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What are the long-term effects of Covid 19 pandemic for UK Fintech firms?

In the blink of an eye, the working world has embraced Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and other collaborative tools so they can keep working from home. This change in behaviour has opened many eyes and is likely to have a lasting impact on how banking — and business — is conducted as the global pandemic recedes.

Since the last financial crisis hit us all back in 2008, the Fintech revolution has brought us better ways to manage our finances. Changing the way in which we think about money, making mobile payments effortless, helping us get better access to loans and mortgages, democratising wealth management via Robo investing and helping businesses streamline their payment and financial operations, the list goes on.

Innovative fintech entrepreneurs gathered the best minds, creative technologists, UX designers and researchers,  to try and understand the struggles and frustration felt by customers when having to use banking services. Collectively, they created new, improved services where traditional banks had struggled. That’s because Fintech start-ups realised the power of mastering one banking service (rather than being a jack of all trades) would be the key to their success.

 But what do customers want now?

With every facet of life having been impacted by Covid 19, and the world’s financial markets in their most volatile state for over a decade, we potentially face another recession, far worse than we’ve experienced before.

So how will fintech’s fare in this new world? Until now, Fintech start-ups have thrived because they have been experience-oriented and user needs-focused. They’ve been agile and quick to respond to fast-changing situations. Unlike some of the bigger banks, they’ve put the user at the heart of their product and UX design. Basically, they’ve disrupted the financial services industry by listening and innovating.

So, what now? Will customers want something different as a result of the crisis? Now that they are not able to visit cafés, pubs and restaurants. And shopping for food is more of a survival function rather than a pleasure, will more people be happy to ditch cash altogether?

Starling Bank’s CEO Anne Boden certainly thinks this is true. She told us in an interview last week that she believes the pandemic will speed up the demise of paper money.

 Less is more.

Will customers want more of their banking services consolidated? This has been the case for some time, our phones and tablets are already cluttered with too many apps. And as many of us spring cleaning our homes and throw out all stuff we don’t need while we are under house arrest, I think more of us will be doing a Marie Kondo on our phones and tablets too, rationalising what we need in life.

Will this will lead to more small Fintech firms merging so they can offer broader services? Or will they find themselves teaming up with large banks to offer customers the best of both worlds?

Only time will tell, but it’s the fintech firms who listen to what people want and evolve quickly that will survive the financial storm and challenging future that’s undoubtedly coming.

EMMA POOLE
EMMA POOLE
Emma is a writer, creative director and content specialist with hands-on experience of working for several fintech start-ups in Europe.

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