FinTech or financial technology has been changing the way people and small businesses interact with their money, borrow money, bank, charge customers, save and invest. The proliferation of fintech apps (digital finance technology) has opened doors for millions to do business in different ways or offer entirely new services. The sector has attracted 40-60 billion in annual investment for the last decade and continues to grow rapidly.
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Many of the older financial services players like Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America have been investing in FinTech and trying to compete as the new digital players challenge their entire business model. For this article we’re focusing on 30 FinTech and InsurTech (Insurtech is a subsector of the FinTech industry that focuses on making insurance cheaper, more digital, and more accessible) companies you should know about that can help you personally and also assist your business.
15 FinTech Apps for People Like You and I
Much of the first innovation in FinTech was designed with the consumers, apps like PayPal have been around for decades and were designed to help consumers buy things online. Since then thousands of companies have popped up to challenge the status quo in finance. New digital-only banks that drop the aggressive and annoying fees traditional banks charge. Digital wallets that let you hold multiple currencies and cryptos have popped up for those who travel a lot or want exposure to other currency markets.
Services that make insurance cheaper and more customized to your individual needs. A number of apps have popped up to make investing faster and cheaper for the normal person (who doesn’t have a wealth manager.) Services that help consumers save money faster or with more insight into why they weren’t able to save more, and services that help consumers buy their first house.
There are also FinTech companies that have popped up to make finance more equitable and accessible to marginalized communities. Below we’ve cherry-picked some of the most useful of these apps for the average American and based on the companies reviews and reputations for being a useful service.
Honey is a browser plugin that has saved me hundreds, it works by applying coupon codes to every site you shop at and has about a 20% accuracy rate at finding coupons. If you buy anything online Honey will likely save you money and time by scanning the web for coupon codes and applying them. Honey makes money by onselling your shopping data.
Earny is a US cashback service. What makes it different is it gets you cashback for purchases you’ve made already. The way it works is you buy something like a new iPhone, if the price drops within a certain time frame Earny gets you the cashback. It does this by scanning your inbox for receipts and then using the purchase protection policies of your credit card to claim a refund. Earny charges a subscription fee.
Tally is an app that helps you pay down your credit card debt in a way that optimizes your payments to pay the least. They also offer a loan to consolidate your credit card debt and pay it all off in one go. This often improves your credit score as soon as the loan pays off your cards. Tally charges $5 a month for their basic package or around $30 if you opt for their consolidation loan. The service has helped a lot of Americans improve their credit scores and get access to cheaper personal loans.
Uphold is a crypto wallet and digital wallet that allows you to store both FIAT (in NZ, US, AUD, EU, GBP and other currencies) and a number of cryptocurrencies. They also all link to a credit card so you can spend any of these. Uphold is free but makes money when you exchange FIAT or cryptos. It’s a fantastic app if you’re looking to dip your feet into crypto but aren’t sure yet how to get a crypto wallet and buy crypto from an exchange or a person.
Revolut is a new style bank that offers super low FX so great if you travel a lot or want to spend in a number of currencies. They also have virtual cards so you can buy online with safety and delete the card after the purchase. Revolut also lets you buy top stocks, commodities, and cryptos. One of the best features of this app are low fees on foreign atm withdrawals (if the atm vendor doesn’t charge fees then free usually) and alerts and notifications whenever you spend so you can track your expenses real-time.
BillShark is an app that saves you money on your utility bills. They renegotiate your bills and save you money across credit cards, utility bills, phone bills, and more. You take photos of your bills and upload them to the app and they do the rest. They take a 40% cut of the savings only after they have successfully lowered your bills. BillShark could easily also feature in our “business” category as they offer the same services for businesses.
Public is an investing app that allows you to invest in fractional shares across global markets. It has a more ethical business model than many of the other larger investing apps. They make money in ways that align with you as their user (like securities lending and interest on cash balances.)
Lemonade is an InsurTech company that offers renters, homeowners, pet, and term life insurance at lower rates than traditional insurers. They also take into account more of your personal circumstances to price your insurance. Lemonade is a certified B-Corp which means any underwriting profit goes to charity.
Divvy Homes is a service that helps first-time homeowners rent to buy property. The way it works is they help people buy property with much less equity than you’d need for a mortgage, around 2%. They then rent the house back to you at market rates and 25% of your rent goes towards buying more equity in the house. After a period of 2-3 years, they help you get a traditional loan when you have built up enough equity.
Pacaso is a FinTech service that helps you buy a share of a second home. The way it works is they set up an LLC you choose a house on their platform and then you pay your share and you own that amount of the LLC/property. You can decide how many shares you want in the home and then book to stay in the property through the Pacaso app. Picasso also takes care of maintenance. They charge $100 a month for maintenance and a one-off 12% fee on closing the property.
