The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced that it is seeking views on how technology can make it easier for firms to meet their regulatory reporting requirements and improve the quality of information they provide. In November 2017, the FCA and the Bank of England held a two-week ‘TechSprint’ to examine how technology can make the current system of regulatory reporting more accurate and consistent.
Banking software vendor Temenos Group has announced that it is in advanced discussions regarding an all-cash takeover bid of £1.4 billion for trading systems technology firm Fidessa. Fidessa is a British-headquartered firm that provides software and services, such as trading and investment management systems, analytics and market data. Under the proposed terms of the deal, Fidessa shareholders would receive £35.67 in cash for each share
A third of small business owners expect cryptocurrency payments to become a reality on the British High Street within two years, according to new research. Card machine provider Paymentsense surveyed 500 small business owners in the UK, and found that a fifth predicted that cryptocurrency payments would start appearing even sooner, within just one year.
The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) have signed an arrangement that commits the two regulators to collaborating and supporting innovative firms through each other’s FinTech initiatives – namely FCA Innovate and LabCFTC. The new FinTech arrangement focuses on information-sharing for financial technology market trends and developments. It also facilitates referrals of FinTech companies interested in entering the other’s market, and the sharing of information and insight derived from each authority’s relevant sandbox, proof of concept and innovation competitions.
The Investment Association (IA) has announced that it will be launching a specialist FinTech accelerator for the UK’s asset management industry. The new accelerator – named VeloCity – will go live in Q2 this year, and is part of IA’s drive to boost innovation and speed up the adoption of new emergent technology across the asset management sector. The association said that the FinTech accelerator will, for the first time, bring together FinTech firms with “market viable” technology tailored to the asset management sector, supported by industry practitioners from across the IA membership.
UAE’s Mashreq Bank has partnered with Blue Prism to increase productivity, improve customer experiences and deliver new services through an integrated AI solution. The Digital Workforce platform will automate dozens of the bank’s processes across multiple business functions, including banking operations, compliance, customer care and their technology help desk.
Belgium’s KBC Bank has become the first financial institution in the country to offer customers the ability to chat with the bank through the WhatsApp messenger app. The service, available on weekdays from 8am to 10pm and on weekends from 9am to 5pm, is intended to provide quick answers to general banking and insurance questions from live staff. The bank has seen a steady rise in the number of chats and calls through its KBC Live service.
Digital lending platform Roostify has completed a $25 million Series B funding round, with new investments from Santander InnoVentures, Cota Capital and Point72 Ventures. The new funds will be used to fuel the company’s expansion plans, including a greater presence in the enterprise space, product enhancements, and expansion into new markets. Roostify’s cloud-based solution enables lenders to offer clients a seamless experience from search to closing their home loan.
Azlo, a digital banking platform aimed at freelancers and self-employed workers, has announced the public availability of its service in the US. Customers will be able to access dedicated business banking services instantly online, with no fees, minimum balances or “confusing conditions”. The platform has been designed with Millennials and entrepreneurs in mind, integrating modern digital business tools, such as e-commerce, point of sale and marketplace offerings.
The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) has signed an agreement with Ripple to pilot the firm’s cross-border payments technology. SAMA and Ripple have created a pilot programme to support banks in the country trial the xCurrent payments platform. SAMA will support the banks with programme management and training. Banks will be able to process cross-border payments in seconds, with end-to-end visibility and lower costs.
Dutch bank ABN AMRO has developed a blockchain solution to manage funds for its business customers who offer escrow accounts to their clients. The majority of non-bank organisations that are entrusted with client funds use escrow accounts to manage those funds. With the new platform, each client of the non-bank organisation gets a bank account with the ABN AMRO Clearing Bank via the blockchain.
Digital identity specialist IdentityMind has closed a $10 million Series C round of funding, co-led by Benhamou Global Ventures and Eastern Link Capital. IdentityMind provides a Software-as-a-Service RegTech platform that maintains and analyses digital identities worldwide, allowing companies to perform identity proofing, risk-based authentication, regulatory identification, and to detect and prevent identity fraud.
The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is exploring the possibility of a global regulatory sandbox, enabling firms to conduct FinTech tests in different jurisdictions and allowing regulators to work together to solve common cross-border issues. The current FCA sandbox allows firms to conduct new technology and product tests in the UK, but the watchdog noted that many aspects of financial markets and FinTech are global.
Wells Fargo mobile banking customers will now have access to a predictive banking feature that analyses account information to provide tailored insights and personalised financial guidance. The feature is the latest innovation from the bank to give customers a more comprehensive view of their finances, and increased control to advance their financial health and meet goals.
Singapore’s OCBC Bank has successfully tested and rolled out a facial recognition system at its Holland Village branch to identify Premier Banking customers when they walk in. The system, developed by NEC Asia Pacific, instantly identifies OCBC Premier Banking customers in real time as they approach the lounge in-branch, without needing to stop and look at the camera. This allows staff to identify customers, offer them preferred drinks and magazines, and provide a more personalised experience.
Digital challenger bank Monzo has made its Monzo.me P2P payments service – which allows people to complete a payment through an online link – available to all users following a beta trial. Monzo.me has been available since 2016 to users who started using prepaid card accounts, but newer users with current accounts have not been able to access the service. The feature allows anyone to pay you using a debit card, Android Pay, Apple Pay, or their own Monzo account.
Global FinTech funding reached the $31 billion mark in 2017, fuelled by a strong investment of $8.7 billion in Q4, according to new figures from KPMG. The Pulse of FinTech report found that 2017’s total brings global investment over the last three years to $122 billion. Despite total FinTech deal volume declining in Q4, the number of venture capital (VC) transactions exceeded 1,000 for the fourth consecutive year, while private equity (PE) deals reached a new high of 139.
UK-based FinTech firm TruFin has secured £70 million through an AIM listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). TruFin is the holding company of an operating group comprising of three FinTech and banking businesses operating in three lending markets: supply chain finance, invoice finance and dynamic discounting. The company was established through a series of acquisitions and investments by Arrowgrass Master Fund between 2014 and 2017,
Starling Bank has announced that Pensionbee will be rolling out on its in-app Marketplace platform, with Wealthsimple, Habito and Kasko also set to join in the coming weeks. The Marketplace platform, which launched last June, has been designed to offer a range of products from various FinTech companies, providing customers with the opportunity to easily access these services by securely connecting to them via an API.
A number of UK cryptocurrency companies have created a self-regulatory trade body – CryptoUK – to improve industry standards and engage with policy makers. CryptoUK will work to raise understanding of the sector and call on the government to introduce appropriate regulation to protect consumers and businesses. The new body has developed a code of conduct, which members must comply with and is intended to improve industry standards.
A new payments system has officially launched in Australia, enabling businesses and consumers to transfer money instantly between different banks. Around 60 banks, building societies and credit unions across the country will commence rolling out the new platform today, following a successful trial in November last year between employees at a number of financial institutions.
YapStone, an international payments firm for large marketplaces, has announced that it closed a $71 million Series C funding round, led by Premji Invest. The latest injection of funds will provide YapStone will the platform to expand its product offering, broaden its geographic footprint and accelerate growth. The funding round also included investments from Mastercard and existing investors Accel and Meritech Capital Partners.
Visa has agreed a £124 million deal to acquire Fraedom, a Software-as-a-Service technology firm that provides payments solutions for financial institutions and their customers. The two companies have been partners for almost 10 years, with its technology used for Visa’s IntelliLink Spend Management platform for commercial and small business clients. The acquisition has been completed to strengthen and expand Visa’s business suite of solutions.
Citi is expanding its global network of innovation labs with the opening of a new hub in London, demonstrating Citi’s commitment to the UK technology sector. Based in Moorgate, the Citi innovation lab will initially employ 75 technologists with a focus on software development skills across a range of sectors and disciplines. The lab will also host the EMEA operations of Citi Ventures – the team in charge of venture capital investments and partnerships.
Middle Eastern money transfer platform UAE Exchange has announced a deal with Ripple to enable real-time cross-border payments. The partnership makes UAE Exchange the largest payment solutions provider in the Middle East to make use of Ripple’s blockchain technology to process payments in real time. As part of the deal, UAE Exchange joins RippleNet – Ripple’s blockchain network with more than 100 member banks and financial institutions.
New challenger bank Chetwood Financial has secured a UK banking licence, along with a £150 million investment from Elliott Advisors. The banking licence, acquired from the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority, adds to the existing authorisation that Chetwood gained for its lending business in early 2017. The new investment and banking licence will accelerate the bank’s plans to launch its first consumer finance product in Q1 2018
Mobile messaging service WhatsApp has launched a beta P2P payments service in India, with select users now able to send money to each other. WhatsApp confirmed that it was working on a payments service in India back in April 2017. The Facebook-owned company has support from a number of Indian banks, including the State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank.
Russia’s Tinkoff Bank is to open a development hub in Moscow that will focus on delivering new business solutions based on blockchain, as well as voice and face recognition technologies. The online-only bank said that improving its financial ecosystem “through the use of highly promising technologies and research” will be the hub’s first priority.
High Street challenger bank Metro has confirmed plans to recruit for a further 900 posts this year, which will include new roles in its expanded IT apprenticeship programme. The recruitment drive will take the bank’s workforce to almost 4,000, and comes after the financial institution hired an additional 500 new colleagues in 2017. The company said that a key area of investment was its apprenticeship scheme, with the bank last year becoming a certified employer provider, meaning that as well as hiring apprentices it is also able to deliver apprenticeship training through its dedicated in-house facility, Metro Bank University.
A number of major Swedish, Danish, Norwegian and Finnish banks are exploring the possibility of establishing a pan-Nordic payments infrastructure, supplemented by common products. The banks are aiming to create an area for domestic and cross-border payments in multiple currencies (SEK, DKK, NOK, and EUR). The infrastructure will be based on open access and common European standards and will contribute to increased competition among payment service providers in the Nordics.
Financial technology and payments firm Wirecard is to offer automated consumer interaction experiences via new chatbots that can handle customer enquiries. Wirecard’s mobile payment solution boon will be the first to roll out the AI-based consumer interaction channel from Astute Solutions. Based on deep learning technology, the chatbots will interpret the individual intent of each consumer and determine the best path for resolution.
Financial technology and payments firm Wirecard is to offer automated consumer interaction experiences via a new chatbot that can handle customer enquiries. The two companies will be providing contactless Revolut cards to all 59 Team GB athletes headed to the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, as well as the wider delegation accompanying them. The card will enable athletes to make secure payments at contactless-enabled terminals in South Korea free of foreign exchange fees.
Business finance firm MarketInvoice has established a partnership with trade-credit insurance company Euler Hermes, which will provide credit insurance policies to MarketInvoice customers. Businesses that use invoice finance solutions will now have the assurance that they are protected in the event of a customer becoming insolvent or failing to pay within the agreed terms. A risk prevention tool also monitors a company’s financials, enabling a forward view on debtors that will improve future trade decisions.
Deutsche Bank has made software code publically available that is designed to help firms better understand their IT environments, allowing them to manage their technology more effectively. The solution, known as ‘Waltz’, enables organisations to gather information about their IT estate from multiple sources across the firm, including information on applications, infrastructure, data, processes and costs.
Attacks on payment transactions in financial services have grown 100 per cent year-on-year, with new FinTech and cryptocurrency platforms being increasingly targeted by fraudsters. This is according to the ThreatMetrix Q4 2017 cybercrime report, which found that the financial services payment attack rate has grown 452 per cent from 2015, with cryptocurrency marketplaces now a prime target for attacks on legitimate transactions.
Chinese money transfer firm LianLian International has partnered with Ripple to use its xCurrent blockchain solution to process real-time cross-border payments for merchants and consumers. LianLian will accept payments from overseas financial institutions through RippleNet and disburse the payments to Chinese recipients. LianLian will also provide a connection service into China for other RippleNet members, supporting transaction flows between merchants and consumers in China and other markets.
Verifone has signed a deal with e-commerce payment firm Mash to roll out a ‘pay later’ solution use in retail stores across Europe. The new service will offer consumers the option to pay for the purchases later, while enabling merchants to immediately collect payment. Within 14 days, the consumer will receive an invoice to pay the balance in full or choose to convert the payment into a monthly instalment plan.
Nordic financial services group Nordea will be deploying Veridium’s ID platform to replace tokens with biometric authentication for access to confidential and secure data. This forms part of Nordea’s strategy to transform its organisation, embracing multi-factor biometric authentication for information security classification. The partnership will provide increased security, ease of use and a lower total cost of ownership that is scalable.
Venture capital investment into UK FinTech saw a 153 per cent increase year-on-year in 2017, with $1.8 billion invested across 224 deals. This is according to new figures from Innovate Finance, which revealed that the UK ranked second globally in terms of both capital invested and volume of deals, after the US. The top two UK deals, TransferWise and OakNorth, both raised rounds of over $200 million and were ranked among the top 20 global deals.
Apple, Cisco, Aon and Allianz have announced a new cyber risk management solution for businesses, comprised of cyber resilience services from Aon, technology from Cisco and Apple, and options for enhanced security coverage from Allianz. The new solution is designed to help a wider range of organisations better manage and protect themselves from cyber risk associated with ransomware and other malware-related threats, which are the most common threats faced by organisations today.
Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) is launching a digital community for personal finance aimed at Millennials, where people can exchange information and advice with peers and experts. The new community, named moneysmart, will be launched in collaboration with Germany’s Fidor Bank, which owns similar communities in Europe. The moneysmart community is open to anyone and will feature articles, blogs, tips and comments from users, who can receive cashable reward points for their input.
Flux has integrated digitised loyalty rewards into Starling Bank’s mobile app, instantly displaying loyalty stamps when a customer uses their Starling card at a participating retail partner. The integration marks the second stage of a partnership between Starling and Flux, which unveiled real-time digitised itemised receipts for customers in September last year. Flux will automatically send loyalty rewards to Starling customer accounts.
Robotic process automation (RPA) in banking is expected to generate $900 million in software and services revenues by 2022, new data from Juniper Research has found. Traditionally, RPA was limited to replicating simple or repetitive tasks that require high accuracy, such as data entry. However Juniper suggests that the current market represents a ‘perfect storm’ created by the convergence of chatbots, AI-driven RPA software and banks’ digital transformation strategies.
German challenger bank Penta has announced that it has raised €2.2 million in funding, led by London-based Inception Venture Capital. Penta has been designed to meet the banking needs of small and medium-sized businesses, including startups. The firm launched its app publicly in Beta to businesses in Germany in December. Penta wants to address issues faced by SMEs, such as account opening and fees for completing transactions.
Standard Chartered will be further enhancing personalisation and engagement in its digital services, following a partnership with digital technology firm Moneythor. The initial deployment will add advanced client-facing transaction insights to the roll-out of its chatbot service for the Hong Kong market. The bank will also use the new technology to address its clients digital expectations for personalised services, which improve their finances.
Palestine’s stock exchange has signed a new market technology agreement with Nasdaq to implement new matching engine technology. The Palestine Exchange (PEX) will continue to use Nasdaq’s surveillance technology for monitoring its markets and will leverage the new platform to provide additional services to its members and clients.
Lloyds Banking Group is to prohibit its customers from purchasing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on their credit cards from today. The ban – which does not apply to debit cards – will affect customers of Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland, Halifax and MBNA. The financial institution has made the move to avoid exposure to unpaid debts relating to customers buying cryptocurrencies – which are notorious for their price fluctuations.
The European Commission has launched the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum, designed to highlight key developments in blockchain technology and reinforce European engagement with stakeholders involved in blockchain activities. The Commission has been funding blockchain projects through the European Union’s research programmes FP7 and Horizon 2020 since 2013. The Commission wants to build on these initiatives, ensuring that they can work across borders and address the challenges faced by the technology.
UK Finance has announced that the process for small business owners preparing to open or switch to a new business current account has been simplified. Eighteen business current account providers must now require the same basic set of information from new customers. UK Finance has published a new online guide with the essential details and documents that most businesses will need to open an account.
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group has announced that it will acquire a 33 per cent equity stake in FinTech firm Ant Financial. Under the terms of the agreement, Alibaba will acquire newly-issued equity from Ant Financial in exchange for certain intellectual property rights owned by Alibaba exclusively related to Ant Financial, with no cash changing hands.
Banco Santander is partnering with Ripple to roll out distributed ledger technology (DLT)-based payments for individuals over the coming months. According to the bank’s Q4 2017 results, Santander will be launching same-day mobile international payments in “three clicks and 40 seconds” for retail customers in Q1 2018. The service will initially go live in four countries: Spain, Brazil, the United Kingdom and Poland.
myPOS, a new mobile payment system which claims to be the first to allow retailers instant access to their funds, has launched in the UK market. The myPOS system – which will be a rival to iZettle and Square – says it has been designed to remove the barriers to small retailers and business accepting card payments. It combines a mobile point of sale terminal with an online account and business card, enabling traders to accept card payments as readily as cash.
Japanese financial services firm SBI Holdings has signed a memorandum of understanding with Moven to invest in the payments startup and establish a joint venture company for operating business in Asia. Moven partners with banks around the world and provides them with mobile banking apps, using data science, behavioural psychology and financial analytics.
US internet retailer Overstock has announced the launch of a digitally-driven investment platform, in collaboration with tZero Advisors. The tZero Advisors platform is powered by FusionIQ’s B2C investment platform, which providers intelligent investment solutions to enables easy online investments. The new platform will use proprietary algorithms and a scoring system to develop and rebalance portfolios based on dynamic market factors.
Bankwest customers in Australia are now able to tap and pay for goods using the Bankwest Halo, reported to be Australia’s first payment ring. The release of the payments ring forms part of the bank’s focus on providing its customers with new and innovative methods of payment. The ring links to a customer’s Bankwest account and works like a contactless card.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch has announced a collaboration with PayPal that will enable the bank’s US commercial customers to make payments in local currencies to payees with PayPal accounts. The payments, which are initiated through the bank’s global Digital Disbursements service, can be made from the US to PayPal account holders in Mexico, France, Germany, Italy, the UK and the Philippines.
UK challenger bank Revolut has launched a new cryptocurrency platform, providing an easy-to-use and instant pathway to cryptocurrencies for customers. Users will be able to buy, hold and sell Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum directly from the Revolut mobile app in 25 currencies. Customers will also be able to transfer cryptocurrency to other Revolut users for free, and will be able to pay for goods in Bitcoin.
Rabobank has launched Rabo Frontier Ventures (RFV) – a €60 million strategic investment fund that focuses on early-stage Fintech and food and agriculture companies. Forming part of the bank’s innovation strategy, RFV is completely financed by Rabobank with the objective of providing a boost for FinTech and food and agriculture innovations. RFV will collaborate with and invest in companies that offer new possibilities for customers in the long term and align with the bank’s strategic direction.
French banking group BPCE has signed a partnership with technology firm Meniga to deploy its personalised digital banking solutions to customers in France. BPCE will integrate Meniga’s technology as part of its digital transformation plans, enhancing its digital channels and providing new personalised services to better serve its customers. The first phase of the roll-out will include Meniga’s financial activity feed, real-time spending overview and data-driven personalised alerts and insights.
