Factors Related to Fintech Adoption: Comparison
Please note this is a comparison between Version 1 by Alejandro Valencia-Arias and Version 2 by Jessie Wu.

Technology in general, and information and communication technologies (ICT) specifically, have directly impacted all facets of human life, from innovation processes that affect the economy and industrial and organizational dynamics to important advances in different sectors. Such is the case in the financial sector, where emerging disruptive technologies such as financial technologies (Fintech) are adding elements of ease and speed to the different transactions carried out in that sector.

  • university students
  • Fintech
  • adoption models
  • Colombia

1. Introduction

In the words of the authors (Candra et al. 2020), the Fintech concept, which combines the words “financial” and “technology”, accounts for a high degree of innovation in the field of financial services, adding technological elements to financial activities, which gives rise to a new sector within the financial industry, where commerce, corporate business and consumer services are supported.
In this sense, the increasingly widespread and accelerated disruption of Industry 4.0 technologies has notably revolutionized the financial services industry, also expanding the discussion around the generation of competitive advantage to survive in globalized markets (Abdul-Rahim et al. 2022). Therefore, with the increasingly complex integration of internet technologies into the financial industry, Fintech has been able to offer a series of innovative financial services, such as online payments, peer-to-peer loans, budgeting, crowdfunding and savings and investments (Xie et al. 2021).
In this sense, in the scientific literature, two types of research associated with Fintech are identified: the first is about its revolution and effects in an established financial industry, where the understanding of the mechanisms of the Fintech platforms themselves are discussed, and the second is associated with the investigation of the factors that affect the adoption of Fintech platforms (Xie et al. 2021), which, according to Hasan et al. (2021), are due to their proven ability to reduce investment barriers, as well as their multiple benefits and facilities.
It is worth mentioning that the adoption of Fintech platforms is also heavily influenced by the current historical context, specifically the period after the COVID-19 pandemic, during which, due to public health issues, social distancing increased and, with this, the need to adopt technologies for the provision of various services, including financial services, arose (Xie et al. 2021). It is for this reason that other authors such as Fu and Mishra (2022) discuss the importance of Fintech today, understanding that the adoption of digital finance has contributed significantly to households and companies, recognizing that this adoption, which has taken off in an accelerated and massive manner, also has important implications for balancing the market between traditional holders and Fintech-based new users.
On the other hand, it is important to mention that individuals’ adoption behavior regarding Fintech manifests both in the behavior of adopting technology itself and in the behavior of consuming financial services (Xie et al. 2021), which is why, through the use of smartphones or other mobile devices, customers, payment providers and merchants can be connected to complete transactions (Hasan et al. 2021).
In the field of fintech adoption research, several recent studies have contributed to the literature by addressing various aspects and generating new insights in the application of fintech services. For instance, Daragmeh et al. (2022) conducted a study on the anticipated utilization of authentication models in the post-wallet period. Similarly, Yan et al. (2021) examined the factors influencing the readiness to use mobile financial services, with a specific focus on the role of fintech during the COVID-19 pandemic. Other studies have concentrated on specific areas, such as the analysis of next-generation IoT in the fintech ecosystem by Maiti and Ghosh (2023), and the investigation of the impact of development finance on open innovation in emerging economies by Mikhaylov et al. (2023).
Additionally, Najaf et al. (2022) compared the sustainability and capital performance of fintech and non-fintech firms, while Chen et al. (2023) explored the influence of gender imbalance in the population on fintech innovation. On the other hand, Ren et al. (2021) proposed an adaptive recovery mechanism for SDN controllers in cloud-based fintech applications, and Jinasena et al. (2020) reviewed previous perspectives on the success and failure of fintech projects, emphasizing the significance of project management in the field. Some studies have focused on user experience and psychology, such as Jangir et al. (2022) investigating the mitigating effect of perceived risk on the retention intention of fintech service users. Additionally, Sun et al. (2023) assessed the current state of fintech research, while Festa et al. (2022) conducted research on the impact of fintech determinants on entrepreneurship in Tunisia.
From another perspective, the adoption of Fintech is vitally associated with various current political approaches which have arisen through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which discuss the importance of adopting clean energy (Fu and Mishra 2022). This is supported by Abdul-Rahim et al. (2022), who indicate that Fintech, as a process derived from Industry 4.0 technologies, allows optimizing efficiencies as an important agent of change for sustainability.
In this sense, based on the importance of the adoption of Fintech for users, companies and economic sectors in general, various authors have tried to study it based on the validation of the main theories available in the scientific literature. Authors such as Setiawan et al. (2021) apply theories such as the technological acceptance model (TAM), technological readiness (TR), interpersonal behavior theory (IBT), as well as the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (UTAUT) that, in addition, were validated by authors such as Singh et al. (2020) studying variables or constructs from three aspects: adoption, behavior and the technology itself.
On the one hand, access to financial services is still considered one of the main problems faced by communities around the world (Yan et al. 2021), and on the other hand, the adoption of Fintech lags behind among consumers, especially in developing countries and emerging markets (Mazambani and Mutambara 2020; Hasan et al. 2021).
Considering the above, financial education for countries with emerging or developing economies, such as Colombia, is significantly influenced by levels of education (Karakurum-Ozdemir et al. 2019), with education also being a fundamental tool for the implementation of ICT, which in turn precedes the discussion on digital literacy (Díaz Vásquez and Bejarano Pérez 2021). Therefore, the university population is considered a determinant for understanding the factors that determine digital literacy, as a variable, and in turn, a determinant in the discussion on adopting Fintech.

