One of the many lasting effects of COVID-19 will be the influence it has had on the adoption of new technology in financial services, particularly payments. The need for e-commerce during lockdowns and social distancing has meant that the critical mass of users needed to make new technologies become mainstream was reached in a question of months instead of years.
The health crisis became one of the leading factors driving fintech growth, but will technology in financial services continue to evolve as quickly now that the world has learned to live with a pandemic? Let’s take a look at the trends that will impact the future of fintech in 2022.
The meteoric rise of mobile wallets continues
The technology that makes mobile wallets possible has been available to consumers for over a decade but for most people, leaving their conventional wallet at home and paying with a smartphone was something they could live without. Lockdowns and social distancing, however, made digital payments the method of choice for consumers and turned mobile wallets into a product with mass appeal. As a result, cash usage for in-store payments dropped 10% globally in 2020 alone and the meteoric rise of mobile money is expected to continue. By 2024, FIS expects cash to account for just 13% of payments worldwide and for mobile wallets to make up half of all e-commerce payments.
Much of the global increase in mobile wallets is expected to come from emerging markets where adoption is happening so fast that consumers are jumping directly to mobile money without first having had a bank account or card. Mobile wallets are an important development tool because they put financial services within reach of anyone, anywhere, including isolated areas in developing countries. Given how critical a role mobile money plays in providing financial services to the unbanked, Ria continues to expand its mobile wallet service which currently supports 436 million customers and is available in 26 countries. Our objective is to offer this service to more countries and regions in the future to foster financial inclusion in more communities in the developing world.
The use of mobile wallets will continue to soar for consumer payments and contribute to financial inclusion but more businesses will start looking to mobile money for B2B payments as well, making it one of the top fintech trends for 2022.
Embedded finance allows consumers to pay for a purchase online without entering bank or card details. Online retailers or any type of company can integrate banking software directly on their website without having to redirect users to third party websites, providing consumers with a frictionless, fast, simple, convenient online shopping experience. Banking-as-a-service (BaaS) as it’s called, generated $22.5 billion in revenue in 2020, a figure expected to increase to $230 bn by 2025.
The rising demand for BaaS will mean growth for banks and financial service companies who partner with non-financial entities. Technology companies, large retailers and other nonbank entities can offer financial services, but can’t become a bank in markets where the regulatory bar is quite high and strong risk and compliance frameworks are required. The service can be white labelled, meaning the brand of the financial service provider is invisible to the consumer, or co-branded with the retailer or company.
Another strong fintech payment trend that will be on the rise in 2022 is buy now, pay later, or BNPL. BNPL is a line of credit offered by retailers and banks that spreads payment for the purchase of a specific item out over several months and is intended to be cheaper than using a credit card.
Seamless payments without losing focus on compliance and regulation
One of the top fintech trends currently is the increase in the number of partnerships between companies to offer financial services. This will mean increased focus on the importance of compliance and regulation when choosing third party providers. Greater collaboration among banks, payment providers and the public sector in preventing fraud and money laundering will also be on the rise in 2022.
Businesses face a huge challenge around removing unnecessary payments friction and improving the user experience while making it easier for businesses to grow internationally by implementing innovation and new technologies such as AI to speed payments without losing sight of security or breaching regulatory guidelines.
Distributed ledger technology comes of age?
Interest in using blockchain technology for transactions not associated with currencies is expected to continue as one of the top fintech trends in 2022. With it, the number of use cases in areas like smart contracts and corporate treasury will likely increase.
There will continue to be a lot of attention to what the internet of the future will look like with some advocating a decentralized online world based on distributed ledger technology where large groups of people could interact spontaneously. Dubbed Web3, many sceptics question whether the same technology that underpins crypto currencies could garner the mass appeal and reach the scale to replace the internet we currently know. Either way, the debate on how to reduce the power of tech platforms will also continue.
Technology emerged as one of the heroes in a world under siege due to COVID-19. The demand for services provided thanks to technology’s rapid advance will grow once more in 2022. One area where business demand for services is not adequately met is international payments. Recognizing this, last November our parent company, Euronet announced the launch of a cross-border payments platform dubbed Dandelion, that offers fintechs, banks, resource planning providers and tech platforms a turnkey solution to integrate cross-border payments into their products using the Euronet family’s technology, expertise and physical network. Dandelion provides an end-to-end solution for international payments that reduces the difficulty, complexity and costs businesses currently face.
At Ria, innovation is part of our culture. We will continue to keep pace with developments in the industry, analyzing trends and identifying innovative solutions so we can do what we have always done: offer the most advanced technology available to serve our customers and partners.