Nordic payments provider Nets has updated its Dankort mobile app with a new functionality which allows iPhone users to make payments from their lock-screen. The new feature is being been piloted by Dansk Supermarket Group’s Netto, Føtex, Bilka and Salling supermarkets, making mobile contactless payments for larger amounts more convenient. Customers can use the app to validate purchases over DKK 200 (£24) simply by using Touch ID.
Santander is launching a new mortgage video service in 63 UK branches, following a successful trial last year. The new service enables customers to apply for a mortgage using a video link from the branch, which connects them remotely to a UK based mortgage adviser. Customers can go online, call, or visit a branch to go through the initial stages of their mortgage application, providing documentation where required. Customers then have the opportunity to receive in branch mortgage advice by video link.
Australian bank ANZ has appointed a former retail e-commerce executive to lead the organisation’s digital transformation strategy. Jennifer Scott – who has previously worked as eBay Europe’s chief operating officer of finance, as a strategist at Virgin Media and vice-president of finance at Expedia – will act as general manager of digital transformation and performance at ANZ, an entirely new position.
The European Central Bank (ECB) has announced plans to develop a new instant payments settlement system, allowing EU citizens and firms to transfer money anywhere in the world within a matter of seconds. The governing council of the ECB will develop the Target Instant Payment Settlement (TIPS) platform, which is scheduled to begin operating in November 2018, and will enable real-time payments and will be available around the clock, 365 days a year.
A number of Tesco Bank customers were unable to access their online banking accounts on Wednesday due to a ‘technical issue’. The incident affected savings, credit card and current account customers only. While customers were unable to access their online banking, they were still able to use their cards as normal for example to make purchases or to withdraw cash from ATM’s.
SWIFT is offering €200,000 to two global FinTech firms who can develop new overlay services that leverage its SWIFT global payments innovation (gpi) platform. The winners will work with banks on collaborative innovation concepts that solve additional industry challenges in cross-border payments on top of SWIFT gpi. The SWIFT gpi initiative, which launched I January this year, engages the global banking industry and aims to solves core problems related to speed, transparency and traceability of payments.
Payments startup Curve has announced its intention to fully launch in the UK this year, and make a consumer version of the product available. Curve has passed 50,000 sign-ups and £50 million in user spending ahead of its full UK launch. The London-based startup has also confirmed that it will close a Series A funding round this summer, and will unveil a ‘Connect’ feature that allows users to manage their money and get a better deal on banking and FinTech services all in one place.
Rabobank has selected Finastra, the new company formed from the merger of Misys and D+H, to centralise its cross-border payments. The Dutch bank is implementing the Finastra global payment hub solution in order to enhance its ability to respond to customer demand and industry developments and “realise improved payments infrastructure and reduced cost of ownership”.
UK digital challenger Atom Bank has secured a £30 million Tier 2 capital facility from the investment arm of the British Business Bank as it looks to boost its small business lending operations. The Tier 2 eligible facility will help support the growth of the bank and its desire to lend to UK corporates and smaller businesses. Atom said its choice to launch an SME proposition as part of its first product suite signalled its intention to be a significant supporter of the UK SME market.
Online card spending is expected to double by 2021, reaching $6 trillion globally, new RBR Research has found. The ‘Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts to 2021’ has revealed that the value of e-commerce card payments made worldwide grew by 26 per cent during 2015 to reach $2.7 trillion, and represented 12 per cent of all card expenditure.
TrueLayer, a UK-based FinTech developer platform that aims to provide easy access to bank APIs, has secured $3 million in series A funding. The funding round was led by Anthemis Group, whose partner, Yann Ranchere, will join TrueLayer’s board. Existing investor Connect Ventures, with partner Pietro Bezza, also participated in the round.
PayPal has announced that its users in the US will soon be able to instantly transfer money to their bank accounts via eligible debit cards linked to their PayPal account. The move is expected to speed up the peer-to-peer (P2P) payments process, with funds being transferred in a matter of minutes rather than days. Currently, more than $7 million is transferred every hour via PayPal’s P2P services, including Venmo and Xoom.
The Startupbootcamp FinTech accelerator has announced the nine FinTech startups chosen to be part of its first programme in Latin America, based in Mexico City. The first cohort of the programme, which is being run in partnership with Finnovista, was selected after a final evaluation over a three-day selection process. The top 17 FinTech startups from the region, chosen from 275 applications, battled it out before being whittled down to the winning nine.
Spanish banking group BBVA and local startup Das-Nano have together formed Veridas, a new technology company specialising in biometrics that will look to develop client identification and authentication systems. Veridas, directed by Eduardo Azanza, who is also co-founder of Das-Nano, will be dedicated to the research and development of software for the digital verification and authentication of personal identity, through facial, voice, image or document recognition, or fingerprint reading.
AimBrain, a London-based startup which uses biometric authentication to tackle FinTech fraud, has announced Series A investment of £4 million, led by BGF Ventures. Financial institutions have been battling rising fraud levels over recent years, in particular mobile and internet banking fraud. The AimBrain platform is a deep-learning service that uses behavioural biometrics to track how a person uses a device, such as their typing speed, touch pressure and even how much their hand shakes as they hold it. Facial and voice recognition biometrics can identify a customer based on what they look like and what they sound like.
Australia’s CommBank has launched its Youth mobile app, which has been designed to help children understand the concept of digital money. A survey from CommBank found that parents believe online transactions make it harder for kids to learn the value of money, but also agree that technology can make it easier to learn how to track savings goals and monitor their spending (42 and 41 per cent respectively). The survey also found that 97 per cent of 5-12 year olds have access to a smartphone, tablet or consumer.
Swedish payments firm Klarna has become Europe’s newest bank after it was granted a full banking licence by Finansinspektionen, the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority. The banking licence is an important step for Klarna, enabling the company to broaden its product portfolio for its 60 million customers and 70,000 merchants. Earlier this year, Klarna announced the acquisition of Wonga’s German online payment subsidiary, BillPay, in a deal valued at around £60 million – subject to approval by the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority in Germany.
Banking institutions in the UK will have to change the sort codes of around one million retail and corporate customers, due to new ‘ring-fencing’ regulation which is to be implemented by 1 January 2019. James Proudman, an executive director at the Bank of England, explained that “ring-fencing is a major infrastructure programme that forms part of a broader strategy of co-ordinated improvements” to the financial sector and that “ring-fencing is seeking to deliver wide-reaching benefits to the public”.
Open Banking regulation will herald a consumer finance revolution, opening up the market to new challenger banks, research from Deloitte suggests. Rapid technology advancements, regulatory changes and consumer demand will result in a dramatic overhaul of traditional banking models in the next decade, according to the business advisory firm.
UBS has announced the launch of its second Future of Finance Challenge, with a prize fund of up to $200,000 for successful FinTech startups. The Future of Finance Challenge is a competition open to FinTech companies around the world, through which UBS looks for innovative and potentially disruptive technological ideas and solutions that will “support the transformation of the banking industry”.
The number of purchases using debit and credit cards has more than doubled in the past 10 years, as contactless payments and online retail have driven a change in the way consumers pay, a new report from The UK Cards Association has shown. Debit and credit cards were used to make 16.4 billion purchases in 2016, up 146 per cent from 6.7 billion in 2006. It means that 518 card payments were made every second last year by cardholders both in the UK and travelling overseas.
Openbank, a subsidiary of Grupo Santander, has become the first full-service digital bank in Spain, offering customers a full suite of products and services through a new mobile app and website. Developed over the past 15 months using some of the latest technologies, the Openbank platform is one of the first banks worldwide to use a cloud-based IT infrastructure – enabling the bank to offer a 100 per cent digital proposition with ‘the most advanced security’.
The introduction of PSD2 and Instant Payments will drive a 37 per cent decline in online card volumes by 2027 – that’s according to new study from Ovum. The research ‘Instant Payments and the post-PSD2 landscape’, commissioned by Icon Solutions, provides insights into how PSD2 will be the catalyst for both the decline in card transactions and the uptake in direct and frictionless payment methods such as Instant Payments in Europe. It also shows how Instant Payments under PSD2 will change the way consumers pay for goods and services.
Following the completion of its FCA sandbox test, Billon Financial now has an unrestricted small e-money registration which operates on distributed ledger solutions. Billon enables micropayments that were previously unprofitable to be executed instantly without traditional intermediaries. Its technology allows corporate clients to manage thousands of loyalty incentive payouts themselves, and provides the ability to gather data on recipients during the transaction, a feat impossible with a one-way bank transfer or with a voucher.
Instant mobile current account provider Monese has launched a Direct Debit service for its customers, bringing its offering closer to that of a traditional High Street bank account. Alongside this, the UK challenger bank has also gained access to Faster Payments, meaning that customers sending funds to accounts outside or within the UK will enjoy an even quicker transfer.
AIG, IBM and Standard Chartered Bank have announced a successful joint pilot of the first multinational ‘smart contract’-based insurance policy using blockchain. The distributed ledger technology (DLT) solution creates a new level of trust and transparency in the underwriting process, enabling AIG and Standard Chartered to execute multinational coverage more efficiently. Coordinating management and placement of multiple insurance policies across multiple countries is highly complex. The pilot solution was built by IBM and is based on Hyperledger Fabric – a blockchain framework and one of the Hyperledger projects hosted by The Linux Foundation.
The US Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra) has announced that it has established a new initiative designed to foster an ongoing dialogue with the securities industry that will help Finra better understand FinTech. The Innovation Outreach Initiative aims to boost Finra’s knowledge of FinTech innovations and their impact on the industry.
European banks could face fines totalling €4.7 billion in the first three years under the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a new report from Consult Hyperion has forecast. The report has been described as ‘conservative’, as it excludes compensation claims, costs associated with lost customers, damaged reputations and senior executive resignations. Financial institutions may experience 384 data breaches with fines as high as €260 million per breach, according to predictions.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has revealed the successful applicants for the second cohort of its regulatory sandbox. The regulatory sandbox allows businesses to test innovative products, services, business models and delivery mechanisms in a live environment while ensuring that consumers are appropriately protected.
Machine intelligence software firm CognitiveScale has announced that it has secured investment from a USAA affiliate, taking its total investment to over $50 million. As part of the new investment, USAA will also implement the CognitiveScale augmented intelligence products for delivering contextual customer engagement and improving advisor productivity. By using CognitiveScale, USAA will be able to provide its more than 12 million members predictive, data-driven banking and insurance services while learning continuously from user interactions and data.
A ‘security incident’ involving a bank’s online services costs the organisation almost £1.4 million on average, according to a new global report by cybersecurity outfit Kaspersky Lab. The report, which looked at cybersecurity threats in the financial sector, found that security incidents cost banks £1,371,000 on average – double the price of recovering from a malware incident, which costs approximately £645,000 on average to resolve.
The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) has launched a regulatory sandbox which will enable startups and FinTech firms to test and experiment their banking ideas and solutions. The creation of the regulatory sandbox provides an opportunity for FinTech businesses around the world to expand and thrive in the Gulf and strengthens Bahrain’s position as a FinTech and financial services hub in the GCC region.
SWIFT has announced the launch of an instant payments messaging solution for the European market, enabling instant payments to be made over the SWIFT network. Expected to be available by November 2018, the solution will provide customers with a single gateway to connect to multiple instant payments systems. It could also support instant payments initiatives elsewhere.
Misys and Canadian-based payments and lending provider D+H have today joined forces to create the world’s third largest FinTech company, which will operate under the name Finastra. The new merged company has approximately 10,000 employees and over 9,000 customers across 130 countries, including 48 of the top 50 banks globally. This follows the $3.6 billion acquisition of D+H by Vista Equity Partners, which already owns Misys.
Monzo has temporarily frozen some customer accounts in order to carry out additional identity verification checks, due to new European money laundering regulations. Monzo explained that its customers are currently on one of three levels of identity verification – standard, full or enhanced. Each of these levels corresponds to different payment and withdrawal limits on your Monzo account, ranging from a maximum held balance of £2,000 to £10,000.
