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How Do Fintech Companies Make Money?

by Lucas Finis

A core question for any emerging industry is understanding the business models and revenue streams that drive viable companies in that sector. For fintech especially, innovation and disruption have enabled non-traditional approaches to profitability compared to traditional financial firms. There are several primary ways successful fintech companies make money across various specializations.

How Do Fintechs Make Money From Payment and Remittance?

For payment and money transfer applications, fintech companies make money primarily through transaction fees. Every time a user sends funds domestically or internationally using platforms like PayPal, Venmo, Wise, or Remitly, the company takes a small percentage cut. Rates are typically lower than legacy options, yet high volume makes this a considerable income source. Value-added services through merchant payment processing or working capital loans on transaction history introduce additional profit avenues. 

Premium subscriptions granting cashback, rewards, or higher sending limits also monetize the customer base. Ultimately, the goal is to build large networks where a critical mass of users and merchants facilitate a steadily growing total payment volume to generate ongoing fees.

How Does Lending Fintechs Make Money? 

Online marketplaces matching borrowers and investors are a major driver of fintech innovation in consumer and business lending. Here, companies generate upfront and ongoing income through different means. P2P lending platforms like LendingClub retain origination fees from facilitating loans, interest income from holdings, and ongoing servicing fees taken from payments. 


Automated platforms also monetize data insights through analytics products assisting investors. Alternatively, Balance and Affirm operate more like retailers, using balance sheet lending at sky-high effective rates to directly fund loans and pocket the difference. Robo-advising fintechs augment portfolios with alternative data to underwrite and directly provide loans as another profit stream. Overall, innovative lending models empower these fintech companies to make money across the full lifecycle of matching and serving capital.

How do Wealth and Investment Fintechs Make Money?  

Digital investment and wealth management fintechs monetize in various ways. For robo-advisors, the bulk of early-stage revenues come from management fees charged as a percentage of assets under management (AUM fees). As they scale, additional profits are earned through paid premium features or supplemental services like tax-loss harvesting. Transaction-based brokers derive ongoing income from trade commissions.

To be competitive, however, many shift to tiered subscription plans. Alternative data and portfolio analytics tools license comprehensive datasets and insights to larger institutional investors. New challenger banks packaging advisory, cash management, and lending perks generate interchange, overdraft, and interest income like traditional banks. Overall, providing affordable yet holistic digital wealth tools remains the avenue through which these fintech companies make money.

How do Insurtech Fintechs Make Money?

Similar to their respective equivalents, Insurtech companies monetize primarily through premiums collected on insurance policies underwritten and serviced. However, technology enables some interesting innovations. Usage-based insurers like MetroMile leverage connected devices and dynamic risk-pricing to take a percentage of customized monthly premiums as active policies remain. 

Value-added services generate ancillary income streams around prevention through health monitoring, risk mitigation advice, and automated claims processing. Emerging insurance models explore novel structures earning commission selling policies through platforms or taking portfolio investment returns on float capital. Overall, applying data-driven insights widens avenues for these fintech companies to make money inside and outside the traditional underwriting model.

How do Blockchain and Crypto Fintechs Make Money?

Monetization in blockchain and cryptocurrency fintech spans diverse paths. Exchanges make money by charging fees on trading volume, converting fiat to crypto, listing new assets, and providing additional services. Miners receive block rewards and transaction fees for validating transactions, while stakeholders operating proof-of-stake networks earn through the same processes. Decentralized finance protocols introduce innovative revenue models from yield/liquidity provision, lending/borrowing interest, and protocol governance/utility tokens. 

Asset managers can take performance fees structuring crypto indexes, funds, and portfolios. Beyond core operations, these fintech companies make supplementary income through brokerage, payments, custody, research tools, and advisory services catered to the burgeoning digital asset economy. Overall, this frontier remains an evolving space for unlocking novel monetization opportunities.

How do Neobanks and Challenger Banks Make Money?

Digital-only Neobanks and challenger banks leverage modern technology to compete against traditional finance, yet face similar imperatives around long-term profitability. Interchange fees remain vital income sources, although waiving charges attracts customers away from giants. 

To compensate, many earn interest spreads on deposited funds through partner lending relationships or offering competitive interest products themselves. Some introduce paid premium accounts granting additional perks or higher withdrawal limits. Challengers targeting underbanked demographics may employ alternative lending strategies to capture yields. Overall data-driven personalization helps these fintech companies make money through deeper customer engagement driving higher lifetime value from a more engaged user base.

How Do Fintech Marketplaces and Aggregators Make Money?  

Certain fintechs operate financial product marketplaces and data aggregation services connecting consumers directly to providers. These platforms primarily generate revenue through commissions, fees, or ads. When matching borrowers and lenders on lending marketplaces, operators retain origination and ongoing servicing commissions paid by partners. 

Investing marketplaces earn commissions from brokering trades or subscription fees from partnering institutions. Price comparison sites running cashback or rewards programs take a commission cut from resulting transactions. Beyond core matching, additional monetization streams emerge through value-added services, embedded payments, and licensing comprehensive consumer data insights to partners. Ultimately, the goal for these fintech companies is facilitating high volumes of transactions to extract ongoing value from network effects.

How Do B2B Fintech Software Providers Make Money?

Many fintech companies focus purely on providing backend technology solutions rather than directly interacting with end customers. Here, primary revenue drivers include licensing fees, custom implementation services, and ongoing usage/subscription models. 

Core banking and payments infrastructure systems charge ongoing access/transactional fees. Compliance and risk management platforms earn steady software-as-a-service (SaaS) subscriptions. Robotic process automation tools introduce usage-based pricing. Alternatively, certain solutions adopt a freemium model granting basic use while premium integrations require paid features or larger clients. Beyond direct sales, partnerships embedding products or reselling solutions to clients’ customer bases generate ongoing referral income. Overall, these B2B fintech companies make money through creative technology distribution approaches suited to their solutions.

Conclusion | How Do Fintech Companies Make Money?

As the preceding overview demonstrates, there exists no universal playbook for how exactly fintech companies make money. Continuous technological disruption births innovative models harnessing alternative data, flexible infrastructure, and advancing delivery methods. Revenue streams evolve rapidly across sectors through transaction fees, premium features, asset yields, software licenses, and more.

However, what remains constant across successful fintech ventures is the dynamic ability to extract ongoing value through solving outdated problems, meeting modern needs, and capturing emerging opportunities -whether serving consumers, businesses, or entire financial ecosystems. This adaptive capacity to generate profits through creatively monetizing value creation forms the backbone of a thriving fintech industry still in its formative years.

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