More than half of global transactions at the point of sale (PoS) will be contactless within five years, predicts Juniper Research. The new study, PoS & MPoS Terminals: Vendor Strategies, Positioning & Market Forecasts 2017-2022, found that adoption in the US would rise sharply over the period, with contactless rising from less than two per cent of transactions this year to 34 per cent by 2022.
Silicon Valley investment firm IVP, which has previously invested in Snapchat, Twitter and Netflix, is reportedly close to finalising a deal to buy a stake in UK digital payments app TransferWise. This is according to reports from Sky News, which claims that the deal will be worth tens of millions of pounds – likely to be in the region of $60 million. The latest investment will form part of a fundraising round from TransferWise.
Barclays has become the first UK High Street bank to launch payments using Apple’s virtual assistant Siri. Bank customers can now make payments using just their voice within the Barclays Mobile Banking app. The Siri integration means users won’t need to open the app to pay existing payees or mobile contacts, they can simply ask Siri such as ‘Pay John £15 with Barclays’.
HSBC has selected Capita to provide new mortgage software as the bank looks to further grow its broker distribution channels. HSBC has chosen Capita’s Omiga mortgage software, which will provide the bank with a single platform in an effort to drive greater automation by making it easier for brokers to transact with lenders, upload documents, and track details of mortgage applications and decisions.
Canadian bank CIBC has ended a 20-year partnership with grocery retail operator Loblow Companies to launch a new digital banking brand for online and mobile customers. Named Simplii Financial, the new brand will replace the President’s Choice financial banking products on 1 November 2017. Clients can continue to use their bank accounts without interruption, and will keep the same account numbers, registered bill payments, preauthorised debits or automatic payroll deposits.
The Australian government has revealed plans to strengthen its anti-money laundering laws and regulate digital currencies, following a financial scandal involving the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. The new legislation brings digital currencies, such as the likes of Bitcoin, under the remit of Australia’s crime fighting agency Austrac, which initiated legal action against CBA for breaches of money laundering and terrorism financing laws earlier this month.
US-based KeyBank has announced its strategic partnership with an equity investment in Billtrust, the latest in a series of partnerships with emerging FinTech providers. The partnership has seen the launch of the KeyTotal AR platform, which allows the bank’s corporate clients to improve operational efficiency during the invoice-to-cash process using electronic invoicing and payments in a cloud-based solution. Powered by Billtrust technology, the platform automates invoice delivery, payment and cash application.
In what is believed to be an industry first, Barclays has announced the launch of a new online tool that helps businesses manage all their own data in one place. The bank has collaborated with a number of app providers to enable businesses to import their everyday business data and information provided by these apps into one dashboard within its online banking site.
CashDash, digital wallet technology provider, and ATM operator Cardtronics have announced the integration of cardless cash withdrawal technology and foreign exchange functionality at 1,000 Cashzone ATMs in London. Visitors to the capital will be able to buy foreign currency at reportedly attractive rates, at any time, from anywhere in the world. Once deposited in the Cash2Go e-wallet, funds can then be accessed by selecting a convenient Cashzone ATM in London where they will be able to withdraw their money in GBP free of charge, and without the use of a bank card.
Singtel has partnered with Wirecard to complete the roll out of Singapore’s first Visa virtual card for Singtel’s mobile wallet Dash. Singtel Dash is currently Singapore’s most widely accepted all-in-one digital wallet. The mobile payments platform, which allows customers to shop, pay transport fares and remit money, is part of Singtel’s strategy to transform Southeast Asia’s biggest phone carrier into a leading communications technology company by investing into digital and cyber security businesses.
Australian pocket money startup Spriggy has announced the closure of a $2.5 million funding round. The funding will be used to help Spriggy, which already has over 35,000 users, expand its services in an effort to help more Australian families teach their kids about earning, saving and responsible spending in an increasingly digital world. The funding round was led by Alium Capital with additional investments from venture capital group Perle Ventures, and a number of high-net worth individuals. Former ING Direct Australia CEO Vaughn Richtor, and former Delivery Hero CTO, Scott Fletcher, will also join Spriggy in advisory roles to help guide the company into its next phase of growth.
Barclays customers have been told that they will experience web blackouts on their online and telephone banking services for one weekend each month until January 2018, as the bank prepares to separate its wholesale and retail banking businesses to comply with new ring-fencing regulations. In a message to customers, the bank said that customers will be unable to check their balance, move money online, or access money transfer app PingIt between 11:30pm on Saturday 19 August until 3:30pm Sunday 20 August. The move will also see 800,000 new sort codes issued to customers.
The value of mobile contactless transactions in the UK has skyrocketed to £370 million in the first six months of 2017, a 336 per cent rise on the previous year, the latest Worldpay data has shown. The use of mobile devices to make in-store payments has been growing steadily since the UK launch of Apple Pay in 2015, but according to Worldpay it is only in the past 12 months that the technology has begun to gain widespread acceptance beyond ‘early adopters,’ further fuelled by the launch of Android Pay in 2016 and Samsung Pay earlier this year.
Cloud-enabled managed services firm Options has secured nearly $100 million of investment from New York-based private equity firm Bregal Sagemount. The funds will enable the firm to pursue strategic growth initiatives, invest further in platform innovations and expand its reach in key global financial centres. Options has enjoyed a period of rapid growth in recent years. In the US alone, the firm’s revenues have more than doubled from 2014 to 2016.
The National Bank of Kenya (NBK) has partnered with digital money transfer service WorldRemit to enable Kenyans living abroad to make instant transfers back home. WorldRemit users can now make instant bank deposits to NBK accounts held in both Kenyan Shillings and US Dollars, as well as send funds for cash pickup in KES across NBKs extensive branch network.
Asda Money has partnered with lending platform Freedom Finance to launch a new personal loans offering, in an effort to provide its UK customers with access to “affordable finance”. The Asda Personal Loans service will launch today and marks the first time that a UK retailer has partnered with a panel-based broker. The joint venture will use Freedom Finance’s FinTech platform to search a range of lenders. The application will give customers the best available rates for personal loans, without leaving a mark on credit ratings.
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has announced that it will be cutting a further 40 per cent of permanent IT staff from its London base by 2020. The latest cuts, coupled with the 65 per cent reduction of contractors also announced, will result in a total reduction of 880 staff. The Unite union has labelled the move from the bank as ‘wholly unacceptable’ – In 2016, RBS employed 2,200 IT staff but by 2020 there will be just 950 full-time employees.
SWIFT has announced that it will provide US institutions with a gateway to The Clearing House’s real-time payments (RTP) platform. SWIFT will provide an interface to manage the requirements of sending and receiving domestic instant payment transactions on behalf of customers. The Clearing House (TCH) is building a new clearing and settlement system to support domestic instant payments in the US, allowing consumers and businesses to send and receive payments in real-time and directly from their accounts at financial institutions. It will also include data and non-payment messages that financial institutions can use to build digital commerce solutions.
Digiliti Money, a US-based mobile FinTech provider, has announced its intention to file an extension with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) after failing to meet the deadline to submit its Q2 earnings. Digiliti Money says it has initiated an internal investigation regarding very recently discovered information indicating that it may need to restate its previously reported financial results.
Bank ABC in Bahrain has become the first financial institution in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to join the blockchain-focused R3 consortium. The move follows that of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) which joined R3 back in May, becoming the first regulatory body in the MENA region to join the network. The over 80-strong consortium of the world's biggest financial institutions is spearheading research and development of blockchain-inspired distributed ledger technology (DLT) to build the next generation of financial services infrastructure.
WhatsApp could soon be rolling out a new peer-to-peer (P2P) payments service, according to leaked company screenshots. The global messaging app, which was bought by Facebook back in February 2014 for $19 billion, looks close to adding the new payments feature which will enable WhatsApp users to wirelessly transfer money within the messenger service.
PayPal has launched two new innovation labs in India to support projects in the field of machine learning, artificial intelligence, data science, IoT, AR, VR and basic robotics. The new labs, which are located at the Chennai and Bangalore tech centres, are PayPal’s first in India and its third overall after the US and Singapore.
Curve co-founder, Tom Foster-Carter, is set to join digital-only challenger bank Monzo as its new COO, according to TechCrunch. Foster-Carter had held the position of head of operations at FinTech startup Curve, which will now be filled by Rona Ruthen.
ANZ has announced that it is looking to partner with an “innovative technology provider” to bring additional insights and experience to the bank and help it support its financial services operations. Commenting on the announcement, ANZ’s group executive of technology, Gerard Florian, said: “This is not about one big-bang technology project with a finish line. At ANZ we’re continuously evolving our technology architecture to ensure we are consistently delivering great products and services to our customers.”
Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and UAE Exchange have entered into a partnership to support, develop and promote the FinTech ecosystem in the United Arab Emirates. The partnership will see UAE Exchange collaborate with FinTech participants under ADGM’s Regulatory Laboratory (RegLab) to develop and deploy promising FinTech solutions in the remittance, foreign exchange and payments space.
BBVA has announced that it has reached more than three million mobile customers in Spain, a 30 per cent increase on December last year. This upward trend has continued since December 2015, when the bank had 1.9 million customers. There are customers who use the app, for example, to contact their bank manager, and those who are more accustomed to using the mobile phone to access BBVA. In May 2016, there were 23.8 million interactions over smartphones, whereas in May of this year the figure surpassed 56 million, a 135 per cent increase.
Payments giant PayPal has agreed to acquire Swift Financial, a provider of working capital solutions to small businesses in the US. Headquartered in Delaware, Swift Financial provides funding to thousands of growing companies in the US. Back in 2013, in an effort to increase access to capital for small businesses, PayPal launched PayPal Working Capital, a financing product that has provided access to more than $3 billion in funding to more than 115,000 small firms.
Singapore’s DBS Bank has taken advantage of the relaxing of regulatory restrictions as it moves into the e-commerce market with the launch of an online car selling marketplace. With some 3,500 direct-owner car listings, DBS Car Marketplace’s official launch makes it Singapore’s first online consumer marketplace helmed by a bank.
Barclays has appointed Barry Rodrigues as the new chief executive officer of Barclaycard International. Rodrigues, who joins Barclays following six years at Citi where he was most recently head of digital payments, will be based in New York and report directly to the president of Barclays International, Tim Throsby. In Rodrigues’ role at Citi, he was responsible for the strategy, design and execution of next-generation payment solutions and platforms across both digital commerce and money transmission.
US-based digital currency exchange Coinbase has raised $100 million in a Series D funding round led by IVP. Other participants in the financing round included Spark Capital, Greylock Partners, Battery Ventures, Section 32 and Draper Associates. Coinbase has now exchanged over $25 billion of digital currency for customers since its inception back in 2012.
Fuse, the lending arm of Filipino financial technology firm Mynt, has chosen Mambu, an SaaS banking engine, to power its consumer and business lending products. Mynt aims to increase access to financial services through mobile money, micro-loans and technology by leveraging the mobile and store networks of its partners and parent company. Mynt, which is owned by Globe Telecoms, launched its lending business, Fuse, in 2016 to address the credit vacuum in the Philippines. Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which account for 99.6 per cent percent of total registered companies in the country, as well as individuals face significant difficulty in accessing credit from incumbents due to stringent credit decisioning, limited authentication documentation and lack of collateral.
Nordea Bank has entered into a strategic partnership with e-invoicing outfit Basware to deliver a new discounting solution to its corporate customers. Nordea and Basware will jointly offer the dynamic discounting solution to Nordea’s corporate customers, while Basware will deliver the solution integrated into the customers’ Purchase-to-Pay or customer’s Enterprise Resource Planning solutions.
TSB has claimed that the Competition and Market Authority’s (CMA) three-year investigation into competition in retail banking has “backfired”, following a 14 per cent drop in the number of consumers switching bank accounts. In the 12 months following the publication of the CMA’s final report, the number of people using the Current Account Switching Service (CASS) has fallen by 14 per cent. Those customers have missed out on a saving over £10 million by not switching banks – according to the CMA’s own research which found that a typical customer could save on average £70 a year.
Railsbank, a UK-based open banking and compliance platform, has announced the closure of a $1.2 million investment round led by Firestartr. Railsbank aims to give digitally native companies access to global transaction banking. By offering a single API, it allows companies to create bank accounts and connect to payment schemes to receive and send money from these accounts.
HSBC has announced that it is working with IBM to develop a cognitive intelligence solution which will combine optical character recognition and advanced robotics, in a move designed to make its global trade processes safer and more efficient. HSBC’s Global Trade and Receivables Finance (GTRF) team facilitates over $500 billion of documentary trade for customers every year, and in doing so must review and process up to 100 million pages of documents, ranging from invoices to packing lists and insurance certificates.
Russian e-commerce technology firm Yandex has signed a deal with Sberbank to combine the technologies and infrastructures of both organisations in order to developing a new e-commerce platform. The agreement states that Sberbank will invest 30 billion rubles ($500 million) into Yandex.Market, with the two partners owning equal stakes in the venture. Up to 10 per cent of the company’s shares will be allocated for an equity incentive pool for Yandex.Market management and employees.
Digital Nordic bank Nordnet has implemented a new system from IPsoft, which will enable the bank to scale customer interactions through an artificial intelligence platform. The new AI bot, which is called Amelia, will support new customers through the onboarding process and the activation of their accounts. Amelia has been designed to learn quickly, manage complex dialogues, and respond to analytical triggers in real-time.
Total card spending in the UK reached £57.1 billion in June, up by 0.3 per cent on May and seven per cent on June 2016, the latest UK Finance figures show. There were just under 1.4 billion card payments in June, a monthly record and a 12 per cent rise in the last 12 months. This is the highest annual rate of growth in the number of payments since June 2008, driven by a robust rise in online (20 per cent) and contactless (143 per cent) purchases.
Nasdaq and SIX Swiss Exchange have announced a collaboration to provide distributed ledger technology (DLT) for a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for SIX’s OTC structured products business. Working with technology partner Chain, the solution will integrate with several systems currently managed by SIX and utilise the DLT capabilities at the core of the Nasdaq Financial Framework, Nasdaq’s enterprise architecture.
Thailand’s Kasikornbank (KBank) has partnered with IBM to launch a new enterprise Letter of Guarantee network based on IBM Blockchain. The new solution is designed to help simplify and expedite procedures for KBank’s Letter of Guarantee process, with the goal of improving the customer experience, strengthening security and reducing costs for clients and the bank. The more digitised service means the solution is entirely paperless, while the transparency provided by blockchain can help to eliminate forgery and provide efficient service delivery.
Metro Bank has announced the appointment of Martyn Atkinson as its new chief information officer. Atkinson, currently director of digital and change at the bank, will take up the new role on 4 September 2017. He will report to the CEO, Craig Donaldson, and will be a member of the bank’s executive leadership team. Martyn, who joined Metro Bank in January 2016, has extensive financial services expertise and a track record in IT and digital strategy, development and change. A Cambridge graduate, his previous positions include, head of transformation at Nationwide Building Society and head of business change at Friends Life, along with senior roles at Lloyds Banking Group and Accenture.
Capital One has announced that it will be closing down its Level Money money management app, as of 1 September 2017. A statement on the Level Money website reads: “When we started Level Money back in 2013, there weren’t many tools to help people manage their money. We saw an opportunity to fix that—reinventing the banking experience to make managing money easier and more intuitive.
The European Banking Authority (EBA) has published a discussion paper on its approach to FinTech and the results of the first EU-wide FinTech mapping exercise. The report states that FinTech has the potential to transform the provision of financial services, and that public authorities in the EU and beyond have started to investigate the impact FinTech is having on the financial system.
Australia’s largest credit union CUA has announced that it will trial Australia Post’s new digital identity verification service later this year. CUA will pilot the Digital iD technology, becoming the first banking provider in the country to sign up to trial the platform. The CUA is one of four organisations which have committed to pilot the online and mobile identity verification service across banking, foreign currency, outsourcing of tasks and police checks.
Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and KPMG have collaborated to launch the first ever FinTech Abu Dhabi Innovation Challenge, enabling startups to access solutions to support their businesses. The Innovation Challenge, as part of the inaugural FinTech Abu Dhabi event on 22 and 23 October 2017, includes an intensive five week program, which will allow innovative and mature startups to conceptualise and present market-ready solutions that can address real business challenges identified in the financial services industry in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA).
Digital-only challenger Tandem is moving ever closer to launch after agreeing a deal to acquire 100 per cent of Harrods Bank, subject to regulatory approval. It has been a tough year so far for Tandem, which officially changed its name from Tandem Bank back in May, following the challenger bank’s decision to remove savings accounts from its offering.
Nigeria’s Access Bank has selected Earthport to provide delivery of cross-border payment services into the country. The new payment channel has been created in order to address the need for more effective servicing of remittances and low-value payments sourced from outside the country, which now total an estimated $19 billion per year.
Eleven banks have developed a prototype trade finance application on R3’s distributed ledger platform that aims to reduce inefficiencies and costs by streamlining the processing of sight letters of credit. Bangkok Bank, BBVA, BNP Paribas, HSBC, ING, Intesa Sanpaolo, Mizuho, RBS, Scotiabank, SEB and U.S. Bank have been collaborating with R3 and technology partner CGI
Companies designing innovative financial products and business solutions will be provided with the possibility to test them in a new regulatory sandbox under a new initiative by the Bank of Lithuania. The country’s central bank will supervise and provide consultations to FinTech firms as they test new financial products.
Australian FinTech firm zipMoney has announced that it has secured a $40 million strategic investment from Westpac Banking Corporation. The two firms have also agreed a strategic relationship which allows the parties to explore the integration of Zip’s products and services across Westpac’s network throughout Australia. The parties will also explore other initiatives including the provision of currently in-development business-to-business products and services to Westpac.
British FinTech firm Monitise has accepted an improved takeover bid of £75 million from Fiserv, after a previous bid of £70 million was deemed as “too low” from shareholders. The first bid was initially accepted by Monitise, but caused concern among shareholders, who threatened to withdraw their support from the acquisition.
European Investment Bank (EIB) has selected new end-to-end networking technology from Extreme Networks, to provide a scalable network across its 40 worldwide offices. Extreme has provided network solutions for EIB’s growing 4,000 public and private network users and 15,000 devices over the past 20 years. The recently deployed Gigabit Ethernet and high-density Wi-Fi allows EIB’s IT department to manage the entire network infrastructure through a single pane of glass.
Kabbage, a US-based online lender to small businesses, has announced a $250 million strategic growth investment from Japan’s SoftBank. The quarter of a billion dollar investment represents the largest equity raise in the online small business lending segment to date, with the funding brings Kabbage’s total equity raised to nearly $500 million.
Dinosaur Merchant Bank has selected InvestCloud to provide a new digital platform for the bank’s European and Latin American wealth management customers. The bank will use InvestCloud’s client portal solution, Blue, which aims to empower wealth managers and financial firms to build and maintain intuitive and responsive client relationships tailored to their specific client base, leveraging a full suite of client communications apps.