2. Variables for Adopting Digital Financial Services

The term fintech encompasses the use of technology to provide financial services (Bhaskaran 2021). In recent years, there has been a growing interest in its adoption, as information and communication technologies have provided a platform for its introduction and dissemination in the market (Kanga et al. 2021), making it one of the most prominent innovations in the industry due to its transformative capacity (Iman 2020).
This rapid expansion has been driven by technological advancements and the recent global financial crisis (Firmansyah et al. 2023). These innovations have significant potential to bring about profound changes in all areas of financial services and have a significant impact on the global economy (Al_Kasasbeh et al. 2023), promoting financial inclusion, which refers to the access of underserved households and small businesses to financial products and services. This has enabled many individuals to carry out transactions according to their specific needs, even if they have not been served by traditional financial institutions (Hajin and Jajuli 2022).
These technologies have opened new opportunities for accessing financial services more conveniently, efficiently, and affordably. Companies in this sector have been able to streamline processes, reduce costs, and improve the user experience by technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and blockchain (Najaf et al. 2020; Lobozynska et al. 2023).
Based on the study conducted by Setiawan et al. (2021), which demonstrates the use of variables such as social influence, perceived usefulness, low regulation, financial education, and digital literacy, it is necessary to understand these concepts according to the studies that have been carried out in this regard. According to Junnonyang (2021), social influence can be defined as the degree to which a person adopts and uses certain systems, innovations, or technologies due to the recommendation of someone close to them, as the opinions of individuals close to them, such as family and friends, have a notable influence on the predisposition to adopt digital financial services (Patel and Patel 2018). On the other hand, digital literacy refers to a set of skills necessary to use software, applications, or a digital device, which includes skills related to information evaluation and knowledge acquisition (Chetty et al. 2018), including cognitive, emotional, and sociological aspects that technology users need to effectively navigate digital environments (Eshet 2004).
Collectively, the study by Abima et al. (2021) demonstrated a significant positive relationship between social influence, digital literacy, and the intention to adopt digital media. Thus, it can be affirmed that interactions with technology and experiences of a person close to a potential user impact and lead to a better understanding of devices and improvement of their technological skills (Marsh 2021).
Furthermore, constantly evolving technological advancements also require continuous education on electronic and digital operations. According to Srirahayu et al. (2022), digital literacy greatly affects young individuals intending to adopt new financial technologies. Perceived usefulness, validated in various contexts, is understood in this researchtudy as students’ interest in using a technology if they find it beneficial (Davis 1989). Additionally, as expressed by Prastiawan et al. (2021), customers choose to use financial products and services that have been tested and recommended by someone in their social circle, demonstrating that social influence has both direct effects on the use of digital financial services and direct effects on the intention to use these technologies.
On the other hand, a key factor among young students concerned about the use of banking products and online transactions is the risk associated with loosely regulated services (Magnuson 2018). Currently, financial systems and institutions face challenges in minimizing the risk associated with Fintech transactions due to the constant advancement of technology, which also evolves into new forms of fraud (Traif et al. 2020). Therefore, this implies consumers’ perception of being at risk of information loss or theft and fraud in some Fintech transactions, as well as an association with the lack of integrity, privacy, and authenticity of information (Leong et al. 2017). In the study by Bromberg et al. (2017), students conduct an appropriate evaluation to find utility and functionality in technology-mediated financial products and services, and if they do not identify associated risks, they use them. In other words, young students will utilize Fintech services if they feel supported by regulation and if their use enhances their management (López Maldonado and Valdés Godínes 2020).