Biometric payments are the future according to more than half of UK consumers, while the inventor of text messaging claims people will soon transact with simple words and gestures, according to research from Nationwide Payments. According to the Nationwide poll, which surveyed 2,000 UK adults, almost six in ten (58 per cent) Brits believe that by 2037 they will be able pay for items in shops using just their thumbprint, and around a quarter (23 per cent) think they will be paying using a microchip implanted in their hand.
WorldRemit has become the first global remittance provider to enable Android Pay, allowing users to send money internationally using their mobile wallet account. Launching the service at MoneyConf this week, WorldRemit will enable Android Pay users to safely and securely send money to more than 112 million money accounts accessible via its network. The integration will make WorldRemit the only remittance provider offering international payments through Android Pay around the globe.
Pan-European payments organisation the Berlin Group has announced the creation of an open, common and harmonised European API standard to enable third party providers (TPPs) to access bank accounts under PSD2. PSD2 requires banks to grant third party providers access to its customers’ online accounts and payment services in a regulated and secure way, and mandates banks or other account-holding payment service providers to facilitate secure access
The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has entered into an agreement with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) to establish a framework for FinTech cooperation. Under the agreement, the SFC and ASIC will cooperate to share information on emerging FinTech trends, developments and related regulatory issues as well as on organisations which promote innovation in financial services.
NatWest has launched a ‘digital centre of excellence’ in Bristol, which will be designing tools to help its commercial and corporate customers across the UK reduce their risk and save time. This will initially include the roll-out later this year of a new online banking solution to more than 100,000 customers, followed by a wider suite of digital capabilities including mobile banking.
FinTech provider Fiserv has announced a “firm offer” to acquire Monitise in a move which is expected to accelerate Fiserv’s digital strategy and its development of a next-generation digital banking platform. The offer to acquire is at 2.90 pence per share and values the entire issued and to be issued ordinary share capital of Monitise at approximately £70 million. The transaction, which is subject to certain conditions including Monitise shareholder approval, is anticipated to close in the third quarter of 2017.
The vast majority of consumers (93 per cent) prefer biometrics over passwords for authenticating payments or other financial services, a new joint study between Mastercard and the University of Oxford has found. This comes as no surprise, according to the research, as using biometrics is more secure and eliminates the hassle of having to recall a password. However, while 92 per cent of banking professionals want to adopt biometric technology, execution has been inconsistent and only 36 per cent of relevant executives feel they have adequate experience to deliver.
Starting this month, more than 86 million US mobile banking customers will be able to send and receive money through Zelle – a new peer-to-peer (P2P) payments network from bank-owned Early Warning Services. Zelle allows for funds to be sent from one bank account to another in minutes, using just a recipient’s email address or phone number. Integrated directly into mobile banking apps, Zelle is set to make digital payments in the US a fast and easy alternative to cash and cheques.
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has launched a working group to “anticipate and accompany the digitalisation of trade finance”. The aim of the group is to identify strategies to overcome the constraints of digitalising trade finance – such as a reliance on paper-based practices, a lack of recognition of the legal status of electronic documents, uncertainty over standards, and a general lack of clear legal and regulatory frameworks.
UAE’s Emirates Islamic bank has announced that it will introduce blockchain technology into its cheques as a fraud prevention measure. Dubbed ‘Cheque Chain’, the bank is reportedly the first Islamic bank in UAE to undertake this initiative, which aims to enhance cheque security. Emirates Islamic will issue new cheque books carrying a unique QR code on every leaf, along with a string of 20 random characters.
Asset and wealth managers are taking a cautious approach to digitisation, but expect partial to full disruption in the industry within the next decade, according to a new report. Findings of the Dassault Systèmes report, which surveyed 450 senior executives, revealed that 54 per cent of asset managers have adopted social media tools, while 56 per cent of wealth managers have adopted new digital platforms. Blockchain was the least implemented of eight digital tools cited.
Global banks are increasingly turning to terminals offering remote video transactions as part of their branch transformation strategies, according to a new report from Retail Banking Research (RBR). The Teller Automation and Branch Transformation 2017 report found that banks are implementing video banking as it helps to keep branch costs down while maintaining a strong relationship with customers. It also allows the bank to reach a larger number of customers, reaching people in areas where opening a branch would be impossible or unprofitable.
BDO Unibank, the largest bank in the Philippines, has extended its partnership with Fiserv to upgrade its core account processing platform and expand its managed services. The new Signature platform is a multi-currency banking solution which offers a scalable environment for bank processing, automated customer relationship management, product design, transaction processing and financial management.
Japan’s Mizuho Bank has announced the launch of its API banking interfaces, designed to enhance the customer experience by providing them with more tailored services and solutions. The switch to API banking comes as a result of a digital transformation initiative among Japanese financial institutions to embrace open APIs for the industry. APIs will enable personal financial management services provided by Mizuho’s business partners to be offered to the bank’s customers, delivering a better digital experience.
Blockchain and cryptography startup Stratumn has announced the closure of a €7 million Series A funding round, led by Nasdaq, Open CNP, Otium Venture and Digital Currency Group. Marking what Stratumn says is the largest investment round to date in the European blockchain and data ecosystem, the money will help to accelerate the firm’s development and expansion into the US market.
Lloyds Bank has signed a £1.3 billion contract with IBM, in a 10-year outsourcing deal that will see 1,900 jobs switched to the computing giant. According to The Register, the bank reportedly told its staff that it has “signed one of the largest cloud transformation deals” within the financial sector, where “most colleagues working in Infrastructure Technology Services supporting these systems and delivering change will transition to IBM, with a number retained in Lloyds Banking Group to manage the relationship, service and governance of IBM”.
Sberbank increased the percentage of merchant transactions it handled by 41 per cent in 2016, moving ahead of Worldpay to become Europe’s largest acquirer with 7.5 billion transactions, according to the latest Nilson Report. Europe’s 40 largest acquirers of Visa, Mastercard and Maestro bank card transactions handled 57.24 billion transactions, valued at $2.524 trillion from 9.4 million active merchant outlets in 2016.
BBVA’s FinTech strategy is enabling it to better anticipate changes in the financial world, according to the Spanish banking group’s executive chairman Francisco Gonzalez. Speaking at the closing of MoneyConf 2017 in Madrid yesterday, Gonzales noted that the group had started its digital transformation journey in 2007. He said that the bank was engaging with the FinTech world through different channels, including its Open Talent competition and Propel (its venture capital fund for startups), as well as its investments in and acquisitions of startups (such as Simple and Madiva).
NatWest has partnered with RocketSpace UK to open a new London campus that will house around 1,500 high-growth startup companies. This will be RocketSpace’s first presence outside of the US, where the firm has worked with more than 1,000 tech startups since it was founded in 2011 – including Uber, Spotify and Blippa. Opened at NatWest’s Regents House in Islington this week, the campus occupies the building’s basement
Companies from the UK continue to dominate the latest FinTech50 list, published by FinTechCity this week, while German, Swiss and Irish FinTechs also performed strongly. A panel of industry experts compiled the list – which includes 24 new businesses – from a pool of 1,500 companies across Europe. Highlighted trends included a rise in artificial intelligence firms, new partnerships between FinTechs and the number of mergers and acquisitions in the sector, as banks acquired market-leading challengers.
Thailand’s Kasikornbank (KBank) has launched a new venture capital fund worth one billion Baht ($30 million), named Beacon VC, in search of financial innovations that align with the bank’s business strategy. KBank’s recent VC financing of Thai startup FollowAccount was reportedly the first such FinTech investment by a Thai bank. KBank said its goal for the remainder of 2017 was to directly invest in three to five more startups, and in two to three VC funds.
Lloyds has been rated as the best UK bank for mobile services for the third year in a row, according to a new industry report, with the FI performing well in all categories. The 2017 UK Mobile Banking Benchmark report from Forrester found that the bank earned full marks in the marketing and sales category, outshone its competitors in cross-channel guidance and solid transactional features, and also scored very highly in the usability stakes.
Dublin-based FinTech firm Plynk has secured €25 million in a Series A funding round led by Swiss Privee, which will support the global roll-out of its mobile money app solution. With the investment, the company has also announced plans to increase the employee headcount from eight to 28 over the course of the next 18 months, as the number of Plynk users has this week surpassed the 6,000 mark.
Consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices to pay bills and complete peer-to-peer (P2P) payments in the US, where the use of mobile wallets is also on the rise. This is according to a new survey of more than 3,000 American consumers by Fiserv, which found that the percentage of consumers using mobile bill pay rose from 22 per cent in 2015 to 28 per cent in 2016. Among mobile banking users, 41 per cent had used the service to pay bills in the 30 days before they were canvassed.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) lender Zopa has become the latest firm to submit its data to the Crowdsurfer analysis platform, deepening insight into the global alternative finance market. Zopa has lent more than £2.3 billion to customers in the UK since launching in 2005. Last week, the firm also outlined plans to secure a banking licence following a £32 million investment round led by Wadhawan Global Capital and Northzone.
Money 20/20 Europe is set to return to Copenhagen at the end of this month, featuring more than 380 industry speakers across 100 conference sessions. Twenty top keynote speakers have also been confirmed, including Carlos Torres Vila, CEO of BBVA, Ashok Vaswani, CEO of Barclays UK, Jonathan Larsen, chief innovation officer at Ping An Group, Jack Dorsey, CEO and founder of Square, and Rita Liu, head of EMEA at Alipay.
UK challenger bank Atom has decided to postpone the launch of its current account service until at least 2018, according to chief executive Mark Mullen. In an interview with the Financial Times he explained that the delay was due to the threat of new regulation that would make the UK personal banking market “too ambiguous and uncertain”.
TPBank has become the first financial institution in Vietnam to introduce video bank branches, which enable customers to complete banking tasks via an integrated video link. The bank has worked with Singapore-based FinTech firm Scale360 to develop the solution, which has opened in 12 ‘LiveBank’ locations, and will be expanding to the rest of the FI’s branches in the coming months.
Apple has announced its move into the peer-to-peer payments space with news that it will be integrating a P2P payments service with Apple Pay. The new money transfer service, which puts the technology giant in direct competition with the likes of PayPal and Venmo, allows users to send payments through iMessage or ask Siri to send someone money using a card stored in their Apple mobile wallet.
US FinTech firm Quisk has implemented the use of blockchain technology to improve data security for merchant settlement, core banking reconciliation, and cross-border remittances for the company’s financial institution customers. Based in Silicon Valley, Quisk is a secure digitised cash payment network for banks and financial institutions around the world. Founded in 2007, the firm now has offices in Dubai and Hyderabad, India.
Nationwide Building Society has signed a deal with FinTech firm Cutover, for the use of its software platform which helps business teams manage the complex processes required to plan and execute critical events. Over the past three months, Nationwide has worked closely with Cutover testing the software to ensure the success and validity of the tool. As the first fully cloud-based software to be used within the Nationwide infrastructure, the new system will now be used when delivering all upgrades to corporate systems.
OCBC Bank has become the first bank in Singapore to launch a holistic HR app for its employees, which features an intuitive AI chatbot to help with any queries. Through the app, employees are able to complete general tasks such as applying for leave, claiming expenses, searching for colleague details and viewing internal job vacancies.
One in five corporates are currently using a non-bank provider for B2B payments, while 22 per cent said that they would be willing to use a FinTech provider’s payment platform for B2B payments in the future. This is according to a new report from Bank of America, Bottomline Technologies and Strategic Treasurer, which noted that “as the importance of payments innovation grows in the corporate environment, more corporates are turning to financial technology providers to meet their payment technology needs”.
Join us for the next FStech evening roundtable, which will look at the growing challenges faced by financial service organisations around their regulatory obligations. Fragmented manual systems can lack meaningful enough data for transparency and reporting, while digitisation, automation, artificial intelligence and predictive capabilities all provide potential solutions – but if incorrectly applied, the cure can be worse than the disease.
Machine learning is already being used by over half of top insurers globally, and is expected to bring “significant” change to the industry over the next three to five years, new research has shown. Over half (54 per cent) of the 200 insurance executives surveyed by analytics firm Earnix said that their organisation was using machine learning for predictive analytical modelling. Of those businesses deploying the technology, 70 per cent were using this form of artificial intelligence for risk modelling, followed by demand models (45 per cent) and fraud detection (36 per cent).
