Technology is the engine that drives long-term growth in the global economy. In just the last few years, every conceivable industry has been impacted and altered, and finance is no exception. New financial technologies are radically changing the way that businesses use financing and how they interact with their financial institutions.
Just a few years ago, business owners didn’t have a wide variety of options for their financial needs. They needed to physically go down to their local financial institution, and make do with whatever services they could qualify for there. Today the situation is very different. The Internet allows people fast and easy access to a wide selection of different competing services, and financial services have had to respond in order to remain competitive.
Financing options are evolving
The types of services offered by investors and financial institutions have been evolving for centuries, but the last decade has been a major growth period for the innovative new financing solutions. Online crowdfunding exploded onto the scene in the mid 2000s, and over 450 specialised platforms were developed by 2012. More traditional financial institutions have also recognised the opportunities that innovative financing can offer to businesses, and specialised financial tools have become far more prolific in the last several years.
A different kind of invoice factoring
Our innovative interpretation of invoice factoring is a great example of this. Invoice factoring is when you exchange an outstanding invoice for most of its value at your financial institution. Typically, a business will agree to have all their invoices for a given period factored. This helps to ensure that they get paid more quickly and regularly. Some businesses, however, can benefit more from a flexible type of factoring service, where they can factor just one or a few invoices as needed. This way they can reduce the overall cost of the service while modifying it into a way of giving themselves an advance, rather than as a type of blanket income insurance policy.
Service expectations are rising
Increasing competition is also having a big impact on the kind of services that entrepreneurs look for in a financial institution. Business owners work long hours under immense pressure, and don’t want to spend more time filling out paperwork than they absolutely have to.
Streamlined online applications
Online applications save on time and effort. Applying online isn’t just easier, it’s much more efficient for everyone involved. This way, your information is already digitised, so the prospective lender’s system can rapidly gather and provide secondary information about your business for review. As a result, the entire application process is shortened from weeks down to just hours or days.
Few things can be as frustrating to an entrepreneur as calling their financial institution and waiting on hold for 15 minutes, just to end up talking to a random person at a call centre who may or may not know anything about finances, and certainly doesn’t know anything about the entrepreneur’s business. Fifo Capital, among others, is bucking this trend by providing professional 1:1 service. That means customers not only always talk to the same dedicated representative, but that representative can offer them personalised feedback and advice regarding their financing options, and even walk them through the application process.
Payment is evolving
Of course, businesses do more than just borrow money from their financial institutions, they also rely on them to perform transactions on their behalf. Industries based on emergent technologies are also revolutionising how their clients get paid, and how they can pay vendors or contractors overseas.
Free international exchange
Traditional money transfers and exchanges cost a significant fee. Managing exchanges internationally used to carry a fair level of risk because of fluctuating exchange rates, and required quite a bit of work. Today, specialised foreign exchange services can track exchange rate fluctuations in real time, and perform transactions nearly instantly. As a result, these businesses can generate a profit through the process of exchanging funds themselves, so they often charge extremely low fees, or none at all. By using a service like this, businesses can save up to 5% on their international transactions compared to traditional methods.
Unified flexible payment systems
Payment systems have evolved rapidly over the last few years, and not just online. Traditional credit cards morphed to allow for contactless payment, and contactless payment has given way to mobile payment via phone. Today, a single device can manage transactions from any of your accounts, making payment easier and simpler for customers. Notably, Sweden has embraced this more than most countries, and announced its plan to become the world’s first cash-free country a year ago.
By making it easier to move money, both across borders and over the counter, financial technology is making business quicker, more secure, and more convenient for businesses and their customers. Improved services across the financial industry mean that businesses now have more and better tools available to them than ever before. Give us a call to learn more about how Fifo Capital can help your business!