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When it comes to financial software solutions, the finance industry is set to be disrupted in the next few years. Why? According to a recent report by Gartner, brick-and-mortar banks will become obsolete by 2030. “Within 12 years time, 80% of financial firms will either go out of business or be rendered irrelevant by new competition, changing customer behaviour and advancements in technology.“ This is mainly due to the rise of many great fintech startups, changing customer behaviors and sky-rocketing technology.

As a matter of fact, there really seems to be no end of stories on how tech advancements transform financial services, from changing the way we handle our own finances to posing threats to banks institutions. Mobile banking apps, online banking, text fraud alerts, automatic savings apps…the list goes on.

However, it’s still 2019 and if you’ve found yourself in the financial software development industry looking for some trends to follow, here are the top 5 ones:

1. Cashless payments

Cashless payments have fired up in the last few years and 2019 will only make this trend stronger and more influential. As more and more customers prefer to pay with their credit or debit cards, stores are jumping on the cashless payments bandwagon one after another. In fact, carrying a wallet or purse full of coins has long become the thing of the past. We all prefer cashless and soon most of us will probably even shift from paying with cards to paying with our mobile phones.

Conclusion: Banks should be thinking mobile first in their financial software development strategies.

2. Biometric advances – paying with your face, voice, and smile

2019 will see a huge advancement in Artificial intelligence (AI) development which is having profound impact on us, our society and economy. It started with unlocking our phones with our fingerprints, then with facial recognition — biometric innovations are now real, and for most of us they have also become the norm.

For instance, a while ago banks have started using voice technology to verify their customers’ identities. Or a handful of companies in China, such as Face++ and Baidu are already using revolutionary facial recognition software. It analyzes your face and matches it to a database of photos. There are countless examples such as these, but perhaps the best one is that of KFC in China and Alibaba. These two brands have both tested letting people pay not only with their faces, but also with a grin aka. Smile.

Facial recognition must work with 99% accuracy

The key to facial recognition software is accuracy. Facial recognition software must be extremely accurate to have any use and make sense at all. Otherwise, if it didn’t work that way, someone who looks similar enough to you, could be charging all of their purchases to your account accidentally. The entire premise breaks down.

As an additional level of security, facial recognition software often runs something called a “liveness test.” To prevent foul play, users are often asked to do things such as to turn their head or talk. (The latter, with using the user’s voice is called voice banking by the financial software development industry). In the meantime, the software analyzes their faces. This prevents someone from simply holding up a picture of someone they wish to impersonate.

Let’s face it, face-based technologies are on the rise. Adopting artificial intelligence allows companies to tailor customer experiences.

Conclusion: Before we all know it, we will be “paying with our faces”.

3. Blockchain

Blockchain is the technology sitting behind Bitcoin, the “digital currency” that is separate from any central bank. It should be no surprise by now that blockchain will be one of the trends for the financial sector and one of its threats at the same time. In fact, no other technology poses more threats to banking and finance than blockchain. The financial services sector has started embracing it to get ahead of the disruption. The entire financial sector spends $1.7 billion each year on the technology. This number is expected to grow in the next few years since 90% of major European and North American banks are already exploring the most beneficial uses of blockchain.

Security, transparency and efficiency are one of the most praised advantages of blockchain. Immutable audit trails put customers at ease about any account activity. Speaking of efficiency, because of numerous intermediary steps, transactions and payment settlements usually take a few days. But blockchain can limit this process to a few minutes or seconds.

Because of the many benefits it brings, blockchain is being adopted across many industries, not only finance, but also healthcare or even the government. The latter are using blockchain to store huge amounts of data while keeping it safe and  accessible.

Conclusion: Blockchain opens unprecedented possibilities for every sector and will soon be the norm in our society.

4. Automation

The trend we have noticed years ago, but it has strongly settled in just recently. People are not going to bank counters anymore. As a result, banks are looking into both mobile first solutions as well as looking for ways to substitute face-to-face interactions in their sales processes. Global startups, such as Attila are Startups like Attila are utilizing Artificial Intelligence to create meaningful financial conversations between clients and the bank.

Not only will AI help us streamline processes, but it will also help majorily support our decision-making. It will help make instant, on-the-spot decisions about where to put the money or how to solve the issue of an overdrawn account. It will also approve us for loans and interest rates on the spot.

Conclusion: Automation has become a necessity for financial software development.

5. Collaboration

Open banking opens the way to new products and services that could help customers and small to medium-sized businesses get a better deal. It also provides you with a more detailed understanding of your accounts, and helps you find new ways to make the most of your money. On top of that, it guides the financial industry into a smart collaboration mode. In 2019 we will see more and more partnerships between banks, fintech startups, and other professional service providers. They will all operate in an ecosystem via interconnected APIs.

Conclusion: Such partnerships will deliver a consistent, seamless experience for end-users, and to provide a wider array of services.

Summary

FinTech may already be reinventing how we handle our money, how we interact with our payments and deal with them overall, but it’s still very much an untouched frontier. However, the truth is that the financial landscape is undoubtedly shifting more toward mobile and digital. In order to keep up, institutions and startups alike will have to adopt and embrace technologies like Artificial Intelligence and blockchain to both streamline processes and make them more secure.

We must also keep in mind that innovation is like a long marathon, not a short distance sprint. Enterprises have to focus on implementing new solutions the right way, not just for the sake of being first.

The bottom line questions is: are we all ready for a better and brighter future for finance? Because it really is waiting for right around the corner — with an industry more diverse and fluid than ever before.

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Billy Goodwin A.K.A Skaidon (my gamertag). As you can probably tell I love gaming. You will more often than not catch me with my headset on yelling online. I also love blogging, especially about the tech industry, hence the birth of the blog ' Skaidon'. Feel free to get in touch with me anytime or if you fancy a challenge add me online using 'Skaidon'.