Trends and Technology

The History and Evolution of the Fintech Industry

July 13, 2021
The C2FO Team

What is fintech? What do fintech companies do? This graphic walks you through how the industry got started and has evolved. 

The term “fintech” has become a common way to describe any business that uses technology to conduct financial transactions. These days, when you think about fintech, you probably imagine Silicon Valley start-up companies, mobile funding solutions and cryptocurrencies. 

However, the history and evolution of fintech are much broader and more inclusive than that. In fact, you can trace fintech all the way back to — not the Internet, not the 2008 financial crisis — but to the 1850s, shortly before the Civil War! 

“Fintech,” after all, describes the blending of technology and finance to improve upon traditional methods of delivering financial services. That journey started several decades before you could download an app on your phone and make a transaction with the push of a button. 

While many people believe that fintech stands for the replacement of traditional banking, some of the most successful fintech companies have been ones like Plaid and Venmo that have brought greater efficiencies to traditional financiers. 

The graphic below explains some of the key moments in the evolution and expansion of the fintech industry, starting in the 19th century to the present day.



Sources: Emerging Payments Association,,,,, The Tech Report,

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