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Innovations in fintech are usually given much attention because of the massive impact they have on everyone. The advent of smart payment solutions and digital financial products have helped both big businesses and average consumers in streamlining financial transactions. These days, machine-learning models, AI, and other similar technologies are paving the way for even more innovation and convenience in the financial services domain.
We’ve seen lots of fintech companies come and go. And while there are many fintech startups that failed to make a mark, those that did succeed ended up immensely transforming our lives for the better.
Below are 5 fintech companies that disrupted the payments industry in 2020.
This London-based fintech startup has an Over-The-Top Banking Platform that is about to revolutionize the banking experience. By combining all your cards and accounts into one smart platform that you can access via the smart Curve MasterCard, you can replace your entire wallet with one card.
Curve lets you “merge” all your existing cards into one. If you’re someone who juggles between multiple credit and debit cards for different purchases but is sick of lugging all of them around, you can use the Curve card to carry out all your physical and digital transactions instead. Curve’s app lets you easily assign which transactions are charged to which card. Plus, they offer cashback rewards for all transactions, too.
Since its launch in 2018, Curve has steadily grown in popularity. Apart from being a convenient payment solution, the app also makes it easy to track spending. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the actual Curve card (which, according to the company, is made of “exquisitely-crafted” brushed metal) looks ridiculously beautiful.
Lastbit is a Berkeley-based company that aims to solve the critical problems that are preventing Bitcoin from being adopted by the masses. Lastbit’s system makes it possible for merchants to be paid in fiat even if their customers want to pay with bitcoin. Through Lastbit’s wallet and Euro card, you can walk into a store and pay for your purchases using bitcoin - yup, even if the merchant does not accept cryptocurrency.
Additionally, the Lastbit bitcoin lightning wallet makes it easy for users to instantly convert from Bitcoin to Euro (and vice versa) and send/receive Bitcoin on-chain or on Lightning with zero set-up. Like Curve, Lastbit also allows users to earn rewards with every transaction, but the rewards are in Bitcoin instead of cash.
Yup, TransferWise isn’t a new company - it’s been years since it changed the way global payments are made. However, the company recently introduced a bunch of new features that continue to revolutionize the way people are sending payments and managing their money.
Last year, TransferWise launched its own debit card which allows free ATM withdrawals and no-fee purchases around the world. This feature has been much appreciated by frequent travelers who are sick of paying exorbitant foreign withdrawal and currency exchange fees.
Recently, the company also launched the multi-currency account for travelers, freelancers, and expats. Aside from being able to store money in multiple currencies, the account and corresponding debit card lets you spend and receive money like a local wherever you may be.
Zelle makes sending and receiving money between bank accounts easy and convenient. Designed as a payment solution that lets you quickly send money to people you trust, this platform makes bank-to-bank transactions possible within mere minutes. If you’re used to having to wait a day or two for inter-bank money transfers to push through and reflect on your account, you’ll probably find Zelle incredibly speedy and refreshing.
Having to go to the bank to deposit cash to your friend or family member’s account is now a thing of the past, and so is rushing to mail a loved one a check. Zelle can easily be integrated into your usual banking app, and sending money is as easy as specifying the recipient’s mobile number or email address.
Like Zelle, Venmo is a payment solution designed for sending money to people you trust. It’s a great app to use if you need to quickly pay your friend back or split a lunch bill with a coworker. Unlike Zelle, however, the money you receive through this platform is credited to your Venmo balance instead of going straight to your bank account. However, note that you do have the option to withdraw money from your balance to your bank.
Venmo also introduced its own physical card (powered by Mastercard) that supports ATM withdrawals and contactless payments. Transactions made using the card comes with perks, making it a promising option if you like getting cash-back rewards (who doesn’t?). Funding your Venmo through a debit card or bank account is free, while funding through credit cards comes with a 3% fee.
From real-world transactions involving cryptocurrencies to managing multiple currencies and bank accounts in one platform, the products and services made possible by fintech are transforming not only the way we handle money but also our lifestyles as a whole.
Countless new fintech startups, technologies, and trends are expected to appear and disappear in the coming years. There’s no telling which trends will eventually stick, but one thing’s for sure: smart digital payment solutions are here to stay.
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