What fintech trends should we look out for in 2023?

What will the next 12 months mean for key fintech trends like embedded finance, digital transformation, cross-border payments and spend management?

Another year has passed, and a new year is upon us. The world of fintech is so rapidly evolving that, by the end of this year, new technologies will emerge and the landscape will evolve.

This is the perfect opportunity to look ahead at the next 12 months and predict what's in store. We asked a handful of industry insiders to dust off their crystal balls and tell us their predictions for the fintech sector in 2023.

Embedded finance

By Sophie Flynn, CFO and Co-Founder of Nucleus365

The embedded finance market has been growing at pace since 2020. COVID proved to be a crucial catalyst, accelerating e-commerce, financial digitalisation, and consumers’ changing expectations. To add to that, fintech companies have been catching up with – and in some cases outpacing – traditional banks when it comes to gaining consumers’ trust in financial services. All these changes combined have created enormous opportunities for embedded finance.

In 2023, we will likely see embedded finance being adopted more widely in emerging markets. Led by inclusive fintech startups, embedded finance could empower consumers who were previously marginalised in the traditional financial sector. Similarly, emerging markets could offer a less restrictive environment, with lower costs and a larger customer base, stimulating innovation further.

Secondly, we could see more in-depth partnership between traditional financial services and fintech companies forming to support embedded finance adoption, namely banks and payment companies. This could lead to a scenario where banks provide fundamental infrastructure, and payment fintechs contribute greater inclusivity to tailor services for different business models, leasing greater potential.

Finally, there will also be much more emphasis on technological affordances and operational capacity to resolve any current challenges such as risk and compliance management in embedded finance solutions. Technologies such as cloud computing and AI machine learning will form multiplier effects across all industries, and support sectors’ abilities to embrace embedded finance.

Digital transformation

By Mike Haney, Head of Digital Core at Technisys

As we’ve seen digital transformation evolve year after year, the next wave of change will see the importance of exploring new banking needs. It will be about the ability to compose new and unique financial products and services for customers that were previously inaccessible or simply didn’t exist. The industry has solidified much of the core digitisation of banking, and so now, the focus will be on creating and delivering new types of products and services in real time and to any device through that digitisation.

We have also seen that the concept of embedding banking into social media messaging apps, and even the Internet of Things (IoT), is suggesting an omnichannel approach. Embedded banking across a range of channels, not just mobile, will be important for large banks who want to be present throughout the entirety of their customers’ interactions.

'Humanising' banking will also be a priority for banks and fintechs moving forward. We have built scale and efficiency, but now how do we take the technology and rehumanise banking? Through the collection, analysis, and generation of actionable insights, with machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) from data, we can start to bring back the human element that was once the backbone of in-person, traditional banking relationships. In 2023, financial services need to be ready to embrace change, be agile and to adapt in their pursuit of continuous innovation. 

Cross-border payments

By James Allum, SVP Europe at Payoneer

There has been a continued debate around the future of globalisation. This is, of course, of interest to the payments industry because, ultimately, the movement of people, goods, services and funds will dictate where growth lies. For example, for those in the remittance industry, the displacement of people because of disaster and conflict will shape how those services get used. From a B2B perspective, a lot is said about independence making a comeback in place of global interdependence.

However, globalisation is now entrenched in the worldwide economy, and the dynamics will continue between developing nations and developed countries. As such, capital will continue to flow across borders, and there is a crucial role that fintech can play in facilitating that. This might be about supporting sellers to seize opportunities across borders through digital commerce or allowing tech companies to source expertise and support from freelancer hubs worldwide. The world is more interconnected than ever, and when it comes to business across borders, fintech acts as the global connector.

Cryptocurrency

By Jason Lau, Chief Operating Officer at Okcoin

I believe 2023 will be a year of maturation for the crypto space, with increased scrutiny and oversight from regulators worldwide, but we will also see the departure of many bad actors in this ecosystem. Most regulators already have rules and requirements for crypto businesses on the books, however the collapse of multiple businesses in 2022 will lead to a closer look and refinement of these rules. This means that fintech and crypto companies will need to work to regain consumer trust because of the FTX collapse and the bear market generally. I think this will lead to a positive maturation in the market, with a focus on transparency and consumer protection across crypto and fintech companies.

Ultimately, 2023 will be marked as a resurgence of crypto, after it being written off due to the crypto winter and negative events over the past years. I think crypto will be increasingly adopted, as consumers and traditional financial institutions grow comfortable with the technology as well as the regulatory clarity to come. New entrants will step into the space as the standards for the industry continue to be elevated.

Finally, Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) will step into the forefront as central banks seek better methods to control monetary policy, monitor capital flows, and create alternatives to the existing global payments system. For example, Japan and India just announced additional pilots and deployments. However, privacy issues will need to be addressed before wider adoption globally.

Business spend

By Christian Müller, Chief Financial Officer at Moss

In 2023, we predict a greater focus on cost control, and the ability to see and decide where to cut costs, and also where to double down on future-proofing investments. The UK has posted negative growth in Q4, and according to the Bank of England, we may face a two-year recession. In this context, and due to the ongoing shift of a CFO to a more strategic advisory role, we expect there to be additional pressures on finance leaders to steer their company towards greater financial discipline in order to successfully navigate the economic situation.

As a result, we anticipate that finance leaders will increasingly seek out tools that help them get their corporate spend under control. To have control over spend, businesses first need to have full visibility of when and where all costs are made.

However, visibility alone is also insufficient, as time lags in reporting can be make or break when judging a company’s liquidity or financial health at any moment in time. We predict that there will be a greater focus on real-time financial reporting that’s based on accurate spend data, in order to inform business decisions and give finance leaders the tools they need to address challenges with confidence.

Access to accurate and precise real-time data, coupled with more effective spend control and visibility, will enable businesses to spend smarter in 2023.

Rewards and loyalty

By Daragh Murphy, CEO and Co-Founder of Imprint

Gen-Z, the fastest growing segment of credit card users, is the group driving the record digital shopping numbers we’ve recently seen across retail and connecting with this customer segment has become both a bigger priority and challenge for brands in 2023. Gen-Zers are the tech-savvy, socially conscious value seekers who grew up in the age of on-demand, and their biggest priority is speed. We’ve seen this trend first-hand amongst our younger cardholders who are redeeming their card rewards immediately in smaller increments, compared to older generations who hold onto their rewards longer. Younger generations not only want immediate access to redeeming their rewards, but they also value making an impact. In 2023, we’ll begin to see an industry trend of earned rewards going back to charity or organisations that consumers care about. 

To stay ahead of this demand and to stand out in a competitive market, retailers will need to quickly implement digital-first programmes that offer more personalised and relevant rewards. Many big-name retailers still use coupons and mailers for customer rewards, but next year more brands will shift to offering Apple Pay-like reward experiences to meet customers where they are. 2023 will see an increased number of brand-fintech partnerships that can launch programmes on a much faster time horizon to keep up with these continuously evolving customer needs and shopping behaviours. 

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