An abbreviated version of financial technology, FinTech is not just a catchy buzzword. The companies that focus on FinTech are gaining major traction in the financial services industry. The technology that drives FinTech is continuing to become more progressive, and there are a variety of FinTech products and services that are designed to make our lives easier than ever before. As an industry, FinTech is dominated by budding startups that are driven by a passion to improve upon or replace traditional financial systems. In the following, we explore some of the most promising companies that have put FinTech at the top of their list of priorities.
A relatively new startup, OnDeck is pioneering a new way to assess consumer credit. Currently, when consumers apply for credit, a house, or a job, they are subject to a traditional personal credit check. When it comes to consumer and small business loans, the decision process can literally take weeks. Realizing that a person’s credit may not be a complete reflection of his or her business success, OnDeck evaluates applicants based on the performance of their business rather than examining their personal credit rating. Loan qualifications are straightforward, as businesses must have been in business for at least nine months, grossed $75,000 in annual revenue, and served over 700 industries. This transparency gives consumers more confidence in applying, and it better helps OnDeck in the evaluation process.
OnDeck offers two options for startups: lines of credit and small business loans. Applicants can apply online in a simple process that takes only a few minutes, and decisions are rendered in as little as one business day. OnDeck boasts a higher approval rating as compared with traditional financial institutions Repayment terms are flexible, as well, ranging from three to 36 months. Moreover, pricing is easily found on the OnDeck website, and live assistance is available for people who have any questions.
As a platform that is similar to OnDeck, Currency Cloud is challenging the way that traditional banks handle international payments. Currently, banks control the majority of international money transactions, but these same banks are notoriously slow to integrate new payment technologies and to offer availability on multiple platforms. Currency Cloud’s Payment Engine, which supports more than 30 different currencies and is available in more than 200 countries, handles financial transactions from start to finish. This process eliminates the need for funds to go through multiple entities before reaching the recipient.
The Currency Cloud website fully details its suite of services, and interested individuals can request a demonstration to see if their products and services are a good fit. Mainly based in Europe, Currency Cloud has recently managed to secure an additional $10 million in funding to expand its efforts in the United States.
Epiphyte, which earned recognition as Swift’s FinTech Startup of the Year in 2014, is relatively new to the market. However, it is on pace to make a huge impact. Epiphyte has developed a proprietary software as a service (SaaS) designed to help traders procure instant settlement for forex (FX), private equity, and commodity trades. Financial service providers use Epiphyte’s software to facilitate quick transactions via mobile-to-mobile payments, resulting in greater cost savings.
In addition to changing trade settlement, Epiphyte provides software that assists banks in legally handling Bitcoin and other alternative currencies. Created in 2009, Bitcoin is still considered new to the financial industry, and many consumers still do not fully understand it. Since the currency was designed to circumvent banks, they have been slow to embrace it. In 2014, Epiphyte was chosen as a participant in the Startupbootcamp FinTech London Accelerator in an effort to introduce Bitcoin into mainstream financial institutions.
Founded in 2010, Billguard was initially intended to alert consumers to hidden fees charged by credit card companies and banks, and the startup was able to secure $3 million in funding based off of that product alone. Since then, Billguard has expanded into comprehensive credit monitoring and expense tracking, enabling it to raise an additional $10 million in funding.
Billguard’s innovative technology is available to consumers in both iOS and Android applications, which will notify them of suspicious financial activity that they may otherwise not know about. Consumers who use this service can avoid the hassle of having to scrutinize their monthly statements, and Billguard has managed to save consumers in excess of $60 million in potentially fraudulent transactions.
Technology continues to impact nearly every area of our lives, and financial transactions are no different. There are many more startups and small businesses that are constantly pushing the envelope and working diligently to bring new and exciting technology to the marketplace. As time goes on, it will be exciting to see what innovative financial products and services come next.
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