FinTech Guide For Global Citizens: Intro

KAE’s latest FinTech series maps the key trends and calls out a variety of FinTechs and solutions meeting the needs of today’s global citizens...

Technology is making huge strides in enabling us to take control of our finances, to the point where it is now becoming mainstream to pay, access bank accounts, or seamlessly send money abroad through smartphones. But are these solutions catering sufficiently to the needs of global citizens living in today’s increasing open and borderless world?

When moving to a different country, global travellers typically face a wide array of challenges. One of the biggest obstacles is the complexity of managing their finances and having access to the same level of services they were used to back home, both in terms of convenience and ease.

In HSBC’s Expat Explorer Survey, 75% of respondents stated that their financial situation has become more complex since they left their home countries. With FinTechs tapping into the needs of customers at various points along the financial services value chain, one has to ask: what are FinTechs actually doing to accommodate the needs of these global citizens and where does the opportunity really lie for FinTechs to disrupt this space?

 Who are Global Citizens?

Global citizens are defined as individuals who have decided to leave their homeland with the aim of creating a more rewarding professional and/or personal future. Most global citizens fall under one of three categories: international students/young professionals, established professionals, or pensioners.

International students/young professionals

Typically, international students pursuing their education in a foreign country still heavily rely on their family back home to help support and manage their finances. Generally speaking, they tend to be digitally savvy and are confident in using smartphones for banking purposes.  On top of that, they typically look for solutions that allow them to easily manage their everyday expenses as well as being able to save on fees and international money transfers. Young professionals typically also look for similar solutions and benefits. Additionally to what students might look for, young professionals could develop an interest in solutions offering competitive returns to make the most out of their earnings. Both segments face similar financial difficulties such as being able to save emergency cash, establishing a credit score, or being eligible for standard lending products like student loans or mortgages. Similarly, this cohort often struggle to access basic tax, legal, and insurance advice and services.

Established professionals

Despite being more acclimated and acculturated, having built their career in their adopted country of residence, established professionals might still have deeply rooted bonds to their home countries. Ranging from wealth management to portfolio investment, they are looking for competitive rates and benefits that will enable them to protect and capitalise on their assets. This cohort is typically wary of the costs associated with cross-border transfers and might look for alternative solutions that allow them to minimise their outgoings / expenses.


Pensioners have more specific needs – not always limited solely to financial services. As they face a set of challenges linked to their seniority, retiring expats are looking for comprehensive solutions capable of addressing their healthcare and insurance demands while simultaneously supporting them in the process of transferring their pension and financial assets and avoid being charged extra taxes.

Depending on their life cycle, as well as the drivers and barriers of their financial well-being, global citizens require different financial services and products ranging from being able to easily open multi-country bank accounts to relocating their pension schemes. This idea to meet the demands of global citizens has led to the glocalisation of financial services, which is enabling FinTechs to access a whole spectrum of opportunities that can be addressed with locally built solutions.

In our forthcoming posts, we will call out some of the FinTechs making headway in meeting the needs of today’s, and arguably tomorrow’s, global citizens.