Myanmar’s AYA Bank has signed a deal with Misys to support a transformative project to upgrade its core banking system, digitalise operations and improve efficiency across the organisation. Using the new platform, the bank will be able to consolidate and streamline work processes, as well as digitalise all manual and current non-digital processes to better serve its customers across retail and corporate banking.
Many of the companies working to bring blockchain technology to global financial markets have decided to release the code to their technology as open-source software. This is according to a new report from Greenwich Associates, which revealed broad support for an open-source approach to help accelerate the time to market for blockchain technology.
UK peer-to-peer lender Zopa has closed its latest investment round totalling £32 million, led by Wadhawan Global Capital and Northzone. The additional investment will finance Zopa’s continued growth and product development, and support the build-out of its bank infrastructure in preparation for the submission of its banking licence application later this year.
Money management app Yolt has launched an ‘open beta’ for iOS and Android users in the UK, following the completion of a closed beta that began in October last year. Yolt enables users to view their bank accounts and credit cards in one place, analyse which shops they are spending the most at, set budgets and plan for upcoming debits. Users can search for individual or recurring transactions, giving them a true view of how much money they have until payday.
Google has announced that its Android Pay service is now available for use in Canada, enabling contactless mobile payments with Android-based devices. The mobile service will be available to customers of Alberta Treasury Bank Financial (ATB), BMO Financial Group (BMO), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), Canadian Tire Financial Services (CTFS), President’s Choice Financial (PCF), and National Bank.
Financial institutions may face challenges in getting consumers to trust artificial intelligence when it comes to handling their money, according to a new study from ING. The survey of more than 15,000 consumers in Europe, the US and Australia found that a third of people did not want to use any automated financial activities at all. Furthermore, only two per cent would trust a fully-automated robo-advisor to invest money on their behalf, while only 26 per cent would opt for robo-advice even if they got the final approval on all decisions.
Less than half of financial services firms in the UK have started preparing for the new data protection rules which come into force in a year’s time – despite 12 per cent admitting that the maximum fine for non-compliance would force them out of business and nine per cent saying it would lead to large scale redundancies. According to a YouGov survey of 285 financial services firms commissioned by law firm Irwin Mitchell, only 56 per cent of respondents were aware of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into force on 25 May 2018.
A number of Spanish corporations across several industries, including banks Santander, Sabadell and BBVA, have created a new multi-sector digital identity platform based on distributed ledger technology (DLT). One of the main priorities of the new network, labelled Red Lyra, is to create a digital identity system based on smart contracts. This would make it possible to save and store all of the elements needed to identify people and companies in a secure manner, as well as apply digital signatures legally.
The venture capital arm of National Australia Bank (NAB Ventures) has led a $24 million Series D funding round in Toronto-based cloud FinTech firm Wave. Wave provides cloud-based financial management software including accounting, invoicing and payroll, with integrated financial services such as credit card processing and lending. Over 2.5 million small business owners around the world have used Wave, while more than 60,000 new businesses join the Wave ecosystem every month. The firm also has over 35,000 active users in Australia.
French banking group BNP Paribas is rolling out a number of virtual reality (VR)-based services to its customers, designed to improve and streamline their banking experience. The bank has launched a VR-based app which provides its customers with a variety of features, including account management functions and a view of their bank transaction records.
The Bank of Sydney has opted for technology from Fiserv to provide its consumer and small business customers with enhanced digital banking capabilities. The new end-to-end solution will support all online and mobile applications, infrastructure and services offered by the Australian bank. Additional customer features set to be rolled out include personal financial management tools, online mobile phone top-up capabilities, biometric authentication for payments and balance transfers, actionable push notifications, and ATM and branch location services.
Criminal data breaches will cost businesses a total of $8 trillion globally over the next five years due to higher levels of inadequate security, according to a new report from Juniper Research. The new study, The Future of Cyber Crime & Security, forecasts that the number of personal data records stolen by cyber criminals will reach 2.8 billion in 2017, and will almost double to five billion in 2020 – despite the increase in the number of new cyber security solutions available. Juniper highlighted that businesses are particularly vulnerable when integrating new and old systems without regard to overall network security.
Barclaycard is piloting a new payment concept which allows customers to scan and pay for their in-store shopping using their smartphone, without the need to visit a physical checkout. The new system is currently being trialled in Barclays’ staff restaurants in the UK and the US to gather feedback before a public roll-out in the coming months.
Visa has announced upcoming enhancements to its Verified by Visa service, which aim to make online purchases more secure through ensuring payments are made by the rightful owner of the Visa account. The new upgrade – which supports the latest 3-D Secure 2.0 security platform – will also deliver data to financial institutions and merchants to better authenticate consumers and reduce fraud on transactions made via a mobile or desktop browser, app or connected device.
Technological change and cyber risk have overtaken regulation as the greatest risks faced by the global insurance market, according to a new industry survey. The 2017 Insurance Banana Skins report, conducted by the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation in association with PwC, surveyed 836 insurance practitioners and industry observers across 52 countries, to uncover the main risks faced by the industry over the next two to three years.
Emirates NBD, the largest bank in the United Arab Emirates, has announced the launch of SkyShopper – an online marketplace for its customers. The new platform enables credit and debit card customers to shop and pay for purchases, ranging from flights and hotels to entertainment and groceries from different retailers – using one consolidated checkout.
ArchOver, a new peer-to-peer (P2P) business lending platform, has secured full authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Since launching in September 2014, ArchOver has facilitated over £35 million of investment over its platform, operating under interim permissions granted by the FCA. Full authorisation will support ArchOver in attracting new lenders to the platform and allow it to continue working with businesses to make access to funding ‘as easy and simple as possible’.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has published a report which outlines a new strategy to help Australia become a world leader in regulatory technology. The RegTech Association and FinTech Australia welcomed the release of the report entitled “ASIC’s Innovation Hub and our approach to regulatory technology”. The report outlines a series of initiatives that ASIC will undertake to encourage regulatory technology innovation.
CHAPS Clearing Company, the UK’s same day high value payment system, has welcomed ClearBank as a shareholder and direct participant with immediate effect. Launched in February, ClearBank provides open access to payment, current account and transactional clearing services. Financial services organisations, from banks and building societies through to new challenger banks and FinTechs, will be able to process payments and offer new competitive transactional banking services.
Bank of Canada has found that using blockchain technology in wholesale interbank payments systems will not meet all of the core principles for financial market infrastructure, following a year-long project with the R3 consortium. Operated by Payments Canada and overseen by the Bank of Canada, the wholesale payment system is used to transfer large and time-critical funds. On average, more than $175 billion a day is cleared in Canada alone.
Worldpay has developed a proof of concept (PoC) for a new way to complete payments by allowing consumers to tap a virtual card on a virtual machine as they normally would with contactless payments – but in a VR environment. Developed with production company INITION, the prototype uses Host Card Emulation technology to virtualise the purchasing process. For payments under £30, the prototype works in the same way a contactless payment does – with a tap of the virtual card across a virtual card machine.
US FinTech firm FIS has announced that it will sell a majority ownership stake in its consultancy arm, Capco, to private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) for $477 million. Under the agreement, CD&R will acquire 60 per cent of Capco, with FIS retaining the remaining 40 per cent. Capco will also become an independent company as a result of the sale.
Rapid growth in the use of contactless cards means cash will, for the very first time, be overtaken as Britain’s most frequently used payment method by the end of 2018, according to a new Payments UK report. Analysis carried out for the UK Payment Markets 2017 report forecasts that debit cards will become the most frequently used payment method in late 2018, three years earlier than previously predicted due in large part to the increasing popularity of contactless.
Twenty years after Nationwide launched the UK’s first internet bank, new research shows that most Brits say online banking has made them more financially aware. However, despite the mass adoption of digital banking, one in 10 people have not yet made the switch to go online with their finances. The Nationwide Current Account survey of 2,000 adults revealed that more than two thirds (69 per cent) believe that using internet banking allows them to keep on top of their finances, with four in 10 (40 per cent) saying they are better at budgeting due to being able to bank at home or on the move.
The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has announced that it will now allow FinTech firms to apply for a temporary licence, giving them the opportunity to test new innovative FinTech products and services. This initiative signals the next phase of the DFSA’s regulatory roadmap which aims to foster greater innovation in Dubai.
Twice as many people would trust a robot to perform heart surgery than open a bank savings account for them, new HSBC research has revealed. The HSBC ‘Trust in Technology’ report shows that technologies such as fingerprint recognition, voice recognition and robo-advice hold enormous potential for uses from bank security to mobile payments and investment advice, yet millions of people who could benefit do not trust them because they do not understand them well enough.
Spanish banking group BBVA is kickstarting the launch of its Open Banking program by making eight of its APIs commercially available for the first time. The launch of the BBVA API Market comes after the bank spent more than a year working with developers and businesses to optimise the way the open API service would be delivered.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has signed a memorandum of cooperation with IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, to boost FinTech innovation and development in Asia. As part of the agreement, the two will work together to establish and develop the ASEAN Financial Innovation Network (AFIN). The network aims to facilitate broader adoption of FinTech innovation and development, and enhance economic integration within the ASEAN region.
CivilisedBank, a new branchless digital bank which uses a community-based local banker network, today announced that it has received its UK banking licence. The licence from the Bank of England paves the way for CivilisedBank to build its infrastructure, with the firm looking launch to customers in early 2018. Focused on the UK SME market and funded by retail savings, CivilisedBank will serve businesses through savings and loans, transaction banking, overdrafts, current accounts with deposits and foreign exchange.
R3 has completed the first two of three tranches in its Series A fundraising round, securing $107 million from over 40 organisations in what has been billed as the world’s largest distributed ledger technology (DLT) investment to date. R3 is the largest consortium of global financial institutions collaborating to develop a platform and commercial applications for DLT.
JPMorgan has announced it will add technology from the developers of the Zcash digital currency to its enterprise blockchain platform, Quorum. The security technology will extend Quorum’s existing privacy protections to add cryptographically assured, private settlement of digitised assets on a distributed ledger, without a central intermediary.
Pan-European stock exchange Euronext has announced the acquisition of 90 per cent of electronic trading firm FastMatch for an initial cash consideration of $153 million. The acquisition, which is subject to regulatory and anti-trust approvals, and is expected to occur in Q3 2017, forms part of Euronext’s strategy to accelerate growth and diversification of its revenue base.
UK payment card spending in March 2017 was £57.8 billion, up £335 million (0.6 per cent) on February, with contactless payments now representing almost a third of all card purchases, the latest figures from The UK Cards Association show. Contactless payments amounted to 32 per cent of card purchases, an increase of 15 per cent from the previous year, with total contactless spending in March coming in at £4 billion.
The European mobile payments market is expected to triple to €148 billion over the next five years, according to a new study. Forrester’s Mobile Payments Forecast, 2016 to 2021 report attributes the predicted growth to increasing consumer awareness and growing retailer interest in mobile payments. Of the three types of mobile payments (mobile in-person payments, mobile remote payments, and peer-to-peer (P2P) payments), mobile in-person payments are predicted to grow the fastest, increasing almost fivefold between 2016 and 2021, from €4.6 billion to €22.8 billion.
Citi and Nasdaq have unveiled a new integrated payment solution which enables straight through payment processing and automates reconciliation by using a distributed ledger to record and transmit payment instructions. A number of payment transactions have been concluded including Citi’s automated processing of cross-border payments via a link between the CitiConnect for Blockchain connectivity platform and the Linq Platform powered by the Nasdaq Financial Framework.
The Euro Banking Association (EBA) has released a paper analysing the use of cryptotechnologies in international payments. The EBA analysis explores the opportunities that distributed ledger technology holds for payment service providers in terms of lowering operating costs, modernising the international payments value chain and maintaining compliance with key regulatory requirements in markets around the world.
Tandem has officially changed its registered name from Tandem Bank Ltd to Tandem Money Ltd and will operate as Tandem, following the challenger bank’s decision to remove savings accounts from its offering. The news comes two months after the startup missed a deadline for obtaining its banking licence when an investor was forced to cancel a £29 million investment in the bank.
