Mastercard has released its latest report on the FinTech landscape, with analysts fixing their eyes on the small business (SMB) community to drive competition and innovation.
In its “What to watch for FinTech in 2019 report,” developed in conjunction with CB Insights and Mastercard Start Path, Mastercard explores the role of artificial intelligence and open banking in driving the next phases of FinTech innovation.
Another key trend is the role of SMBs, the report noted, claiming that small businesses were “the next battleground for FinTech.”
Driven by a lack of adequate financial services and the history of FinTech’s role in expanding small businesses’ access to financing, SMBs’ role in FinTech innovation is likely to be a key trend for 2019, Mastercard said, with challenger banks emerging to offer more than loans for small business customers.
Small firms “want the same on-demand experience, frictionless engagement and low-cost services that digital-first banks can provide at scale,” the report noted.
A record number of $100 million-plus FinTech investment rounds in 2018 will also drive the industry forward in the coming year to develop new products and expand into new markets, the report predicts. Mixed with Open Banking regulations and streamlined access to data, FinTech innovators are likely to build out their product sets for a more holistic experience both for consumers and small businesses.
In announcing the report Wednesday (Jan. 30), Mastercard also pointed to seven FinTech startups with which it is working as part of its Mastercard Start Path program. Several B2B companies are included in the group, including Hummingbird, an artificial intelligence company designed to automate anti-money laundering processes, as well as Open Banking API platform Minka.
Mastercard has introduced a range of new services for its small business base in recent months, including the launch of a B2B trade platform, Mastercard Track, in September.