Fintech companies to invest in
In the U.S., fintech’s have raised $12.8 billion in the first quarter of 2021. When compared to the same period a year earlier, that’s a 220% increase. Investments in fintech aren’t the only thing that’s up. The valuations for these U.S. fintechs are also jumping.
Fintech companies offer investors an opportunity to get into potentially lucrative investments. Let’s look at how Fintech has performed over the past year, who are the key players driving the industry, and the developments in the industry that you should know about.
What is a Fintech?
A fintech, which is short for “Financial Technology”, is a company that uses technology to apply to finance business. Companies that have developed new digital payment processing solutions are an example of fintechs. Many companies fall under the broad umbrella of being called a fintech.
Some of the types of products and services that fintechs may offer include:
- Payment Processing
- Online and mobile banking
- Financial services
- Financial software
- Person-to-person payments
- Online and peer-to-peer(P2P) lending
Fintechs like Chime offer consumers a digital-only bank that allows users to do their entire banking through its app. Affirm is a resource that allows businesses to offer instant, fixed-rate, point of sale loans.
The wealthtech industry is a more granular branch of fintechs. These companies offer online investment management services. Wealthsimple is an example of a wealthtech. Other branches of fintechs include investtech (i.e. Acorns which users can invest into a diversified portfolio by rounding up their purchases to the nearest dollar) and insurtech.
Banks may use fintech for back-end processes like monitoring account activity and consumer-facing solutions such as an app that allows their customers to check their balance.
The explosion in growth over the past decade has made the fintech world very exciting.
Evolution of Fintech
Although it seems like fintech companies are a newer phenomenon, they’ve actually been around for decades before the term was added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary in 2018. One of the most notable examples is ATMs. At the time that this technology came out, it was considered on the cutting edge of innovation.
More recently, fintechs have become these feisty startups that have taken on the established, traditional financial institutions. These companies had come to disrupt the banking industry with new, more customer-friendly products and services.
While once it was their goal to take down these incumbents, in the present day, they are partnering up with these legacy players.
In 2019, JP Morgan invested $25 million into fintech startups. Citibank has its Citi Developer Hub that invites third-party programmers to test and share feedback on its application programming interfaces (API) that launched in 2016.
Capital One has built “banking cafes” that are more like coffee shops to help attract a younger, more digitally savvy audience through their doors.
Through the events of COVID-19, some fintechs experienced hardships or closed down for good. Other fintech companies thrived and grew, as the reliance on being able to access various financial services through a bank or credit union’s mobile app or Online Banking.
With consumers growing increasingly used to using financial technology, the future of fintechs looks bright.
Players in the Fintech Industry
As you can see, there are many diverse players in the financial technology industry. Choosing the right tech stocks in this sector to invest in means doing research to find the businesses that offer the most potential. Here is a list of the fintech startups and companies that have made the most noise in the last several years that you should know.
Major digital payments player Square has products for both merchants and consumers. The fintech company has been a huge stock market winner over the last five years. The stock price has risen 1,700% during that time period. It’s certainly a fintech stock that investors should be keeping their trigger on.
On the merchant side, the seller solution is not only a POS system but also has other services including its popular Square invoices. The service allows merchants to easily make invoices and has processed $12 billion in gross payment volume over the last 12 months.
It’s a consumer product, Cash App hasn’t grown as fast, but still has grown 33% year over year in Q3. Cash App’s Cash Card, its free debit card is continuing to drive its growth.
With the recent announcement of its acquisition of Afterpay, there’s still much room for continued growth for Square. Afterpay is one of the leaders of the pay now, pay later (BNPL) models. Its service has roughly 16 million customers and 100,000 merchants using its BNPL product.
Among the largest digital payments providers, PayPal has been a strong performer in this space. Its consistent performance dates back to at least 2010 where it started at earning $0.29 cents per share. The earnings per share were up to $2.96 in 2019, then grew another 31 percent to $3.88 the following year.
The main driver of this growth has been its popular peer-to-peer payment app, Venmo. The COVID-19 pandemic helped Venmo gain traction over 2020. PayPal has also made it possible to buy and sell Bitcoin, a popular cryptocurrency that has also helped its stock price.
Robinhood went public earlier this year with an IPO price of $38. The online brokerage financial services company had a disappointing third-quarter earnings report. While its revenue had grown 35% year over year which came to $365 million, it missed analysts’ estimates by almost $73 million.
Despite this and some other challenges (such as a recent data breach and ruling from various countries on its payment for order flow model), revenues are still expected to grow into the double digits over the next year. In fact, this could be a good time to invest in Robinhood as it looks to overcome these problems.
As one of the oldest fintechs in the market, Green Dot rose to fame with its prepaid debit card product. This division of its business remains to be a large part of its company. Square, PayPal, and other similar companies are starting to take some of Green Dot’s market share, however.