Dutch bank ING has created a ‘digital shoebox’ mobile app which enables small business clients to track and manage their income, expenses and tax payments in real time. Users are able to scan receipts and bills with their mobile phone, and link them directly to debit and credit card transactions. Once set up the app, named Receipts & Invoices, makes it easier for clients to complete administration tasks.
Cash machine operator LINK has announced a series of measures designed to “maintain and rebalance” the UK’s ATM network, which includes a reduction in interchange fees. There will be a phased reduction in interchange fees (the fee card issuers pay to ATM operators) beginning with a five per cent reduction from 1 July 2018. LINK said it will review the position on fees annually, taking into account the impact on consumers.
Santander has opened registrations for its Building Banking Your Way hackathon, offering startups, students, tech enthusiasts and creative minds in the FinTech industry the opportunity to develop software solutions for the banking industry. Participants in the hackathon will access a sandbox of data to help bring their ideas to life, and will choose one of four core challenge tracks to build a solution around:
Finastra has acquired Olfa Soft SA and its foreign exchange e-trading platform for banks and financial institutions. The deal, which marks the company’s first acquisition as Finastra, enables the firm to deliver a real-time online foreign exchange trading solution for banks’ treasury departments, covering distribution, position-keeping, post-trade and payments.
Online payments firm Shieldpay has announced a partnership with Vocalink to use its Pay by Bank app as a new deposit method to customers. Shieldpay’s payments network protects both buyer and seller in any transaction by verifying the identity of all parties. Funds are held securely in the Shieldpay Vault, and are only released when both parties agree. Shieldpay enables either individuals or businesses to create this instant digital escrow facility with no set-up costs in order to eliminate payment fraud.
A new study examining consumer perspectives around digital identity has revealed that people now prioritise security over convenience when logging in to devices and applications – particularly financial apps. The IBM Security survey of almost 4,000 adults from across the US, Asia Pacific and Europe found that security ranked as the highest priority for logging in to the majority of applications, particularly money-related apps.
BFC Bank has become a direct participant in the Faster Payments Scheme, the UK’s real-time payment service. With participation in the Faster Payments Scheme, BFC Bank is now able to support small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and payment service providers (PSPs) with their domestic payments. BFC Bank is the 21st direct participant in the Faster Payments service.
Chinese mobile giant Huawei has partnered with UnionPay International to accelerate the international roll-out of its Huawei Pay mobile payments service. Through the agreement, Huawei and Honor mobile phone users will be able to complete mobile transactions by adding their UnionPay bank cards to their Huawei Pay account. The company uses payment token technology to effectively protect the privacy and data security of cardholders.
Emirates NBD has announced two new senior technology appointments as part of its digital transformation strategy. Miguel Rio Tinto has been appointed as chief information officer to lead the group’s information technology division. He joins from McKinsey & Company’s Iberia office where he was a partner responsible for major IT and digital transformations for financial institutions across Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.
ING has agreed a €270 million deal to acquire a 75 per cent stake in omnichannel payments service provider Payvision. The transaction, which forms part of ING’s Think Forward strategy, has been completed to strengthen ING’s footprint in omnichannel payments services and expand its merchant services for its business customers.
NatWest has partnered with Canadian technology firm Sensibill to launch a new digital receipt feature which is now available to all small business customers with the NatWest app. The new feature will enable receipts to be captured using a smartphone camera or sent to the app via email, and reconciled with a list of transactions held by the business. It will allow users to track spending and categorise expenses for HMRC, as well as exporting the receipts for invoicing or accounting purposes.
Nordic payments firm Nets has secured a contract with Hungarian financial services provider GIRO to deliver an instant payment solution to all bank users in Hungary. The partnership intends to deliver more than a basic payments infrastructure to the Hungarian banking community by developing and operating new additional services and solutions as well as utilizing GIRO's existing services and solutions to make full use of the scalable and open central infrastructure solution supplied by Nets.
Business commerce platform Tradeshift has announced the launch of a new innovation lab and incubator to drive supply chain innovation. Named Frontiers, the incubator is directed at exploring and transforming business networks, supply chains, and global trade through the application of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, distributed ledgers and the Internet of things. Frontiers will also engage in business development enhancing partnerships to drive commercial goals.
Yolt has reportedly become the first third party provider to complete a successful connection under the new Open Banking system. The first successful test connection was made on 17 January between Lloyds Banking Group and Yolt, making the money management firm the first third party provider to work with a CMA9 current account provider under the new regulation.
Arsenal Football Club has signed a partnership with CashBet ahead of the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) of its new cryptocurrency CashBet Coin. The agreement will give the CashBet Coin brand prominent placement via in-stadium advertising channels for Arsenal home Premier League games at Emirates Stadium. Vinai Venkatesham, Arsenal’s chief commercial officer, said:
JPMorgan Chase has committed to opening 400 new branches across the US, as part of a $20 billion investment initiative. The five-year plan is designed to help employees and support job and local economic growth in the US. The bank will open branches in several new US markets, increase wages and benefits for hourly employees, make increased small business and mortgage lending commitments, and add 4,000 new jobs.
Tesco Bank has announced the appointment of Gerry Mallon as its new chief executive, assuming the role in July 2018. Mallon will join from Ulster Bank, where he is currently chief executive. Prior to that, Mallon was CEO of Danske Bank UK from 2008 to 2016, and held senior positions at Bank of Ireland, McKinsey and Co, the Industrial Development Board for Northern Ireland, and the Northern Ireland Civil Service.
A new survey from ING Bank and Illuminate Financial has found that 70 per cent of banks view FinTechs as enablers, playing a positive role in supporting banks. However the relationship is not without challenges, according to the survey. Both banks and FinTechs agree the primary challenge in partnering together is navigating organisational decision making. Six in 10 banks acknowledge that it can be very difficult or difficult for FinTechs to connect with the relevant people in banks and 78 per cent of FinTechs agreed.
The Current Account Switch Service (CASS) has released new statistics, revealing that almost 4.5 million successful current account switches have taken place in the UK since the service launched in 2013. However, the number of people moving their current account to a new provider has started to slow. Across the 2017 calendar year there were a total of 931,956 switches recorded, compared to 1,010,423 switches in 2016. CASS reported a switching success rate of 99.3 per cent for last year.
Chinese tourists visiting Italy will soon be able to purchase both online and in-store through their WeChat Pay app, thanks to a new partnership signed with Digital Retex, Tencent Trusted Partner, and DOCOMO Digital. Chinese consumers completed more than one million transactions per minute in 2017, with more than 980 million monthly active users and a market penetration of 93 per cent in the largest cities.
Mastercard has revealed that all customers will be able to identify themselves through biometrics such as fingerprints or facial recognition, when making a purchase with Mastercard by April next year. This means that banks issuing Mastercard payment cards will have to be able to offer biometric authentication for remote transactions, in addition to existing PIN and password verification. The switch will also apply to all contactless transactions completed at the point of sale.
The Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank Group (CYBG) has selected ServiceNow as a strategic platform to support a major digital transformation initiative. The new solution is an IT service management (ITSM) platform that can be integrated with various enterprise applications such as Office 365 and Jira for operational efficiency. The platform, which has completed a three month pilot programme, is now scheduled to go live in the coming weeks.
Trinity College Dublin and the Bank of Ireland have announced a new partnership to support students and graduates innovation and entrepreneurship skills at the university’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E) Hub. All Trinity students, researchers and graduates will be able to participate in and benefit from cutting edge innovation, entrepreneurial and idea development programmes at the I&E Hub.
The first full agricultural commodity transaction using a blockchain platform has been completed by a group of companies including ING, Societe Generale and ABN Amro. The trade included a full set of digitalised documents – the sales contract, letter of credit and certificates – and automatic data matching, therefore avoiding task duplication and manual checks. The transaction mirrored the paper-based process, and reduced the time spent on processing documents and data by fivefold.
Following its FCA approval last week, UK money management app Emma has confirmed that it is getting on board with Monzo’s interim API, in what will be the first Open Banking integration for both companies. London-based Emma Technologies is currently building a banking app on both iOS and Android that targets Millennials. It is being designed as a mobile-only solution to help consumers avoid overdrafts, find and cancel subscriptions, track debt and save money across multiple financial accounts – something made possible through the UK’s new Open Banking initiative.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has gone live with a new chatbot that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to assist customers with more than 200 banking tasks. Named Ceba, the chatbot is designed to help customers complete banking activities such as activating their card, checking their account balance, making payments and getting cardless cash. The technology is currently available to 20 per cent of CBA’s NetBank customers, and will be rolled out to all 6.2 million NetBank and CommBank app customers in the coming weeks.
Consumer group Which? has urged the regulator to review proposed changes by ATM network LINK that could leave some communities in the UK with no access to free-to-use cash machines. LINK, which runs 70,000 ATMs in the UK, announced in November that it might lower its interchange fees by 20 per cent – a move that could ultimately lead to fewer free-to-use cash machines on Britain’s streets.
Citi has unveiled a new initiative that sees university students embedded in digital innovation efforts across the organisation. Run by Citi Ventures – the banking group’s innovation and venture capital arm – the programme is called Citi University Partnerships in Innovation and Discovery (CUPID). It currently has more than 80 students from 12 US universities receiving course credit for their work in semester-long projects focused on emerging technologies such as machine learning, natural language processing and Big Data analytics.
Eighty five per cent of global banks cite the implementation of a digital transformation programme as a business priority for 2018, according to a new EY report. Investment in technology in order to drive efficiency, manage evolving risks and benefit from growth opportunities is seen by banks as critical for sustainable success, found the Global Banking Outlook 2018 study.
French cryptocurrency and blockchain security firm Ledger has announced that it has secured $75 million in a Series B funding round, led by Draper Esprit. The company will use the investment to significantly scale up its operations as demand for their products increases. Ledger has sold over a million cryptocurrency hardware wallets across 165 countries, and will be launching a new solution for financial institutions – which enables banks and hedge funds to manage their crypto assets.
The UK’s Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBI) has partnered with RegTech and compliance firm Contego to support Open Banking’s identity proofing and verification processes. Contego will conduct thorough and comprehensive verification checks on those FCA-regulated parties that are able to apply to access customer data. The firm’s platform provides a fully-automated authentication process, delivered in real-time via a single API.
Australian banks NAB and Westpac have integrated Amazon Alexa capabilities to their banking offering, meaning customers request account information via the voice assistant. Customers of the banks will now be able to ask Alexa questions such as: “What’s my savings account balance?”, “How much do I owe on my credit card?”, and “Did I get paid this week?”.
Santander Corporate and Commercial has appointed cross-border payments provider EQ Global to strengthen the bank’s international payments offering. Through the new partnership, Santander business customers will be able to make payments in 100 currencies to more than 120 countries worldwide. Furthermore, the deal will increase the speed and efficiency at which international payments can be made by customers.
Eight in 10 bankers see Open Banking as more of an opportunity than a threat, with 62 per cent prepared to distribute third-party products through their platform, new research from Temenos and Accenture has found. According to the findings, banks view other banks – rather than non-bank entrants – as their main competitive threat. One in five respondents cited challenger banks as the leading competition, while the majority of respondents also expressed interest in collaborating with FinTechs.
US financial services group BB&T has committed $50 million to invest in emerging digital technology companies, with a view of securing the corporation a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Kelly King, chairman and CEO of BB&T, said: “This sizable investment in financial technology companies represents an important strategic milestone in our digital business transformation. We’re excited about the possibility of new partnerships and innovative approaches to provide the best possible experience for our clients.”
Metro Bank has launched instant online account opening for its retail current account, enabling customers to sign up via their desktop or mobile. It is the first High Street bank in the UK to offer this service using selfie technology. Customers will be able to instantly use their account after completing the registration process, with account details provided immediately once verified. Bank cards are then delivered by first class post, or customers can choose to go into a Metro branch and have their Mastercard debit card printed straight away.
Standard Chartered has launched SC Ventures – a digital innovation programme that will invest in FinTechs and other startup firms to promote the testing and implementation of new business models. An investment unit will be established to manage the international banking group’s minority investments in FinTech companies and seek further investments in promising technologies.
The number of payment cards in Europe rose by two per cent in 2016 to reach 1.5 billion, with western Europe still accounting for two thirds of this total despite slowing growth in the region, new figures show. The new report from RBR found that both the western Europe and central and eastern Europe (CEE) regions saw similar growth in 2016; for CEE this was faster than 2015, while it slowed in western Europe.
SWIFT and seven central securities depositories (CSDs) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work together to demonstrate how distributed ledger technology (DLT) could be implemented in post-trade scenarios, such as corporate actions processing, including voting and proxy-voting. Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, Caja de Valores, Depósito Central de Valores, Nasdaq Market Technology AB, National Settlement Depository, SIX Securities Services and Strate Ltd are among the CSDs participating in the DLT project with SWIFT. Additional CSDs are expected to join in the coming weeks.
Independent financial services consultancy deVere Group has revealed plans to launch a cryptocurrency app, citing a soaring global demand for digital currencies. Named deVere Crypto, the new app will enable users to store, transfer and exchange five major cryptocurrencies – including Bitcoin and Ethereum. The app, which will be available on both Apple and Android devices, is due to launch in a matter of weeks.
Fraudulent payments have increased by 100 per cent globally over the last two years, as changing consumer behaviour has led to a shift in cyber crime trends, a new study has claimed. The report from ThreatMetrix found the opening of 83 million fraudulent payment accounts was attempted between 2015 and 2017, with fraudsters creating complete identities and opening new accounts by compiling identity data taken from data breaches and the dark web.
The Bank of Lithuania has revealed plans to open a regulatory and technological sandbox, enabling domestic and foreign companies to develop and test the latest FinTech innovations. Named LBChain, the new platform would provide participants with a technical platform and consultations on applicable regulations. Facilities will only be available to innovative companies that devise and develop blockchain technology-based services and solutions.
London-based Millennial banking app Emma Technologies has been approved and registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Emma provides a mobile banking solution for Millennials that is designed to help users avoid overdrafts, find and cancel subscriptions, track debt and save money. Following the launch of a closed beta in December last year, the company is now able to fully operate as a bank under the recently launched PSD2 scheme.
Mountain America Credit Union has joined the Bank of Cyprus in trialling a biometric-enabled contactless payment card from Visa. The new biometric payment card pilots will test the use of fingerprint recognition as alternatives to a PIN or signature when authenticating the cardholder. Customers place their finger on the sensor and their fingerprint is compared with the previously enrolled fingerprint template securely stored in the card to authenticate the transaction.
Bank of America has reported record-breaking person-to-person (P2P) payments in 2017, transacted through digital payments platform Zelle. Over the course of 2017, almost 68 million transactions were carried out by Bank of America customers using mobile-based Zelle – an 84 per cent growth rate when compared with the previous year. In Q4 alone, the bank processed more than 23 million Zelle transactions, totalling nearly $7 billion – up 91 per cent from 2016.
Financial services software firm SS&C has announced that it agreed to purchase technology firm DST Systems in an all-cash transaction for $84 per share plus assumption of debt, equating to a value of approximately $5.4 billion. The transaction significantly increases the scale of SS&C, and expands the firm’s footprint into the US retirement and wealth management markets. The combination leverages SS&C’s software platform for institutional and alternative asset managers to drive increased automation and efficiency across wealth management services.
Stephen Ingledew has been named as the new CEO of FinTech Scotland, bringing years of experience in the financial sector where he has worked in implementing customer-focused and technology-enabled initiatives. Ingledew previously worked as a senior executive at companies such as Standard Life and Barclays, as well as small financial enterprises. He has been an influential advocate of making financial services more open, creative and inclusive through new technologies.
Money transfer firm MoneyGram has partnered with Ripple to trial use of Ripple’s XRP digital currency in its payment flows. XRP is the native digital asset of the XRP Ledger, and has transaction fees of less than a penny – compared with Bitcoin fees of around $30 per transaction. Similarly, the average transaction time for XRP is 2-3 seconds, compared with other top digital currencies which range from 15 minutes to an hour.
The long-awaited second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) is set to be implemented across Europe this weekend, while the accompanying Open Banking initiative will also take effect in the UK. PSD2 aims to increase competition across the European payments industry, introducing new types of payment services and allowing non-banks access to payment rails, while enhancing the protection and security of customers.
SETL has started to process live transactions through IZNES, a pan-European record-keeping platform powered by the company’s blockchain technology. OFI Asset Management has successfully trialled the system with selected clients, with other asset managers in the initiative including Groupama AM, La Financière de l’Échiquier, and Arkéa Investment Services.
The Central Bank of Lithuania has partnered with SIA to access RT1, the pan-European instant payments infrastructure. Through the new connection, Lithuanian banks will now be able to execute instant payments up to €15,000 in less than 10 seconds all year round. The network infrastructure is designed to meet the security and reliability requirements of instant payments and complies with SEPA’s Instant Credit Transfer scheme created by the European Payments Council.
Bacs Payment Schemes processed more than 6.34 billion payments in 2017, worth a total of almost £5 trillion – marking another record-breaking year for the firm. On one day in June 2017, 111.7 million Direct Debits and Bacs Direct Credits passed through the system – the equivalent of more than 7.2 million payments each hour the processing window was open, or in excess of 120,000 transactions per minute. That figure surpasses the previous daily high of 109.3 million transactions recorded in September 2016.
New research from eMarketer has found that proximity mobile payments are gaining popularity in the UK, but are still far from mass adoption. Just over 22 per cent of UK smartphone users will use their phone to pay for goods and services at the point of sale in 2018, according to the study. In addition, the payment method is expected to see double-digit growth to 2020, with 17 per cent growth expected in 2018.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has launched a new FinTech platform, which aims to help further the success of the UK’s small business and self-employed communities by matching them with alternative lenders. The recent Small Business Index Q4 from the FSB found that confidence within the sector has fallen for only the second time in the last five years. FSB noted that access to funding is crucial to the small business sector, which accounts for an annual turnover of £1.9 trillion a year – 51 per cent of all private sector turnover in the UK.
UnionBank of the Philippines has partnered with NCR Corporation to unveil its wholly-digital branch in Makati City, Manila, in line with the bank’s digital transformation strategy. Named ‘The Ark’, the new branch will feature an array of technological features, including touch screen, augmented reality and digital interaction. Centrally-located video tellers will remotely deliver 90 per cent of the services typically available at a traditional branch, across extended hours.
Visa has collaborated with tech firm Dynamics to unveil the ‘Wallet Card’ – a connected payment card that incorporates new features and technologies, as well as stores multiple payment cards. Features of the new Visa-branded Dynamics Wallet Card range from the ability to access multiple cards – whether EMV, contactless, or magnetic stripe-based – to a programmable on-card display that enables account information, such as alerts or coupons, to be sent to the cardholder.
BNP Paribas Asset Management has successfully completed a full end-to-end fund transaction using blockchain technology. The test demonstrated that Fund Link, the firm’s blockchain programme, is able to connect with other blockchains, opening the door to a new model of interoperability. The transaction included each part of the fund trade process, from delivery of the order to the processing of the trade.
