Writer: Brittany Pressner
2 min read August 2021— With 70% of all debit, credit, prepaid card and mobile transactions in the United States being processed in Atlanta and digital banking becoming more pertinent to daily life than ever, fintech has seemingly endless opportunities to grow and Atlanta is at the center of it all.
Throughout the pandemic, demand for digital and contactless forms of payment accelerated significantly. According to a recent report, global mobile payments are expected to reach $8.1 billion by 2023. Atlanta has seen a vast majority of this growth and has consequently become the epicenter of major fintech firms, dubbing it “Transaction Alley.”
For those who are not familiar with Georgia, it may come as a surprise that major financial technology firms are choosing Atlanta over more traditional technology hubs like New York, London or San Francisco. As Tom Groenfeldt, a writer at Forbes recently stated, “New York and London may be global financial services leaders, but Atlanta is the true unsung leader in financial technology.”
For fintech firms, however, the appeal of Atlanta is not “unsung,” but rather quite evident. Being in a city with leading IT research universities like Georgia Tech and Emory University allows companies first-hand access to a talented and readily available labor force. Atlanta’s business-friendly infrastructure, lower taxes and overall moderate cost of living are all components that make it an attractive location to conduct business. Additionally, close proximity to the largest, most traveled airport in the world, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport, only solidifies Atlanta as an ideal place for financial technology companies to headquarter over more costly cities like New York and areas like Silicon Valley.
These alluring conditions benefit small and large firms alike and payment processing companies across the globe have gravitated toward Atlanta as a place of business. According to the Technology Association of Georgia’s 2020 FinTech Ecosystem Brief, there are 170 fintech organizations located in the state. Companies like First Data, WorldPay, Global Payments and TSYS have all made their base in Georgia. Additionally, major global data, analytics and technology company Equifax is headquartered in the Atlanta metro area with 11,000 employees.
The fintech environment is supported broadly by organizations like the Georgia Center of Innovation for Information Technology, which helps to foster relationships for fintech firms from the state’s perspective, and Fintech Atlanta, a coalition of companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500s that works to cement Atlanta as the known global capital of financial technology. Scott Meyerhoff, Fintech Atlanta’s chair, recently said, “Atlanta has quietly become the global capital of this critically important sector. Atlanta will become the recognized global home of fintech by 2021, just as New York and London are the recognized headquarters of finance.”
The need for mobile technology that connects everyone is arguably more critical than ever. As a result of recent advancements in mobile payments and online banking, a constantly changing global health landscape and a new level of need and demand for technology, fintech companies are growing at an unprecedented rate. The combination of the growth in the sector and Atlanta’s draw is a winning combination that is sure to only advance as the world maneuvers the future of the pandemic. As Professor Sadheer Chava of Georgia Tech stated, it is the combination of “smart regulation and civic partnership between industry and government that has benefited the business environment in Atlanta, Georgia, and will only be a bigger catalyst going forward.”