The Tearsheet term sheet: The definitive guide to fintech jargon

Financial technology is so riddled with jargon it’s no wonder companies can’t explain what they do or how they’re actually solving the problem they’re trying to solve. And potential customers and buyers of the products and services this industry is building end up feeling a little excluded from this world – kind of like the old finance industry they’re working so hard to make more accessible to the masses.

So, we’ve started this Tearsheet term sheet in an attempt to break up the fintech echo chamber. Let us know more ideas by tweeting at us @Tearsheetco.

agile: fast
accelerators: finishing school for startups
AI: “big data,” 2017 version
API: official permission to use someone else’s work
beta: We have no idea what we’re doing
big data: so 2012
biometrics: fingerprints
bitcoin: you’re kidding
blockchain: an Excel sheet
chatbot: do I sound human yet?
conversational banking: you’re talking to something
consumers: people
corporate VCs: attention startups: take our money, let us buy you later
cryptocurrency: digital currency for anarchists
chief culture officer: chief ping-pong table installer
DLT: blockchain tech built with banker specs
digital ambassadors: bank tellers
digital wallet: your wallet on a phone, sans cash and ID
disruptors: startups with big egos
fail-fast-fail-often: fail
fintech: finance today
frictionless: easy
game changing: hoping you forgot the last time we did this
guests: people
incubator: boarding school for disruptors
incumbents: grownup people
innovation lab: adult playground
innovative: (see: game changing)
insurtech: a bot will soon tell you your medical visit is not covered
machine learning: the machine that knows how to react when you yell at it
marketplace lending: you’re lending to or borrowing from a stranger through a website
native: you don’t need Safari or Chrome to use it
omnichannel: every channel
open banking: banks need to outsource creativity, via APIs
PFM (personal finance management): balancing your checkbook
pivot: our first idea didn’t really pan out
post-app world: apps will die
proof-of-concept: we’re waiting for the money to make this a thing
remittance: money that costs money to send home overseas
relationship building: when banks want to stalk you
revolutionary: hyped
robo-advisers: you’ll end up talking to humans
scale: grow
solution: experiment
sprints: not your average never-ending large-scale tech overhaul
surprise and delight: it’s kind of new and customers probably won’t hate it
test-and-learn: playtime for focus-groups
throughput: when input and output aren’t long-enough words
ubiquitous: everywhere
unicorn: those special startups in the Three Comma Club
users: people who downloaded our app once
VC: mom and dad
Venmo: how you stalk your ex
Watson: scary smart supercomputer
XaaS (anything as a service): using the Internet