Why the next big thing in fintech is not mobile payments
In October 2018, Grab raised US$200 million to expand its fintech offerings. That means it’s no longer just a ride-hailing service: it is now one of Southeast Asia’s largest non-bank financial firms, offering payments, microloans, and other services. In fact, it handles more than 1 billion financial transactions every year.
Grab is not the only one branching out into fintech. Other companies, including fellow Southeast Asian ride-hailing service Go-Jek and international ecommerce giants like Alibaba and Amazon, have moved into the space as well.
What’s the secret to fintech’s appeal? On one hand, there’s the vast numbers of unbanked people in the world, which represent a ready-made user base for innovative financial products. On the other, there’s also the vulnerability of the business models of existing payment networks like Visa and Mastercard, whose cumbersome transaction fees increase prices and potentially slow down innovation.
But the main appeal of fintech is the opportunity to collect and analyze customer data. Fintech is literally where the money is, and knowing how consumers spend it points companies to potential profit pools.
By data mining through fintech, companies can get a better understanding of customers’ wants and needs. They can use those insights to launch new products or hone existing ones. They can also sell data to third parties, opening up entirely new revenue streams.