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Once a niche speciality, the intersection of technology and finance–commonly referred to as fintech–now touches practically every facet of daily life and the global economy. In the Bay State, fintech is revolutionizing the way we do business and lead our lives with solutions that are increasing financial access to the underbanked, providing alternative approaches to credit, and enabling banking on the go (such as allowing you to deposit a check using your mobile phone). We explore five ways that Massachusetts-based fintech companies are impacting daily life–and the world–for the better.

1. Making payments a breeze

Fintech solutions are increasingly offering innovative, faster and cheaper payments – a win-win for Massachusetts’ consumers and the businesses they transact with.

Two Bay State-based companies in particular are leading the way in the dining and takeout space.

Toast’s comprehensive range of software and hardware solutions have been custom-engineered for restaurants (and are used by over 85,000 of them!). While diners will immediately recognise the bread-shaped logo when paying for their meal, what they likely don’t know is that Toast’s offerings also encompass loyalty card programs, payroll management, sales and labor reports, online ordering infrastructure and more

Plucky PaerPay has won plaudits (and customers!) for its contactless payment experience which facilitates transactions with a QR code–no new apps, downloads or hardware needed

When it comes to banking across borders, both Flywire and Circle are breaking down barriers.

Flywire has developed a solution for payers flummoxed by the complexity of making international wire transfers and tired of hidden bank fees and exorbitant exchange rates. Building on a network of banking relationships that criss-crosses the globe, the firm is able to offer seamless, secure and affordable payments in over 140 currencies

How do you deliver money almost instantly and for almost nothing? If you’re Circle, you develop a new kind of digital currency: the USD Coin. This stable coin is used by Circle’s growing legion of customers to send and receive funds effortlessly across borders. They’re also able to use Circle’s platform to securely store their funds

2. Plain sailing when you’re going places

Fintech solutions are minimizing the hassle of being on the move in Massachusetts.

EZ Drive MA, the Commonwealth’s cashless electronic tolling program means that motorists no longer have to use toll booths on the Mass Turnpike (I-90), Tobin Memorial Bridge, and the Sumner, Callahan, and Ted Williams Tunnels.

Founded all the way back in 2000, the Boston-headquartered Zipcar has long been a pioneer of the sharing economy, paving the way for imitators and innovators alike in a whole host of other industries. Key to Zipcar’s extraordinary success has been the fintech platform it developed to enable customers to easily and instantly book rentals of nearby cars.

Established by two longtime insurance veterans, Surround Insurance is bringing a breath of fresh air to this traditional sector. The startup digital agency has developed insurance solutions specially catered for a sizable and yet shockingly underserved demographic: asset-light Gen Z and young millennials who frequently make use of rentals and subscriptions instead of purchasing the likes of cars and property.

3. Just what the doctor ordered

Proudly “Made in Massachusetts” fintech is driving equitable innovation in medicine, with digital solutions giving a shot in the arm to efforts towards making healthcare more accessible and affordable in the Commonwealth.

Lynx offers “Fintech-as-a-Service” to healthcare providers. This allows them to embed medical payments, banking, e-commerce and investments directly into the digital experience offered to patients.

Bend HSA offers health savings accounts for individuals, employers and partners. It’s committed to removing the headaches too often associated with managing an HSA program, with an offering that features automated, paperless HSA enrollment, quick payroll integration and greater tax savings.

Suelin Chen and her company Cake are a true Massachusetts success story. Born, raised and educated in the Commonwealth, she found all the ingredients she needed for her career and, in just four years, created Cake: the world’s leading online service for comprehensive end-of-life planning.

4. A richer college experience

Fintechs are increasingly empowering students at Massachusetts’ over 100 higher education institutions with smart ways to make the most of their educational experience. The Commonwealth’s universities have proven to be hotbeds for fintech innovation, helping drive social change, with many recent graduates going on to create successful fintech startups–including Paerpay, Flywire (both mentioned earlier) and Candidly.

Held back from realizing her full potential by the weight of nearly $200,000 in student debt that had been racked up to fund her education, MIT grad Laurel Taylor took matters into her own hands. In 2016, she founded Candidly to meet the urgent need for smart solutions that support individuals and families through every step of the planning, borrowing, and repayment experience. Candidly has partnered with leading employers, financial institutions, and other stakeholders to achieve this aim.

ProsperOn is another fintech startup helping to redefine the education experience. It was co-founded by Quinnipiac University grads, who have developed a fantastically unconventional approach to personal finance education. ProsperOn’s “Exhibition Game for Life” simulates your financial trajectory from graduation to retirement, illustrating the impact of your money-related decisions at each step, and offering actionable suggestions so that you can improve your financial decision making

Deciding where to study and how to fund has long been an overwhelming, daunting task. This is no longer the case thanks to College Aid Pro which enables prospective applicants to sift rapidly through colleges based on their admission preferences. College Aid Pro’s highly accurate net price calculator for every college in the country synthesizes financial aid, scholarship, admission, and salary data, giving you a bird’s eye view of your potential learning opportunities–and costs.

5. Investing in a better future

There is a growing demand from both consumers and companies for investment decisions to be guided by environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations. Purpose-driven companies in Massachusetts’ fintech ecosystem are making it easier than ever before for investors to put their money towards a greener and more socially responsible future.

For example, Physis Investment pairs sophisticated in-house technology with analyst research to cover over 12,000 companies, 355,000 funds, and 198 countries. This allows you to understand, track and measure the impact of your sustainable investments.

Pebble Finance’s easy-to-use app for personal investors matches the ease and affordability of an exchange-traded fund (ETF) with the power–and freedom–to choose where to put your money. If you can't find an ETF to your exact liking, then you’re able to build your own, picking and choosing which companies to include, and which ones to remove.

The data-driven Vestigo Ventures is all about discovering–and investing in–the startups shaping the future of fintech. It does more than merely offer entrepreneurs cash, though: it bolsters their prospects by plugging founders into their network and equipping them with data and insights that will help them succeed.

As S&P Global’s designated AI and Innovation Hub, Kensho uses machine learning to transform a dizzying quantity of unstructured data into clear, meaningful and actionable business insights that can help shape solutions to the most intractable challenges faced by business today.

Experience the future of innovation for yourself

The Bay State’s fintech scene is ripe with brilliant minds innovating new ways to impact our day-to-day lives near and far, and we’re confident that Massachusetts’ fintech firms will continue to bring innovation to consumers in diverse and exciting ways that build on the successes of the past decade.

To learn more and discover the next generation of fintech innovations that are unfolding in this vibrant startup ecosystem, join us at Boston Fintech Week from October 10-13 hosted by our partner, Fintech Sandbox. More details on Mass Fintech Hub’s events will be made public soon.

Hope to see you in October!

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