As the coronavirus settles in, people around the globe have settled into a “new normal.” Self-isolation and social distancing changed the entire dynamic of modern society over the course of the past month. A large component of that change lay in the switch to a more remote lifestyle. Alongside working from home and grocery delivery services, users embraced the idea of contactless payments. Rather than trade cash back and forth – potentially exposing either party to the virus – fintech apps allows for payments without said risk.
Mobile banking was on the rise prior to the pandemic. Stripe, Google Pay and Apple Pay have all expanded exponentially over the past several years. Physically going to the bank is now a risky prospect – and one that is no longer necessary. Companies that capitalize on this “new normal” will emerge from the pandemic in a position of strength. Beyond that, new fintech startups have the perfect opportunity to seize market share from traditional institutions.
Stripe Completes Recent Funding Series with $600 Million USD
Stripe, an online payment facilitator, completed their most recent funding series in the second week of April. Lifted by coronavirus fears, the remote-payment startup raised over $600 Million USD as they look to grow the company. Stripe provides an easy framework for payments and billing – allowing smaller businesses to fully realize an online payment model.
Large remote-service businesses have their own payment systems. Stripe allows local, smaller businesses to manage their finances without face-to-face interaction – a critical service given the current environment. In part, Stripe’s success comes from reinventing a service defined by their direct competitor – PayPal. Where PayPal’s service can be intrusive, Stripe is a “blink and you’ll miss it” component of online payments.
The Case Against Physical Cash
The physical manifestation of wealth has been a hard psychological hurdle to overcome. Whether it be cash, precious metals or finished goods, people have always preferred something tangible. The coronavirus has twisted that preference into a potential infection vector. Now, with mobile banking and digital currencies entering the mainstream, there’s no reason to use physical cash.
The public is gaining interest, as real life use-cases come to fruition. It even increasingly appears that the U.S. government knows that physical cash is a relic. Some Congressional leaders have attempted to include a digital U.S. Dollar in the past two stimulus package deals. This move away from cash is the driving force behind the recent fintech surge. It may be time to retire cash – or at least move it to a secondary position.
Article By: Adam Stone