What Is Financial Technology? (With Examples and Skills)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated February 3, 2023

Published May 8, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Financial technology, commonly known as fintech, is a large and growing part of the financial services industry. Financial technology can include mobile payment apps or blockchain networks housing encrypted transactions. Learning how businesses and individuals use financial technology and its advantages can help you determine whether a career in financial technology is right for you. In this article, we discuss what financial technology is, examples of financial technology, how you can learn the fundamentals of financial technology, financial technology skills, and the various careers.

What is financial technology?

To answer "What is financial technology?" you can consider how new technologies can help organizations with their everyday financial transactions. Fintech is the software and other technologies businesses use to provide high-level financial services. Financial technology platforms enable individuals to perform everyday tasks such as depositing cheques, moving money between accounts, applying for financial aid, or paying bills. Businesses also rely on financial technology for e-commerce transactions, payment processing, accounting, and seeking help from government help programs.

Related: Top Common Finance Titles (With Salaries and Primary Duties)

Financial technology examples

The following are some examples of traditional financial technology uses:

Crowdfunding platforms

A crowdfunding platform allows users to send or receive money from other platform users. These platforms allow businesses or individuals to pool funding from various sources in the same location. It's now possible for potential investors to comply with policies and regulations and support a company or project instead of going to a traditional bank.

Blockchain and cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency exchanges connect users to buying or selling cryptocurrencies. Blockchain services help reduce fraud by maintaining data on the blockchain. Banks, investment companies, and technology companies are looking into using cryptocurrency and creating their own digital currency.

Mobile payments

Emerging services use increasingly sophisticated technology to allow individuals to exchange money and make payments online or through a mobile device. These applications allow users to perform these banking activities without going to a bank in person. Mobile payment gateways and applications are some of the most prevalent uses of financial technology.

Insurance

The design of insurance technology, also known as insurtech, maximizes savings and gains efficiency from the insurance industry. Many financial technology companies partner with insurance companies to automate processes and expand their coverage. This partnership allows insurance companies to provide custom insurance services to their customers and data security when filing claims online.

Robo-advisors

A robo-advisor is an investment managing service that uses algorithms to allocate assets and create customer portfolios. Using these apps, an investor can buy and sell stocks using a mobile device with low fees and minimal effort. Traditional financial institutions are implementing their own robo-advisor services for their customers.

Budgeting apps

Budgeting apps are the most popular financial technology that individuals use. Customers can now efficiently monitor their income and expenses using these financial services apps. Some budgeting apps can connect directly to your bank account to help customers achieve their financial goals.

Learning financial technology fundamentals

Financial technology is a growing industry that can offer various career opportunities. If you're considering a career in financial technology, the following information can help you learn the fundamentals of the industry:

Financial technology boot camps

A financial technology boot camp can provide a space for anyone to start in financial technology. These boot camps offer learning opportunities and a hands-on learning experience for anyone considering a career in the field, including modules covering everything from algorithmic trading to financial analysis. A boot camp can offer a curriculum that simulates a real-world experience. You can take a boot camp remotely or in person, depending on your location and availability.

Related: What Is a Data Analytics Boot Camp? (9 Programs to Consider)

Financial technology degree

More universities are offering degrees with a focus on financial technology. These programs provide the specifics of a traditional major in finance while also developing the valuable technical skills of financial technology. These programs can take two to four years to complete, depending on the program and how many classes you can take in a year.

Self-taught financial technology options

There are multiple resources available for anyone wanting to learn about financial technology on their own. These resources include free online courses, educational apps and multimedia, and digital guides. A self-taught option is ideal if you prefer a learning structure that is fully autonomous and presents the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of the industry.

Vital financial technology skills

The following skills are vital for anyone considering a career in financial technology:

Programming

Many financial technology entities use websites or mobile apps to increase their reach and consumer value. Software developers and programmers are mainly responsible for building and maintaining these financial technology applications and sites. These professionals also design these apps and sites to be secure, navigable, and efficient. Popular financial technology programming languages include C++, Java, Ruby, and Python.

