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FinTech That’s Updating Global Finance for Everyone

It’s no secret that today’s global financial institutions aren’t perfect. An estimated two billion people across the world are unbanked and have zero to limited access to financing options. Obviously, this needs to change, and we are already seeing how new FinTech models across the globe are able to disrupt global financial and banking sectors for the better. With today’s banks and other brick-and-mortar institutions failing to address consumer concerns for better financial access, disruptive FinTech is increasingly taking the reins of global financial development.

LendingClub — Online Personal Loans Pioneer

For the first time in history, a FinTech company is buying a U.S. bank. LendingClub is reportedly paying $185 million in both cash and stock in its acquisition of Radius Bancorp, an online bank in Boston with access to an estimated $1.4 billion in assets. Seeing as LendingClub has been one of the pioneers in popularizing alternative FinTech during its earliest stages, the deal is proof positive that a FinTech disruptor can grow into a legitimate banking institution, one that’s well-poised to better promote and develop FinTech for the benefit of the world’s everyday consumers.

Robinhood — Commission-Free Investment and Trading

Seen as one of the most innovative fintech companies of 2019 by Forbes, Robinhood is lauded for giving users the opportunity to invest in stocks, stock funds, and options with no fees. Instead, the company generates its income on payments for order flows, interests earned from client’s balances, and margin lending. As of recent, the company has also begun letting users buy and sell digital currencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum, leading to their user base ballooning even further. With the app, the barriers to entry in trading are effectively eliminated, allowing more users to trade freely.

Petal Card — An Alternative Credit Building Option

Out of the many alternative American credit cards available on the market today, Petal Card and its features present a microcosm of how alternative credit building options can potentially shape global finance. For instance, while many cards offer no annual membership payments, Petal Card completely foregoes fees for foreign transactions and even late payments. Designed specifically for those new-to-credit, the card offers people with zero to limited credit histories the chance to build their credit rating, reporting to credit bureaus such as Experian, Equifax, SageStream, and TransUnion. With a matching app that card users can use to keep track of their credit ratings (without prompting hard inquiries) and manage their spending through the app’s 14,000 partner financial institutions, Business Insider’s review of the card and its app notes how this alternative credit option can really help people who need to build credit from scratch.

M-Pesa — Transforming Mobile Phones Into Payment Accounts In East Africa

Operating in Kenya, Tanzania, and other parts of East Africa, a FinTech company called M-Pesa has been making banking much more accessible in economically-challenged parts of the world. Since its emergence a decade ago, M-Pesa has been developing mobile phone payment technologies with support from the Kenyan central bank, significantly improving the financial access of previously unbanked people in the area. Today, the over 110,000 M-Pesa agents — 40 times more than the number of actual ATMs in Kenya — are a testament to how FinTech has become a positive force in developing parts of the world.

Thought Machine — Cloud-Based FinTech

A British company called Thought Machine provides cloud-based financing options. Their primary product is called Vault, a cloud-native platform which offers non-traditional access to savings and checking accounts, loans, mortgages, credit cards, and other financing options. Each of Thought Machine’s services are by way of smart contracts, a blockchain-based technology that enables the automation of highly personalized parameters and commands for nearly every type of financial transaction. While Thought Machine primarily services European and Asian customers, the company has been looking into expansion prospects in the U.S.

As disruptive new financial technology models and use cases continue to develop with the rapidly-shifting global industries of the world, we can only expect FinTech to get better and bigger in the comings years, improving overall access to basic financial services in the process.