October 18, 2022

Plaid’s 2022 Consumer Survey: The Fintech Effect

After COVID forced consumers online, reopening has raised questions on digital acceleration — will digital habits remain the new normal? With eight in ten consumers using digital financial apps and services in 2022 (80%), fintech’s COVID acceleration is holding strong. Half of Americans use fintech to manage their finances daily (48%) — up from 42% in ‘20 to 44% in ‘21 — and consumers reported a 10% increase year-over-year in the number of fintech apps they use, highlighting technology’s central role in consumers’ financial lives.

Plaid is excited to share these among many other findings in our third annual Fintech Effect report, based on a sponsored survey with The Harris Poll. Against a challenging economic backdrop, this year we explore how consumers are using fintech to weather financial challenges, and how expectations for trust, privacy, and regulation are evolving as fintech becomes more a part of everyday life. 

Below are 3 key themes from our 2022 Fintech Effect consumer report:

Consumers are using fintech to weather economic challenges

Facing inflation, supply chain issues, and market volatility, 95% of consumers say they’re feeling financial stress. But 61% of consumers say financial technology helped them weather economic challenges. 

While financial stress could’ve led to a retreat from digital innovation, the opposite occurred and many consumers upped their fintech use. Eight in ten say this past year made them more focused on their finances (81%), and three-quarters say they use technology more to manage their finances in 2022 (76%). Nearly half of the consumers surveyed said fintech helped them feel in control of their finances in 2022 (48%), the highest result in three years (47% in ‘20, 44% in ‘21). 

Managing finances can be difficult, and consumers want tools that simplify money management and help them build better financial habits and confidence. As consumer expectations evolve, the institutions they trust and services they seek will have to pay closer attention to their immediate needs. Financial empowerment often begins with the right education and tools – read our report for the types of information consumers seek, and when. 

Consumers want control, transparency, and great experiences

Digital privacy isn’t just about protecting consumer information—it’s about enabling them to decide what happens with their information. Nine in ten consumers want greater control over their financial data, with 83% preferring to choose where it’s shared. 

As consumers embrace fintech, they demand transparency around how companies access and use their financial information. Consumers understand the value of data connectivity (75% agree it’s important to be able to connect bank accounts with digital finance apps and services) but say companies have a responsibility to make practices known: 76% of Americans say they have more trust in financial companies when they convey their privacy practices. 

Not only do consumers demand greater security when managing finances online, but they also want fast, low-friction experiences: three-quarters of consumers are more likely to use a fintech app when they can sign up and access it instantly (76%), while six in ten have given up on signing up for an app because the sign-up process was too complicated (58%). One possible solution for fintechs? Compress all necessary steps into a unified onboarding flow, introducing more security without detracting from the overall experience.   

The opportunity ahead: filling financial gaps 

Whether budgeting, saving, investing, or paying bills —consumers want quick, easy, and secure access to their finances. 

The top three reasons people want to use digital finance are to:

  1. Manage finances from anywhere (39%).

  2. Make financial management easier (37%).

  3. Improve financial well-being (30%). 

Fintech has proven to be core to consumers’ finances during challenging financial times, and financial companies will continue to have growth opportunities if they can better support consumers’ financial needs. 

There’s an opportunity for financial companies to drive more value by providing better financial understanding. 79% of those surveyed crave more financial knowledge. While the specific topics they want to learn more about vary, they are within the purview of many fintech and financial institutions. This puts financial companies in a unique position to not only enable customers to achieve their goals but also help educate them about a variety of topics, which include:

Financial well-being remains at the heart of consumers’ financial decisions, whether they’re short, medium, or long-term needs. As the economic challenges play out, financial companies need to respond to consumer expectations and create products that will better guide consumers through volatility—all while remaining secure and easy to use. 

Learn more about how consumers use fintech.