How FinTech and Social Media Platforms have Partnered Together for Greater Profitability

Have you ever wondered how it is so simple to buy things online? Or been curious to how you are able to purchase goods on social media?

Social media platforms like Facebook are bringing the marketplace directly to their platforms with new financial technology, or FinTech. FinTech refers to applications or processes providing an end-to-end process only using the Internet.

Facebook for example, uses FinTech applications so it’s users can purchase products without ever leaving their Facebook accounts. Not only are people using Facebook and other social media platforms to sell their products, but this also opens up the opportunity for individual users to sell products as well. FinTech applications that utilize money transfer services can have users transfer money from account to account for the product that they are buying.

FinTech is using social media in many other ways as well. In a report done by Accenture and the Partnership Fund, it was found that as of 2013 nearly $3 billion was invested into FinTech ventures, and that number has surely risen since then.

FinTech can use social media profiles for just about everything. Customer service and marketing are some of the strongest ways FinTech companies are improving their businesses. Social media offers customer service capabilities in real time, and being able to market on these platforms has proven to be vital in the newest trends of marketing.

Social media platforms aren’t just getting used in these scenarios though, they are utilizing this technology to enhance their platforms as well. Some of the most notable social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have been using FinTech for quite some time.

Facebook, for example, offers a peer-to-peer payment feature, where they can exchange money with friends in the Messenger app. Twitter also broke into the space by offering a page where users can discover and purchase items directly within the platform.

Some of the FinTech applications are becoming social media platforms in themselves. The application Venmo is a mobile payment app that lets users communicate with one another within the app itself. Users can add notes for the reason they are sending or requesting money, and the recipient can communicate back. All of this is open for the public or just your friends to see.  

Social media platforms and FinTech companies are both gaining from these partnerships as they are becoming more inclusive for users and easily accessible from one place. Profits for these companies are only going to rise with the partnerships that are in place.

 

The FinTech App Revolution

One extraordinary development in the world of FinTech over the past ten years has been the rise of the smartphone and the rise of finance apps with it. Today, millions of transactions occur via apps: Amazon purchases, bank deposits and withdrawals, Bitcoin transactions, Litecoin transaction, stock purchases and sales, money transfers, and more. For those like myself who were around before the FinTech app revolution, this change in the way that people handle finances is astounding. Yet, at the same time, these changes are becoming more and more ingrained in the way that people conduct business. Below is a brief survey of finance apps out there:

Stocks and Investing

Credited for bringing a large number of young investors into the world of stocks, Robinhood’s low barrier of entry and simple interface makes buying stocks easy. In the realm of social media, StockTwits provides a place for experts and neophytes alike to share their thoughts on stocks, bonds, and other market happenings. Further lowering the barrier of entry are a number of apps that do investing for you. These include Acorns, which uses the spare change from debit card transaction for micro-investments, Loyal3, which makes investing in companies you love easy and accessible, and Wealthfront, which will automatically invest a minimum deposit of $500 for free (as long as the balance is under $10,000). And that’s just barely scratching the surface.

Money Transfer

First and foremost, there’s the app that’s so pervasive that it’s achieved the Google-level status of becoming a verb. Venmo me. With no transaction fee on debit cards and bank account transfers, Venmo has become the go-to app for transferring payments from person to person. Long before Venmo, there was PayPal. While PayPal might not be as popular among peer-to-peer transactions, one place where it has retained it’s glory is in the commercial sphere. Whether shopping online (or even at some restaurants), PayPal is the trusted medium of exchange. Then of course, there’s mobile banking. Nearly every large bank in North America (and some smaller banks), boast mobile banking apps, which make transferring money from person-to-person instantaneous. And that’s only the least of it.

Budgeting

Meanwhile, there are a slew of budgeting apps out there to help people save and spend more wisely. Goodbudget, Wally, and Mint are some of the biggest heavy hitters in the budgeting sphere. All three of the apps boast expense-tracking features which translate into spending and saving tips. Of the three, Mint is often viewed as being the most comprehensive–tackling everyday expenses, but also credit cards, student loans and retirement savings.

