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What Is The Difference Between Finance And Financial Technology?

What is the difference between finance and financial technology? Explore the realms of finance and fintech, unraveling the past, present, and future of traditional and tech-driven finance.

Author:Habiba Ashton
Reviewer:Gordon Dickerson
Jan 23, 20247.3K Shares164.4K Views
In the ever-evolving landscape of the financial world, two terms that often come into play are "finance" and "financial technology," commonly known as "fintech." While both are integral to the functioning of the global economy, they serve distinct roles and embody different paradigms. So, what is the difference between finance and financial technology?
Fintech, which stands for "financial technology," is the use of technology to make financial services better and smarter. This includes a lot of different goods and services, like investment sites, digital payments, mobile banking, and online loans. A lot of the time, fintech businesses use AI, data and analytics, and other digital tools to make their financial services more efficient and easy for people to use.
finance, on the other hand, is the study and control of money and other things of value. This includes a lot of different things, like banking, saving, making a budget, and planning your finances. Finance is a more general term for the different financial goods and services that banks, investment firms, insurance companies, and other financial institutions offer.
Let's delve into what is the difference between finance and financial technology? by exploring their definitions, historical context, and the transformative impact of fintech on traditional financial systems.

Understanding Finance

In the intricate web of economic systems, finance serves as the backbone, influencing every facet of our monetary interactions. To comprehend the nuances between finance and its innovative counterpart, financial technology (fintech), it's crucial to embark on a comprehensive journey into the heart of finance itself.
At its essence, finance is the art and science of managing money, resources, and investments. This expansive field plays a pivotal role in the allocation and distribution of financial assets, shaping economic landscapes and influencing decision-making processes on personal, corporate, and governmental levels.

Key Components Of Finance

Personal Finance

Focus: Individuals engage in personal finance to navigate their financial journeys successfully. This involves budgeting, saving, investing, and planning for significant life milestones.

Corporate Finance

Focus: Corporations delve into corporate finance to optimize their capital structures, allocate resources efficiently, and make strategic financial decisions that propel their growth and sustainability.

Investment Finance

Focus: Investment finance revolves around the careful management and analysis of financial assets. Investors, both individual and institutional, explore this realm to grow and preserve their wealth.
Traditional Finance vs Financial Technology
Traditional Finance vs Financial Technology

Public Finance

Focus: Governments participate in public finance to manage public funds effectively. This includes making budgetary decisions, levying taxes, and strategically allocating resources to meet public needs.

The Historical Tapestry Of Finance

To understand finance fully, it's imperative to appreciate its historical evolution. Finance, in its most rudimentary form, has been integral to human societies since ancient times. From early barter systems to the establishment of formal banking institutions during the Renaissance, the evolution of finance has mirrored the development of human civilization.

What Is Fintech?

As we navigate the digital age, one term resonates with transformative power in the financial sector: Financial Technology, or Fintech. This dynamic force represents the fusion of finance and technology, redefining how financial services are delivered, accessed, and experienced. To grasp the intricacies of Fintech and its impact on the traditional realm of finance, let's embark on a comprehensive exploration.
At its core, Fintech is the application of technology to enhance and streamline financial services. It leverages cutting-edge innovations, including digital platforms, data analytics, artificial intelligence, and blockchain, to reimagine traditional financial processes. Fintech seeks to make financial services more efficient, accessible, and tailored to the evolving needs of individuals and businesses.

What Does Fintech (Financial Technology) Mean?

The word "fintech" comes from the words "finance" and "technology." It's a broad term that can mean a lot of different things, but in a broad sense, it refers to how an industry is changing as new technology use cases are created and put into action to make more traditional-looking financial tasks easier.
Most people think of really cutting-edge new ideas like blockchain and algorithmic trading when they hear the word "fintech." However, the term can also be used for a lot of much less "exciting" uses. Some examples are daily banking, insurance, and other risk management tasks done in the back office.
A huge number of people around the world use mobile banking without even thinking about it. This is actually fintech (technology that helps offer traditional banking services). Your Starbucks app is a type of financial technology because it lets you pay with your phone and use a special points program.
A lot of people think that fintech is a fairly new idea, but that's not fully true. It has changed a lot in the last ten years, but that's mostly because of improvements in technology that are now being used in the banking industry.
To improve service and lower costs, financial institutions have been using technology for many years. For example, the first automatic teller machine (ATM) was made in the 1960s. Even though credit cards came out before ATMs, they were a huge step forward in terms of technology when compared to cash and checks.
There is a wide range of technology that supports fintech business methods. Some of these are artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, blockchain technology, and other big data tasks like robotic process automation (RPA). Even though each use case is different, they all have one thing in common: they are all trying to separate the financial services sector, which has generally been very safe because of strict rules.

Key Components Of Fintech

Digital Payments

Fintech has revolutionized the way we transact by introducing digital payment solutions. Digital wallets, contactless payments, and peer-to-peer transactions are hallmarks of this transformation, offering speed, convenience, and security.

Online Lending And Crowdfunding

Fintech platforms have democratized lending, providing online avenues for peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding. This shift allows individuals and businesses to access financing outside the traditional banking sector.


Robo-advisors utilize algorithms and artificial intelligence to automate investment advisory services. These digital advisors provide cost-effective and data-driven investment strategies, catering to a broad spectrum of investors.

Blockchain And Cryptocurrencies

Blockchain technology, the backbone of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, has disrupted traditional financial systems. It introduces decentralization, transparency, and security to transactions, challenging conventional notions of trust.


Fintech has extended its influence to the insurance sector through Insurtech. This entails leveraging technology for underwriting, claims processing, and risk management, leading to more efficient and customer-friendly insurance processes.

