Finance and technology are two industries that have grown together, hand in hand. Over the years, advancements in technology have seen consequent advancements in finance, all to the benefit of the customer. Just a few decades ago, banks were extremely traditional and the entire banking process was highly complicated, involving multiple visits to branches and many documents needing to be filled and approved by managers. Developments such as ATMs, debit cards or even digital record-keeping might seem very basic now, but when they were first introduced not too long ago, they revolutionised the finance industry and allowed more people to access banks and their finance services. Ever since then, technological advancements in the banking and finance industry have surpassed all predictions and the consumers of today have a plethora of convenient finance solutions literally at their fingertips. This is made possible by using man’s new best friend - the mobile phone.
With the global spike in mobile and internet penetration rates, the next logical step in FinTech (Financial Technology) was to allow customers to access banking and financial systems and processes using their mobile phones. Nowadays, there are countless mobile apps developed by banks, tech companies and other financial service providers that have not only vastly simplified banking procedures, but have completely changed the way consumers approach finance and engage in financial transactions. There are even some mobile apps that not only digitised existing bank and finance operations but created completely new ways for consumers to carry out transactions.
Finance mobile apps that have revolutionised the way banks and customers work.
Online Banking Apps
It is a given for banks to have their own mobile app nowadays. Customers expect it and it makes things more convenient for the bank and customer alike. Online banking mobile apps allow customers to view accounts, view account balances, view account transactions, transfer funds, make payments and even open savings accounts or fixed deposits. While still struggling in terms of usability and user-friendliness, these online banking apps drastically reduce the need for customers to visit physical bank branches for various operations that they can now do by themselves. Banks are pushing heavily for their customers to switch to usage of these mobile apps by charging higher fees for over-the-counter withdrawals and deposits.
Online Trading Platforms
With the introduction of online trading platforms via mobile apps, even an ordinary person was able to gain full access to the stock market or any other money market. Previously, potential investors had to contact investment banks and get their personal stock broker to make trades via phone calls and emails. Now, every investor can instantaneously buy and sell any share, stock or commodities. This has opened up the entire trading hemisphere and boosted entire economies and companies’ value. The number of traders, as well as stock market investors and enthusiasts in Sri Lanka has seen a sharp incline since this was converted into a type of self-service with the introduction of online trading platforms.
The evolution of online banking mobile apps proved to be digital wallets, which are a very secure method of carrying out finance transactions using your mobile phone. Digital wallets hold a pre-loaded sum of money in them which you can use to make payments at outlets (or online) or transfer money to other parties very easily. As digital wallets are separate from your bank accounts, they greatly help you manage expenses and are far more secure. Making payments using digital wallets is extremely convenient where you can do bank transfers.
Personal Finance Management
Gone are the days when you used to meticulously write down all your daily expenses and do your personal or household accounts at the end of the month. Mobile apps like Mint have advanced to such an extent where they are capable of not only directly sorting through your bank accounts, debit/credit card transactions and purchases, but also providing detailed analyses about your finance habits. You can set budgets, track expenses, keep up with loan payments and manage various income streams right from your mobile phone.
One of the most revolutionary steps in finance, mobile apps aimed at allowing people to take out instant cash loans have skyrocketed in popularity in recent times. While no traditional bank or finance institution will agree to give out loans via mobile apps, innovative FinTech companies have identified the demand and created platforms to give our unsecured loans to individuals with minimum hassle, often requiring only proof of identity and a photograph for the eligibility check. There are many firms offering online loans in the market currently, and OnCredit.lk is one of the newest players who have set up shop to help people in need.
The way forward for finance mobile apps is brightly lit and extraordinary leaps forward have been made in a very short time. While it is impossible to correctly predict the level of innovation to expect from banks and FinTech companies, we can definitely expect to see unimaginable advancements soon.