Fintech Innovation Goes Beyond Financial Services

Fintech is becoming a chief ingredient to innovation--and not just for financial services industry (FSI) players.

According to PwC, over 77% of firms are looking to expand their efforts to innovate their fintech approach within the next three to five years. Potential areas of disruption include human capital services, workforce applications, banking & financial, insurance, digital transactions and payment services.

Other initiatives are also driving fintech innovation. The World Economic Forum created an industry consortium focused on improving the cybersecurity of an increasing number of technology companies. It is spurring more collaboration between fintechs and financial institutions for creating robust cybersecurity measures.

Meanwhile, new technologies like blockchain are adding new dimensions to fintech innovation. The resulting initiatives and services are now impacting nearly every industry in the global economy. 

A good example of the fintech innovations going beyond FSI is ShiftPixy. The firm leverages the "micro-metering" approach for incremental financial and payment transactions and related insurance coverages based on real-time use and exposures. It also uses ShiftPixy's blockchain ledger to process and record critical P2P connections.

"The ShiftPixy mobile ecosystem's success requires technical precision in managing sometimes relatively small yet frequent transactions that are growing in volume. Our 'micro metering' technology has caught the attention of the insurance community with its real-time data visibility and its ability to scale at a rapid rate. Our blockchain technology assures that with rapid growth and scale, our essential security is keeping pace with the growth," ShiftPixy's CEO Scott Absher said in a press release.

The same technology is now helping businesses of all sizes to solve real-world issues. For example, ShiftPixy can help traditional retail and restaurant operators to connect and compete with ease in the part-time labor markets without having to invest significantly in technology.

Starbucks recently highlighted its future intentions to become more involved in the fintech landscape through blockchain. The coffee retailer is no stranger to new technology adoptions. It was, after all, one of the first major retailers to employ technology that allowed customers to make their purchases with their mobile phones.

Square is transforming itself from a cash app into a bank. It is allowing users to give an employer their account and routing numbers (found in the Cash settings). The app will notify the users when a deposit hits their account. The funds are added to their regular cash balance and can be spent via a debit card, sent to a friend, put into another account or even used to buy bitcoins. The move will likely impact the fees that traditional banks impose on such transactions.

Lastly, American Express recently joined the financial funding round of Even Financial, a technology platform powering financial services online.

"Even Financial helps financial services providers and fintech partners programmatically deliver products and services in real time to the right customers when and where it's most effective," Harshul Sanghi, Managing Partner of American Express Ventures said.

"By providing the underlying technology for more efficient customer acquisition, Even's platform is enabling financial institutions to broaden their reach while connecting fintech partners with a greater supply of financial institutions and their products. We're pleased to support Even in its efforts to expand its capabilities and grow its client base," he added.