4 Must-Have Characteristics of a Great Fintech System

Discover how the right tech stack can give you a competitive advantage and improve your fintech company's efficiency

Photo of a server room with a blue coloured technological overlay swooshing across

Reliability in financial systems and ergo financial products and apps is essential to deliver the user experiences and reliability needed for commercial success. If we look at this underlying technology (that is hidden away from the end user’s interactions) it’s a critical factor in enabling growth and gaining a competitive advantage. In this article, I will outline four must-have characteristics that you should have in your tech stack to make it in modern fintech.

It basically boils down to building customer trust by having an always-available system that delivers an exceptional user experience every time. These are really table stakes in fintech but what is often neglected is what goes on under the hood that helps make this happen.

1) Seamless customer flows

When it comes to modern financial services, customers expect real-time, seamless and intelligent services – not clunky experiences. To ensure you deliver this, you need predictable behaviour under heavy loads and during usage spikes.

Many projects fail in the fintech space due to focusing only on an application’s user interface. This neglects the knock-on effects of predicted (user growth) or unpredicted changes (like the pandemic lockdowns). For instance, your slick customer interface loses a lot of its shine when it’s connected to a legacy backend that is sluggish in responding to requests. 

2) A tech stack that enables business agility

Financial services is a fast-moving industry. To make the most of emerging opportunities, whether as an incumbent or fintech-led startup, you need to be agile from a business perspective and that is bound to tech agility. When you can dedicate more resources to shipping code without being constrained and forced into unfavourable trade-offs, you’re better positioned to cash in on opportunities before your competitors.

3) Tech stacks that use fewer resources

Yes, being green is important in modern financial services and especially at the intersection with tech. The software industry is responsible for a high level of carbon usage, and shareholders and investors are now weighing this up when making investment decisions. As funding in the tech space tightens, this is something that business leaders need to be aware of as a part of their tech decision-making strategy.

CTOs and system architects can help by making better choices in technologies. Minimising costs is important, but sustainability too is now part of the consideration process.

4) Fintech that always works and is always available

A robust operational resiliency strategy strengthens your business case in financial services. We’ve all seen the stress placed on systems caused by spikes in online commerce since the pandemic.

One thing sure to damage any FS player, regardless of size, is high-profile system outages and downtime. This can cause severe reputation damage and attract hefty fines from regulators. Trust and loyalty are at a premium in financial services and they have never been harder to gain or easier to use right now.

How to choose the right tech for your use case

Build vs Buy is an age-old question for tech projects, the truth is both strategies can be right depending on the requirements of a project, either way, decisions need to be well-informed and transparent. Open source projects are a great option and offer the chance to benefit from existing communities and battle-proven tech.

Choosing a stack for a fintech project shouldn’t come down to a gut feeling. A better approach is to look at the language’s capabilities, the culture of the ecosystem and community and its domain-specific proven use cases. With a reliable, easy-to-maintain code base, your most valuable resource (your tech talent) will be freed up to concentrate on delivering value and competitive advantage that delivers to your bottom line.

There are many languages being used successfully across financial services but what is key is that you use the right tool for the job. Thankfully, software engineering is becoming more diverse, companies are using a wider range of programming languages and not always resorting to the ones they have used in the past.


About the Author: Michael Jaiyeola is the FinTech Marketing Lead at Erlang Solutions.