Aussie fintech usage surges

The rate Australia is adopting fintech services has almost tripled in the last 18 months, making it one of the top countries in the world with a sizable demand for new financial services technology.

Australia's uptake rate (37%) sat above the global average (33%), and ranking it fifth in EY's Fintech Adoption Index of 20 other countries.

Australia placed well ahead of financial hubs such as Hong Kong (11th), Singapore (17th) and the US (10th), but sat behind China, India, Brazil and the UK.

The report also showed Australians are increasingly shunning traditional financial services providers. Two years ago, 23% of respondents preferred to use incumbents; this most recently dropped to 10%.

More than half (59%) of Australians were using fintechs commonly for money transfer and payments.

According to Fintech Australia, there are 400 fintech companies in the country, 72% of which supply services to businesses and 54% cater to consumers.

The sector is proving to be lucrative, with median revenue jumping 200% in the year to June, Fintech Australia found in a separate census. About one-quarter of the 166 fintechs canvassed reported a whopping 700% increase in revenue.

More than half (54%) of fintechs are already considering expanding overseas or growing existing overseas operations as a priority for the next 12 months. Many are targeting the United Kingdom (49%), Singapore (40%), United States (38%), New Zealand (27%) and Hong Kong and Canada (22%) to expand.

Fintech Australia president Simon Cant said the results illustrate the strong credentials of Australia as a great international launch and expansion market for fintech products, due to its early adoption of new technology and ideas.

It also reinforced the urgency for ongoing and timely government regulatory support, including creating an open financial data framework and expanding the scope of Australia's regulatory sandbox, to ensure that fintechs can fully capitalise on consumers' appetite for innovative financial services, he said.

As Westpac announced its full-year results, the bank iterated its commitment to fintech, having invested $100 million in independent venture capital fund Reinventure.

Sixteen active investments to date cover digital processes, blockchain, digital currencies, big data and analytics, and social and B2B networks.

Fintech Hyper Anna for example, is an artificial intelligence system that answers simple business queries via data analysis. Another is Coinbase, a bitcoin wallet and platform where merchants and consumers can transact.

Read more: FintechFintech AustraliaEYSimon Cant
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