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Word up: fintech is real

04 October, 2018Ouida Taaffe

When does new technology reach the tipping point of general acceptance? Is it when the word for it is taken up by a dictionary? If that is the case, competition for banks from new entrants has gone up a gear because Mirriam Webster has added the word “fintech” to its dictionary. Fintech, in this definition, means: “products and companies that employ newly developed digital and online technologies in the banking and financial services industries”.

Mirriam Webster says that it only adds new words when “they have already been used by many people” and usage has entered the general vocabulary. Fintech is one of 840 new entries in what Mirriam Webster calls “a glossary of life”. That might be putting it too strongly, but there is certainly a lot of everyday zest in the words chosen. Fintech make it in along with ‘predictive text’, ‘haptics’ (the science of touch as made accessible to all via the smartphone), ‘bougie’ (bourgeois, but really not in a good way), ‘zoodles’ (strips of zucchini treated as noodles) and ‘TL;DR’ (for ‘too long, didn’t read’).

Revolution will be digital

But the digital revolution started a long time ago according to Julie Choo, Founder and CEO, Stratability, speaking at a recent event at The London Institute of Banking & Finance about the future of banking. “Facebook, Amazon, Netflix were startups 20 years ago but are now embedded in our lives.”

In finance, as in other sectors, the digital revolution is accelerating. “In the last 10 years customers increasingly expect more personalisation, immediacy and consistency across channels,” she says.

Fintech future

Fintechs are starting to expand, bundling new services that are more aligned with the customer journey and partnering with other developers; and banks are starting to buy more fintechs to diversify and expand their services to help them compete.

Whether in the dictionary or not, fintech is more than just a buzzword – it’s the reality for financial services today and for tomorrow.