Financial services include the markets, institutions and companies that provide credit, investment, insurance and related activities. The sector is a powerful economic force and influences the practices, standards and operations of other industries as well. It is made up of thousands of depository institutions, providers of investment products, insurance companies, credit and financing organizations, as well as the critical financial market utilities.
When it comes to consumer financial services, the industry includes everything from credit card companies to mortgage lenders to personal and student loans. It also encompasses payments firms, such as Apple and Amazon, which offer their own payment services (the former through the Apple Card and the latter with Amazon Pay). The consumer finance industry is an important part of the overall financial services landscape.
Financial services help individuals gain control over their finances, allowing them to spend money wisely and reap rewards besides safeguarding their savings. This is what helps consumers get a better life and creates a positive impact on the economy as a whole. For example, when individuals are financially healthy, they tend to be more resilient during unexpected events and enjoy higher levels of physical and mental health. They are also able to save more and invest their resources in productive ventures that can contribute to economic growth. Financial services also promote domestic and foreign trade. They do this by enhancing sales of goods and services in the local market through factoring and forfaiting companies, as well as by encouraging more investments in a country.