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Amazon, Apple and Google Unite Behind Financial Innovation Coalition

Tech rivals band together to influence policy as technology transforms financial services.

Elena Yakusheva / Shutterstock

Three of the technology industry’s fiercest rivals — Amazon, Apple and Google — have aligned behind their shared business interest in promoting tech-friendly changes to the financial services sector.

The newly formed Washington, D.C., advocacy group Financial Innovation Now will look to influence the political debate on issues such as security and fraud prevention, real-time payments, online lending and access to basic financial services.

“A technological transformation is going to make financial services more accessible, more affordable and more secure,” said Brian Peters, executive director of Financial Innovation Now. “The challenge in Washington is making sure policy-makers understand that, and they’re comfortable with it, and they don’t apply old rules to new technology.”

The contours of a changing world are already visible: More than 2,500 banks and credit unions support Apple’s mobile payments system, ApplePay, which is on track to be accepted at some 1.5 million retail locations by the end of the year. Online crowdfunding site Kickstarter helped raise more than $2 billion in pledges for some 95,000 projects, while the peer-to-peer lending marketplace LendingClub originated some $2.2 billion in loans in the last quarter alone.

Goldman Sachs estimates $4.7 trillion in revenue could be up for grabs as technology upends borrowing, lending, making payments and investing. Investors are betting heavily on the transformation, with financial technology companies attracting $12 billion in investment in 2014 (up from $4 billion the year before), according to research firm CB Insights.

Technology giants want to have a voice in future policy discussions as the landscape changes. The group, which also includes Intuit and PayPal, will work to promote better security and authentication for users of financial services, access to basic financial services for the two billion people in the world who are underserved, speedier processing of payments and streamlined rules for online lending.

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