Key roll-outs from Apple, Facebook and Google are expected to drive the global social payments, according to a new report from Juniper Research.Juniper predicts that uptake for Apple Pay Cash, the service which allows customers to send and receive money to friends and family, will initially be slow due to a strong banking network in its launch markets. However, the total number of annual transactions via the service will approach one billion by 2020.
Dutch bank ABN AMRO has invited 500 of its customers to test a range of wearable devices as a new payment method. Following successful internal tests in 2017, customers will now be able to complete contactless payments with a ring, watch, bracelet or keyring. Registration is now available for customers to participate in a four-month pilot. In exchange for providing the wearables, the bank requests feedback through an app, so the client experience can be continuously optimised while the pilot is ongoing.
Google has announced that it will be bringing together the different ways a customer can use it to pay by consolidating services including Android Pay and Google Wallet into a single brand called Google Pay. The new platform will make it easier for consumers to use the payment information saved to their Google account – speeding up the online checkout process.
Open Banking – including the introduction of Payment Services Directive Two (PSD2) – has been identified as the most important development for the FinTech industry in 2018, a new survey of sector CEOs has revealed. The report from digital agency FleishmanHillard asked 30 senior leaders from companies including Ant Financial, Citi, Ripple, Santander, Western Union, Starling Bank and Visa to share their insights on the biggest opportunities and fears for the year ahead.
Software-based financial services firm Wealthfront has secured $75 million in funding, led by Tiger Global Management with participation from all existing venture capital investors. The company will use the new capital to expand its efforts to optimise and automate more financial services using its Path financial planning service platform as the foundation for all client interaction.
A report from the London Assembly Economy Committee has recommended that all 16-18 year olds should have a bank account, to help reduce the risk of them finding themselves in financial difficulty. The report found that 44 per cent of people in the UK who are in financial difficulty are between the ages of 18 and 34, while 27 per cent of 18 to 30 year olds in London said they are in debt all the time.
The SWIFT Institute has opened its third annual student challenge, calling on Australian-based students to devise new ways of protecting personal information in an open banking environment. The challenge, which is aimed at students in all levels of further education, addresses the issue of data privacy in an Open API environment. The challenge is available to any recognised university or further educational establishment based in Australia.
Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC, RBS, Starling, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and Saxo Payments are among the companies which have been shortlisted for the 2018 FStech Awards. Now in its 18th year, this prestigious event continues to celebrate technology excellence and innovation across the UK and EMEA financial services sector.
The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) has fined money transfer firm Western Union $60 million for violations of the New York Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering (AML) laws. Following an investigation, the DFS found that Western Union had failed to implement and maintain an anti-money laundering compliance programme for over a decade. Such programmes are designed to deter, detect and report on criminals’ use of its electronic network to facilitate fraud, money laundering and the illegal structuring of transactions below amounts that would trigger reporting requirements.
Japanese credit card company JCB is running a trial of multipurpose visible light palm authentication, in collaboration with Universal Robot and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology. The trial will use Universal Robot’s visible light palm authentication, using both palm print and vein patterns – which has the world’s highest level of accuracy with a one in 100 billion false acceptance rate.
Charles Randell has been appointed as the new chair of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Payments Systems Regulator (PSR). Randell, who will take up both roles on 1 April 2018 for a five-year term, is currently an external member of the Prudential Regulation Committee of the Bank of England, and a non-executive board member for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
UK financial technology firms attracted a record £1.34 billion in venture capital funding in 2017, according to new data from London & Partners. London’s FinTech firms dominated the investment, accounting for more than 90 per cent of all money raised by UK FinTech firms over the course of the year. Firms such as TransferWise (£211 million), Funding Circle (£81.9 million) and Monzo (£71 million) all completed major funding rounds in 2017.
Australia’s Bankwest has invited customers to register for access to Bankwest Halo – a new wearable payment ring that can be used in the same way as a debit card for contactless payments. Rather than having to tap their card on a contactless reader, Bankwest customers will be able to tap their ring for payments up to $100. For transactions over $100, customers will be required to enter their PIN number.
US-based digital personal finance platform MoneyLion has announced the closure of a $42 million funding round, led by growth equity investment firm Edison Partners. MoneyLion provides an AI-powered consumer finance platform that broadens consumer access to low-interest credit, automated savings and investment opportunities. The firm, which now boasts more than 1.5 million customers, will use the funds to expand its product line.
The Bank of Cyprus has selected Gemalto to supply the world’s first EMV biometric payment card for both chip and contactless payments. Using fingerprint recognition instead of a PIN code to authenticate the cardholder, the card is compatible with existing payment terminals already installed in the country. When customers place their fingerprint on the sensor, a comparison is performed between the scanned fingerprint and the reference biometric data securely stored in the card.
Nordic Bitcoin broker Prasos has secured €2.5 million in equity funding to boost its expansion in Europe and to develop cryptocurrency-based investment services for investors. Prasos offered up to 15 per cent of equity during the funding round and found more than 1,000 new shareholders from Finland and abroad. The company plans to expand across Europe, study potential company acquisitions in target markets and further develop its exchange services to lower the barrier for traditional investors.
BBVA has revealed that it has passed the 50 per cent mark in the number of customers now engaging with the bank via digital channels in six of its 11 core markets. The countries to have passed the milestone are Spain, the US, Turkey, Argentina, Chile and Venezuela. In Spain specifically, the use of digital channels to access banking services has grown by more than 17 per cent in the last 12 months alone, while the number of customers accessing services through mobile has soared 30 per cent over the same period.
The much-anticipated second Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) has launched across Europe, despite both the UK and Germany granting last-minute extensions to futures exchanges ICE Futures Europe, the London Metal Exchange and Eurex. The aim of the new regulation is to increase transparency and increase investor protection to avoid another financial crisis. Firms dealing in shares, bonds, commodities and derivatives must now report detailed information on transactions.
Cross-border remittance and currency exchange firm LuLu Exchange has selected Fiserv to enhance its financial crime prevention capabilities and enable its expansion into new markets. LuLu Exchange will implement a cloud-based version of Fiserv’s AML risk management technology, which uses methods such as machine learning to detect suspicious transactions. This system has been designed to eliminate the inconvenience of legitimate transactions being flagged for investigation.
US remittance firm Moneygram has announced that its $1.2 billion merger deal with Chinese FinTech giant Ant Financial has been mutually terminated after failing to obtain the required approval from the US Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS). But the two companies confirmed that they plan to continue to collaborate on new strategic initiatives in the digital payments market, bringing together their capabilities to provide respective customers with transfer services into emerging markets around the world.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) lender Funding Circle is preparing for a £1 billion float on the London stock market, potentially in the autumn. Launched in 2010, Funding Circle is a major lending platform for small businesses, and has lent over $5 billion globally. The UK firm has grown particularly quickly in the US, where it has now facilitated over $1 billion in funding – making it the first P2P platform to have lent more than $1 billion across two markets.
Revenues generated by wealth management robo-advisory platforms will grow to $25 billion globally by 2022, up from $1.7 billion in 2017, according to new figures. The latest report from Juniper Research estimated that total assets under management by robo-advisors will increase twelve-fold to reach $4.1 trillion four years’ time, up from an estimated $330 billion in the past 12 months.
The Japan Bank Consortium – a coalition of 61 banks in Japan, organised by SBI Ripple Asia – has announced a new Ripple pilot with South Korea’s Woori Bank and Shinhan Bank. The initiative will be the first time money has moved from Japan to Korea over RippleNet. The consortium will use Ripple’s settlement technology xCurrent to settle transactions between participating banks.
NCR Corporation has announced a partnership with CoinHub, a cryptocurrency exchange in the UAE, to enable users to make cash withdrawals from their cryptocurrency account at ATMs. Through NCR’s CxBanking software, users will be able to access their bitcoin funds as simply as any other transaction at the ATM. A withdrawal begins with authenticating the user either by scanning a standard ATM card or via cardless access with a mobile device.
The Canadian Competition Bureau has published a report on its market study concerning technology-led innovation in the Canadian financial services sector. The report outlines the barriers to growth and adoption of financial technology and provides a number of recommendations aimed at fostering competition and innovation across payments, loans and financial advice.
Barclays has published a page on its website, describing to customers the bank’s Open Banking strategy and how it can provide them with more control of their financial information. The bank has been working with registered third parties to develop application programming interfaces (APIs), which help to secure the Open Banking operations. APIs are commonly used by mobile apps and online tools to provide integrated services, allowing software developed by different companies to talk to each other.
Italy’s ABI Lab is building a blockchain proof of concept (PoC) to simplify and standardise domestic interbank reconciliation on R3’s Corda platform. ABI Lab, a banking research and innovation centre run by ABI for over 160 banks and 65 information communication technology companies in Italy, will leverage Corda’s distributed ledger technology (DLT) to address outdated and time consuming reconciliation practices and the challenges associated with managing bilateral data sources.
Asset managers in Europe are faster to adopt technologies than their sell-side counterparts because CEOs in the industry understand the importance of technology within the business, according to a survey of 200 IT executives working in the financial services sector. The survey, carried out by Excelian, Luxoft Financial Services reveal that 87 per cent of IT executives working for wealth and asset management firms believe their CEOs understand the importance of technology within the business.
Over half of financial services firms do not think their IT systems are up to scratch when compared with their FinTech counterparts, new research from IDG Connect has found. The study, which was commissioned by Digital Realty and surveyed more than 100 IT decision-makers at companies with 500 or more staff, also found that 54 per cent of financial services firms believe that they are ‘constantly fighting’ to update security defences and keep out the latest challenges. Just 32 per cent said that they have comprehensive defences and strong processes, while 13 per cent said that they need to make significant changes.
Payments solutions provider Tsys has entered into an agreement to acquire Cayan, a payment technology firm, in an all cash transaction valued at approximately $1.05 billion. Cayan currently provides technology-led acquiring services to more than 70,000 merchants and 100+ integrated partners in the US. The firm’s flagship Genius platform aims to deliver a seamless and scalable commerce experience across all channels.
Standard Chartered has gone live with its US Dollar SWIFT global payments innovation (gpi) services to extend its offering to customers making cross-border payments. With the SWIFT gpi, customers are able to receive end-to-end confirmation of their payments over the entire transaction life cycle. This enables them to manage their cash better and offers benefits such as faster, same day use of funds with increased visibility over transaction statuses and costs.
A new Visa survey of 1,000 Americans has found that consumers have a strong interest in new biometric technologies replacing traditional password verification. Some 86 per cent of respondents are interested in using biometrics to verify identity or make payments, while 65 per cent are already familiar with the technology. Seventy per cent of consumers believe that biometrics are easier and 46 per cent think that they are more secure than using passwords or PINs.
New research from Accenture suggests that retailers are positioned to benefit as banks open their network in compliance with the second Payments Services Directive (PSD2). PSD2 requires banks to grant third-party providers – such as retail merchants – access to a consumer’s online account/payment services in a regulated and secured manner, with the consumer’s consent. The goal is to drive increased competition, innovation and transparency across the European payments market.
The number of cash withdrawals made at ATMs globally in 2016 was 106 billion – up six billion on 2015, according to new figures from RBR. The report also found that the number of ATMs that could be used to automatically deposit banknotes reached 1.1 million, which equates to 34 per cent of the global ATM total. This, according to the study, has enabled banks and independent ATM deployers to reduce costs, as automated deposit ATMs allow banks to move staff members to other roles, such as sales.
Private equity firm Finstar Financial Group has committed to invest up to $50 million in APAC’s consumer lending sector, in line with its five-year plan to invest $150 million in the financial technology space globally. The company is also planning a roll-out of its Digital Finance International (DFI) division in several large Asian economies in the near future.
Specialist UK savings and lending bank Shawbrook has deployed a central platform for the management of business-critical spreadsheets. The new solution, developed by ClusterSeven, provides the bank with central, automated oversight of all major spreadsheets and end-user computing models. It provides automated audit trails that highlight when and what changes have been made by individuals in the bank’s high risk applications.
Thomas Cook Money, the newly launched financial services arm of Thomas Cook, has partnered with Ferratum Group to introduce its first Banking-as-a-Service venture. Ferratum will provide Thomas Cook Money with a fully functional and regulated mobile consumer finance offering, enabling customers to use a mobile banking app – which has been designed around holidays – through the new Thomas Cook Money brand Sumo.
The Financial Conduct Authority has published feedback on its discussion paper on distributed ledger technology (DLT), revealing that the UK regulator is open to all forms of deployment of the technology. Earlier this year, the FCA announced that it was seeking stakeholder views of the development of DLT for the financial services sector.
Schroders Singapore has launched a beta version of an online chatbot operating through Facebook Messenger, which is designed to allow asset managers to better engage with their clients. Named Schroders GO, the chatbot provides investors with information on any fund as well as market information, without having to download an app. Launched in collaboration with distribution partners Citi Income, UOB and Synergy Financial Advisers, the chatbot is able to process four major types of inquiries, including: fund related queries
Wirecard has signed an agreement with Mastercard to make its Pay by Bank mobile app available to Wirecard-supported merchants in the UK. The Pay by Bank app was created by Vocalink – now a Mastercard company – and it enables people to make ‘digital debit’ payments for goods and services via their own banking app, with the payment made directly from their current account.
China UnionPay has partnered with more than 30 Chinese commercial banks and payments institutions to launch Mobile QuickPass – a unified app for the country’s banking industry. Through integrating mobile payment functions and features offered by the various institutions, the new app has been developed to offer users an easy and seamless mobile banking experience. Customers are able to link their bank cards to the app, manage different bank accounts and enjoy the benefits offered by each bank on one platform.
JPMorgan Chase and Barclays are collaborating with IBM to accelerate the practical applications of quantum computing technology in the financial services industry. The two financial institutions have joined a number of other clients, including Daimler AG, Samsung and Oxford University, in gaining early access to IBM’s Q commercial quantum computing systems to explore potential implementations of the technology.
NatWest customers who have an iPhone X will now be able to log in to their mobile banking app using facial recognition technology. Customers of the bank are increasingly using digital technology to access their banking services, with 1.1 billion mobile and online transactions carried out in the first half of 2017 – representing an increase of 41 per cent since 2014. Mobile transactions have also grown by 73 per cent since 2014, while there were 3,531 logins per minute to NatWest apps in Q3 2017.
Payments company iZettle has announced the closure of a €40 million funding round, which will be used to accelerate its growth strategy and product innovation. The Swedish firm has been expanding its original mobile card reader and payments proposition into a small business commerce platform – offering SMEs tools to take payments, register and track sales, and source funding. The firm is now present in 12 markets across Europe and Latin America, and has plans to expand further in the coming months.
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 Nordic bank’s Account Information Service API, and can retrieve data such as account information details, account balances and transaction history.
Small businesses that bank with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) will soon be able to accept payments of less than $100 by simply tapping a mobile phone with their customer’s contactless card or mobile wallet. CBA has partnered with Mastercard, IDEMIA and Samsung Electronics Australia to bring the Mobeewave SoftPOS technology to its account holders. Mobeewave will provide a white label solution to the bank, leveraging IDEMIA’s digital enablement platform.
Ten companies have been selected by UK innovation foundation Nesta to receive £100,000 each for their developments in supporting small businesses through new Open Banking technology. Selected by an independent judging panel in Nesta’s Open Up Challenge, the 10 companies represent a mix of established and early stage FinTechs who are adopting data-driven approaches to solve banking problems faced by small businesses.
ING has introduced a new artificial intelligence (AI) tool designed to improve decision making in bond trading. Named Katana, the system uses predictive analytics to help traders decided what price to quote when a client wants to buy or sell a bond. The tool also provides traders with a visualisation of relevant historic and real-time data, which helps to assimilate information more easily, make faster and sharper price decisions, and create better liquidity for clients.
JPMorgan Chase, HSBC and American Express Ventures are among investors in malware security firm Menlo Security’s $40 million Series C funding round. The new funding round brings total investment in the firm to $85 million, and will allow Menlo to expand sales and marketing of its Security Isolation Platform, which enhances security for businesses of all sizes.
The total number of card payments made worldwide increased by 14 per cent to 310 billion in 2016, and is forecast to rise by more than 50 per cent to 483 billion by 2022. This is according to the latest RBR Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts to 2022 report, which found that while growth in the number of card payments outpaced growth in the number of cards in virtually all markets, local factors were key in boosting specific fast-growing markets.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has confirmed final UK rules which will require providers of personal current accounts and business current accounts to publish information that will help customers compare the service they could receive from different providers. The measures will require banks to report the number of major operational and security incidents that have ocurred, as well as how long it will take to open a current account or replace a debit card.
Canadian cross-border payments platform nanopay has announced a new feature that will enable international trading partners to securely process B2B payments between bank accounts in real time. Canadian users can begin using the platform in February for business cross-border payments in the US, with India and China to follow in the second quarter of 2018. Businesses are able to securely link their bank account directly to the nanopay platform, enabling them to send payment requests to business partners internationally.
Germany’s Commerzbank and HSBC Transaction Services have agreed to enter into a strategic partnership for securities settlement, which will see Commerzbank’s securities settlement business processes transferred. Through the agreement, a joint venture will be established in which Commerzbank will have a 20 per cent minority stake. The partnership will be in place for an initial period of 10 years.
New research from the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance has found that the UK online alternative finance market grew 43 per cent in 2016 to reach £4.6 billion. Peer-to-peer business lending became the largest market segment, growing by 36 per cent to hit £1.23 billion in 2016. Peer-to-peer consumer lending contributed £1.17 billion with a 47 per cent year-on-year growth rate, while peer-to-peer property lending recorded £1.15 billion with an 88 per cent annual growth rate.
Digital-only banking is growing in popularity, with 53 per cent of Brits either already using or willing to move to an online or mobile bank, new research has found. The survey of more than 2,000 consumers, by data management firm Relay42, found that 27 per cent had moved to digital services already, while 26 per cent were considering the shift. Reasons for switching included receiving a better online experience and functionality (58 per cent), more attractive finance rates or fees (29 per cent) and better quality of service (28 per cent). Just 13 per cent of respondents said they were not interested in exploring new technologies for personal money management.
Malaysia’s CIMB Bank has recently introduced Robotic Process Automation (RPA) into its banking operations, which it says has resulted in reduced turnaround time, faster processing and improved customer experience. Implemented in September 2017, the RPA enables the automation of selected banking operations covering financial, reconciliation, maintenance, e-banking, audit confirmation and auto checking/reminder follow-ups.
UK digital challenger Starling has joined the Railsbank platform as a partner to issue UK bank accounts and give access to UK Faster Payments through the Railsbank Open Banking API. Railsbank is the Open Banking and compliance technology platform that gives businesses access to transaction banking through just five lines of code via a network of partner banks.
Santander UK has appointed a new chief operating officer in the shape of Michael Harte, who joins from Barclays where he was group head of innovation and previously served as group head of operations and technology. Harte will oversee Santander UK’s business divisions and investments in the areas of technology, operations, networks, property and digital change management. His role will also include joint responsibility, with chief customer and innovation officer Sigga Sigurdardottir, for customer and innovation services that will lead the digital transformation of the bank.