Apple has removed the £30 limit on Apple Pay transactions in the UK, with more than half of all contactless payment terminals now able to accept Apple Pay transactions of any value. Jennifer Bailey, vice president of internet services at Apple Pay, told The Telegraph that the new upgrades applied to hundreds of thousands of terminals, allowing users to shop in many locations without having to take their wallet with them.
A third of C-Suite executives, including those working in the financial sector, are either using or considering using blockchain technology in their business, according to a new IBM study. The research, which surveyed 3,000 executives across a range of industries including financial services, also found that eight in 10 of those exploring blockchain are investing either in response to financial shifts in their industry or for the opportunity to develop entirely new business models.
MortgageGym, a digital mortgage robo-advisory firm, has secured £2 million in seed funding ahead of its official launch this summer. The FCA-authorised service will allow homebuyers to complete their mortgage application online in 15 minutes through a free advice website offering mortgage eligibility matching within 60 seconds, regulated robo-advice and access to live advisors.
Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the international financial centre in Abu Dhabi, has joined R3 as a new member of its international consortium – marking the first regulatory body in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to join the network. As a member, the ADGM FinTech team will have access to latest news and developments on blockchain technology, facilitate dialogues, share best practices, collaborate with leading industry institutions and regulatory bodies on next-generation platforms and technologies that will improve efficiency and enhance risk management in the capital markets.
PayPal has extended its partnership with Google to enable Android Pay users to pay for goods online using their PayPal account and their fingerprint – without needing to enter their username or password. The new partnership aims to speed the checkout from Android phones by using Android Pay to authenticate users where PayPal is accepted. Similar to PayPal’s deployment of One Touch, merchants on the latest versions of PayPal Checkout will not need to do any integration to take advantage of these new capabilities.
Chile’s Santiago Stock Exchange has teamed up with IBM to introduce blockchain technology to its short selling system for securities lending. Blockchain works as an immutable ledger that records transactions, allowing secure information exchange. Built by IBM and Chile’s Santiago Stock Exchange, the solution is designed to help reduce errors, possible fraud, and processing time for each transaction, while also improving transaction management and lowering costs.
Paytm has received the final approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to launch its new payments bank, with Renu Satti set to head up the operation as CEO. The payments firm said in January that it received the final approvals from the RBI and was planning to start the new bank in one or two months, but the launch was delayed. All active Paytm wallet accounts on the payments app will be transferred to the newly incorporated bank.
BBC reporter Dan Simmons was able to access the HSBC account of his non-identical twin brother, by impersonating his voice to get through the voice recognition security system. HSBC claimed that the security system was secure as every person has a unique voice, however the bank has since told the BBC that it would be reviewing the ID system in an attempt to make the voice recognition more sensitive following Simmons’ investigation.
Wirecard has announced the launch of its mobile payment solution, boon, in Italy – following an initial roll-out to the UK market in May last year. The fully digitised mobile solution is based on an automatic app-to-wallet integration via a prepaid account with a digital Mastercard. This allows users to top-up their account via wire transfer, debit or credit card. The solution works at any NFC-enabled terminal where the Mastercard contactless logo appears.
The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has approved the creation of LabCFTC, a new initiative aimed at promoting responsible FinTech innovation. The initiative is designed to improve the quality, resiliency, and competitiveness of the markets the CFTC oversees. Located in New York LabCFTC will also look to accelerate CFTC engagement with FinTech and RegTech solutions that may enable the CFTC to carry out its mission responsibilities more effectively and efficiently.
Zurich-based additiv, the company behind Natwest Invest, has secured funding worth 21 million Swiss francs (£15.6 million), in an investment round led by BZ Bank and Patinex. The firm, a provider of digitalisation solutions to the financial services industry, has helped launch Natwest’s new robo-advice offering for the UK savings and investments market.
The global card purchase volume for goods and services grew by 5.8 per cent to $20.606 trillion in 2016, according to a new analysis by The Nilson Report. UnionPay debit cards were the most popular payment product based on purchase volume, followed by Visa credit cards, Visa debit cards, UnionPay credit cards, Mastercard credit cards, Mastercard debit cards, American Express cards, JCB cards, and Diners Club/Discover cards.
OakNorth Bank, Santander InnoVentures, VocaLink, Circle Pay, Plum, ClearScore and Misys were among the companies who took home a coveted trophy at the inaugural National Technology Awards last night. Recognising the pioneers of technology across all sectors over the last 12 months, these awards were hotly contested, with the winners revealed at a prestigious gala dinner and awards ceremony at the Millennium Hotel in London’s Mayfair hosted by comedian Holly Walsh.
Mobile payments startup LevelUp has announced the closure of a $50 million financing round, led by JPMorgan Chase, US Boston and CentroCredit Bank. The new funding will help to accelerate the growth that the business has seen over the past few years. In addition to creating the LevelUp app and platform, the firm now power custom mobile solutions for over 200 US national restaurant brands, including sweetgreen, Steak ‘n Shake, Tropical Smoothie Café and Potbelly Sandwich Shop. LevelUp provides restaurants with the tools to provide a more personalised experience, while streamlining the payment experience.
Swiss ATM processor SIX and Credit Suisse have completed the pilot phase of ‘ATMfutura’ – new centralised multivendor software for ATMs, which will go live on all cash machines in Switzerland from 2018. There are currently over 20 individual solutions in use in the Swiss market from four different manufacturers. A common standard increases reliability and saves costs in a field in which it is no longer possible for the banks to differentiate themselves.
Symphony Communication Services, a cloud-based messaging platform used by FS firms, has raised $63 million in a new funding round led by BNP Paribas. The new capital will help Symphony accelerate global adoption, propel platform innovation and expand into new markets.
The European Banking Federation (EBF) has urged the European Commission (EC) not to dismiss a key recommendation by the European Banking Authority (EBA) on future electronic payments and has called on the organisation to ban ‘screen scraping’. The EBF fears that the privacy of client data, cyber security and innovation are put at risk if the Commission does not fully endorse the EBA standards.
WorldRemit has partnered with JMMB Money Transfer to offer bank transfers to Jamaica, enabling a digital remittance service for Jamaicans living in the US, Canada and the UK. WorldRemit customers can now send money quickly and conveniently to all bank accounts in Jamaica via JMMB Money Transfer, using the WorldRemit app or website. Funds can be accessed on the same day for transactions completed by 3pm and within 24 hours for all other transactions.
Almost a third (30 per cent) of UK consumers would use Amazon, Google, Facebook or Apple for banking services rather than a standard bank, new report has revealed. The MuleSoft research found that this this figure jumped to 45 per cent for 18-34 year olds, indicating they are the happiest to embrace this potential new wave of banking providers.
Samsung Pay has finally launched in the UK, enabling Samsung mobile users to make secure payments at contactless point of sale terminals. When a consumer loads their card into Samsung Pay, the app uses Visa tokenisation to replace the consumer's account information with a token, which is specific to that card and device. Payments are made using the token so that the card information is never exposed, adding another layer of safety to digital payments.
SWIFT has announced the launch of its Information Sharing and Analysis Centre (ISAC), in a move designed to facilitate greater cyber security threat intelligence. The ISAC portal stores all the information that SWIFT has been sharing with the community through its knowledge base on swift.com. The information will now be available on ISAC in an easily readable and searchable format, aligned with standardised templates.
The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) has established a FinTech committee, aimed at strengthening the planning and coordination of financial and scientific research work in the country. The committee will organise an in-depth study on the impact of financial and technological development on monetary policy, financial markets, stability, and payment and settlement. The committee will also be responsible for the strategic planning and policy guidance for China’s financial and technological development.
One of the graduates from the Startupbootcamp InsurTech accelerator, CBien, has raised $8 million in a second fundraising round. The French digital asset management platform raised the funds from existing shareholders MAIF, MACIF and 5M Ventures.
Rabobank and Signicat have partnered to roll out Digital Identity Service Provider (DISP) in the Netherlands, which provides a range of digital services to local businesses. The DISP offers a range of online login, identity, signature and archiving solutions under the banner of Rabo eBusiness. It aims to provide convenience for a range of businesses, including insurance, energy and leasing companies as well as other financial services providers.
Australia’s UBank has launched RoboChat, the country’s first virtual assistant designed to help potential home buyers and refinancers complete their online home loan applications. By providing real-time input on questions like “what term do you offer on home loans?” and “do you offer redraws and how do they work?” RoboChat’s goal is to help reduce the time needed for customers to complete the form by offering on-the-spot help.
The global value of contactless transactions made via payment cards, mobile and wearables, will reach $1.3 trillion by 2019 – more than doubling from an estimated $590 billion in 2017, Juniper Research has predicted. According to Juniper’s Contactless Payments: NFC Handsets, Wearables & Payment Cards 2017-2021 report, contactless card levels will continue to dominate transaction values, accounting for 80 per cent of total contactless transactions in 2019. The research also forecasts that contactless transactions via debit/credit cards will exceed $2 trillion globally by 2021.
Digital challenger bank Monzo has announced that it will not be spending much time on its public API this year, as it focuses on the launch of its current account service. The existing API will remain available to developers, but the bank will not be expanding the scope of the APIs or allow developers to publish their applications. According to Monzo, there are over 2,000 people connected through the developers’ Slack channel, while almost 100 personal projects are also integrated with the API.
Wealthsimple, a Toronto-based technology-driven investment manager, has raised up to $30 million as part of a partnership with Power Financial Corporation. Under the agreement, Power Financial will, subject to regulatory approval, invest $10 million, and can invest up to $20 million into Wealthsimple over the next 12 months, with the option to make further investments over the next three years.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has entered into a co-operation agreement with the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) in Hong Kong to foster collaboration in support of FinTech innovation. Under the agreement, the FCA and SFC will co-operate on information sharing and referrals of innovative firms seeking to enter one another’s markets.
American Express customers can now use Amazon’s Alexa to check their account balance, review recent charges and make payments all via voice commands. The firm has launched Amex skill, which brings select experiences of AmericanExpress.com and the Amex mobile app to Alexa, Amazon’s voice service, within devices like Amazon Echo and Echo Dot.
Citi has become the latest bank to join a Series A funding round for distributed ledger technology (DLT) provider Axoni, bringing the total money raised to over $20 million. Citi joins other Series A investors including Wells Fargo, NEX Group, J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Thomson Reuters, F-Prime Capital, Andreessen Horowitz and DCG.
Person-to-person (P2P) payments are becoming the new ‘social norm’ according to new Bank of America research. The Trends in Consumer Mobility report, which surveyed more than 1,000 consumers in the US, found that 36 per cent of adults currently use a P2P service, with Millennials leading the charge at nearly double that rate (62 per cent). What’s more, 45 per cent of non-users said they plan to start using the service within the next year.
Identity fraud in the UK has hit the highest levels ever recorded with almost 173,000 cases reported in 2016, according to new research. The Fraudscape report from CIFAS found that there were a total of 324,683 frauds recorded in 2016, an increase of 1.2 per cent year-on-year. Identity fraud now accounts for 53 per cent of that, with more than 96 per cent of those cases involving the abuse of an innocent victim’s identity, rather than a fictitious identity.
KPMG International has completed the acquisition of Matchi, a platform that connects financial institutions with carefully vetted FinTech firms worldwide. Some $71 billion was invested in FinTechs between 2015 and 2016, KPMG noted, with the introduction of Open Banking and PSD2 further encouraging the partnership between financial institutions and FinTech companies. KPMG and Matchi have worked together since 2015, and the acquisition is anticipating the increase of client demand for FinTech alliances, the professional services firm added.
Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest will be rolling out a new automated lending process for commercial real estate investors, providing them with a credit-approved decision in as little as 45 minutes. The automated model is set to be introduced later this month, following a successful pilot of the programme in Liverpool and London. The new process will cover all new applications for customers who want to borrow up to £2 million for commercial and residential investment, or residential development.
Alipay is set to make its mark in the North American market after announcing a partnership with First Data that will see its mobile payment service accepted at four million US businesses. The roll-out follows the completion of a successful pilot between the two firms at the end of 2016, when the two companies trialled Alipay in selected high-end and speciality retail locations in California and New York.
Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has outlined a range of proposals to reduce and mitigate hacking risks associated with internet trading. A two-month consultation of the proposals will now begin. The proposals incorporate new guidelines which set out baseline cybersecurity requirements for internet brokers to address hacking risks and vulnerabilities and to clarify expected standards of cybersecurity controls.
German online lender Kreditech has closed a €110 million investment from online payments service provider PayU, marking the largest ever equity investment in a German FinTech company. As part of the deal, Kreditech and PayU have agreed a global partnership to deliver a joint proposition for point of sale finance.
South Africa’s Mercantile Bank has signed a partnership with TCS BaNCS Digital to transform its banking operations into a “digitally immersive experience”. The new solution boasts a hybrid architecture and responsive web design that allows Mercantile Bank to deliver channel agnostic business banking, with an interactive experience across multiple devices. The solution’s scalability ensures that large volumes of transactions are managed by the bank with ease.
French banking group BNP Paribas has chosen Station F, the world’s largest startup campus located in Paris, as its destination to host this year’s startup accelerator programme in conjunction with Plug and Play. In addition to the range of services provided by the accelerator programme – personal hand-holding, coaching, business contacts and fundraising opportunities – selected startups will also be able to take advantage of the ‘dynamic ecosystem’ offered by Station F. They will join some 1,000 other startups expected to be accommodated on the campus in the longer term.
ING is accelerating its digital banking strategy by fully digitising its current account opening process for the bank’s German customers. Customers simply fill in their personal details online and accept the terms and conditions – which means paper and signatures are no longer required. Customers will then receive a confirmation that their application is being processed, including the new IBAN. Customers finally authenticate themselves via an online video chat before activating their account.
Chatbots are a ‘game changer’ for the customer service industry, with the healthcare and banking sectors set to benefit the most over the next five years, according to a new study from Juniper Research. The new research, Chatbots: Retail, eCommerce, Banking & Healthcare 2017-2022, forecasts that chatbots will be responsible for cost savings of over $8 billion per annum by 2022, up from $20 million this year.
The findings of a global industry sandbox consultation have been published, emphasising that a successful sandbox must be “accessible to all key players, from startups to big banks”. The consultation, which was chaired by Innovate Finanace on invitation from the FCA, brought together over 200 representatives from financial institutions, large technology firms, data vendors and startups to identify where and how an industry sandbox can add value.
Today’s Australian budget for 2017/18 has been welcomed by the country’s FinTech body, after plans were announced to reduce barriers for banking licences, expand the regulatory sandbox and introduce digital currency tax cuts. Treasurer Scott Morrison used the budget to deliver a new statement about how he will create competition and accountability in Australia’s banking system.
The Bank of England has today set out its blueprint for a renewed Real-Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system. The current system is used by credit institutions, such as High Street banks and building societies, to make safe and immediate, high-value monetary transactions. The new blueprint aims to deliver a service that provides a resilient, flexible and innovative sterling payment system for the UK.
Deutsche Bank has partnered with a host of German and European firms to spearhead a new initiative that is designed to establish a pan-industry platform for online registration, e-identity and data services. The joint venture, which aims to make online registration simpler and more secure for clients, was set up by Allianz, Axel Springer and Daimler with Deutsche Bank and Postbank, as well as with technology think-tank Core, and Here Technologies, a location services provider.
Some 60 per cent of UK consumers believe that fewer than three security steps – including passwords, card readers or letters from a memorable word – are insufficient to assure their bank account is secure, according to a new survey. The research from Equifax, which surveyed more than 2,000 consumers, found that a fifth of respondents have previously had either their social media or email account hacked. In response to being hacked, 80 per cent changed their password, while 20 per cent chose to completely close the account.
The number of mobile payments authenticated by biometrics will rise to almost two billion this year, up from just over 600 million in 2016. This is according to a new study from Juniper Research, which found that while Apple Pay has been providing the catalyst for initial growth, other leading wallets including Android Pay and Samsung Pay are increasingly offering biometric solutions for authentication.
In a first for a UK High Street bank, Barclays’ customers will now be able to instantly turn remote spending ‘on and off’ on their debit card through their mobile banking app, as part of new efforts to reduce the threat of fraud. The move has been announced alongside a wider £10 million campaign by Barclays to increase the public’s awareness of financial fraud risks and help them stay vigilant in the digital age with relevant information, tools and tips.
Poland’s Idea Bank is launching new ‘Idea Hub’ carriages on selected PKP Intercity trains, designed to allow passengers complete work tasks on the available equipment. The space will facilitate work for passengers traveling on the Warsaw-Poznan-Warsaw, Warsaw-Krakow-Warsaw and Warsaw-Wrocław-Warsaw routes. Selected PKP Intercity trains linking the cities will have a special Idea Hub Express car attached. The car, which has been adopted for office work, features a table, comfortable chairs and a screen for presentations.
Some 24 per cent of banks worldwide struggle with the identification of their customers when delivering digital and online banking services, according to a new survey from Kaspersky Lab. The online security firm recommends that verifying a user’s identity should be taking centre stage in the cyber security strategies of financial institutions, as 59 per cent of banks anticipate growing financial losses due to fraud over the next three years.
Middle East and Africa is the world’s fastest growing payment cards region, according to new research from RBR. The firm’s Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts to 2021 report found that the number of cards in issue in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) increased by 13 per cent to 611 million in 2015, making it the world’s fastest growing region.
China’s Ping An Insurance Group has announced the launch of a $1 billion global FinTech fund. The firm has appointed Jonathan Larsen as its chief innovation office and CEO of the new $1 billion Global Voyager Fund. Larsen is a Citigroup veteran, most recently acting as the group’s global head of retail banking.
The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) has published a report setting out a recommended delivery plan for the consolidation of the operators of three payment systems: Bacs Payment Schemes, Cheque and Credit Clearing Company (C&CCC) and the Faster Payments scheme. The consolidation of the three systems aims to further develop the capability and capacity of the operators by bringing them within a single organisation and reduce the complexity and costs of having three separate retail payment system operators.
Following 15 weeks of development, mentoring and networking, eight of the 11 companies to take part in the Barclays accelerator programme have secured more formal engagements with the bank. The 11 companies revealed their propositions today at the newly opened Rise London in Shoreditch, in front of an audience of 250 industry leaders, venture capitalists, senior executives and corporate partners. Some of the companies are:
UK banking websites are being targeted by phishing scammers who are constructing domains with similar names to trick customers into entering their personal login details. DomainTools Research has monitored the top UK-based banks for high risk domains, which are closely connected to other domains that have already been blacklisted for spam, malware or phishing. In total, there were 324 domains identified as high risk that spoofed banks’ brand names.
BNP Paribas has become the first European bank to sign a partnership with Snap Inc, the parent company of Snapchat. The bank hopes that the new collaboration will strengthen its relationship with Millennials, with the international communication platform registering more than 53 million daily active users across Europe in December 2016.
The majority of UK adults would prefer to do their banking online than in a physical branch, however less than a quarter currently trust the information they receive online from banks, a new survey has found. The study from Lithium Technologies which surveyed 2,000 UK adults revealed that 62 per cent would rather bank online than in a branch. But it also showed that just 23 per cent do not trust information online from banks, with in-person banking remaining the most trusted source of information for 58 percent of UK adults.
The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has teamed up with cloud mobile provider LivePerson to roll out a new ‘hybrid bot’ where humans and bots team up in one conversation. The new service, which is currently live for RBS customers, is unlike many other typical bots which work in isolation from other channels. The hybrid bot instead gives users a single place to get help, RBS Assist.
Triodos, a European bank which focuses on ‘sustainable lending’ through organisations such as charities and community schemes, has opened registrations for its first ever UK personal current account. The bank says it is launching the account in response to growing consumer demand for banking products that demonstrate a positive impact on society. Managing director at the bank, Bevis Watts, explained: “Our new personal current account brings an inspiring new option to the UK current account market, which we believe is dysfunctional and is obviously dominated by a small number of large banks.
The Singapore government, including the country’s central bank – the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) – have begun a pilot with four banks that allows citizens to apply for a new bank account without needing to submit supporting documentation. The Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO) and Government Technology Agency (GovTech), in collaboration with MAS, have begun the trial which aims to explore simplifying online banking transactions with the use of the Government’s MyInfo service.
LINK has announced the launch of its free ATM locator app, which allows users to see the location of all 70,000 LINK ATMs in the UK. The new app was developed with the support of Thomas Pocklington Trust – a national sight loss charity which aims to increase awareness and understanding of the needs of people with sight loss.
Mastercard has officially announced the completion of its £700 million acquisition of VocaLink after being granted regulatory approval by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) last month. Vocalink’s key bank account-based technology will allow Mastercard to expand beyond card-based payments to drive the major types of electronic payment transactions.
Barclays has opened Europe’s largest FinTech site, Rise London, which will house more than 40 FinTech companies in the trendy Shoreditch area of the capital. Rise London, the largest co-working space dedicated to financial technologies, aims to bring together from across the world a community of FinTech startups, along with Barclays’ corporate clients and other experts.
Australian cross-border payments outfit Airwallex has raised $13 million in a Series A funding round which is expected to boost the firm’s international expansion. Mastercard, Sequoia Capital China and Chinese internet company Tencent Holdings all participated in the round. Airwallex was the first Australian startup to join the Mastercard Start Path accelerator programme in September 2016.
WorldRemit has partnered with Millicom’s subsidiaries Tigo Money to open up new remittance routes to El Salvador and Guatemala, enabling Salvadorans and Guatemalans abroad to send money transfers instantly to more than one and a half million Tigo Money users in those countries. WorldRemit users abroad will now be able to make secure, instant money transfers back home from their mobile phone to any Tigo Money user in El Salvador and Guatemala.
P2P (person to person) money transfers will see the largest year-on-year increase in value in 2017, as the overall digital payments market approaches $3.9 trillion in 2017, according to Juniper Research. The new research – Digital Payment Strategies: Online, Mobile & Contactless 2017-2021 – found that online retail sales in the US in 2016 were around four per cent ahead of previous forecasts, thanks to an increased emphasis from bricks-and-mortar retailers in developing a converged online/offline approach.
Emirates NBD has announced the launch of ‘Cheque Chain,’ an initiative that aims to integrate blockchain technology into cheques to strengthen their authenticity and minimise potential fraud. Emirates NBD plans to introduce the Cheque Chain initiative to its employees during the pilot phase, ahead of a customer roll out later this year.
More than two thirds of senior banking executives see their bank as a technical leader despite many of them having outdated legacy systems, new research suggests. The Monitise FINkit survey, which was carried out by LM Research and includes responses from 15 major UK banks and other financial institutions, also revealed that despite continuing rhetoric around the ‘problem with legacy systems’, only one-fifth of respondents named outdated or failing technology as a key business challenge keeping them awake at night.
Total UK card spending in February 2017 was £57.2 billion, an increase of £300 million on January, and up from £52.2 billion in February 2016, the latest UK Cards Association figures show. The number of card purchases increased to 1.3 billion in February, up by 14 million on the previous month and up 11 per cent annually.
Mastercard has announced the appointment of Ed McLaughlin as the firm’s new president of operations and technology. McLaughlin will take over from current incumbent Rob Reeg on 1 May. Reeg will move to a consulting role reporting to the firm’s CEO Ajay Banga, and will help to ensure a smooth transition through October 1, 2017.
Customer satisfaction is significantly higher among those who have visited a bank branch within the past 12 months when compared to those who have only used digital channels, a new report has found. The JD Power research also found that among Millennials, satisfaction is highest when bank customers use both branch and digital banking channels.
UBS, the world’s largest wealth manager, has selected Microsoft Azure cloud technology to power its digital transformation. The partnership aims to reduce UBS’ dependency on legacy technology and find new ways for the firm to leverage digital channels. UBS is currently using Azure to power its risk-management platform, technology that requires significant computing power, to run millions of calculations daily on demand. The result – speeding calculation time by 100 percent and saving 40 percent in infrastructure costs – means the firm can have more working capital on hand and employees can make quicker, more informed decisions for their clients.