Placepay is a service specifically designed to help you pay your rent with a credit card. You may ask why you’d want to do that when they charge 2.99% for the privilege. The answer is it helps you build credit if you have none and also if you get good credit card rewards that outweigh the 3% of rent payments it’s well worth it.
MoCaFi is a neo banking app that’s designed to help Black and Brown Americans build wealth. They have a check-writing feature that helps their users build credit by reporting their rent payments to Equifax. They also offer a number of tools to help you learn hot to build and track your wealth building. The final feature is a 3% cashback card for shopping at LatinX and Black and Brown businesses.
Pay on Delivery
Pay on Delivery is a service for those who buy a lot of second-hand goods from online marketplaces (like the Facebook marketplace.) The service acts as a kind of escrow, where you only pay for the goods once they arrive at your house. So you know you aren’t being scammed. The way it works is you find an item to buy, you agree on the price then use the Pay on Delivery app to create a token. The buyer then sends this token to the seller who uses it to arrange shipping and your card is charged once the item is delivered.
Score Master is an app that helps you build credit faster, with tools that show you how and how not to build credit. In some ways it’s like a budgeting app, for example, it tells you how much your credit score will be hurt by spending money when you shouldn’t. Score Master also shows you which card to use to buy on to keep your credit score intact.
Trim is a budgeting and savings app that you connect to your bank account (don’t worry they use the same security as your bank.) Once connected to your bank account they do a similar thing to BillShark: negotiate cable, internet, phone, and medical bills. Trim also helps lower your APR on your bank cards and even get back unfair bank fees. They also identify subscriptions you cancel that will save even more money. They also have an FDIC insured (up to 250k) savings account.
Related read: Tax Preparation Services Near Me
15 FinTech Apps for Small Businesses
As the FinTech industry matured, the companies offering services began to see that the small business market was often overlooked by banks and financial services firms and often had poor service. A number of FinTechs popped up to offer more user-friendly services which were designed to be much more accessible than the mass-produced payment services small businesses had relied on for so long. Some of the biggest innovations in the business-to-business (B2B) space were in payments where businesses could get paid faster with fewer fees or accept a multitude of payment types. Of course, being able to accept payments online too was a game-changer for an entire industry. Services like Stripe and Shopify popped up to make it easier for small businesses to integrate payments directly into their sites and sell online.
While a number of startups challenged payment giants to offer cheaper, easier to use credit card readers and POS (point of sale) software to challenge the cash register. One of the biggest areas of innovation in the B2B space is business finance. One of the most difficult things for businesses under one million dollars in revenue a year is to get access to bank loans. This is where a number of tech firms stepped in and began offering invoice finance (lending against invoices), factoring (sale of invoices to third parties), working capital loans, cheaper credit card debt, or even SaaS loans (money lent against a company’s recurring subscription revenue.)
Another game-changer for small businesses is the proliferation of FinTech apps designed to make bookkeeping, financial planning, and expense management much simpler has birthed massive multi-billion dollar companies like Brex. One of the other major areas where technology has made life easier for the small business owner is considerably more customized business insurance, designed to take into account the size and shape of your business and price based on that rather than a one size fits all. Many business owners who have gotten access to these insurance plans talk about savings of 30-50% compared to older policies from traditional insurers.
Below we have 15 of the top business FinTech apps that cover off all of the advances we just spoke about.
Wise is a fantastic fintech app for those businesses that have foreign contractors or clients and need to deal with multiple currencies. They offer some of the best FX rates and have a super simple banking interface that can connect with Xero and other accounting software. They have some nifty security features too including on-app approval for any expenditure over a certain value. Finally, wise sends instant notifications whenever money is spent so you can track any expenses with ease.
Hatch is a good alternative to Wise if you need a US-based banking provider for any legal reasons or just need a way to send checks in the mail. They offer a checking account for small businesses with no NSF fees, up to 5% in cashback rewards. They let you pay employees or suppliers with ACH or checks (which Wise doesn’t offer.)
Next Insurance is an InsurTech company designed for small businesses from one to 20 employees. They cover Business Insurance, General Liability Insurance, Workers’ Compensation Insurance, Professional Liability Insurance, Errors and Omissions (E&O) Insurance, Commercial Auto Insurance, Commercial Property Insurance, Business Owner’s Policy (BOP), Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance and Tools & Equipment Insurance. Their pitch is more customized, cheaper, and easier to understand insurance designed for your business.