Poland’s Alior Bank is to launch an acceleration programme for financial technology startups, as well a new open banking development platform. The aim of the Warsaw-based accelerator is to identify innovative ideas from technology startups, provide funding and support the firms in the development of their business, helping them create added-value solutions for Alior Bank’s clients.
Viola, Israel’s largest technology investment group, has announced an initial closing of $100 million towards a new global FinTech fund, backed by financial institutions including Scotiabank, The Travelers Company and Bank Hapoalim. The mission of the Viola FinTech fund is to “bridge the gap” between the worlds of financial institutions and innovative startups.
A study undertaken by the University of Birmingham has discovered security flaws in the mobile banking apps of nine banks, including HSBC, NatWest and Co-op Bank, which could enable hackers to reveal personal information. Researchers found that a hacker connected to the same network as an app user – such as Wi-Fi or a corporate network – could perform a ‘man-in-the-middle’ attack, meaning that they could decrypt, view and modify network traffic from the app.
HSBC and Visa are among the partners of a new FinTech development programme called Scale, launched by Startupbootcamp for growth stage startups in emerging markets. Scale will work in addition to Startupbootcamp’s traditional accelerator programme aimed at early stage companies. But the new scheme will target startups in post-accelerator stage (pre-Series A funding) looking for a customised approach to help them solve challenges in areas such as business development and expansion.
Digital money transfer service WorldRemit has raised $40 million in a Series C funding round, bringing total investment in the firm to $220 million. The funds will be used to drive its next phase of growth, supporting its plan to serve 10 million customers connected to emerging markets by 2020. The firm wants to expand into new markets, develop new innovative products and services, and scale the technology that underpins its digital model.
Starling Bank has been granted approval from the PRA and FCA to add further financial services products, including ISAs, insurances, loans, mortgages and other investment products, to its in-app ‘Marketplace’ which launched in June. The challenger bank’s aim is to create a marketplace of products from FinTech companies, giving its digital banking customers the chance to easily access these providers by securely connecting them via an API.
Benny Higgins, current CEO of Tesco Bank and group strategy director of Tesco plc, is to join Australian regulation technology firm Kyckr as non-executive chair in March 2018. Higgins has more than 30 years’ experience in the financial services industry, having previously held senior posts in investment management and retail and business banking, including roles at Standard Life, RBS’ retail bank and HBOS.
A number of global banks with eligible Visa credit, debit and prepaid accounts have partnered with Garmin, enabling customers to pay for goods and services using the Garmin Pay wearable contactless range. Bank of America, Capital One, U.S. Bank, BonusCard, Cornérbank, National Australia Bank and ANZ have all signed up to the service. Customers will need a Garmin account and one of the enabled devices to pair with their Apple or Android smartphone so they can start using the payment service.
UK Millennials are driving the demand for artificial intelligence (AI) and biometric authentication when making payments through their smartphones, preferring these methods over traditional passwords and PINs, a new report from Vocalink has found. The 2017 State of Pay report found that 77 per cent of Millennials thought that new AI technologies, such as virtual assistants and hands-free speakers, were appealing as payment devices.
Traditional banks in the UK are losing ground to challenger banks when it comes to providing customers with a digital experience, according to a new report from P.A.ID Strategies. The study, which scores the digital bank account opening process for 10 banks, found that the majority still require consumers to go through manual processes like visiting the branch rather than using digital identity technology to onboard applicants.
Barclays, Nationwide and first direct are among the participants revealed to be in the third cohort of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulatory sandbox. The sandbox allows firms to test innovative products, services or business models in a live market environment, while ensuring that appropriate protections are in place. It is part of Innovate, an initiative kicked off by the FCA in 2014 to promote financial services competition in the interest of consumers. The sandbox was a first among regulators worldwide at the time.
Morgan Stanley Wealth Management has launched Access Investing – a new online platform designed to provide a wider range of clients, including Millennials, with greater efficiency and personalisation when making investments. The new platform is programmed to help build, monitor and automatically rebalance a diversified investment portfolio.
South Africa’s Absa Bank has joined the CLS network, a market infrastructure delivering settlement, processing and data solutions, as a settlement member. Absa joins 66 other banks in becoming a settlement member in CLSSettlement, a payment settlement service for the global foreign exchange market, which settles $5 trillion on an average day for its clients.
Seven in 10 European consumers would trust organisations more if they were to use biometrics for authentication on their online accounts, a new Unisys survey has revealed. The study asked 3,500 consumers across seven European countries their opinion on biometric authentication for access to web-based accounts. Security was cited as the key driver for adopting biometric technology, with 52 per cent of respondents believing it to be a more secure way of accessing services.
JPMorgan Chase has completed the acquisition of US payments firm WePay, in a deal worth more than $300 million. WePay will continue to offer integrated payments to software platforms like Freshbooks and Constant Contact, and will provide instant merchant onboarding and give software developers and partners access to Chase’s business network. More than 1,000 software companies have adopted WePay as a payments service, and expanding that number is a key priority for both organisations, the companies said.
More than three quarters of commercial banks are preparing to increase FinTech investment over the next three years, according to a new survey. The study also revealed that 86 per cent of senior managers expect an imminent rise in investment, but seven in 10 respondents believe that the rise of technology within commercial banks threatens traditional one-to-one banking and customer relationships.
London-based Monzo has announced that it is working with the Welsh government and Cardiff Council on a grant application for opening a new office in the Welsh city. The digital challenger bank is hiring between 20 and 60 new staff in Cardiff during a trial phase, who will spend their first three months working in a temporary office in the Cardiff city centre.
ING-owned money app Yolt has reached 100,000 registered users in less than six months of operating in open beta in the UK. Yolt allows users to view all of their financial accounts and credit cards in one place. It also offers other features such as setting budgets, tagging purchases and comparing the best options for international money transfers.
International funds transaction network Calastone has announced that the technology underpinning its core systems will be migrated onto a full blockchain-enabled infrastructure. More than 1,300 financial service organisations across 34 markets are connected to Calastone’s network, processing over £80 billion of trades and seven million messages each month – making it the largest global fund transaction network.
UK digital micro-lender Oakam has announced that it has secured a £35 million debt investment from Victory Park Capital Advisors. Through its digital-first approach and use of alternative data in its underwriting process, Oakham says it is able to evaluate more applicants at a lower cost than traditional lenders. The company has built a strong track record of growth in the decade since its launch in 2006, with its loan application levels growing by 300 per cent in 2017 to date.
Barclays has stopped offering free anti-virus software from Russian firm Kaspersky to new banking customers, following a warning from the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) that using it could “harm national security”. The NCSC has contacted all government departments warning that Russian-based security software could be exploited by the Kremlin and should not be used in systems containing information that could harm national security if it was accessed.
DBS Bank has partnered with IBM to develop an enterprise-wide Centre of Excellence in Robotic Process Automation (RPA) – the first-of-its-kind in Singapore’s financial services sector. In June, IBM helped DBS set up the centre and since then, DBS has already optimised more than 50 complex business processes across the bank. Having commenced in Singapore, the RPA programme will now be progressively implemented in other markets including Hong Kong, China, India, Indonesia and Taiwan.
Quantum computing startup 1QBit has announced the closure of a $45 million Series B fundraising round led by Fujitsu, with additional investors including RBS, Accenture, Allianz and CME Ventures. 1QBit has seen significant growth over the last year, adding science and business leaders to its team of experts, and plans to use this latest investment to continue to expand its research and software development teams.
Deutsche Bank has announced that it has officially joined Chinese social media channel WeChat in an effort to promote itself among Chinese-speaking stakeholders. WeChat combines the functions of WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, ApplePay, Yelp and many other popular apps, enabling its users to do virtually everything they do online all on one single platform.
Taxpayer-backed RBS has announced that it will close 259 bank branches as well as cut 680 jobs as more of its customers turn to online banking. The closures equate to one in four RBS branches and will leave the bank with just 744 across the UK. 62 Royal Bank of Scotland branches will close in addition to 197 NatWest branches. An RBS spokesperson said: “More and more of our customers are choosing to do their everyday banking online or on mobile.
Mastercard has revealed the latest FinTech companies to join its Start Path Program, including firms focused on digital receipts, hashtag payments on social media and smartphone contactless acceptance. The 11 selected startups from across five countries will connect with a host of global Mastercard executives and partners from banks, digital giants and retailers at today’s third annual Start Path Summit 2017.
There has been a significant evolution on the cyber threat facing the global financial industry over the past 18 months as criminal have significantly advanced their knowledge, according to a new report from SWIFT. The report evaluates cyber attacks on customers around the world, analysing the sophistication of the attackers’ tactics and techniques. Based on the insights gained, the report published how users can protect themselves better against the cyber threat – called the SWIFT Customer Security Programme.
Sberbank, in partnership with IBM, has organised what it claims is the Russian banking industry’s first ever pilot blockchain payment transaction. The transaction used the IBM Blockchain Platform on the basis of HyperLedger Fabric. Sberbank’s partners and participants in the pilot were MegaFon, MegaLabs, Alfa-Bank, and IBM. Sberbank CIB organised the process of transferring money from the payer to the receiver using blockchain technology. Sberbank’s IT infrastructure was used to set up a service for establishing the uniform transaction procedure, the certification centre of the network, and a web app for the client with a personal account section.
Nordea has launched a new service which allows Norwegians to pay their bills via an e-invoice in Facebook Messenger. The service is fully automated and the payment is initiated via an online dialogue with a chatbot in Facebook Messenger. Customers first enroll via their Bank-ID and afterwards use the PIN they have created for mobile banking. Users can also confirm, view or change their outstanding e-invoices in Facebook Messenger.
Nordic bank Nordea has established a fund to make strategic investments in FinTech startup companies, supporting the bank’s strategy of building a digital bank. Nordea has already partnered with and invested in FinTech firms to help develop new solutions faster than the bank could do on its own. Nordea Ventures will further accelerate the rate of bringing innovative products and services to market for its customers.
The banking and telecoms sectors are the most mature in the drive for digital transformation, a new study from Ovum has found. The study was based on primary interviews with over 6,300 enterprises globally, asking senior ICT executives to rate their organisations against nine steps identified by Ovum as key to digital transformation. These ranged from tackling cyber security, to developing digital skills, creating the necessary organisation structure and culture
Credit Suisse has announced that it has bought a majority stake in Tradeplus24 – a Swiss FinTech firm in Zurich that offers lending solutions to SMEs. The startup will use the new capital to further scale-up its operations and delivery of its automated lending solution. As part of the deal, Credit Suisse will also integrate the FinTech’s products into its own offering.
Singapore-based FinTech outfit Change has announced the completion of a $17.5 million crowdfunded investment round. The funds raised will be allocated to the product development of their upcoming digital wallet, banking card and mobile app. Customers will have the ability to manage all of their finances - both cryptocurrency and fiat – completely from their mobile devices.
With the rapid development of financial technologies, operational risk remains an area of concern for 55 per cent of EU banks, according to a new EBA report. This number has increased from 43 per cent in December 2016 and 35 per cent in December 2015. Most EU banks are still taking steps to address their weaknesses that are stemming from technology-driven evolution.
Garanti Bank, Turkey’s second largest private bank, has selected analytics technology from NICE to boost efficiency, improve customer satisfaction, and ensure greater regulatory adherence. Within just two months of implementation, the bank reduced complaints by almost 15 per cent and increased customer satisfaction in the collection department, according to Garanti. With the NICE solution Garanti Bank is able to quickly and accurately detect complaint and risk of churn among its late paying customers, as well as regulatory compliance errors.
US blockchain and cryptocurrency FinTech startup Libra has secured $7.8 million in Series A funding. The funding round was led by an unnamed multi-billion dollar European family office, with participating investors including Liberty City Ventures XBTO, Boost VC, and Lee Linden. The capital will be used to help Libra continue building its Libra Enterprise Platform, as well as releasing new applications and data services. Libra’s platform provides institutional-grade blockchain and cryptocurrency ecosystem connectivity, standardisation, and delivery of data. The new applications and data services will provide real-time, continuous, and automated accounting, audit, and tax processing and reporting capabilities.
CaixaBank, Global Payments, Samsung, Visa and Arval have unveiled the Payment Innovation Hub – Spain’s first innovation hub specialising in merchant commerce and payment methods. The Payment Innovation Hub is located at Barcelona’s Pier01, a space set up by Barcelona Tech City to accommodate more than 100 digital and tech businesses and startups. An initial total investment of €5 million has been earmarked for the project over the next three years.
The deadline for next year’s FStech Awards has been extended to 8 December 2017, so there is still time to submit your organisation’s entries. The event celebrates technology excellence and innovation within the UK and EMEA financial services sector, and there are 27 trophies up for grabs this year, including five new categories: Best Use of Social Networks or Gamification, Blockchain Project of the Year, Partnership or Collaboration of the Year, Incubator or Investment Initiative of the Year and the Social Responsibility Award.
Mastercard and CYBG, owner of the Clydesdale Bank, Yorkshire Bank and B brands, today announced that they will extend their partnership, with CYBG switching all of their remaining Visa credit cards to Mastercard. The 7-year agreement means that all CYBG debit, credit and commercial cards will use the Mastercard network. The renewed partnership also allows Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank’s business customers to benefit from the enhanced functionality to control and add flexibility to their company’s future spending.
Bank of Cyprus has selected new security and risk technology as it looks to meet the authentication requirements issued by the European Banking Authority (EBA) in regards to the upcoming Payment Services Directive (PSD2) regulation. Bank of Cyprus has secured access and transaction signing on its mobile and online banking application using Vasco’s DIGIPASS for Apps solution.
Russia’s Sberbank has announced a deal to acquire 25 per cent in facial recognition technology outfit VisionLabs. The investment in VisionLabs is the first step to build a biometrics platform of Sberbank’s ecosystem, involving face, voice and retina identification, as well as other biometric factors. After a series of tests and pilots of the VisionLabs Luna platform, the decision was made to use it as the foundation for the identification platform. This will allow the creation of a unique biometric identifier that will let Sberbank clients access any service. The biometric platform will be used within Sberbank’s ecosystem and also be available to the wider market.
Spanish banking group BBVA has carried out what it claims is the first blockchain-based international trade transaction between Europe and Latin America. Working in collaboration with tech firm Wave, BBVA conducted the first pilot that uses blockchain to automate the electronic submission of documents in an import-export transaction between the two continents.
Malaysia’s MayBank has introduced facial and voice biometric features to its mobile banking app, which already utilises fingerprint IDs. After activating the biometric login, customers can access all of their accounts in seconds using facial points, voice pattern or their fingerprint. More than one billion transactions will have passed through the Maybank2u app by the end of 2017, according to the bank’s head of community financial services Datuk Hamirullah, with a value of more than RM22 billion.
UK consumers remain cautious about sharing personal data with their banks, at the same time as demanding more innovative financial services from them. That is according to a new survey of more than 1,000 UK adults, which found that nearly half (47 per cent) who had personal bank accounts would only feel comfortable with banks collecting the bare minimum of data required to run their accounts. But at the same time, 91 per cent of respondents agreed that banking services should be “innovative and modern”, revealing a disconnect between consumers’ lack of trust in sharing data and their desire for more advanced services from their banks.
The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) have signed an agreement which provides a framework for cooperation to support and understand financial innovation between the two countries. The agreement will enable the DFSA and ASIC to refer innovative FinTech businesses to each other for support provided through their respective FinTech functions. It provides Australian FinTech businesses wishing to operate in the Dubai International Finance centre with a simple pathway for engaging with DFSA, and vice versa.
Commuters on Hong Kong’s MTR rail network will soon be able to pay through their WeChat Pay or Weixin Pay mobile apps. This is according to the South China Morning Post, which claims that Alipay will also be rolling out a similar feature in the near future following talks with MTR. WeChat Pay will be the first new payment option for the Hong Kong public transport network, which has been using the Octopus card system since 1997.
The death of cash has been “greatly exaggerated”, according to a new report from the San Francisco Federal Reserve, which found that currency in circulation (CIC) has grown faster than GDP in the majority of countries over the past decade. CIC measures the total amount of cash held by the public, including businesses, banks and consumers. When people want to hold more cash, the central bank adds cash into the banking system, resulting in an increase in CIC.
Starling Bank has entered into a first-of-its-kind partnership with Yoyo Wallet, enabling its customers to automatically benefit from retailer-specific loyalty programmes each time they pay with their Starling card. Yoyo currently delivers a mobile payment and loyalty app for consumers at more than 2,000 retail outlets across the UK and Ireland. At the same time, Yoyo provides retailers with the tools to better engage, reward and retain their customers via mobile, and to personalise the loyalty experience by linking a consumer’s individual profile to their basket data.
ING says it has created a new blockchain code that is reportedly 10 times more efficient than existing technologies that are designed to keep information on a ledger private. The new code, known as ‘zero-knowledge range proof’ (ZKRP) adds a layer of cryptography to blockchain technology. This solves the previous issue that information on a public ledger is not private, given that changes must be verified by each participant in the network.
Axis Bank (based in India), Standard Chartered (Singapore) and RAKBANK (UAE) are using Ripple technology for a new cross-border blockchain payments platform. The RippleNet platform will power real-time corporate payments from Standard Chartered to Axis Bank, and retail remittance payments from RAKBANK to Axis Bank beneficiaries. Payments will now be completed within minutes, with the certainty of settlement.
The UK’s Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) has expanded its standards to include all payment account types covered by PSD2 – including credit cards, e-wallets and prepaid cards. In a move referenced in the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s autumn Budget yesterday, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has approved the amendments to include a programme of enhancements to ensure that Open Banking delivers maximum benefits for retail customers and SMEs.
Phillip Hammond delivered his Autumn Budget today, announcing new investment for digital startup and scale-up firms. Hammond said: “Last Autumn I launched the National Productivity Investment Fund, to provide an additional £23 billion of investment over five years to upgrade Britain’s economic infrastructure for the 21st Century. Today I can announce that I will extend this fund for a further year and expand it to over £31 billion.”
Nations Trust Bank of Sri Lanka and Daon have launched a new mobile banking and lifestyle platform that utilises Daon’s biometric authentication capabilities. The new app, named FriMi, is 100 per cent online and open to anyone with a smartphone. All FriMi accounts can be topped up by cash deposits at all Nations Trust Bank Branches, CDMs and FriMi Agents.
HSBC has hired former Google engineering director Mike Warriner as its chief information officer of its retail banking and wealth management digital operations. Warriner has worked for the past five years at Google, where he was responsible for the company’s engineering site, and also served as the European chair of Google Payments. Prior to his work at Google, Warriner worked for 19 years at UK banking technology house Intelligent Environments, reaching the position of chief technology officer.
International asset management firm Robeco has announced the launch of a new FinTech-specific equities fund. Robeco Global FinTech Equities fund, which is domiciled in Luxembourg, will invest in stocks of listed companies which benefit from the increasing digitisation of the financial sector. It makes Robeco one of the first asset managers to launch an actively managed fund that only invests in listed Fintech companies and which is available to wholesale/retail investors.
