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What does 2021 hold for Fintech?

“Each year, at AlphaCode, we use our vantage point of the fintech landscape to share what we expect this year. We had no idea last January that a whole new world awaited. One that would include global lockdowns, Zoombombing, covidiots, closed borders and quarantining,” Dominique Collett, head of AlphaCode, Rand Merchant Investments’ fintech division mentions in a blog post.

How will the 2021 fintech landscape unfold? Here are some of her predictions:


Cryptocurrencies have reached a tipping point gaining strong traction. We believe we will continue to see an explosion this year.

Digital payments

We should see mass adoption of QR-, contactless- and mobile payments. 2021 will see mobile network operators like MTN and Vodacom, which have had many fits and starts in mobile payments, coming back aggressively and this might be the year they can mainstream payments on their platforms by partnering with fintechs. Consumers want mobile payment mechanisms as they don’t want to touch cash. With a rise in digital payments, there is increased concern around online fraud.

Growth of digital platforms

With people being confined to their homes and not buying new insurance via brokers, they now want to buy and have their policies serviced online. This was already a developing trend and 2020 was the tipping point. Also read: Human Touch plays huge role in Financial Services future

Fintechs vs the incumbents

Who’s going to win, or is there space for everyone in fintech? We will see agile incumbents competing with the rising fintechs and insurtechs.

Behavioural science tech

Covid has forced people to look after their health and there is much more urgent attention to managing health. This will impact on financial services.

Low-cost health coverage

Because consumers are under pressure, but want to look after their health, we will see more low-cost health platforms which offer a medical savings card, and others which will offer low-cost medical savings accounts or low-cost insurance plans.

Rise of the gig economy

Because of Covid-19, many have lost jobs, or they need side gigs to get by. There’s a much deeper appreciation now for “side hustles”. Financial services traditionally view those with stable employment as the best risks. Now, there’s a change in mindset. A big trend in Europe is specialist insurtechs that score gig economy workers, such as those who have a job by day and work as an Uber driver at night. No one locally is doing this (yet) and financial services providers need to look to develop products for this market.


The SA government’s Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group (IFWG) is doing good work on cryptocurrency, digital banks, digital payments and open loop systems. I expect they will continue to produce favourable regulatory frameworks. We need to keep an eye on international regulatory movements to understand how South Africa may view fintech regulation going forward.

Click here to read the blog post where she also identifies fintech players to watch.

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