Fintech applies some of the latest advances in information technology to the world of finance. While this has been a boon to many businesses and industries, it has also improved the experiences of ordinary consumers as well. Nowhere has this been more felt than in the area of investing.
This article describes the many ways fintech is changing and improving how we invest money, providing us with opportunities and abilities that we never had before.
Perhaps nothing better embodies the promise of fintech than robo-advisors. Before the advent of fintech, quality investment advice was limited to those few who could afford it. But this is no longer the case. Using the latest in AI and machine-learning techniques, robo-advisors match your investment goals with great investments through asking you a set of questions. They do all this for a low fee. Some services are even free.
What’s more, robo-advisors can do more than just find you good investments. They can also actively manage your portfolio, making adjustments to it so to keep your portfolio aligned with your goals. They can further withdraw and deposit money on your behalf and perform all sorts of complex tasks, such as retirement planning and tax-loss harvesting.
Many robo-advisors can additionally provide you with a whole host of educational investment tools, so that you can better understand what you are investing in.
Crowdfunding and Peer-to-Peer Lending
Crowdfunding began with online platforms such as Kickstarter as a means for early-stage startups to receive funding. However, previous SEC rules limited this funding to donations in exchange for merchandise and other types of gifts. But the SEC has since adapted these rules to allow crowdfunding sites to sell securities.
This has created an assortment of new online investment options. One of the most interesting is in real estate. Previously, only those with a lot of money could invest in real estate, which offers not only high returns but little volatility. But with crowdfunding you can now invest in a portion of a property with a small investment.
Peer-to-peer funding is similar to crowdfunding. Instead of investing in a business venture, you lend money to an individual or business in exchange for interest payments. In essence, peer-to-peer funding allows you to act much like a bank.
One of the first major fintech innovations was the development of blockchain technology. This distributed digital ledger has now many important uses across industries, but it was created specifically for Bitcoin, which is a virtual currency that is also known as a cryptocurrency.
Unlike traditional money, cryptocurrencies exist only in computer code and are stored in digital wallets on smartphones and on other computing devices. They offer relative anonymity and a monetary system that is free of government control. You can also trade cryptocurrency as an investment.
As cryptocurrency prices are very volatile, they are not a suitable investment for everyone. But a number of well-respected investors believe that their value will eventually skyrocket.
Prior to the advent of fintech, online investing was limited to the websites of discount brokers. While these sites offered good services and low commissions in comparison to what was available prior to their existence, investment apps have taken this idea one step further. They often offer even lower fees than discount brokers. Some are even completely free to use. They also make trading securities as simple as possible while requiring only small investments.
What’s more, many of these apps do not limit you to trading only stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Some allow you to also trade foreign currencies as well as cryptocurrencies.
Fintech is not just for big businesses and computer geeks. It is changing the ways in which you can invest your money and providing you with opportunities that simply did not exist before.