Which areas are ripe for innovation in fintech? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Zach Perret, Co-founder & CEO of Plaid, on Quora:

Which areas are ripe for innovation in fintech?

Everything! Really - there's a ton of space for innovation in fintech and financially-related products. For most people, money is the biggest stress in their lives. It's something we all think about almost every day. Yet financial products have not evolved significantly in decades, and the interfaces are often clunky and hard to use. Let's take lending for example - getting a mortgage in the US generally takes 4-8 weeks and requires more than 50 pages of paper documents that have to be hand delivered or faxed to your bank. There's so much room for improvement in our financial products.

Like the opportunities that lie in mortgage, most of the recent improvements in fintech have focused on digitizing and distributing existing financial products. Making them simpler and--not unimportantly--cheaper. Good examples of this are roboadvisors, online lenders, accounting software, etc.

Yet in only a few cases have we seen fundamentally new tools and services launch - but I suspect we'll see many more in the coming years. One of the major themes I'm starting to see is around automation of our financial lives. Many people still pay bills by check, build budgets in excel, and making one-off investment decisions. Increasingly though, we're seeing amazing tools being built that are helping consumers to automate their financial lives, reducing stress and giving people the security that their bills will get paid on time.

Last year, we issued our first Fintech Request for Startups (drawing on YC's style of RFS). We identified a handful of underserved areas -- better bills, consumer-centric loan servicing, personalized insurance, hardware + software for branches, better mobile bank account opening, and more -- which still hold true today. But that RFS won't be our last, and we're especially excited about businesses that will have a transformative impact over fintech.

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Published on: Jan 24, 2018