The Fintech Dictionary

Sometime in the not so distant future, we will live in a world where you scarcely walk down the street without hearing the cacophony of “finnovation”, “digital native” or “tokenisation” ringing out among the indistinct chatter of the throng. 

It could be a year, it could be three, It could be six months. There is just no way of telling when the zeitgeist will really hit the conscious of the masses. 

You don’t want your mates nan dropping the term “distributed ledger technology” into conversation, only to be left staring dimly out the window whilst you attempt to untangle the word from the rest of the vocabulary your brain has filed as “unnecessary in layman’s society.” 

To avoid you the embarrassment, here’s a catalogue of the fintech dictionary. Carry it with you always, and recite it often. Don’t put yourself in a situation where you’re left curling up in the foetal position every time your mate mentions “machine learning”. 


Pronunciation: Ay-pi-eye

Standing for Application Programming Interface, an API allows otherwise discordant sources to communicate on the same rails. Imagine your parents were banks – instead of people, and going through a difficult divorce – instead of happily married; an API would be the mediation process that allows them to communicate and decide who gets to keep the CDs. Sort of. 


Pronunciation:  bl-ok-ch-ay-n

Online blocks of transaction that provide a complete history of all assets and instructions executed, using complex cryptography. Blockchain has been the cool kid of the fintech playground for a while now – probably in no small part down to the word “chain” making up 50% of the word. 


Pronunciation:  kr-ip-toe-cuh-ren-cee

A virtual currency that operates using cryptography, an example of this is Bitcoin. Created by Satoshi Nakamoto – an entity shrouded in more mystery than Banksy – Bitcoin has drawn something of a cult following. Link to Bitcoin Carnivore article

Digital Native

Pronunciation: di-jih-tol-nay-tiv

The generation of technology users that has grown up with access to Minecraft.

Distributed Ledger Technology

Pronunciation: dih-strih-bute-id-leh-ger-tek-nol-oh-gee

A database, which is replicated and shared across numerous computers. It’s the basis of blockchain. Despite the term rolling off the tongue, the powers that be have initialised it as DLT. 


Pronunciation: ee-com-erse

The bad boy of the fintech canon. eCommerce cares nought for standard capitalisation laws. It’s a trendy new way to buy things, on something called the internet. 


Pronunciation: fin-oh-vay-shun

A really clever compound word combing finance and innovation. If you hear someone use this word they are really into fintech. I would hold off using this one until you’re confident with the rest. This is an advanced fintech word.


Pronunciation: fin-tek

Another really clever compound word, this time combining finance and technology. Fintech is the root word of all of the rest. Learn this one first. 

Machine Learning

Pronunciation: mah-sh-een-lern-ing

Involves programming machines to make autonomous improvements to its functionality. At this stage, think less, I Robot and more payment processers protecting against fraud.

Open Banking

Pronunciation: oh-pen-ban-king

Part of PSD2 regulation, most large banks are required to provide open banking functionality to customers, allowing them to see their banks’ products in another banks’ app. Banking through the looking glass. It also disrupts the payment value chain by removing interchange and card fees. Open Banking: the mother of interoperability, the breaker of chains.  


Pronunciation: pay-tek

Another, yes another, really clever compound word, combining payment and technology. Paytech is a fintech word for the intermediate. Take off those stabilisers and give it a go. 


Pronunciation: toe-ken-ise-ay-shun

The process of substituting sensitive data for non-sensitive data. In this case, it’s most commonly used in mobile wallets, as a way of protecting bank details from potential criminals. Here’s an example of how to use it in a sentence: “You don’t pay for things with a tokenised wallet? You might as well lay all your valuable possessions out in a busy London street, go home and lament your losses.”


Register for FinTech Connect on 3–4 December at ExCeL, London.

View the FinTech Connect 2019 website to find out more