The financial services industry was attacked by cyber criminals more than any other sector globally in 2016, according to new figures from IBM Security. FS firms were targeted 65 per cent more than an average organisation, the IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index found.
Payments Canada has invited three suppliers, VocaLink, SIA and CGI, to participate in a procurement process for the country’s core clearing and settlement system for payments, called Lynx. The shortlisted candidates - CGI, SIA and Vocalink – have the chance “to play a critical role in the transformation of Canadian payments”.
Venture capital-backed FinTech companies raised $2.7 billion across 226 deals in the first quarter of 2017, according to the latest figures from CB Insights. Investment dollars to VC-backed FinTech companies in 2017 is on pace to drop 18 per cent from 2016, at its current run rate. However, global FinTech deal activity could surpass 2016’s all-time high if the rest of the year sustains the current first quarter deal pace.
Barclaycard has partnered with FinTech company Donate The Change to unveil a range of wearable devices, allowing users to automatically donate the small change from any contactless payment they make to a charity of their choice. Developed by Donate The Change and powered by Barclaycard’s bPay contactless chips, the wearables can be used to make ‘touch and go’ payments for £30 and under without fumbling for cash or entering a PIN. When a purchase is made, it triggers an automatic donation to the wearer’s chosen charity.
Myanmar’s First Private Bank (FPB) has selected Misys to streamline and digitise its banking operations, with a view to bringing new products and enhanced services to customers. This project will see Misys FusionBanking provide a connected front, middle and back office with advanced analytics to support the bank in better understanding consumer needs. FPB will be able to launch personalised products in line with demand. Customers will be able to view and access their accounts across channels, get salaries credited electronically, transfer money and pay bills from different branches or on the go via mobile.
UK challenger TSB has begun the roll-out of its next-generation mobile banking app, the first service to be built on its new Proteo IT platform. The mobile banking app includes simplified and easier access through fingerprint and one-hand navigation for the most-used transactions. The app, which was built from scratch using its new Proteo4UK IT platform, is available for both Android and iOS devices.
The latest figures for the Current Account Switch Service have been published, showing that over 3.7 million successful switches have taken place since the service launched in 2013. During the last 12 months (1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017), a total of 949,047 switches were completed, with 248,302 switches recorded in the last quarter alone (January – March 2017).
Studio B, the UK’s first public innovation lab focused on financial solutions, opens tomorrow (April 27) in Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks’ flagship London store. Every four weeks, invited guests and members of the public will take on a new challenge, using design and technology to build the next generation of banking. The prototypes they develop will be showcased in the store and tested on customers.
More than three quarters of British consumers have concerns about using new payment methods, the latest research suggests. The data from law firm Paul Hastings, which surveyed more than 2,000 UK consumers, found that 77 per cent of Brits expressed security fears regarding new payment technologies.
Spanish banking group BBVA has signed an agreement to acquire Mexican online payments startup Openpay, as the bank looks to accelerate its digital transformation efforts. Openpay is a payment service provider (PSP) that facilitates e-commerce, including on mobile devices, for large businesses and SMEs.
A third of people in Europe would go completely cashless if given the option, new research from ING has found. The fifth annual ING International Survey Mobile Banking report, which surveyed more than 15,000 people across 15 countries, discovered that one in five (21 per cent) people in Europe now rarely carries physical notes and coins and 34 per cent would go completely cashless if given the choice.
Wafacash has partnered with digital money transfer service WorldRemit to support the growing demand for instant remittances and the immediate access of funds in Morocco. WorldRemit customers can now send overseas money transfers to be collected in one of the 1620 Wafacash cash pick up locations all over the country, including Marrakesh, Tanger, Tetouan, Salé, Fes, Agadir, Meknes, Oujda, Kenitra, and Nador among others.
National Bank of Cambodia is working with Japanese blockchain startup Soramitsu to co-develop an open source distributed ledger technology (DLT) project – labelled Hyperledger Iroha. Through a co-development agreement, the National Bank of Cambodia will study the implications of distributed ledger technology, while contributing to the open source development of Hyperledger Iroha and developing new payment infrastructures.
Starling Bank has become the first UK challenger to sign up to VocaLink’s Pay by Bank app, which allows customers to make payments directly from their existing mobile banking app. The real-time payments work through secure digital tokens, removing the need for customer financial details to be provided to a merchant when a purchase is made.
Real-time receipt data platform Flux has announced that it will be working with digital challenger bank Monzo to pilot its solution with food establishments EAT and Bel-Air. Flux links users’ bank cards with the retailer’s point of sale to deliver real-time receipts, including item data and VAT, directly to customer’s mobile banking apps. Rather than just showing the retailer’s name, the total amount spent and the date, Flux will also include each item bought and e-stamps.
The demand for robo-advice rises with income, despite it being widely considered a low-cost financial advice solution, according to Deloitte. Research from the business advisory firm has found that more than half (51 per cent) of people earning £45,000 to £70,000 would use a robo-advisor for investments, compared with just 30 per cent of those on incomes under £15,000.
UK mobile-based challenger Atom bank has announced the appointment of American music star will.i.am as the bank’s first strategic board advisor. The former Black Eyes Peas star, who has a keen interest in technology, will provide the Durham-based bank with “an external perspective on culture, philanthropy and technology”.
The National Bank of Canada (NBC) has become a strategic shareholder in Myanmar mobile payment outfit Ongo, acquiring 22 per cent of the business. Ongo is the consumer facing brand of Ronoc Asia, a subsidiary of the emerging markets investment business Ronoc. It offers retailer payments solutions, payroll programs and direct to consumer services leveraging new payment technologies.
US-based open banking platform Token has raised $15.7 million in a Series A funding round from investors including Octopus Ventures, EQT Ventures and OP Financial Group. Token’s open banking platform is designed to allow banks to meet the compliance requirements of the upcoming European Payment Services Directive (PSD2).
The European Parliament has mandated the European Commission to implement a pilot project to build up technical expertise and regulatory capacity on distributed ledger technology (DLT). Labelled the ‘blockchain observatory’, the project will feature a forum to gather opinions from the industry and to voice concerns around the technology. The European Commission hopes that it will become an EU expertise hub to discuss forward-looking topics on blockchain and develop use cases of interest at EU level.
Spanish banking group BBVA has announced the completion of its first real-life international money transfer using Ripple’s new blockchain technology. The transaction, running on BBVA infrastructures with real money, successfully completed transfers between Spain and Mexico in a matter of seconds.
FinTech firm Plastc has today announced that it has ceased operations and will be filing for bankruptcy, despite having collected $9 million in pre-orders from prospective customers. The firm was working on a smart card solution which could combine several cards into one product, with an accompanying mobile app. Plastc said that they were expecting to close Series A funding on two occasions in the past few months, but deals worth $3.5 million and $6.75 million both collapsed at the last minute.
Nasdaq has announced the launch of a venture investment programme, Nasdaq Ventures, dedicated to “discovering, investing in and partnering with unique FinTech companies worldwide”. The programme's main objective is to identify and collaborate on new technologies, services and solutions which align with Nasdaq's clients’ needs and the company’s long-term objectives in the global capital markets.
Six Dutch banks have joined forces and announced the planned launch of a new payment app in the Netherlands later this summer. ABN AMRO, ASN Bank, ING, Rabobank, RegioBank and SNS have collaborated to roll out the Payconiq app, a new mobile payment service that enables online, on-the-go and one-on-one payments.
Telecommunications giant Orange has unveiled a mobile banking offering which is due to be launched to the public in July, following a trial with Orange employees in France. Customers will be able to subscribe to the new service directly from within the mobile application, online or in-store. The offer will provide customers with a bank account, a debit card, overdraft protection and an interest-bearing savings account. Additional services, such as credit and insurance, will be gradually introduced over the coming months.
Social network payments in China made via Alipay and WeChat are nearing the $3 trillion landmark, according to a new UN report. The study, by the UN-based Better Than Cash Alliance, found that $2.9 trillion in digital payments were made in China last year, representing a 20-fold increase in the past four years.
Amazon is extending its Amazon Pay service to France, Italy and Spain, enabling customers to pay for goods and services on participating third party merchant websites with their Amazon account information. The online payment service helps to reduce the time it takes customers to checkout by removing the need to remember multiple passwords while shopping online. All Amazon account holders can now log in to Amazon Pay with their details at participating retailers.
Yorkshire Building Society (YBS) has signed a deal with Capriza to help transform its mobile experience for its 3.2 million customers. Following a review of its website analytics and conversations with customers, the society recognised the need for enhanced digital and mobile capabilities as customers wanted more services available through their mobile.
Mastercard has today unveiled a new next-generation biometric card, which combines chip technology with fingerprints to verify the cardholder’s identity for in-store purchases. The biometrics card, which is being trialled in South Africa, builds on fingerprint scanning technology used for mobile payments today and can be used at EMV terminals worldwide.
Asian investment bank Nomura has launched a FinTech partnership in India labelled Voyager, aimed at harnessing emerging technologies to help transform its businesses and services. The bank will also be creating a new 10 billion yen fund to provide financial support to startups in the country. Entrepreneurs are invited to participate in the programme to build solutions for capital markets and investment banking that can be deployed across the firm and financial industry.
Organised by FStech and sister title Retail Systems, the Payments Awards are back for 2017, recognising excellence and innovation in the payments sector. Winning entries come from those companies, individuals and organisations who have launched or implemented the most outstanding payments solutions, initiatives and projects during the past year.
Bank of England has announced that it is now accepting applications to join its fourth FinTech accelerator programme. The bank said that it is particularly keen to advance its understanding of quantitative and qualitative machine learning solutions and to conduct a more detailed exploration of privacy in distributed ledger netwoks. The accelerator is looking for firms working on a time-limited proof of concept in the following areas:
Poland’s mBank has launched a new mobile app for Android and iOS devices, which has fingerprint login capabilities and a display of clients’ spending rates to help users control their budgets. Android Pay mobile payments are one of the key functionalities of the new app, marking the first time in Europe that adding a card to Android Pay takes place at the level of the bank’s app – meaning that customers do not need to download a separate Android Pay app.
Ant Financial has announced a joint merger with helloPay Group which will see the helloPay payment platform rebranded into Alipay. The agreement means helloPay will now be rebranded as Alipay Singapore, Alipay Malaysia, Alipay Indonesia and Alipay Philippines in each respective market it is operating in, starting April 19.
Wells Fargo has announced it is launching a pilot to test an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven customer chat experience for Facebook Messenger. The pilot has initially been opened to several hundred Wells Fargo team members and will then be rolled out to a few thousand customers later this spring.
Ant Financial has entered into an Amended Merger Agreement with MoneyGram after the Chinese firm upped its bid for MoneyGram from $800 million to $1.2 billion. Ant Financial increased its offer price to acquire all of the outstanding shares of MoneyGram, from $13.25 per share to $18.00 per share in cash, in order to fend off interest from US rival Euronet. The improved offer provides approximately $320 million in additional cash consideration to MoneyGram stockholders from the prior agreement. The MoneyGram board of directors has unanimously approved the Amended Merger Agreement.
The Central Bank of Armenia (CBA) has selected Intellect’s Quantum central banking system (QCBS) for its digital transformation. The new platform will help CBA to streamline its business processes across multiple departments and external entities. The bank will be able to generate the balance sheet in real-time and have comprehensive dashboards for integrated operation and prudential oversight.
PayPal is extending a partnership with Google to enable its customers to use PayPal as a payment method within Android Pay, wherever the mobile payments service is accepted. Launching soon in the US, users will be able to pay using their PayPal balance, and over the coming months PayPal will add the ability to use cards that have been stored with PayPal, enabled by recent tokenisation partnerships with major card networks.
Deloitte has published its annual FinTech hub review, which analyses data from 44 markets across the world, revealing a number of regional FinTech themes. The ‘Tale of 44 Cities’ research found that emerging FinTech centres in Europe tend to agree that there is good access to talent in their hubs, while the majority of these 12 new European hubs also rate regulation negatively and cite regulatory barriers as a common challenge.