BNP Paribas has signed a deal with Fenergo who will provide the bank with a new client lifecycle management (CLM) solution. Fenergo’s CLM solution will support BNP Paribas’ global transformation project, delivering a single client view across all jurisdictions and entities and enabling the bank to efficiently comply with all local and global regulatory rules as well as deliver an improved customer experience.
Insurance firm Zurich has launched a ‘selfie’ app called FaceQuote to encourage more people to think about and engage with their finances. FaceQuote estimates a user’s age before calculating how much life cover would cost per month based on the age suggested. The app has been launched to encourage people to engage with life insurance and show how affordable life cover can be.
Bank of America has revealed that customers made more than five million Zelle transactions totalling $1.5 billion in October, up 90 per cent from P2P transactions in October last year. Zelle enables customers to send, receive and request money to existing contacts on their mobile devices. Funds are sent from one bank account to another typically within minutes, when both parties are enrolled, using only a recipient’s email address or mobile number.
Spanish bank IberCaja has partnered with Meniga as it looks to personalise its customer’s digital banking experience. Meniga is the first personal finance software provider that IberCaja has partnered with as part of its digital transformation journey. The bank has successfully implemented and integrated the solution into its core systems, enabling real-time customer data processing and enrichment. This allows for improved accuracy of categorisation of transaction data, giving customers a clearer view of their financial spending history.
BBVA has unveiled an iris scanning feature which allows the Spanish banking group’s customers who have Samsung-compatible smartphones to log on to the mobile banking app just by looking at their displays. With the launch of this feature, BBVA becomes the first Spanish bank to deploy Samsung’s advanced biometric authentication technology, Samsung Pass, which will permit customers to bypass login/password authentication methods.
The SEPA Instant Credit Transfer (SCT Inst) scheme has officially launched, going live with nearly 600 payment service providers (PSPs) from eight European countries. The scheme, created by the European Payments Council, brings real-time electronic money transfers to the continent, allowing payments of up to €15,000 to be made in less than 10 seconds any time and on any day of the year, including weekends and holidays.
B2B payments platform PayStand has announced a $6 million Series A funding round, led by BlueRun Ventures with participation from Cervin Ventures, Serra Ventures, TiE and Capital for Founders. PayStand will use this new round of funding to scale its account receivable systems, and launch a new free accounts payable product line, which has opened in beta this week.
Blockchains that transact with one another could replace central authorities such as banks, clearing houses and lawyers in the future, a new report has predicted. According to an Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) study, with the ability to directly interactthe technology could save firms the cost and effort of doing business with a ledger owner, and increase transparency and security against financial crime.
BNP Paribas Asset Management has entered into a strategic alliance with European alternative SME credit company Caple, acquiring a 10 per cent stake in the firm in the process. Caple facilitates access to alternative credit for SMEs, working with international institutional investors to address gaps in the funding landscape by offering finance that “complements” traditional bank loans.
R3 and Microsoft have expanded their strategic partnership to further accelerate adoption of R3’s Corda platform amongst businesses using Microsoft Azure. Blockchain consortium R3 developed Corda, a distributed ledger platform for financial services, in collaboration with its member banks. The latest partnership will now offer deeper integration of the Corda platform with Azure making it easier for businesses to deploy underlying computing resources for blockchain networks. The expansion reaffirms Azure as R3’s preferred cloud provider.
American Express has announced the introduction of blockchain-enabled, business-to-business cross-border payments. American Express’ FX International Payments (FXIP) business is working with Ripple, provider of enterprise global blockchain solutions, to make blockchain payments commercially available, reducing the time and cost of settlement, while maintaining the level of security that American Express customers know and expect. Santander UK is the selected partner to initiate this new transaction channel, which has the potential to expand substantially over time.
OakNorth has selected a new cyber security solution from Illusive Networks to defend its systems from targeted attacks and ‘advanced persistent threats’. The new Deception Cybersecurity system detects and analyses attacks in real-time with no false positives, minimising manpower required to monitor alerts. The ability to mitigate attacks at the earliest opportunity accompanied by detailed forensic evidence at the time of the alert was also a priority for OakNorth.
Financial institutions need to improve the efficiency of their KYC and sanctions remediation processes or risk losing business, a new report has found. The study from LexisNexis Risk Solutions revealed that seven in 10 professionals in financial institutions are worried that customer friction caused by inefficiencies in these practices is resulting in lost business.
Vocalink, Starling Bank, Nationwide, ClearBank, Barclaycard, Currencycloud and Paysafe were among the companies who collected trophies at the fifth annual Payments Awards last night.Recognising excellence and innovation across the payments sector, the 2017 awards received a record number of entries, reflected in this year’s closely fought categories. The winners were revealed at a glittering gala dinner and awards ceremony at the London Marriott Hotel in Grosvenor Square, hosted by actor and presenter Chris Barrie.
A consortium of major US banks has announced the formation of a new company, TruSight, which will provide third-party risk assessment services.The consortium includes American Express, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. TruSight aims to simplify the process of conducting third-party risk assessments of suppliers and partners across the financial services industry.
Monzo customers can now activate their new current account service by tapping their card on their mobile phone. Once the card arrives in the post, customers simply have to open the app and tap their card to activate it, rather than having to type in the card number or take a picture. The new feature uses near field communication (NFC), which uses a specific radio frequency to allow information to be shared between different devices at close range.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has announced the launch of a new $27 million artificial intelligence and data analytics grant. The grant, which was unveiled by Ravi Menon, managing director of MAS, at the Singapore FinTech Festival, is part of the MAS Financial Sector Technology and Innovation scheme (FSTI). The new grant aims to promote the adoption and integration of artificial intelligence and data analytics in financial institutions.
Technology departments in financial services firms are unable to innovate with technologies like artificial intelligence and blockchain because they have lost influence in boardrooms, according to a new report. A survey of over 200 European IT decision makers commissioned by Excelian, Luxoft Financial Services reveals that 86 per cent of respondents have recently championed a major digital project that failed because it did not get past the boardroom.
A quarter of 18-24 year olds predict that mobile payments will eventually become the main payment method in the UK, rendering cash and plastic cards obsolete, according to a new study. The survey from MoneySuperMarket found that contactless payments have doubled since last year, while three quarters of respondents are withdrawing less cash today than they were 12 months ago. The survey also revealed that Brits make 20 per cent more payments with card or contactless devices (1.8 times) than with cash (1.5 times) each day.
India’s Federal Bank has implemented the Digital Transaction Banking (DTB) platform from Intellect Design Arena, which will provide enhanced banking services to its clients. The new platform is powered by an integrated front-end omnichannel Corporate Banking eXchange (CBX) portal with backend processors for collections & receivables, payables, account services and supply chain finance. DTB will also augment the front end of their existing trade finance portal.
Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has announced the launch of a $100 million FinTech-focused fund to accelerate the development of financial technology by investing in startups from incubation through to growth stage. The new fund will leverage the DIFC’s FinTech ecosystem, which consists of experimental licenses and several collaborative spaces.
The industry consortium led by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) has released the report and source-codes on distributed ledger prototypes for inter-bank payments. The report describes the prototypes developed on three Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) platforms (Corda, Hyperledger Fabric and Quorum) and shares the findings and observations from the project.
The Clearing House has launched a new real-time payments system in the US, which leverages technology from UK payments firm Vocalink. The new platform, labelled RTP, enables consumers and businesses to send and receive immediate payments domestically, with financial processes that used to take days now concluded within seconds. Two banks – US Bank and BNY Mellon – have completed the first live transactions.
Spanish payments services company Iberpay has announced that it is ready to connect Spanish banks with the EBA Clearing system for cross-border euro real-time payments. The move comes in time for the pan-European SCT Inst Scheme which launches on 21 November 2017. Iberpay will be one of the first national providers of clearing and settlement services that will connect to the pan-European instant payment infrastructure platform RT1 as a technical service provider.
Standard Chartered has unveiled a new chatbot on its online and mobile banking platforms and websites. Powered by Kasisto’s conversational artificial intelligence (AI) platform, KAI Banking, the chatbot will act as a virtual personal assistant to help clients manage money, make payments and analyse their spending in a split-second, via natural conversations in English and other languages.
Insurance outfit Aegon has announced that it is replacing its local risk systems with a single global solution from Wolters Kluwer. Aegon has selected the OneSumX for Operational Risk to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of its operational risk management. Following successful local implementations in the UK and within its asset management business, Aegon will use the OneSumX for Operational Risk software across more than 20 countries around the world.
The majority of UK consumers under the age of 35 think that banks and lenders must do more to improve customer loyalty, as 61 per cent said they expect to switch accounts more frequently, a new study has found. The survey by Feefo of more than 1,000 consumers showed that 88 per cent of under 35s believe banks must do more to keep them loyal. With 12 per cent of respondents describing themselves as not loyal, UK banks and lenders are now in danger of sustaining severe losses of more than £1 billion in the £8.7 billion current account market, £156 billion in the £1.3 trillion mortgage market and more than £8 billion in the £67 billion credit card market, Feefo predicts.
Singapore’s DBS Bank has partnered with Equinix to transform one of its traditional data centres in Singapore into a cloud-optimised centre. The new initiative will enable the bank to move its main data centre to significantly smaller premises, which are a quarter of the size of its existing data centre, making the new centre 75 per cent cheaper to run.
Payments Network Malaysia (PayNet), the country’s financial market infrastructure provider, has signed a deal with ACI Worldwide to build a real-time retail payments (RPP) platform. The new solution will be built using ACI’s UP Immediate Payments solution, and is designed to modernise the country’s retail payments infrastructure, drive innovation in electronics payments and bring the benefits of immediate payments to all participants in the payments ecosystem – including banks, payment institutions, businesses, consumers and the government.
China Everbright Bank (CEB) has chosen regulatory reporting software from Wolters Kluwer which will be used for the bank’s operations in Luxembourg. CEB will utilise Wolters Kluwer’s OneSumX Regulatory Reporting solution, which uses a single source of data to ensure consistency, reconciliation and accuracy and includes the firm’s regulatory update service. This service is maintained by Wolters Kluwer experts who actively monitor regulation in approximately 50 countries, helping to ensure the solution is current at all times.
The Asset Management Exchange (AMX) has selected FinTech outfit InvestCloud to build a bespoke digital solution for its growing client base of both asset owners and asset managers. The digital interface will provide clients with a “flexible, intuitive and transparent” way to access and monitor some $2 billion of investments already on the exchange. Established by Willis Towers Watson earlier this year, AMX is a global institutional asset management marketplace. It is an open architecture exchange that provides institutional investors with a central marketplace where they can engage with asset managers.
Barclays has partnered with Flux to trial instant itemised digital receipts with 10,000 customers via the bank’s Launchpad app. Customers taking part in the trial will see their receipts in real time, including all purchases, with VAT, delivered directly to their Barclays app. Users can take ownership of their financial data by going paperless and keeping track of everything they buy without having to download extra apps or changing behaviour. Successful pilots are then rolled out to the five million customers using the Barclays mobile banking app.
BNP Paribas is introducing Chinese mobile payment solution WeChat Pay to retailers across France and the rest of Europe, underlining the bank’s aim to attract Chinese customers. In what is claimed to be a European first, the WeChat Pay solution was initially rolled out at the two Paris flagship stores owned by the Galeries Lafayette Group – Galeries Lafayette Haussmann and BHV MARAIS – at the end of September.
Swiss financial infrastructure provider SIX is establishing a CHF 50 million (€43 million) venture fund to promote innovation within Switzerland’s financial services sector. SIX is already active in the FinTech space with incubator and accelerator programme F10, while the firm also has a number of partnerships with FinTech startups such as Veezoo and Payrexx.
European card issuers are taking advantage of the wider acceptance enjoyed by Mastercard and Visa by pushing ahead with the upgrade of Maestro and Electron cards, new RBR research has found. The ‘Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts to 2022’ study found that by doing so, issuers are increasing the number of merchant outlets in which their cards can be used – particularly for online payments. This move is also popular with their customers, who increasingly expect to pay by card.
UK banking customers sent £101.2 million to criminals after being tricked by ‘authorised transfer’ scams in the first six months of 2017, new research has found. The figures from UK Finance revealed the growing problem of criminals targeting consumers and businesses directly to trick them into authorising a payment. Data found that there were 19,370 cases in H1 2017, with 88 per cent of them being consumers losing an average of £3,000, and the remainder businesses who lost an average of £21,500 per case.
OCBC Bank has become the first in Singapore to distribute health insurance via its mobile and internet banking platforms. Eligible customers can now buy Early Cancer Care via OCBC Bank’s mobile and internet banking platforms in a few clicks, without the need to fill in any physical forms. Typically, health insurance plans like critical illness, disability, hospitalisation and surgical are not sold via online channels as they require a health check-up to evaluate the applicant’s medical condition. However, with Early Cancer Care, eligible OCBC Bank customers simply need to make a health declaration with the click of a button.
TSB customers will be among the first in Europe to use facial recognition technology, Face ID, to unlock their TSB mobile banking app and make payments. The new facial authentication technology exclusive to Apple’s iPhone X aims to add further security and convenience for the increasing number of smartphone banking users. The move by TSB comes just weeks after it launched Samsung Pass iris recognition for its customers.
Chinese FinTech outfit WeLab has announced that it has raised $220 million of combined Series B and equity and debt strategic financing. The financing brings WeLab’s total funding to $425 million and marks a significant milestone for the Hong Kong-based company which received backing from the Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund, International Finance Corporation (IFC) and other global banks.
More than half of global banks expect their digital investments to yield “measurable returns” by 2020, new research has shown. The survey, conducted by Infosys Finacle and Efma, revealed that technology investments in 2018 will revolve around ‘topical’ areas such as information security, advanced analytics and open banking APIs, as opposed to ‘future-looking’ areas such as conversational AI, robotic process automation, the Internet of Things, augmented reality or virtual reality.
Societe Generale has launched its very first Innovation Week in the UK, which will bring together staff, experts from the industry, and FinTechs in a move designed to encourage collaboration, the sharing of ideas and discuss emerging opportunities. Based across three key themes, ‘Tech Day’, ‘SG Innovation in Action’ and ‘FinTech Day’, Innovation Week will showcase the bank's progress and ambitions in terms of technological innovation, both internally and in working with clients and other stakeholders.
Some of the world’s largest banks, trading houses and energy companies have announced a joint venture that will develop a blockchain-based digital platform intended to transform post-transaction management of physical energy commodities trading. The new venture, which will be managed and operated as an independent entity, is awaiting relevant regulatory approvals.
Facebook has launched its Messenger payments service in the UK, enabling users to send each other money through the messaging app. Launched in the US in 2015, the social media giant has said that the payments feature has been used widely to split bills, pay babysitters and send gifts. Users press the blue plus symbol within a chat and select the payment option, with customers prompted to enter their card details upon the first time a payment is made.
UK digital challenger bank Monzo has announced the closure of a £71 million fundraising round just a month after rolling out its current account service. The fundraising was led by Goodwater Capital, Stripe and venture capitalist Michael Moritz, through his charitable investment vehicles including the Crankstart Foundation.They join existing investors Passion Capital, Thrive Capital and Orange Digital Ventures, who have each made follow-on investments.
SIA and R3 have established a strategic partnership aimed at speeding up the global development and adoption of blockchain applications by leveraging SIAnet’s 600 nodes provided to financial institutions, corporates and public administrations. As part of the partnership, SIA will build a secure and protected network called SIAchain, which will be integrated with R3’s Corda platform to enable SIA customers to run CordDapps – applications designed specifically to meet the needs of institutions across the banking and finance sector.
Tesco Bank has announced changes to its mobile banking app, which will allow iPhone X customers to log in and authenticate payments using Face ID. To date, the bank has seen over one million customers register for the mobile app as their preferred method of accessing their account. To use Face ID within the mobile banking app, customers must first ensure the functionality is enabled on their device. Customers can then turn on Face ID within the app by visiting the settings menu or during registration. At this point they will be prompted to provide either their passcode or password to confirm their decision.
The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) and FinTech Consortium (FTC) have announced the launch of what they claim is the largest FinTech hub in the Middle East and Africa. The Bahrain FinTech Bay (BFB) hub aims to further the development and acceleration of FinTech firms as well as the interaction between investors, entrepreneurs, government bodies and financial institutions.
UK digital challenger Starling Bank has become the first mobile only bank to integrate with ING-backed smart money app Yolt. Yolt’s aggregation functionality now enables Yolt users to view their Starling Bank account details and transactions alongside their other bank accounts, together in one place. Starling becomes the 29th bank, and first mobile only bank, to connect with Yolt.
Total UK funding of FinTech firms halved between Q2 and Q3 2017 to $636 million, compared with $5 billion in the US and over $1 billion in Asia. Germany accounted for the largest share of FinTech investment in Europe this quarter helped by the $806 million secondary buyout of ConCardis. The UK, meanwhile, accounted for seven of Europe’s largest deals, including $100 million plus rounds to Prodigy Finance and Neyber.
Orange Bank has rolled out its mobile payment and banking app in France, providing customers with a bank account, debit card, overdraft protection and an interest-bearing savings account. Developed in collaboration with Wirecard, the new app integrates contactless mobile payments and real-time bank balances. Wirecard is providing all the technical components integrated into the Orange Bank platform to manage their mobile payments.
DBS Bank has launched what it claims is the largest banking API developer platform in the world. The API platform is expected to help the bank create innovative and customer-centric experiences by making available a wide array of APIs for other brands, corporates, FinTechs and software developers to plug into. More than 50 companies including household names such as AIG, McDonald’s, MSIG, PropertyGuru, as well as startups like Activpass, FoodPanda, Homage, and soCash have already joined onto the platform to develop solutions that will bring more convenience and value to customers.
Spanish banking group BBVA has signed an agreement with Telefónica that will allow the bank to optimise its communications, increase the capacity of its technological network and facilitate operations in the cloud. As part of the deal, BBVA will convert its current communications network to a ‘service platform’ mode that will aim to improve the capacity and the management of the group’s global communications. In addition, it will guarantee the new bandwidth needs required by the cloud environments and by the exponential increase in transactions.
OCBC has become the first bank in Singapore to enable Face ID facial recognition technology for customers to make payments or view their bank account, credit card and investment information. OCBC has rolled out the enhancement to its consumer and business banking apps for Apple iPhone X users. By leveraging Apple’s Face ID facial recognition technology, OCBC Bank customers who have the new phone can now dispense with passwords or even fingerprints when doing their everyday banking.
OakNorth has announced that GIC, the Singaporean sovereign wealth fund, will invest £90 million for a close to 10 per cent stake in the digital-only UK bank. GIC, which has more than $100 billion of assets under management in more than 40 countries worldwide, will assist OakNorth’s expansion in the US, European and Asian markets. The news follows a recent investment round that saw OakNorth secure £154 million in funding from Coltrane, Toscafund and The Clermont Group.
