When most people hear about financial technology, or FinTech, they imagine hip startups and established corporations that focus on providing financial services to other corporate clients. And while B2B services do make up a large part of the industry, the personal finance side of things has been getting a lot more attention the last couple years.
4 Trends in Personal FinTech
Between a number of innovative apps and functional websites, there’s been tremendous growth in personal financial technology in recent months. Let’s take a look at a few of the trends and how they’re shaping the marketplace.
1. Simplicity of Credit Monitoring
As cyber threats appear to be increasing in volume and frequency, the media coverage surrounding credit card fraud is also becoming more prevalent. The result is a consumer marketplace that wants to monitor their credit in an easy and convenient manner. In response, a number of companies have launched free credit checks and credit monitoring services to keep customers informed.
2. Intuitive Budgeting Apps
Thanks to a number of mobile budgeting apps that can now be accessed directly from a smartphone or tablet, it’s easier than ever to create and track your budget in real-time. Overall, this has made budgeting cool again.
There are more than a dozen reputable budgeting apps now available, but the most popular ones include Mint, Mvelopes, Unsplurge, and YNAB. A lot of people also like PocketGuard, because it works with Apple Watch. What makes these apps so successful is that they’re intuitive and aesthetically pleasing. The result is an immersive user experience that gives users a reason to come back over and over again.
3. Increased Access to Financial Products
In the past, finding the right financial product for your needs required you to go to a local bank or some sort of broker and listen to them ramble about things you knew nothing about. Today, there are a number of online services and websites that allow you to educate yourself and find financial products that fit your needs.
This self-service nature of personal finance has made the entire process of finding new products and solutions much less overwhelming. It’s really changed things for the better and there’s reason to believe there’s more innovation coming down the pipeline.
4. DIY Tax Returns on the Rise
Fifteen years ago, it would have been hard to imagine that the average person could file their own taxes without having any knowledge of the complicated tax code. Yet, here we are in 2017, and millions of people are using online tools like TurboTax to file their own taxes and save money in the process.
According to recent reports, the number of returns filed by tax professionals is actually declining year-over-year, which indicates that millions of people – a large number of them being millennials – are opting to take a DIY approach.
While there’s certainly still value in hiring a professional accountant, much of the TurboTax appeal has to do with its simple interface. The system asks basic questions, provides online support, and doesn’t require the user to know anything about taxes or finances. That’s attractive to people who don’t want to shell out hundreds of dollars for accounting services.
Look for Sustained Growth
Don’t expect the recent surge in tools and technologies designed for personal finance to be a blip on the radar. In the coming years, billions of dollars will be poured into financial technology and savvy consumers will begin to expect more out of the tools they have at their disposal. This signals additional growth in a tech niche that’s already burgeoning at a pretty astounding rate.