FinTechs have traditionally worked to provide financial services to the unbanked and underbanked. This is especially important today with the increase in the number of refugees and immigrants. Perhaps the most difficult thing for any refugee or immigrant to do when attempting to establish a life in a new country is get a foothold in the financial system. This is due to difficulties associated with establishing identity, an address and a credit history. In fact, many traditional financial institutions prefer not to deal with refugees and immigrants due to the face that they are viewed as more time-intensive to deal with and represent a greater perceived risk overall.
Despite these challenges, FinTechs are offering hope to refugees and immigrants. Many show up at borders with few possessions; however, a large percentage of them do show up with mobile phones. This has allowed some FinTech companies to step in and offer them a chance to get started with basic financial services such as opening a bank account (to get salaries) and money transfers (to send money to friends and family in their home country). While this represents a good start towards making transitioning easier for refugees and immigrants, the potential of FinTech is even greater in this regard. Advancements in biometric technologies promise to open up a wider range of financial services to an even greater number of refugees and immigrants in the near future.