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Essential Fintech News - March 2019

March 28, 2019|0 min read
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A quarter of the way into 2019, our industry has already been a hotbed of activity. Here’s a snapshot of some trends and news from March:

Apple announces new credit card

Don’t Let Apple Take a Bite Out of You

Apple announced the Apple Card credit card -- to be released this summer. Press coverage was widespread, and not all positive.

Advocacy-based, self-driving finance is coming

Center for Financial Services Innovation CEO and Forbes columnist Jennifer Tescher recently called attention to a fintech trend expected to escalate in the coming years: self-driving finance. The future is not far distant, wrote Tescher, in which “a Siri-like assistant that is part accountant, part budgeting guru, part fortune teller” will be constantly learning from your data and giving you counsel and nudges to better manage your money. 

“This kind of modern financial advice is destined to become the new ‘free checking’ of the banking industry in this digital era,” she wrote, “when checking accounts are indistinguishable from one provider to another, and a bank is less a place you go and more about what you can do from the comfort of your smartphone.”

It's a natural step in the evolution of the digital banking ecosystem of the future. And it’s already happening. One example is the recent partnership between MX and Personetics. Pairing clean data with artificial intelligence (AI) insights, the partnership will allow financial institutions to help their customers manage spending, increase savings, pay down debt, and plan for the future.

Quoting MX founder and CEO Ryan Caldwell in her Feb. 28 American Banker news story on the topic, editor Penny Crosman wrote “Advocacy [such as providing customers with insights into their financial health] can help banks navigate a world in which customers have more choices and switching banks is less expensive.” 

Open Banking inching its way into the U.S. 

Open Banking

An increasing number of banks are realizing that “opening up” their banking platform is in their best interest, as it helps their customers access a consolidated financial picture as well as a wide array of tools and services. 

The first initiatives around open banking involve data sharing. The core idea here is that financial institutions can securely give third parties access to customer data, with those customers’ explicit consent. This is done through secure applicable program interfaces (APIs). Open banking is a movement that got started in Europe and is now making progress worldwide. Slowly but surely, it is coming to the U.S. 

Technical standards are in the works, and widespread acceptance and implementation may not come as early as this year, but recent signs from international banks with a U.S. presence (such as Spanish banking giant BBVA) point to an open-banking future in this country. See recent stories in American Banker, The Financial Brand and BOSS Magazine.

 Who are the best fintechs to work for?

American banker best place to work for

SourceMedia’s second annual ranking of the “Best Fintechs to Work For” included a wide variety of companies within its list of 50. According to American Banker, the smallest company on the list, Fountain City Fintech, employs only 15, and the largest, Ally Financial, has 8,000 plus. The rankings were based on a number of criteria including workplace culture, policies, practices, philosophy, systems and demographics, and an employee satisfaction survey. MX landed at No. 18 of the list of 50.

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