September 15, 2020
Survey finds that fintech has been a lifeline during COVID-19; consumers say it's the "new normal"
John C. Pitts
The COVID-19 pandemic sparked the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, with 14 million people losing their jobs, hundreds of thousands of small businesses folding, and bank branches closed for months.
In this environment, fintech had the unique potential to provide access to the financial system that would otherwise have been lacking due to the physical closure of bank branches. Over the past few months, it has been inspiring to watch companies across our network fill the gaps in the financial services system that COVID-19 exposed.
This summer, Plaid worked with The Harris Poll to survey more than 2,000 adults across the United States. Our goal was to understand how people are using fintech, how it is helping them, and what lasting impact it might have on financial services after the pandemic.
The survey results confirmed what our customers and millions of consumers already knew: in the face of the immense economic challenges brought on by COVID-19, fintech provided a way for people to regain some financial control.
59% of Americans are using more fintech apps to manage money than before COVID-19
The survey also revealed that people are trusting and relying on those apps for their essential day-to-day financial needs. More than half, 56%, say they could not have kept up with their finances during COVID-19 if it weren't for digital apps, products and services.
69% of Americans view fintech as a financial lifeline during COVID-19
Beyond convenience, the survey suggests that use of fintech services during COVID-19 has led to tangible positive outcomes for many consumers. Those who used fintech during COVID said it has saved them time (57%), saved them money (42%), and reduced the stress or fear of managing their money (37%).
73% of Americans say fintech is the “new normal”
While COVID-19 served as a catalyst for increased fintech adoption, fintech isn’t a fleeting trend. Survey respondents indicated that digital money management will continue to be their preferred method after the pandemic. 80% of respondents say they can now manage their money entirely without a bank branch.
It points to the fact that, as the economy regains momentum, every financial service provider will increasingly become a fintech company.
Fintech stood strong when the crisis hit; it gained consumer trust and proved its worth in helping people address challenges and achieve their goals. As our society continues to find its way in this difficult time, the entire financial services industry has a new imperative. We should build on this foundation and continue to innovate, so that we can make money easier for everyone.