The fintech industry has come a long way in a short period of time. While financial technology has been around for decades I think we can all agree that in the past few years it has really come of age. And since the coining of the term fintech we have seen an explosion in innovation. Things that were considered impossible a decade ago are now commonplace, almost expected today.
But we can and should do more. While most of the innovations happening today are making a real difference I would argue, to paraphrase Steve Jobs, they are not yet making a dent in the universe.
On the small business side more companies have access to more funding options than ever before and that is starting to really help. Companies like Kabbage, OnDeck and Funding Circle are providing new credit options that have never been available from traditional finance. On the consumer side companies like Lending Club, Prosper, SoFi and Marlette are also making a difference, saving the US consumer many millions of dollars annually. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.
We Need to Turn Our Attention to the Global Underserved
I was listening to the Breaking Banks podcast the other day where host Brett King was in Kenya. It was one of the most fascinating podcasts I have listened to in a long time. Kenya has this incredible payments system called M-Pesa that basically everyone in the country uses. It has completely changed people’s lives. People who were excluded from the financial system, with no bank account and no way of paying anyone except in cash, could now use their phone to pay any person or company in Kenya. And we are not talking iPhones or Samsung Galaxys here, this can be achieved by an old fashioned flip phone.