This month, Prime Minister David Cameron, has given his backing to FinTech 2020, which aims to put Britain at the centre of the world of fintech, or financial technology, industry within the next five years.
The US’s Silicon Valley dominates the industry with investment in fintech standing at around $2 billion, however, the UK is leading the European investment. It secured 42% of all European fintech investment in 2014 and between 2008 and 2013 the UK and Ireland received more than $700 million from investors. Plus, it is estimated that a huge 40% of the workforce in London is made up of financial and technological services.
David Cameron said recently:
“This government wants the UK to be the leading fintech centre in the world; that’s why at the Summer Budget, we appointed a Special Envoy for this fast-growing sector... This will help to ensure we are a world leader in the development of financial services technologies.”
What is Fintech
What exactly is ‘fintech’ and how does it affect us?
According to the Oxford English Dictionary online, to which the word has only recently been added, Fintech is ‘computer programs and other technology used to support or enable banking and financial services’. It is one of the fastest-growing areas for venture capitalists, it adds.
And because banking and financial services affect nearly every one of us in some way, fintech is going to have a growing – hopefully positive – impact on our lives.
It is changing the way companies do business and start-ups are funded, and how money is transferred across borders. It has opened up many possibilities for businesses such as crowdsourcing, where start-up companies, instead of having to apply to traditional banks or investors for funding – a process that can be time-consuming and unwieldy – can pitch directly to the world via the internet.
The rise of fintech is opening up ever-increasing possibilities to businesses and consumers and companies entrepreneurs need to keep up with the latest developments.
The proliferation of the smartphone had changed customer behaviour too. People can access information and data instantly at the touch of a screen, wherever they are. Mobile banking and mobile banking apps have revolutionized the way we shop and handle our financial affairs. The technology puts small firms and traditional large corporations on a more even footing too.
For people without bank accounts, keeping an eye on their financial affairs is often harder than for those people in a full-time role but here again, the smartphone technology can help.
Membership of schemes such as Suits Me® gives temporary workers, who often struggle to set up a basic account, especially if they are coming from overseas to work in the UK for a set length of time, the visible 24/7 control over their wages they need. It gives members a pre-paid Mastercard® debit card they can use in stores and online together with generous cashback rewards in many high street stores.
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