Could a Fintech Spring be on the horizon?

In the first six weeks of 2024, Thredd, a modern payments processor serving clients globally, has seen an atypical early-year uptick in debit and prepaid payment transactions.

The company observed growth in both month-over-month and year-over-year (YoY) metrics across various business sectors. Specifically, organic transaction growth for January 2024, compared with the same period in 2023, increased by 18%, with Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) services, Corporate Spend Managers, and B2C Retail providers seeing even more notable rises. This upward trend has persisted into February.

Typically, the payments ecosystem experiences its lowest levels of debit and prepaid payment transactions in January and February, following year-end shopping activities, as consumers and organisations reduce their expenditure. However, the start of 2023 marked a significant decline from December levels, a period referred to as the Fintech Winter of 2023. In stark contrast, January 2024 saw Visa and MasterCard debit and prepaid transactions processed by Thredd remain steady against December levels and significantly exceed those of the same period in 2023.

Noteworthy is the performance of certain industries in January 2024. BNPL providers on the Thredd platform witnessed a 58% volume increase over January 2023 and have seen threefold growth since January 2022. Despite speculation throughout 2023 that the BNPL sector might have reached its peak, the performance of Thredd's clients contradicts this view, suggesting BNPL's enduring presence. Consumers demonstrate through their spending that BNPL occupies a unique niche between revolving credit and debit.

The B2B payment providers segment also reported a 22% YoY transaction growth. This category encompasses accounting and corporate spend management organisations, which cater to the increasing demand for streamlined payouts and disbursements.

In the B2C domain, offerings that reward consumer spending emerged as leaders. Although digital bank clients experienced an increase in transactions over the same period in 2023, they were surpassed by specialty offerings. Notable examples include retail spending rewards, charitable contributions, and travel-specific incentives. Overall, this segment grew by 26%, with several expanding providers adding more than 1 million transactions in January 2024 compared to January 2023.

Remarking on these recent findings, Jim McCarthy, Thredd CEO, said, “While there are always a number of factors that can contribute to payment growth trends, the segment-specific improvements underscore the traction of digital payments in both the B2B and B2C space.  Our 2024 growth to date continues the upward trend seen in the second half of 2023.”

“Another contributing factor,” added Ava Kelly, Chief Product Officer, “is the rising popularity of virtual and one-time-use cards in the market.  Corporate payors of all types—from travel management to gig economy payors--have embraced the flexibility of these digital wallet-based options.”

While February is not yet in the books, all average daily transactions in February are up 8% over January—a strong indicator that the growth trends are likely to continue. 

“We may not be able to predict future transactions or spend patterns, but this early year volume performance is certainly a positive indicator for 2024 fintech payments programs,” concluded Jim McCarthy.  “There is clearly opportunity for innovative organisations who are looking to improve the spending experience for both corporates and consumers.”