Clearco is a FinTech service for any SaaS companies that maybe can’t access traditional finance, invoice factoring, or invoice finance. They let any size SaaS company access future SaaS MRR and borrow against it for any costs you may have today. Further, Clearco also offers up to $10M in Marketing Capital within 24 hours for e-commerce companies.
Stenn is an invoice financing and factoring fintech that helps you raise capital quickly as the need arises. The way it works is you send across any unpaid invoices (up to $10 million invoices.) They fund any accepted invoices within 48 hours. Invoice financing usually works whereby lenders lend against your invoice and charge anywhere from 3-10% in fees once the invoice is paid. Factoring is where the invoice is bought and the buyer then has the job of getting the payment. Usually, you’ll get a smaller percentage of the invoice paid out, from 80-95% of the invoice amount.
Tribal Credit Card
Tribal Credit Card is a corporate credit card designed for startups and SMEs. They don’t require personal or company credit history and will don’t ask for personal guarantees. They also promise a super simple opening process (online) and faster approvals than a typical corporate card. One of their awesome perks is they have virtual cards you can issue to employees and use for one-off costs. They also have built a great spend management platform to understand your cash flow and expenditures.
Dext is a receipt processing platform that makes your life as a business owner ( especially an SME) so much easier. The way it works is you forward receipts and invoices to an email address or snap a photo of a paper receipt with your phone. Dext then stores and preps that data so you or your accountant don’t need to manually reconcile receipt data to bank statements later. Saves a tonne of time and money in tax season.
Karat is a business credit card is designed for digital creators and influencers. It’s filling the gap for business owners in a space traditional banks don’t understand. Karat’s for you if you’re a streamer, YouTuber, gamer, influencer or Instagrammer. They don’t rely on old-school credit scores but focus on how many followers you have or subscribers and build a kind of social credit score for those who aren’t offered business credit by banks.
Recurly is a service designed to help your business create a subscription model. If you’re trying to work out how to offer a subscription for your business Recurly helps you set up recurring payment collection from your customers. One of the best features is their lifetime value tracker. This helps you understand where your customers unsubscribe and help you fill those holes so you can have better customer retention.
Payjunction is a credit card payment processor, they’re especially useful if you have a physical store and need credit card readers to process customer card payments. They offer some of the lowest fees on the US market (along with Fattmerchant) at 0.8% + $0.7 for debit cards and 2.55% + $0.7 for credit cards. One of the best things about Payjunction is they promise to pay out in one business day.
Honeycomb Credit offers crowdfunded loans for small businesses that struggle to get finance the traditional route. Their rates are pretty good for small businesses 5-10% but also double as pretty good returns for small investors. You can borrow from $15,000 to $500,000 and once accepted 83% of businesses end up raising their goal. Honeycomb also boasts that after a campaign you’ll see an 80% boost in press mentions, a 60% increase in average revenue, and a 40% increase in Yelp and Google reviews.
Related read: Can You Retire at 62 With 300k
Celery is a great new FinTech that lets you get paid before you officially launch your product or service. It’s a service that helps you accept pre-orders. They charge 2% + Stripe fees. One of the niftiest features is delayed payments, you can charge users only when you meet a KPI or just before you set out to deliver.
Cyberdot is an InsurTech company that is likely to be increasingly relevant to a lot of businesses. They sell cyber security, so if your business is cyber-attacked or data is stolen or leaked you’re covered. Their service comes with lawyer time to discuss any legal issues that may result from being hacked or data leaked. Alongside this, they have a marketing team to help repair your business’s reputation. They price based on revenue, amount of coverage needed. It usually starts at around $750 annually.
Brex is a business account, credit card, and spend management software all in one. They offer free ACH and wires worldwide, help you to get higher card limits, earn money-saving rewards, and track expenses. They also have auto bill payment for any invoices or bills you approve to free you up to do more important things. Furthermore, they offer instant payouts from Stripe, Amazon, Paypal, and Shopify. Brex is also designed to integrate with Quickbooks, Xero, and Gusto.
Vend is a POS (point of sale) software designed for any retail store and Toast is a POS specifically for restaurants. Both offer similar technology but each is customized to the needs of either retail or food businesses. It’s everything you need to ring up and create orders and then bill your customers. Both connect to card readers (like the one Payjunction offers.) They also do inventory management, and both are set up to help with online sales and orders too.
Final Thoughts About Fintech Apps
The role of FinTech has been one of making doing business cheaper, faster and easier, less time on tax and more time when it comes to finance. As you can see from this comprehensive list, there are fintech apps for pretty much any conceivable purpose. But, before diving in and using them, do your homework and make sure the product has the right features for you.
Article By Alex Beck, The Financially Independent Millennial