For some time now, a specific sector has become one of the greatest entrepreneurial revolutions in our recent history.
And it is one of the current panaceas: mobile payment, personal finance management, corporate crowdfunding, money transfers between users … whatever their variations. The truth is that all investors are behind the Fintech companies. However, the question in this subject is clear:
What are Banks Doing with Fintech Startups?
It would be unfair to say that they are not doing anything, but it would also be unfair to say that they arrived in time and knew how to get ahead, because the truth is that they did not do it.
In any case, some time ago Spanish banks began to work with this issue. And they are conducting their actions in three different directions:
1- Working on their Own Apps
It is one of the most logical and expected measures: banks have opted to develop their own virtual payment applications, P2P transfers, home economics management, etc. And the truth is that most of them have arrived late to this trend, but their huge financial muscle means that, for now, we should not underestimate them yet.
In this sense, the alternatives are numerous and varied: the first to arrive was Yaap, the mobile payment application launched jointly by Telefónica, CaixaBank, and Santander. But they were not the only ones: BBVA launched its app “BBVA Wallet”, Bankinter its Mobile Virtual Card, la Caixa launched ImaginBank (perhaps the most interesting bet of recent years), Ibercaja its Ibercaja Pay and ING its recent Twyp, among other examples.
Self Bank also opted for innovation, being the first Spanish bank to launch the registration system via video call with the Self Now system, and the first invoice aggregator: My Invoices.
2.- Investing in Startups
This is another interesting option and, perhaps, the most intelligent one on the list. Because, no matter how much financial muscle you have, if there are more agile startups that build better technologies than yours, why not invest in them?
And so it has been: The Bankinter Foundation for Innovation has already invested in startups such as Coinffeine; BBVA Ventures, in others such as Coinbase, SumUp, Taulia or Prosper Marketplace; and Santander, which articulates all of its recent movements through its Santander Innoventures, has done the same in other companies such as MyCheck, Cyanogen, iZettle or Ripple.
3.- Buying Startups
A moderately recent and less frequent option, but in no way disposable.
In this sense, one of the pioneers has been BBVA itself, which has bought digital banks such as Holvi and Simple, big data startups such as Madiva Soluciones or user experience studies such as Spring Studio.
Thus, it seems evident that the market is more animated than ever. And now, are you thinking about starting or investing in this sector? We hope that with this we have solved the possible doubts you had.
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Also published on Medium.