Often touted as a niche industry, this author is seeing early signs that mass-acceptance of fintech providers by consumers and businesses is creeping closer to a tipping point, of sorts.
The call may be slightly premature, however the following recent announcements by various industry players all point towards a growing momentum and confidence in the sector from the wider consumer and business market.
Lending picks up steam
SocietyOne, Australia’s leading P2P lender in the consumer loans market, says it is on track to hit $200 million at the end of the calendar year. In a graph that demonstrates almost hockey stick like growth and a default rate supposedly less than the market average, it’s no wonder a top level ex-BCG’r and an ex-banker now feel comfortable joining the fold.
On the business lending front the picture is relatively rosy as well. In July PayPal reported it had hit the $85m mark with its working capital solution in Australia alone. No doubt it has already surpassed $100m. After two years in operation down-under, it’s not bad going. The global payments giant is fast becoming the local competitor to beat.
So just who are PayPal competing with? Prospa is one of the bigger names, claiming to have now lent $140 million to the small business sector since its start in 2011. The Australian arm of German fintech lender Spotcap announced in May it had hit the $11m mark after its first year in operation. There’s no shortage of other lenders staking a claim on the sector either, as we reported earlier this year.
Fintech sentiment shifting
So what other evidence do we have the tide might be turning?
According to the Moula backed Disruption Index, SMEs are becoming increasingly aware of fintech lenders, up 14 percent in Q2 of FY16 over Q1.
The Future of Finance report by P2P money transfer service TransferWise is also relatively bullish on Australia, suggesting the country is more “fintech-ready” than Germany or the United Kingdom. According to TransferWise, 61 percent of Australians believe they’ll be using a tech provider as a replacement for at least one service their bank would normally provide by as early as 2020. By 2026 15 percent believe it could replace their bank entirely.
Fintech might not be hitting a complete home run yet, but the shifting sentiment is certainly a good tail wind for the sector, and those of us that invest and work in it.