This year has not been kind to financial technology stocks. Facing high inflation, rising interest rates, and other macroeconomic pressures, fintechs have been subject to specific headwinds in addition to the broader pivot away from growth stocks. The result has been sharp valuation pullbacks. 

The silver lining is that some promising stocks have been pushed down to attractive levels, and investors who take a buy-and-hold approach with the best of the bunch stand to see very strong returns. 

With that in mind, read on to see why two Motley Fool contributors believe that building long-term positions in these two fintech stocks will pay off in big ways. 

Money and chart lines.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. PayPal

Parkev Tatevosian: PayPal (PYPL -1.68%) investors are experiencing a dismal year in 2022. The stock is down 63% year to date and the company is reeling from the reversal of a surge in online consumer spending during the peak of the pandemic.

PayPal's payment processing platform is primarily used by people shopping online. It offers tremendous convenience, eliminating the need to put your debit card information on each new website or shopping app. PayPal makes it easier by taking your information once, and then you can use your PayPal user info on sites that accept it as a form of payment.

That convenience advantage has helped the company increase revenue from $5.7 billion in 2012 to $25.4 billion in 2021. Indeed, from 2012 to 2021, PayPal's operating income rose from $899 million to $4.3 billion. 

PYPL Price to Free Cash Flow Chart

PYPL Price to Free Cash Flow data by YCharts

Even so, I believe PayPal's 63% fall in 2022 is a buying opportunity. In the long run, online spending will increase as a percentage of overall purchases. The convenience of shopping online is too much for brick-and-mortar stores to overcome. True, revenue growth slowed in 2022 as consumers reduced spending online. Similarly, operating income decreased year over year in two out of the three quarters in 2022. Yet investors can capitalize on the short-term headwinds and buy this growth stock at a price-to-free cash flow ratio of 15, which is near the lowest it's been since 2016. 

2. SoFi Technologies

Keith Noonan: SoFi Technologies (SOFI -0.62%) is an online-banking and financial-services company that's been growing rapidly, but it's faced some significant challenges this year. Extensions for the student loan moratorium have hurt the company's business outlook and share price, and SoFi's valuation also seems to have taken a ding from recent cryptocurrency scandals, even though its exposure to crypto is limited. 

With weaker outlooks on the student-loan and home-loan fronts heading into 2023, SoFi's personal-lending business will be its key performance driver next year, and the market isn't enthusiastic about that prospect. Additionally, there's a real risk that a prolonged recession will wind up creating additional headwinds for the company. Facing these challenges, SoFi stock has fallen roughly 71% this year, and it's down 82% from its all-time high.

While SoFi stock has lost ground due to macroeconomic headwinds and the business's lack of profitability, the company has continued to increase revenue at an impressive clip. The company increased adjusted non-GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) revenue 51% year over year to roughly $419 million in the third quarter, and its total member count was up 61% compared to the prior-year period at 4.7 million.

Admittedly, the company's net loss in Q3 more than doubled to $74.2 million, but strong momentum for revenue and member-addition growth show that people are finding value in its services. Despite the challenging operating backdrop, the company actually raised its full-year sales and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) targets in its last quarterly report, and the business is showing that it can respond flexibly to industry conditions.

With a market cap of roughly $3.7 billion, SoFi is now valued at just 2.4 times this year's expected sales, and its shares look attractively priced for long-term investors. 

PayPal and SoFi stand out as good long-term buys

Macroeconomic headwinds may continue to shape business and stock performance for fintechs in the near term, but quality companies will emerge from these challenges when the economy recovers. PayPal and SoFi look capable of weathering those headwinds, and there's a good chance that they will go on to deliver strong returns for investors who take a buy-and-hold approach.