You’re already cleansing your diet, your apartment, your drinking habits—why not cleanse your finances, too, as you embark on a new year (heck, decade)? But before you do, it’s worth brushing up on all the money trends guaranteed to pick up steam over the next 12 months. Knowledge is power. And by power we mean more moolah in your wallet.
1. Cashless Transactions
According to Apple CEO Tim Cook (via an interview on 9to5Mac), Apple Pay is growing four times as fast as PayPal and has completed 3 billion payments in Q4 of 2019 alone. In addition, companies ranging from Sephora to Target to Starbucks now all accept payments via the tap of your iPhone. What does this mean for you? Well, for starters, it’s a chance to leave your wallet at home, but it’s also proof that digital-only transactions (Venmo and Zelle included) are set to become the norm in 2020.
2. Increased AI To Tackle Financial Fraud
From Capital One’s summer hacking, which released transaction history, credit scores and more, to Quest Diagnostics’ breach that included financial and medical info pertaining to 11.9 million customers, financial security is serious business. That’s why fintech companies are working extra hard to protect personal data as more transactions move online. According to research from the New Economics Foundation, “we are over-collecting and under-protecting data.” And that’s what everyone from big banks to online-only services like Venmo are trying to solve. (Why else do you think Venmo is suddenly asking for the last four digits of your friend’s phone number when you try to send them cash?)
3. The College Tuition Affordability Debate
For the 2019-2020 school year alone, five private colleges have made the effort to rethink their tuition plans, trimming them by as much as 16 to 57 percent, according to The New York Times. Some schools (like St. John’s College in New Mexico and Maryland) are even rethinking their approach to the cost of education entirely, enacting a philanthropy-based financial model that reduces the pressure per student. Still, there’s a lot of work to be done in terms of who benefits from these savings. (Per the Times, middle-class families often get hit the hardest since they can’t afford full price and get less financial aid than low-income families.) Still, it’s an important conversation going into 2020 given the rising price of tuition. (St. John’s adapted their approach after realizing that their annual 3 percent rate hike would put tuition at $70,000 in less than ten years.)
4. High-Interest Cash Accounts
Those emergency savings you’ve been working so hard to build? You may want to move it online—or at least explore your options when it comes to locking down the best savings rate. Financial advisers are reporting on a handful of new online-only banks (like Ally and Wealthfront) that are offering savings accounts with interest rates of 2 percent or more. (For reference, the national average hovers around a tenth of a percent, per the FDIC.) How come? A lot ties to uncertain times for the Federal Reserve—something that causes APYs to fluctuate—but also the fact that online banks are more risk averse than brick-and-mortar places since they don’t have the same expenses that come with maintaining a physical branch.
5. Banks Offering Financial Wellness Services
Bank of America is making a big bet on Life Plan, financial support that includes life and emotional coaching as its customers strive to buy homes or save for retirement. Likewise, HSBC is now offering financial wellness workbooks designed to teach members everything from budgeting basics to how to protect yourself from identity theft. The goal going into 2020 is bettercustomer service and a 360-degree approach to financial health.