PayPal has announced a partnership with Skype which will allows users in 22 countries to send money to other Skype users via its mobile app. With over one billion Skype mobile downloads to date globally, users will be able to use PayPal directly from their Skype app to quickly send money. Over the past year, PayPal has partnered with Apple, Slack and Microsoft to enable peer-to-peer (P2P) payments with PayPal and Venmo.
Payments processing company Paysafe has accepted a £2.9 billion takeover bid from Blackstone and CVC. Paysafe is a global payment processor for merchants, platform providers and marketplaces, ISOs and partners. For consumers, the payments firm also offers digital wallet, card and mobile solutions to help customers manage and move their money without unnecessary cost and friction.
Jiffy, the service developed by SIA to send and receive money in real time via smartphone using just a user’s mobile number, has launched in more than 150 retail outlets in Milan, Rome and Turin. The new service enables users to pay via app instantly and securely with those outlets that have signed up with Intesa Sanpaolo bank. The payment is made at the store by scanning the QR Code created by the merchant at the time of purchase.
US military bank USAA has launched a pilot which allows users to access its services through a conversation with Amazon Alexa. Developed by Clinic, the technology uses artificial intelligence to provide a conversational experience for users, who can access information about account balances, transactions, and spending patterns. After asking Alexa to open their USAA account, members can ask questions like
The University of Oxford is launching a new online FinTech programme designed to “help meet the challenges of a rapidly changing financial services industry”. The Oxford FinTech Programme, which will be run by the university’s Saïd Business School, will examine current and emerging technologies around money and payments, markets and consumer experience, and explore key ideas, principles, and frameworks around RegTech, PropTech and social inclusion.
Bread, a US FinTech startup that builds ‘pay over time’solutions for online merchants, has announced the completion of a $126 million equity and debt financing round. Menlo Ventures led the equity round, with participation from Bessemer Venture Partners, RRE Ventures, and others. As part of the round, Mark Siegel, Menlo’s managing partner, will be joining Bread’s board of directors. The debt facility was provided by Victory Park Capital.
Following a period of ideological debate over the future of Bitcoin, the crypto-currency has now split into two separate entities with the new ‘Bitcoin Cash’ being mined for the first time. The new currency has been developed as a measure to increase the capacity of Bitcoin’s blockchain, as it could previously only have one megabyte of data added to it every 10 minutes – which ultimately slowed the transaction process for users.
Belgium payments outfit Payconiq has expanded its footprint into Luxembourg after acquiring local mobile payments firm Digicash. The move comes as Payconiq looks to establish a strong partnership with Luxembourg banks and retailers. Combining forces with Digicash, Payconiq will aim to further enhance the consumer experience in online, on the-go and peer-to-peer payments.
Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) has updated its mobile app, becoming the first bank in the country to allow its personal banking clients to use Siri to pay their bills on their iPhone or iPad. RBC has also launched a new payments service within iMessage, which means clients can now send a transfer without leaving their iMessage window. For those paying a bill through Siri, once the user gives a voice command, Siri will confirm the name from the user’s payee list and the RBC Mobile app automatically debits their account and sends the payment. The payment is protected by TouchID.
Juvo, a mobile identity scoring firm based in California, has announced a $40 million Series B funding round led by investors New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Wing Venture Capital. Also included in the startup’s latest funding round was SignalFire as well as a number of existing investors. Juvo will use these new funds to drive global growth, with a particular emphasis on Asia, Latin America and Europe, and broaden its suite of financial service offerings targeting the ‘financially excluded’.
ING Bank has collaborated with Calypso Technology and the R3 consortium to utilise blockchain technology in an effort to help banks’ back-end infrastructures interact easier when processing trades. The partners carried out trade matching tests on Corda (the distributed ledger technology platform developed by R3) to process foreign exchange trades, and confirmed correct matching in real time across four different time zones.
Just 30 per cent of British insurance policyholders trust their insurance providers to manage their data securely, according to a new survey from Mintel. The Consumers and Data Sharing in Insurance UK 2017 report found that a further 30 per cent said that they would rather pay more for insurance than hand over more personal data than necessary. The top data sharing concerns highlighted by the survey included fear that smart devices could be hacked or open to security breaches (78 per cent), while just over three quarters (76 per cent) worry that insurers might sell their data to other companies.
Immediate payments are a key revenue driver for 66 percent of banks in markets with IP schemes, according to a new survey from ACI Worldwide and Ovum. The benchmark report also noted that although open APIs will benefit customer satisfaction for 65 per cent of banks, nearly half of respondents are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to an open API strategy.
Spanish retail bank Ibercaja has partnered with Fujitsu to digitally transform its banking operations and offer a better customer experience with Fujitsu smart ATMs. The ATMs are a key part of Ibercaja’s new branch offices, named Ibercaja+, which combine personalised consulting with state-of-the-art self-service technology. Ibercaja’s digital strategy focuses on the evolution of branch offices and customer relationship channels. The bank aims to give its customers easier access to financial advisors, plus anywhere, anytime access to key everyday banking services via mobile apps and smart ATMs.
Japan’s Mizuho Bank and the Nomura Research Institute (NRI) announced the completion of a proof-of-concept (PoC) project which examined the applications of artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for derivative contract operation. Mizuho executives made the improvement of the operational efficiency of derivative contract procedures a priority and approached NRI to develop a test in which the bank could examine how AI solutions could address this need.
Contactless spending is expected to soar by more than 300 per cent over the next four years as seven in 10 Brits use the technology to pay more frequently than 12 months ago, new Barclaycard data suggests. The study, which has been conducted ahead of the 10th anniversary of contactless next month, also indicates that the continued surge of ‘touch and go’ payments is set to save UK shoppers 141 million hours, worth almost £1 billion pounds in time, by 2021.
Three quarters of financial services executives believe that the use of blockchain technology will boost their revenues by more than five per cent and lead to annual savings of $20 billion. This is according to a new study from Cognizant, which surveyed more than 1,500 financial services executives from 578 firms worldwide. It found that 91 per cent of respondents believe that blockchain’s implementation and use will be critical or important to their firm’s future.
Financial institutions are the most worried of any sector when it comes to data breaches, new research has found. Research from SavoyStewart.co.uk, which surveyed more than 1,500 firms, found that 60 per cent of directors/senior management in finance and insurance consider cyber security a very high priority – the highest amongst the analysed sectors. The second most concerned sector was education, health and social care (49p per cent) and the least worried was hospitality and food at just 15 per cent.
Consumer awareness of the forthcoming introduction of an image-based cheque clearing system has remained at a relatively low level, according to the latest figures from the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company (C&CCC). Awareness of the new system amongst consumers (15 per cent) is at a similar level to last year, as is business awareness at 20 per cent. However, awareness of cheque imaging among charities has risen from 23 per cent last year to 30 per cent this year.
The Payments Strategy Forum (PSF) has launched a consultation on a blueprint that sets out the design and implementation approach for a new payments system for the UK. The New Payments Architecture (NPA) is designed to provide simpler access, greater innovation, increased adaptability, improved competition and better security. It is also expected to open the door for new and innovative products for everyone who uses payment services.
British tennis ace Andy Murray is one of 40,000 investors taking part in a £4 million crowdfunding campaign for UK digital banking outfit Revolut. The new crowdfund – which includes pre-registered investors on the Seedrs platform – will complete a £50 million Series B funding round announced by Revolut earlier this month, which was led by Index Ventures with Balderton Capital and Ribbit Capital also investing. The capital will help boost Revolut’s expansion across Asia and North America.
ID Finance, a digital finance, credit scoring and emerging markets company, has unveiled a self-learning chatbot which, since going live at the beginning of July, has automatically processed over a third of its customer requests. The chatbot has been developed for MoneyMan, ID Finance’s online lending platform serving customers in Spain, Georgia, Russia, Poland, Kazakhstan and Brazil, and interacts with new customers at the loan application stage and with registered users when they log in to their personal account.
WorldRemit has launched its digital money transfer service in Singapore, allowing migrants to transfer money to over 140 countries as easily as sending an instant message. The move sees WorldRemit expanding its presence in Asia significantly to include Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and Malaysia. According to the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the most dynamic growth in remittances over the past decade has been in Asia, which now receives 55 per cent of the total.
Bank of Cyprus has selected IBM as a strategic partner to help the bank implement its digital transformation programme. The programme is designed to create a more modern and efficient IT platform for the bank, supported by streamlined processes. With the help of IBM, Bank of Cyprus will implement an enterprise wide process re-engineering program, digitising and automating processes with a goal to achieving significant efficiencies while directing routine customer interactions to digital channels.
Cards have overtaken cash for the very first time as the top payment method for Australian consumers, according to the latest report from the country’s central bank. The Reserve Bank of Australia’s Consumer Payments Survey 2016 found that Australian consumers continued to switch from paper-based ways of making payments such as cash and cheques, towards digital payment methods, particularly debit and credit cards.
RBS has been informed by the Treasury that an alternative remedies package has been agreed with the European Commission (EC) regarding its state aid obligations, which could see the bank spend almost £900 million funding FinTech startups and challenger banks. RBS is required to deliver a series of initiatives to support challenger banks and the FinTech sector in the UK in lieu of the sale of RBS subsidiary Williams and Glyn.
Bank of America and PayPal have joined forces to enable in-store payments and account linking, offering joint customers a new way to pay online, in apps and in-store. Under the strategic partnership Bank of America customers will soon be able to transact with PayPal in stores and link their Bank of America cards into PayPal. The new service will be available to customers in the first half of 2018.
Payments firm Worldline has acquired First Data Baltics (FDB) – the fully owned subsidiaries of the First Data Corporation in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – for €73 million. Earlier this week, Worldline signed the agreement with First Data Corporation for the acquisition of 100 per cent of the share capital of FDB. The transaction is expected to close during the third quarter of 2017.
Visa has partnered with open API payment card issuing platform, Marqeta, in an effort to drive further innovations in commercial and consumer payments. In addition, Visa has made a strategic investment in Marqeta in order to support the latter’s domestic and international growth. The initial efforts of the partnership will involve growing opportunities for virtual, physical and tokenised payments across a number of commercial markets and use cases that can benefit from Marqeta’s platform.
Santander has teamed up with UK startup BiBox in a move designed to boost innovation by accelerating FinTech onboarding into the bank. The partnership will enable Santander to quickly integrate new solutions and technologies across all business units faster than traditional onboarding methods via its digital marketplace, resulting in cost savings, faster speed to market, greater standardisation and data sharing.
UniCredit has announced that it has been the victim of a security breach in Italy due to unauthorised access through a third party provider to Italian customer data related to personal loans. A first breach seems to have occurred in September and October 2016 and a second breach which has just been identified in June and July 2017. Data of approximately 400,000 customers in Italy is assumed to have been impacted during these two periods.
Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) have strengthened their FinTech collaboration with a strategic partnership to further advance developments and initiatives that nurture FinTech. The FinTech bridge aims to boost entrepreneurship and support innovation in financial services in Abu Dhabi and Australia.
Spanish banking group BBVA has teamed up with Google to become the first bank in the country to launch Android Pay, allowing its customers to pay using their mobile phones. Android Pay will be operational in the more than one million businesses in Spain with contactless technology. The move means BBVA increases the mobile payment services it has offered its customers for more than three years with BBVA Wallet, making BBVA cards compatible with Android Pay.
US mobile banking startup Varo Money has applied to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) for a national bank charter and to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for federal deposit insurance to form Varo Bank. Varo Money helps customers solve financial problems, manage money and reach financial goals. The startup seeks to be the first national bank in US history designed specifically for people who want to bank on their smartphones.
Visa has announced the opening of two new state-of-the-art data centers in the UK and Singapore, in an effort to expand its global transaction processing capabilities. The new processing centres are designed to meet the growing demand for digital payments around the world. The two hubs will increase the speed, resilience and geo-diversity of Visa’s infrastructure, while looking to strengthen the company’s ability to deliver new and more sophisticated ways to pay.
Global venture capital (VC) investment in FinTech was valued at $6.5 billion in H1 2017, a 45 per cent decrease on last year, while UK investment rose 37 per cent on 2016’s half year figures, the latest Innovate Finance data shows. The research found that while global FinTech investment fell, UK VC investment for FinTech firms increased by 37 per cent to $564 million, despite Brexit and the future uncertainty between European markets and the UK’s financial services sector. However this is still lower than the pre-Brexit H1 2015 figure.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has outlined proposals to help customers make effective comparisons of the service levels available for personal current accounts and business current accounts. The FCA proposes to require firms who offer personal current accounts and business current accounts to publish service information about:
Nasdaq has announced that it will acquire Sybenetix – a startup that combines behavioural analytics and cognitive computing to solve surveillance issues in the asset management industry – for an undisclosed amount. The addition of Sybenetix to Nasdaq's risk and surveillance suite of solutions, including SMARTS and TradeGuard, will enable Nasdaq to bring greater technology expertise to buy-side compliance officers across the global capital markets who require future-focused surveillance capabilities to protect their firms.
The deadline for this year’s Payments Awards has been extended to 4 August, so there is still time to submit your organisation’s entries. Now in their fifth year and hosted by FStech and sister title Retail Systems, there are 27 categories to choose from, with five new trophies up for grabs including the Payments Infrastructure Award and Blockchain Initiative of the Year.
US-based online financial advisory outfit, Betterment, has secured $70 million in a new funding round in a move that will help the firm “aggressively grow its business and increase product development”. The funding, an extension of last year’s Series E round, was led by Swedish investment company Kinnevik, with previous investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Menlo Ventures, and Francisco Partners also participating.
UniCredit has begun testing EBA Clearing’s pan-European, real-time payments platform RT1, with the bank’s customers in Italy and Germany set to be the first to use the new payment method. The Italian-headquartered bank is looking to become one of the first in Europe to make real-time payments available to customers in the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) on the launch date of the European Payments Council’s SEPA Instant Credit Transfer (SCT Inst) scheme later this year.
Germany’s National-Bank has signed a five-year deal with Atos who will provide infrastructure and data centre services to the bank. The contract includes data centre, server, mainframe, database and storage services. Under the contract Atos will deliver the operation and maintenance of the Internet and application servers as well as be responsible for creating customised security solutions.
The US national Faster Payments taskforce has published a report summarising its accomplishments and plans for the US payments industry. The report recommends the establishment of a formal governance framework for ongoing collaboration, the establishment of rules, standards and a baseline set of requirements for the Faster Payments system, and the evaluation of laws and regulations affecting payments and payment service providers to ensure that they are suited to real-time payments.
Emirates NBD has announced the launch of FaceBanking, a new service that will offer the bank’s customers instant video and live chat with advisors on its revamped online banking platform and mobile app. The new service allows customers to instantly connect with a personal banking advisor for queries and transactions by clicking a button on Emirates NBD’s online banking platform, effectively bringing in human interaction to digital banking, in what the bank claims is a first for the industry in the region.
Spain’s CaixaBank has invested €75 million to replace all its PCs with 33,000 new tablets in move which will make it the first financial institution in the country to serve customers using 100 per cent mobile technology. The project will see all customer-facing positions equipped with Smart PC tablets, including cashiers. As a result, the bank will complete the digitisation and automation of all its processes
A £14 billion lawsuit filed against Mastercard claiming it collectively overcharged more than 45 million UK consumers over a 16-year period has been rejected by a judge. The judge and the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) agreed with the global payments firm that the claims were not suitable under the current collective actions regime, meaning that the case will not go to trial.
Nottingham Building Society is bucking the digital trend after announcing that later this year it will open seven new branches in market towns across the Midlands, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk. The new branches will be unveiled in November and Dec ember this year, with many banks choosing to close branches in the wake of a more digital age. The Nottingham Building Society said that branches can have a future if banks and building societies ‘reinvent’ their role and make them more relevant to the needs of customers today.
OCBC Bank has piloted two FinTech solutions to enhance its competency in fighting money laundering and terrorism financing. The two FinTech companies involved – BlackSwan Technologies and Silent Eight – were part of the second FinTech Accelerator Programme run by The Open Vault at OCBC. The companies leverage artificial intelligence to conduct research on individuals and entities suspected of illegal financing. This is done by searching for information on individual profiles, and mapping how suspicious transactions may be linked to one another to see if they are indeed fraudulent or illegal.
ANZ has opened its first entirely cashless branch in Brisbane, as the Australian bank’s customers continue to choose online and digital banking options instead of cash. The new branch in George Street, Brisbane is ANZ’s seventh cashless branch across Australia since it opened the first one in Sydney’s Bondi Junction in March last year. The new George Street branch does not offer traditional telling or over-the-counter cash handling, but staff are available to help customers deposit and withdraw cash through the bank’s SMART ATMs.
Wells Fargo has unveiled a new digital banking experience to provide customers with a single view of their ‘digital financial footprint’. The new ‘Control Tower’ will provide customers with a view of where their Wells Fargo card or account information is connected (such as recurring payments, third parties, mobile wallets, devices, subscriptions etc) — and will enable customers to control when and where their Wells Fargo account is shared via an on/off function from one single, convenient, and secure place.
PayPal has expanded its relationship with JPMorgan Chase in a move designed to drive more choice, flexibility and value in the payments space for joint customers of the two firms. The new terms of the agreement enable PayPal to further expand its reach in-store, enable Chase-issued cards to be easily added to newly created or existing PayPal accounts and will allow joint customers to use their Chase Ultimate Rewards Points anywhere PayPal is accepted online and in-app.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has raised concerns about payment and e-money institutions using currency converter tools in relation to their currency transfer services in a “misleading way”. The FCA has commenced investigations into a number of payment institutions whose promotions it considers to be potentially misleading as a result of their use of the interbank rate in an online currency converter tool and in other promotional material.
Ingenico has announced the acquisition of payment services outfit Bambora from Nordic Capital in a deal worth €1.5 billion. The transaction, which will be “fully financed through available cash and debt”, is in line with Ingenico’s mission to provide a more integrated client offering and omnichannel solutions. Headquartered in Stockholm, Bambora employs more than 700 people across Europe, North America and Australia and delivers in-store, mobile and online services through end-to-end payment solutions for over 110,000 merchants and enterprises globally.
A third of all UK card payments are now contactless, a sharp rise from the 18 per cent figure posted in May 2016, the latest UK Finance statistics show. A total of £4.5 billion was spent via contactless in May 2017, compared to £3.9 billion in April 2017. The number of card payments in total continued to grow to 1.4 billion, an increase of 12 per cent over the past year.
The Bank of England has announced that it will be opening direct access to RTGS accounts to non-bank payment service providers (PSPs). This enables non-bank PSPs to apply for direct access to the UK’s sterling payment systems that settle in sterling central bank money, including Faster Payments, Bacs, CHAPS, LINK, Visa, and the new digital cheque imaging system, when it goes live.
TSB is set to introduce iris scanning technology to its mobile app, as the bank’s digital transformation gathers pace. In what TSB claims is a first in Europe, customers with a Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8+ will be able to unlock their TSB mobile banking app using the Samsung Pass iris scanner. This means TSB’s customers can access their banking using either the fingerprint or the iris scanner, so there is no need to remember lengthy IDs or passwords.
