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By Björn Goß, CEO and Co-founder of Stocard

looking at what we can expect from the fintech industry in 2021 as we emerge from one of the most challenging years in a century.

The past year has been one no one could have predicted just over a year ago. Every person has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic which has reshaped our lives, work and behaviour for good.

Most industries had to quickly adapt or pivot to meet the challenges the restrictions bought in and fintech was no exception. In fact it was one of the areas that saw significant growth as a consequence of a change in behaviour. Digital services were introduced at a much quicker pace as demand exceeded predicted expectations and these changes are set to stay and evolve this year.

So what can we expect in 2021? Here we take a look at the exciting areas of fintech as we continue to navigate the pandemic.

A permanent shift to digital payments

The restrictions imposed by the pandemic has meant that digital payments across all sectors saw a huge boom in 2020. Many companies increased their investment in improving the likes of cashless payment services to make them covid secure. In addition many businesses had to pivot and move the sale of goods and services to online platforms.

Whereas perhaps some of the measures the pandemic has introduced us to may be temporary we see digital payments as a permanent change for both organisations and consumers alike. Both parties have experienced the benefits that digital payments and services can bring and want to keep these in place moving forward.

In addition, in the UK there is already talk of increasing contactless payments from £45 to £100 in the foreseeable future. While this would not impact mobile payments, since you don’t have to enter a PIN on the payment terminal when paying with your phone anyway, it will further shape the habit of ‘tap & go” with physical cards and eventually pave the way for an even more mainstream adoption of mobile payments  What we expect to see is even more adoption of these practices to all sized businesses. So for now it may be that it’s just medium to large organisations adopting contactless technology, but consumers will now come to expect this service from all businesses they engage with.

PSD2 as an enabler for all fintechs:</strong>

2021 will see PSD2 regulation finally become fully effective ending the lock-in effects by banks by allowing fintechs the ability to access customer’s banking data.

PSD2 was created to enable customer choice as it allowed them to access their bank data through other applications. Up until now it’s not been mandatory but as it comes into play this year it will bring with it a change in the way consumers use financial services.

The PSD2 regulation empowers customers to make use of more suitable products and services as they’re no longer limited to those offered by traditional financial institutions that have dominated for years. This will undeniably drive the next wave of growth of the fintech sector.  This will result in a drive in competition and in 2021 fintechs will be able to create a seamless experience and on-the-go financial services for customers.

The super app hits Europe

The future of banking will see a move towards consolidating services and payments in one place as consumers show favour towards using one app with an easy-to-use interface that allows them to do everything they need to in one place.

This will lead to the digital wallet super app becoming the central hub in our lives for everything around money, shopping, and banking as payments and accounts migrate over to our smartphones.

Like we already see in Asia, super apps will emerge in Europe as well, with several players combining digital services in one app.

The consumer can decide which services are the best at meeting their individual needs, which means the apps that can add the most value beyond banking and payments will stand out in the marketplace in 2021.

Whilst the next year seems uncertain and life will never be the same as it was before 2020, some of the changes brought by the pandemic will benefit us all offering greater choice, convenience and suitable services.

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