The Next Big Thing in Digitising Your Business’ Finance
August 12, 2022
the INFT team
During the pandemic, many of us have started to download online payment apps or use facial recognition to secure our apps. The dire situation has made us put aside our previous concerns about personal privacy.
As a business owner or consumer, we should have a look at what the fin tech trend will bring us in the future.
In the last few years, we’ve all heard things about money and finance that we’ve never thought about - bitcoin, NFTs, and what-have-you-not. We’ve seen for ourselves how money has truly gone digital, not just in the virtual world but also in the real world where we literally have our eWallets on our smartphones to pay for things that we would have normally used real money for.
Today, it is not uncommon to have us pay for goods and services with a few taps on our mobile devices or by scanning a QR code in shops.
What’s even more intriguing is that in China, there’s a ‘Smile to Pay’ facial recognition payment service. What has happened to physical money and what does it have in store for us? We can’t say for sure but there are fintech trends we can look at.
Fintech on the Rise
We’re not just looking at the emergence of things like bitcoin or NFTs. One of the biggest financial trends is that money has, literally, gone digital. The world of finance has grown so much that now the everyday person on the street uses it.
In the past, when we talk about Fintech, we’re either talking to people who are in the business, finance, and banking world. Now, the trend has ensured that it is integrated so much into people's lives that it has an unprecedented impact on almost everyone.
Not only has Fintech affected how people invest their money, but it also affects how people interact with all aspects of their finances, on both personal and professional levels. Not only do we have neobanks offering small business loans to SMEs, there are platforms offering everything from crowdfunding to online payment gateways. This way, entire teams can be managed under one platform.
A big wave swept over the financial sector during the pandemic and it was digital money. It refers to any form of electronic transaction that occurs during a buying-selling process that involves money but in a digital format. It encompasses online money transfers, including mobile money transfers, and the involvement of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
If you’ve used digital credit cards, mobile financial services, smartphone money apps like eWallets, online banking, online money transfer platforms, or dealt with cryptocurrency, then you’ve contributed to the sweeping trend.
The Disappearance of Traditional Currencies?
Throughout history, the nature of and our relationship with money as a form of an exchange or a unit of count, has never changed. It only evolved according to our socioeconomic transitions. Our relationship with traditional, tangible money continues to unfold for the foreseeable future.
"For a while, it’s just going to feel like everyone we do business with wants to offer us a debit card, make us a loan or help us save 15% on our car insurance.” - Forbes, The Future Of Money: A Complete Revolution
The disappearance of money or physical cash may be a little difficult to predict or presume because forecasts about the demise of cash have been speculated for nearly six decades. It began with the rise of credit cards, contactless payments, and, more recently, cryptocurrencies. We cannot also shove aside the even deeper psychological relationship we’ve had with hard notes and coins.
You can also see some form of foot-dragging from merchants and sellers who feel the need to use cold hard cash. This could be due to concerns about mobile payments or electronic transfers, or a desire for anonymity when real cash is used.
A reasonable concern regarding digital money is that it will tie us all to our personal data. This idea does not sit too well with more traditional people or businesses.
Some think that the disappearance of physical money will not be sudden; it will be more of a generational thing instead. But it’s not unthinkable. As an example, the European Central Bank is already dabbling with the idea of introducing a digital euro.
In Europe, non-cash transactions increased by 8.1% last year, approximately 98 billion euros. Nearly half of that came from credit transfers and direct debits.
As the world emerges from the pandemic, there no longer is a need for an introduction to what eWallets are. If you told me that I could wave my debit or credit card or flash my mobile phone at the counter to pay for my groceries 20 years ago, I would have simply laughed off your big dreams.
But look at where we are now.
This new wave of digital wallets comes in the form of mobile payment apps which allow users to pay for things via contactless payments and online money transfers in real life. Back then, before the wave, digital payments were already a well-accepted form of payment via websites and eCommerce shopping platforms. It was also common for businesses to accept payments via services like Paypal, Stripe, and more recently Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and Venmo.
These days, you can pay your plumber who has just fixed your sink with a couple of taps on your smartphone.
The playing field is being dominated NOT by traditional banks but, instead, by tech giants like Apple, Google, Samsung, Alipay, and Paypal. It’s been reported that Venmo, which is owned by Paypal, processed nearly 60 billion dollars in 2020.
That’s a lot of digital money we’re talking about. The 59% jump is quite unimaginable if it was done by traditional banks. And what’s even more intriguing is the growth of Buy Now Pay Later services offered by companies like Klarna.
We don’t know where and how cryptocurrency is going to change the game but it is, I think, only a matter of time.
How Does This Affect Your Business?
It’s hard to imagine eliminating the usage of real cash completely if you’re a retailer. However, accepting eWallets and making online payments for invoices, receiving money from our customers, and making purchases online is very possible.
Based on a study of card payments in the Netherlands, it was found that there is a consistent 8% growth annually year on year. The study shows that cash continues to be King even though many retail outlets and businesses accept debit and credit cards.
So, not all countries or regions are the same.
If your website accepts online purchases and payments, it makes sense to steer the company’s financial department towards digitising its operations. It’s hard to deny the necessity. If your business involves buying and selling across geographical boundaries, it is all the more important to digitise your finance department.
Before you go...
Online cross-border transactions can cost a lot of money with traditional banks. When you choose online payment platforms like INFT, you’ll save a lot of money and time. After all, all-in-one platforms like ours allow for integration with your current accounting system. Using online invoicing platforms and integrating it with the accounting software you’re using is seamless.
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