Ethical Data Usage and Fintech

February 21, 2021
Kevin Larkin

The speed at which the internet has accelerated over the past ten years is almost daunting to think about. Countless people have created platforms solely based on the internet that have shaped the way our minds think more than we could realize. While some of these smartphone apps have made our lives far more convenient, such as GPS and maps services, texting, and streaming music, there are also lots more that don’t have our best interests in mind. One of the biggest culprits of this is social media, which has been under countless fire regarding unethical data usage and essentially spying on their customers to push them the most specific and tailored ads possible. Is it finally time for someone to crack down on social media, and the emerging fintech market, to keep them in check before this goes on any longer?

Fintech companies must adapt to this digital age, and many are making moves such as implementing banking apps and contactless payments such as with Google and Apple Pay services which are becoming increasingly accepted. However, these companies have been very good at disguising true intentions to the average consumer, since there’s a reason over 70% of Google’s revenue comes from ads. From location services, to our cameras, to interests, and what we want to buy, Google knows you better than most people in your life. If fintech companies truly want to make an impact on how people make financial transactions, they have to be smart about how they will establish trust and transparency between themselves and their users. Especially since their users don’t just download and use their services for free like many other smartphone apps, but entrust them to handle thousands of dollars worth of transactions. It should come as no surprise that the global pandemic has greatly increased technology usage, and fintech is no exception, as the industry saw a nearly 200% increase in mobile banking registrations.

Besides wanting to establish trust for customers to use their services over a traditional banking system, worldwide government regulations may make many of those decisions for them. However, these regulations in how tech companies are allowed to store and use data may be less of a crutch and hassle than filing for a bank charter to open up a physical brick and mortar bank. The ability to hold users data is a powerful tool that will be up to banks to determine how to best serve customers within their restrictions. They will have the ability to offer mortgages, credit cards, and financial aid advice based on your specific spending habits, but only time will tell how far is too far.

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