Taming the Beast: A Scientific Definition of Fintech

24 Pages Posted: 10 Jan 2018 Last revised: 15 Jan 2019

See all articles by Patrick Schueffel

Patrick Schueffel

Haute école de gestion (HEG) de Fribourg

Date Written: October 31, 2016


There is currently no consensus about what the term Fintech means. This paper explores the complexity of Fintech, and attempts a definition, drawn from a process of reviewing more than 200 scholarly articles referencing the term Fintech and covering a period of more than 40 years. The objective of this study is to offer a definition which is distinct as well as succinct in its communication, yet sufficiently broad in its range of application. As the origins of the term can neither be unequivocally placed in academia nor in practice, the definition concentrates on extracting out the quintessence of Fintech using both spheres. Applying semantic analysis and building on the commonalities of 13 peer-reviewed definitions of the term, it is concluded that Fintech is a new financial industry that applies technology to improve financial activities. The implications as well as the shortcomings of this definition are discussed.

Keywords: Financial services, innovation, banking, financial institution, technology, research, terminology

JEL Classification: G23, G20, G21, B26, L84, O16

Suggested Citation

Schueffel, Patrick, Taming the Beast: A Scientific Definition of Fintech (October 31, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3097312 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3097312

Patrick Schueffel (Contact Author)

Haute école de gestion (HEG) de Fribourg ( email )

Chemin du Musée 4
Fribourg, 1700

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