Financial technology, commonly referred to by the shorthand phrase “fintech,” provides support and auxiliary services for the financial sector, and it is one of the most rapidly growing industries worldwide. For investors who want to gain a better understanding of the industry, here are five of the best books written explaining what fintech is all about, and how it is changing the financial services sector.

'The FINTECH Book,' by Susanne Chisti and Janos Barberis

Subtitled "The Financial Technology Handbook for Investors, Entrepreneurs and Visionaries," this book is a comprehensive guide to the fintech industry. It aims to provide information and helpful advice to bankers, fintech entrepreneurs and investors eyeing profit opportunities in the fintech industry. The book offers a compilation of knowledge and insights from leading fintech industry authorities.

The material included in "The FINTECH Book" was itself crowdsourced, mirroring one of the major fintech-related economic trends, and edited by two leading fintech authorities. Chisti is the chief executive officer (CEO) of FINTECH Circle, the first angel investor network in Europe with a focus on fintech. Barberis is the founder of the SuperCharger, a fintech accelerator based in Hong Kong.

'Breaking Banks: The Innovators, Rogues, and Strategists Rebooting Banking,' by Brett King

Much of financial technology provides support services to banks and other traditional financial institutions. However, a number of fintech firms are disruptors within the financial services sector, and such companies are the subject of King’s book. The book provides insightful interviews with and stories about fintech entrepreneurs who are at the forefront of providing financial services through new, nontraditional means, and examines phenomena such as the rise of peer-to-peer (P2P) lending and robo-advisors.

King is a recognized authority on the changing face of banking and finance, the author of several books on technological advances in banking, and in 2012 was voted American Banker’s Innovator of the Year.

'Smarter Bank: Why Money Management Is More Important Than Money Movement to Banks and Credit Unions,' by Ron Shevlin

The focus of Shevlin's "Smarter Bank" text is not the disruptors emerging as competitors with traditional banks, but how the best and brightest banks are adapting to and taking advantage of technological innovations in financial services. Shevlin dubs those banks "smarter" that are embracing the latest technology and adjusting their business models to better mesh with financial services innovations and a changing financial marketplace. He shows how leading banks are employing fintech products and services to improve both customer relationships and bottom-line profitability. The book addresses a broad range of subjects, including innovations in the use of big data, customer engagement, the increasing importance of mobile banking and online payment services, and the financial behaviors of millennials. It is definitely a recommended read for banking executives.

Shevlin, a long-time marketing consultant and banking industry analyst, was in 2014 ranked No. 2 on Bank Innovation’s list of "30 Innovators to Watch: Key Executives Shaping the Industry."

'Digital Bank: Strategies to Launch or Become a Digital Bank,' by Chris Skinner

Skinner followed up his ninth book, "The Future of Banking in a Globalized World," with "Digital Bank," a book ambitiously aimed at offering a blueprint for creating what Skinner foresees as the bank of the future. The book is essentially an extension of the work that Skinner has been doing for years through the Financial Services Club, a networking forum for financial services professionals, which he founded in 2004. It's focused toward helping banking industry professionals become more aware of the impact of the digital revolution in banking — which encompasses mobile devices, social media connection, cloud computing and data analytics — and particularly the way in which mobile and internet banking is changing the ways in which both individuals and companies interact with their banks. Skinner offers illustrations and real-world examples of the changing face of banking and financial services through examinations of online banks, such as Ally Bank in the United States, Germany's Fidor Bank and the major European peer-to-peer lending service company Zopa.

'The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and Digital Money Are Challenging the Global Economic Order,' by Paul Vigna and Michael Casey

As the title indicates, Vigna and Casey's book focuses on the rise of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. Vigna and Casey, reporters for the Wall Street Journal, explain the significance of alternative currencies and how they may revolutionize the world's basic monetary system by providing, through means of the rapidly developing blockchain technology, an entirely new financial system, one that opens up provision of basic financial services for the vast portion of the world's population that is unbanked. The authors provide a clear explanation of the origins of digital cryptocurrencies and how they function in providing transactions and other financial services outside of, and independently from, a central bank. In particular, the book provides a thorough examination of bitcoin, acknowledging its weaknesses but more emphatically acknowledging that the major cryptocurrency has established a firm foothold in the monetary world and is likely to continue to increase in acceptance and importance.