European mobile banking platform N26 has announced that it will be entering the UK market in the first half of 2018. The bank has grown its customer base to more than half a million within two and a half years, adding an average of more than 1,500 new customers each day. UK customers can register on the company's website to get early access effective immediately, and will receive a fully-fledged GBP current account with an individual N26 account number, sort code and Mastercard.
London-based FinTech firm TransferWise has announced the closure of a $280 million Series E funding round, as it prepares to launch in a number of Asian markets. US asset management firm Old Mutual Global Investors and Silicon Valley venture capital firm IVP led the funding round, marking only the second ever time that OMGI has made an equity investment in a private company. Sapphire Ventures, Mitsui & Co, and World Innovation Lab also joined the funding round as new investors.
National Australia Bank (NAB) has announced there will be 6,000 job losses over the next three years, as it looks to invest $4.5 billion to digitally transform the bank. The job losses will span all of the bank’s departments, according to NAB’s CEO Andrew Thorburn, while the bank is also happy to retrain those members of staff who have “got the aptitude and commitment to do some retraining”.
The Financial Stability Board (FSB) has published a report that considers the implications of the growing use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in financial services. Financial institutions are increasingly using AI and machine learning in a range of applications across the financial system including to assess credit quality, to price and market insurance contracts and to automate client interactions.
Brexit uncertainty is causing UK business owners to look at alternative finance options, such as peer-to-peer lending, crowdfunding and business cash advances to support growth, according to a new Worldpay report. UK small business owners have expressed concern that political and economic uncertainty could make it more difficult to secure funding in the future.
Visa has announced the European launch of Visa Direct – a real-time payments platform that allows companies to transform domestic and cross-border payments for businesses and consumers. Visa Direct enables person-to-person (P2P), business-to-consumer (B2C), and business-to-business (B2B) payments. With the new platform, funds can be transferred into the recipient’s Visa account instantly and securely.
OneSavings Bank has selected Lombard Risk Management to install a new regulatory reporting platform. The challenger bank has signed a 10-year licence for Lombard’s AgileReporter platform, which will enable it to gather key management information and analytics around trends and variances for audits and approvals. It will also enable OneSavings Bank to track and prove its compliance with all relevant PRA, FCA, BofE and EBA reporting requirements using Lombard Risk’s end-to-end reporting solution.
Capital One has announced an agreement with Intuit which allows its customers who use Intuit's suite of services including QuickBooks Online, Mint, and TurboTax, to securely import their financial data without sharing login credentials. The data sharing deal utilises an application-programming interface (API) enabling Capital One customers to directly connect their personal and small business credit card and banking information with Intuit.
Digital challenger Cashplus has announced that it will be submitting a banking licence application, consolidating its instant online decision, real-time, anytime banking services and specialised lending products. The move will allow Cashplus to convert most of the £200 million in customer safeguarded funds it currently holds into bank deposits as well as expand its credit lending to thousands more UK entrepreneurs, via credit cards and overdrafts.
Kaspersky Lab researchers have discovered a new CryptoShuffler Trojan which steals cryptocurrencies from a user’s wallet by replacing their address with its own in the device’s clipboard. To date, criminals have already succeeded in attacking Bitcoin wallets, stealing 23 BTC, which is equivalent to almost $140,000. The total amount stolen from other wallets ranges from a few dollars to several thousands.
Cash machine network LINK is proposing to reduce its interchange fee, but the plan has been criticised for potentially cutting the number of free-to-use ATMs in the UK. LINK is consulting its members and the LINK Consumer Council on proposals to reduce the level of interchange - the fee paid by card issuers (banks and building societies) to ATM operators - by up to 20 per cent.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed a $1 million fine on Yes Bank for not reporting a cyber security incident involving the bank’s ATMs within the required timeframe. The RBI issued the fine “for non-compliance with the directions issued by RBI on Income Recognition Asset Classification (IRAC) norms and delayed reporting of information security incident involving ATMs of the bank”.
North American digital remittance firm Remitly has agreed to raise up to $115 million in Series D funding, led by Naspers’ FinTech investment division PayU. Remitly’s digital money transfer platform aims to make the process of sending money internationally faster and more transparent for users, while keeping fraud loss rates low. Customers of the digital remittance firm are sending almost $4 billion annually around the world.
Middle Eastern banking group Emirates NBD has implemented Gemalto’s Mobile Suite that offers security and an enhanced end user experience across all digital channels. Emirates NBD customers in the United Arab Emirates who choose to use Smart Pass can now activate the service from their mobile phone and then receive a unique four-digit PIN. When making a transaction, a notification is sent immediately to their mobile and customers confirm the transaction by entering the PIN. As a result, there is no need to wait for an OTP and benefit from higher security than SMS technology delivering the code.
Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and National Australia Bank have collaborated to launch a new mobile payments app that will enable instant payments for all Australians, including small businesses. Named Beem, the new app enables users to make an instant payment using their smartphone, and request payment from someone who owes them money or to split a bill. Bank level security and encrypted user account information means each transaction will be authenticated and subject to real-time fraud monitoring.
R3 and 22 of its member banks have developed a solution that leverages distributed ledger technology (DLT) to enable efficient and cost-effective cross-border payments. While many DLT initiatives have experimented with specific use cases within international payments, R3 is the first to develop a shared infrastructure – built on its Corda platform – to facilitate the full payments workflow.
Banking chief investment officers (CIOs) are more focused on digitalisation than CIOs in any other industry, new research has found. The survey from Gartner, which polled more than 3,000 CIOs in 98 countries and across a number of major industries, suggests that banks are increasingly convinced that their old business models and existing value propositions will not be sustainable in the future.
Vocalink and Exela Technologies have announced that the new image-based cheque clearing system, built on behalf of the Payment System Operator and the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company, has officially launched. The new Image Clearing System (ICS) enables cheques in the UK to be processed by the end of the next weekday, allowing customers to access their funds quicker and with certainty that their cheque will not bounce.
HSBC has issued a public apology after many of its UK customers were unable to access online and mobile banking services on Friday. On the morning of Friday, October 27, customers began to report having issues signing in to their online banking accounts, with messages stating “your session has expired, please log in”. The bank responded to the reports via social media, stating: “We are working hard to fix the problem with our online and mobile banking service. Sorry for any inconvenience.”
Westpac has announced that it will now offer customers a new range of wearable, hands-free and battery-free payment accessories. The Australian bank has teamed up with local designers in a move which will allow its customers to take advantage of the new tap-and-pay option, called PayWear. PayWear Essentials, which will be available in early December, includes a silicone band and a ‘keeper’, which can be attached to an existing watch or fitness band, containing a microchip linked to the customer’s everyday transaction account.
Canada’s TMX Group, which operates equities, fixed income, derivatives, and energy markets exchanges, has signed a deal with Intercontinental Exchange to acquire Trayport for £550 million. In conjunction with the proposed acquisition of Trayport, TMX Group has agreed to sell Natural Gas Exchange and Shorcan Energy Brokers to Intercontinental Exchange.
Seven in 10 UK Millennials now use their mobiles to keep track of their financial affairs, according to new research from Visa. Visa’s third Digital Payments study asked over 42,000 Europeans, including more than 2,000 UK respondents, about their attitudes to alternative forms of payment and money management. It found that 69 per cent of British people between the ages of 18 and 34 said they have used a mobile banking app, with more than half noting that they do so regularly.
TSB is set to launch its new state-of-the-art banking platform, designed and built with new owner Sabadell, and aimed at enabling a more seamless banking experience for customers. The bank said in its latest trading update that it has passed many significant milestones and the platform is already being used to support a number of its key services. TSB customers are already benefiting from the bank’s new mobile app, which was the first in Europe to integrate iris scanning security features.
Some 83 per cent of financial services firms consider frictionless customer authentication to be a key driver behind their omnichannel verification efforts, a joint survey from NICE Actimize and PwC has found. Almost two thirds (63 per cent) of the 65 financial institutions surveyed were currently assessing their authentication strategies to identify where there may be requirements for further investment in omnichannel authentication. Only three in 10 respondents had completed those assessments – of which, 61 per cent were expecting to invest in authentication technology within the next 12 to 18 months.
The New York subway is in line to accept contactless for fare payments after the Metropolitan Transport Authority (MTA) board voted to approve a contract to phase in the new system. The move marks an official transition away from the MetroCard ticketing scheme, which was first introduced to the city in 1994. The shift to contactless will take place in a series of phases over a period of more than five years, with customers first being able to use contactless payments in 2019.
Uber has collaborated with Barclaycard US to launch an Uber Visa Card, which offers rewards to customers through the ride-hailing firm’s mobile app. The card will have no annual fee for customers and features a $100 starting bonus, as well as an annual $50 credit on digital subscription services such as Netflix if customers spend more than $5,000 on their card per year.
New research from McKinsey predicts that the digitisation of operations could add $350 billion to the banking sector’s bottom line, while also warning that financial institutions should be wary of serious competition from ‘platform’ companies such as Alibaba and Amazon. The study suggests that banks cannot afford to wait any longer to extract the potential of digital to industrialise their operations. In order to compete effectively, the report states, banks must begin to explore the new tools at their disposal and build the necessary skills in digital marketing and analytics.
JPMorgan Chase has unveiled Finn – an all-mobile digital bank aimed at giving US customers greater control of their everyday spending and saving. The new app, which has been designed by working closely with Millennials, features a number of customised tools that are focused on helping consumers build savings and analyse everyday spending. The bank’s research found that while emotions played a large role in Millennials’ financial decision making, they did not have a way to understand the impact it had on their financial lives.
Dutch bank ING has announced the launch of ING Ventures – a €300 million fund which will focus on investing in FinTech companies. ING considers partnering with and investing in FinTechs as a key element of its innovation strategy, and the new initiative will build on the success of the bank’s current approach, which has seen 115 FinTech strategic partnerships and investments signed in the past three years.
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) have signed and exchanged an agreement to strengthen co-operation and foster FinTech development within the region. The HKMA and MAS will collaborate on a number of initiatives, including joint innovation projects, referrals of innovative businesses, information sharing and exchange of expertise, to facilitate financial innovation in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is critical to a bank’s digital transformation, while integrating legacy technologies and security issues remain key challenges for the UK banking sector. This is according to a survey from financial services IT consultancy GFT, which found that 86 per cent of UK respondents acknowledged the importance of AI, while a quarter said that it has strategic importance within their organisation.
ANZ has announced the roll-out of specially designed accessibility features for all of its retail and commercial Visa debit cards to make everyday banking easier for customers with a disability. All of ANZ’s 3.4 million Visa debit cards will now have tactile indicators, larger fonts and high visibility leading edges to help customers identify their cards and to help them easily identify which way to insert their card into ATM and electronic funds transfer at point of sale (EFTPOS) terminals.
Shift Technology, a software-as-a-service platform that uses artificial intelligence to help insurers detect fraud, has announced a $28 million Series B investment co-led by Accel and General Catalyst, with participation from previous investors Elaia Partners and Iris Capital. The FinTech firm has more than doubled in headcount in the past year and has grown its revenue base by over 800 per cent.
Bank of Asia is using Avaloq’s banking suite in a Software as a Service (SaaS) model to build a digital bank, expected to be fully operational by the end of the year. The software will be operated as a service from the Singapore-based service centre Avaloq Sourcing (Asia Pacific). The solution is pre-configured with industry proven components and processes, and a host of mission critical third party-components are embedded.
Berlin-based mobile bank N26 will be launching in the US in mid-2018, aiming to bring fresh innovation to the country’s banking industry. In August, the digital bank announced that it had reached 500,000 customers across 17 European countries – less than three years after launching. The bank does not own or operate any physical branches, making it easier to scale and reach customers who might not typically have access to digital financial services.
Westpac New Zealand has, in partnership with ACI Worldwide, completed a major banking technology transformation. Westpac NZ has adopted ACI Worldwide’s Universal Payments portfolio of solutions which focus on real-time payments and fraud prevention. A long-standing ACI customer, Westpac NZ is utilising ACI’s UP Immediate Payments solution as its financial transaction hub, orchestrating payments across channels, networks and payment types, and settling to any clearing stream in real-time.
Swedish FinTech company Tink has signed agreements with three European financial institutions including the bank Nordea, Klarna and Nordnet as well as announcing €14 million in new investments. The agreements will enable the banks to integrate Tink’s aggregation and payment technology and Personal Finance Management (PFM) platform within their existing customer channels.
Customers of Starling Bank will now be able to make payments through their Fitbit Ionic device, after registering their Mastercard debit card to the device. Fitbit Pay can be easily set-up on Fitbit Ionic by following simple steps within the Fitbit mobile app on Android or iOS devices to add a debit card to the Fitbit Wallet. To make a payment, users press and hold the left side button until the debit or credit card is seen on the Fitbit Ionic screen, and hold the watch against the payment terminal until a confirmation of the payment appears on the Ionic screen.
Dutch bank ING has collaborated with suppliers and FinTechs to offer online lending to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in France and Italy. While ING manages the entire process, the bank works with multiple partners combining specialist capabilities. ING is working with Kabbage, who the bank is already offering instant lending with to SMEs in Spain,
JP Morgan has deployed a new real-time data analytics platform as it looks to optimise the productivity and profitability of its global fixed income sales and trading division. JP Morgan has selected Mosaic Smart Data’s MSX solution which enables banks to utilise the increasing volume of trade data they hold and apply cutting-edge technologies such as predictive analytics and artificial intelligence.
Bank of America has announced that it will be implementing Intel’s biometric authentication technology into its online banking platform, adding a further layer of security. The Intel Online Connect solution aims to provide an effortless experience that improves security over passwords. It requires biometric data and is stored only on the user’s device and not on a public server or cloud.
The second annual National Technology Awards, which celebrate the pioneers of new technology in areas such as healthcare, finance, transport, gaming, IoT and analytics, are now open for entries. There are a total of 30 trophies up for grabs this year as well as two new categories - Manufacturing or Construction Technology of the Year and TV, Film and Broadcasting Technology of the Year. Technology experts have until 19 January 2018 to submit their entries.
Warsaw-based Bank Polskiej Spóldzielczosci SA (Bank BPS) has chosen Wolters Kluwer to provide an integrated risk and regulatory reporting solution following a competitive tender process. Bank BPS has chosen to use the OneSumX solution for static and dynamic projection analysis, liquidity reporting, interest rate and FX risk with value at risk analysis on top of it.
Tokyo’s SBI Holdings has teamed up with UK FinTech firm Wirex to establish a joint venture that involves rolling out a new cryptocurrency payment card in Japan. Wirex is a provider of payment services that allows customers to use bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on the Visa Card networks around the world. This payment service enables the user to instantly exchange cryptocurrencies to legal tenders.
The Canadian province of Ontario has established a team of financial services and information technology experts with the goal of strengthening consumer protection and helping promote business growth and development in the FinTech sector. Over the coming months, the experts will look to help shape a FinTech strategy that enhances Ontario's position as a global leader and promotes growth that produces jobs and investment in the province.
Mastercard has announced that it will be opening up access to its blockchain API for partner banks and merchants. The move means both the merchants and banks will gain access to Mastercard’s blockchain technology via its API published on Mastercard Developers. The blockchain solution provides a new way for consumers, businesses and banks to transact and is key to the company’s strategy to provide payment solutions that meet every need of financial institutions and their end-customers.
Sberbank and SWIFT have signed a memorandum of cooperation regarding the development and piloting of high-tech products, created and promoted by SWIFT. The parties agreed to coordinate steps to assess the potential application of blockchain technology in interbank settlement platforms. In particular, Sberbank joined the international group of financial institutions testing the prototype of SWIFT’s distributed ledger technology platform, which has been developed as part of SWIFT gpi (global payments innovations).
Israeli-based startup PayKey has secured $10 million in a funding round led by MizMaa, with other investors including SBI Group, Siam Commercial Bank’s FinTech subsidiary Digital Ventures, SixThirty and FinTech71. PayKey enables customers to make secure peer-to-peer payments on all social network mobile platforms such as Facebook’s Messenger, WhatsApp and Twitter. The technology used enables banks to support the payments where consumers want them most.
RBS has entered into an agreement with Landmark Valuation Services to adopt its Valuation Risk Model (VRM) service, to deliver greater risk insights and efficiencies in its mortgage valuation process for both Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest. Using property analytics and a wealth of land and environmental data, Landmark’s VRM will assess the potential risks relating to a property for every mortgage application processed by the lender. In doing so, it enables the Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest to apply the best fit valuation approach on each and every case.
Payments Canada, Bank of Canada and TMX Group have announced a new collaboration to experiment with an integrated securities and payment settlement platform based on blockchain technology. The move is part of the third phase of the Project Jasper research initiative which was launched in March 2016 and sought to better understand how DLT could transform the future of payments in Canada.
The first Startupbootcamp FinTech programme in Latin America, a joint venture with Finnovista, saw startups collectively secure 30 pilot projects and collaborations with financial entities and corporate partners of the programmes. The 11 startups showcased their innovation story and evolution during their acceleration process in front of key players from the financial industry and across the entrepreneur community in Mexico City.
HSBC UK, through its first direct brand, has announced a partnership with FinTech startup Bud to trial a new business model, which provides customers with an integrated offering of financial services products and tools from across the market, including those from other providers. The trial forms part of HSBC UK’s Open Banking strategy, and follows the recent announcement of its beta trial. Over the coming months the group will be evaluating new opportunities brought by Open Banking across its different brands in order to continue to provide the latest in customer-centric services and digital banking offerings.
JPMorgan Chase has announced its plans to acquire WePay in an effort to make it easy for business app makers and independent software vendors (ISVs) to integrate payments into the software commonly used by small businesses. The partnership aims to ease payment friction for both software providers and merchants. Software providers will be able to provide instant onboarding to small business clients no matter how they take payments - in store, online, or on-the-go, with the backing and fraud protection of Chase.
Only 46 per cent of global financial institutions have a FinTech strategy in place, despite 57 per cent of institutions claiming that FinTech is the greatest source of disruption, according to a new report from KPMG. Furthermore, less than half of those believe that their strategy is well aligned with the challenges posed by FinTech.
The Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF) and McKinsey have examined the potential use cases of the Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) in streamlining verification processes, finding that its application could save entities around $650 million annually. Across different systems and organizations, the LEI can simplify and expedite reconciliation among different systems or networks, enabling faster identity verification when using multiple data sources.
The European Central Bank (ECB) is preparing to launch TARGET Instant Payment Settlement (TIPS) for settling instant payments in euros, and has challenged service providers to develop an app that can be used to initiate transactions for settlement. TIPS will be compliant with the SEPA Instant Credit Transfer scheme developed by the European Payments Council to accommodate instant credit transfers across the Single Euro Payments Area.
Anthony Wooley has been announced as the new head of innovation for the UK arm of Societe Generale. In his new role, Wooley will be responsible for strengthening connections between Societe Generale and the FinTech sector in order to accelerate the adoption of emerging technologies across the organisation and to leverage the bank’s financial services expertise with industry innovations in financial technology.
BNP Paribas and EY have announced the completion of a pilot demonstrating the feasibility of using blockchain to optimise the global internal treasury operations of the bank. The ALM Treasury department, which manages the bank’s internal treasury, carried out an internal blockchain pilot this summer. This pilot highlighted how an internal, private blockchain could be used to improve operational efficiency by providing a more integrated cash management approach between businesses, allowing greater flexibility and a 24/7 capability.