So with that quick sound-off, the question is, what are some of your favorite finance apps?

Technology is Changing how we Handle Money

Taking care of one’s finances is usually thought of as something that can only be done by those who have extensive about handling money. Perhaps the idea of finances is more accessible to finance gurus, or people who have taken accounting classes. Younger generations grow up to find the broad idea of ‘personal finance’ looming over their heads, without the slightest idea of how to start handling their money.

Technology is changing this around.

With the advancement of financial technology in general, younger people are being included in the ranks of those who look after their spending and savings. This is a concept that has come to be known as financial inclusion, and it is revolutionizing how money is being tracked. Financial technology in recent years has been striving to make financial security more of a democratic process. It wants to cut down on the number of people who feel helpless in their spending.

The four subsets of this new category of financial inclusion are payment, credit, insurance, and investment, as reports Business Today. Payment is a no-brainer. People need to be able to pay bills, pay for products, and pay each other. This used to be done with physical cash or checks. Financial technology has made it so that money can be transferred from one person to another without them having to physically meet. Mobile wallets exist now, and the question of if physical cash needs to exist at all is becoming increasingly prevalent. If money can be transferred from one account to another instantly, is carrying around cash at all necessary?

Credit is a slightly more difficult concept to grasp, simply because it is not yet available to everyone. Financial institutions need to have a record of transactions to get credit information, but not all financial transactions are connected directly to such institutions. This is why there has been a demand for a universal credit platform, in which all transaction history of an individual is saved and readily available. The credit sector of financial inclusion still needs more work, but it is getting there.

Insurance and investments in a similar fashion have been completely changed by digital smartphone applications. Applications have been, and will be further, making insurance-buying and investing much more convenient for everyone with access to the technology.
Companies leading the financial technology revolution are aware that the digital handling of money has to be easy and reliable. They are still working to make the entire financial industry digital. It will be exciting to see where this technology takes us in years to come.

Tailored Ads and Buying now : A Big Week for Ecommerce

ferhan patel twitter birdThis past week has already witnessed a marked uptick in products and services that more accurately target and engage with the consumer on some of their favorite platforms. This year’s Advertising week (based in New York) showcased two new services from tech behemoths Google and Facebook that improve targeted ads and ad ratings metrics, while Twitter and YouTube announced plans to make shopping even easier.

Google revealed a new product that will enable marketers to deliver ad campaigns directly to consumers using their email addresses. This new service launched by Google is called “Customer Match” and is a very targeted approach in determining when and what ad a consumer will see when logged in to Google.

Facebook on the other hand, revealed a new tool that gives advertisers a ratings metric when purchasing video ads. This tool is comparable to what advertisers have used when purchasing commercial time on television. This tool is meant to streamline the planning and purchasing process for advertisers.

It’s no surprise that companies like Google and Facebook are leading the way in refining their processes for identifying and capturing their users. In the same vein, YouTube and Twitter both announced the addition of the “buy button” to their service offerings.

YouTube recently revealed that it would simplify the process of transitioning from ad content to product purchase. With one click, YouTube will direct the user from the video content featuring a particular product directly to the retail site. This means that whether the video is a product review uploaded by a YouTuber or the official ad for the product, the viewer can easily shift into shopping mode.

Similarly, Twitter announced that the company is introducing a new feature for tweets. Going forward, a user will be able to purchase a product featured in a tweet in “as few as two taps – one tap on the buy button and a second to confirm the purchase”, according to reporter Vindu Goel. Twitter announced this week that that it plans to roll out this new “buy now” button, that any US merchant can access if it uses Demandware, Bigcommerce or Shopify.

Although these new features are not yet completely available in all markets, the continued push to incorporate targeted advertising and shopping opportunities to new areas of one’s digital life is not slowing down. In fact, the introduction of these services are most likely indicative of more to come.

Google Lets the Games Begin With Chromecast

ferhan patel chromeAccording to The Guardian, there was a time when the gaming industry was dominated by speciality companies (Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo).  But that is no longer the case, as major tech companies such as Google and Apple move into the market at a rapid pace. Apple has recently redesigned their Apple TV product with more of a focus on gaming. Now, you can download and run games, giving Playstation 4, Xbox One, and the Wii U a run for their money. Google has also been focusing in on this market and is ready to capitalize on the market with their product, Chromecast.

