Fintech "finally on everyone's lips"

  • By Kate Weber

General manager of FinTech Australia Rebecca Schot-Guppy believes “fintech is finally on everyone’s lips.”

As Australia continues to see various new forms of digital banking take flight including open banking, the New Payments Platform and the rise of ‘buy now pay later’, discussions continue to focus on the future of banking. 

“There is no better time for us to hold Intersekt and air the discussions that will shape the sector for the next 12 months, and perhaps Australia too,” Schot-Guppy said.

Metro product director, payments & commercial lending at , David Thomasson is surprised at how far the ecosystem has moved since he last lived in Australia.

“Two years ago, there were lots of promising start-ups in the fintech scene, a number of incubators had been up and running for 12-18 months, but there were only a number of fintechs that had really burst out into the mainstream. 

“Fast forward to now and it’s clear that there is real substance, momentum and a maturing around how to bring new ideas and businesses to life and there are obviously many more examples of those businesses having a direct impact on the Australian economy.”

Lessons to be learnt

Business development director at Tink, Gwen Sandberg said Australians can expect more opportunities from the latest in fintech including open banking by building the UK’s experience. 

One lesson is don’t expect the industry to drive change it's not waiting for. 

“Although many incumbents realise that they are put under pressure from increased competition, it must be up to the bravest banks and the TPPs [third-party providers] to drive the change they wish to see in the industry – and not sit back and wait for regulation and traditional players to catch up.”

While many fintechs have set new customer expectations and made end users realise that there are different ways of managing their finances, fintechs can't expect all customers to demand services they don't know about, continued Sandberg.

“Many are still underserved by both incumbents and fintechs, and it's up to these players to continue to prove the benefits in data sharing and in the open banking movement by launching personalised services for the good of the consumer.”

Sandberg also said regulation must play its part in creating the structure for fintech to thrive. 

“Whilst regulation provides the necessary framework that is rubber-stamping what tech companies have tried to unlock, we shouldn't expect regulations to solve the industry challenge. 

“TPPs must continue to challenge and educate the sector on how to create a good technological environment.”

Thomasson also said the fundamentals of products are key in the success of any company. 

“Get the fundamentals right. You don’t need to be on the bleeding edge of new product build and design if your proposition is all about serving customers.

“Stay true to what customers actually value.”

Sandberg, Thomasson and Schot-Guppy will be speaking at Intersekt, held at Melbourne’s Federation Square between October 15 to October 17. 
Intersekt will also host a specialised breakout workshop and debate on Open Banking.

Featuring UK Open Banking specialist, Nilixa Devlukia and Advisory Committee members on the Australia Data Standards Body, Ross Sharrott and Stuart Stoyan, the session will discuss the global challenges and solutions in building an open banking regime