Money is what makes the world go around, or so they say. Everyone is in business to make money, but the degree to which the organization deals with it might vary. For example, some companies, like banks, are designed to make money by helping others manage theirs. Banks and marketplace lenders take advantage of what is called financial technology, or FinTech, to more effectively provide services to individuals or organizations that want to manage, borrow, pay, see, or use their money in more efficient ways.
Banks are more subject to specific regulations, whereas marketplace lenders, or MPLs, are still somewhat on the upswing. FinTech helps them lend, collect, and distribute capital. MPLs have risen in popularity in recent years, and it’s likely because an estimated $7 trillion is at risk of being displaced from the financial services market. They take advantage of modern technology, which ultimately means that they are at less risk overall than with any other non-regulated financial transaction. Legislators are hard at work creating ways to regulate these organizations without keeping them from innovating, but this proves challenging, as there needs to be something in place to protect consumers.
What is FinTech?
Simply put, FinTech is any sort of technology that is used to track or manage your finances. This includes your credit card, online banking systems, and even applications like PayPal. While technology isn’t anything new in this regard, the drastic changes to hardware and software in recent years have fostered growth in this sector, providing new mediums outside of the traditional banking infrastructure. Whereas banks have been run in largely the same way for a long time now, MPLs have a considerably larger amount of virtual capital that allows these companies to invest in ways that other independent organizations could only dream of. Basically, thanks to FinTech, investors have more options than ever before.
These days, most money is flowing through asset managers who take the money and invest it in non-traditional methods through technology systems. Even defining FinTech is an issue at times due to the scope of what it covers, including where the company operates and what kind of lending facility it is. Overall, regarding federal regulations, the latest FinTech models present questionable situations that need to be addressed by legislators. Federal investigators have had their eye on this sector for around five years now, so compared to banks that are somewhat limited in what they can and cannot use their capital for, marketplace lenders have been able to bypass these restrictions to create new opportunities.
Independent lenders are certainly nothing new for the financial industry either, but they have always had a negative connotation associated with them. One of the more controversial lending organizations out there is the payday loan market, which lets users take advantage of fast money in the form of a short-term, high-interest loan. If the user can pay it back before their next paycheck, then the lender only charges them a small fee. If not, it gets ugly. The loan can be renewed with interest added into the equation. Generally speaking, most people would only need a couple hundred dollars that can’t wait until their next paycheck, but those who need more might find themselves in a questionable position before long. Several U.S. states have outlawed such loans specifically due to how predatory they are, but other locations that have yet to do so are seeing major challenges from FinTech lenders.
Some FinTech lenders are attempting to make getting a payday loan much different. These lenders, including LendUP and Elevate, are offering services where the big difference is that they work with borrowers rather than purposely get them into situations where they are in over their heads. This new FinTech model aims to help borrowers repair their credit by turning toward data analytics.
What FinTech services do you currently use? Would you recommend one to others? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.