The Finstar Financial Group has unveiled a $150 million fund that it will use to invest both in new FinTech startups and its in-house research and development of financial technology. The international private equity group said its five-year investment plan was part of a wider strategy to expand and improve its FinTech offering, particularly in its primary markets of Europe, Latin America and Southeast Asia.
Six global Swiss companies have issued an open letter stating their support for the SWIFT global payments innovation (gpi) service and encouraging banks worldwide to use gpi in order to improve cross-border payments. The firms, which include ABB, Nestle, Roche, SBB, Swiss Re and Wurth, claimed in the letter that SWIFT gpi addresses their ‘pain points’ around speed, transparency, and tracking of cross-border payments.
The government has unveiled new rules outlawing additional card charges in the UK, which it says regularly see people charged 20 per cent extra for purchases when paying with a credit or debit card. Global airlines and food takeaway apps are common offenders of adding surcharge costs for customers to make card payments or use other services such as PayPal. While many industries have acted to absorb the cost and not pass these on to consumers, these rules will bring an end to the practice entirely.
Bank of England governor Mark Carney has unveiled the forthcoming polymer £10 note, which will depict author Jane Austen and include a host of new design and security features. The banknote was revealed yesterday – on the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death – in an event at Westminster Cathedral, the final resting place of the world-renowned author. It will be printed on polymer and is the first Bank of England banknote with a tactile feature to help blind and partially sighted users.
Borsa Italiana, part of the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG), has teamed up with IBM to build a blockchain solution that digitises the issuance of securities for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Europe. Designed to simplify the tracking and management of shareholding information, the new system intends to create a distributed shared registry containing a record of all shareholder transactions, helping to open up new opportunities for trading and investing.
Cloud-based global payments processing firm Form3 has secured a strategic investment of $5 million from Barclays, the Angel Co-Fund and other individual investors. The latest funding will be used to continue building on Form3’s momentum in the UK and expand services across Europe and North America. The firm’s API based Payments-as-a-Service platform offers clients real-time and interbank payment types.
Monzo has started to roll out its current account service to customers, with a view of offering a current account to all existing customers by the end of 2017. Over the next three months, the UK challenger bank anticipates between 10,000 and 20,000 customers will gain access to a current account. If everything is working as expected, remaining customers will then be given access to the service.
Mastercard has entered into an agreement to acquire Brighterion, a software company specialising in artificial intelligence (AI). The move further expands Mastercard’s suite of capabilities that aims to deliver greater customer experience and security. The technology is expected to provider more in-depth insights from every transaction to assist in making even more accurate fraud decisions.
Brighterion’s Smart Agent technology will be added to Mastercard’s suite of security products already using artificial intelligence.
Digital challenger Starling Bank has announced that Apple Pay has arrived for its UK customers, allowing users to load their card onto their digital wallet before their physical Mastercard debit card arrives in the post. Starling Bank will be the first bank in the UK to offer this ‘in-app provisioning’ service. When someone uses a credit or debit card with Apple Pay, the actual card numbers are not stored on the device, nor on Apple servers. Instead, a unique Device Account Number is assigned, encrypted and securely stored in the Secure Element on the user’s device. Each transaction is authorised with a one-time unique dynamic security code.
Retail banks are still plagued by long process times and inconsistent online and offline capabilities, and should become more ‘bionic’ to address these issues, new research suggests. A report by management consultancy firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG) indicates that retail banks must effectively fuse digital technology with personalised human interaction in order to raise service levels, profitability and competitiveness.
InsurTech startups are poised to transform the insurance industry, with investment and an increasing number of new businesses and collaborative partnerships creating a thriving ecosystem of start-ups, insurers, investors and innovators. This is according to Startupbootcamp InsurTech’s 2017 trend report with PwC, which found that in 2016, just 28 per cent of insurers were exploring partnerships to leverage InsurTech, but in 2017 45 per cent are directly engaging in such partnerships.
The global payment cards market has grown by eight per cent to reach 14 billion cards currently in use worldwide, with UnionPay consolidating its position as the largest scheme, according to new research from RBR. With a billion new cards issued in the space of a year, the global market remains buoyant. The fastest growth is in Asia-Pacific, driven by financial inclusion initiatives, with China contributing by far the most to the rise in card numbers. By 2022, the number of cards worldwide is forecast to rise to 17 billion as many people, particularly in parts of Asia-Pacific and the Middle East and Africa, still do not hold a payment card.
European payments outfit Worldline has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire 100 per cent of the share capital of Digital River World Payments (DRWP). Founded in 1997 and headquartered in Stockholm, DRWP is a subsidiary of Digital River and employs approximately 120 employees worldwide. With global payment gateway, multi-acquiring and collecting services under one roof and having generated yearly gross revenue of approximately €37 million in 2016, DRWP delivers online payment acceptance and optimisation solutions for enterprise brands in 175 countries.
German FinTech ‘company builder’ FinLeap has raised €39 million in a funding round led by investors including the German insurer SIGNAL IDUNA, the SBI Group from Japan and the Dutch NIBC Bank. In addition, the reinsurer Hannover Re raised its share in FinLeap, which is the startup platform behind Berlin-based solarisBank. Having launched 12 FinTech ventures so far, FinLeap is already active in 10 European countries. The platform aims to bring together the most prominent players of the financial services industry as well as investors and clients.
The European Payments Council (EPC) has published an update on the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) Instant Credit Transfer (SCT Inst) scheme, which is due to go live on 21 November 2017. The scheme is designed to enable individuals, businesses, corporates and administrations to make instant euro credit transfers between accounts across an international area that will progressively span 34 European countries. The EPC believes that the implementation of the new scheme will progressively change payments and how consumers use them.
Some 48 per cent of UK adults plan to activate new rights over their personal data, following the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018. This is according to a poll of 2,000 UK adults from SAS, which found that 15 per cent even expressed their intention to activate their new rights in the same month that the GDPR comes into force.
Swiss banks are to begin piloting universal, vendor-neutral software developed by NCR Corporation to improve usability, reduce costs and enable faster updates. This forms part of the SIX Group’s ATMfutura initiative designed to provide Swiss banks with the same user interface and user guidance on all their ATMs, substantially simplifying their operation. Selected branches in Switzerland will begin piloting the standardised software in the summer of 2017 though the end of the year. Beginning in 2018, the new software platform will be made available for all Swiss ATMs.
Credit Suisse has completed a revamp of its online banking platform for customers, enabling them to complete payments significantly faster and customise their online banking experience. The platform has been overhauled in recent months and aligned with the current needs of Credit Suisse’s clients. The bank chose a user-centric design approach and worked closely with clients from the different segments. Over 1,000 individuals and 300 companies were asked about their requirements through a combination of surveys and workshops, enabling them to input their ideas from an early stage and on an ongoing basis.
FinTech investment platform Stash has raised $40 million in Series C funding, led by Coatue Management and existing investors Breyer Capital, Goodwater Capital and Valar Ventures. Stash has grown faster than any other investing service in the US and has raised a total of $78 million in less than two years. It is presently servicing over 850,000 accounts, 86 per cent of which are first-time investors. In 2017 alone, Stash added over half a million new investors to its platform, with over 25,000 new customers joining every week.
Data aggregation and insights firm Finicity has signed an agreement with JPMorgan Chase to enhance the security and quality of information the bank’s customers choose to share with apps. The companies will use a direct application programming interface (API) to allow Chase customers to share information securely with the financial apps and services that Finicity supports. This tokenised access will eliminate the need for customers to share their Chase credentials with third-party apps.
Sydney will be the home of a new startup and innovation hub, creating up to 6,500 new jobs, thanks to a $35 million investment from the NSW government. Sydney Startup Hub will be the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and will allow entrepreneurs to develop innovative business ideas that will create job opportunities across regional and metro NSW.
The Competition and Markets Authority has cleared the anticipated merger of Bacs Payment Schemes, Faster Payments Scheme and Cheque & Credit Clearing Company into a New Payments Systems Operator. The merger aims to further develop to capability and capacity of the operators by reducing the complexity and costs of having three separate organisations. This single entity would also become responsible for taking forward the next stage of the development of the New Payments Architecture, an industry-led initiative that aims to increase competition and resilience as well as enhance innovation across the payments and banking industry.
High Street banks face a growing threat from technology giants, with 57 per cent of retail bank IT directors believing that GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon) companies will enter the UK retail banking sector within five years, a new study has revealed. The research, conducted by Peru Consulting, found that the GAFA firms could pose a significantly greater threat to traditional retail banks than existing ‘challenger’ banks and FinTech startups.
US retail kiosk operator Avanti Markets has alerted customers that their personal and payment card information may have been compromised following a “sophisticated malware attack”. The firm said that the malware was designed to gather certain payment card information including the cardholder’s first and last name, credit/debit card number and expiration data. Furthermore, users of the Market Card option may have had their names and email addresses compromised, as well as their biometric information if they have used the kiosk’s biometric verification functionality.
Revolut has announced the closure of a $66 million Series B funding round, led by investors including Index Ventures, Balderton Capital and Ribbit Capital. The new funding will be used to improve business systems and consumer products, and support the challenger bank’s international expansion, starting with Asia and North America. The bank is also hiring a team of international expansion managers for countries across Europe, including Switzerland, Germany and France.
A consortium of French financial institutions has announced the creation of a new European FinTech venture called LiquidShare, which aims to develop a post-trading blockchain infrastructure for the SME market. BNP Paribas, CACEIS, Caisse des Dépôts, Euroclear, Euronext, S2iEM and Société Générale with the support of Paris EUROPLACE, have created the independent startup that will look to improve SME’s access to capital markets and the transparency and security of post-trading operations using blockchain.
FinTech startup Curve has raised $10 million in a Series A funding round ahead of its full UK launch, bringing total investment to £13 million. A group of global banks and venture capital firms participated in the funding round including the likes of Santander InnoVentures, Investec, Connect Ventures, Oxford Capital and former executives from Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, Paypal andGroupon among others.
Debit cards have overtaken cash to become the number one payment method in the UK, according to figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC). The annual Payments Survey reveals that, for the first time, retail purchases made by card account for more than 50 per cent of all customer transactions by volume. According to BRC, this has partly been driven by UK customers increasingly using cards for lower value payments and retailers’ investment in payment technology facilitating greater customer choice over how they pay for their goods both in store and online.
Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo Group has made an undisclosed investment in FinTech SME lender iwoca who will provide Intesa’s SME clients with credit products to bridge the funding gap and support growth. The strategic partnership will leverage iwoca’s SME lending platform and Intesa’s ‘expertise’ in building banking operations across Italy, Central Europe, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. It coincides with an investment in iwoca by Neva Finventures, Intesa Sanpaolo’s FinTech venture capital arm.
The Bank of England has published summaries of the third round of Proof of Concept (PoCs) completed by participants in its FinTech Accelerator programme. The FinTech Accelerator was established to deploy innovative technologies on issues relevant to the bank’s operations. Working in partnership with FinTech firms, the bank is seeking to develop new approaches, build its understanding of these new technologies and support development of the sector.
Santander has announced a partnership with business commerce platform Tradeshift, to deliver end-to-end digitally enabled working capital solutions, the first of which will be supply chain finance (SCF). Santander will offer trade-related financing solutions in an open marketplace connected to over 1.5 million businesses and their enterprise trading partners. With tens of billions of dollars transacted monthly across the Tradeshift platform, the partnership is expected to extend the speed and simplicity of the purchase to pay process for clients by linking e-invoicing to SCF provided by Santander.
The financial services industry is leading the field in adopting new technologies to gain customer insights, with almost two thirds of firms investing in operational data analysis. This is according to the latest CBI/PwC Financial Services survey, which found that UK firms believe that the government’s top priorities should be reducing the cost of regulatory compliance and ensuring tax stability, in addition to securing the ‘best Brexit deal for Britain’.
A consortium of European private and public sector organisations, including HSBC and Barclays, has announced it will begin a piloting the use of a citizen’s national digital identity from France to open a bank account in the UK. The project is co-financed by the EU’s Connecting Europe facility, which is a European funding organisation that supports the development of interconnected trans-European networks in the fields of transport, energy and digital services.
Deutsche Börse Group has entered into a strategic cooperation with Trumid, a FinTech company that provides an electronic trading network for corporate bonds. The Group will invest $10 million for a minority stake as an add-on to Trumid’s previously disclosed $28 million financing from earlier this year. Trumid will use the new funding to continue enhancing and expanding its technology offering.
ANZ and Westpac have teamed with IBM and Australian shopping centre operator Scentre Group to successfully digitise the bank guarantee process used for commercial property leasing. The trial used distributed ledger technology (DLT) to eliminate the need for current paper-based bank guarantee documents, resulting in a single source of information with reduced potential for fraud and increased efficiency.
UK FinTech firms Seedrs and Nutmeg have become the inaugural partners in Fidor Bank’s UK digital marketplace, which provides banking customers with access to sources of alternative investment. This partnership aims to offer Fidor’s UK commercial customers with a suite of new investment opportunities through the digital marketplace.
Mizuho Bank has collaborated with Marubeni Corporation and Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance to complete a trade transaction between Australia and Japan using blockchain technology. The project involved a trade transaction between Australia and Japan in which all trade-related processes, from issuing the letter of credit to delivering trade documents, were completed entirely via a digital platform using blockchain technologies.
Nine in ten UK consumers now use online banking or banking apps, well above their European counterparts, according to a new Mastercard study. For instance, only 62 per cent of French customers have similar digital banking access. As a nation the UK is the most likely to use these digital services regularly, with 54 per cent of Brits accessing them daily, compared with only 28 per cent of bank customers in Italy for example.
The head of Swedish payments firm iZettle has announced that it is preparing for an initial public offering (IPO) following a 60 per cent leap in revenues. The company, which allows small businesses to take payments using mini chip card readers that turn smartphones into cash registers, reported 2016 revenues of SEK 643 million (£59.1 million) against SEK 402 million (£36.9 million) the previous year. Meanwhile losses decreased by 23 per cent to SEK 228 million (£20.9 million).
Nordea has benefited from a partnership with Estonian startup Feelingstream, which uses AI to automatically analyse text, providing the bank with new opportunities to improve its customer service. Feelingstream’s AI solution analyses and categorises messages sent by customers so that they can be forwarded automatically to the right person or unit in Nordea for further processing, allowing the bank to respond more quickly to queries from its customers.
Natixis Asset Management has revealed that, for the first time in the fund industry, investors have successfully purchased shares through a blockchain-powered fund distribution platform. Investors used the blockchain-based platform, FundsDLT, to purchase Natixis Asset Management fund shares with real cash. FundsDLT is the result of collaboration between Fundsquare (a subsidiary of the Luxembourg Stock Exchange), InTech (a subsidiary of POST Group) and KPMG Luxembourg. The platform is being developed to enable asset managers to sell funds through a new distribution channel, while reducing administration costs and the time to process transactions.
Monzo warned users to take a different card out with them yesterday after its service crashed, disabling card payments, top ups and transfers for customers. The bank attributed the outage to a technical issue that occurred on the Global Processing Services (GPS) system, impacting a proportion of transactions across several customers and cardholders. Suresh Vaghjiani, managing director at GPS,
A further 22 global banks have joined the SWIFT gpi blockchain proof of concept (PoC), which is designed to foster collaboration and innovation in regards to cross-border payments. The PoC, which is part of the SWIFT gpi (global payments innovation) service, looks to validate whether blockchain technology can help banks reconcile their international nostro accounts in real time.
BNP Paribas Securities Services and FinTech firm SmartAngels have developed a share register management tool using blockchain technology. The platform enables unlisted companies to digitise their financial securities and to manage their shareholder register using a decentralised, distributed ledger. It was developed as part of a strategic partnership formed last year between France’s BNP Paribas Securities Services, and local equity crowdfunding FinTech SmartAngels.
Open Banking, the entity established by the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) to enable a new, secure way for customers to take control of their financial data and share it with organisations other than their banks, has released its Accounts and Transaction Information and Payments Initiation API Specifications. Open Banking has developed specifications that determine how banks and building societies should enable other regulated companies to, with the customer’s express permission, access accounts and send payments.
More than half of online visits to financial institutions came through mobile channels in 2016, according to a new study from Adobe. The Adobe Digital Insights report leveraged Adobe Analytics Cloud data to analyse the online performance of the top 20 per cent of companies using Adobe Experience Cloud, plus a survey of over 5,000 consumers across Europe about their online habits.
Thomson Reuters has announced the launch of its very own startup incubator which will focus on big data, advanced analytics, distributed ledgers, artificial intelligence, machine learning and other transformational technologies. Participating startups of the incubator, which is located in Switzerland and is part of the Thomson Reuters Labs network, will receive access to Thomson Reuters’ data and content sets, mentoring from executives and networking opportunities for investment and commercialisation.
Worldpay has confirmed that it has accepted a $10 billion (£7.7 billion) offer for the company, from US payments firm Vantiv. The announcement from Worldpay detailed a share price of £3.85 per share – a 19 per cent premium on their value on Monday, the day before Worldpay confirmed that it had received preliminary offers from both Vantiv and JP Morgan. Vantiv will also pay a 5p dividend to shareholders.
A multi-million pound investment in digital technology has been announced by the Nottingham Building Society, making it easier for members to access the society’s advice and service proposition online as well as in branch. The initial focus will be on replacing the society’s existing digital capabilities, its e-savings and mortgage broking platforms, which are both approaching renewal. Once completed, the new programme will then seek to give members high quality access to the building society’s advice and services.
Monzo has published its annual results for the 12 months to 28 February 2017, revealing total losses of £6.7 million. The report revealed that the challenger bank’s prepaid programme has surpassed 240,000 funded accounts, with more than a quarter of a million pound spent in total. The bank has seen an average of five per cent weekly growth in customer numbers and seven per cent weekly growth in transaction volumes.
Germany’s Commerzbank has announced a joint research project with local consultancy firm Fraunhofer IML to look at the digitisation of trade finance based on blockchain technology. The pair have agreed on a cooperation which aims to develop scenarios for future supply chains. Fraunhofer IML supports the bank with the orchestration of the new processes and provides latest insights into the future of physical supply chains as well as the future deployment of blockchain based technology in this area.
Nordea Bank has kicked off its first Open Banking pilot programme with a selected group of 22 customers, FinTechs and “innovative” third parties. The pilot provides a sandbox environment where developers can test the Account Information Service (AIS) API, and can retrieve data such as the account information details, account balances, and transaction history.
UK Millennials are the most valuable demographic for financial institutions, which need to drive a mobile-first digital strategy to accommodate them, according to a new report by Telstra. The global report, which quizzed 27,000 adults worldwide, including 8,000 Millennials, found that the UK Millennial average wallet size has now overtaken all other demographic segments, making them more lucrative to the financial services sector than ever before.