With Chromecast, Google has designed a playing system where you can use your smartphones with your TV. The smartphone serves as the controller and the source of the processing power.

When compared to competitors, Chromecast president responds, “There’s a fundamental difference between the other models out there and what we’re doing. Games require computing power, and the smartphone has superior computing power to any of the popular streaming boxes that are out there.”

He believes that the smartphone is one to two generations ahead with computing power compared to other available products out there. This allows consumers to take advantage of better computing power with better rendered images and not waste time or space downloading games to a streaming box.

When Chromecast was first launched in the summer of 2013, it was a small thumb-sized device that simply plugged into a TV. Since then, google has sold over $17 million of the devices and have acquired thousands of apps to support their product.

Not only is Google focusing on gaming but on sound too. They are continuing to grow Chromecast Audio, which will connect easily to speakers and allow you to play music from partner services including Google Play Music, Pandora, and Spotify.

The vice president of Spotify, Gustav Soderstrom comments on this partnership, ““If you think about last year’s big focus on the internet of things, people kept talking about connected fire alarms and similar devices. But the obvious thing is to get your music playing with those connected features. That’s the most natural entry point to the internet of things.”

As the tech giants continue to make headway in the gaming world, the boxes, stations, and wiis of the world could be on their way to becoming obsolete (like the Dreamcasts, Nintendo 64’s, and Gamecubes). Even so, you will still have your favorite games, and a new, interactive way of playing them.

Chinese Banking Barriers

Cferhan patel yuanhina recently announced some drastic changes being introduced to their private sector. Plans were put into effect earlier this month that resulted in fund transfers being capped, the limiting of daily transactions and more requirements required for users to prove their identities when using their banks. Though implemented to battle the threat of fraud and money-laundering, many feel that the restrictions do not bode well for the Chinese markets.

Limiting online transactions has China’s populace in an uproar. The country’s financial analysts can’t help but scratch their heads at the poorly devised plan to safeguard China’s assets. Especially after China’s premier recently announced a removal of “red tape,” and a call for innovation of the market. The implementation of so many restrictions and rules would seem to be directly opposed to the mission espoused by the premier.

The rise of smartphones brought with it a surge in electronic transactions. Logging more than 400 million annual mobile users in China, the decision to limit this wave of active users seems counterintuitive. Though the limitation on activity would seem like the largest misstep, the real difficulty will come in proving identification when enrolling in online banking. Where you were once able to provide a simple identity-card and prior bank-account information to enroll in online services, China is proposing a multi-tiered identification system that requires tax documentation, educational records, and bank involvement to set up online accounts.

This massive speed-bump in the banking process is sure to result in thousands of irate customers. Beyond limiting the amount of money able to be transferred, these rules would even place restrictions on where citizens are able to make transactions and essentially send money. Currently, no money can be transferred between banks should the owner have accounts in separate branches. It remains unclear how the Chinese government felt these changes would circumvent the currently grim economic state, the changes will not be explicitly formalized until the end of the month. Perhaps the deafening uproar and the nearly unanimous dissent against these drastic changes, will counteract this process, but it remains to be seen how this will be resolved.  

Cryptocurrency Today


Ferhan Patel FintechWith more and more of our lives being handled digitally, it should come as no surprise that our finances be taken care of the same way. Financial technologies (FinTech) has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry, with startups growing at exponential rates each year. Analysts have observed this trend, and many believe that in a brief number of years paper money could be completely phased out. The fluidity of electronic finance reduces costs from customer to vendor, and makes for instantaneous exchange between parties while providing mutual protection.

Born out of the 2008 financial crisis, FinTech startups were an answer to a question that had long been thought insurmountable. How can I best invest my money without relying on the struggling banks? Enterprising entrepreneurs took notice of this, and began developing early FinTech platforms that combined emergent technologies with their financial know-how.