Cybersecurity

Many modern financial technology companies rely on data and connect to large digital networks to deliver new possibilities and experiences to users. This structure can provide much value but increases the risk of security breaches and cyberattacks. Any aspiring financial technology professional can benefit from a knowledge of cybersecurity, studying how companies use cybersecurity to protect themselves from hackers and cyber threats.

Related: 10 Top Security Certifications for IT Professionals

Artificial intelligence and machine learning

Financial technology users create a large amount of data, and many companies use this data to customize their services to deliver additional value. Companies can use big data to make financial predictions according to their client's behaviours. These companies also manage client finances and provide critical insights to enable stronger, informed decision-making. Anyone with an interest in financial technology can benefit from a basic understanding of data analysis, because it can be essential in a successful, long-term career.

Companies regularly use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) algorithms to process and analyze a large amount of data. This data can allow companies to create actionable insights. The AI and ML algorithms can increase returns, lower risk, make future predictions, and automate processes. This makes learning AI and ML algorithms a valuable skill for anyone considering a career in financial technology.

Blockchain

The demand for blockchain skills is growing because of the popularity of cryptocurrency within the financial technology industry. It can help anyone with an interest in financial technology to have a working knowledge of blockchain architecture and its encryption attributes. You may benefit from learning blockchain's various uses in global lending, trading, and reconciling currency. Professionals in the financial technology industry expect blockchain cryptocurrency to disrupt the industry. This skill can make it easier to navigate this transition.

Financial technology careers

The following are the career opportunities within the financial technology industry:

Financial analyst

A financial analyst helps companies make the decisions that can lead them to receive stronger returns. These professionals employ critical thinking skills to assess the performance of stocks, bonds, and diverse financial instruments to determine performance. Financial technology companies use a financial analysts' skills to provide clients with the information they can use to make adequate investments. The company receives a percentage of the earnings for providing the information.

Related: Financial Analyst Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

Information security analyst

An information security analyst plans and executes security initiatives for financial technology companies to protect their computer systems and data. They usually work independently, but they can also work with security consultants, software developers, and IT experts. The career prospects for an information security analyst are solid, and professionals expect the outlook of this career to keep growing.

Blockchain engineer

Blockchain applications and companies are a fast-growing part of the financial technology industry. A blockchain engineer designs, builds, and maintains blockchain applications such as lending applications, cryptocurrency exchanges, and voting platforms. The blockchain engineer is also responsible for implementing security measures to protect users' information from cyberattacks.

Quantitative analyst

A quantitative analyst develops mathematical models to reduce investment risk, price financial securities, and generate profit avenues. These analysts design complex models that can empower a financial company to price and trade securities. A quantitative analyst typically works in an investment bank, insurance companies, commercial banks, hedge funds, and consultancies. They can work in roles on the back end or client-facing. The back-end role validates models and creates new strategies for a financial advisor. The client-facing function works directly with traders to provide trading and pricing tools.

Related: A Guide on How to Become a Quantitative Analyst

App developer

App developers improve the relationship between customers and their financial lives by creating tools that make it easier to save their money. They can achieve this by integrating social media APIs, developing applications, and automating financial services. Financial technology app developers typically program client-facing tools for traditional institutions or startups. Some developers can create analytics tools by using machine learning technology.

Related: How to Become a Mobile App Developer (With FAQs and Steps)

Risk and compliance expert

A compliance expert ensures that a company adheres to its internal policies and external regulations regarding financial trading. The compliance expert ensures various departments provide fair access to markets, protect investors, and operate transparently. A compliance expert prevents businesses from high system risks. Reducing these risks can increase customer confidence in the company's financial system. It also ensures the company knows the rules governing communications, client assets, and conflicts of interest.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions, or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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