But this still means some 1.4 billion people remain outside of the traditional banking sector. These tend to be the hardest people to reach – very often women, the poor, the less educated and, very often, those living in rural areas. While digitising payments is the way to go, much more is needed. Governments, private employers and financial service providers – including FinTechs – should work together to lower barriers to access and improve physical, financial and data infrastructure. This means FinTechs need to build trust and confidence in using financial products, develop innovative new products, and implement a strong and enforceable consumer protection framework that will include these aforementioned individuals. After all, the unbanked and the underserviced sector is today the greatest untapped market opportunity for many FinTechs. We often see the biggest disruptors thrive in times of change, very often as a result of economic challenges. It will come as no surprise, therefore, that the likes of Netflix, Uber and even Airbnb all rose to prominence after the financial crisis in 2010 simply because they all provided solutions for consumers facing very real problems in a time of change. Each brand delivered convenience and financial savings, using the very latest technology and a shared economy model that created new, exciting, and inherently better experiences for consumers. This is exactly what consumers wanted, and it helped spawn a host of new markets. It is this model that is powering a revolution in the card payment market today- one that has so often been at the forefront of change and innovation in its own right. Today’s consumers – banked or unbanked – are demanding more from their suppliers, forcing them to reinvent themselves and their product offerings. This is happening while the financial services industry as a whole is facing increased regulation. The Disruptive Consumer Historically, brands and service providers have always relied on consumers basing their purchasing decisions on basics such as service levels and fair pricing. But the modern consumer has developed far higher expectations based on a host of new metrics such as personalised interactions, proactivity, and even whether a company can offer a connected digital experience. Today’s consumers are disrupting traditional buying patterns and businesses, demanding elements such as cloud, mobile, social media and AI to deliver an immediate, valuable and personalised experience. They have learnt from Netflix and Uber, and any business that fails to address this will fall by the wayside. But the disruptive consumer does not stop there. According to research from Capita, over half (56%) of all consumers said it was important to them that their bank or building society acted sustainably and/or ethically. This does appear to be a direct result of the pandemic and increased awareness of the climate crisis, with consumers taking time to reappraise what’s important to them. Put bluntly, these views have been extended to those businesses where they wish to spend their money. Millennials are leading the charge in this ethics revolution, with 60% claiming it’s important, followed by Boomers (57%) and Gen X (39-53 years old) on 55%. Democratisation of Financial Products Financial inclusion matters and is the cornerstone of economic development. When people have a bank account, it enables them to take advantage of other financial services like saving, making payments and accessing credit. According to The World Bank, 71% of people have a bank account in developing countries today, up from 42% a decade ago, while globally, 76% of adults around the world have an account today, up from 51% a decade ago. These tremendous gains are also now more evenly distributed and come from a greater number of countries than ever before. 56% of all consumers said it was important to them that their bank or building society acted sustainably and/ or ethically.” “ Bank i ng & F i nanc i a l Se r v i ce s 32 Finance Monthly.