Fintech and Consumer Needs

A man holding a smartphone in one hand and a credit card in the other.
Written by Kay Robinson,

In our previous self-funded work on Fintech, we found that basic consumer needs and financial priorities were driving Fintech adoption. Where consumers saw an opportunity for Fintech was less about the tech behind the offering or the desire to disrupt existing relationships, and more about what financial needs the specific offering could fulfil.

Looking across the Fintech market, it’s interesting to see how brands are continuing to garner attention, the technological developments and most of all how the market is responding to consumer needs. What are the unmet needs that Fintech brands are working to capitalise on?

Some interesting themes emerging in the consumer Fintech market seem to be…

Tighter budgetary control

Bud, Snoop and Tully are just three of the brands working in this space. Leveraging open banking technology, these Fintechs allow users an overview of their finances in one place, providing tips, market access for switching deals like utilities, and aggregated insights into spending. Tully in particular is designed for budgeting; qualifying as a digital debt advice solution as approved by the FCA. While Tully is still in the early stages of building a customer base, the idea of assisting users with budget building is one that has proved successful with other Fintechs so far, while the debt repayment solutions and advice appear to go one step further to helping users gain better control of their money.

Greater flexibility/power

While the above Fintechs aim to meet consumer needs for control of existing funds and budget, another group of players propose more flexible access to capital full stop. Less concerned with budgeting, these Fintechs attempt to hand the reigns to the consumer in deciding when they access income. Enabling consumers to access a proportion of their income early, the concept is designed to improve cash flow without impacting credit score. Fintechs Hastee and Wagestream and are just a couple of the brands in this space. Paid is another Fintech in this area, positioned as an instrument for self-employed consumers to receive payment faster as opposed to waiting on invoices – though 7.5% of their earnings go to Paid for the privilege.

Levelling the playing field

Finally, another angle being explored by Fintechs is in the region of investment market access. Exo and Nutmeg are two good examples of Fintechs operating in this space; as online wealth managers they offer relatively ‘hands off’ online investment platforms. Either by algorithm or by the brand’s team, customer portfolios are built according to preference and appetite for risk, without the level of cost associated with traditional financial advice and are aimed at less wealthy/more novice investors. PrimaryBid, also concerned with share trading, proposes to open market access to public investors at institutional rates. The underlying premise of these Fintechs is opening market access to the regular, non-specialist consumer.

Though many more Fintechs are of course out there, these brands’ propositions are an interesting window onto which consumer needs are driving NPD from some Fintech start-ups. Which other brands are meeting needs in similar ways? What do these Fintech developments mean in terms of opportunities for high street providers? How will the market continue to evolve? We’re watching this space…

By Kay Robinson

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