25 Nov FinTech and our Tech-Life Balance: Online Banking
We are in the ‘FinTech era’. Indeed, it seems that FinTech is on everyone’s lips right now, so you may be surprised to learn that the term was actually coined nearly 50 years ago.
Financier Abraham Leon Bettinger introduced the term in a 1972 articles as “an acronym for financial technology, combining bank expertise with modern management science techniques and the computer”. When he wrote this, Bettinger was describing the emerging primitive digitalisation of finance, for example the invention of the ATM or the handheld calculator.
Nowadays – for example with the emergence of cryptocurrencies and (exclusively digital) branchless banks – FinTech would be unrecognisable to Bettinger. However, the purpose of FinTech remains unchanged: to automate, enhance and improve financial services.
But can FinTech enhance our lives, or is it simply bad news for our relationships with our phones?
Most of us (80%) will already have installed at least one FinTech application on our phone: a digital banking app. Digital banking has steadily grown in popularity for 15 years, but the pandemic has encouraged the public to resort completely to contactless payment and personal finance management; 46% of people now exclusively use digital banking.
Online banking is incredibly useful: we can monitor our money with more ease than ever. Our ability to rapidly access our accounts helps us to spot fraud and theft quicker, and to protect ourselves by instantly cancelling our card. Furthermore, it removes the painful process of standing in line for the bank to transfer money and access other financial services.
However, perhaps FinTech is not giving us back as much time as we would hope. Visiting your local bank branch used to be such an inconvenience. Therefore, when a person had to, they would ensure that they were efficient, and sorted multiple issues at once, so that they could minimise their number of visits. Now that ease of access to our bank accounts has increased so dramatically, people are far less mindful of this.
In fact, whereas pre-digital banking consumers would visit their branch in person only a few times a month, now only 24.4% of mobile bank customers use their online banking app less than once a week. Moreover, 13.7% of people find themselves using their mobile banking app several times a day.
Despite FinTech being designed to save time and effort, banking is still eating up our time. However, if we sort and prioritise our tasks, as we used to have to, we can find that online banking does give us back precious time.
FinTech is certainly capable of enhancing our experience with financial matters and services. If we are responsible, having FinTech on our mobile phones can give us back valuable time by speeding up personal finance tasks and enabling easier access to financial advice. However, our increased ease of access to financial news and matters could also compromise our digital-life balance: upping our screen time and exacerbating any cases of Nomophobia.
Whether FinTech gives or takes away from our daily lives is up to us. As always, the key here is to retain balance. FinTech was designed to save us effort and time, and if we sort and prioritise our tasks as we used to have to and remain mindful of our hours spent online, we could find that having these apps on our phone really can give us back precious time.
For more about how to get a balanced relationship with the digital world pick up a copy of ‘My Brain Has Too Many Tabs Open‘, out now.