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Fintechs are boosting their capabilities in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the recently released 2020 Global Covid-19 FinTech Market Rapid Assessment Report. In fact, 60% of fintech firms surveyed reported implementing or introducing new products or services as a result of Covid-19, while another 32% said they were in the process of doing so. The study, conducted jointly by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF), the World Bank Group, and the World Economic Forum, surveyed 1,385 fintech firms operating across 169 countries this past summer.
Value-added services were most commonly introduced, with nearly a third of respondents saying they have added such features, and a further 11% saying they’re getting there. The introduction of value-added tools is most apparent among digital savings firms, 57% of which reported launching these products. This makes a ton of sense — consumers around the world are struggling financially as a result of the pandemic, and savings firms are well positioned to provide educational and financial management tools to help drive people back toward financial health. In the US alone, only about half of the 22 million jobs lost in the spring had been recovered as of the latest jobs report, so these kinds of services are likely to be warmly received. Other readily new features included enhanced fraud/cybersecurity features, implemented by 28% of respondents, followed by disbursement of relief aid, at 18%.
This data points to a key strength fintechs possess: agility. These firms are able to pivot easily, due to their entrepreneurial cultures and modern, flexible technology. As a result, they are able to quickly identify new customer needs and step in with solutions. For example, the report highlighted one European fintech that launched a tool to help customers determine whether they’re eligible for government aid, as well as a lending platform in Uganda that created a website to help connect unemployed professionals to small businesses looking for help. This is what fintechs are most known for, thinking obsessively about the customer and delivering at the right moment, in the right way. By serving real customer needs as they emerge, these firms are making themselves indispensable to their users. And that’s good for business.