One of the most prevailing strengths of digital technology has been the growth of accessibility for a variety of different industries. No industry has experienced this more so than the financial industry. In just 10 short years we have seen a shift in how people make payments, in how people can monetise their own work, and how institutions that were once the sole domain of a select few have been opened to the many. But how has digital technology helped increase the accessibility of different aspects of the finance industry?
Digital Banking Expands Reach
We’ve been able to do a lot on our smartphones – from controlling the appliances in our house to setting our lights and heating. But banking apps are a game-changer. Digital banking and the prominence of mobile-first banking has allowed people to take a more hands-on approach to their money than before. Apps mean that people who are stereotyped as being bad with money have a better way of managing it, while being able to see a balance constantly means that people may be more likely to save.
If nothing else, digital banking has helped many who don’t have a local branch (banks have been closing at an unprecedented rate) to actually conduct banking tasks without commuting long distances. In areas where internet connectivity has also increased, digital banking has saved time and helped less digital-savvy people warm up to technology.
The rise of challenger banks in the digital sphere has also benefitted banking overall. Major banks have begun to think towards the future and diversify their current offering in a bid to compete. While digital banking might not fully be the norm for everyone, it has sped up the process of full bank digitization.
Opening the Financial Dialogue
The rise of e-wallets and sites that allow people to request cash payments have opened up a financial dialogue, especially on places such as social media. Content creators, such as artists and musicians, can add a Venmo, PayPal, or Cash App link to their profiles and be paid by those who have enjoyed the content they have shared online. Digital technology makes this possible.
A British Olympic hopeful posted a meme that showed he had gone from training for the Olympics to delivering Amazon packages. The success of the meme, and the attached GoFundMe, led to a huge donation from athletic-wear company Gymshark. The conversation around finances and the ability for people to easily transfer money to others has helped facilitate the spread of wealth.
Friends can more easily send money to one another without the need to find an ATM or visit a bank. This may not seem like a huge leap forwards, but it does remove some of the hassle and time-consuming elements to a streamlined life. It makes things like booking holidays from one account or paying bills together easier and more efficient.
Opening Up Previously Closed Off Sectors
The increase of digital trading platforms means that more people than ever before are able to begin trading journeys, with many learning as they go. Indeed, as this comparison between two online brokers shows, there is a lot of competition in the industry as more people are turning to forex trading. Customers can choose between the kind of bonuses they gain from signing up, the currencies that are accepted or even the number of trading instruments or currency pairs on offer. The barrier to begin trading has been lowered due to this digital technology, so more people are able to begin trading.
The proliferation of literature and information on trading and other complex financial topics, such as cryptocurrency, means that people can go from being complete beginners to gaining an understanding in the field. Cryptocurrency needs to gain uptake and buzz from the general public for it to succeed and become highly valued and the best way this can happen is if people understand the inherent value of the blockchain that underpins it. With major banks considering their own form of cryptocurrency in some capacity, the future looks to incorporate blockchain-based banking in some way.
The finance industry has perhaps seen the most marked increase in accessibility due to its tenure and the way that so little has changed in so much time. So, the digital increases the industry is seeing have helped engage with new customers, provide new ways of doing things, and shown that positive change can be made.