Top Fintech Trends
to Follow in 2021

A comprehensive guide to the pivotal fintech trends to follow in 2021.
Get to know how the industry will fare shortly.

The year that follows holds so many promises of a better life that folks seem to can’t wait for the New Year’s chime. 2020 was so challenging that everybody expects 2021 to come and save our weary souls, filled with fervent hope for a better future. While we might not know the shape the world will take next year,  there are for sure some improvements awaiting us in the fintech sector. Our payments will become even more rapid, efficient, and secure.

Fintech is starting a new leap of its history in 2021, as the fintech industry trends will soar high. Seemingly simple, yet intricate, technologies will change the way people pay once and forever. The fintech industry has already changed our perception of how money works. Nonetheless, it is still interesting to find out what fintech trends we are to expect in 2021.

Top Fintech Trends to Follow in 2021

A comprehensive guide to the pivotal fintech trends to follow in 2021.
Get to know how the industry will fare shortly.

The year that follows holds so many promises of a better life that folks seem to can’t wait for the New Year’s chime. 2020 was so challenging that everybody expects 2021 to come and save our weary souls, filled with fervent hope for a better future. While we might not know the shape the world will take next year,  there are for sure some improvements awaiting us in the fintech sector. Our payments will become even more rapid, efficient, and secure.

Fintech is starting a new leap of its history in 2021, as the fintech industry trends will soar high. Seemingly simple, yet intricate, technologies will change the way people pay once and forever. The fintech industry has already changed our perception of how money works. Nonetheless, it is still interesting to find out what fintech trends we are to expect in 2021. 

Defining Fintech

Before we cut to the chase, let us clarify that while many people might have at least heard about fintech or even used it in their daily lives, it seems like not everyone understands what fintech is. Here comes a succinct and yet comprehensive explanation. 

Fintech stands for Financial Technologies, an industry that is nowadays altering the obsolete banking system, making payments easier and faster to both send and receive. 

Speaking plainly, fintech is the set of computer and mobile software used to enable financial and banking services. Hence, if you think you have nothing to do with the fintech technology trends, think about the last time you checked your banking app to check your card’s balance.

Why Fintech Matters

Fintech is ubiquitous already, and it is going to expand its presence and impact even more in 2021. Every business longing for development and growth will surely pay enough attention to the fintech trends that are going to rock the world of finance in 2021.

Yes, words are nothing but letters, but here is some statistical data to back our statement. An Accenture report, published back in 2015, claims that the fintech industry has grown from some modest $930 million to $12 billion during 2008–2015 (“Growth in Fintech Investment Fastest in European Market”, 2015). One has to be either blind or extremely cynical not to call this a positive growth dynamic.

The fintech industry has been up to some development over the last five years as well. Guess what, the coronavirus pandemic has had a reverse effect on it, as the 2020-2025 forecast looks completely cloudless for the fintech industry.

According to Market Data Forecast, the fintech industry will attain the value of $305 billion by the end of 2025, which means a steady 22.17% growth compared to 2020 ("Fintech Market | Size, Trends, Forecast | 2020 - 2025", 2020). It seems impossible to predict how much fintech is going to grow during the next decades. One thing is known for sure: it will grow, and it will eventually take over the financial operations globally.

There is a need to understand that fintech in 2020 is not fintech in 2010 – when it only started its way to the top. Nowadays, the world is more reliant on fintech than vice versa. Mobile payments, online signatures, salary projects, loans, and charitable donations. The list can go on and on, as the fintech industry gradually enters every single aspect of our lives, and there’s no stopping it. Hence, you’d better come to fintech before fintech comes for you.

Fintech Trends 2021 to Follow and Live By

Omnipresent Digitalization

Let’s start our chart with a trend that is obvious and yet important to mention.

Even if we have the COVID-19 vaccine by the middle of 2021, the world of banking will never be the same. The seed of change has been sowed and there’s nothing to stop the progress that was long due. Financial institutions have done their homework on competitiveness and are now closing in on digitizing every single operational aspect.

Fintech’s business-to-customer orientation saw the first phase of digitalization finalized during 2020. Companies had to find a way to let their customers keep using their services while in the lockdown.

The front-end, as we say in IT, of banks’ digitalization has been sealed and delivered. Meanwhile, updating the back-end functions, such as the automation of back-office procedures, will be a key fintech trend in 2021.

Companies United

It was not that long ago that banks thought that the queues at their box offices were never going to vanish. People would have nowhere to go to have their funds managed. They believed that this entire fintech hoax would explode like a bubble. 

Fintech technologies have become an omnipresent banking solution to the financial sector customers. Now, companies left with no other choice but to unite their ranks and establish partnerships with those developing fintech software.

