29 February 2024

4 Must-Have Characteristics of a Great Fintech System

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Reliability in financial systems, and ergo financial products and apps, is essential to delivering the user experiences and reliability needed for commercial success. If we look at this underlying technology that is hidden away from the end user’s interactions, it’s a critical factor in enabling growth and gaining a competitive advantage. I will outline four must-have characteristics that you should have in your tech stack to make it in modern fintech.

Building customer trust boils down to having an always-available system that delivers an exceptional user experience every time. These are really table stakes in fintech, but often neglected is what goes on under the hood to help make this happen.

1. Seamless customer flows 

When it comes to modern financial services, customers expect real-time, seamless and intelligent services and not clunky experiences. To deliver this, you need predictable behavior under heavy loads and during usage spikes.

Many projects fail in the fintech space due to focusing only on an application’s user interface. This neglects the knock-on effects of predicted user growth or unpredicted changes, like the pandemic lockdowns. For instance, your slick customer interface loses a lot of its shine when it’s connected to a legacy backend that is sluggish in responding to requests.

2. A tech stack that enables business agility 

Financial services is a fast-moving industry. To make the most of emerging opportunities, whether as an incumbent or fintech-led startup, you need to be agile from a business perspective, and that is bound to tech agility. When you can dedicate more resources to shipping code without being constrained and forced into unfavourable trade-offs, you’re better positioned to cash in on opportunities before your competitors.

3. Tech stacks that use fewer resources 

Yes, being green is important in modern financial services — especially at its intersection with tech. The software industry is responsible for a high level of carbon usage, and shareholders and investors are now weighing this up when making investment decisions. As funding in the tech space tightens, this is something that business leaders need to be aware of as a part of their tech decision-making strategy.

CTOs and system architects can help by making better choices in technologies. Minimizing cost is important, but sustainability is now part of the consideration process, too.

4. Fintech that always works and is always available 

A robust operational resiliency strategy strengthens your business case in financial services. We’ve all seen the stress placed on systems caused by spikes in online commerce since the pandemic.

Any financial services player, regardless of size, can be damaged by high-profile system outages and downtime. This can cause severe reputation damage and attract hefty fines from regulators. Trust and loyalty are at a premium in financial services, and they have never been harder to gain or easier to use right now.

How to choose the right tech for your use case 

Build versus buy is an age-old question for tech projects. The truth is that both strategies can be right depending on the requirements of a project; either way, decisions need to be well informed and transparent. Open-source projects are a great option and offer the chance to benefit from existing communities and battle proven tech.

Choosing a stack for a fintech project shouldn’t come down to a gut feeling. A better approach is to look at the language’s capabilities, the culture of the ecosystem and community and its domain-specific proven use cases. With a reliable, easy-to-maintain code base, your most valuable resource — your tech talent — will be freed up to concentrate on delivering value and competitive advantage that delivers to your bottom line.

There are many languages being used successfully across financial services; using the right tool for the job is key. Thankfully, software engineering is becoming more diverse, companies are using a wider range of programming languages and not always resorting to the ones they have used in the past.

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