The Rise Of Fintech

While the roots of financial technology can be traced back to the digitization of financial processes in the late 20th century, the term "Fintech" gained prominence in the 21st century. The landscape witnessed a surge of startups and innovative solutions that harnessed technology to address traditional financial challenges.

Fintech And Financial Inclusion

One of the notable contributions of Fintech is its emphasis on financial inclusion. By leveraging digital platforms and mobile technologies, Fintech endeavors to bring financial services to individuals and regions traditionally underserved by traditional banking infrastructure. This democratization of financial access has the potential to empower millions globally.
Finance and Financial Technology banner
Finance and Financial Technology banner

What Effects Do Fintechs Have On Traditional Financial Service Companies?

Banks and credit unions, which are examples of traditional financial service providers, do three main things:
  • They keep money safe, like savings and different kinds of investments.
  • They give out loans, both fixed loans (like mortgages) and unsecured loans (like student loans).
  • They send and receive money using global networks such as SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications). They do everything from simple, everyday payments to sending money between countries.
For example, cryptocurrencies have been a big change in the payments (moving money) area. There is a lot of disagreement about whether or not cryptocurrencies are real currencies, but there is no question that they can be used to buy things.
The main goal of the blockchain technology that supports cryptocurrencies is to decentralize the finance sector, which has been very centralized in the past. This means going around traditional banks, financial institutions, and payment methods, which is often called the "legacy financial system." The word "definition" is new and came about because of the fintech revolution. It comes from the words "decentralized finance."
There are a lot of other fintechs working on payment systems that are slowly but surely destroying the old financial system. Apps like Apple Pay, Venmo, Stripe, and Alipay are all examples of this.
Traditional financial services companies are also being shaken up by fintech companies that give money. They include new products and services like buy-now-pay-later (BNPL), peer-to-peer lending platforms (P2P), and a number of fast and highly automated underwriting programs (using AI and RPA-driven algorithms) that make it easy for both consumers and businesses to get credit and funds quickly, without having to go through the hassles of borrowing from a traditional bank.
Finally, the usual job of financial services companies to hold money is also affected by the fintech revolution. Some of these are completely virtual banks that have charters and meet all the legal requirements in each of their home countries.
The business of investing has changed a lot, and the democratization of trade has pretty much wiped out the brokerage industry as we know it. They used to make a lot of money by charging fees, but now that there are online cheap brokerages, many of them have had to stop charging fees altogether to stay in business.
There is a whole group of young people who almost never go to a bank branch and only use robo-advisors (like Wealthsimple) and savings apps (like Acorn).
The fintech revolution has made many important groups that are still growing. Some of these are "defi," "insuretech," and "regtech."
In the intricate dance between finance and fintech, each plays a vital role in shaping the future of financial services. Finance, with its rich historical roots, provides the stability and wisdom of tradition, while fintech emerges as the harbinger of change, introducing innovations that redefine how we interact with money.
The synergy between these realms holds the promise of a more inclusive, accessible, and technologically advanced financial world. As we navigate this dynamic landscape, understanding the foundations of finance becomes not just a necessity but a profound journey into the heart of our economic existence.
The need for tech experts will only grow as the finance business continues to use new technologies like blockchain, data science, machine learning, and chatbots. If you're good at something new, you'll probably be able to choose from a lot of job opportunities, whether you want the fast pace of a small fintech company or the safety of a finance conglomerate that's been around for a hundred years.

What Is The Difference Between Finance And Financial Technology? - FAQs

What Is The Primary Focus Of Finance?

Finance encompasses the management of money, investments, and financial instruments, playing a pivotal role in resource allocation, asset creation, and financial market dynamics.

How Does Fintech Differ From Traditional Finance?

Fintech, or financial technology, leverages digital advancements to provide innovative financial services, contrasting with traditional finance, which relies on established institutions and practices.

What Are The Key Components Of Finance?

Finance consists of personal finance (individual financial management), corporate finance (corporate financial decision-making), investment finance (management of financial assets), and public finance (government financial management).

How Has Technology Impacted Finance?

Technology has transformed finance through digitization, automation, and the rise of fintech, enhancing efficiency, accessibility, and the overall customer experience.

What Are Some Examples Of Fintech Innovations?

Fintech innovations include digital payments, online lending, robo-advisors, blockchain and cryptocurrencies, and insurtech, each contributing to the evolution of financial services.

What Challenges Does Fintech Face?

Fintech faces challenges such as navigating complex regulatory landscapes, addressing cybersecurity concerns, and integrating with traditional finance systems to establish interoperability.

How Does Traditional Finance Approach Risk Compared To Fintech?

Traditional finance often has a more conservative approach to risk management, while fintech, with its agile nature, embraces innovation and explores new technologies and business models.

Is Fintech Considered Finance?

Fintech is the name for new technology that aims to make financial services better and easier to use. Fintech is basically used to help businesses, customers, and companies better handle their money and finances.


What is the difference between finance and financial technology? In the intricate tapestry of finance and financial technology, each thread weaves a narrative of evolution, innovation, and adaptation.
Finance, with its rich historical roots, provides the backbone of economic systems, while fintech emerges as the avant-garde, introducing unprecedented possibilities and efficiencies. The coexistence of these realms brings forth a dynamic landscape where tradition and innovation harmonize, reshaping the future of financial services and shaping how individuals and businesses interact with their finances.
As the journey continues, the synergy between finance and fintech holds the promise of a more inclusive, accessible, and technologically advanced financial world.
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Habiba Ashton

Habiba Ashton

Gordon Dickerson

Gordon Dickerson

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