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  • Business Insider surveyed 20 startups about how they define the word fintech, and their responses varied widely.
  • Beyond Big Tech and Wall Street, startups most would call “fintechs” are scooping up billions in VC funding from traditional venture firms and corporates alike. 
  • Some of the people we asked see fintech as an emerging sector, while others pointed out that the ATM, invented in the 1960s, was the first fintech innovation. And some wondered whether big tech firms experimenting with checking accounts and payments products could or should call themselves fintechs. 
  • As the term has grown to the point where it’s a buzzword for asset management, banking, payments, and more, the line between fintechs and financial services firms can start to blur.
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Last year, we saw some unexpected players dip their toes into financial services. Tech giants, from Apple to Facebook to Google to Uber, have begun to wade into (or at least adjacent to) the highly-regulated financial waters. And the big banks partnering with those tech giants also like to call themselves tech companies, and are spending billions each year on IT.

Beyond big tech and Wall Street, startups most would call “fintechs” are scooping up billions in VC funding from traditional venture firms and corporates alike. 

So we asked: Does everybody want to be a fintech? What qualifies as a fintech? What’s the difference between fintech and financial services?

20 startups weighed in, and their responses varied.

Some wondered whether big tech firms experimenting with checking accounts and payments products could or should call themselves fintechs. And while many see fintech as an emerging sector, others pointed to the ATM — first rolled out in 1967 — as the start of fintech.

Whether a new tech craze or a long-established part of financial services, fintech is broad, covering asset management, banking, lending, trading, insurance, payments, and more.

And as the segment grows, the lines between big tech, buzzy startups out of Silicon Valley — and Alley — and the legacy players of Wall Street are blurring.

Here’s how these 20 startups define fintech. This is all part of our broader survey of 43 execs at powerful Wall Street firms, hot startups, and big investors, who we asked to weigh in on the buzzy but hard-to-define term.

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