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.