Fintech everywhere is underway


Updated on March 30, 2020

In light of what’s going on in the world, the need for a digitally delivered financial system has never been more pressing. During this crisis people are learning new digital habits which may have long-lasting effects on consumer behavior. In many ways, the situation is shining a light on areas that need better experiences for consumers. We believe every company will become a fintech company in some way and that delivering financial services is no longer the sole domain of the traditional providers.

For example, Microsoft today announced new capabilities for Microsoft Excel that signals the types of fintech experiences we can expect non-financial services companies to deliver in the years ahead. Money in Excel is powered by Plaid and essentially turns the spreadsheet software into a fintech app – letting you sync your balances and transactions from financial accounts and easily categorize and analyze through charts and templates.

Plaid has always focused on powering innovators. To date that has consisted primarily of developers at startups like Venmo, Square, Acorns, Blend, Dave and others. However, it might surprise people to learn that we are talking to more than 25% of Fortune 100 companies about serious fintech initiatives. Like Microsoft, many of these larger, tech-forward companies have little to no role in financial services today, but will likely help shape our fintech reality for decades to come given their consumer footprint.

There are many other examples emerging: Apple recently launched a popular credit card. Square was recently approved for a bank charter. One of our customers, a leading car manufacturer, is embracing fintech to streamline its lending process.

This is great news for all of us as consumers. An expanding, global fintech ecosystem will provide more choices for managing our financial lives and make money easier for everyone. Plaid is focused on building the enabling infrastructure – a new network fabric for financial services that provides a more secure and efficient way to move financial data with confidence, that reduces fraud and drives costs out of the system, that ignites a vibrant ecosystem of products and services that gives consumers more options, and that can give individuals more transparency and control over how they use their personal financial information.

Focusing on the future can be difficult when there is so much uncertainty in the here and now. However, many of today’s successful fintech companies were born out of the 2008 financial crisis and we believe the next wave of fintech will come from companies outside of the traditional financial services world that have adapted and improved their services to meet the needs of consumers during the coronavirus pandemic. Companies should take care of employees and customers first, but also push themselves to deliver better experiences during these challenging times. I’m optimistic the next decade will usher in a wave of innovation among fintechs and large, tech-forward enterprises alike as we move even closer toward a fully digital financial system.