The key advantage that Green Dot has over these competitors is an actual bank charter. The company is starting to use this advantage by offering new products like a 2% yield savings account that’s offered to its Walmart Money card customers.
It also has its banking-as-a-service (BaaS) platform which companies like Uber, Apple, and Stash are currently using. Green Dot has yet to reach its potential with its BaaS, so there is plenty of opportunity for major growth.
The company is a huge e-commerce business in Latin America that’s often referred to as the Amazon of countries in that area. It has its Mercado Pago payment platform which’s processing volume is in the billions of dollars each quarter.
Its volume is growing even faster when looking at the payments that it processes outside of the MercadoLibre e-commerce platform. The company has a partnership with PayPal and there’s a massive opportunity in the Latin America Payment space to keep growth strong.
The largest global electronic payment solutions company has underperformed the last year with the slow-downs in travel due to Covid-19. This has led to lower cross-border transaction volume. The economy has been reopening all over the world so there’s good reason to suspect that with consumer spending levels going out, so will Visa’s stock performance.
Even though it’s the largest payments network, the company is still growing. For example, Visa has been acquiring smaller fintechs in the digital payments space to remain competitive. One such acquisition is Currencycloud which is an app that makes the foreign exchange on cross-border payments simpler and easier.
The payments and financial services technology company recently beat analyst expectations, despite looking for a major customer in the third quarter. The company is made up of four business segments including merchant acceptance, financial technology, payments and network, and corporate and others.
Its merchant acceptance segment includes its point of sales revenue that the company generates through its cloud-based Clover platform. Since retail is expected to be in the next year so, this could be a source of growth for the company.
The company made a huge acquisition of its competitor, First Data in 2019. Revenue has grown by over 155% since 2018. There could be significant benefits if revenues continue to grow over the long term.
A fintech that’s in the BNPL, Affirm has recently launched a new product called Adaptive Checkout. This product will allow merchants that are on its network to have the option of giving their customers more choices when they buy from them.
The company announced a partnership with Amazon in August that will almost certainly take them to new growth levels. Amazon is integrating Affirm’s BNPL network into its marketplace. This allows shoppers to split their purchases when spending $50 or more into smaller monthly payments. Walmart and Peloton are among Affirms’ largest customers. There is plenty of room for Affirm’s stock to grow from here.
Part of the insurtech branch of fintechs, Lemonade has made itself known by trying to disrupt the traditional insurance market with its AI-powered app that can ensure a customer in 90 seconds. The company went public last year with its renters and homeowners insurance, term life insurance, and pet insurance product offerings.
Younger and first-time insurance buyers who want to avoid the confusing process of buying insurance plans have found its platform to be simple and user-friendly.
Its core metrics have been on the rise in high double digits, although it has still severely missed projected sales numbers. The growth potential for Lemonade is there, though its stock remains speculative at this time.
This company offers an online platform for buying, selling, and managing digital currency. User’s digital assets can be accessed via a secure mobile app. Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin are among the types of digital currency that can be held on the platform. With support from 32 countries, more than $150 billion has been exchanged on its platform.
Although recent financial results from the third quarter of 2021 were disappointing, there’s a lot of growth potential ahead. Crypto trading and NFTs offer great hope for the future. Coinbase has also managed to generate over $300 million in cash flow. Transactions and revenues for Coinbase should continue to grow since crypto is still in its infant stages.
Social Finance is an online personal finance company that offers financial products including student loan refinancing, mortgages, credit cards, investing, mortgages, personal loans, and banking. The company does not have its own bank charter but offers its customers FDIC insurance on their deposit accounts through its partnership with multiple banks.
The company went public this year through a merger with a blank-check company. Their stock price has increased by nearly 14% since then. SoFi is in the process of obtaining its bank charter, which should significantly increase its potential. Over the past year, the company has doubled its user base.
Trends in Fintechs to Look For
Covid-19 has ignited the necessity for financial incumbents and fintechs alike to see the value of technology. The digital transformation came to a whole new level as consumers shifted their behaviors to meet their financial options through more conventional means. There are emerging future trends that have been introduced which will likely shape fintech for years to come.
Digital or virtual banking is a trend that is here to stay. Digital banks have invested more heavily into these technologies so that consumers can do more and do it easily with the tips of their fingers. The Blockchain technology that’s used its crypto is making transactions safer and easier. Yet, the technology hasn’t yet begun to reach its potential in the banking industry.
Technologies that are contributing and fueling the fintech industry’s growth like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will continue to bring new tech innovations. Open banking that allows sharing technology more accessible will allow for better control of financial data.
The payments solutions landscape still has many opportunities in the future as well. The use of contactless payment options like digital mobile wallets will continue to grow and technologies will enable faster ways to pay than cash.
All these future trends mean that’s there is plenty of space for new and existing fintech players to offer innovative solutions. The future for fintech looks bright and the outlook looks to be that these companies are were for the long haul.