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Michael Kent, CEO and Founder, Azimo

With the world still reeling from the global political turmoil of 2016, making any kind of predictions for the coming year is… unpredictable. One thing’s for sure, though – the next 12 months are going to be a thrilling ride for FinTech…

Global instant, low-value mobile-to-mobile payments take off

As smartphone sales reach saturation point in developed markets, technology adoption growth is now solidly focused on emerging and developing nations. Following on from the success of domestic millennial-focused payment apps such as Venmo in the US, sending money mobile-to-mobile around the world, instantly and at low cost, will take off in 2017.

Artificially intelligent bots become a customer service game-changer

“Your call is very important to us, please continue to hold” is one of the most annoying phrases in financial services. But thanks to advances in artificial intelligence, the vast majority of customer queries can now be answered quickly and efficiently via a chat bot, with human help only required for the really tricky questions. Soon, the idea that we need to phone up our bank to get things done will seem as antiquated as writing a cheque.

Machine learning technology makes financial services a safer place

Tesco Bank had a huge security lapse a couple of months ago, and overall 2016 was another bumper year for banking fines with multi-million – and in some cases multi-billion – dollar fines for financial service players who didn’t follow the rules. Criminal sanctions for senior executives were also added into the mix in several countries this year. With so much at stake, compliance has become one of the biggest growth areas in financial services. But given the huge amounts of data that need to be monitored and crunched, machine learning technology is increasingly being applied to seek out and analyse trends and risks to keep us all safe.

Political risk – a journey into the unknown

For the first time in years, political risk and uncertainty will be one of the biggest concerns for every business and many individuals in 2017 – it’s clear that we’re sailing into uncharted territory. While America’s new president elect seems to have the financial markets excited, there’s also an underlying fear that we’re witnessing an era of free trade and globalisation being replaced by isolationism. Trump’s first 100 days in charge, and the results of the 2017 German and French elections, will tell us more. Closer to home, the main worry is that a badly-handled Brexit will have a hugely negative impact on the UK technology and FinTech sectors, with talent and capital relocating elsewhere and London tumbling down the list of attractive places to start a business.

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