Digital Asset, a distributed ledger technology (DLT) provider for the financial services industry, has announced that it has raised more than $40 million in a Series B funding round.
The round included existing as well as new investors and was led by Jefferson River Capital. The latest round brings the total funding raised by Digital Asset to over $110 million as the company looks to expand its global presence.
Bangkok Bank has selected transaction banking and technology firm iGTB as a technology partner to implement a new comprehensive cash management platform and corporate portal. The self-service digital portal will integrate a number of previously separate platforms, giving the bank’s clients – from SMEs through to multinational corporations – a consistent and consolidated view of their working capital and payments activities, irrespective of the country they operate in.
Spanish banking group BBVA has launched online app Tuyyo, a new global money transfer service which allows people in Mexico to send money to friends and family quickly and securely. In the initial phase – the USA to Mexico corridor – the app is expected to deliver benefits for both senders and receivers in what is the world’s biggest remittance market where more than $27 billion flows annually.
All but one of 100 payments executives at large banks said they plan to make major investments in Open Banking initiatives by 2020, according to a new Accenture study. Open Banking is an emerging service model that allows customers to share access to their financial data with non-bank third parties. Banks can also use the Open Banking platform to offer plug-and-play financial products to third parties, such as retailers or FinTech companies, ultimately expanding their reach to new customers.
Santander InnoVentures, the FinTech venture capital fund of Santander Group, has announced a $6 million investment in Mexican mobile payments startup ePesos. The new funding will enable ePesos to continue growing its platform serving and supporting small and medium sized enterprises across Mexico. Other institutional investors participating in the round include VilCap Investments, Pomona Impact, and Fiinlab, the innovation lab owned by Gentera.
Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) has collaborated with Wave to integrate invoicing, accounting and business financial insights into the bank’s online business banking platform. In what the RBC describes as a first of its kind offering for a bank in North America, the new service will enable RBC’s small business clients to manage their full business financial services’ needs - from banking and bookkeeping to invoicing – in a single place with a single sign-on.
Alibaba has launched a new global research programme, with a particular focus on FinTech, machine learning and the Internet of Things, as the Chinese e-commerce giant looks to invest more than $15 billion in the project over the next three years. The DAMO Academy, which stands for Discover, Adventure, Momentum and Outlook, will oversee the opening of research and development labs worldwide and seek to recruit talented scientists and researchers to join the programme. Alibaba Group’s chief technology officer, Jeff Zhang will be the head of the academy.
IBM, in partnership with Stellar.org and KlickEx Group, has announced the unveiling of a new blockchain banking solution that aims to help financial institutions address the processes of universal cross-border payments. The IBM blockchain solution is designed to reduce the settlement time and lower the cost of completing global payments for businesses and consumers. It is intended to improve the speed in which banks both clear and settle payment transactions on a single network in near real time.
SWIFT has published a report on the proof of concept (PoC) for real-time Nostro reconciliation using a distributed ledger technology (DLT) sandbox with 33 global transaction banks. The PoC is testing whether DLT can help banks reconcile Nostro accounts more efficiently and in real-time, while lowering costs and operational risk. The report provides an overview of the PoC to date, including technical objectives, early findings on the potential business benefits, as well as key challenges that still need to be addressed to achieve industry-wide adoption.
UK business bank OakNorth has secured a £154 million investment from The Clermont Group, Toscafund and Coltrane. The new funding will enable OakNorth to continue supporting UK businesses and launch its ACORN platform to lenders around the world. ACORN enables lenders to originate, underwrite, monitor, and book transactions faster. Its cloud-based technology sources millions of data items on SMEs across various parameters, sectors, and markets, and then uses machine learning algorithms to pull out the pieces of data that lenders need to make more informed credit decisions.
National Australia Bank (NAB) has partnered with realestate.com.au in a move which combines online property searching with financing options. In what it describes as a world first, realestate.com.au has combined searching for property and getting a home loan in a single experience. Buyers can instantly apply for online conditional approval for a home loan powered by NAB and have their finance information overlayed as they search. Or they can access a panel of more than 30 other lenders through realestate.com.au Home Loans.
Total investment in the FinTech market more than doubled on a quarter-over-quarter basis to more than $8.4 billion in the second quarter of 2017. This is according to KPMG’s Pulse of FinTech report, which found that large increases in private equity funding and M&A funding propelled the increase, while the amount of venture capital investment held relatively steady. The Americas dominated FinTech investment during Q2
Accuity has announced that it has successfully integrated its financial crime screening solutions with Corda – R3’s financial grade distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform. Accuity’s innovation team, working closely with R3, has developed a solution that enables financial crime screening of customers and transactions on Corda. For financial institutions, this would facilitate financial crime compliance with regulatory requirements.
Taiwan’s O-Bank has partnered with Avaya to provide customers with a solely digital banking experience. O-Bank already has established the video service centre with advanced technologies and is the first Taiwan bank to provide 24 hour full media with video on customer engagement. Avaya’s platform enables O-Bank to quickly and easily allocate internal resources to provide the most efficient service, improving the consistency of the customer experience across channels and different lines of business.
Québec’s La Caisse and Desjardins Group have announced the creation of a $75 million investment fund dedicated to FinTech and AI. Established in Montréal, the venture capital fund's purpose is to support the growth and development of new FinTech companies in Québec and Canada. This fund, created under la Caisse's initiative and built in partnership with Desjardins, will operate independently and is expected to have a maximum size of $75 million. Its two sponsors will invest equal amounts totalling $50 million. Other institutional investors have already expressed interest in joining before the first closing, which is expected by the end of the year.
Openbank, the digital bank of Santander Group, has selected Temenos to provide it with a new core banking solution for retail and SME banking across its global operations. Openbank has chosen to implement the Temenos Core Banking system which will allow it to utilise open APIs to operate collaborative business models and work with an ecosystem of third parties. By adopting the new solution, Openbank will be able to gain a deeper understanding of their customers and be quicker to market with new personalised products and services.
The majority of US consumers believe that their financial institutions are not evolving fast enough, but remain loyal for the meantime, new research suggests. The Blumberg Capital survey, which polled more than 2,000 US adults, found that half of the respondents surveyed said they use traditional financial institutions, while 57 per cent have a positive view of FinTech and want to seek the benefits of new technologies and services.
Mastercard has announced the launch of its first innovation lab in India, which will work with financial institutions and merchant partners to identify and experiment with new technologies. Mastercard Labs in India is the company’s ninth lab in the world and the second in Asia Pacific (following Singapore). The lab, which is located in Pune, will focus on key areas including digital payments, data solutions, financial inclusion, alternative payments and safety and security.
TSB Bank has signed a five-year deal with NCR which will see the software firm provide managed services for TSB’s 900-strong ATM network. The contract covers remote ATM monitoring, incident management and help desk support for TSB’s branch partners, and 24/7 second line maintenance to ensure high availability of the bank’s self-service channel. NCR manages the service performance and provides reporting and deep dive analytics on all incidents and service calls.
Fujitsu has reached an agreement with three major Japanese banks to conduct a joint field trial of a person-to-person money transfer service using blockchain technology. Fujitsu will work with Mizuho Financial Group, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group with the trial set to begin in January 2018 and expected to last for about three months. Fujitsu has already initiated development of the trial system.
More than 100 financial institutions have now joined Ripple’s enterprise blockchain network, RippleNet, which aims to modernise global payments by leveraging blockchain technology. The newest members of RippleNet include AirWallex, Bexs Banco, Credit Agricole, Cuallix, Currencies Direct, dLocal, IFX, Krungsri, RAKBANK and TransferGo. Each institution is now on path to join existing members like SEB and Siam Commercial Bank who have deployed Ripple solutions commercially.
UK digital challenger bank Monzo has announced that, following successful testing, it is ready to fully launch its current account service to customers. Back in July, Monzo launched its Current Account Preview and has since successfully piloted it with more than 18,000 users. Over the next eight weeks the bank will invite all existing Monzo users to upgrade to a current account, after which it will open signups to totally new users.
ScramCard has unveiled its Da Vinci Choice Mastercard payment card – an electronic card that generates a one-time PIN/security codes for use when purchasing in store, online, over the phone or when withdrawing cash from an ATM. Consumers are able to link eight payment cards into one, with added eInk display technology, battery and touch numerical keypad. The one-time-use security codes protect shoppers from fraudsters who steal card numbers, skim PINs, phish for security codes and scan contactless credentials.
Standard Chartered has announced strategic partnerships with TradeIX and Infor as it looks to advance the digitalisation of trade finance. The two partnerships will enable clients and their ecosystems access to the bank’s full range of trade financing solutions. Standard Chartered has worked with TradeIX, a new trade industry FinTech, to roll out the first open blockchain platform for trade finance. The platform leverages blockchain technology and its API-driven system to automate the process for pre-and post-shipment financing and risk mitigation for buyers and sellers.
The Luxembourg Bankers’ Association (ABBL) has released a FinTech map of Luxembourg in an effort to help interested parties better understand the country’s growing FinTech ecosystem. This initiative is aimed at mapping and classifying various FinTech firms, software vendors and IT solution providers for the financial services sector of Luxembourg.
The European Commission has confirmed that its officials carried out unannounced inspections in a few Member states concerning online access to bank account information by competing service providers. Following the probe, which took place on October 3, the commission stated that it “has concerns that the companies involved and/or the associations representing them may have engaged in anti-competitive practices in breach of EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices and/or abuse of dominant market positions”.
Deutsche Bank has made some of its computer code publicly available for the first time, in a move designed to create a common industry standard for trading technology. The bank will put over 150,000 lines of code from its electronic platform Autobahn into the public domain so that trading applications from different providers can use it as a shared foundation and work with each other. The code will also be integrated into the Symphony collaboration platform, which is widely used by financial institutions.
Swiss Euro Clearing Bank (SECB) has selected Earthport, a payment network for cross-border transactions, to provide SWIFT payment processing services. Headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany, SECB processes euro transactions for banks and other businesses domiciled in Switzerland. The new contract with Earthport will enable SECB to enhance its cross-border payment capabilities, further increase payment processing efficiency and add greater value to its customers.
The UK’s Faster Payments Scheme is seeking ‘expressions of interest’ for the renewal and management of its infrastructure – the services that enable the UK’s 24/7 real-time payment service to function consistently and securely. The competition aims to drive innovation and ensure that the Faster Payments Service continues to meet the needs of participants achieving the objectives set out by the Payment Systems Regulator.
UK-based digital wealth outfit Moneyfarm has announced that it has purchased the technology behind FinTech startup Ernest. Moneyfarm has claimed that the move makes it the first digital wealth manager to explore the use of a personal finance chatbot to help individuals manage their money and investments. Ernest is a personal banker, powered by artificial intelligence that leverages Facebook Messenger to connect with an individual’s bank accounts. It combines natural language processing technology with machine learning. The new technology has had two modes of operation: answering questions and proactive notifications, all with the aim of helping an individual manage their money better. The technology will be combined with Moneyfarm’s existing services.
ATM ‘black box’ attacks in Europe have soared in the first half of 2017, with 114 attacks across 11 countries over the last six months, according to data from the European Association for Secure Transactions (EAST). This figure is up from the 28 recorded in the first half of 2016, marking a 307 per cent increase. Related losses were up 268 per cent, from €0.41 million to €1.51 million. Black box is the connection of an unauthorised device which sends dispense commands directly to the ATM cash dispenser in order to ‘cash-out’ the ATM.
US asset management and business solutions firm Navient has entered into a $155 million agreement to acquire FinTech lending company Earnest. Founded in 2013, Earnest serves financially responsible consumers who have been underserved by traditional banks. The company is expected to originate nearly $1 billion in student loan refinancing loans in 2017.
Customers of the National Australia Bank (NAB) will now be able to get answers to basic banking questions from Google Assistant, with the launch of a new ‘Talk to NAB’ functionality. The pilot uses the Google Assistant’s voice-activated, hands-free experience to allow NAB customers to ask general banking questions – such as how to replace a lost card or reset their password – via Google Home or a smartphone with the Google Assistant. The Google Assistant also provides customers with guidance on simple banking questions around transaction and savings accounts, credit cards, personal loans, travel cards and internet banking.
Dubai-based Mashreq Bank has unveiled a new full-service digital bank, Mashreq Neo, in the UAE. The new digital bank will be completely branchless, is targeted towards the connected generation who are digitally savvy, use mobile devices extensively, and will immerse users in a digital experience. Mashreq Neo is also the first digital bank in the GCC region to provide access to international markets for investment opportunities including foreign equities, gold trading and foreign currency accounts.
Insurance giant Aviva has announced a strategic investment in digital wealth management outfit Wealthify. The move advances Aviva’s digital strategy to provide an online one-stop-shop for all their customers’ insurance, pension and investment needs. The investment will also enable Wealthify to meet its customer acquisition targets as well as adding new products. It will also help Wealthify grow its team to support the firm’s expansion plans.
A consortium which includes Finastra, R3 and seven leading banks are working together to create a platform for the syndicated lending market based on blockchain technology. The group are looking to develop an online marketplace, called Fusion LenderComm, in order to drive transparency and efficiency in the syndicated loan market. Underpinned by Corda, R3’s distributed ledger technology (DLT) based platform, Fusion LenderComm exposes real-time credit agreement, accrual balances, position information and detailed transaction data to lenders, directly from agent bank loan servicing platforms.
Mastercard and PayPal have announced an expansion of their partnership into Canada, Europe, Latin American, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Africa, in an effort to “enhance customer choice and optimise the customer experience”. As part of the deal, Mastercard will be presented as a clear and equal payment option within the PayPal Wallet, making Mastercard and their issuers easily identifiable to the consumer when transacting. Consumers will also see a familiar digital representation of their Mastercard from their chosen issuer. Additionally, consumers will be able to choose Mastercard as their default payment method to allow for quick and easy check-out.
UK digital challenger Starling Bank has announced that it is expanding into the business market with the upcoming launch of business banking accounts. The Starling for Business account will initially be designed for entrepreneurs, sole-traders, and small business owners. The aim is to offer a fast, secure, and flexible way of managing business finance from users’ mobiles. Registration for interested customers is now open ahead of an anticipated live date in early 2018.
OCBC Bank has integrated its business mobile banking app with Apple’s Siri, allowing users to make fund transfers and account balance enquiries by using the voice recognition technology. These features will be available from 9 October 2017 to SME customers using iPhones running on Apple’s iOS 11 mobile operating system. Over 120,000 Singapore-registered users of OCBC Bank’s internet business banking portal stand to benefit from the new service.
Disconnected digital experiences are disappointing customers when it comes to buying financial products, new research has found. The survey by Black Pepper Software indicates that poor online experiences could be costing financial service providers sales opportunities. The figures revealed that half of UK consumers now solely research and buy financial products online and a further 36 per cent like to find out information about financial products and services independently via digital channels.
Four major global banks have joined the initiative, which was launched last year by UBS and IBM, to build a new global trade platform based on blockchain technology. Bank of Montreal (BMO), CaixaBank, Commerzbank and Erste Group have joined the project to develop the new platform, which is called Batavia. Batavia is built to be openly accessed by organisations of all sizes anywhere in the world, and can support trade finance for transactions across all modes of trade, whether goods are being transported by air, land or sea.
Increased automation and regulation in the banking industry is having a negative impact on mid-sized bank – that’s according to a new joint white paper produced by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and SWIFT. The white paper has reviewed the new forces reshaping the international payments landscape, including the emergence of FinTech competition, globalisation of trade, digitalisation of interfaces, client expectations for more transparency, increasing regulatory activism, new technologies like open APIs, and cybersecurity.
Multi-asset trading firm Saxo Bank has received an offer from Nordic financial services group Sampo, to take up a stake of 19.9 per cent of the bank. In May 2017, it was announced that Geely Financials Denmark, a subsidiary of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, had made an offer to buy 30 per cent of the shares of Saxo. Geely Group has offered to buy more shares and will thus become majority shareholder with a total of 51.5 percent.
Technology spending is key when it comes to fixed-income market share growth, a new report suggests. The report, from market intelligence outfit Greenwich Associates, found that the global and regional bond dealers who made the biggest IT investments over the past decade have also achieved the highest levels of market share growth. The top six US government bond dealers have an aggregate annual technology budget of $26 billion. This illustrates the extent to which technology prowess has become the key determinant of success or failure for banks competing in capital markets, says Greenwich Associates.
Equifax has revealed that approximately 2.5 million additional US customers have been potentially impacted by the cyber security breach at the firm. Last month it was revealed that consumer credit reporting agency Equifax had fallen victim to a cyber security incident which potentially impacted 143 million US consumers, as well as around 400,000 UK customers.
Speaking at a Bank of England event in London, Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, outlined her standpoint on the growing use of virtual currencies and artificial intelligence. Lagarde stated that virtual currencies such as Bitcoin currently pose “little or no challenge to the existing order of fiat currencies and central banks”. This is because, according to the IMF chief, they are too volatile and energy intensive and because the underlying technologies are not yet scalable.
ANZ has acquired local startup REALas in order to help bolster its digital offering in Australia’s property market. Launched in 2011, REALas uses an algorithm to predict property prices. The move comes just a week after ANZ became one of four major banks in the country to scrap ATM withdrawal fees for non-customers. Commenting on the acquisition, ANZ managing director of customer experience and digital channels, Peter Dalton, said: “This is an important acquisition for our digital transformation as we know customers are increasingly turning to online resources for help as they navigate the Australian property market.
Zopa has teamed up with Saffron Building Society in an effort to help more consumers get access to “better value, flexible personal loans” and “do more with their money”. The new partnership means that consumers will able to get access to a Zopa loan at any of Saffron Building Society’s 11 branches across Hertfordshire, Essex and Suffolk and via Saffron’s website. Consumers looking for finance who visit a Saffron Building Society branch will be able to access Zopa’s personal loans.
OCBC Bank, HSBC and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), together with the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), has become the first consortium in Southeast Asia to successfully complete a proof of concept (PoC) for a Know Your Customer (KYC) blockchain. The development raises the possibility of using blockchain technology to make one of the most complex and highly-regulated of financial processes more efficient and secured, thereby combating anti-money laundering (AML) and the financing of terrorism (CFT).
Lloyds Bank has opened a state-of-the-art flagship store in Manchester, offering a new banking experience combining face-to-face expertise with new technology. The new store will be open seven days a week and will feature a digital zone that supports those new to internet banking, offering educational support as well as demonstrations. There will also be a new deposit facility, utilising the latest biometric fingerprint technology, and which enables customers to store their valuable possessions in a convenient, safe and secure location.
FinTech startup Curve has partnered with accountancy software firm Xero to launch a new feature that automatically manages users’ expenses. The move, which aims to simplify business spending, means Curve users can spend from all their existing accounts through one card, and Curve will do their expenses for them – by connecting straight through to Xero.
