of Tim Cook’s recent quote that "It is a cop out to say: choose between privacy or security. There is no reason why customers should have to select one. There is no reason not to have both."
Fintech Trends for 2015
But what will be the highlight of 2015? When respondents were asked to pick just one key trend that will define the Fintech industry for 2015, 31% of respondents felt that the highlight will be the size and scale of investments and deal sizes. 28% think that payments innovation will be the key area of focus. There is agreement that all trends, currently visible to the industry, are almost equally significant and relevant.
Key Prediction for 2015
And the winner of the $100 Apple® Store Gift Card is… Rodolfo Gonzalez of Foundation Capital! He wins the prize from Yodlee for taking part in the Fintech Influencer Survey! We will be reaching out to deliver your prize. I would like to thank everyone on behalf of Yodlee for the fantastic response – and for helping to decode the Fintech industry one step further! - Devie Mohan The author can be contacted @devie_mohan.