The number of FinTech patents filed worldwide is continuing to rise, reaching 9,545 in 2016 – up six per cent from the 9,045 filed in 2015, according to commercial law firm EMW. When compared to five years ago, the number of these patents has grown 49 per cent, up from 6,399 in 2011. EMW has attributed this increase to the battle between both startups and traditional financial services companies for a competitive edge, to ensure that they are at the forefront of the latest disruptive technology.
Lloyds Banking Group has signed an exclusive partnership with Microsoft to trial biometric authentication with customers logging into their Lloyds, Halifax and Bank of Scotland internet banking sites. The ‘Windows Hello’ feature recognises the user, rather than having to remember an assortment of letters and numbers that are forgotten or could be guessed. It contains technology that creates a data representation of a face, not an image – preventing access via an impersonator using a photograph.
Ant Financial has embarked on a joint venture with Indonesian digital outfit Emtek Group to launch a new mobile payments platform, as well as increase accessibility to digital financial services in the country. The payment platform will initially be offered on BlackBerry Messenger, Indonesia’s most commonly used messenger application which is operated by a subsidiary of Emtek and has a user base of over 63 million monthly active users in the country.
UK chancellor of the exchequer, Philip Hammond, believes that the FinTech revolution will “transform the way we live and do business”, providing consumers with “better services, more choice, and lower costs”. Speaking at the inaugural International FinTech Conference in London, Hammond stated that FinTech has the potential to fundamentally transform the structure of the global economy.
WoraPay, the mobile service that allows customers to order ahead and beat the queue when ordering food and drinks, has integrated Masterpass from Mastercard, enabling its mobile wallet users to pay with a secure, one-click payment. Masterpass stores all payment information, including card details from Mastercard and other payment networks, in one secure place. The partnership was established through the Startupbootcamp FinTech programme, where WoraPay was mentored by Mastercard employees. Lloyds Banking Group staff were among the first to use the service.
JP Morgan, Northern Trust and Santander have, in partnership with Broadridge Financial Solutions, announced the completion of a successful pilot of a blockchain-based proxy vote solution. The proof of concept is designed to enhance transparency in the proxy voting process by adapting distributed ledger technology capabilities to provide daily insight into vote progress throughout the issuer’s proxy voting period from meeting announcement dates to annual general meetings.
The European Central Bank (ECB) has stated that distributed ledger technology (DLT) is “not mature enough” at this stage of development, and therefore cannot be used in the Eurosystem’s market infrastructure. The report on blockchain technology noted that the ECB is continuously exploring new ways to enhance the market infrastructure, both as an operator and overseer and as a catalyst of financial market integration in Europe.
Consumer finance platform Neyber has raised £7.5 million in a Series B funding round, bringing the total raised so far by the London-based firm to £18 million. Investors from the financial services sector joined the company’s investor base; with former Deutsche Bank COO, Henry Ritchotte, and Credit Suisse Investment Bank co-head, Gaël de Boissard, taking a stake in the company. Neyber’s anchor investor and partner, Police Mutual, made an additional ‘significant’ investment.
Facebook users can now send or receive money between groups of people on the Facebook Messenger app via their desktop or mobile device. Users tap on the plus sign in the bottom left hand corner of a group conversation to find more features, and tap the payments icon. Then users are prompted to choose who to send or request money from, whether that be everyone in a group or just a few members. Users then enter the amount they wish to request per person or the total sum to divide evenly
Qatar’s Commercial Bank has successfully completed a pilot using blockchain technology to process international transfers, with plans to expand the project to include trade finance transactions. Commercial Bank partnered with its regional alliance banks in conducting the pilot, including ABank in Turkey, National Bank of Oman, and United Arab Bank in the UAE, in addition to other banks in Egypt and India.
The Central Bank of Iceland (CBI) has selected European payments firm SIA to implement and support a new real-time gross settlement system (RTGS) as well as a new instant payment platform. These new technology infrastructures, which are expected to go live in 2018, will replace CBI’s current mainframe-based real-time solutions for high and low-value payment systems – which have been operating since 2001.
Australia’s Westpac has announced a partnership with Samsung to offer Samsung Pay mobile payments to millions of the bank’s Mastercard and Visa cardholders. The announcement comes just weeks after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) denied authorisation to Westpac and three other Australian banks to collectively bargain with Apple and boycott Apple Pay.
Apple Pay contactless users will nearly double, reaching 86 million by the end of 2017, according to predictions from Juniper Research. The market analyst firm estimates that the number of OEM-Pay contactless users, including Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay, will exceed 100 million for the first time during the first half of this year, before surpassing 150 million by year end.
Britain’s business leaders plan to weather the current economic climate by increasing their investment in technology, a new study by American Express has revealed. The 2017 Global Business and Spending Outlook report surveyed more than 100 of the most senior financial leaders in the UK. The study found that technology was a key priority for remaining competitive with other companies.
London and Singapore remain the top global FinTech hubs, according to the findings of a new Deloitte report. The Connecting Global FinTech: Interim Hub Review 2017 report analysed 44 of the world’s FinTech hubs. The report is an update to the 2016 review, and comes after research conducted by SWIFT Innotribe and Innovate Finance, which recently launched the Global FinTech Hubs Federation aimed at building closer ties with hubs around the world “through collaboration and knowledge sharing”.
Visa has announced the launch of its first-ever European Everywhere Initiative, challenging startups and FinTech companies from 19 European markets to submit ideas focused on improving payments in the local community and across the travel industry. Competitors will have a chance to win up to €50,000 to support a development programme with Visa, or through business partnership with Visa’s financial institution clients. Successful entrants will have the opportunity to access Visa APIs through the Visa Developer Platform, executive mentors and technologists to help them further develop their ideas.
Mastercard has been granted regulatory approval by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to acquire VocaLink, with the £700 million deal expected to close in the coming weeks. Back in January the CMA raised concerns about the potential purchase, a move which it suggested would “limit competition” in relation to the LINK ATM scheme. However, Mastercard submitted a number of remedies to their takeover proposals which have now been accepted by the CMA.
Property crowdfunding company Yielders has announced that it has become the first ever Islamic FinTech firm to be directly regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Yielders are aiming to dispel myths that traditional Islamic Finance is uncompetitive with their Sharia compliant offering. The platform allows cash-based investments from as little as £100, giving anyone the opportunity to get on the property ladder without the hassle of being a landlord or having the burden of a mortgage. Assets are already funded and provide pre-defined rental incomes.
More than a quarter of a million Wonga customers could have had their personal data stolen in a data breach at the UK money lending firm. In a statement published on its website, Wonga said that it believed there may have been illegal and unauthorised access to data. It said: “We are urgently working to establish further details and contacting those who we know have been impacted.”
Mastercard has welcomed five new startups focused on artificial intelligence (AI), payments and FinTech to its Start Path Global programme – the company’s initiative which looks to support later-stage startups. Three out of the five startups joining the programme are focused on artificial intelligence. These startups are using AI to analyse consumer behaviour, enhance in-store or in-branch customer engagement, and compute bill and payment data. The other two startups have developed solutions that extend retail access to consumers through point of sale innovations.
Redwood, a new UK SME business bank, has secured a banking licence following approval from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA). Redwood Bank, which is wholly owned by Redwood Financial Partners (RFP), will now enter its mobilisation phase and expects to launch to customers later in 2017.
Innovate Finance has published a number of key findings from an industry consultation which aimed to explore the feasibility of an industry-led sandbox for testing off-market financial innovation. Organised by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the consultation was conducted between July 2016 and April 2017. A full set of the consultation findings, best practices and recommendations will be published in early May 2017.
UBS has agreed to sell its risk and analytics service, UBS Delta, to StatPro Group for £11 million. StatPro Group said that the deal will enable it to extend its risk and performance analytics service from the middle office to the front office of asset managers.
London-based digital banking startup Meniga has raised €7.5 million in a funding round led by Nordic venture capital investor Industrifonden, as well as including current investors Velocity Capital, Frumtak Ventures and Kjolfesta. Meniga’s digital banking platform helps banks use personal finance data to boost their online and mobile customer experiences. The funding will be used for continued investment in Meniga’s R&D activities, as well as for strengthening the sales teams to meet growing demand.
Almost three quarter of banks and asset managers believe that cyber security is the most significant risk when partnering with FinTech firms, according to a new report. The research from international law firm Simmons & Simmons found that 71 per cent of respondents were concerned about the inherent cyber security risks of collaborating with a FinTech.
Toronto Stock Exchange operator TMX Group, in collaboration with Accenture, has unveiled an electronic shareholder voting system prototype based on blockchain technology. Designed as a public company solution for TSX Trust, TMX's transfer agency and corporate trust services provider, the E-Proxy voting system prototype aims to significantly improve the efficiency and accuracy of the voting process during annual shareholder meetings, while also enhancing security through advancements in cryptography.
Alipay’s mobile app will now be available in Italy, enabling Chinese visitors to the country purchase goods and access services that they are accustomed to in their homeland. Thanks to a partnership with UniCredit and through the use of SIA’s technological infrastructure, Alipay will be available in a 120,000 large merchant network spread across Italy. Such expansion comes amid an ever-growing number of Chinese tourists, who in 2015 spent more than $215 billion abroad
ISO has published its latest series of standards, which aim to provide the platform for mobile banking to expand and grow, bringing secure banking services to people in developing countries. According to the World Bank, there are around two billion ’unbanked’ people worldwide, meaning that they have no access to a bank account. However the growth in the use mobile devices for financial services, particularly in developing countries, means that more and more people have access to a bank account.
Deutsche Bank has become the first bank to offer mobile payments in Germany via its new mobile app, enabling customers to use their smartphones to make purchases. The Deutsche Bank Mobile app, available to Android device users enabled with near field communication technology, went live yesterday. The customer's Deutsche Bank Mastercard is displayed automatically in the app so there is no need to order a new credit card or to replace the smartphone's SIM card. In two simple steps the payment function can be activated and then used immediately. Customers who have the app loaded on their Android smartphone can make cashless payments worldwide at six million Mastercard acceptance points.
The majority of UK financial services firms believe that up to 40 per cent of their revenue is at risk of being lost to standalone FinTech firms, according to a new PwC report. The Redrawing the lines: FinTech’s growing influence on Financial Services report found that 61 per cent of UK financial services industry leaders believe that they could lose as much as 40 per cent of their revenue to standalone FinTech firms, compared to 51 per cent of financial services leaders globally.
UK digital challenger bank Monzo has announced that is now a fully authorised bank after its banking licence restrictions were lifted. Monzo can now begin the process of bringing current accounts to its users. The bank’s CEO, Tom Blomfield, said that they are already running live bank accounts with a small group of users to test the banking systems and that they will progressively increase the number of bank account users over the summer.
A reduction in FinTech transaction volumes in 2016 suggests that early hype has been replaced with cautious investment in proven and more established technologies and businesses, according to a market report from technology M&A advisory firm Hampleton Partners. The Fintech M&A report, which covers mergers and acquisitions in the period between July 2014 and December 2016, shows deal values for the first half of 2016 were down 32 per cent from the previous half year.
Singapore’s OCBC Bank has announced the launch of Emma – a home and renovation loan chatbot service, which provides users with mortgage and loans support. Users can ask the chatbot questions such as “Am I eligible for a loan?”, “Can I calculate how much I can borrow?”, and “What type of interest rate packages are there?”. Emma provides the answers instantly, and will ask follow-on questions to better understand the customers’ needs.
Wells Fargo has signed an agreement with Finicity, in a move which will establish an application programming interface (API)-based method for sharing Wells Fargo customer information with the financial apps and services that Finicity supports. Finicity is the first data aggregation provider to enter into a data exchange agreement with Wells Fargo, enabling third-party applications to access Wells Fargo customer data.
Finland’s OP Financial Group has struck up a partnership with Token, a US-based open banking platform, which will allow the company to develop new FinTech solutions ahead of PSD2. The partnership with Token will allow the banking group to “innovate in the European open banking market and generate new revenue streams via future payment solutions”.