UK FinTech firm Curve has announced the launch of a new mobile feature which allows users to retrospectively switch bank cards for a transactions, up to two weeks after the transaction was initially made. Curve customers use an all-cards-in-one Curve Mastercard and a secure mobile app to manage their money from one place. The card works like a normal bank card, anywhere in the world that accepts Mastercard. After more than 50,000 sign-ups in Beta mode, Curve cards have been used for over £50million in payments in over 100 countries.
Metro Bank has selected cloud software from US firm NICE in order to increase its operational efficiency and productivity. Metro Bank will use the NICE Workflow Management solution in order to cut scheduling inefficiencies, improve forecasting, and provide schedule management via smartphone. The move also aims to boost agent productivity at the bank's 1,000 branches and 600 contact centres.
Virgin Money has partnered with IT services provider Niu Solutions to further enhance the lender’s intermediary mortgage portal. The new partnership forms part of Virgin Money’s digital transformation process, in response to the changing needs of its intermediary clients. The project saw Virgin Money develop its Mortgage Lab which sought to innovate and make the mortgage application process more efficient.
Mobile-first SME banking platform Tide has raised $14 million in one of the largest Series A investment rounds closed by a FinTech company this year. The round has been led by specialist FinTech investor Anthemis, alongside Creandum, the Scandinavian fund that has backed global leaders including Spotify and iZettle. The new money will be used to expand Tide’s workforce at its central London headquarters and develop more features to help the UK’s small and medium-sized businesses manage their finances quickly and efficiently. Existing investors Passion Capital and LocalGlobe have also participated in the round, which follows the $2 million seed investment last year.
Despite the national demonetisation initiative in India, digital banking is struggling to get off the ground across the country, according to a new study from Oracle. The 2017 Oracle JD Power India Retail Banking study, which surveyed over 5,300 retail banking customers in India, found that branches continue to dominate banking channels, with 94 per cent of customers having visited a branch at least once in the past 12 months.
Enterprise Ireland has launched this year’s Competitive Start Fund (CSF) which is aimed at supporting early stage FinTech startups, who will be in with a chance of securing a €50,000 investment. Successful applicants will receive access to the Bank of Ireland’s innovation team, as well as desk space at the bank’s new dedicated FinTech hub, called startlab. In addition, there will be a number of talks and classes provided by industry experts.
RBC Global Asset Management (RBC GAM) has established an in-house technology innovation hub to incubate digital capabilities and drive innovation. Using the network of technology and innovation capabilities across RBC, the new lab will focus on developing and executing next-generation initiatives to enhance the experience and outcomes of investors and advisors.
UK challenger bank OakNorth has deployed a new bank operating system from nCino, designed to help the FI scale its business and configure its loan processes. OakNorth is the first financial institution outside of the US to implement nCino’s platform, which combines traditionally disparate solutions such as CRM, loan origination, business process management and reporting in a single, secure cloud-based environment.
UK Finance has opened for business today, representing more than 300 firms in the UK providing credit, banking, markets and payments-related services. The new organisation is taking on the previous responsibilities of the Asset Based Finance Association, the British Bankers’ Association, the Council of Mortgage Lenders, Financial Fraud Action UK, Payments UK and the UK Cards Association.
A record £75.6 trillion was sent via the CHAPS high value payments network in 2016, marking a 10.5 per cent increase on 2015. The figures were revealed in the CHAPS Market Summary 2017 report, which found the total volume of payments also reached an all-time high of 39.0 million. Nearly £300 billion was processed daily, with a peak of £434 billion.
Financial technology firm FIS has announced plans to integrate its ‘cardless cash’ service across Cardtronics’ ATM network in the US. Cardless cash, available through the FIS mobile banking app, enables customers to withdraw funds from ATMs without having to use a plastic card. Cardtronics is the world’s largest non-bank ATM operator, and a planned 24-month roll-out will see cardless cash available through ATMs at some of the largest retailers in the US.
The new head of Ping An’s $1 billion technology investment fund has said that the insurance giant is predominantly looking to invest in FinTech companies from outside its homeland of China. Speaking at this week’s Money 20/20 Europe in Copenhagen, Jonathan Larsen, chief innovation officer at the Ping An Group, and chairman and CEO of the Ping An Global Voyager Fund, said that 90 per cent of the time the financial and healthcare technology fund would be seeking opportunities over the border from China.
Santander Brasil has signed a deal with GuardiCore for a new platform that will provide advanced data centre security for the financial institution. Santander Brasil is the fifth largest commercial bank in Brazil with around 36 million customers, operating in all segments of the financial markets, with a network of 3,420 branches.
Thailand’s Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) has worked together with Japan’s SBI Remit to launch real-time remittance payments between the two countries using Ripple’s blockchain enterprise solution. There are approximately 40,000 Thai nationals currently living in Japan, with total remittance flows from Japan to Thailand roughly $250 million each year.
Banco Santander has announced the appointment of Lindsey Argalas as its chief digital and innovation officer. Argalas will be responsible for developing the bank’s digital strategy and encouraging collaboration across Santander’s businesses and markets. Argalas joins the bank from Silicon Valley-based software firm Intuit, where she held a number of senior positions over the last nine years, including senior vice president and chief of staff.
Total card fraud losses for 19 European countries hit €1.8 billion in 2016, with the UK recording the highest losses at £618 million – a nine per cent increase on 2015. This is according to research from analytics software firm FICO, which found that card not present (CNP) fraud has gone from 50 per cent of gross fraud loss in 2008 to 70 per cent in 2016. Ten countries saw an increase in fraud losses, while eight saw a decrease.
NatWest is trialling new AI technology to explore how its RegTech recording and analysis solution could be used to improve the quality of information and advice provided to customers. Developed with Recordsure, the solution records face-to-face and telephone conversations, encrypting and uploading an audio recording to the secure cloud in real-time, making it impossible for the data to be tampered with. The system also sends an alert if the microphone has been disconnected or if there has been a long period of silence.
BBVA has signed an agreement with mobile payments platform Alipay, enabling Chinese tourists to pay using their mobile wallet in Spanish stores. The Spanish banking group will integrate Alipay – which is operated by Ant Financial Services, a sister company of Alibaba – into the bank’s Smartpay service, turning a mobile phone into a means of payment.
More UK customers than ever before are relying on banking apps to manage their money, with a 57 per cent increase in app transactions during 2016, a new report from the British Banking Association (BBA) and EY has found. The research revealed that over 19.6 million people used banking apps in 2016, an increase of 11 per cent on the previous year, corresponding to almost four in 10 (38 per cent) of the UK adult population.
Mobile phones will shape the future of consumer payments rather than technologies such as blockchain, Mastercard’s president of the UK and Ireland told the Money 20/20 Europe conference. Outlining his predications, Mark Barnett said: “It’s all going to be about the phone. Often people say they are fine with their plastic, and what’s the difference between tapping plastic and tapping a phone? Which is true; it’s not going to be on the phone because it’s a better payment experience, but because it’s going to be wrapped up with other products and services that a phone can offer.”
Bank Leumi has announced the launch of Pepper in Israel – a digital platform that allows customers to manage all of their banking activities through a mobile app and with no current account fees. The platform is based on artificial intelligence technology that supports functions including onboarding, transferring money, taking out loans, managing savings deposits and more. Pepper hopes that the technology will allow them to customise relevant and personalised content for each individual customer.
Several banks in Ukraine, along with government organisations and other firms, suffered a cyber attack on Tuesday that disrupted operations. The Ukranian central bank claimed that an “unknown virus” was responsible for the attack, stating: “As a result of these cyber attacks these banks are having difficulties with client services and carrying out banking operations. The central bank is confident that the banking infrastructure's defence against cyber fraud is properly set up and attempted cyber attacks on banks' IT systems will be neutralised.”
Visa has announced its decision to invest in Swedish online payments firm Klarna as it looks to accelerate its online and mobile commerce operations across Europe. The equity investment and planned partnership is part of Visa’s global strategy to open up its ecosystem and support a broad range of new partners on the continent. The move comes just a week after Klarna was granted a full banking licence by Finansinspektionen, the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority.
The majority of consumers would consider a new financial product from a FinTech firm if it offered a clear benefit, however 90 per cent would feel uncomfortable with those firms accessing their data, according to a new survey. The research from Strive Insight, which quizzed over 1,000 adults online, found that 88 per cent of consumers agree that technology improvements will help providers to offer better products, but only 53 per cent are using their bank’s mobile app.
Mexico’s central bank, Banco de Mexico, has selected Finastra to transform its legacy risk management platform. The central bank expects to deploy FusionRisk with the goal of enabling faster, more sophisticated risk analysis. In evaluating various risk management solutions, Banco de Mexico found that FusionRisk from Finastra best suited its needs for a system capable of bringing greater speed and efficiency to risk management and reporting in a time of increasing global uncertainty.
The new Payment Services Directive (PSD2) could result in the “biggest transformation in retail banking of the last 30 years”, according to Starling Bank CEO Anne Boden. Speaking at the Money20/20 Europe conference, the challenger bank’s founder described herself as possibly “the only fan of PSD2” - the forthcoming regulation that will, with the consent of customers, open up their financial services data to third parties.
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the world’s first ATM, and despite a rise in contactless payments and new technologies cash looks set to remain “a crucial part of people’s day-to-day lives”. The first ATM was unveiled by Barclays at its Enfield branch on 27 June 1967 and as a tribute to this golden anniversary, Barclays has transformed the modern-day Enfield cash machine by giving it a lick of gold paint.
Japanese investment manager Nomura has conducted a proof of concept (PoC) study to examine whether using artificial intelligence (AI) analysis can contribute to increased accuracy of portfolio managers' investment decision-making. Portfolio managers at asset management firms usually have to process and analyse a large amount of information which includes not only analyst reports, but also various news sources, industry blogs and social media, to make forecasts and determine the impact on stock prices.
A consortium which includes seven of Europe’s largest banks has selected IBM to build and host a new trade finance platform based on IBM Blockchain, powered by Hyperledger Fabric. The platform is designed to simplify and facilitate domestic and cross-border trade for small and medium enterprises in Europe, while helping to increase overall trade transaction transparency.
Starling Bank has signed a major deal with VocaLink , enabling access to Faster Payments for its customers, other financial institutions and payment service providers (PSPs) using the VocaLink PayPort gateway. The new partnership will help to open up access to the UK’s payment services to challenger banks, established institutions, PSPs and corporates with customer propositions requiring access to real-time payments.
Iceland’s Íslandsbanki has teamed up with local software firm Meniga to provide its digital banking customers with personalised and relevant discounts from local merchants. The announcement, which was made at Money2020, means Íslandsbanki will deploy Meniga’s Card Linked Offer (CLO) program, which uses proprietary machine-learning algorithms to identify and forecast consumer spending behavior.
The UK and Germany are outperforming the rest of Europe when it comes to online bank account opening, a new report has revealed. The research, from identity confirmation provider HooYu, surveyed banks in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and France to gain insight into account opening processes. Whilst all of the banks reported a decrease in branch-led account opening, the UK and Germany have seen their online customer acquisition channels grow significantly faster than their European peers.
Monzo has partnered with mobile payments firm Jumio who will provide the UK digital challenger bank with identity verification technology. Monzo will use the Netverify solution to help verify customers who are moving from its prepaid card service to a full current account. This will enable the bank to comply with Know-Your-Customer (KYC) requirements while removing the burden of time-consuming manual verifications from its employees.
Starling Bank has announced its expansion into European markets after receiving a banking passport to begin operations in the Republic of Ireland. The London-based challenger has launched the UK’s first new mobile-only current account and is now using its banking passport to bring its services to customers in Ireland. Available via an app for Android and iOS, the Starling account can be set up within minutes of downloading the app with a valid photo ID.
Levels of FinTech adoption among consumers has surged globally over the past 18 months and is poised to be embraced by the mainstream, according to a new EY report. The research found that an average of 33 per cent digitally active consumers across the 20 markets in the EY study now use FinTech. The study, based on 22,000 online interviews with digitally active consumers across these 20 markets, shows that the emerging markets are driving much of this adoption with China, India, South Africa, Brazil and Mexico averaging 46 per cent.
Nordic payments provider Nets has updated its Dankort mobile app with a new functionality which allows iPhone users to make payments from their lock-screen. The new feature is being been piloted by Dansk Supermarket Group’s Netto, Føtex, Bilka and Salling supermarkets, making mobile contactless payments for larger amounts more convenient. Customers can use the app to validate purchases over DKK 200 (£24) simply by using Touch ID.
Santander is launching a new mortgage video service in 63 UK branches, following a successful trial last year. The new service enables customers to apply for a mortgage using a video link from the branch, which connects them remotely to a UK based mortgage adviser. Customers can go online, call, or visit a branch to go through the initial stages of their mortgage application, providing documentation where required. Customers then have the opportunity to receive in branch mortgage advice by video link.
Australian bank ANZ has appointed a former retail e-commerce executive to lead the organisation’s digital transformation strategy. Jennifer Scott – who has previously worked as eBay Europe’s chief operating officer of finance, as a strategist at Virgin Media and vice-president of finance at Expedia – will act as general manager of digital transformation and performance at ANZ, an entirely new position.
The European Central Bank (ECB) has announced plans to develop a new instant payments settlement system, allowing EU citizens and firms to transfer money anywhere in the world within a matter of seconds. The governing council of the ECB will develop the Target Instant Payment Settlement (TIPS) platform, which is scheduled to begin operating in November 2018, and will enable real-time payments and will be available around the clock, 365 days a year.
A number of Tesco Bank customers were unable to access their online banking accounts on Wednesday due to a ‘technical issue’. The incident affected savings, credit card and current account customers only. While customers were unable to access their online banking, they were still able to use their cards as normal for example to make purchases or to withdraw cash from ATM’s.
SWIFT is offering €200,000 to two global FinTech firms who can develop new overlay services that leverage its SWIFT global payments innovation (gpi) platform. The winners will work with banks on collaborative innovation concepts that solve additional industry challenges in cross-border payments on top of SWIFT gpi. The SWIFT gpi initiative, which launched I January this year, engages the global banking industry and aims to solves core problems related to speed, transparency and traceability of payments.
Payments startup Curve has announced its intention to fully launch in the UK this year, and make a consumer version of the product available. Curve has passed 50,000 sign-ups and £50 million in user spending ahead of its full UK launch. The London-based startup has also confirmed that it will close a Series A funding round this summer, and will unveil a ‘Connect’ feature that allows users to manage their money and get a better deal on banking and FinTech services all in one place.
Rabobank has selected Finastra, the new company formed from the merger of Misys and D+H, to centralise its cross-border payments. The Dutch bank is implementing the Finastra global payment hub solution in order to enhance its ability to respond to customer demand and industry developments and “realise improved payments infrastructure and reduced cost of ownership”.
UK digital challenger Atom Bank has secured a £30 million Tier 2 capital facility from the investment arm of the British Business Bank as it looks to boost its small business lending operations. The Tier 2 eligible facility will help support the growth of the bank and its desire to lend to UK corporates and smaller businesses. Atom said its choice to launch an SME proposition as part of its first product suite signalled its intention to be a significant supporter of the UK SME market.
Online card spending is expected to double by 2021, reaching $6 trillion globally, new RBR Research has found. The ‘Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts to 2021’ has revealed that the value of e-commerce card payments made worldwide grew by 26 per cent during 2015 to reach $2.7 trillion, and represented 12 per cent of all card expenditure.
TrueLayer, a UK-based FinTech developer platform that aims to provide easy access to bank APIs, has secured $3 million in series A funding. The funding round was led by Anthemis Group, whose partner, Yann Ranchere, will join TrueLayer’s board. Existing investor Connect Ventures, with partner Pietro Bezza, also participated in the round.
PayPal has announced that its users in the US will soon be able to instantly transfer money to their bank accounts via eligible debit cards linked to their PayPal account. The move is expected to speed up the peer-to-peer (P2P) payments process, with funds being transferred in a matter of minutes rather than days. Currently, more than $7 million is transferred every hour via PayPal’s P2P services, including Venmo and Xoom.
The Startupbootcamp FinTech accelerator has announced the nine FinTech startups chosen to be part of its first programme in Latin America, based in Mexico City. The first cohort of the programme, which is being run in partnership with Finnovista, was selected after a final evaluation over a three-day selection process. The top 17 FinTech startups from the region, chosen from 275 applications, battled it out before being whittled down to the winning nine.
Spanish banking group BBVA and local startup Das-Nano have together formed Veridas, a new technology company specialising in biometrics that will look to develop client identification and authentication systems. Veridas, directed by Eduardo Azanza, who is also co-founder of Das-Nano, will be dedicated to the research and development of software for the digital verification and authentication of personal identity, through facial, voice, image or document recognition, or fingerprint reading.
AimBrain, a London-based startup which uses biometric authentication to tackle FinTech fraud, has announced Series A investment of £4 million, led by BGF Ventures. Financial institutions have been battling rising fraud levels over recent years, in particular mobile and internet banking fraud. The AimBrain platform is a deep-learning service that uses behavioural biometrics to track how a person uses a device, such as their typing speed, touch pressure and even how much their hand shakes as they hold it. Facial and voice recognition biometrics can identify a customer based on what they look like and what they sound like.
Australia’s CommBank has launched its Youth mobile app, which has been designed to help children understand the concept of digital money. A survey from CommBank found that parents believe online transactions make it harder for kids to learn the value of money, but also agree that technology can make it easier to learn how to track savings goals and monitor their spending (42 and 41 per cent respectively). The survey also found that 97 per cent of 5-12 year olds have access to a smartphone, tablet or consumer.
Swedish payments firm Klarna has become Europe’s newest bank after it was granted a full banking licence by Finansinspektionen, the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority. The banking licence is an important step for Klarna, enabling the company to broaden its product portfolio for its 60 million customers and 70,000 merchants. Earlier this year, Klarna announced the acquisition of Wonga’s German online payment subsidiary, BillPay, in a deal valued at around £60 million – subject to approval by the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority in Germany.
Banking institutions in the UK will have to change the sort codes of around one million retail and corporate customers, due to new ‘ring-fencing’ regulation which is to be implemented by 1 January 2019. James Proudman, an executive director at the Bank of England, explained that “ring-fencing is a major infrastructure programme that forms part of a broader strategy of co-ordinated improvements” to the financial sector and that “ring-fencing is seeking to deliver wide-reaching benefits to the public”.
Open Banking regulation will herald a consumer finance revolution, opening up the market to new challenger banks, research from Deloitte suggests. Rapid technology advancements, regulatory changes and consumer demand will result in a dramatic overhaul of traditional banking models in the next decade, according to the business advisory firm.
UBS has announced the launch of its second Future of Finance Challenge, with a prize fund of up to $200,000 for successful FinTech startups. The Future of Finance Challenge is a competition open to FinTech companies around the world, through which UBS looks for innovative and potentially disruptive technological ideas and solutions that will “support the transformation of the banking industry”.
The number of purchases using debit and credit cards has more than doubled in the past 10 years, as contactless payments and online retail have driven a change in the way consumers pay, a new report from The UK Cards Association has shown. Debit and credit cards were used to make 16.4 billion purchases in 2016, up 146 per cent from 6.7 billion in 2006. It means that 518 card payments were made every second last year by cardholders both in the UK and travelling overseas.
