If you had asked me about working in FinTech three weeks ago I wouldn’t have even known how to answer. I started my internship at Bean with very little knowledge about finance technology or startups but during my short time with them I learned so much about the industry and have been given this opportunity to share some of that with you.
As a Media and Communications student at the University of Leeds I wouldn’t say finances are my main focus right now and, even with my handful of high school economics classes, can’t I claim to know much about the industry. On top of that I know next to nothing about technology and even less about working at a startup. Needless to say I felt very unprepared but was looking forward to picking up some new skills.
The startup culture is very different to the other work environments I have experienced. All around there is constant learning and gathering of opinions. If you need an outside opinion members of other companies are more than willing to advise and connect you with relevant contacts; whatever help they can offer, they will. In general, when compared to the corporate world, ‘startup land’ is more laid back. You come to work in jeans and sneakers, you share snacks and it’s always time for coffee. People work longer hours and lunch hours are a myth but the relaxed environment takes a little pressure off and makes it easier to take a step back and reevaluate when things are going wrong.
The first thing that became clear at Bean is that everyone plays a role in everything that happens. With such a small team every voice is encouraged to speak up. From little things, like designing a logo, to developing the core brand values your opinion is heard and considered. This isn’t the first internship I’ve had but it was the first where, even as a temporary member of the team, I felt like my suggestions were being taken seriously.
Having a small part in all the aspects of the company makes being a jack of all trades kind of a necessity. My tasks ranged from populating the blog and creating Instagram and Twitter content, to photoshopping merchant logos and creating databases. The diversity of responsibilities prevents you from ever getting bored and keeps you busy. Personally, using products like Photoshop, that I haven’t had a need to use recently, and new tools like Buffer and Trello, helped develop useful skills that can now go on my CV.
Bean exists in the world of FinTech, or Financial Technology. Honestly, before starting my internship I’d never heard anything about the industry, but being exposed to it these last few weeks has been eye opening. The idea of managing my own personal finances is pretty daunting, but companies like Bean are out there and have extremely useful products. Working at Bean I’ve read countless articles about FinTech and how it is expanding. This knowledge has totally changed my mind, instead of finding the industry intimidating and out of reach, it’s something that I am genuinely interested in for future work.
Overall the last three weeks have been a wonderful experience that I am truly thankful to have had. This internship has taught me so much about working in FinTech, the wider industry and myself that I never would have expected when I started. I’m very thankful for my time at Bean, and would come back in a heartbeat!
If you aren’t in the tech world, it is likely that you’ve never heard of Cloud Expo, but for our tech team it’s a bit like the Ideal Home Show. There are some really cool products and services on display and it’s a great opportunity to meet new companies and exchange knowledge. I spent last Wednesday at the expo – specifically the Fintech, Finance & Banking Technology area, presented by FINTECH Circle – and I wanted to take this chance to share some of what I learned there.
In addition to checking out some great exhibitors (and their expo stand baristas!), I also had the opportunity to be part of a really interesting FINTECH Circle panel along with Peter Lancos and Sonal Rattan (CEO & CTO of Exate Technologies), discussing open banking and data protection. Led by moderator Nicolas Steiner (Digital Ecosystem Director, FINTECH Circle Innovate), we were able to touch on and debate several interesting topics at the heart of financial technology. One major point concerned how incoming initiatives, such as open banking, create both obstacles and opportunities for businesses such as Bean.
As a company at the centre of this world, we are really excited about these advancements, not only because they open new frontiers for us to create amazing products, but because they ensure everyone acts responsibly towards information, such as customer data. However, as with any step forward, there will be considerations that need to be addressed. In particular, open banking creates significant questions around data security and ownership, a highly debated topic within the industry That being said, there are already steps being taken to regulate how companies use data, such as the upcoming GDPR legislation.
What is GDPR? The General Data Protection Regulation is basically an add-on to the Data Protection Act. It would bring accountability and governance to the use of personal data by corporations. If you would like to see the full list of requirements and proposed principles, check out the overview, here, but, in short, the GDPR aims to put the consumer back in control of their own personal data and who has access to it. The stringent new guidelines would see corporations fined up to 4% of global revenue for any data mistreatment and/or failing to show their active steps taken to protect their users’ information.
That focus is exactly why we at Bean support it; we agree that you should have complete confidence in how your information is being used. GDPR, along with the regulatory oversight created by Open Banking, will help ensure security will be uniformly enforced across businesses dealing with your financial data.
That being said, it’s not as easy as flipping a switch and we’ve got a way to go before we can all agree on what needs to be implemented. These initiatives are highly complex and, unfortunately, vulnerable to manipulation by large corporations (with even larger budgets) who lobby to protect their interests, rather than consumers. It may be a long road but we here at Bean will continue to put the user first and keep you in the loop regarding any developments we think will help you make informed financial decisions.
If you have a question about GDPR, data protection or anything else, get in touch and we’ll do our best to answer. Leave a comment below or tweet us at @usebean. For more helpful information make sure to check out the rest of our blog and sign up to the waitlist at usebean.com today.