Financial technology companies are seeing a surge in demand as the COVID-19 pandemic changes the way we handle money.
As a result of the need to transact digitally with social distancing rules in place, the fintechs Visa is backing are booming. That’s not to stay business wasn’t growing before the pandemic—since the middle of 2019 it’s Fast Track fintech program has grown 280%–but now there’s even more demand to use fintech services.
“Fintechs are seeing a multi-year acceleration to digital banking, digital finance, and digital commerce. Many of these trends existed before January,” said Terry Angelos, senior vice president and global head of Fintech at Visa, noting April was its largest month in terms of applications to join Fast Track. “Now they are all accelerating significantly.”
There are a lot of reasons why fintechs are seeing increased usage amid the pandemic. People can no longer transact with cash so they are turning to peer-to-peer and digital payment platforms to send money to friends and family. They also can’t walk into their neighborhood bank branch in many cities to see if a stimulus check has been deposited into their account or inquire about refinancing a mortgage which is driving usage of digital banking services. The same goes for shopping. With many stores across the country still closed, eCommerce has been the way to get essential and non-essential goods into the home.
Fintechs have enabled all of that and as a result, have seen their usage surge. They have also been stepping up to aid their customers whether it’s small businesses that need help applying for COVID-19 relief funds or consumers who want access to their stimulus checks earlier.
Now those same fintechs, or at least the ones in Visa’s Fast Track Program, are focused on the recovery, working on innovations to help people stay safe and connected as we start to slowly and methodically come back from the crisis. That is being made a little bit easier through the Fast Track program as Visa has added new partners to the program in key areas including digital wallets, and consumer finance management.
“Fintechs have historically gone after new payment flows and underserved consumers and businesses. We’re seeing fintechs play a much bigger role in the recovery because of their focus on use cases for the underserved,” said Angelos.
So what are some of Visa’s Fast Track fintechs doing to help the world emerge from the pandemic? Take Chime, the digital bank as one example. In early April it started testing a service in which customers were able to receive their federal stimulus checks ahead of when the government began sending out payments. Meanwhile, Rappi, another Visa Fast Track fintech out of Colombia, has started piloting food delivery robots from its platform that also includes payments, to slow the spread of the virus. Meanwhile, Fundation is helping small business customers apply for the government’s Paycheck Protection Program or PPP.
“Through programs like Fast Track, Visa is committed to helping Fintechs, many of which are small businesses, advance their potential and get into the market quickly so they are ready to provide innovations that move the world forward everyday – and especially in current times,” said Angelos.
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