Openbank, a subsidiary of Grupo Santander, has become the first full-service digital bank in Spain, offering customers a full suite of products and services through a new mobile app and website. Developed over the past 15 months using some of the latest technologies, the Openbank platform is one of the first banks worldwide to use a cloud-based IT infrastructure – enabling the bank to offer a 100 per cent digital proposition with ‘the most advanced security’.
The introduction of PSD2 and Instant Payments will drive a 37 per cent decline in online card volumes by 2027 – that’s according to new study from Ovum. The research ‘Instant Payments and the post-PSD2 landscape’, commissioned by Icon Solutions, provides insights into how PSD2 will be the catalyst for both the decline in card transactions and the uptake in direct and frictionless payment methods such as Instant Payments in Europe. It also shows how Instant Payments under PSD2 will change the way consumers pay for goods and services.
Following the completion of its FCA sandbox test, Billon Financial now has an unrestricted small e-money registration which operates on distributed ledger solutions. Billon enables micropayments that were previously unprofitable to be executed instantly without traditional intermediaries. Its technology allows corporate clients to manage thousands of loyalty incentive payouts themselves, and provides the ability to gather data on recipients during the transaction, a feat impossible with a one-way bank transfer or with a voucher.
Instant mobile current account provider Monese has launched a Direct Debit service for its customers, bringing its offering closer to that of a traditional High Street bank account. Alongside this, the UK challenger bank has also gained access to Faster Payments, meaning that customers sending funds to accounts outside or within the UK will enjoy an even quicker transfer.
AIG, IBM and Standard Chartered Bank have announced a successful joint pilot of the first multinational ‘smart contract’-based insurance policy using blockchain. The distributed ledger technology (DLT) solution creates a new level of trust and transparency in the underwriting process, enabling AIG and Standard Chartered to execute multinational coverage more efficiently. Coordinating management and placement of multiple insurance policies across multiple countries is highly complex. The pilot solution was built by IBM and is based on Hyperledger Fabric – a blockchain framework and one of the Hyperledger projects hosted by The Linux Foundation.
The US Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra) has announced that it has established a new initiative designed to foster an ongoing dialogue with the securities industry that will help Finra better understand FinTech. The Innovation Outreach Initiative aims to boost Finra’s knowledge of FinTech innovations and their impact on the industry.
European banks could face fines totalling €4.7 billion in the first three years under the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a new report from Consult Hyperion has forecast. The report has been described as ‘conservative’, as it excludes compensation claims, costs associated with lost customers, damaged reputations and senior executive resignations. Financial institutions may experience 384 data breaches with fines as high as €260 million per breach, according to predictions.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has revealed the successful applicants for the second cohort of its regulatory sandbox. The regulatory sandbox allows businesses to test innovative products, services, business models and delivery mechanisms in a live environment while ensuring that consumers are appropriately protected.
Machine intelligence software firm CognitiveScale has announced that it has secured investment from a USAA affiliate, taking its total investment to over $50 million. As part of the new investment, USAA will also implement the CognitiveScale augmented intelligence products for delivering contextual customer engagement and improving advisor productivity. By using CognitiveScale, USAA will be able to provide its more than 12 million members predictive, data-driven banking and insurance services while learning continuously from user interactions and data.
A ‘security incident’ involving a bank’s online services costs the organisation almost £1.4 million on average, according to a new global report by cybersecurity outfit Kaspersky Lab. The report, which looked at cybersecurity threats in the financial sector, found that security incidents cost banks £1,371,000 on average – double the price of recovering from a malware incident, which costs approximately £645,000 on average to resolve.
The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) has launched a regulatory sandbox which will enable startups and FinTech firms to test and experiment their banking ideas and solutions. The creation of the regulatory sandbox provides an opportunity for FinTech businesses around the world to expand and thrive in the Gulf and strengthens Bahrain’s position as a FinTech and financial services hub in the GCC region.
SWIFT has announced the launch of an instant payments messaging solution for the European market, enabling instant payments to be made over the SWIFT network. Expected to be available by November 2018, the solution will provide customers with a single gateway to connect to multiple instant payments systems. It could also support instant payments initiatives elsewhere.
Misys and Canadian-based payments and lending provider D+H have today joined forces to create the world’s third largest FinTech company, which will operate under the name Finastra. The new merged company has approximately 10,000 employees and over 9,000 customers across 130 countries, including 48 of the top 50 banks globally. This follows the $3.6 billion acquisition of D+H by Vista Equity Partners, which already owns Misys.
Monzo has temporarily frozen some customer accounts in order to carry out additional identity verification checks, due to new European money laundering regulations. Monzo explained that its customers are currently on one of three levels of identity verification – standard, full or enhanced. Each of these levels corresponds to different payment and withdrawal limits on your Monzo account, ranging from a maximum held balance of £2,000 to £10,000.
Biometric payments are the future according to more than half of UK consumers, while the inventor of text messaging claims people will soon transact with simple words and gestures, according to research from Nationwide Payments. According to the Nationwide poll, which surveyed 2,000 UK adults, almost six in ten (58 per cent) Brits believe that by 2037 they will be able pay for items in shops using just their thumbprint, and around a quarter (23 per cent) think they will be paying using a microchip implanted in their hand.
WorldRemit has become the first global remittance provider to enable Android Pay, allowing users to send money internationally using their mobile wallet account. Launching the service at MoneyConf this week, WorldRemit will enable Android Pay users to safely and securely send money to more than 112 million money accounts accessible via its network. The integration will make WorldRemit the only remittance provider offering international payments through Android Pay around the globe.
Pan-European payments organisation the Berlin Group has announced the creation of an open, common and harmonised European API standard to enable third party providers (TPPs) to access bank accounts under PSD2. PSD2 requires banks to grant third party providers access to its customers’ online accounts and payment services in a regulated and secure way, and mandates banks or other account-holding payment service providers to facilitate secure access
The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has entered into an agreement with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) to establish a framework for FinTech cooperation. Under the agreement, the SFC and ASIC will cooperate to share information on emerging FinTech trends, developments and related regulatory issues as well as on organisations which promote innovation in financial services.
NatWest has launched a ‘digital centre of excellence’ in Bristol, which will be designing tools to help its commercial and corporate customers across the UK reduce their risk and save time. This will initially include the roll-out later this year of a new online banking solution to more than 100,000 customers, followed by a wider suite of digital capabilities including mobile banking.
FinTech provider Fiserv has announced a “firm offer” to acquire Monitise in a move which is expected to accelerate Fiserv’s digital strategy and its development of a next-generation digital banking platform. The offer to acquire is at 2.90 pence per share and values the entire issued and to be issued ordinary share capital of Monitise at approximately £70 million. The transaction, which is subject to certain conditions including Monitise shareholder approval, is anticipated to close in the third quarter of 2017.
The vast majority of consumers (93 per cent) prefer biometrics over passwords for authenticating payments or other financial services, a new joint study between Mastercard and the University of Oxford has found. This comes as no surprise, according to the research, as using biometrics is more secure and eliminates the hassle of having to recall a password. However, while 92 per cent of banking professionals want to adopt biometric technology, execution has been inconsistent and only 36 per cent of relevant executives feel they have adequate experience to deliver.
Starting this month, more than 86 million US mobile banking customers will be able to send and receive money through Zelle – a new peer-to-peer (P2P) payments network from bank-owned Early Warning Services. Zelle allows for funds to be sent from one bank account to another in minutes, using just a recipient’s email address or phone number. Integrated directly into mobile banking apps, Zelle is set to make digital payments in the US a fast and easy alternative to cash and cheques.
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has launched a working group to “anticipate and accompany the digitalisation of trade finance”. The aim of the group is to identify strategies to overcome the constraints of digitalising trade finance – such as a reliance on paper-based practices, a lack of recognition of the legal status of electronic documents, uncertainty over standards, and a general lack of clear legal and regulatory frameworks.
UAE’s Emirates Islamic bank has announced that it will introduce blockchain technology into its cheques as a fraud prevention measure. Dubbed ‘Cheque Chain’, the bank is reportedly the first Islamic bank in UAE to undertake this initiative, which aims to enhance cheque security. Emirates Islamic will issue new cheque books carrying a unique QR code on every leaf, along with a string of 20 random characters.
Asset and wealth managers are taking a cautious approach to digitisation, but expect partial to full disruption in the industry within the next decade, according to a new report. Findings of the Dassault Systèmes report, which surveyed 450 senior executives, revealed that 54 per cent of asset managers have adopted social media tools, while 56 per cent of wealth managers have adopted new digital platforms. Blockchain was the least implemented of eight digital tools cited.
Global banks are increasingly turning to terminals offering remote video transactions as part of their branch transformation strategies, according to a new report from Retail Banking Research (RBR). The Teller Automation and Branch Transformation 2017 report found that banks are implementing video banking as it helps to keep branch costs down while maintaining a strong relationship with customers. It also allows the bank to reach a larger number of customers, reaching people in areas where opening a branch would be impossible or unprofitable.
BDO Unibank, the largest bank in the Philippines, has extended its partnership with Fiserv to upgrade its core account processing platform and expand its managed services. The new Signature platform is a multi-currency banking solution which offers a scalable environment for bank processing, automated customer relationship management, product design, transaction processing and financial management.
Japan’s Mizuho Bank has announced the launch of its API banking interfaces, designed to enhance the customer experience by providing them with more tailored services and solutions. The switch to API banking comes as a result of a digital transformation initiative among Japanese financial institutions to embrace open APIs for the industry. APIs will enable personal financial management services provided by Mizuho’s business partners to be offered to the bank’s customers, delivering a better digital experience.
Blockchain and cryptography startup Stratumn has announced the closure of a €7 million Series A funding round, led by Nasdaq, Open CNP, Otium Venture and Digital Currency Group. Marking what Stratumn says is the largest investment round to date in the European blockchain and data ecosystem, the money will help to accelerate the firm’s development and expansion into the US market.
Lloyds Bank has signed a £1.3 billion contract with IBM, in a 10-year outsourcing deal that will see 1,900 jobs switched to the computing giant. According to The Register, the bank reportedly told its staff that it has “signed one of the largest cloud transformation deals” within the financial sector, where “most colleagues working in Infrastructure Technology Services supporting these systems and delivering change will transition to IBM, with a number retained in Lloyds Banking Group to manage the relationship, service and governance of IBM”.
Sberbank increased the percentage of merchant transactions it handled by 41 per cent in 2016, moving ahead of Worldpay to become Europe’s largest acquirer with 7.5 billion transactions, according to the latest Nilson Report. Europe’s 40 largest acquirers of Visa, Mastercard and Maestro bank card transactions handled 57.24 billion transactions, valued at $2.524 trillion from 9.4 million active merchant outlets in 2016.
BBVA’s FinTech strategy is enabling it to better anticipate changes in the financial world, according to the Spanish banking group’s executive chairman Francisco Gonzalez. Speaking at the closing of MoneyConf 2017 in Madrid yesterday, Gonzales noted that the group had started its digital transformation journey in 2007. He said that the bank was engaging with the FinTech world through different channels, including its Open Talent competition and Propel (its venture capital fund for startups), as well as its investments in and acquisitions of startups (such as Simple and Madiva).
NatWest has partnered with RocketSpace UK to open a new London campus that will house around 1,500 high-growth startup companies. This will be RocketSpace’s first presence outside of the US, where the firm has worked with more than 1,000 tech startups since it was founded in 2011 – including Uber, Spotify and Blippa. Opened at NatWest’s Regents House in Islington this week, the campus occupies the building’s basement
Companies from the UK continue to dominate the latest FinTech50 list, published by FinTechCity this week, while German, Swiss and Irish FinTechs also performed strongly. A panel of industry experts compiled the list – which includes 24 new businesses – from a pool of 1,500 companies across Europe. Highlighted trends included a rise in artificial intelligence firms, new partnerships between FinTechs and the number of mergers and acquisitions in the sector, as banks acquired market-leading challengers.
Thailand’s Kasikornbank (KBank) has launched a new venture capital fund worth one billion Baht ($30 million), named Beacon VC, in search of financial innovations that align with the bank’s business strategy. KBank’s recent VC financing of Thai startup FollowAccount was reportedly the first such FinTech investment by a Thai bank. KBank said its goal for the remainder of 2017 was to directly invest in three to five more startups, and in two to three VC funds.
Lloyds has been rated as the best UK bank for mobile services for the third year in a row, according to a new industry report, with the FI performing well in all categories. The 2017 UK Mobile Banking Benchmark report from Forrester found that the bank earned full marks in the marketing and sales category, outshone its competitors in cross-channel guidance and solid transactional features, and also scored very highly in the usability stakes.
Dublin-based FinTech firm Plynk has secured €25 million in a Series A funding round led by Swiss Privee, which will support the global roll-out of its mobile money app solution. With the investment, the company has also announced plans to increase the employee headcount from eight to 28 over the course of the next 18 months, as the number of Plynk users has this week surpassed the 6,000 mark.
Consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices to pay bills and complete peer-to-peer (P2P) payments in the US, where the use of mobile wallets is also on the rise. This is according to a new survey of more than 3,000 American consumers by Fiserv, which found that the percentage of consumers using mobile bill pay rose from 22 per cent in 2015 to 28 per cent in 2016. Among mobile banking users, 41 per cent had used the service to pay bills in the 30 days before they were canvassed.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) lender Zopa has become the latest firm to submit its data to the Crowdsurfer analysis platform, deepening insight into the global alternative finance market. Zopa has lent more than £2.3 billion to customers in the UK since launching in 2005. Last week, the firm also outlined plans to secure a banking licence following a £32 million investment round led by Wadhawan Global Capital and Northzone.
Money 20/20 Europe is set to return to Copenhagen at the end of this month, featuring more than 380 industry speakers across 100 conference sessions. Twenty top keynote speakers have also been confirmed, including Carlos Torres Vila, CEO of BBVA, Ashok Vaswani, CEO of Barclays UK, Jonathan Larsen, chief innovation officer at Ping An Group, Jack Dorsey, CEO and founder of Square, and Rita Liu, head of EMEA at Alipay.
UK challenger bank Atom has decided to postpone the launch of its current account service until at least 2018, according to chief executive Mark Mullen. In an interview with the Financial Times he explained that the delay was due to the threat of new regulation that would make the UK personal banking market “too ambiguous and uncertain”.
TPBank has become the first financial institution in Vietnam to introduce video bank branches, which enable customers to complete banking tasks via an integrated video link. The bank has worked with Singapore-based FinTech firm Scale360 to develop the solution, which has opened in 12 ‘LiveBank’ locations, and will be expanding to the rest of the FI’s branches in the coming months.
Apple has announced its move into the peer-to-peer payments space with news that it will be integrating a P2P payments service with Apple Pay. The new money transfer service, which puts the technology giant in direct competition with the likes of PayPal and Venmo, allows users to send payments through iMessage or ask Siri to send someone money using a card stored in their Apple mobile wallet.
US FinTech firm Quisk has implemented the use of blockchain technology to improve data security for merchant settlement, core banking reconciliation, and cross-border remittances for the company’s financial institution customers. Based in Silicon Valley, Quisk is a secure digitised cash payment network for banks and financial institutions around the world. Founded in 2007, the firm now has offices in Dubai and Hyderabad, India.
Nationwide Building Society has signed a deal with FinTech firm Cutover, for the use of its software platform which helps business teams manage the complex processes required to plan and execute critical events. Over the past three months, Nationwide has worked closely with Cutover testing the software to ensure the success and validity of the tool. As the first fully cloud-based software to be used within the Nationwide infrastructure, the new system will now be used when delivering all upgrades to corporate systems.
OCBC Bank has become the first bank in Singapore to launch a holistic HR app for its employees, which features an intuitive AI chatbot to help with any queries. Through the app, employees are able to complete general tasks such as applying for leave, claiming expenses, searching for colleague details and viewing internal job vacancies.
One in five corporates are currently using a non-bank provider for B2B payments, while 22 per cent said that they would be willing to use a FinTech provider’s payment platform for B2B payments in the future. This is according to a new report from Bank of America, Bottomline Technologies and Strategic Treasurer, which noted that “as the importance of payments innovation grows in the corporate environment, more corporates are turning to financial technology providers to meet their payment technology needs”.
Join us for the next FStech evening roundtable, which will look at the growing challenges faced by financial service organisations around their regulatory obligations. Fragmented manual systems can lack meaningful enough data for transparency and reporting, while digitisation, automation, artificial intelligence and predictive capabilities all provide potential solutions – but if incorrectly applied, the cure can be worse than the disease.
Machine learning is already being used by over half of top insurers globally, and is expected to bring “significant” change to the industry over the next three to five years, new research has shown. Over half (54 per cent) of the 200 insurance executives surveyed by analytics firm Earnix said that their organisation was using machine learning for predictive analytical modelling. Of those businesses deploying the technology, 70 per cent were using this form of artificial intelligence for risk modelling, followed by demand models (45 per cent) and fraud detection (36 per cent).
Myanmar’s AYA Bank has signed a deal with Misys to support a transformative project to upgrade its core banking system, digitalise operations and improve efficiency across the organisation. Using the new platform, the bank will be able to consolidate and streamline work processes, as well as digitalise all manual and current non-digital processes to better serve its customers across retail and corporate banking.
Many of the companies working to bring blockchain technology to global financial markets have decided to release the code to their technology as open-source software. This is according to a new report from Greenwich Associates, which revealed broad support for an open-source approach to help accelerate the time to market for blockchain technology.
UK peer-to-peer lender Zopa has closed its latest investment round totalling £32 million, led by Wadhawan Global Capital and Northzone. The additional investment will finance Zopa’s continued growth and product development, and support the build-out of its bank infrastructure in preparation for the submission of its banking licence application later this year.
Money management app Yolt has launched an ‘open beta’ for iOS and Android users in the UK, following the completion of a closed beta that began in October last year. Yolt enables users to view their bank accounts and credit cards in one place, analyse which shops they are spending the most at, set budgets and plan for upcoming debits. Users can search for individual or recurring transactions, giving them a true view of how much money they have until payday.
Google has announced that its Android Pay service is now available for use in Canada, enabling contactless mobile payments with Android-based devices. The mobile service will be available to customers of Alberta Treasury Bank Financial (ATB), BMO Financial Group (BMO), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), Canadian Tire Financial Services (CTFS), President’s Choice Financial (PCF), and National Bank.
Financial institutions may face challenges in getting consumers to trust artificial intelligence when it comes to handling their money, according to a new study from ING. The survey of more than 15,000 consumers in Europe, the US and Australia found that a third of people did not want to use any automated financial activities at all. Furthermore, only two per cent would trust a fully-automated robo-advisor to invest money on their behalf, while only 26 per cent would opt for robo-advice even if they got the final approval on all decisions.
