We are living in a period where the future isn’t all that certain. So, any speculation is mere speculation. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the world will magically go fully digital and fin-tech will soar up and we will find the cure to all types of cancer. I mean, sensationalist presentation catches eyes, but that’s all there is to it. So, I’ll try to be as nuanced as I can when I explore “Threats and opportunities for Fintech startups post Covid-19 economy”.
The Post-Pandemic Economy
The financial sector is facing all kinds of challenges due to the pandemic. People’s consumption has reduced to the items of utmost necessity due to social distancing, people losing their jobs, etc. The whole hoarding and panic buying that happened also is just a strain on the retail and supply chain. What after the pandemic is over?
Pressure for businesses to develop themselves on digital fronts is rising. Telephone support, social media support, online support now requires much more manpower than it used to. But, what’s there to guarantee that this is always going to be the case? What is there to signal that this is rather not just a temporary noise? Another readjustment might be required post-Covid-19 while we are barely being able to adjust to current happenings.
But, was Fintech built for this?
Fintech companies do have an edge on this but not by a long shot. We don’t know how long this is going to last. And, startups have already started facing funding uncertainties. Valuations are dropping, belts are being tightened and fundraising rounds canceled. How can Silicon Valley get through this latest crisis?
Many companies are at risk of volatile customer trust in this volatile situation. In my previous article titled ‘Fintech in Nepal‘, I’ve briefly touched upon the subject of a growing lack of trust towards tech companies by a general population.
Techcrunch writes “fintech IPOs are on hold for quarters, if not years. If you were hoping for a quick return to fintech liquidity, prepare to be let down.” Many startups that painted rosy dreamy pictures have already started laying down staff. Look at Venture-backed startups have begun laying off employees, as the coronavirus and the subsequent economic shutdown has wreaked havoc on companies large and small.
Another Techcrunch article mentions “It’s a time of utmost use or uselessness for fintech startups”.
That being said, let’s look at the bright side
It would be foolish to deny that amidst uncertainty and challenges, some opportunities have arisen for fin-tech companies.
- Banks have started relying on fintech companies much more than they used to before.
- Governments have started partnering with Fintech companies.
- Fintech use has spiked due to the pandemic. If these companies retain these new customers. Win-win for them.
- Regular banking suffers from regulatory challenges that fintech companies don’t yet. They get to exercise much more flexibility.
- The Corona situation has accelerated the adoption rate of financial technologies.
South Korea seems to have planned to dial back on regulations for fintech companies so that it can kickstart the post COVID-19 economy.
The World Health Organisation is also advising consumers to avoid handling bank notes and instead switch to contactless payments to deter the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
It isn’t hard to predict that after COVID-19, banking will be much different than it was pre-pandemic.
But, does the future of financial technology gets grossly overestimated or does it get underestimated? What are your thoughts on it?
What is your prediction on what is to happen?