It is not hard to understand that there is no way the old-fashioned banking system is coming back. Financial institutions face a relatively simple choice to make: go fintech or go down in the history records. 

Regardless of how bizarre it might sound, one of the vital fintech technology trends in 2021 will be the presence of more fintech trends. Modern banks are found amid an unwavering need for fintech solutions. Bank CEOs no longer regard them as a disruptor of the good-old system, but a tool to preserve their customers’ loyalty.

Extending the Limits

Buckle up, and get ready for a fascinating fintech journey in 2021. Next year, fintech is going places. 2020 was all about making sure that the folks in the big cities can enjoy the benefits of fintech. Yet, there are still places where people struggle because they cannot access online banking or any other feature of modern financial solutions. 

Since the world is moving toward ubiquitous online payments, fintech has no alternatives but to expand to smaller urban and rural areas. 

Following a recent World Bank Report, almost 1.7 billion people still lack access to substantial financial systems. What is more, back in 2018, 69% of adults, which was 3.8 billion people, had an account with an online banking system, as nowadays, it is nothing else but a step on one’s way of fleeing from poverty. 

So, we can surely expect the fintech industry expansion among the main fintech trends in 2021.

Neobanking & Digitalization

Given that we have already mentioned the extension of limits, let’s stay even more truthful and acknowledge that the brick-and-mortar banks’ days are over. 

Banking platforms are going online with no waste left, as the age of neobanking is looming bright on the horizon of irreversible changes. A neobank is nothing else but a bank without physical branches that performs on the cloud premises. 

You have probably heard about the Internet-only banks. Well, here they come, capturing more and more customers with the exquisite level of comfort they offer. 

The banking industry digitalization is set to move banks so close to the customer that they would not need to leave their homes to get a full-fledged banking service experience. Neobanking is surely going to become one of the key mediums of fintech extension in 2021.

More Cybersecurity Required

More financial operations mean an enhanced security level required. As fintech becomes the core platform for global financial operations, we can surely expect the cybersecurity bar raised. 

In fact, it is not that hard to understand that the software developers would need to become more aware of fintech services their customers use. The more money goes online, the more scammers and thieves are there to make use of it.

Cyber hygiene is something to be taken care of in 2021. This is not even a trend but a need for a successful fintech expansion agenda launch.

Biometric-Based Security

Without further ado, let us discuss one of the ways software developers can achieve the cybersecurity level mentioned above. 

The Internet of Things is an integral part of human lives and biometric security measures are nowadays a need and not a whim. With mobile banking being largely dependent on how well its servers are protected and the double-authentication systems adapted, there is more the fintech software developers need to look right into the depth of the matter to find a fitting solution.  

There is nothing more personal and unique than the biometric data that each of us holds. It cannot be copied, thus rendering biometric-based security measures as one of the major fintech trends in 2021

As of now, there is no better way to take customers’ money security to a whole new level. Furthermore, biometric sensors are no longer deemed reliable. Expecting lots of new types of biometric data usage in the fintech industry shortly is the right thing to do. Yet, we will talk about the new biometric security solutions a bit later.

Real-Time Data Reliance

Fintech technology trends to enjoy in 2021 will talk a lot about using real-time data. It will be applied to tracking down better loan and credit solutions. The obsolete tradition of scrutinizing a person’s credit history will fade away. It does not provide an accurate picture of the person’s current solvency. This is a rapidly-changing world that we are living in where tables can turn as simple as that. 

The from rags to riches stories are nowadays aplenty. Nobody judges people on their credit histories of the past.  In 2021, tracking real-time cash flows will impact the majority of loan decisions. What is more, there is a fervent need to understand that 2021 will become the year of renewal: businesses will need loans to rebuild what they’ve lost in 2020. Looking at their fiscal flow in 2020 would have indeed not been the best decision to make. Hence, real-time data it is.

Applying Behavioral Science

John B. Watson invented, in the first half of the 20th century, what is nowadays called behavioral science. Yet, he did not think that behavioral psychology would become an integral part of the finance industry. Yet, it has already been proved that economy is rather a study of human behavior than money (Packin, 2013). It was only a matter of time before we would proceed with behavioral science patterns in fintech.

It took humanity quite some time to start analyzing the motives behind our decisions. Yet, the process has been launched and behavioral psychology currently lies in the core of many industries. Understanding people’s behavioral patterns is going to be a hit in fintech of 2021. 

The number of clients served by the fintech industry amounts to billions, and it will grow. Knowing your customers’ goals and behavioral models is essential. Dealing with money, you have to stay cognizant of how people act in a variety of circumstances. 