Less than half of financial services firms in the UK have started preparing for the new data protection rules which come into force in a year’s time – despite 12 per cent admitting that the maximum fine for non-compliance would force them out of business and nine per cent saying it would lead to large scale redundancies. According to a YouGov survey of 285 financial services firms commissioned by law firm Irwin Mitchell, only 56 per cent of respondents were aware of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into force on 25 May 2018.
A number of Spanish corporations across several industries, including banks Santander, Sabadell and BBVA, have created a new multi-sector digital identity platform based on distributed ledger technology (DLT). One of the main priorities of the new network, labelled Red Lyra, is to create a digital identity system based on smart contracts. This would make it possible to save and store all of the elements needed to identify people and companies in a secure manner, as well as apply digital signatures legally.
The venture capital arm of National Australia Bank (NAB Ventures) has led a $24 million Series D funding round in Toronto-based cloud FinTech firm Wave. Wave provides cloud-based financial management software including accounting, invoicing and payroll, with integrated financial services such as credit card processing and lending. Over 2.5 million small business owners around the world have used Wave, while more than 60,000 new businesses join the Wave ecosystem every month. The firm also has over 35,000 active users in Australia.
French banking group BNP Paribas is rolling out a number of virtual reality (VR)-based services to its customers, designed to improve and streamline their banking experience. The bank has launched a VR-based app which provides its customers with a variety of features, including account management functions and a view of their bank transaction records.
The Bank of Sydney has opted for technology from Fiserv to provide its consumer and small business customers with enhanced digital banking capabilities. The new end-to-end solution will support all online and mobile applications, infrastructure and services offered by the Australian bank. Additional customer features set to be rolled out include personal financial management tools, online mobile phone top-up capabilities, biometric authentication for payments and balance transfers, actionable push notifications, and ATM and branch location services.
Criminal data breaches will cost businesses a total of $8 trillion globally over the next five years due to higher levels of inadequate security, according to a new report from Juniper Research. The new study, The Future of Cyber Crime & Security, forecasts that the number of personal data records stolen by cyber criminals will reach 2.8 billion in 2017, and will almost double to five billion in 2020 – despite the increase in the number of new cyber security solutions available. Juniper highlighted that businesses are particularly vulnerable when integrating new and old systems without regard to overall network security.
Barclaycard is piloting a new payment concept which allows customers to scan and pay for their in-store shopping using their smartphone, without the need to visit a physical checkout. The new system is currently being trialled in Barclays’ staff restaurants in the UK and the US to gather feedback before a public roll-out in the coming months.
Visa has announced upcoming enhancements to its Verified by Visa service, which aim to make online purchases more secure through ensuring payments are made by the rightful owner of the Visa account. The new upgrade – which supports the latest 3-D Secure 2.0 security platform – will also deliver data to financial institutions and merchants to better authenticate consumers and reduce fraud on transactions made via a mobile or desktop browser, app or connected device.
Technological change and cyber risk have overtaken regulation as the greatest risks faced by the global insurance market, according to a new industry survey. The 2017 Insurance Banana Skins report, conducted by the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation in association with PwC, surveyed 836 insurance practitioners and industry observers across 52 countries, to uncover the main risks faced by the industry over the next two to three years.
Emirates NBD, the largest bank in the United Arab Emirates, has announced the launch of SkyShopper – an online marketplace for its customers. The new platform enables credit and debit card customers to shop and pay for purchases, ranging from flights and hotels to entertainment and groceries from different retailers – using one consolidated checkout.
ArchOver, a new peer-to-peer (P2P) business lending platform, has secured full authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Since launching in September 2014, ArchOver has facilitated over £35 million of investment over its platform, operating under interim permissions granted by the FCA. Full authorisation will support ArchOver in attracting new lenders to the platform and allow it to continue working with businesses to make access to funding ‘as easy and simple as possible’.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has published a report which outlines a new strategy to help Australia become a world leader in regulatory technology. The RegTech Association and FinTech Australia welcomed the release of the report entitled “ASIC’s Innovation Hub and our approach to regulatory technology”. The report outlines a series of initiatives that ASIC will undertake to encourage regulatory technology innovation.
CHAPS Clearing Company, the UK’s same day high value payment system, has welcomed ClearBank as a shareholder and direct participant with immediate effect. Launched in February, ClearBank provides open access to payment, current account and transactional clearing services. Financial services organisations, from banks and building societies through to new challenger banks and FinTechs, will be able to process payments and offer new competitive transactional banking services.
Bank of Canada has found that using blockchain technology in wholesale interbank payments systems will not meet all of the core principles for financial market infrastructure, following a year-long project with the R3 consortium. Operated by Payments Canada and overseen by the Bank of Canada, the wholesale payment system is used to transfer large and time-critical funds. On average, more than $175 billion a day is cleared in Canada alone.
Worldpay has developed a proof of concept (PoC) for a new way to complete payments by allowing consumers to tap a virtual card on a virtual machine as they normally would with contactless payments – but in a VR environment. Developed with production company INITION, the prototype uses Host Card Emulation technology to virtualise the purchasing process. For payments under £30, the prototype works in the same way a contactless payment does – with a tap of the virtual card across a virtual card machine.
US FinTech firm FIS has announced that it will sell a majority ownership stake in its consultancy arm, Capco, to private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) for $477 million. Under the agreement, CD&R will acquire 60 per cent of Capco, with FIS retaining the remaining 40 per cent. Capco will also become an independent company as a result of the sale.
Rapid growth in the use of contactless cards means cash will, for the very first time, be overtaken as Britain’s most frequently used payment method by the end of 2018, according to a new Payments UK report. Analysis carried out for the UK Payment Markets 2017 report forecasts that debit cards will become the most frequently used payment method in late 2018, three years earlier than previously predicted due in large part to the increasing popularity of contactless.
Twenty years after Nationwide launched the UK’s first internet bank, new research shows that most Brits say online banking has made them more financially aware. However, despite the mass adoption of digital banking, one in 10 people have not yet made the switch to go online with their finances. The Nationwide Current Account survey of 2,000 adults revealed that more than two thirds (69 per cent) believe that using internet banking allows them to keep on top of their finances, with four in 10 (40 per cent) saying they are better at budgeting due to being able to bank at home or on the move.
The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has announced that it will now allow FinTech firms to apply for a temporary licence, giving them the opportunity to test new innovative FinTech products and services. This initiative signals the next phase of the DFSA’s regulatory roadmap which aims to foster greater innovation in Dubai.
Twice as many people would trust a robot to perform heart surgery than open a bank savings account for them, new HSBC research has revealed. The HSBC ‘Trust in Technology’ report shows that technologies such as fingerprint recognition, voice recognition and robo-advice hold enormous potential for uses from bank security to mobile payments and investment advice, yet millions of people who could benefit do not trust them because they do not understand them well enough.
Spanish banking group BBVA is kickstarting the launch of its Open Banking program by making eight of its APIs commercially available for the first time. The launch of the BBVA API Market comes after the bank spent more than a year working with developers and businesses to optimise the way the open API service would be delivered.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has signed a memorandum of cooperation with IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, to boost FinTech innovation and development in Asia. As part of the agreement, the two will work together to establish and develop the ASEAN Financial Innovation Network (AFIN). The network aims to facilitate broader adoption of FinTech innovation and development, and enhance economic integration within the ASEAN region.
CivilisedBank, a new branchless digital bank which uses a community-based local banker network, today announced that it has received its UK banking licence. The licence from the Bank of England paves the way for CivilisedBank to build its infrastructure, with the firm looking launch to customers in early 2018. Focused on the UK SME market and funded by retail savings, CivilisedBank will serve businesses through savings and loans, transaction banking, overdrafts, current accounts with deposits and foreign exchange.
R3 has completed the first two of three tranches in its Series A fundraising round, securing $107 million from over 40 organisations in what has been billed as the world’s largest distributed ledger technology (DLT) investment to date. R3 is the largest consortium of global financial institutions collaborating to develop a platform and commercial applications for DLT.
JPMorgan has announced it will add technology from the developers of the Zcash digital currency to its enterprise blockchain platform, Quorum. The security technology will extend Quorum’s existing privacy protections to add cryptographically assured, private settlement of digitised assets on a distributed ledger, without a central intermediary.
Pan-European stock exchange Euronext has announced the acquisition of 90 per cent of electronic trading firm FastMatch for an initial cash consideration of $153 million. The acquisition, which is subject to regulatory and anti-trust approvals, and is expected to occur in Q3 2017, forms part of Euronext’s strategy to accelerate growth and diversification of its revenue base.
UK payment card spending in March 2017 was £57.8 billion, up £335 million (0.6 per cent) on February, with contactless payments now representing almost a third of all card purchases, the latest figures from The UK Cards Association show. Contactless payments amounted to 32 per cent of card purchases, an increase of 15 per cent from the previous year, with total contactless spending in March coming in at £4 billion.
The European mobile payments market is expected to triple to €148 billion over the next five years, according to a new study. Forrester’s Mobile Payments Forecast, 2016 to 2021 report attributes the predicted growth to increasing consumer awareness and growing retailer interest in mobile payments. Of the three types of mobile payments (mobile in-person payments, mobile remote payments, and peer-to-peer (P2P) payments), mobile in-person payments are predicted to grow the fastest, increasing almost fivefold between 2016 and 2021, from €4.6 billion to €22.8 billion.
Citi and Nasdaq have unveiled a new integrated payment solution which enables straight through payment processing and automates reconciliation by using a distributed ledger to record and transmit payment instructions. A number of payment transactions have been concluded including Citi’s automated processing of cross-border payments via a link between the CitiConnect for Blockchain connectivity platform and the Linq Platform powered by the Nasdaq Financial Framework.
The Euro Banking Association (EBA) has released a paper analysing the use of cryptotechnologies in international payments. The EBA analysis explores the opportunities that distributed ledger technology holds for payment service providers in terms of lowering operating costs, modernising the international payments value chain and maintaining compliance with key regulatory requirements in markets around the world.
Tandem has officially changed its registered name from Tandem Bank Ltd to Tandem Money Ltd and will operate as Tandem, following the challenger bank’s decision to remove savings accounts from its offering. The news comes two months after the startup missed a deadline for obtaining its banking licence when an investor was forced to cancel a £29 million investment in the bank.
Apple has removed the £30 limit on Apple Pay transactions in the UK, with more than half of all contactless payment terminals now able to accept Apple Pay transactions of any value. Jennifer Bailey, vice president of internet services at Apple Pay, told The Telegraph that the new upgrades applied to hundreds of thousands of terminals, allowing users to shop in many locations without having to take their wallet with them.
A third of C-Suite executives, including those working in the financial sector, are either using or considering using blockchain technology in their business, according to a new IBM study. The research, which surveyed 3,000 executives across a range of industries including financial services, also found that eight in 10 of those exploring blockchain are investing either in response to financial shifts in their industry or for the opportunity to develop entirely new business models.
MortgageGym, a digital mortgage robo-advisory firm, has secured £2 million in seed funding ahead of its official launch this summer. The FCA-authorised service will allow homebuyers to complete their mortgage application online in 15 minutes through a free advice website offering mortgage eligibility matching within 60 seconds, regulated robo-advice and access to live advisors.
Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the international financial centre in Abu Dhabi, has joined R3 as a new member of its international consortium – marking the first regulatory body in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to join the network. As a member, the ADGM FinTech team will have access to latest news and developments on blockchain technology, facilitate dialogues, share best practices, collaborate with leading industry institutions and regulatory bodies on next-generation platforms and technologies that will improve efficiency and enhance risk management in the capital markets.
PayPal has extended its partnership with Google to enable Android Pay users to pay for goods online using their PayPal account and their fingerprint – without needing to enter their username or password. The new partnership aims to speed the checkout from Android phones by using Android Pay to authenticate users where PayPal is accepted. Similar to PayPal’s deployment of One Touch, merchants on the latest versions of PayPal Checkout will not need to do any integration to take advantage of these new capabilities.
Chile’s Santiago Stock Exchange has teamed up with IBM to introduce blockchain technology to its short selling system for securities lending. Blockchain works as an immutable ledger that records transactions, allowing secure information exchange. Built by IBM and Chile’s Santiago Stock Exchange, the solution is designed to help reduce errors, possible fraud, and processing time for each transaction, while also improving transaction management and lowering costs.
Paytm has received the final approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to launch its new payments bank, with Renu Satti set to head up the operation as CEO. The payments firm said in January that it received the final approvals from the RBI and was planning to start the new bank in one or two months, but the launch was delayed. All active Paytm wallet accounts on the payments app will be transferred to the newly incorporated bank.
BBC reporter Dan Simmons was able to access the HSBC account of his non-identical twin brother, by impersonating his voice to get through the voice recognition security system. HSBC claimed that the security system was secure as every person has a unique voice, however the bank has since told the BBC that it would be reviewing the ID system in an attempt to make the voice recognition more sensitive following Simmons’ investigation.
Wirecard has announced the launch of its mobile payment solution, boon, in Italy – following an initial roll-out to the UK market in May last year. The fully digitised mobile solution is based on an automatic app-to-wallet integration via a prepaid account with a digital Mastercard. This allows users to top-up their account via wire transfer, debit or credit card. The solution works at any NFC-enabled terminal where the Mastercard contactless logo appears.
The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has approved the creation of LabCFTC, a new initiative aimed at promoting responsible FinTech innovation. The initiative is designed to improve the quality, resiliency, and competitiveness of the markets the CFTC oversees. Located in New York LabCFTC will also look to accelerate CFTC engagement with FinTech and RegTech solutions that may enable the CFTC to carry out its mission responsibilities more effectively and efficiently.
Zurich-based additiv, the company behind Natwest Invest, has secured funding worth 21 million Swiss francs (£15.6 million), in an investment round led by BZ Bank and Patinex. The firm, a provider of digitalisation solutions to the financial services industry, has helped launch Natwest’s new robo-advice offering for the UK savings and investments market.
The global card purchase volume for goods and services grew by 5.8 per cent to $20.606 trillion in 2016, according to a new analysis by The Nilson Report. UnionPay debit cards were the most popular payment product based on purchase volume, followed by Visa credit cards, Visa debit cards, UnionPay credit cards, Mastercard credit cards, Mastercard debit cards, American Express cards, JCB cards, and Diners Club/Discover cards.
OakNorth Bank, Santander InnoVentures, VocaLink, Circle Pay, Plum, ClearScore and Misys were among the companies who took home a coveted trophy at the inaugural National Technology Awards last night. Recognising the pioneers of technology across all sectors over the last 12 months, these awards were hotly contested, with the winners revealed at a prestigious gala dinner and awards ceremony at the Millennium Hotel in London’s Mayfair hosted by comedian Holly Walsh.
Mobile payments startup LevelUp has announced the closure of a $50 million financing round, led by JPMorgan Chase, US Boston and CentroCredit Bank. The new funding will help to accelerate the growth that the business has seen over the past few years. In addition to creating the LevelUp app and platform, the firm now power custom mobile solutions for over 200 US national restaurant brands, including sweetgreen, Steak ‘n Shake, Tropical Smoothie Café and Potbelly Sandwich Shop. LevelUp provides restaurants with the tools to provide a more personalised experience, while streamlining the payment experience.
Swiss ATM processor SIX and Credit Suisse have completed the pilot phase of ‘ATMfutura’ – new centralised multivendor software for ATMs, which will go live on all cash machines in Switzerland from 2018. There are currently over 20 individual solutions in use in the Swiss market from four different manufacturers. A common standard increases reliability and saves costs in a field in which it is no longer possible for the banks to differentiate themselves.
Symphony Communication Services, a cloud-based messaging platform used by FS firms, has raised $63 million in a new funding round led by BNP Paribas. The new capital will help Symphony accelerate global adoption, propel platform innovation and expand into new markets.
The European Banking Federation (EBF) has urged the European Commission (EC) not to dismiss a key recommendation by the European Banking Authority (EBA) on future electronic payments and has called on the organisation to ban ‘screen scraping’. The EBF fears that the privacy of client data, cyber security and innovation are put at risk if the Commission does not fully endorse the EBA standards.
WorldRemit has partnered with JMMB Money Transfer to offer bank transfers to Jamaica, enabling a digital remittance service for Jamaicans living in the US, Canada and the UK. WorldRemit customers can now send money quickly and conveniently to all bank accounts in Jamaica via JMMB Money Transfer, using the WorldRemit app or website. Funds can be accessed on the same day for transactions completed by 3pm and within 24 hours for all other transactions.
Almost a third (30 per cent) of UK consumers would use Amazon, Google, Facebook or Apple for banking services rather than a standard bank, new report has revealed. The MuleSoft research found that this this figure jumped to 45 per cent for 18-34 year olds, indicating they are the happiest to embrace this potential new wave of banking providers.
Samsung Pay has finally launched in the UK, enabling Samsung mobile users to make secure payments at contactless point of sale terminals. When a consumer loads their card into Samsung Pay, the app uses Visa tokenisation to replace the consumer's account information with a token, which is specific to that card and device. Payments are made using the token so that the card information is never exposed, adding another layer of safety to digital payments.
SWIFT has announced the launch of its Information Sharing and Analysis Centre (ISAC), in a move designed to facilitate greater cyber security threat intelligence. The ISAC portal stores all the information that SWIFT has been sharing with the community through its knowledge base on swift.com. The information will now be available on ISAC in an easily readable and searchable format, aligned with standardised templates.
The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) has established a FinTech committee, aimed at strengthening the planning and coordination of financial and scientific research work in the country. The committee will organise an in-depth study on the impact of financial and technological development on monetary policy, financial markets, stability, and payment and settlement. The committee will also be responsible for the strategic planning and policy guidance for China’s financial and technological development.
One of the graduates from the Startupbootcamp InsurTech accelerator, CBien, has raised $8 million in a second fundraising round. The French digital asset management platform raised the funds from existing shareholders MAIF, MACIF and 5M Ventures.
Rabobank and Signicat have partnered to roll out Digital Identity Service Provider (DISP) in the Netherlands, which provides a range of digital services to local businesses. The DISP offers a range of online login, identity, signature and archiving solutions under the banner of Rabo eBusiness. It aims to provide convenience for a range of businesses, including insurance, energy and leasing companies as well as other financial services providers.
Australia’s UBank has launched RoboChat, the country’s first virtual assistant designed to help potential home buyers and refinancers complete their online home loan applications. By providing real-time input on questions like “what term do you offer on home loans?” and “do you offer redraws and how do they work?” RoboChat’s goal is to help reduce the time needed for customers to complete the form by offering on-the-spot help.
The global value of contactless transactions made via payment cards, mobile and wearables, will reach $1.3 trillion by 2019 – more than doubling from an estimated $590 billion in 2017, Juniper Research has predicted. According to Juniper’s Contactless Payments: NFC Handsets, Wearables & Payment Cards 2017-2021 report, contactless card levels will continue to dominate transaction values, accounting for 80 per cent of total contactless transactions in 2019. The research also forecasts that contactless transactions via debit/credit cards will exceed $2 trillion globally by 2021.
