The financial industry has frequently been limited because they don’t want to go to far outside what is normal. FinTech companies are taking advantage of new opportunities to shift the marketplace. This means that some older, established organizations need to start adapting to these new technologies, or they will get left behind, as competing businesses evolve to better suit customers' needs.
2015 saw some incredible FinTech companies make big strides within the sector, but 2016 should be even bigger. Here are ten FinTech companies to watch.
SoFi, which is short for Social Finance, started as a way for high-earning recent graduates to refinance their student loans. Over the past couple of years, they have expanded into both mortgages and personal loans. One of the best features of SoFi is that they offer Unemployment Protection. If one of their borrowers loses their job, they are given the ability to pause their loan payments for three months at a time. The organization will also help you find a new job with the help of their career counseling program.
Billguard was initially launched with the hopes of helping its users spot hidden fees from their bank or credit card company. It also includes a tool that will help users track their monthly spending so they can compare where their money is going from month-to-month.
During a period when data breaches are constantly happening, Billguard will send you a push notification if you have shopped at a location that has been a victim of a data breach. They will also monitor your credit report to spot possible identity theft indicators.
Square, which was founded by Twitter founder, Jack Dorsey, has almost single handedly changed the way credit card processing works. What once had a very high barrier to entry has become accessible to everyone. Square has given small merchants; that might have only accepted cash in the past, the ability to accept credit cards with the use of a small reader that attaches to their smartphone or tablet.
Square also has a number of other features available including Square Capital. This is a service that allows a business to receive an amount of cash and then pay it back with a percentage of the credit card sales during the day.
Robo-advisors have been popping up all over the place over the past few years, and one of the largest is Wealthfront. In just a little over two years, they reached $1 billion worth of assets under management.
Wealthfront doesn’t believe in charging customers up to 3% to manage their money like a lot of brokers will do. Instead they charge a 0.25 percent annual advisory fee and the clients first $10,000 in managed for free. You even have the ability to lower your fees by referring friends.
One attractive feature with Wealthfront is that they do tax-loss harvesting for all accounts. This is something that is usually only available for high-net-worth individuals.
Remember the day when Scottrade announced that they were going to charge customers $7 for online stock trades? That was a pretty exciting day for investors. Robinhood, a Palo Alto startup with $66 million in funding, is attempting to completely change the landscape of online investing. They are allowing their customers to trade stocks with no fees.
You are probably wondering how they are planning to make money. The first method is with margin accounts, which they are expected to announce in the near future. The other way is by investing all non-invested customer cash balances. This is done using risk-free treasuries.
During the past few years, peer-to-peer lending companies have become widely popular and one of the biggest is Lending Club. Lending Club gives both consumers and businesses an alternative way to get a loan. Loans from Lending Club are now available to individuals with credit scores as low as 620 and rates start as low as 5.99% and can go as high as 32.99%.
Alternatively, you can choose to be on the lending side of the table with Lending Club. With Lending Club, you have the chance to get a much better return than other fixed income investments. This gives your portfolio a lot more diversification.
Flint is a mobile payments app that doesn’t require a special reader for businesses to accept payments. Instead, the app uses the device's camera to scan the purchaser’s credit card number. By using that along with the customer’s signature, payments can then be processed. Once the transaction has been completed, a receipt can be sent to the consumer.
TrueAccord is attempting to revolutionize debt collection. Typically debt collection companies are known to bully consumers into paying off their debts. TrueAccord is hoping to maintain a relationship while still being able to collect payments that are owed to them. The idea is to digitally establish a relationship with a person and find out why they are not making payments towards their debt. TrueAccord will then use multiple methods of communications to work on a plan for debt repayment.
Have you ever wished you had the access to be an investor in a promising private company? Equidate gives investors access to pre-IPO companies. It also allows employees and other shareholders the ability to cash in on their shares in a company without needing to wait for the company to be acquired or to go through an IPO.
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The Bottom Line
It is expected that billions of dollars will be spent in the FinTech sector over the coming years. These companies offer businesses solutions for everything from invoicing to payment processes. These ten companies are just a few that you should watch out for in the coming months.
This article was originally published on investopedia.com