Thus, we can surely expect more tech integrations dedicated to behavioral analysis in the fintech code stacks in 2021. Analyzing your customers’ innate nature is the best you can do for making the right decisions in the fintech business of the future.

More Payment Options

While this fintech trend seems to be quite obvious, there is still a need to mention it. Get yourselves ready, folks, as mobile payment options are going wide in 2021.

Yet again, let us all say a big “thank you” to the coronavirus pandemic, as it has fostered the need for developing new ways of paying for things. Social distancing keeps us restrained from free urban movement. Hence, if the banks want to keep their customers loyal, they have to widen the scope of mobile payment options.

Open Banking

It looks like the borders will yet be closed in 2021, at least partially. Well, the exponentially rising levels of financial freedom might become a consolation we’ve all been waiting for. 

Banks are no longer willing to keep their customers on a leash of their physical branches. CEOs and executives understand that as soon as a bank that offers more freedom to their customers appears, they will migrate to a provider that ensures free payments that are not shackled to one banking system.

We should expect a lot of networking between banks in the next year. The banks’ desire to stay afloat is not the only reason to mention here. The Second Payment Services Directive (SPSD-2) leaves them no other choice. It ensures that banks share with authorized bodies the data required for creating a comprehensive financial cooperation platform that caters for the cooperation and security needs of every player in the sector. 

Extensive usage of APIs and AI within open banking – one of the core SPSD-2 provisions – will bring accountability to financial operations. An increased number of prevented scams and frauds will become another benefit to enjoy.

Open banking is growing large next year, as  per experts’ forecasts. Having generated a profit of $7.29 billion in 2018, it is expected to grow to $43.15 billion by 2026 (Allied Market Research, 2020). Hence, more room for open banking in the fintech trends 2021 has already been booked.

Welcome the Blockchains

Satoshi Nakamoto, the man who has invented Bitcoin (well, at least it was the pseudonym he used), had come up with the first blockchain theory back in 2008. 

Blockchains are nowadays used as the world’s most popular ledger of cryptocurrency (and not only) transactions that anyone can trace and access. Predicting how much popularity the blockchain technologies will gain is a Sysyphean labor. Yet, their presence within the fintech trends of 2021 has been ensured by  the major industry players’ need to adopt them.  

Blockchains utilization adds the element of traceability to online banking, preventing any unauthorized party from accessing the funds. Furthermore, blockchains help verify the authenticity and legitimacy of the assets. With improved security being a core of fintech development in 2021, we can surely expect blockchains looming on the horizon of relevancy.

Conversational Banking

Today’s customers have no time to stay on the line “because their call is utterly important to the bank.” They require rapid answers to their questions and issues. One of the leading fintech trends to follow in 2021 will be devoted to this. Get yourselves ready for an extensive rise in the number of communication tools between banks and customers.  

Everyone, regardless of their special needs, has to find those communication platforms easily accessible. If you’re already using fintech software, which is quite probably the truth, you can expect its communication features refined next year.

Digital Wallets on the Rise

We can easily expect digital wallets to be among the main fintech technology trends in 2021 simply because people want to feel free when making transactions. The primordial era of online payments being chained to the internal system of one bank is long gone. 

Using a digital wallet lets people transfer their funds wherever they find it necessary and convenient. The industry players will have to come up with an extended range of digital wallet services. Transactions facilitation can be deemed the ultimate task of the entire fintech industry for 2021.

Accessibility by Voice

Millennials and the Gen Z folks will remember 2020 as one of the worst years in their lives. However, there is a silver lining to this decade. It was not that long ago that society has finally started talking about tolerance and accessibility.

Today's businesses are starting to pay attention to the needs of people who suffer from having no opportunity to enjoy the benefits provided by modern fintech technologies due to a variety of reasons. For example, visually impaired individuals find it hard to use smartphones tangibly, as they cannot see the command buttons on the screen.

The developers of the world's two most popular operating systems - iOS and Android - have already represented their voice-driven assistants, Siri and OK Google, respectively.

Meanwhile, not all the fintech software developers have yet come with their voice-guided apps, meaning that this must become one of the fintech trends in 2021. Furthermore, this is not only accessibility but people's everyday comfort that we are talking about here.

Talking statistics, more than

72%

of smartphone users preferred voice search to seek any data they needed on the web back in 2019. That very same year, nearly 3.25 billion people prefered using their digital assistants to tex-driven searches.

The year 2020 has seen a rise in the percentage of voice search followers, as nowadays more than

50%

all online searches are dictated (Metev, 2020).

While the fintech industry is currently the biggest trend-setter, it should be acknowledged that there are trends that the fintech itself must adhere to. Voice commands will surely become one of the main fintech trends in 2021.

