Top 5 Hot Trends to Watch in 2018

EXCLUSIVE — It’s not even a month into 2018 and already much has changed. The cryptocurrency bitcoin, which shocked everyone when its exchange rate surpassed $17,000, further shocked everyone when it dropped below $10,000. Then, of course, there are various other events sweeping through financial services, from new tax laws in the U.S., to the rise of digital banking in countries like Brazil and India.

Considering all this and more, here are five trends Bank Innovation thinks will most influence fintech and digital banking in 2018.


Facial recognition, fingerprints, voice prints: banks and fintechs have been experimenting with these technologies for years, but it looks like 2018 might be the year they finally become “impactful,” as Mastercard stated before the end of 2017.

From the face ID service of the iPhone X to the use of fingerprints and other biometric factors for authentication in India, biometrics have started a steady roll forward that seems unlikely to slow in 2018. As always, identity seems to be driving the technology forward, with many in fintech are looking to biometrics to solve the identity verification problems traditional security methods have failed to solve.

Voice banking, an old favorite for some in fintech, has also become a more popular service as more consumers become comfortable with devices like the Google Home and Alexa for banking. More and more banks responded to this popularity last year, adding Alexa capabilities to their devices, and consumer adoption of voice seems to be on a steady increase, according to Mastercard.

How biometrics will push forward in 2018, or whether one method of authentication will finally rise above the rest, is certainly something to keep an eye on as the year progresses.

Big Data

Data has always had a hallowed place in financial services, but in 2018 banks are going to need to be stronger, faster, and more personal with their analytics: luckily, many of them already have initiatives in place to do just that.

Over the past year, banks have focused more on the importance of good data — not to mention the importance of using such data correctly — and having a personalized, data-driven approach to customer relationships is fast becoming the only way to engage in customer relationships. Enterprises like Microsoft are encouraging banks to stop viewing their status as legacy institutions as a barrier to innovation, but to take a closer look at the ways in which they are using data.

Meanwhile, machine learning and artificial intelligence continued to be two of the top areas of experimentation for banks when it came to expanding their data analytics. If these initiatives keep pace over 2018, then this is going to be a very interesting year for big data.

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Tatjana Kulkarni is Deputy Editor at Bank Innovation. Before Bank Innovation, she was the marketing coordinator at conference producer Capital Roundtable. Prior to that she was a business reporter for nearly three years at The Deal. She has an M.A. in International Relations from New York University and a B.A. in Journalism from L.I.U. Post. In her spare time she travels as much as possible, making it a point to visit at least one new country per year.

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