Next Trends: Financial Technology

View All Blogs

6 fintech trends that banks & credit unions need to watch

The financial industry is constantly in a state of flux, impacted by economic, technological, and cultural factors. As the industry undergoes radical changes and technological development soars, credit unions and community banks will be forced to adapt. Understanding emerging trends is essential, allowing you to pivot your business strategy and introduce new products and services when consumers expect them.



  • Summary: Flowmotion. ZERA Food Recycler. Virality means money in a social world. Crowdsourcing campaigns have skyrocketed in popularity as several high profile, highly viral products have used it as a primary source of capital. Along with the engaged audience you immediately develop, toss in the added bonus of product ideas, feedback, and validation.
  • Popularity: Crowdfunding volumes grew 145% in 2016 to a tune of $9.46 billion, with business and entrepreneurship demanding over $6.7 billion and real estate contributing $1.01 billion.
  • Big Picture: Crowdfunding has the potential to cut into small business and real estate loans, but there’s still a lot of pie left to go around. Local businesses, smaller startups and mom-and-pop shops will usually stick to traditional loans so you should still cater to the local draw.

Ride sharing applications

  • Summary: When it comes to urban millennials, ride-sharing applications like Uber and Lyft have surged in popularity. Gone are the yellow taxis and black towncars, replaced by a diverse workforce of supplementary earners. With increased ease of access, more millennials are relying solely on ride sharing along with public transportation to get around.
  • Popularity: Uber and Lyft combined have over 8.5 million users. There are more Uber cars in New York than yellow cabs. I could go on and on, but if you’re really interested check out this infographic: The Year The Rideshare Industry Crushed The Taxi.
  • Big Picture: Ridesharing applications will almost certainly cut into car ownership in the future. The urbanization of America’s youth will decrease ownership and increase alternative transportation. And while it might seem like a far-fetched futuristic nightmare to some, there might come a time when fleets of autonomous vehicles are a popular mode of urban transportation. With Google, Uber, Tesla, Ford, Intel, Apple, Amazon, Chevy and others heavily investing in this technology, expect the future to become reality sooner than you think.

The Financial Application Ecosystem

  • Summary: Many of you have probably already heard about the robust personal finance tool, Mint and the P2P payment service, Venmo. But have you also heard of Acorns, Robinhood, Qapital, or Digit? These are just the tip of the iceberg, demonstrating the rate at which app-based startups are penetrating the financial industry. While not all of these applications compete for consumer’s money, they are raising the baseline expectation for bank services.
  • Popularity: Mint has over 13 million users and Digit has raised $36 million over two rounds of funding. PayPal recently invested $30 million in Acorns Investing. Big players are taking notice of the little guys and working diligently to capitalize on the popularity of these services.
  • Big Picture: Even though services like Mint aren’t directly taking your member’s money, they’re advertising competing credit cards and loan options using the trove of data they collect from each user. They’ve also created a dashboard that tracks all of your accounts and integrates easy bill pay. This means your members have less of a reason to go to your website than ever. When it comes to investment apps or incremental savings services, they’re directly taking money out of your pocket. You can’t be complacent and offer bare-minimum tools. Start thinking of how you can add real value to your online banking platform.

PayPal One Touch

  • Summary: Have you noticed that little PayPal button at the checkout of your favorite online retailers? Yes, PayPal is making a comeback with their One Touch service, sparking growth not seen since their eBay heyday. One Touch allows users to pay for items with, surprise, one click, which instantly alleviates the headaches associated with mobile e-comm. PayPal also recently acquired TIO Networks, signifying a service growth into mobile bill pay.
  • Popularity: 75% of the top US retailers have a One Touch button on their website and 50 million people are now using the service. It’s been a business-saving gamble for PayPal, and they’re now poised to reposition themselves as a fintech goliath.
  • Big Picture: Between One Touch, P2P transfers, PayPal Credit and mobile bill pay, it’s hard to ignore PayPals popularity and superior user experience. Their credit offerings, mobile bill pay, and P2P capabilities directly compete with

eWallets (Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Samsung Pay, Android Pay)

  • Summary: You have two options here. Pair with a third-party provider (Apple, Samsung, Android) or develop your own mobile banking technology.
  • Popularity: Even though mobile payment has been on the rise, “eWallet” technology has been sporadically adopted. Consumer's reluctance to ditch their plastic has been fueled by a lack of retailer adoption.
  • Big Picture: Even so, 27% of smartphone users say that they have used either Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, or Android Pay at some point. Not too shabby.


  • Summary: Amazon. Google. Facebook. Apple. Microsoft. These goliath technology companies have repeatedly and unrelentingly disrupted industries. Let’s not put the blinders on and pretend that they aren’t going to invest more in America’s largest industry.
  • Popularity:Roughly one in three banking and insurance customers globally would consider switching their accounts to Google, Amazon, or Facebook.”
  • Big Picture: Let that one sink in for a minute, because the bullies are on the playground and they want your lunch money.


Mike Carella

Mike is a principal at Saltwater with 15+ years experience in marketing and architecting plans for clients of all sizes. Father of three, skier, endurance runner. In that order.