Technology changes, coupled with the boom of e-commerce rapidly increased the ability to provide financial products and services directly to small businesses or consumers, at point of demand. No wonder embedded finance is currently the hottest topic in fintech: The industry is taking financial services everywhere.
Last Tuesday, our community of innovators and industry change makers, including retailers, manufacturers, financial institutions, insurers, telcos, fintechs and tech innovators, came together for a one-of-a-kind experience – FTT Embedded Finance & Super Apps. One-day, in person and across four stages, we explored the technologies, strategies and innovative business models powering a future in which the universe of financial services providers is expanding well beyond the traditional players.
We opened the stages with remarks from our outstanding chairs – Brendan Gilmore, Managing Director of BPG Strategy on the Strategy Stage; Will Hackett, Head of Fintech Practice at Pangea on the Embedded Payments and Lending Stage; Simon Torrance, CEO at Embedded Finance & Super App Strategies on the Embedded Insurance Stage and Dharmesh Mistry, CEO at AskHomey on the Embedded Wealth Management Stage – who all shared their insights across the day and kept a large event running to plan.
We have selected 10 things we learned at FTT Embedded Finance & Super Apps. It was hard to narrow it down to 10, but it gives light to the trends within the industry.
The opportunity for businesses is large and growing rapidly
Embedded finance encompasses a large, addressable market of opportunity. With a projected global market cap of over $7 trillion by 2030, the opportunity (in other words) is big, very big. Embedded finance enables any retailer or manufacturer to integrate financial services into their offerings and customer journeys, elevating their proposition. Fintechs are vying with established financial institutions and technology innovators to create embedded finance propositions.
There is also a new wave of industry players emerging, with innovative new offerings within the embedded finance space. From payments, BNPL, insurance, wealth management or even hedging, we explored many exciting new products and services across the day.
Our first sessions of the day highlighted the scope of such opportunity for the embedded finance & Super Apps industry players in the UK and European market. We explored what brands need to do to capitalize on their existing client relationships and deliver seamless financial experiences that increase engagement and drive loyalty, but also the practical approach to delivering such experiences.
Brands connect better with consumers: It is all about customer experience
Customers increasingly expect financial services to be simple and easy to access. They assume that financial solutions that are digitally accessible, at point-of-demand, relevant, and seamlessly integrated into an experience.
Incumbent financial institutions struggle to engender similar loyalty in their customers. Understanding customers and their needs is a key opportunity offered by embedded finance and super apps and incumbents need to focus on making bold and strategic moves to stake their claim in this emerging area.
During the event, a number of participants discussed the opportunity for incumbents to learn about building long-lasting relationships with customers from brands that are currently better positioned to do so. Trust and understanding customer needs are central to forming those connections.
Data and technology are essential to creating tailored products
Customer expectations are continuously evolving. A pace of change that grew during the COVID-19 pandemic. Customers are comfortable with financial services provided by the brands they know and trust. This is the result of effective collaboration process between brands, fintech, FIs and tech companies.
Through embedded finance, brands can also benefit from improved customer insight. Learning about their customers’ spending habits, further understanding their needs, and improving customer experience.
A few of our panel discussions elaborated on the technologies that are needed to embed financial services outside of financial institutions, such as BaaS, cloud, and the next gen of APIs . They also noted how data management can boost product innovation and personalization, further elevating the embedders’ customer experience and product offering.
The regulatory landscape is evolving
As new embedded finance players are outperforming existing competition in the market, and partnerships with incumbent players become increasingly important, profound knowledge of regulatory and legal proceedings is required.
The regulatory landscape has evolved in recent years due to the rise of non-banking companies offering financial services. Partnering with embedded finance providers that are compliant with existing regulations is key to success in this competitive landscape.
Our panel, Embedding Regulation: A sustainable future, explored the current regulatory landscape for embedded finance, giving an idea of the future direction of travel. Panellists discussed how regulators and industry players can work together to balance customer protection while supporting innovation to achieve a sustainable future.
Super Apps: Do we want one app that does it all?
It is not news that the financial services industry is currently heading for a critical re-bundling. The surge of fintech, has created a multitude of different apps that are purpose-built and solve specific problems. The range of choice is impressive, but this has led to an overwhelming ambiguity of choice, also known as app-fatigue.
Consequently, unifying the offering of different digital service providers within a unique core is one of the key priorities for these providers. The apps leading the way in re-bundling services are known as Super-Apps.
Our speakers discussed the future of app strategy, and how Super Apps are re-defining the future of how financial services are offered through embedded finance.
