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What Does Fintech Mean?

Congrats--you’ve found your way to the Stories section of Ando’s site, a blog where we share all kinds of news and information...stuff we feel helps keep you engaged and up to date on financial matters, environmental issues, and cool new innovations to improve the quality of your life. As you’ve been reading through the site (you have been, right?), you might have noticed that we emphasize that Ando is not a “bank,” but instead we’re “banking.” That’s an important distinction. See, Ando is a financial technology company, or “fintech.”  

Anne Sraders from TheStreet defines fintech as, “a term used to describe financial technology, an industry encompassing any kind of technology in financial services and any company that provides financial services through software or other technology and includes anything from mobile payment apps to cryptocurrency.” That’s broad, but at least we’re defining some terms here. 

Much like some other neobanks or challenger banks (only way better), Ando has developed a collection of premium banking features--like Early Pay and Covered by Ando—and partners with a traditional bank to make those features available. (Due to the banking sector’s heavily regulated environment, most fintech companies have relationships with traditional banks to facilitate certain services.) And in doing so, we’re able to use our customers’ deposits to further our shared goal of reducing carbon in our atmosphere and bringing an end to climate change. This “cause” element of our banking—addressing an environmental issue as a fundamental part of our business—is something a fintech company can do but a traditional bank cannot (or at least never has...we invite them to join us just as soon as they can).   

But even before you were familiar with Ando, you’ve likely been interacting with fintech for longer than you might think. In her article for Forbes.com, Stephanie Walden outlined it like this: 

"You deposited your paycheck by snapping a photo on your smartphone and uploading it to your bank’s mobile app. You checked Mint to gauge your monthly entertainment budget. At dinner, you and your buddy split the tab using Venmo. Later, you tapped your phone at the bar to pay for a drink with Apple Pay. When it was time to head home, you hopped in an Uber, where you paid for the ride with a stored credit card—or even in Bitcoin. Even if you don’t realize it, fintech is likely a big part of your personal and professional day-to-day. According to the report, three out of four consumers used money transfer and payment solutions last year."

The digital revolution has changed everything, from how we communicate (email instead of U.S. mail), shop (Amazon), learn (YouTube) and bank (Ando). The more connected we’ve become to our mobile devices, the more of our lives we want to manage and simplify using those devices. Think about it—to cash your paycheck, would you rather head to a brick-and-mortar banking location, deal with their office hours (also known as your working hours), then find parking, wait in line, try to use one of their pens (that’s always out of ink), deal with the teller, then get back in your car and drive home...or instead handle all that from your couch through an app with a few taps of your finger? Yeah, that’s what we thought.

What Can Fintech Do Better Than Traditional Banking?

The short answer is, just about everything. Traditional banking as most of us (and our parents and grandparents) grew up with is a construct that dates back to the 15th century. Granted, those folks had some great ideas and laid many foundations upon which contemporary society is built. But this is when the world was populated with mostly farmers and simple merchants, a far cry from the hyper-advanced, laser beams and helicopters-on-Mars world we’re living in today. A refresh of the banking sector was long overdue, and fintech has ushered in a new and wildly popular approach.

  • Better, streamlined mobile banking: Without the costs associated with, you know, building and running a physical bank, fintech companies have the ability to devote resources to easy-to-use app development that simplifies and enhances the user experience. If you can check your email and post a pic on social media, you’ve all the tools to manage your financial life right from your mobile device. Also, unlike the old banks, an app never calls in sick or closes...your whole banking world is available 24/7.

  • Features, Features, Features: Compared to traditional banks, fintech has been able to quickly respond to consumer demand for features like early access to your paycheck, payment for referring friends, overdraft protection, remote check depositing, and electronic payments to companies and friends to name but a few. Consumers thankfully now have more banking choices than simply the big bank in the downtown where they live.

  • Green Loans: This is one area where Ando’s approach to fintech is unique. While traditional banking has for decades made loans and investments (totaling trillions and trillions of dollars) in the fossil fuel industry, Ando only enables “green” loans to companies and projects committed to carbon reduction and fighting climate change. With their more niche approach, fintech companies are nimble, better able to be targeted in what they offer—big banks are institutions with deeply ingrained processes, and like steering a ship, it’s hard and takes a long time.

What Does Fintech Hold for the Future?

Let’s answer the above question with a bold statement: Fintech is the future of banking. Once traditional brick-and mortar banks started building coffee shops inside them, you knew they were grasping at straws—”How do we get people in here...lattes?” By 2025, industry experts forecast a market value of fintech companies somewhere between hundreds of millions to over a billion dollars. Our gut says the latter number feels more likely—as more and more people gravitate toward progressive, forward-thinking banking options like Ando, it’s going to be very hard to get them to think the old ways makes sense in the modern world. (Remember when you went to a bookstore to buy a book? Us neither.)

So if you’re feeling overwhelmed by fintech lingo and such, don’t be. The landscape is rapidly evolving—an afternoon of reading a few articles will catch you up nicely (Forbes.com is a great place to start). And like we said at the beginning, by living in the modern world, you’re interacting with fintech each and every day. And in doing so, it’s ultimately you will help determine the future of fintech...the services you use and like will survive (and spawn variations on the theme), and the ones you don’t will become future Myspaces.

We don’t normally like to use this Stories section as a way to promote Ando—we do that plenty already and we prefer to keep this as a space for learning and inspiring. But we simply can’t talk about fintech—with new banking options making up the biggest slice of that pie—without reminding you that Ando is unique...an original bobbing in a sea of imitators. There isn’t any company out there, no matter what they may “aspire to be,” that offers you best-in-class everyday banking features while exclusively and transparently using 100% of customer deposits to reduce carbon and fight climate change. Together, we’ll create a cleaner, green future for us all, and thanks to Ando’s skillful embrace of financial technology, changing the world can indeed be as easy as changing where you bank.

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