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Toward understanding FinTech and its industry

Heather S. Knewtson (College of Business, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan, USA)
Zachary A. Rosenbaum (College of Business, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan, USA)

Managerial Finance

ISSN: 0307-4358

Article publication date: 13 April 2020

Issue publication date: 26 September 2020




The purpose of this study is to define FinTech, differentiating it from financial technology and use the definition to develop an industry framework.


Using the existing literature on FinTech and incorporating these contributions into a traditional financial structure, characteristics are outlined and placed into a framework that describes the FinTech industry.


FinTech is a specific type of Financial Technology, defined as technology used to provide financial markets a financial product or financial service, characterized by sophisticated technology relative to existing technology in that market. Firms that primarily use FinTech are classified as FinTech firms. Using these definitions, the paper provides a structure for the FinTech industry, classifying each type of FinTech firm by FinTech characteristics.

Research limitations/implications

Research that would inform the economic importance of FinTech would be served with an increased understanding of FinTech firms and the FinTech industry.


This paper contributes by defining FinTech and developing a comprehensive framework to describe the emerging FinTech industry.



Knewtson thanks Thomas Berry, Fady Harfoush, Wei Huang and Henry Silverman who served on The Impact of Technology on Finance: Preparing Students for the Future Panel at the MBAA Academy of Finance Annual Meeting on March 28, 2019, where the idea for the paper began. Knewtson and Rosenbaum thank James Northey and Jeffrey Wall for their valuable comments.


Knewtson, H.S. and Rosenbaum, Z.A. (2020), "Toward understanding FinTech and its industry", Managerial Finance, Vol. 46 No. 8, pp. 1043-1060.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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