No matter the year, the topic of personal finance is always at top of mind. Some work to live, others live to work, but no matter what — your money matters. It provides you with the ability to feed yourself, obtain housing, and even splurge on some entertainment every once in a while. You pretty much need some amount of money to live. Knowing this, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that people are constantly looking for ways to bring in more money and hold onto the money they already have.
The world of personal finance has become even more interesting as technology has developed. Even in an industry that is very heavily regulated by the government, there have been advancements made to make financial processes more efficient, more secure, and even provide some other benefits.
Carrying out banking tasks use to mean an errand to a physical bank location, during which you’d work with someone to complete what needed to be done. Now, this is still an option (and of course recommended for complex transactions), but most simple tasks can be carried out online or even through a mobile app. For this reason, there are some banks that exist wholly remotely. Similarly, it’s now standard practice to apply for and manage credit cards online, without ever meeting with or speaking to someone. In most cases, your rewards earned from credit card will automatically transfer over to the partner website, and you’ll be able to redeem them online as well. So, when you spend $17k-$37k to earn that free flight from your credit card, you won’t have to call or speak to anyone to redeem it.
This term, which stands for “financial technology,” is “a new tech that seeks to improve and automate the delivery and use of financial services” according to Investopedia. This is a blanket term that actually incorporates other specific types of technology. Some examples include peer-to-peer lending, currency transfer tools, fraud identification systems, user authentication within the financial services industry, and more. Some examples of companies within this space are Ripple, Lenddo, and Shufti Pro. As mobile banking grows, so will the opportunities for companies to enter the world of FinTech.
Cryptocurrency / Blockchain
Cryptocurrency and blockchain are the general terms that most would think of as “bitcoin.” Generally, it’s some sort of digital asset that you then exchange (similar to how paper dollars are associated a value, then exchanged). In truth, there is a multitude of cryptocurrencies beyond bitcoin — Ethereum, ZCash, and Litecoin, plus many others cropping up each quarter. It’s no surprise, then, that cryptocurrency is the most popular tech trend in six U.S. states, according to this study from AgileCraft. Some people regularly make transactions using cryptocurrency in place of regular government-backed currency. The question is if this system will last.