Digital challenger bank Monzo has announced that it will not be spending much time on its public API this year, as it focuses on the launch of its current account service. The existing API will remain available to developers, but the bank will not be expanding the scope of the APIs or allow developers to publish their applications. According to Monzo, there are over 2,000 people connected through the developers’ Slack channel, while almost 100 personal projects are also integrated with the API.
Wealthsimple, a Toronto-based technology-driven investment manager, has raised up to $30 million as part of a partnership with Power Financial Corporation. Under the agreement, Power Financial will, subject to regulatory approval, invest $10 million, and can invest up to $20 million into Wealthsimple over the next 12 months, with the option to make further investments over the next three years.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has entered into a co-operation agreement with the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) in Hong Kong to foster collaboration in support of FinTech innovation. Under the agreement, the FCA and SFC will co-operate on information sharing and referrals of innovative firms seeking to enter one another’s markets.
American Express customers can now use Amazon’s Alexa to check their account balance, review recent charges and make payments all via voice commands. The firm has launched Amex skill, which brings select experiences of AmericanExpress.com and the Amex mobile app to Alexa, Amazon’s voice service, within devices like Amazon Echo and Echo Dot.
Citi has become the latest bank to join a Series A funding round for distributed ledger technology (DLT) provider Axoni, bringing the total money raised to over $20 million. Citi joins other Series A investors including Wells Fargo, NEX Group, J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Thomson Reuters, F-Prime Capital, Andreessen Horowitz and DCG.
Person-to-person (P2P) payments are becoming the new ‘social norm’ according to new Bank of America research. The Trends in Consumer Mobility report, which surveyed more than 1,000 consumers in the US, found that 36 per cent of adults currently use a P2P service, with Millennials leading the charge at nearly double that rate (62 per cent). What’s more, 45 per cent of non-users said they plan to start using the service within the next year.
Identity fraud in the UK has hit the highest levels ever recorded with almost 173,000 cases reported in 2016, according to new research. The Fraudscape report from CIFAS found that there were a total of 324,683 frauds recorded in 2016, an increase of 1.2 per cent year-on-year. Identity fraud now accounts for 53 per cent of that, with more than 96 per cent of those cases involving the abuse of an innocent victim’s identity, rather than a fictitious identity.
KPMG International has completed the acquisition of Matchi, a platform that connects financial institutions with carefully vetted FinTech firms worldwide. Some $71 billion was invested in FinTechs between 2015 and 2016, KPMG noted, with the introduction of Open Banking and PSD2 further encouraging the partnership between financial institutions and FinTech companies. KPMG and Matchi have worked together since 2015, and the acquisition is anticipating the increase of client demand for FinTech alliances, the professional services firm added.
Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest will be rolling out a new automated lending process for commercial real estate investors, providing them with a credit-approved decision in as little as 45 minutes. The automated model is set to be introduced later this month, following a successful pilot of the programme in Liverpool and London. The new process will cover all new applications for customers who want to borrow up to £2 million for commercial and residential investment, or residential development.
Alipay is set to make its mark in the North American market after announcing a partnership with First Data that will see its mobile payment service accepted at four million US businesses. The roll-out follows the completion of a successful pilot between the two firms at the end of 2016, when the two companies trialled Alipay in selected high-end and speciality retail locations in California and New York.
Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has outlined a range of proposals to reduce and mitigate hacking risks associated with internet trading. A two-month consultation of the proposals will now begin. The proposals incorporate new guidelines which set out baseline cybersecurity requirements for internet brokers to address hacking risks and vulnerabilities and to clarify expected standards of cybersecurity controls.
German online lender Kreditech has closed a €110 million investment from online payments service provider PayU, marking the largest ever equity investment in a German FinTech company. As part of the deal, Kreditech and PayU have agreed a global partnership to deliver a joint proposition for point of sale finance.
South Africa’s Mercantile Bank has signed a partnership with TCS BaNCS Digital to transform its banking operations into a “digitally immersive experience”. The new solution boasts a hybrid architecture and responsive web design that allows Mercantile Bank to deliver channel agnostic business banking, with an interactive experience across multiple devices. The solution’s scalability ensures that large volumes of transactions are managed by the bank with ease.
French banking group BNP Paribas has chosen Station F, the world’s largest startup campus located in Paris, as its destination to host this year’s startup accelerator programme in conjunction with Plug and Play. In addition to the range of services provided by the accelerator programme – personal hand-holding, coaching, business contacts and fundraising opportunities – selected startups will also be able to take advantage of the ‘dynamic ecosystem’ offered by Station F. They will join some 1,000 other startups expected to be accommodated on the campus in the longer term.
ING is accelerating its digital banking strategy by fully digitising its current account opening process for the bank’s German customers. Customers simply fill in their personal details online and accept the terms and conditions – which means paper and signatures are no longer required. Customers will then receive a confirmation that their application is being processed, including the new IBAN. Customers finally authenticate themselves via an online video chat before activating their account.
Chatbots are a ‘game changer’ for the customer service industry, with the healthcare and banking sectors set to benefit the most over the next five years, according to a new study from Juniper Research. The new research, Chatbots: Retail, eCommerce, Banking & Healthcare 2017-2022, forecasts that chatbots will be responsible for cost savings of over $8 billion per annum by 2022, up from $20 million this year.
The findings of a global industry sandbox consultation have been published, emphasising that a successful sandbox must be “accessible to all key players, from startups to big banks”. The consultation, which was chaired by Innovate Finanace on invitation from the FCA, brought together over 200 representatives from financial institutions, large technology firms, data vendors and startups to identify where and how an industry sandbox can add value.
Today’s Australian budget for 2017/18 has been welcomed by the country’s FinTech body, after plans were announced to reduce barriers for banking licences, expand the regulatory sandbox and introduce digital currency tax cuts. Treasurer Scott Morrison used the budget to deliver a new statement about how he will create competition and accountability in Australia’s banking system.
The Bank of England has today set out its blueprint for a renewed Real-Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system. The current system is used by credit institutions, such as High Street banks and building societies, to make safe and immediate, high-value monetary transactions. The new blueprint aims to deliver a service that provides a resilient, flexible and innovative sterling payment system for the UK.
Deutsche Bank has partnered with a host of German and European firms to spearhead a new initiative that is designed to establish a pan-industry platform for online registration, e-identity and data services. The joint venture, which aims to make online registration simpler and more secure for clients, was set up by Allianz, Axel Springer and Daimler with Deutsche Bank and Postbank, as well as with technology think-tank Core, and Here Technologies, a location services provider.
Some 60 per cent of UK consumers believe that fewer than three security steps – including passwords, card readers or letters from a memorable word – are insufficient to assure their bank account is secure, according to a new survey. The research from Equifax, which surveyed more than 2,000 consumers, found that a fifth of respondents have previously had either their social media or email account hacked. In response to being hacked, 80 per cent changed their password, while 20 per cent chose to completely close the account.
The number of mobile payments authenticated by biometrics will rise to almost two billion this year, up from just over 600 million in 2016. This is according to a new study from Juniper Research, which found that while Apple Pay has been providing the catalyst for initial growth, other leading wallets including Android Pay and Samsung Pay are increasingly offering biometric solutions for authentication.
In a first for a UK High Street bank, Barclays’ customers will now be able to instantly turn remote spending ‘on and off’ on their debit card through their mobile banking app, as part of new efforts to reduce the threat of fraud. The move has been announced alongside a wider £10 million campaign by Barclays to increase the public’s awareness of financial fraud risks and help them stay vigilant in the digital age with relevant information, tools and tips.
Poland’s Idea Bank is launching new ‘Idea Hub’ carriages on selected PKP Intercity trains, designed to allow passengers complete work tasks on the available equipment. The space will facilitate work for passengers traveling on the Warsaw-Poznan-Warsaw, Warsaw-Krakow-Warsaw and Warsaw-Wrocław-Warsaw routes. Selected PKP Intercity trains linking the cities will have a special Idea Hub Express car attached. The car, which has been adopted for office work, features a table, comfortable chairs and a screen for presentations.
Some 24 per cent of banks worldwide struggle with the identification of their customers when delivering digital and online banking services, according to a new survey from Kaspersky Lab. The online security firm recommends that verifying a user’s identity should be taking centre stage in the cyber security strategies of financial institutions, as 59 per cent of banks anticipate growing financial losses due to fraud over the next three years.
Middle East and Africa is the world’s fastest growing payment cards region, according to new research from RBR. The firm’s Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts to 2021 report found that the number of cards in issue in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) increased by 13 per cent to 611 million in 2015, making it the world’s fastest growing region.
China’s Ping An Insurance Group has announced the launch of a $1 billion global FinTech fund. The firm has appointed Jonathan Larsen as its chief innovation office and CEO of the new $1 billion Global Voyager Fund. Larsen is a Citigroup veteran, most recently acting as the group’s global head of retail banking.
The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) has published a report setting out a recommended delivery plan for the consolidation of the operators of three payment systems: Bacs Payment Schemes, Cheque and Credit Clearing Company (C&CCC) and the Faster Payments scheme. The consolidation of the three systems aims to further develop the capability and capacity of the operators by bringing them within a single organisation and reduce the complexity and costs of having three separate retail payment system operators.
Following 15 weeks of development, mentoring and networking, eight of the 11 companies to take part in the Barclays accelerator programme have secured more formal engagements with the bank. The 11 companies revealed their propositions today at the newly opened Rise London in Shoreditch, in front of an audience of 250 industry leaders, venture capitalists, senior executives and corporate partners. Some of the companies are:
UK banking websites are being targeted by phishing scammers who are constructing domains with similar names to trick customers into entering their personal login details. DomainTools Research has monitored the top UK-based banks for high risk domains, which are closely connected to other domains that have already been blacklisted for spam, malware or phishing. In total, there were 324 domains identified as high risk that spoofed banks’ brand names.
BNP Paribas has become the first European bank to sign a partnership with Snap Inc, the parent company of Snapchat. The bank hopes that the new collaboration will strengthen its relationship with Millennials, with the international communication platform registering more than 53 million daily active users across Europe in December 2016.
The majority of UK adults would prefer to do their banking online than in a physical branch, however less than a quarter currently trust the information they receive online from banks, a new survey has found. The study from Lithium Technologies which surveyed 2,000 UK adults revealed that 62 per cent would rather bank online than in a branch. But it also showed that just 23 per cent do not trust information online from banks, with in-person banking remaining the most trusted source of information for 58 percent of UK adults.
The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has teamed up with cloud mobile provider LivePerson to roll out a new ‘hybrid bot’ where humans and bots team up in one conversation. The new service, which is currently live for RBS customers, is unlike many other typical bots which work in isolation from other channels. The hybrid bot instead gives users a single place to get help, RBS Assist.
Triodos, a European bank which focuses on ‘sustainable lending’ through organisations such as charities and community schemes, has opened registrations for its first ever UK personal current account. The bank says it is launching the account in response to growing consumer demand for banking products that demonstrate a positive impact on society. Managing director at the bank, Bevis Watts, explained: “Our new personal current account brings an inspiring new option to the UK current account market, which we believe is dysfunctional and is obviously dominated by a small number of large banks.
The Singapore government, including the country’s central bank – the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) – have begun a pilot with four banks that allows citizens to apply for a new bank account without needing to submit supporting documentation. The Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO) and Government Technology Agency (GovTech), in collaboration with MAS, have begun the trial which aims to explore simplifying online banking transactions with the use of the Government’s MyInfo service.
LINK has announced the launch of its free ATM locator app, which allows users to see the location of all 70,000 LINK ATMs in the UK. The new app was developed with the support of Thomas Pocklington Trust – a national sight loss charity which aims to increase awareness and understanding of the needs of people with sight loss.
Mastercard has officially announced the completion of its £700 million acquisition of VocaLink after being granted regulatory approval by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) last month. Vocalink’s key bank account-based technology will allow Mastercard to expand beyond card-based payments to drive the major types of electronic payment transactions.
Barclays has opened Europe’s largest FinTech site, Rise London, which will house more than 40 FinTech companies in the trendy Shoreditch area of the capital. Rise London, the largest co-working space dedicated to financial technologies, aims to bring together from across the world a community of FinTech startups, along with Barclays’ corporate clients and other experts.
Australian cross-border payments outfit Airwallex has raised $13 million in a Series A funding round which is expected to boost the firm’s international expansion. Mastercard, Sequoia Capital China and Chinese internet company Tencent Holdings all participated in the round. Airwallex was the first Australian startup to join the Mastercard Start Path accelerator programme in September 2016.
WorldRemit has partnered with Millicom’s subsidiaries Tigo Money to open up new remittance routes to El Salvador and Guatemala, enabling Salvadorans and Guatemalans abroad to send money transfers instantly to more than one and a half million Tigo Money users in those countries. WorldRemit users abroad will now be able to make secure, instant money transfers back home from their mobile phone to any Tigo Money user in El Salvador and Guatemala.
P2P (person to person) money transfers will see the largest year-on-year increase in value in 2017, as the overall digital payments market approaches $3.9 trillion in 2017, according to Juniper Research. The new research – Digital Payment Strategies: Online, Mobile & Contactless 2017-2021 – found that online retail sales in the US in 2016 were around four per cent ahead of previous forecasts, thanks to an increased emphasis from bricks-and-mortar retailers in developing a converged online/offline approach.
Emirates NBD has announced the launch of ‘Cheque Chain,’ an initiative that aims to integrate blockchain technology into cheques to strengthen their authenticity and minimise potential fraud. Emirates NBD plans to introduce the Cheque Chain initiative to its employees during the pilot phase, ahead of a customer roll out later this year.
More than two thirds of senior banking executives see their bank as a technical leader despite many of them having outdated legacy systems, new research suggests. The Monitise FINkit survey, which was carried out by LM Research and includes responses from 15 major UK banks and other financial institutions, also revealed that despite continuing rhetoric around the ‘problem with legacy systems’, only one-fifth of respondents named outdated or failing technology as a key business challenge keeping them awake at night.
Total UK card spending in February 2017 was £57.2 billion, an increase of £300 million on January, and up from £52.2 billion in February 2016, the latest UK Cards Association figures show. The number of card purchases increased to 1.3 billion in February, up by 14 million on the previous month and up 11 per cent annually.
Mastercard has announced the appointment of Ed McLaughlin as the firm’s new president of operations and technology. McLaughlin will take over from current incumbent Rob Reeg on 1 May. Reeg will move to a consulting role reporting to the firm’s CEO Ajay Banga, and will help to ensure a smooth transition through October 1, 2017.
Customer satisfaction is significantly higher among those who have visited a bank branch within the past 12 months when compared to those who have only used digital channels, a new report has found. The JD Power research also found that among Millennials, satisfaction is highest when bank customers use both branch and digital banking channels.
UBS, the world’s largest wealth manager, has selected Microsoft Azure cloud technology to power its digital transformation. The partnership aims to reduce UBS’ dependency on legacy technology and find new ways for the firm to leverage digital channels. UBS is currently using Azure to power its risk-management platform, technology that requires significant computing power, to run millions of calculations daily on demand. The result – speeding calculation time by 100 percent and saving 40 percent in infrastructure costs – means the firm can have more working capital on hand and employees can make quicker, more informed decisions for their clients.
The financial services industry was attacked by cyber criminals more than any other sector globally in 2016, according to new figures from IBM Security. FS firms were targeted 65 per cent more than an average organisation, the IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index found.
Payments Canada has invited three suppliers, VocaLink, SIA and CGI, to participate in a procurement process for the country’s core clearing and settlement system for payments, called Lynx. The shortlisted candidates - CGI, SIA and Vocalink – have the chance “to play a critical role in the transformation of Canadian payments”.
Venture capital-backed FinTech companies raised $2.7 billion across 226 deals in the first quarter of 2017, according to the latest figures from CB Insights. Investment dollars to VC-backed FinTech companies in 2017 is on pace to drop 18 per cent from 2016, at its current run rate. However, global FinTech deal activity could surpass 2016’s all-time high if the rest of the year sustains the current first quarter deal pace.
Barclaycard has partnered with FinTech company Donate The Change to unveil a range of wearable devices, allowing users to automatically donate the small change from any contactless payment they make to a charity of their choice. Developed by Donate The Change and powered by Barclaycard’s bPay contactless chips, the wearables can be used to make ‘touch and go’ payments for £30 and under without fumbling for cash or entering a PIN. When a purchase is made, it triggers an automatic donation to the wearer’s chosen charity.
Myanmar’s First Private Bank (FPB) has selected Misys to streamline and digitise its banking operations, with a view to bringing new products and enhanced services to customers. This project will see Misys FusionBanking provide a connected front, middle and back office with advanced analytics to support the bank in better understanding consumer needs. FPB will be able to launch personalised products in line with demand. Customers will be able to view and access their accounts across channels, get salaries credited electronically, transfer money and pay bills from different branches or on the go via mobile.
UK challenger TSB has begun the roll-out of its next-generation mobile banking app, the first service to be built on its new Proteo IT platform. The mobile banking app includes simplified and easier access through fingerprint and one-hand navigation for the most-used transactions. The app, which was built from scratch using its new Proteo4UK IT platform, is available for both Android and iOS devices.
The latest figures for the Current Account Switch Service have been published, showing that over 3.7 million successful switches have taken place since the service launched in 2013. During the last 12 months (1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017), a total of 949,047 switches were completed, with 248,302 switches recorded in the last quarter alone (January – March 2017).
Studio B, the UK’s first public innovation lab focused on financial solutions, opens tomorrow (April 27) in Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks’ flagship London store. Every four weeks, invited guests and members of the public will take on a new challenge, using design and technology to build the next generation of banking. The prototypes they develop will be showcased in the store and tested on customers.
More than three quarters of British consumers have concerns about using new payment methods, the latest research suggests. The data from law firm Paul Hastings, which surveyed more than 2,000 UK consumers, found that 77 per cent of Brits expressed security fears regarding new payment technologies.
Spanish banking group BBVA has signed an agreement to acquire Mexican online payments startup Openpay, as the bank looks to accelerate its digital transformation efforts. Openpay is a payment service provider (PSP) that facilitates e-commerce, including on mobile devices, for large businesses and SMEs.
A third of people in Europe would go completely cashless if given the option, new research from ING has found. The fifth annual ING International Survey Mobile Banking report, which surveyed more than 15,000 people across 15 countries, discovered that one in five (21 per cent) people in Europe now rarely carries physical notes and coins and 34 per cent would go completely cashless if given the choice.
Wafacash has partnered with digital money transfer service WorldRemit to support the growing demand for instant remittances and the immediate access of funds in Morocco. WorldRemit customers can now send overseas money transfers to be collected in one of the 1620 Wafacash cash pick up locations all over the country, including Marrakesh, Tanger, Tetouan, Salé, Fes, Agadir, Meknes, Oujda, Kenitra, and Nador among others.
National Bank of Cambodia is working with Japanese blockchain startup Soramitsu to co-develop an open source distributed ledger technology (DLT) project – labelled Hyperledger Iroha. Through a co-development agreement, the National Bank of Cambodia will study the implications of distributed ledger technology, while contributing to the open source development of Hyperledger Iroha and developing new payment infrastructures.
