Finance meeting at a start-up

Fintech and microfinance research

Explore our work in FinTech and microfinance, one of our areas of expertise in Finance

Microfinance describes financial services to those who lack access to traditional banking services, such as small businesses. Financial technologies (FinTech) refers to the technologies used in the financial sector – typically by financial institutions.

There is an increasing number of those seeking funding or investment to create online markets and virtual communities. But following the financial crisis, banks have tightened their consumer lending policies so that individuals and businesses with low incomes have found it increasingly difficult to obtain loans from the banking sector. This has fuelled the demand for FinTech companies, such as mobile lending or P2P lending platforms.

Our work helps individuals, firms, and governments how to use FinTech in order to meet their needs. Research into FinTech and microfinance is divided into three themes: FinTech in lending, FinTech in monetary policy, and FinTech in microfinance.

It can also have a beneficial impact on society and the wider economy. Since FinTech – especially crowdfunding – represents a new channel of funding that has only recently been developed, regulation has to quickly adapt to facilitate new possibilities in this market. Our research is helping to guide policy-making based around the specific risk factors that we're investigating.

We probe questions such as the benefits and risks in FinTech lending, funder motivations in crowdfunding campaigns, the benefit and cost of issuing a central bank digital currency for monetary policy, and how to enhance financial inclusion using FinTech in developing countries.

Our work is regularly published in leading academic journals, such as the International Review of Social SciencesJournal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, and Computers in Human Behaviour.

Our research covers the following key topics

  • Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lending
  • Equity based crowdfunding
  • Reward based crowdfunding
  • Donation based crowdfunding
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • Mobile money
  • Central bank digital currency
  • Microfinance, financial inclusion and FinTech

Collaborations and funders

We have built a network of collaboration with industry, such as P2P, equity and donation based crowdfunding platforms. We work with policy makers, such as Asian Development Bank and U.S. SEC, and international academics at the University of Tokyo, Japan and Athabasca University, Canada.

We frequently receive funding for our research from major funding organisations, includes a £750,000 3-year Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded project, Volunteer and Crowdsourcing Economics (VOLCROWE), and a £5,000 1-year RPF funded project.

Publication highlights include

Funder motivations in crowdfunding campaigns
'The kindness of strangers? An investigation into the interaction of funder motivations in online crowdfunding campaigns' (2018), Joe Cox, Thang Nguyen, Soong Moon Kang

Reward-based crowdfunding
'Does the crowd mean business? An analysis of reward-based crowdfunding as a source of finance for start-ups and small business' (2017), Joe Cox, Thang Nguyen

Discover our areas of expertise

FinTech and microfinance is one of 3 areas of expertise in our Finance research – explore the others below.

Banking and financial markets

Our banking and financial markets research examines the functioning of financial markets and the institutions that operate in those markets.
Read more

Corporate finance

We're working to improve our understanding of asset pricing in capital markets, especially in relation to the performance of Initial Public Offerings.
Read more

Interested in a PhD in Finance?

Browse our postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils – at our Finance postgraduate research degrees page.