Financial technology startups will enter the next decade with a little more street cred than the last time around.
Nearly 60 upstarts focusing on financial services -- from Stripe Inc. to Chime Inc. to Plaid Inc. -- have garnered valuations of more than $1 billion in recent years, according to CB Insights. Personal loans -- a category popularized by fintechs like GreenSky Inc. or Affirm Inc. -- are now the fastest growing form of debt in the U.S., Experian data says. And Robinhood sparked a movement toward free stock trading that has shaken the business models of the likes of Charles Schwab Corp. and E*Trade Financial Corp.
Still, analysts and experts say there’s more to come. Sweeping mergers and acquisitions have transformed some of the industry’s largest incumbents in payments, who are gearing up for a bigger fight for market share with newcomers. And regulators are looking to have more say over how technology companies venture into financial services.
Here’s our annual list of the most important trends, challenges and companies to watch in the New Year.
Exit StrategiesMergers and acquisitions have historically been small and rare in the fintech space, but that changed in a big way in 2019. Fiserv Inc., Fidelity National Information Services Inc. and Global Payments Inc. did a series of deals that transformed payment processing in the U.S. More recently, PayPal Holdings Inc. made its largest acquisition ever and Charles Schwab announced it would buy TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. for about $26 billion. That frenzied pace of deal-making might continue through (at least some of) 2020.