Mastercard has announced the launch of its Early Detection System, a new service that provides banks with an advanced alert for high risk cards and accounts that are exposed in security incidents or data breaches. The new service uses Mastercard network insights, predictive capabilities and a combination of internal and external data sources to determine if a card or account is at risk, and will alert the relevant bank, quantifying the level of risk.
The Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI) has outlined its strategy to improve the security of wholesale payments that involve banks, financial market infrastructures and other financial information. The new document is aimed at focusing industry efforts to tackle the increasing threat of wholesale payments fraud.
As PSD2 nears, two thirds of UK consumers said they will not share their personal financial data with third-party providers, giving banks an advantage, new research has found. Less than six months before the revised Payments Service Directive (PSD2) makes open banking a reality across Europe, research from Accenture found that UK consumers are wary of sharing their financial data with third-party providers, giving banks the opportunity to benefit from the trust they have built with their customers over the years.
Stockpile, a Millennial-focused brokerage has raised $30 million in a Series B funding round led by Fidelity backed Eight Roads Ventures. The latest investment in the fractional stock trading firm brings the total raised by Stockpile to more than $45 million. Mayfield, Arbor Ventures, Hanna Ventures, Wang Ventures, and others also participated in this latest investment.
British consumers continue to favour cash as a means of payment, with 74 per cent believing there will always be a role for cash, new research has revealed. According to a survey carried out by Glory, a cash technology solutions firm, which polled more than 1,500 shoppers in the UK, US and Australia, 86 per cent of consumers are comfortable using cash and 48 per cent still use cash on a daily basis.
Mediterranean Bank, one of the largest financial institutions in Malta, has gone live with a new lending platform from Infosys Finacle. The bank has replaced its existing lending solution with Finacle to provide a more unified, consistent platform for its corporate customers. The Finacle Lending Module will provide the bank with a flexible solution that has the ability to offer various types of loans to meet customer requirements faster and at a lower cost, in an effort to enhance revenues.
Germany’s Deutsche Börse Group has announced a strategic investment in San Francisco-based ‘data wrangling’ outfit Trifacta. Data wrangling is the process of manually converting or mapping data from one raw form into another format that allows for more convenient consumption of the data with the help of semi-automated tools. Deutsche Börse has acquired a minority stake in the firm and the investment will be managed by its corporate venture capital arm, DB1 Ventures.
AccessPay has been awarded €100,000 after being named one of two winners at an industry challenge event hosted by international payments network SWIFT. At the two-day challenge event held in Singapore, AccessPay was one of five startups to share their views on the challenges impacting cross-border payments.
Total losses on card, remote banking and cheque fraud were £366.4 million in H1 2017 – eight per cent lower than H1 2016, new figures from UK Finance show. The data also revealed that the industry prevented over £750 million of fraud during the same period, or 67 per cent of attempted fraud. This compares with £400.4 million of losses and £678.7 million of prevented fraud in the first half of 2016.
Online identification platform Onfido has raised $30 million in a funding round led by Crane Venture Partners and Microsoft Ventures, with participation from existing investors. The London-based firm will use the new funds to expand its international reach, particularly in the US and in Europe, as well as further research and development into its machine learning technology. The company now has a 150-strong team across three continents, serving 1,500 businesses globally.
Ant Financial and CK Hutchison have announced a strategic partnership that will see the two companies offer a consumer-orientated digital wallet in Hong Kong. Under the ‘AlipayHK’ brand, the new mobile wallet aims to further integrate online and offline payments to provide a universal experience for consumers. AlipayHK attracted over 100,000 active users in the first two weeks after its launch last May, with the mobile app now accepted in over 4,000 leading retail brand outlets in Hong Kong.
The UK’s new payment system operator (NPSO) has appointed Paul Horlock as its chief executive officer, who will take up the position on 1 October 2017. Horlock has working in the financial industry for more than 15 years, most recently at Nationwide, where he held a number of positions including head of group service management and director of payments. Prior to that, Horlock worked for eight years at Barclays Bank, with roles including head of global payment processing.
The Italian ministry of economy and finance and the City of Milan have opened a new FinTech district in the city, dedicated to harbouring cutting edge businesses in the financial industry. Milan’s FinTech District will be located at the new Palazzo S32 in Via Filippo Sassetti 32, a development where companies and FinTech startups will also find office space and co-working facilities, with the opportunity to cooperate, attract new investments and drive further growth. This follows similar set-ups in other European cities, such as Level39 in London or Station F in Paris.
SEB, the Nordic financial services group, and Nasdaq have announced a joint project to test a developed prototype for a mutual fund trading platform based on blockchain technology. The aim is to increase efficiency in the processing of purchases and sales of fund units and to create a unit ledger – an area which today is largely characterised by manual routines, long settlement cycles and paper driven processes.
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has claimed reports that it is stepping back from cyber security are incorrect, stating that it is continuing to invest and grow its cyber security capability. The announcement follows reports from national newspaper The Australian that CommBank was exploring options to outsource some cyber security work abroad in a money-saving move.
R3 is working with trade finance technology firm TradeIX and 12 banks to launch an initiative focused on the overhaul of open account trade finance infrastructure. The 12 financial institutions included in the initiative are Bangkok Bank, Barclays, BBVA, Bladex, BNP Paribas, Commerzbank, CTBC Bank, ING, Intesa Sanpaolo, Shinhan Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland and Wells Fargo.
Commerzbank, KFW Banking Group and MEAG, the asset manager of Munich Re and ERGO, have jointly traded a Euro Commercial Paper (ECP) issued by KfW, and simultaneously replicated the transaction in a blockchain. The security was sold to MEAG, and settled without a paying agent or a clearing system. This pilot transaction comprised a €100,000 issuance volume with a five-day term. In parallel to issuance and settlement, key transaction elements were replicated and simulated by means of distributed ledger technology, using the R3 Corda platform.
UK digital challenger bank Monzo has announced that it is testing a new service which allows users to switch energy suppliers. In five minutes and a few clicks, people who receive a recommendation will be able to transfer their energy contracts to a new provider. That could be a supplier recommended by Monzo’s partners or one the bank is working with directly.
Four of Australia’s largest banks have removed ATM withdrawal fees for non-customers, meaning users now will not be charged when taking cash out of thousands of machines across the country. Commonwealth Bank was the first to announce that it would be removing the fees for both its customers and non-customers. Westpac, National Australia Bank and ANZ quickly followed suit.
Almost three quarters (74 per cent) of all UK banks expect to eliminate human interaction from their retail banking services within the next decade, according to new research. The Avanade research found that almost two thirds (63 per cent) of senior IT and digital decision makers from across the UK banking sector recognised that traditional methods of banking are being overtaken by disruptive competition.
More than three quarters of UK businesses are aware of FinTech products and 65 per cent have adopted at least one FinTech application, while a fifth have taken on four. This is according to a new survey from MarketInvoice, which found that these adopters reported saving more than £5,500 annually as a result of using the new products and services. A quarter of respondents have used FinTech solutions for banking transactions and foreign exchange services (16 per cent).
Digital money transfer service Azimo is offering fee-free money transfers to Mexico, following the recent earthquakes that have left millions without basic resources. Since the earthquake first struck, Azimo witnessed a 15 per cent increase in money transfers to Mexico as people seek different routes to fund family and friends in affected areas. Michael Kent, Azimo’s CEO and founder, said: “Direct remittances to the people of Mexico can be a vital lifeline for those whose lives have been devastated by the earthquakes.
Scandinavia’s largest payments processor Nets has received a $5.3 billion takeover bid from US private equity firm Hellman & Friedman. The offer represents a 27 per cent premium to the share price of Nets on 30 June 2017, the day before Nets confirmed it had received takeover approaches. The board of directors has decided to recommend that Nets’ shareholders accept the offer. At the time of announcement, shareholders representing in total 46 per cent of the company's share capital have agreed to accept the offer.
Starling Bank has announced it is to open a £40 million fundraising round to help accelerate its international expansion. The London-based challenger bank has engaged Quayle Munro as their advisers to raise up to £40 million in the first half of 2018. This round of funding will primarily serve to drive Starling Bank’s growth strategy in Europe and further develop its current account product. In June, Starling received its banking passport into Ireland as its first step to bring the product to market in Europe.
China Construction Bank (CCB) Asia and IBM today announced the successful development of the first blockchain-enabled bancassurance project in Hong Kong. Bancassurance is an arrangement whereby a bank and an insurance company form a distribution partnership in which the sales associates of the bank can sell the insurance company’s products to the bank's client base and through the bank’s channels. The arrangement can be hindered by delays in data transmission or incomplete information.
WorldRemit has launched its digital money transfer service in Malaysia, allowing migrants to transfer money to over 140 countries as easily as sending an instant message. This digital, mobile-first model aims to significantly improve security and compliance standards. It also eliminates the need for the sender to visit a bricks and mortar agent, which can often be inconvenient and time consuming.
SWIFT has announced that two FinTech startups will have the opportunity to work with the co-operative and gpi banks over a three-month period to further enhance cross-border payments, leveraging on SWIFT gpi. The two startups will receive up to €100,000 each to further develop their innovative concepts and will participate in Sibos, SWIFT’s annual financial services event to be held in Toronto in October.
Banca Generali and Saxo Bank have signed an exclusive partnership to offer online trading and digital services to customers. The objective is to offer clients, on an exclusive basis for the Italian market, access to an ‘innovative’ platform for advanced trading, based on Saxo Bank’s technology and managed by a newly established SIM owned by Banca Generali and Saxo Bank.
The number of security vulnerabilities detected in the financial services sector has increased by over 418 per cent in the last four years, according to new research. The figures, released by cyber security and risk mitigation firm NCC Group, found that security vulnerabilities detected within the sector has increased dramatically in recent years, rising from an average per organisation of 217 in 2013 to 910 in 2016.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Hong Kong Insurance Authority (IA) have entered into a co-operation agreement in an effort to enhance collaboration in supporting FinTech innovation. Under the agreement, the FCA and the IA will cooperate on information sharing on innovation and referrals of innovative firms seeking to enter the counterpart's market.
Slovenia’s Bankart has signed an agreement with Nets to deploy and operate an instant payments solution for financial institutions in the country to handle both SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT) non-urgent and SCT instant credit transfers. Bankart intends to deliver more than a basic payments infrastructure to the Slovenian banking community by developing and operating new additional services and solutions as well making full use of the scalable and open central infrastructure solution supplied by Nets.
The European Commission has proposed reforms to enable further financial integration and a full Capital Markets Union, to promote jobs, growth and investment in Europe. The proposals include steps to foster the development of FinTech and to ensure that sustainability considerations are systematically taken into account in supervisory practices at the European level.
CivilisedBank, a UK branchless digital challenger bank, has agreed terms for a further round of funding from current investor Warwick Capital Partners. The bank, which uses a network of local bankers, has also appointed Philip Acton as CEO to lead the bank through its build phase towards launch in early 2018. The appointment follows the successful licence application phase under previous CEO Gordon Dow, which culminated in May with the bank being granted Authorisation with Restriction (AWR) by the Bank of England.
Former Barclays chief Antony Jenkins has secured £34 million in a Series A funding round for his 10x Future Technologies company, led by China’s Ping An and management consultancy firm Oliver Wyman. As part of the deal, 10x has also signed a strategic partnership with the two firms for joint business development. The partnerships will enable 10x to further build out its digital platform offering and expand into some of the fastest growing markets, including China and other Asian markets.
SBI Ripple Asia has signed a partnership agreement with DAYLI Intelligence to bring Ripple’s enterprise blockchain solutions for cross-border payments to the South Korean market. DAYLI Intelligence provides blockchain solutions and AI-based technology infrastructure for financial institutions and will work with SBI Ripple Asia to enable instant cross-border payments between customers in Japan and South Korea, as well as other global markets.
ABN Amro has selected trade finance technology from Norwegian software vendor Commercial Banking Applications (CBA) to offer additional functionality to customers, increase efficiency and reduce total cost of ownership. The Dutch bank will be implementing the CBA’s new IBAS customer front-end system for trade finance across its global operations.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has announced that it will provide Swedish payments firm iZettle with €30 million in debt funding over the next three years. The funds are earmarked for research and development of financial and commercial tools that address the needs of smaller companies. iZettle provides services through technology which allows small companies to take payments, to register sales and to get funding.
Bank executives believe that bank branches are here to stay but only with the proper investment into digital transformation, a new report has found. The research, conducted by Synechron and Efma which surveyed decision-making bankers from across the globe, found that 88 per cent believe physical branches add value to customers and will play a role in the future of banking.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published its approach to implementing the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2). PSD2 is an EU Directive which sets requirements for firms that provide payment services, and will affect banks and building societies, payment institutions, e-money institutions and their customers. As well as promoting innovation, PSD2 aims to improve consumer protection, make payments safer and more secure, and drive down the costs of payment services. The new regime will be in force from 13 January 2018.
London-based payments FinTech GoCardless has secured $22.5 million in funding, led by existing investors Accel, Balderton Capital, Notion and Passion. GoCardless has created a new international payments network to help businesses take and settle recurring payments from anywhere and in any currency. Users are currently able to collect payments from the UK, the eurozone countries and Sweden, with Australia, Denmark and others soon to follow.
Australia’s Commonwealth Bank has collaborated with Google to allow its customers to use Android Pay and enable payments on the go with Garmin smartwatches. Android Pay allows customers to make convenient and secure payments on their Android compatible devices. Android Pay is available at almost 800,000 stores across Australia, wherever contactless payments are accepted.
ING-backed money management app Yolt has released a series of new updates today, following the apps launch earlier this year. Yolt lets users view their accounts and credit cards in one place, set budgets and plan for upcoming expenditures. The new upgrade has improved the app’s spending categories and extended them with the most requested ones.
Japanese bank Nomura has announced plans to establish a new office in San Francisco, equipped with $100 million to invest in Silicon Valley tech startups. Serving as a hub for global collaboration between Nomura, Silicon Valley startups and venture capital firms, the new office will explore next-generation businesses and cutting-edge technologies. Nomura said it will leverage these technologies to further enhance its existing businesses and transform the way it operates.
HSBC customers in China can now make peer-to-peer payments with a selfie, as the bank has introduced new facial recognition technology to its mobile app. Customers will be able to add new payees to their account and transfer money easily and securely via their mobile phone and a face scan. Customers simply blink into their camera using the ‘selfie mode’ and their identity is then checked against a photo held on a database. If the pictures match, and the customer enters the correct passcode into their banking app, they can transfer up to $7,600 a day.
Google has introduced a new mobile payments and commerce app to India. Labelled Tez, the new app gives users a simple and secure way to pay for goods or services, online or offline. India now has more than 300 million smartphone users and rapidly improving connectivity, making the internet a daily part of life for many Indians, Google noted. However, cash still remains king in India, with smartphones often going unused when it comes to payments.
Equifax has confirmed that the personal information of around 400,000 UK consumers may have been breached in its recent US cyber attack – which has also now seen the company’s CIO and CSO step down. The Equifax statement said that while UK systems were not affected by the US attack, a file containing UK consumer information may potentially have been accessed. This was due to a process failure, corrected in 2016, which led to a limited amount of UK data being stored in the US between 2011 and 2016.
For the first time since their introduction 50 years ago the number of ATMs in western Europe have seen a decline, with the region ending 2016 with 2,000 fewer terminals than the previous year. This is according to a new study from RBR, which found that the three largest markets in the region – the UK, Germany and France – all saw marginal falls, while the Nordic countries continued to shed ATMs at a high rate. Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland all saw annual reductions of five per cent or more, as consumers increasingly switched to alternative payment methods such as cards and mobile banking apps.
Hong Kong-based digital wallet firm TNG FinTech has completed a $115 million Series A funding round, led by Chinese private equity firm NewMargin Capital. The round values the startup at $565 million, with TNG claiming that the deal is the largest Series A funding round raised by any startup in Hong Kong and any FinTech firm worldwide. A spokesman for the TNG said that the new version of its electronic wallet will be available in Hong Kong at the end of the year.
FinTech startup SETL and four French asset management firms have announced that Iznes, a pan-European fund record-keeping platform based on blockchain technology, will go live in early 2018. The platform provides investors, asset management firms, distributors and wealth management advisers with easy and rapid access to fund units.
HSBC and venture capital fund Ignia have been announced as Startupbootcamp FinTech Mexico’s two new partners. Startupbootcamp FinTech Mexico City is a joint venture between Startupbootcamp and Finnovista and marks the first programme of its kind in Latin America. The involvement of both organisations endorses their commitment to innovate and disrupt financial services across Latin America. HSBC Mexico has joined the programme as a corporate partner and IGNIA as an investment partner for the startups in the programme.
ING-Diba, the banking group’s German arm, is to expand its retail banking offering by including online wealth management, delivered by Scalable Capital. The partnership, which marks the first fully integrated partnership between a major German bank and an online wealth manager, is a pilot project and ING will assess the new service in Germany before it looks to further expand it across Europe.
Monzo has asked its customers to vote on how the challenger bank should charge customers for ATM withdrawals abroad, at the same time as announcing the decision to axe its free foreign money service. Monzo said that it is currently absorbing the high foreign transaction fees itself – costs which have more than doubled in the past year. In June 2016, ATM withdrawals cost Monzo around £6 per active user per year, but by the end of August 2017, ATM withdrawal costs per customer had more than doubled to nearly £16 per year.
Rabobank has partnered with digital performance management company, Dynatrace, in a move which will allow the Dutch bank to monitor the real-time experience of every customer and user for all services. The partnership supports Rabobank's vision to centralise and optimise company-wide application performance monitoring to future-proof customer experience.
Saxo Bank has celebrated its 25th anniversary by announcing that it has joined the Copenhagen FinTech Lab. Saxo Bank joins Copenhagen Fintech Lab to support the Fintech environment in Copenhagen and to provide a platform on which Danish FinTechs can build their international partnerships via the bank’s experience and network of international client relationships. Saxo Bank sees a wide range of new partnerships as the next disruptive factor in the financial industry and expects to see increased collaboration between FinTechs and established institutions.
Advanced technologies such as blockchain, drones and connected devices are now becoming the norm for insurers rather than the exception, new research has revealed. The Capgemini and Efma report shows that a wave of new digital technology is confronting most insurance sectors. Of the more than 8,000 consumers surveyed worldwide, nearly one-third (31 per cent) of customers said they rely on InsurTechs either exclusively or in combination with incumbent relationships to access insurance services.
The UK’s new polymer £10 note has entered circulation today. Featuring new security technology, more than one billion notes are set to be issued by the Bank of England. The new £10 note joins the £5 in the first UK series of polymer banknotes – a move designed to make notes safer, stronger and cleaner. It is expected to last at least 2.5 times longer than the current paper £10 note – around five years – and stay in better condition during day-to-day use.
Blockchain consortium R3, in partnership with the FCA, RBS and another unnamed global bank, has built a prototype application for regulatory reporting of mortgage transactions on its distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform. This collaboration between two major banks and a national regulator demonstrated how DLT’s shared data model can enable continuous regulatory reporting for financial institutions. The application is also able to generate automated delivery receipts for the regulator when a mortgage is booked.