Partnering to succeed
If one thing was mentioned session after session, it was collaboration and partnership. These are key aspects in any business, but essential when talking about embedded finance. It is a blessing for businesses, as removes the requirement to have the technical or financial expertise to build their embedded finance propositions successfully.
Partnering is also a competitive way of offering financial products to your customers: Yes, building your own products or offering in-house is another possibility, but it is often far more time consuming and expensive than partnering. In such a competitive landscape, where time is money, you don’t want to be a laggard.
A few sessions during the event highlighted the importance of choosing the right partner, and what are the things you should be looking at when seeking for the right partner to succeed in the space. Our Rockstar speakers explored the key role that partnerships play underpinning the seamless integration of financial services for a growing ecosystem provider.
Should we Buy Now and Pay Later?
One of the key challenges with educating consumers on embedded finance propositions is BNPL. BNPL is not a new concept, but it has taken off in the past few years and is very popular with customers. It is safe to say this is currently the most successful example of embedded lending. The proposition of this service – at first glance – looks fantastic. Consumers that cannot afford to buy a product in one go, can still purchase the product and pay for it in instalments.
Where is the problem then? BNPL is still another form of debt, and an important issue to consider with whether this can result in consumer detriment. Are companies enabling this service doing so ethically and responsibly. Our panel discussion, ‘Should we Buy Now and Pay Later?’ looked at the potential for an unhealthy relationship between consumers and debt that BNPL can cause. Speakers also explored how industry players can balance offering frictionless CX whilst still ensuring adequate consumer protection.
The goal are seamless and invisible payments
Frictionless payments have been one of the most important topics of discussion in the industry for the past few years. But the conversation has now turned to invisible payments. Minimizing any distinguishing, transaction-oriented features that customers associate with making a payment. As consumers get used to an easier way of paying for their purchases, their expectations will evolve Generating more satisfaction with the payment process, drives greater customer engagement and brand loyalty.
Across the different payments sessions during the day, speakers not only explored different approaches to providing invisible payments, but also looked to the future. The new normal of physical ecommerce, alongside opportunities that the metaverse and augmented reality are exciting areas of development.
Crypto payments also commanded a lot of attention. The demand to pay in crypto is growing and businesses are starting to offer cryptocurrencies as a mean of payment. Panellists evaluated the risks and opportunities of making crypto currencies available to consumers and businesses.
Offering insurance at point-of-need that is affordable and relevant
Tackling the poor reputation of insurance is one of the main challenges that the industry is currently facing. Insurers are putting collective efforts to improving that image. Poor customer experience and understanding leaves a lot of room for improvement.
With embedded finance, the distribution of insurance products is becoming contextual and delivered at point of need. With product add-ons at the POS, retailers can now offer relevant and affordable insurance products that not only elevate their CX, but also generate new revenue streams.
For insurers, this is a new opportunity to partner with retailers, access new customer segments and understand their customers better. For tech enablers, this is another financial product they can integrate. It really is a win-win-win.
On our embedded insurance stage, panellists discussed how retailers can introduce these embedded insurance and IaaS offerings into their digital ecosystems, and how data can boost personalisation and enhance CX.
Embedded wealth management is full of opportunity
Embedded finance is moving into the wealth management space. There is a real need to broaden access to to wealth management products and services, for both businesses and consumers.
For consumers, being offered wealth management services through an existing channel, without having to seek a wealth manager or private banker, is key to greater financial inclusion. It offers a huge opportunity to increase their financial wealth and wellbeing.
For banks and other financial institutions, it is an opportunity to improve customer retention, while drastically improving the low profitability of the retail banking unit economics.
As part of our embedded wealth management stage, powered by additiv, our Rockstar speakers addressed how broadening access to wealth services and financial education can help people to move up the financial self-actualization pyramid. We discussed what embedded finance including wealth management services, means for banks and their customers, and how embedders can meet the increasing demand of digital and traditional asset exposure from consumers.
We are grateful to all our rockstar speakers, our headline sponsor, Aperture, and our event partners – Additiv, Assure Hedge, Talenthouse, OpenPayd, FintechOS, Finastra, Enfuce, Velexa, Cover Genius, Tribe Payments, Very Good Security, Divido, Zumo Interprise, Weavr and Marqeta for their support and participation in FTT Embedded Finance & Super Apps. They were central to the success of the event and our growing community.
The next edition of FTT Embedded Finance & Super Apps will take place digitally on 21st September 2022 (North America) and live as part of the Fintech Talents Festival on 14th and 15th November 2022 at The Brewery, London (UK & Europe). Save the dates and in the meantime, you can view the highlights from FTT Embedded Finance & Super Apps 2022 in the video above.