Technology moves at lightning speed, and financial products move along with it. Cell phones used to be rare; these days we pay rent and send cash on our phones without a second thought.
Robo-advisors or virtual investment advisors were unheard of several years ago. Now you or someone you know probably uses one.
What financial products should we get ready for in 2030? Here’s a glimpse of what to expect in the near future of money.
“Fintech” is the new normal
Fintech, as you might guess from the name, is a combination of finance and technology. Specifically, “fintech” means any technology designed to improve or simplify financial experiences, mainly through automation.
This transition is already starting to happen. Payment apps like Apple Pay and PayPal are examples of fintech companies where you can move money at the touch of a button. By 2030 almost every product customers use will be fintech-related.
And since many of these products are competing in the marketplace, it’s likely you will have more options than ever.
The “invisible bank” handles your funds
While banks won’t disappear completely, the next decade will see financial advisors and online platforms replacing brick-and-mortar retail banks.
The banks that do survive will likely be 100% virtual and tailored to the needs of customers. The new trend will be “open banking” or a broad connected network of financial services providers that share data.
These connections are enabled by blockchain technology, a digital process that links computers and data in a peer-to-peer shared network.
The key here is convenience. You won’t see any of the nuts and bolts behind transactions; banking may not even be a conscious part of your life.
Financial advisory firm KPMG calls the bank of the future the “Invisible Bank.” An unseen virtual assistant similar to Amazon’s Alexa may help you with your financial decisions, analyzing your spending habits and offering advice.
Aggregators make life easy
There will likely be two major types of financial products in 2030. The first type will be an aggregator or marketplace providing one-stop shops for all your financial needs. A current example of an aggregator is Policygenius, which is a popular insurance comparison tool.
Aggregators in the future, however, will be even more advanced. These days we go to different websites to check investments, handle student loan payments, and save cash on our grocery bills. In 2030 we might be able to tackle all these chores and more in a single virtual experience.
Non-financial services will be mixed in as well. Your new bank could be a social media hub, a job-hunting site, and an advice forum all rolled into one.
Products fit your personal profile
The second major type of financial product will be a specialist. These are similar to individual apps designed to solve specific problems. Many current fintech startups are looking to make an impact by identifying an inconvenient or frustrating dilemma many users face. In other words, if some aspect of your financial life is bugging you, there will be an app for that.
Both aggregators and specialists will get to know your spending habits well. We’ve already seen a glimpse of this shift through targeted advertising — the Internet keeps track of where you spend money and anticipates where else you’ll spend it.
“Learning” apps driven by artificial intelligence will go even further, predicting how you might allocate your cash in the next few days, months, and years. They’ll use “learning games” to coach you into the smartest decisions for your (virtual) wallet.
Cryptocurrency dominates the landscape
Paper money will be a thing of the past. Cryptocurrency, or digital currency made secure by cryptography, is positioned to take its place.
Most currencies will be more like the cryptocurrency Bitcoin—completely digital and decentralized, or unattached to any government or bank. While Bitcoin was one of the first, there are multiple cryptocurrencies by now, and there will be more in 2030.
Waiting on payments will be a thing of the past too. Transfers will become instant and seamless, with fewer currency conversions to worry about in international transactions.
Wearables are commonplace
You’ll access much of this new tech through wearable technology. Advanced versions of “smartwatches” will be just as handy and essential as your phone is now.
The biggest wearables of the future are yet to be determined, but you’ll carry some form of tech along with you.
Data privacy is a much bigger deal
All this convenience comes with a tradeoff. When financial services get decentralized or moved from a central location to a broader network, there’s a greater risk of cybercrime. More measures will be put in place to protect your data and identity.
Consumer data will be extremely valuable to companies as they personalize their brands. You may be rewarded with discounts and other perks in exchange for revealing some identifying info or telling them about your spending and saving habits.
While we already swap data like this in many ways (companies may reward you for taking surveys, for instance) the data marketplace is going to get more robust.
How can you be smart with money in 2030? The World Economic Forum has some advice for consumers of the future:
- Know what your digital identity is worth. Don’t give your data away easily.
- Research and choose a few good service providers so you aren’t overwhelmed by options.
- Think through your decisions on your own. A virtual advisor or artificial intelligence can make recommendations, but you’re the one in charge of your financial future.
If we think there’s a lot of technology to get lost in now, we’re sure to be shocked by all to come over the next ten years. One thing’s for sure, though: financial products are going to become much more convenient and advanced.