Fintech, short for financial technology, is a rapidly growing sector. In an era where larger and larger amounts of money are at stake, where million-dollar transactions are made with just one press of a button, fintech refers to technologies that make financial processes easier and safer.
By ways of providing more protection for consumers against scams or theft, helping people with their financial planning, or revolutionizing digital banking, fintech innovations are changing the way we handle our day-to-day finances. An app that’s highly recommended for beginners is Truebill, which helps locate your paid subscriptions and allows you to cancel them with one click. There’s also Dollarbird, an app that keeps track of your spending and displays it on a visual calendar. The app Square Register, meanwhile, helps small business owners to graduate from cash-only transactions to those that use credit or debit cards. Although oftentimes fintech apps are available only to customers with US bank accounts, fret not. There are now emerging Asian technologies in the market. One of these is Smartkarma, a web service that is changing the way equity research is distributed. Headquartered in Singapore, Smartkarma makes it so that rather than going to brokers, investors can monitor their own portfolios, read high-quality independent research on the investment climate and get alerts for stocks and markets they’re interest in, through the Internet. Behind the service is the idea that because research is seen as a tool to persuade people to trade, it is best to keep it out of any conflict of interest. It’s no wonder that in developed markets such as in Europe, regulations have been enacted to encourage more integrity in financial markets. Angus Mackintosh, an insight provider for the app, is one of the many contributors to the Smartkarma research pool. According to Mackintosh, European investors are now required by law to pay for research out of their own pockets, as opposed to charging it to clients. Enter the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II), a recent EU legislation that requires equity researches to be paid for independently, instead of being bundled together with trading commissions. In light of this, French bank Societe Generale has formed a partnership with Smartkarma, and if other jurisdictions are considering implementing something similar to MiFID II, demand is certainly poised to grow. Read more about smartkarma at www.smartkarma.com. Indonesian fintech apps to keep an eye on in 2017 In August 2016, President Joko Widodo officiated the Indonesia Fintech Festival & Conference – an event that brought together stakeholders of the industry, from regulators to financial institutions, incubators and many more – in a move that signals Indonesia’s readiness for fintech. As the industry grows, it’s clear we’ll be seeing more innovative ideas and changes in the financial services. Here we zoom in on some local fintech apps and services worth watching out for. PERSONAL
- Despite the prevalence of foreign fintech companies, on a more local scale Veryfund is an app that showcases all your bank accounts in one convenient place.
- CekAja allows Indonesians to compare and contrast different loans and conveniently apply for them too.
- For managing personal finances, www.ngaturduit.com offers tools such as budgeting, expense reporting, investment portfolio monitoring and free consultations.
- SatuLoket.com is a one-stop monthly payment solution for Indonesians that offers vouchers for your phone, electricity and Internet bills among its other features.
- Stockbit is a social media platform for Indonesian investors and traders, where they share ideas and help each other make informed decisions.
- Bareksa allows users to buy and sell mutual funds online, as well as facilitates investment. It also offers data services and investment tools, news and information, in addition to a learning centre and an investor community.
- Another online tool is Jurnal, which is an accounting system for businesses to keep track of their expenditures and make invoices.
- Doku, which has been around since 2007, is an online payment system assisting more than 800 businesses. Kartuku is another online payment system, as well as DavestPay.
- Investree connects possible lenders with different borrowers. So does Modalku, a peer-to-peer platform with a similar concept of crowdfunding, where lenders can distribute their funds and invest in small companies that need funds.
- Jojonomic is a useful app for obtaining reimbursements in three simple steps. Employees are simply required to take pictures of receipts to be submitted. Reimbursements can be approved in real time and paid through direct transfers to designated bank accounts.
CROWDFUNDING Crowdfunding refers to racking up donations to kickstart your project. For this purpose, take a look at Kitabisa, an online platform that favours social projects, technology, creativity and business, or Wujudkan, a crowdfunding platform for Indonesian creative projects such as feature films, short animations, book publishing, architecture, research, documentaries, cultural events, traditional art, etc. CRYPTOCURRENCY Cryptocurrency is a secure, digital form of alternative currency. Bitcoin.co.id and Quoine are big Indonesian companies that offer bitcoin exchange and other cryptocurrency-related services. Bitcoin itself is a form of digital currency that has been around since 2009 and is the first decentralized virtual currency. Text by: Sarah S.