The startup world’s darling of 2015, a new breed of business named by combining the words “financial” & “technology”. What is it? FinTech is the techy entrepreneur’s disruption to the traditional banking industry.

FinTech companies have completely changed how businesses (can be) run. Payment processing companies like Square, Stripe & Payfirma have exposed more small businesses to a world beyond ‘cash only,’ giving payment options to any business with an internet connection.

Alternative lending services provide new approaches to personal and business loans, finding innovative options and offering faster processing. Companies such as Prosper & Lending Club have created a peer-to-peer lending marketplace for personal loans, where as small business lenders like Fundsquire locate government funding opportunities and expedite the cashflow insertion so that funds are available when needed.

Cryptocurrency is another huge trend in FinTech and business, with Bitcoin surpassing the price of gold this year. Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies that operate independently of a central bank. There are numerous cryptocurrency options these days, including BlackCoin, Dash, and of course Bitcoin. Small businesses use cryptocurrencies because the transaction fees are lower than credit card processing fees and interest, and to access new customers, as cryptocurrencies work like digital cash and do not require a bank account.

FinTech has disrupted the traditional banking system and has opened doors for tech savvy small business owners. While this shift may lead some traditional, resistant business owners in the digital dust, FinTech pioneers are certainly helping those who are taking advantage with accessibility and speed. SMEs are now able to access financial software and management services that before would cost millions and are capable of accessing business opportunities once beyond reach.