Survey reveals consumers’ love of fintech, distrust of banks

By on October 25th, 2016 in Editorial

This is borne out by our experience too – we have long contended that customers (particularly, in our case, small businesses) are looking for easier and fairer ways of accessing financial services. And, although the statistics speak for themselves, they also give a nuanced account of the specific ways in which banks let their customers down.

So let’s take a moment to look at what these results might mean in the context of – to pick a completely random example – currency exchanges and international payments.

80% of [respondents] agree that financial institutions need to focus more on helping the average consumers and small business owners rather than the top 1% and big business.

This is a big one. For too long, banks have given preferential treatment to their wealthiest customers while overcharging smaller clients who lack the knowledge or wherewithal to dispute unfair and hidden fees. We’ve written before about the dubious charges banks levy on small business, most recently in light of a study that calculates small businesses are losing £4.1bn a year on currency exchange markups.

That’s why we’ve tailored our service to SMEs with a flat 0.2% fee on all exchanges and payments, of any size, for all of our customers.

70% of [respondents] believe that new solutions such as digital banking, online lending, payments and financial services, are making financial transactions easier than ever.

Of course they believe it; that’s exactly what’s happening. Fintech companies, by their very nature, are small, nimble solutions to problems that might have remained unsolvable had it not been for advancements in technology.

Take our simple online platform, for example, which enables you to schedule a peer-to-peer currency exchange within minutes, and see it executed that very day.  No more ringing around trying to find the best rate, no more waiting up to two weeks for a bank to execute your transaction.

69% of [respondents] think the latest tech for financial tools will help everyone be better off financially.

It stands to reason. Small fintech companies that have found ingenious shortcuts to bypass long-standing, high-cost problems are able to pass the savings onto their customers.

65% of [respondents] agree that fintech levels the playing field by providing access to services previously only available to the wealthy.

This takes us back to the banks’ belief that they can forever fob off customers they deem less sophisticated with hiked-up rates and hidden charges. At freemarket, P2P tech allows us to offer institutional rates to all of our customers, and our fees are transparent to the point of almost not existing.

57% percent of [respondents] are under the belief that traditional banks as they know them will cease to exist within their lifetime.

Even the banks themselves recognise this, and are currently locked into the process of trying to establish how they should adapt their own services and/or incorporate the services of fintech companies that are already outperforming them.

In the rousing words of Blumberg Capital founder David Blumberg himself, fintech has pushed banks into a position where they have no choice but “to adapt, adopt or hasta la vista, baby.”


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James is freemarket’s Chief Commercial Officer. He has a history of finding new ways to solve age-old financial challenges and was responsible for launching some of the first online money transfer and prepaid card initiatives in Europe.


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