By 2025, GSMA estimates that there will be 1.2 billion 5G connections, 5 billion mobile internet users, and almost 6 billion unique mobile subscribers. Within the next five to seven years, newer technologies — such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and chatbots — will transform how fintech companies reach previously unserved and underserved communities. Over the next decade, as these technologies continue to advance and both digital and financial literacy improve, low-income customers will be more willing to trust digital channels and use technology to engage with financial products and services.

Fintech companies focused on low-income customers will need to continue to understand their target communities’ preferences and ensure that they are meeting their clients’ needs. Institutions that find ways to balance tech and touch, as Accion Venture Lab discussed in our report, The Tech Touch Balance, are the ones that will continue to succeed in this quickly changing world.

As digital financial infrastructure, product awareness, and customer trust continue to evolve, fintech startups should adopt new methods of engaging their customers. While there is no one-size-fits-all model, we believe that the future of tech and touch will predominantly follow these emerging trends:

Regardless of how an organization decides to balance tech and touch, every financial service provider must find some way to fulfill customer expectations. Finding that balance is particularly vital for inclusive fintechs, which will rely on technology to scale and will depend on human interactions to win over underserved clients. Companies should recognize that when designing a valuable customer experience, balancing tech and touch is never a “one and done” process. Customer preferences are dynamic. Successful companies will continue to listen to their customers and adapt to their evolving preferences.