The Future of PHP: Why is it still relevant in Fintech?

by | Fintech Trends Series

When you think of programming languages used within the financial technology scene and the banking sector, PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) could be one of the last ones that come to mind albeit a very popular option for new and existing businesses. 

It is no secret that PHP was and sometimes still is criticized for its bad inherent design, but there is a reason why it is still being used in fintech today, at least predominantly to allow a base to augment software systems. 

Modern PHP (7 and higher) has evolved into something similar to other robust general-purpose languages, such as C++ and Java, by introducing features such as strict typing, better error handling, and more operators. 

Here are 4 reasons why fintech companies are still making use of or opting to use PHP: 

4 reasons why fintech companies are still using PHP

1. It’s cost-effective to build an MVP (minimum viable product) and ship products

Due to PHP’s easy-to-learn nature, onboarding engineers won’t find the learning curve for the tech stack as steep. This means businesses have potentially higher ROIs due to faster turnaround times from engineering onboarding to the first line of code shipped to production. Ultimately companies can get their products to market faster than your more traditional languages such as C++ and Java. 

2. A readily available cost-effective talent pool

Again because of this easy-to-learn nature, there are a lot more engineers and developers available at a fraction of the cost which other languages usually attract. This ultimately means businesses can reduce key-man dependencies due to tech-stack specific domain knowledge within the business’ engineering/development department(s). 

3. It’s always evolving 

PHP now has an annual release cycle, supporting each stable release for 2 years, allowing for security issues to be addressed, speed improvements to be made, as well as new features to be introduced to help keep up with other tech stacks. This enables businesses to stay aligned with security compliance. 

4. It’s open source  

There is a community investing in the upkeep and continuous improvement of the language. Often for businesses, this means no long-term costs and vendor lock (i.e. having to use Oracle). 

It is a preconceived notion that the best of the best only make use of the latest and greatest. Some companies are holding true to their past tech stack choices often due to the amount of effort required to move away from their existing architecture and infrastructure (even if the tech does not scale with the business). Fortunately for those making use of PHP, oftentimes maintaining and scaling their applications and software has been possible. Where no maintenance or scaling is possible due to homegrown or poor upkeep over the long term, it has often been even easier to scale services and build up applications around older PHP infrastructure. 

Although PHP’s overall market share has seen a slight decline, it’s still the most popular programming language, with a 45.43% market share. Furthermore, we aren’t seeing a large portion of companies swapping out technologies either i.e., going from PHP-oriented stacks to others. Most companies have already made the decision to stick to their guns and accept a certain level of legacy code within their systems and start building out their products/software around this legacy code to augment their existing platforms. Thus, PHP’s market share will stay intact for a long time to come and might even increase as time goes on and PHP evolves to meet the needs of modern developers and businesses. 

As you can see the benefits are twofold for PHP in fintech, so maybe it’s time for a switch. 

If you’d like to find out more about the evolution and advantages of PHP, then read CodeSnail’s insightful piece.  


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