The evolving FinTech sector and adoption of APIs are reimagining the very idea of banking – and the customers are the winners.

That is the view of Edward Berks, Global EGM, Financial Partnerships at global accounting software firm Xero.

He leads on global partnerships with the FinTechs that enable Xero customers to access payments, business finance and other financial solutions – as well as ensuring that Xero has appropriate points of integration with the world’s leading banks.

Research from the Business Research Company suggests the FinTech sector is growing at an annual rate of 24.8% globally, and will reach a market value of $309.98 billion in 2022.

“The FinTech sector is constantly evolving, and more and more companies – from start-ups to big brands – are entering the space,” Berks told BusinessCloud.

“Areas like payments, access to working capital – and even the very idea of banking – are being constantly refined and reimagined.

“To me, that means that customers are getting the best services and the best prices, because competition is high.

“For businesses, it means they’re having to continuously innovate to remain at the forefront of customer demand and technology advancements.

“We’re also working on further expanding the Xero platform in areas such as fintech, where we see huge potential for growth in services such as payments and lending.”

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Xero provides its two million global subscribers with connections to a thriving ecosystem of over 800 third-party apps and more than 200 connections to banks and financial service providers.

The app marketplace is built on open APIs and is home to app partners that serve a range of business needs – from inventory and payments, to time tracking, reporting, payroll, forecasting and HR.

“Small businesses have historically fallen behind larger firms in accessing the best financial services. We’re helping to level the playing field for these businesses – giving them access to tools they need right from within the Xero app, and through our app marketplace,” said Berks.

One of its latest partnerships is aimed at revolutionising payments on the Xero platform, solving one of the biggest pain points for small businesses – paying their bills.

Pay with Transferwise, the UK's first domestic bill pay solution from TransferWise, allows SMEs to pay using TransferWise, direct from their Xero account, no matter who they bank with.

Technology is revolutionising all industries and this is reflected across our ecosystem of partners,” continued Berks.

“Our marketplace spans a range of vertical solutions, working with specialist application providers in areas like farming with apps like Figured, dentistry and retail so that niche applications used to run companies integrate seamlessly with Xero.”

The coronavirus pandemic has affected all sectors. Berks says Xero is doing all it can to help its customers.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, our priority has been to ensure we’re taking care of the health, safety and wellbeing of our employees and customer community,” he said.

“It will take time for the true picture to emerge, but we know there are customers who are worried from our conversations with them. With this in mind, we’ve taken a number of measures to help.

“We are listening to our customers and accounting partners and have set up a dedicated response team to offer guidance. We have also activated a Business Continuity Hub, which brings together key information from government agencies in the countries where we operate.

“Our teams are fast-tracking new products and services that are needed right now and we are pursuing opportunities to work with our banking and key financial services partners to help SMEs get access to the capital they need.

“These are challenging times for everyone, and we are doing everything we can to support the Xero community.”