The Next Grade of FinTech
For a long time, competition in the market has passed from the technological to the social and cultural plane, and it seems that this is the most awkward stage of development for financial technologies. A decade ago, FinTech solutions brought with them additional value for people, simplifying processes and providing new opportunities for making payments and tracking funds. What is happening today? Has FinTech entered the zone of minor improvements, or trying to invent new business models? What are the real problems we are seeking to solve today? Of course, we would like to create the most straightforward and easy-to-understand tools for people to interact with each other. Perhaps this is a common goal for all of us, whatever we may be doing, because, in the end, it all comes down to our interactions with each other.
Maybe we should pay attention to what people use financial technology for. That is why they need different methods of payment, plain and simple tools, speed, and reliability of the technology. Obviously, it’s used to obtain the desired goods or services. And maybe this is where hidden opportunities lie. We learned quite quickly and easily how to transfer our money, but what happens after money transferred, should we worry about it. For example, let’s look at an important part of our mandatory monthly payments: recurring payments. For simplicity’s sake, we can talk about our paid subscriptions or monthly bills for services.
Every month, our bank accounts and credit cards are paying out a significant portion of our assets. Now ask yourself a few questions. I interviewed several dozen people before writing this article, and none of them were able to answer these queries accurately, despite the fact that many of them had learned a lot while exploring their bank accounts. Here are the questions: Do you know how much money each month is automatically charged from your account? How many paid subscriptions are you paying at the moment? Are you sure that you do not pay for services that you do not use? And did you know that you can pay less? There are many other questions you could ask; I’ve only included the ones that almost no one could answer. For experts, this list can be expanded to issues of migration between providers, consolidation of payment methods, and the like.
In my opinion, it’s important for those in the FinTech field to pay attention to the development of new financial services and payment instruments. The model of consumption has changed and, in my view, we must take this into account in the development of new payment instruments, giving more attention to maintenance and management functions, not only focusing on payments but also on interactions with service providers. Recurring payments must be allocated out of the total number of transactions, and be equipped to receive service management tools. By itself, payment technology has no value without the possibility of managing subscriptions, which today has become the primary method of producing goods or services.
Subscribing to services, as well as cancelling services, should be a simple and immediate process. Fear of service providers failing to provide such opportunities is likely rooted in older models and the companies’ desire to retain customers, but it contradicts modern trends. On the contrary, by providing an easy way to subscribe and cancel subscriptions, service providers will experience growth in the consumption of services. This model removes barriers and conditioned fear of consumers due to the compound non-rendered services procedures. This also applies to the highly complex migration from one provider to another. If you’ve ever switched your mobile number from one provider to another, then you’ll know what I’m talking about.
We can see similar problems when we update or change the payment method for the service. With today’s multiple payment options, there is no opportunity to consolidate all our cards in one place, and manage cash flow. We do not know if we can pay less because often we do not see such a possibility, we do not know about the reduction of pricing, and new pricing is available only for new customers, not existing ones. It’s weird because, at the same time, service providers are spending heavily to attract customers, but user retention is poor. Often it seems that service providers are not sure of their competitive advantages and are trying in every way to complicate the cancelling of the services provided. But the key to customer loyalty, in my opinion, is simplified cancelling of services and ease of subscribing.
I think we need to accompany our payment instruments with service functions at the intersection of consumer and service provider interests. Then we can say that financial technology and payment solutions are creating additional value for customers. The same approach would be beneficial for service providers as well. Removing unnecessary restrictions and barriers will ensure that service providers cultivate loyal customers and will increase the number of sales due to migration or returning users. When we know that at any moment we can quickly and easily cancel services, we also easily subscribe to them. This next logical step in FinTech will help to solve one of the key problems faced by users of financial technology, and improve interactions between the user and service provider.