According to Thomas and Subhashree (2020), financial education is vital for university students because knowing how to manage and utilize financial resources determines the proper functioning of any business, and students are considered future entrepreneurs. In this way, adequate financial literacy plays an important role in reducing financial vulnerability as it instills confidence among students in decision-making and entrepreneurial initiatives (Chhatwani and Mishra 2021). Regarding digital education or literacy, understanding ICT is crucial as it enables young individuals to perform all electronic banking transactions (Sentosa et al. 2022). Previous studies, such as Nazah et al. (2022), have already validated the relationship between financial and digital education with the intention to use financial technologies among student populations.
Recent studies by Lyons and Kass-Hanna (2021) and Koskelainen et al. (2023) have highlighted the link between financial literacy and digital literacy and the need to review and expand the traditional conception of financial literacy while incorporating digital literacy. Financial education can influence digital literacy by providing knowledge about FinTech tools because, according to Golden and Cordie (2022), this knowledge can promote individuals’ security in the responsible and correct use of these services.
Furthermore, according to Thomas and Subhashree (2020), university students lack knowledge of basic financial terms, such as simple and compound interest estimation, loan application, inflation, budgeting, and loan alternatives. This is critical because having strong financial habits prepares individuals to face macroeconomic and unforeseen financial problems. In addition to the above, knowledge of digital banking products and services is necessary for students to easily manage their transactions (Munari and Susanti 2021). Moreover, the knowledge gained during university education remains with them when managing their personal finances and in their professional lives (Thomas and Subhashree 2020). For this researchtudy, the perceived usefulness factor in Fintech services by university students refers to the benefits obtained by these services or the satisfaction of their needs in the field of digital financial transactions. Thus, financial knowledge enhances the development and performance in the use of digital banking channels (Sentosa et al. 2022). Therefore, the greater the perceived benefit, the more competent the student will be in using Fintech financial services, as they will find it easier to carry out all banking transactions without significant difficulties (Munari and Susanti 2021).
However, the accelerated growth of Fintech also poses regulatory and security challenges. Governments and financial authorities worldwide are working to establish appropriate regulatory frameworks that promote innovation and protect consumer interests. Therefore, Fintech regulators must consider continuous updates to their legal and regulatory framework to provide a trustworthy environment free from risky transactions, as there is an increase in financial risks arising from new financial services that users are not familiar with, such as loan credits replacing traditional financial intermediation (Wronka 2023). Hence, in Foley et al.’s (2019) study, it is stated that regulators of these services have directed their concerns towards the lack of knowledge among young users and the limited supervision of services like cryptocurrencies. Efforts have been made in communication processes to disseminate the functioning of these products through social media. In other words, having regulation in Fintech services and products can influence the behavior of young students regarding their intention to use, as consumers rely on the opinions or recommendations of their personal networks about the regulations supporting the financial system (Morales and Landeo 2021).
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