One area of the market which I believe has huge potential for growth over the next few years is financial technology or “fintech”.

Although the United States and the United Kingdom may be leading the way, Australia is certainly no slouch when it comes to fintech. Three rapidly growing companies which I think investors should keep a very close eye on are listed below:

Afterpay Holdings Ltd (ASX: AFY)

Afterpay provides online retailers with the option to allow their customers to buy goods now, but pay for them later without interest or fees. The company takes a small percentage of the sale in exchange for bearing its default risk. Afterpay has been extending its service into bricks-and-mortar stores in recent months, with management advising that the results have been encouraging so far. Its growing list of clients includes the likes of Topshop, Optus, and Tony Bianco to name just three. I believe Afterpay is definitely worth keeping a close eye on.

Class Ltd (ASX: CL1)

Although the share price of this self-managed super fund software provider has risen 122% year-to-date, I still believe it is a great investment option. I was impressed with the company’s full year results. Thanks to a 37% lift in billable portfolios, Class was able to grow its net profit after tax by a whopping 71% to $5.8 million. With tailwinds from a growing superannuation system and the continuing popularity of operating SMSF structures, I believe Class has a bright future ahead of it.

Praemium Ltd (ASX: PPS)

Praemium is a global leader in the provision of investment administration, separately managed accounts, and financial planning technology platforms. The company has been growing at a rapid clip and currently administers over 300,000 investor accounts covering approximately $80 billion in funds globally. According to CommSec analysts are expecting Praemium to grow its earnings by a massive 131% per annum for the next couple of years. With its shares changing hands at 32x estimated FY 2017 earnings, I feel this is reasonably cheap considering its explosive growth prospects.

If you need to make room in your portfolio for them then I would highly recommend getting rid of these shares if you own them. Each could be acting as a drag on your portfolio and might be best swapped out.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Class Limited. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.