Fast-forward seven years and we’re emerging from the post-financial crisis dust cloud. FinTech has exploded, growing alongside technology at a tremendous rate. In one year, social media’s integration with FinTech grew by four times, and the climb is expected to continue its exponential leaps.

The advent of new financial technologies forced industry dinosaurs to adapt or face extinction. Older firms like Vanguard and Schwab developed what they call robo-advisors to assist customers online and on their mobile devices. Citibank, a giant in the banking world, began rolling out their own cryptocurrency. After the meteoric rise of Bitcoin, Citicoins are Citibank’s attempt at gripping the coattails of the emergent currency.

The elimination of brick-and-mortar banking has forever altered the face of traditional lending. Without the cost of maintaining a physical chain or an employee payroll, the savings are immediately passed on to customers. The reduction in cost allows customers to easily acquire credit lines, and keep the interest rates down by eliminating overhead costs. The strangest phenomenon brought on by the evolution of FinTech is cryptocurrency, and its acceptance in the mainstream economy. From boutiques to restaurants, Bitcoin is accepted alongside any dollar.

There is no telling where the future of FinTech is going. So many of our everyday hurdles have been streamlined by the introduction of modern technology, it’s difficult to imagine what’s next. With many FinTech developments designed for mobile use, the future of finance is literally in our hands.

Top Trends in Wearable Technology

Ferhan PatelOne of the most exciting new markets emerging in the technology sector today is that of wearable devices. The Apple Watch and FitBit have proven to be two heavily covered examples of wearables with mass appeal, but smaller batch designs reveal that we have even more to look forward to.

Fitness Trackers

At this point in time, Fitbit and the Apple Watch have completely shaped what we expect from our fitness trackers. Monitoring our health can no longer be separated from our wearable devices. Instead, these are tools that we expect to be integrated into our wearables.

Pet Wearables 

Another interesting trend emerging in the wearables sector are those being developed specifically for pets. In 2014 it was widely reported that Americans had spent a record $56 billion on their pets. This speaks not only of american’s desire to care for their pets, but for a willingness to spend on their pets. Given these numbers, it’s no surprise then, that startups are comfortable entering the pet wearables space. A few great examples of these emerging products are those designed by WonderWoof and FitBark. These wearables monitor the fitness levels of your pooch, and products like the Tagg GPS Plus, GPS and fitness monitor not only track where your beloved pet is located, but also determine whether or not the pet’s body temperature is too hot or too cold.

Focus on Fashion

As wearables start to become more commonplace in the market, the aesthetic design will start to play an increasingly important role in the success or failure of the product. No longer are consumers simply looking for function. As more choices become available in the marketplace, the fashion behind these devices will become even more important. Many wearable companies are already soliciting the expertise of established design-based companies. For example, Misfit partnered with Swarovski to make a jeweled device. This line also included bracelets and pendants merging the commitment to wearables as statement pieces meant to reflect the person wearing them. Sony sought out advice from both Ted Baker and Roxy for their line of smartwatches. Instead of being simply “wearable” these new devices must also be fashionable.

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality has been a symbolic harbinger of futuristic technologies for years. However, we are now at a point where sweeping advances in technology and design are making Virtual Reality a truly unique experience. Currently in wearables,  virtual reality is being expressed through sleek head pieces that look like typical headsets with optical displays. Not only is the experience for the user more immersive owing to the quality of the tech within these devices, but the actual devices are getting smaller and less obtrusive.

Wearable cameras

Given the selfie-craze and compulsion to share everything, it’s no surprise that wearable cameras are undergoing major pushes in design and function. GoPro is leading the way with mountable cameras that can truly go anywhere. And products like the Narrative Clip 2 are providing a wearable camera that livestreams video. The Narrative Clip 2 embeds the technology of a camera into stylish sunglasses. The types of innovations within this field seem to grow by the day, but It’s difficult to predict which of these devices will take off. It was once indicated that Google Glass would take us to the next frontier in the wearables landscape, but that didn’t quite happen. Even with the threat of failure, or unreached potential, there is also the possibility that any of these new devices could revolutionize how we view cameras and wearable devices.