Starling Bank has become the first UK challenger to sign up to VocaLink’s Pay by Bank app, which allows customers to make payments directly from their existing mobile banking app. The real-time payments work through secure digital tokens, removing the need for customer financial details to be provided to a merchant when a purchase is made.
Real-time receipt data platform Flux has announced that it will be working with digital challenger bank Monzo to pilot its solution with food establishments EAT and Bel-Air. Flux links users’ bank cards with the retailer’s point of sale to deliver real-time receipts, including item data and VAT, directly to customer’s mobile banking apps. Rather than just showing the retailer’s name, the total amount spent and the date, Flux will also include each item bought and e-stamps.
The demand for robo-advice rises with income, despite it being widely considered a low-cost financial advice solution, according to Deloitte. Research from the business advisory firm has found that more than half (51 per cent) of people earning £45,000 to £70,000 would use a robo-advisor for investments, compared with just 30 per cent of those on incomes under £15,000.
UK mobile-based challenger Atom bank has announced the appointment of American music star will.i.am as the bank’s first strategic board advisor. The former Black Eyes Peas star, who has a keen interest in technology, will provide the Durham-based bank with “an external perspective on culture, philanthropy and technology”.
The National Bank of Canada (NBC) has become a strategic shareholder in Myanmar mobile payment outfit Ongo, acquiring 22 per cent of the business. Ongo is the consumer facing brand of Ronoc Asia, a subsidiary of the emerging markets investment business Ronoc. It offers retailer payments solutions, payroll programs and direct to consumer services leveraging new payment technologies.
US-based open banking platform Token has raised $15.7 million in a Series A funding round from investors including Octopus Ventures, EQT Ventures and OP Financial Group. Token’s open banking platform is designed to allow banks to meet the compliance requirements of the upcoming European Payment Services Directive (PSD2).
The European Parliament has mandated the European Commission to implement a pilot project to build up technical expertise and regulatory capacity on distributed ledger technology (DLT). Labelled the ‘blockchain observatory’, the project will feature a forum to gather opinions from the industry and to voice concerns around the technology. The European Commission hopes that it will become an EU expertise hub to discuss forward-looking topics on blockchain and develop use cases of interest at EU level.
Spanish banking group BBVA has announced the completion of its first real-life international money transfer using Ripple’s new blockchain technology. The transaction, running on BBVA infrastructures with real money, successfully completed transfers between Spain and Mexico in a matter of seconds.
FinTech firm Plastc has today announced that it has ceased operations and will be filing for bankruptcy, despite having collected $9 million in pre-orders from prospective customers. The firm was working on a smart card solution which could combine several cards into one product, with an accompanying mobile app. Plastc said that they were expecting to close Series A funding on two occasions in the past few months, but deals worth $3.5 million and $6.75 million both collapsed at the last minute.
Nasdaq has announced the launch of a venture investment programme, Nasdaq Ventures, dedicated to “discovering, investing in and partnering with unique FinTech companies worldwide”. The programme's main objective is to identify and collaborate on new technologies, services and solutions which align with Nasdaq's clients’ needs and the company’s long-term objectives in the global capital markets.
Six Dutch banks have joined forces and announced the planned launch of a new payment app in the Netherlands later this summer. ABN AMRO, ASN Bank, ING, Rabobank, RegioBank and SNS have collaborated to roll out the Payconiq app, a new mobile payment service that enables online, on-the-go and one-on-one payments.
Telecommunications giant Orange has unveiled a mobile banking offering which is due to be launched to the public in July, following a trial with Orange employees in France. Customers will be able to subscribe to the new service directly from within the mobile application, online or in-store. The offer will provide customers with a bank account, a debit card, overdraft protection and an interest-bearing savings account. Additional services, such as credit and insurance, will be gradually introduced over the coming months.
Social network payments in China made via Alipay and WeChat are nearing the $3 trillion landmark, according to a new UN report. The study, by the UN-based Better Than Cash Alliance, found that $2.9 trillion in digital payments were made in China last year, representing a 20-fold increase in the past four years.
Amazon is extending its Amazon Pay service to France, Italy and Spain, enabling customers to pay for goods and services on participating third party merchant websites with their Amazon account information. The online payment service helps to reduce the time it takes customers to checkout by removing the need to remember multiple passwords while shopping online. All Amazon account holders can now log in to Amazon Pay with their details at participating retailers.
Yorkshire Building Society (YBS) has signed a deal with Capriza to help transform its mobile experience for its 3.2 million customers. Following a review of its website analytics and conversations with customers, the society recognised the need for enhanced digital and mobile capabilities as customers wanted more services available through their mobile.
Mastercard has today unveiled a new next-generation biometric card, which combines chip technology with fingerprints to verify the cardholder’s identity for in-store purchases. The biometrics card, which is being trialled in South Africa, builds on fingerprint scanning technology used for mobile payments today and can be used at EMV terminals worldwide.
Asian investment bank Nomura has launched a FinTech partnership in India labelled Voyager, aimed at harnessing emerging technologies to help transform its businesses and services. The bank will also be creating a new 10 billion yen fund to provide financial support to startups in the country. Entrepreneurs are invited to participate in the programme to build solutions for capital markets and investment banking that can be deployed across the firm and financial industry.
Organised by FStech and sister title Retail Systems, the Payments Awards are back for 2017, recognising excellence and innovation in the payments sector. Winning entries come from those companies, individuals and organisations who have launched or implemented the most outstanding payments solutions, initiatives and projects during the past year.
Bank of England has announced that it is now accepting applications to join its fourth FinTech accelerator programme. The bank said that it is particularly keen to advance its understanding of quantitative and qualitative machine learning solutions and to conduct a more detailed exploration of privacy in distributed ledger netwoks. The accelerator is looking for firms working on a time-limited proof of concept in the following areas:
Poland’s mBank has launched a new mobile app for Android and iOS devices, which has fingerprint login capabilities and a display of clients’ spending rates to help users control their budgets. Android Pay mobile payments are one of the key functionalities of the new app, marking the first time in Europe that adding a card to Android Pay takes place at the level of the bank’s app – meaning that customers do not need to download a separate Android Pay app.
Ant Financial has announced a joint merger with helloPay Group which will see the helloPay payment platform rebranded into Alipay. The agreement means helloPay will now be rebranded as Alipay Singapore, Alipay Malaysia, Alipay Indonesia and Alipay Philippines in each respective market it is operating in, starting April 19.
Wells Fargo has announced it is launching a pilot to test an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven customer chat experience for Facebook Messenger. The pilot has initially been opened to several hundred Wells Fargo team members and will then be rolled out to a few thousand customers later this spring.
Ant Financial has entered into an Amended Merger Agreement with MoneyGram after the Chinese firm upped its bid for MoneyGram from $800 million to $1.2 billion. Ant Financial increased its offer price to acquire all of the outstanding shares of MoneyGram, from $13.25 per share to $18.00 per share in cash, in order to fend off interest from US rival Euronet. The improved offer provides approximately $320 million in additional cash consideration to MoneyGram stockholders from the prior agreement. The MoneyGram board of directors has unanimously approved the Amended Merger Agreement.
The Central Bank of Armenia (CBA) has selected Intellect’s Quantum central banking system (QCBS) for its digital transformation. The new platform will help CBA to streamline its business processes across multiple departments and external entities. The bank will be able to generate the balance sheet in real-time and have comprehensive dashboards for integrated operation and prudential oversight.
PayPal is extending a partnership with Google to enable its customers to use PayPal as a payment method within Android Pay, wherever the mobile payments service is accepted. Launching soon in the US, users will be able to pay using their PayPal balance, and over the coming months PayPal will add the ability to use cards that have been stored with PayPal, enabled by recent tokenisation partnerships with major card networks.
Deloitte has published its annual FinTech hub review, which analyses data from 44 markets across the world, revealing a number of regional FinTech themes. The ‘Tale of 44 Cities’ research found that emerging FinTech centres in Europe tend to agree that there is good access to talent in their hubs, while the majority of these 12 new European hubs also rate regulation negatively and cite regulatory barriers as a common challenge.
The number of FinTech patents filed worldwide is continuing to rise, reaching 9,545 in 2016 – up six per cent from the 9,045 filed in 2015, according to commercial law firm EMW. When compared to five years ago, the number of these patents has grown 49 per cent, up from 6,399 in 2011. EMW has attributed this increase to the battle between both startups and traditional financial services companies for a competitive edge, to ensure that they are at the forefront of the latest disruptive technology.
Lloyds Banking Group has signed an exclusive partnership with Microsoft to trial biometric authentication with customers logging into their Lloyds, Halifax and Bank of Scotland internet banking sites. The ‘Windows Hello’ feature recognises the user, rather than having to remember an assortment of letters and numbers that are forgotten or could be guessed. It contains technology that creates a data representation of a face, not an image – preventing access via an impersonator using a photograph.
Ant Financial has embarked on a joint venture with Indonesian digital outfit Emtek Group to launch a new mobile payments platform, as well as increase accessibility to digital financial services in the country. The payment platform will initially be offered on BlackBerry Messenger, Indonesia’s most commonly used messenger application which is operated by a subsidiary of Emtek and has a user base of over 63 million monthly active users in the country.
UK chancellor of the exchequer, Philip Hammond, believes that the FinTech revolution will “transform the way we live and do business”, providing consumers with “better services, more choice, and lower costs”. Speaking at the inaugural International FinTech Conference in London, Hammond stated that FinTech has the potential to fundamentally transform the structure of the global economy.
WoraPay, the mobile service that allows customers to order ahead and beat the queue when ordering food and drinks, has integrated Masterpass from Mastercard, enabling its mobile wallet users to pay with a secure, one-click payment. Masterpass stores all payment information, including card details from Mastercard and other payment networks, in one secure place. The partnership was established through the Startupbootcamp FinTech programme, where WoraPay was mentored by Mastercard employees. Lloyds Banking Group staff were among the first to use the service.
JP Morgan, Northern Trust and Santander have, in partnership with Broadridge Financial Solutions, announced the completion of a successful pilot of a blockchain-based proxy vote solution. The proof of concept is designed to enhance transparency in the proxy voting process by adapting distributed ledger technology capabilities to provide daily insight into vote progress throughout the issuer’s proxy voting period from meeting announcement dates to annual general meetings.
The European Central Bank (ECB) has stated that distributed ledger technology (DLT) is “not mature enough” at this stage of development, and therefore cannot be used in the Eurosystem’s market infrastructure. The report on blockchain technology noted that the ECB is continuously exploring new ways to enhance the market infrastructure, both as an operator and overseer and as a catalyst of financial market integration in Europe.
Consumer finance platform Neyber has raised £7.5 million in a Series B funding round, bringing the total raised so far by the London-based firm to £18 million. Investors from the financial services sector joined the company’s investor base; with former Deutsche Bank COO, Henry Ritchotte, and Credit Suisse Investment Bank co-head, Gaël de Boissard, taking a stake in the company. Neyber’s anchor investor and partner, Police Mutual, made an additional ‘significant’ investment.
Facebook users can now send or receive money between groups of people on the Facebook Messenger app via their desktop or mobile device. Users tap on the plus sign in the bottom left hand corner of a group conversation to find more features, and tap the payments icon. Then users are prompted to choose who to send or request money from, whether that be everyone in a group or just a few members. Users then enter the amount they wish to request per person or the total sum to divide evenly
Qatar’s Commercial Bank has successfully completed a pilot using blockchain technology to process international transfers, with plans to expand the project to include trade finance transactions. Commercial Bank partnered with its regional alliance banks in conducting the pilot, including ABank in Turkey, National Bank of Oman, and United Arab Bank in the UAE, in addition to other banks in Egypt and India.
The Central Bank of Iceland (CBI) has selected European payments firm SIA to implement and support a new real-time gross settlement system (RTGS) as well as a new instant payment platform. These new technology infrastructures, which are expected to go live in 2018, will replace CBI’s current mainframe-based real-time solutions for high and low-value payment systems – which have been operating since 2001.
Australia’s Westpac has announced a partnership with Samsung to offer Samsung Pay mobile payments to millions of the bank’s Mastercard and Visa cardholders. The announcement comes just weeks after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) denied authorisation to Westpac and three other Australian banks to collectively bargain with Apple and boycott Apple Pay.
Apple Pay contactless users will nearly double, reaching 86 million by the end of 2017, according to predictions from Juniper Research. The market analyst firm estimates that the number of OEM-Pay contactless users, including Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay, will exceed 100 million for the first time during the first half of this year, before surpassing 150 million by year end.
Britain’s business leaders plan to weather the current economic climate by increasing their investment in technology, a new study by American Express has revealed. The 2017 Global Business and Spending Outlook report surveyed more than 100 of the most senior financial leaders in the UK. The study found that technology was a key priority for remaining competitive with other companies.
London and Singapore remain the top global FinTech hubs, according to the findings of a new Deloitte report. The Connecting Global FinTech: Interim Hub Review 2017 report analysed 44 of the world’s FinTech hubs. The report is an update to the 2016 review, and comes after research conducted by SWIFT Innotribe and Innovate Finance, which recently launched the Global FinTech Hubs Federation aimed at building closer ties with hubs around the world “through collaboration and knowledge sharing”.
Visa has announced the launch of its first-ever European Everywhere Initiative, challenging startups and FinTech companies from 19 European markets to submit ideas focused on improving payments in the local community and across the travel industry. Competitors will have a chance to win up to €50,000 to support a development programme with Visa, or through business partnership with Visa’s financial institution clients. Successful entrants will have the opportunity to access Visa APIs through the Visa Developer Platform, executive mentors and technologists to help them further develop their ideas.
Mastercard has been granted regulatory approval by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to acquire VocaLink, with the £700 million deal expected to close in the coming weeks. Back in January the CMA raised concerns about the potential purchase, a move which it suggested would “limit competition” in relation to the LINK ATM scheme. However, Mastercard submitted a number of remedies to their takeover proposals which have now been accepted by the CMA.
Property crowdfunding company Yielders has announced that it has become the first ever Islamic FinTech firm to be directly regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Yielders are aiming to dispel myths that traditional Islamic Finance is uncompetitive with their Sharia compliant offering. The platform allows cash-based investments from as little as £100, giving anyone the opportunity to get on the property ladder without the hassle of being a landlord or having the burden of a mortgage. Assets are already funded and provide pre-defined rental incomes.
More than a quarter of a million Wonga customers could have had their personal data stolen in a data breach at the UK money lending firm. In a statement published on its website, Wonga said that it believed there may have been illegal and unauthorised access to data. It said: “We are urgently working to establish further details and contacting those who we know have been impacted.”
Mastercard has welcomed five new startups focused on artificial intelligence (AI), payments and FinTech to its Start Path Global programme – the company’s initiative which looks to support later-stage startups. Three out of the five startups joining the programme are focused on artificial intelligence. These startups are using AI to analyse consumer behaviour, enhance in-store or in-branch customer engagement, and compute bill and payment data. The other two startups have developed solutions that extend retail access to consumers through point of sale innovations.
Redwood, a new UK SME business bank, has secured a banking licence following approval from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA). Redwood Bank, which is wholly owned by Redwood Financial Partners (RFP), will now enter its mobilisation phase and expects to launch to customers later in 2017.
Innovate Finance has published a number of key findings from an industry consultation which aimed to explore the feasibility of an industry-led sandbox for testing off-market financial innovation. Organised by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the consultation was conducted between July 2016 and April 2017. A full set of the consultation findings, best practices and recommendations will be published in early May 2017.
UBS has agreed to sell its risk and analytics service, UBS Delta, to StatPro Group for £11 million. StatPro Group said that the deal will enable it to extend its risk and performance analytics service from the middle office to the front office of asset managers.
London-based digital banking startup Meniga has raised €7.5 million in a funding round led by Nordic venture capital investor Industrifonden, as well as including current investors Velocity Capital, Frumtak Ventures and Kjolfesta. Meniga’s digital banking platform helps banks use personal finance data to boost their online and mobile customer experiences. The funding will be used for continued investment in Meniga’s R&D activities, as well as for strengthening the sales teams to meet growing demand.
Almost three quarter of banks and asset managers believe that cyber security is the most significant risk when partnering with FinTech firms, according to a new report. The research from international law firm Simmons & Simmons found that 71 per cent of respondents were concerned about the inherent cyber security risks of collaborating with a FinTech.
Toronto Stock Exchange operator TMX Group, in collaboration with Accenture, has unveiled an electronic shareholder voting system prototype based on blockchain technology. Designed as a public company solution for TSX Trust, TMX's transfer agency and corporate trust services provider, the E-Proxy voting system prototype aims to significantly improve the efficiency and accuracy of the voting process during annual shareholder meetings, while also enhancing security through advancements in cryptography.
Alipay’s mobile app will now be available in Italy, enabling Chinese visitors to the country purchase goods and access services that they are accustomed to in their homeland. Thanks to a partnership with UniCredit and through the use of SIA’s technological infrastructure, Alipay will be available in a 120,000 large merchant network spread across Italy. Such expansion comes amid an ever-growing number of Chinese tourists, who in 2015 spent more than $215 billion abroad
ISO has published its latest series of standards, which aim to provide the platform for mobile banking to expand and grow, bringing secure banking services to people in developing countries. According to the World Bank, there are around two billion ’unbanked’ people worldwide, meaning that they have no access to a bank account. However the growth in the use mobile devices for financial services, particularly in developing countries, means that more and more people have access to a bank account.
Deutsche Bank has become the first bank to offer mobile payments in Germany via its new mobile app, enabling customers to use their smartphones to make purchases. The Deutsche Bank Mobile app, available to Android device users enabled with near field communication technology, went live yesterday. The customer's Deutsche Bank Mastercard is displayed automatically in the app so there is no need to order a new credit card or to replace the smartphone's SIM card. In two simple steps the payment function can be activated and then used immediately. Customers who have the app loaded on their Android smartphone can make cashless payments worldwide at six million Mastercard acceptance points.
The majority of UK financial services firms believe that up to 40 per cent of their revenue is at risk of being lost to standalone FinTech firms, according to a new PwC report. The Redrawing the lines: FinTech’s growing influence on Financial Services report found that 61 per cent of UK financial services industry leaders believe that they could lose as much as 40 per cent of their revenue to standalone FinTech firms, compared to 51 per cent of financial services leaders globally.
UK digital challenger bank Monzo has announced that is now a fully authorised bank after its banking licence restrictions were lifted. Monzo can now begin the process of bringing current accounts to its users. The bank’s CEO, Tom Blomfield, said that they are already running live bank accounts with a small group of users to test the banking systems and that they will progressively increase the number of bank account users over the summer.
A reduction in FinTech transaction volumes in 2016 suggests that early hype has been replaced with cautious investment in proven and more established technologies and businesses, according to a market report from technology M&A advisory firm Hampleton Partners. The Fintech M&A report, which covers mergers and acquisitions in the period between July 2014 and December 2016, shows deal values for the first half of 2016 were down 32 per cent from the previous half year.