There are quite a few benefits associated with the usage of voice technologies in fintech. First of all, it can substitute for your company’s support department, providing the customers with all the information required regarding their accounts, and simultaneously cutting the operational cost of your business.

Secondly, as we have already mentioned the usage of biometric data as a data-protection and security tool, the customer’s voice can become a significant breakthrough in this direction. Such platforms as PayPal, Venmo, Square Cash, and others have already started implementing voice-based technologies for funds rerouting and online payments. So, welcome to 2021, where you can govern your money with your voice

Increased Governmental Control Over Cryptocurrencies

It seems like there is no need to explain what bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, as well as fintech technologies, have already existed for more than ten years. Yet, nobody paid attention to them, as they were of no value to the world. 

Nowadays, with the fintech technologies and cryptocurrencies gradually becoming the key financial instruments, governments worldwide are starting to react. The lack of governmental regulatory legislation on the use of cryptocurrencies will be ousted by an increased number of corresponding laws and provisions passed in 2021.

The fintech industry will go through a legal rehaul as it will be adopted as the key financial platform for the global economies to thrive upon.

Regulatory Technology (RegTech)

The governments will have to tighten up their fintech regulations, and we have already mentioned that.
Therefore, it is crystal clear that the fintech software will have to become more compliant with each of the regulations applicable. Economies have to be regulated, and every business is interested in making sure it does not violate any law or provision, as the fines might be bigger than the expenditures on having the regulatory software developed.

Cutting a long story short, RegTech is nothing else than a software component that makes sure that the company’s fiscal processes are fully compliant with applicable legislation.

Enormous and even mammoth volumes of fiscal regulatory documentation can be handled automatically, saving banks and other financial institutions a considerable amount of money and time.

Besides legal compliance, there are five major domains in which RegTech can play its part in the fintech industry in 2021. As soon as an organization adopts it, its identity management, transaction monitoring, compliance software, risk management, and regulatory reporting scopes are getting refined to the bits.

As a result,

a company gets its administrative staff reduced or rerouted to more human-oriented tasks, customers protected, and financial stability ensured.

Finally,

the RegTech software offers a plethora of analytical tools and methods to use when defining one’s business’s strengths and weaknesses.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Last but not least is the fact that banks and financial institutions will be looking dearly into becoming faster. 

Artificial intelligence systems are nowadays being adopted by banks worldwide as the greatest facilitators of autonomous decisions. There is nothing to be surprised about – they are faster and more efficient than humans. 

Yet, there is no mention of cutting the company’s manpower loose, as RPA is being adopted within the framework of letting people deal with more creative and higher purposes within a company.

A Round-Up

It doesn’t take much wit to understand that the fintech trends will impact everything today’s businesses are even partially related to. The fintech industry is the platform where the foundations of today’s businesses’ future are being laid. 

Nonetheless, with banks and financial organizations heavily reliant on today’s customers’ preferences and requirements, the fintech industry will be regarded as the tool to be used in their hunt for keeping the customers loyal.

The distant past of queues, cash payments, and deteriorated financial security vanishes into thin air as you’re reading this article. The future comes soon, and it wants you to be a part of it. The sooner you enter the fintech industry, the closer you get to stability and, what is more, predictability of your financial performance. The fintech industry trends in 2021 will grant:

More security

the implementation of neoteric biometric data is instrumental and imperative in making the fintech industry even more secure than it was.

Increased customer satisfaction

customer-orientation is the industry’s top priority in 2021.

Enhanced business stability

analytical decision-making and legal compliance are on the list of fintech goals in 2021.

More networking and cooperation

the implementation of neoteric biometric data is instrumental and imperative in making the fintech industry even more secure than it was.

More freedom

fintech aims at being a unified platform for free payments worldwide, and your customers will definitely appreciate the part you play in this endeavor.

References

Financial Inclusion on the Rise, But Gaps Remain, Global Findex Database Shows. (2018). Retrieved 19 November 2020

Fintech Market | Size, Trends, Forecast | 2020 – 2025. (2020). Retrieved 17 November 2020

Growth in Fintech Investment Fastest in European Market. (2015). Retrieved 17 November 2020

Metev, D. (2020). 2020’s Voice Search Stats – Is Voice Search Growing?. Retrieved 20 November 2020

Open Banking Market Size to Reach $43.15 Billion by 2026, at 24.4% CAGR. (2020). Retrieved 20 November 2020

Packin, Nizan Geslevich, It’s (Not) All About the Money: Using Behavioral Economics to Improve Regulation of Risk Management in Financial Institutions (March 3, 2013). University of Pennsylvania Journal of Business Law, Volume 2, Issue 15, 2013 , Chicago Booth Research Paper

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