There is a lot of noise about FinTech. A lot of statistics shared, opinion aired. And yet it seems its core message might not be translating into the wider electorate, sorry, potential customer base. A recent poll of the sector’s target audience - 18-35s - revealed that 92% of them have never heard of it.

Hang on. Didn’t 70% of this age group say they would be more excited about a new offering in financial services from Google, Amazon, Apple, etc., than from their own bank? We know that Big FS ‘gets’ FinTech. Just this month one of the world’s biggest banks launched an in-house initiative to win back customers lost to startups. But what about those outside the “ecosystem”? Does the UK’s most exciting technology sector mean anything to them?


“We need to talk”


Yes and No, according to our own unscientific snap poll (via smartphone, of course). The London-based Millennials we spoke to were not only aware of FinTech as a noun, but use its services (read: apps) “a lot”. From other consumers (assorted ages and geographies) the ‘F’ word evoked a rather different response: confused emoji face. What about SMEs? Do advisers suggest solutions that help them to deal with late payments, funding, currency transfer or any other small business everyday horrors? Not if our focus group is any guide – and I fully accept that it might not be.

A recent poll showed that 92% of 18-35s have never heard of FinTech

Strip away the Tech talk, though (and maybe the “Fin” bit), and there is a lot of love for what’s on offer. What, you can keep more of the money you send or spend money overseas? Do your banking just on your phone, fund your education, earn a higher rate on your savings? Happy emoji face raised palms.

Another report earlier this year suggested that, in the US, robo advisers are likely to manage $2.2 trillion of funds by 2020. It also found that while awareness of brands in the space was low, interest in the services they offer was high, with 75% of respondents saying they were “very likely or somewhat likely” to consider using them.

On paper, this looks like one big old disconnect: demand for services that make managing finance easier and less expensive: high. Awareness of the companies that offer them: low.


Not different – easy


“There are many ways in which FinTech could help Millennials, if they only knew about it,” says one new service, Bud, which is setting out to explain what they can do in a language “Millennials understand.”

Great! Although if this really is, to use a popular term just now, democratised finance why not use language that everyone can understand.

“Startups are making big statements about “change” and “doing things differently”, but a lot of people don’t want or value that,” says Marketing Strategist Fiona McAnena. “They want it to be easy and perhaps better but without them having to do anything different or learn something new.”

Point taken. There has been a lot said recently about the importance of listening, of being inclusive. Anyone working to make financial services faster, better, stronger, keep making some noise - we certainly will on your behalf - but perhaps also consider taking the conversation further afield. As interesting times get even more interesting, a lot of Millennials, SMEs, the under / over-banked - or people, as we think of them – will be keen to hear what you have to offer.