Australia is now 5th in fintech adoption -- ahead of Hong Kong, Singapore and USA

WILLIAM WEST / AFP /Getty Images

A global study has shown Australia is one of the world leaders in adoption of fintech products and services, ahead of traditional financial and tech powerhouses like Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore and USA.

The EY FinTech Adoption Index ranked Australia 5th in the world for fintech adoption, with 37% of the “digitally active” population using fintech products.

“Fintech is no longer just an industry with future potential – it is now an industry which is delivering great on-the-ground outcomes and becoming the first choice for financial services for many Australians,” said FinTech Australia president Simon Cant.

China comfortably led the ladder, with 69% of its digital population taking on fintech services. India was next on 52%, with the UK (42%) and Brazil (40%) following.

EY FinTech advisor Meredith Angwin said that the previous report, in 2015, forecasted adoption rates would double – but Australia had far exceeded even that prediction.

“Usage among digitally active Australians [has risen] from 13% in 2015 to 37% in our latest survey,” she said.

“What the Adoption Index clearly shows is that fintech is gaining widespread traction, both locally and globally, and has achieved the early stages of mass adoption in most countries.”

The global average adoption rate was 33%, with tech-savvy nations like USA (33%), South Korea (32%) and Canada (18%) struggling to keep up.

Traditional finance giants such as Germany (35%), Hong Kong (32%), Singapore (23%), Japan (14%) and Belgium/Luxembourg (13%) also lagged behind Australia.

EY FinTech Adoption Index 2017 – at a glance. (Source: EY)

“We hope that this index result attracts the attention of domestic and international fintech investors,” said Cant, adding that the ranking demonstrates Australia’s credentials as a “great international launch and expansion market for fintech products, due to its early adoption of new technology and ideas”.

Angwin attributed the soaring adoption rates on fintech startups’ ability to concentrate on customer experience.

“Fintech start-ups have been very successful in building on what they do best – using technology in novel ways and having a laser-like focus on the customer.”

Australian federal treasurer Scott Morrison claimed credit for his government in developing the country as a “global fintech hub”, but also said adoption of tech had domestic and egalitarian benefits.

“Fintech adoption is good for the economy and good for Australian consumers. It also helps reduce tax avoidance and criminal activity, which levels the playing field for everyone.”

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