This decade has been ten years of significant technological change, continuing the trend that started in the 1960s, accelerated rapidly during the 1980s, and into the 2000s. One huge piece of that change which has been dubbed by some as the “Information Revolution”, has been the integration of communications devices into day to day life on a near-constant basis. Personal computers are frequently the device we work on every day, and we spend much of our free time on mobile devices utilizing apps, sending texts, or checking emails. This technology is nearly all-encompassing and has touched nearly every person and industry in the world--and banking is no different.
The Birth Of Cryptocurrency
Cryptocurrency first arrived on the scene in 2009, but it didn’t truly begin to flourish until around 2011 when competitors began emerging to challenge the flagship cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Cryptocurrency was originally created as a new kind of currency. One that was purely digital and protected by something called blockchain, which allowed for both anonymity and a high level of security. It was, and remains, a way to bypass conventional currency and the established banking institution. As the decade progressed, cryptocurrencies have seen periods of both massive boom and huge bust, but moving into the 2020s it seems that they’re here to stay.
Financial institutions have been getting progressively better at building banking in an online space that is fit for the 21st century. Starting as desktop online banking and quickly transitioning into personal banking apps. Banking has quickly shifted from an in-person or over-the-phone experience into one that for the user, largely exists in an online space. This has made things like instant money transfer, online bill pay, and budgeting toolkits the norm. Which has overall turned personal finance into a much more instantaneous process than in the past.
Personal Money Payments
While we might take it for granted for now, apps like Venmo and Popmoney have made paying friends and family (and sometimes landlords) instantaneously a part of everyday life. The public beginnings of this can be traced to PayPal, which came onto the scene in a big way in 2002 (though established in 1998). Personal payment apps are still a fairly new invention - especially the accelerated variation that is in frequent use now, where smaller sums of money can quickly be sent, deposited, and become available in your bank account in as little as 24 hours.
It used to be that accessing financial information required either a financial expert, a book, or an education in the field. Things have changed quite a bit since then: there are entire websites and blogs committed to financial advice and insight, and the growth of on-demand podcasting has made finding personal finance and banking advice easier and more accessible than ever. This comes with a bit of a caveat, because there is no guarantee that the information you’re getting is accurately and financially sound. Still, there’s no question that the constantly growing catalogue of information related to the field has given people the opportunity to become more educated and informed on their own finances, and much of it for free.
The Growth of Community Banking
Credit unions have grown in membership substantially during this decade, and although this can’t necessarily be traced to technological advancements, it’s plausible that part of the cause can be traced to a loss in faith in the practices of some of the larger bank chains. Big, national banks have come under fire a few times for questionable practices this decade, which might be at least a part of the reason for this shift. Smaller, localized credit unions are not created with large profits in mind, and local membership distributes profits back to members in the form of better rates and better services. This community-focused trend has not been limited to banking, but smaller and less corporate-driven models have increased in popularity this decade.