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'Fintech' madness

08/04/2016 09:23
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In June international experts touched down at the Innovation Center in Madrid to talk about the fintech revolution. All concurred that the digitization of traditional banking gives a great impulse to the fintech sector, which is experiencing a historical moment.

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Forbes has stated that the global take-up rate for – fintech – understood as the percentage of users in the digitally active population – is currently around 15.5%. The three main cities dominating the market are New York (33.1%), Hong Kong (29.1%) and London (25.1%), according to Ernst & Young.

Goldman Sachs values the fintech market in the United States at 4.7 billion dollars. At the Fintech University conference held in the BBVA Innovation Center in Madrid it was emphasized that "collaboration between governments, traditional banking and fintechs is essential to create a new financial environment".

Among the many fintech companies playing a prominent role this year, we call attention to three:

Atom Bank  – the first mobile access bank to obtain a license in the United Kingdom, in which BBVA has a 29.5% stake – allows customers to be registered completely online. Its use of machine learning to speed up customer queries is an outstanding feature. This startup company, based in the city of Durham in England, also uses biometric technology and gamification. Its co- founder and CEO, Mark Mullen, emphasizes that users, "don't care where the technology used to create the products and services comes from. They just want a transparent relationship with services understood as a platform". 

N26: This year all eyes have been on this Berlin based startup, which has triumphed with users and aroused interest in the banking sector. The bank is expanding in seven countries – Germany, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Slovakia and Spain – and already has around 200,000 users despite its short life. One particular feature it has is that it only takes 8 minutes – using a mobile phone – to open an account. Another of its strong points is the use of artificial intelligence to offer services to its customers.

Google, Facebook and Alibaba also aspire to becoming the “Uber“ of banking. The GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon) companies do not want the fintech revolution to leave them behind. With millions of users, they are playing an ever more prominent role in the financial ecosystem. The Google Wallet mobile payment system allows consumers to make purchases online and send money by email; Apple Pay is a digital wallet and mobile payments service; Facebook Messenger allows users to send money to each other; Amazon Lending offers loans and Alibaba has 400 million active users monthly for its AliPay Wallet6, highlights this report by Accenture.