JPMorgan Chase invested more than $9.5 billion in technology in 2016, with approximately $600 million of that spent on emerging FinTech solutions – including building and improving digital and mobile services, as well as partnering with FinTech firms. The figures were announced in a letter from CEO Jamie Dimon to shareholders, which stated that the bank is currently developing a number of new products and services, including: end-to-end banking
The European Central Bank (ECB) has announced that the new €50 note, the fourth banknote in the Europa series, enters circulation today. To combat the issue of counterfeit notes, the new €50 includes a portrait window near the top of the hologram which becomes transparent when looked at against the light. The window reveals a portrait of Europa, a figure from Greek mythology, which is visible on both sides of the note.
BNP Paribas has signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the purchase of a 95 per cent stake in France’s Financière des Paiements Électroniques (FPE), the firm which runs banking startup Compte-Nickel. FPE provides the Compte-Nickel payments account, which boasts 540,000 accounts being opened over the past three years and a new account being opened in France every 30 seconds. Compte-Nickel processes are 100 per cent digital, while payments are completed in real-time.
Visa and four major UK banks have collaborated with Amazon to provide their customers with enhanced transaction data on purchases made via the new Amazon Business service. Amazon today announced the launch of Amazon Business in the UK, a service which is designed to meet the procurement needs of businesses of all sizes. It was initially rolled out in the US in 2015, serving more than 400,000 businesses and generating more than $1 billion in sales in its first year.
Compliance professionals fear that new regulation will increase data governance challenges and hinder the customer journey, a new survey from Dun & Bradstreet has found. Half of all compliance professionals surveyed believe that it will become harder for their organisation to comply with financial regulation over the next 12 months, while 40 per cent expect customer onboarding times to increase over the next five years.
Lloyds Bank has confirmed its intention to reduce the size of hundreds of UK branches and trial ‘micro-branches’ which will be staffed by just two employees carrying tablets. In a statement released on Monday, the bank cited a “profound change in customer behaviour”, including more and more customers banking online, as the main reason behind the move.
Rothschild Bank AG has selected sales and advisory software provider Finantix to support its growing advisory business. The Finantix digital suite of components and engines will help Rothschild Bank AG’s client advisers in their daily activities, support regulatory compliance of the advisory process and enhance digital client collaboration. Finantix's domain specific and omnichannel engines and components will be fully integrated with the bank’s core banking system
Quint, a UK-based FinTech group operating in the consumer finance market, has secured a £10m financing deal from Manchester-based Tosca Debt Capital to fund its recapitalisation. The introduction of a debt facility from Tosca Debt Capital to re-finance the group sees Greg Cox, Quint’s founder and CEO, increase his stake in the group to 90 per cent. Quint, which was founded in 2009 and operates in the UK, US, Australia, Poland, China and South Africa, is the company behind consumer price comparison site MoneyGuru.com.
ANZ has announced that it will become the first Australian bank to introduce voice biometrics to improve security on mobile devices and approve higher value transactions. Due to be rolled out later this year, customers transferring more than $1,000 through ANZ’s mobile apps will be able to use their voice to automatically authorise high value payments. Previously customers needed to use internet banking or visit a branch to complete transactions more than $1,000.
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has collaborated with Deloitte and a number of local banks to develop a blockchain-based proof of concept for trade finance. Industry participants in the project include the Bank of China (Hong Kong), The Bank of East Asia, Hang Seng Bank, HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong). The project, focusing on trade finance has resulted in the design and development of a proof of concept leveraging distributed ledger technology (DLT) to create a platform for banks, buyers and sellers, and logistics companies.
The chairman of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has written to the treasury select committee, outlining the extent of contactless card fraud in the UK and the options available to tackle it. John Griffith-Jones, who is chairman of the Payment Systems Regulator as well as the FCA, wrote to Andrew Tyrie MP, chairman of the treasury committee, to outline proposals at combating such fraud.
Financial fraud data losses across payment cards, remote banking and cheques totalled £768.8 million in 2016, an increase of two per cent on the previous year, according to new figures from Financial Fraud Action UK. The new data shows banks and card companies prevented £1.38 billion of fraud last year, equivalent to £6.40 in every £10 of attempted fraud.
BBVA has created a new head of data position at the highest level of its organisational structure in order to “promote the strategic use of data in all the areas and businesses of the group”. The new role will be filled by David Puente who, as head of data, will report directly to Spanish banking group’s CEO, Carlos Torres Vila.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has issued a determination denying authorisation to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Banking Corporation, National Australia Bank, and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank to collectively bargain with Apple and boycott Apple Pay. The banks sought authorisation to bargain with Apple for access to the near-field communication (NFC) controller in iPhones, and reasonable access terms to the App Store. This access would enable the banks to offer their own integrated digital wallets to iPhone customers in competition with Apple’s digital wallet, without using Apple Pay.
Mobile giant Samsung is collaborating with CaixaBank, Global Payments, Visa and Arval to establish an innovation hub, to “create the payment methods of tomorrow”. The hub will be located in Barcelona and the project will specialise in research into new commerce solutions to cater to emergent consumer habits. The partners will also be open to working with third party research companies (startups, SMEs and major corporations) and institutions.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT) now account for almost half of total investment in InsurTech startups globally, new research from Accenture has revealed. The research, which includes analysis of CB Insights data on 450 InsurTech deals over the last three years, appears in a new Accenture report titled The Rise of InsurTech. According to the report, the combined number of deals across AI and the IoT increased 79 percent in 2016. Even though the two technologies represented only one-quarter (24 percent) of the 216 InsurTech deals globally last year, they accounted for 44 percent (or $711 million) of total InsurTech investment — compared with just 10 percent of global InsurTech investment in 2015.
Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) has introduced a new video chat service to digitally connect clients with advisors for real-time support. The service, labelled MyAdvisor, allows users to connect with an advisor, where both can view and adjust a dynamic financial dashboard. This shows all of the client’s savings and investment goals and actions to achieve those goals.
VocaLink and BancTec have been selected by the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company (C&CCC) to build and run the infrastructure for an industry-wide image-based cheque clearing system. The new system, which aims to speed up cheque processing significantly for customers across the UK from six days to just one, will go live with some banks and building societies from 30 October 2017.
The first Current Account Switch Service (CASS) annual report has been published today, showing that over 3.5 million current accounts have been switched since CASS launched three and a half years ago. The report, released by Bacs Payment Schemes Limited, has delivered 12 months early after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) asked it to publish an annual report by March 2018.
HSBC customers will soon be able to use the Pay by Bank app from payments firm VocaLink, which enables users to make ‘digital debit’ payments for goods and services via their banking app. HSBC and its subsidiary, first direct, will join Barclays, Bank of Scotland, Halifax and Lloyds Bank, who have all signed up to the service. Transactions via the app are completed in near real-time, with payments taken directly from the user’s bank account using digitally secure tokens. Verification is also handled through the user’s banking app.
Mastercard is looking to enhance Internet of Things (IoT) security following the acquisition of NuData Security, a tech firm that helps businesses prevent online and mobile fraud using session and biometric indicators. IoT is creating a more digitally driven and connected world, with an estimated 50 billion smart devices to be in use across the globe by 2020. While such connectivity can create convenience for consumers to pay how they want and when they want, it remains important to keep all transactions secure.
More than 11 million people in the UK do not have basic digital skills, while three quarters of those offline do not believe that they can save money by using the internet. This is according to the latest Lloyds Bank UK Consumer Digital Index, which found that age is a determining factor of internet use, with only 49 per cent of those aged 65 or over having basic digital skills, compared with 97 per cent of 15 to 24 year olds.
IBM has collaborated with investment bank Natixis and trading company Trafigura to pioneer the first blockchain solution in commodity trade finance for US crude oil transactions. Built on the Linux Foundation open source Hyperledger Fabric, the distributed ledger platform allows major steps in a crude oil transaction to be digitised on the blockchain, ensuring improved transparency, enhanced security and optimised efficiency.
The European Commission has blocked the proposed merger between the London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Börse over competition concerns. The news comes on the day that a letter signed by British Prime Minister Theresa May was delivered to European Council president Donald Tusk, triggering Article 50 and the start of the UK’s formal withdrawal from the EU.
UK challenger bank Monzo has attracted a record 6,500 investors on Crowdcube as part of a £22 million funding round with Thrive Capital, Passion Capital and Orange Digital Ventures. Raising £2.5 million, the 6,500 plus new investors is almost double the previous record, which was held by Crowdcube’s own raise in 2016. Monzo also broke crowdfunding records in March 2016 when it raised £1 million in just 96 seconds, the fastest funding round ever.
ANZ Bank has partnered with payments provider Ingenico to unveil Australia’s first multi-payment ‘Connected Screens’. The Connected Screens enables customers to pay for goods or services by tapping their NFC-enabled card or device on a screen. Ingenico claims that the new technology is an ideal payment and media platform in high-traffic areas such as shopping malls, airports and train stations. John Tait, senior vice president Asia-Pacific at Ingenico Group, commented
Nordea Bank is preparing for the digital revolution by ‘hiring’ a host of virtual employees across the Nordic countries. The Swedish Life and Pensions arm of the bank has designed and built Liv – a virtual assistant brought in to help human colleagues “focus on delivering great customer experience and performing more creative and complex tasks”. Liv is one of a couple of recently hired virtual employees at Nordea, with the bank also introducing Sirius in Finland, Erna in Denmark and Roberta in Norway, among others.
Europeans could save up to £7 billion in financial charges every year thanks to digital innovations helping them better manage their finances, according to money transfer firm Azimo. The research, which was conducted by Censuswide and surveyed more than 3,500 respondents across Europe, revealed that nearly 90 per cent of consumers in the UK, Germany, Spain and France now use technology to manage their money rather than traditional banking and accounting services.
Moven has signed a new five-year extension to its commercial partnership with Canada’s TD Bank, an agreement which brought the TD MySpend app to the Canadian market last year. Under the terms of the agreement, TD continues to have the exclusive Canadian distribution rights to Moven’s technology, and extends this to the US market. The TD MySpend app launched in May last year, immediately overtaking Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram to take the number one spot in the App Store.
Members of the BOKIS banking collective have become the first in Denmark to offer mobile payments using Dankort, the national debit and credit card. The BOKIS partnership consists of 62 banks that form the small to medium-sized banks segment of the Association of Local Banks, Savings Banks and Cooperative Banks in Denmark, together with four nationwide banks: Sydbank, Spar Nord Bank, Arbejdernes Landsbank and Nykredit Bank.
More than half of Brits would prefer to use a biometric security method over traditional options like passwords to log into their financial accounts online, new research has found. The Equifax research discovered that 56 per cent of those surveyed would prefer to use biometric technology to access their online account. The survey, which was conducted by YouGov, also found that a third of people would prefer to use fingerprint recognition as a security method to access their accounts. A further 13 per cent would like to use iris scanners, seven per cent facial recognition, and three per cent voice recognition.
The new 12-sided one pound coin today enters circulation in the UK – a coin The Royal Mint has described as the “most secure in the world”. The Royal Mint decided to replace the former coin because of its vulnerability to sophisticated counterfeiters, with the 12-sided coin boasting an array of new security features.
Polish e-money distributed ledger solutions provider Billon Group has completed, with the help of blockchain technology, the first end-to-end client pay out for participants in a market research programme. Consumer research firm Conduct Research used Billon to transfer funds to 100 participants, who can pay bills, transfer to their own bank account or withdraw funds at their convenience at more than 40,000 Paypoint locations.
A “mistake in configuration” led Germany’s KfW bank to accidentally transfer $5.4 billion to four other banks last month, according to a statement released by the firm. The state-owned bank noted that on the afternoon of 20 February 2017, a “mistake in configuration works performed by an experienced IT programmer of KfW caused a temporary system bug in the payment transaction software”.
Online money transfer firm WorldRemit has launched in Japan, enabling migrants in the country to send money online to more than 140 countries. Customers in Japan will now be able to send money to family and friends worldwide, using a mobile phone, tablet or computer – cutting out the need to travel to agent locations or bank branches during business hours.
More than 80 per cent of financial services firms are planning to invest in preventative technology and IT systems, as well as test their defence and response mechanisms over the coming year, according to a CBI/PwC Financial Services survey. The quarterly survey of 98 financial services firms found that increasing efficiency and ensuring regulatory compliance were the most important spurs for investment.
Starling Bank has become the first mobile-only bank to join the Current Account Switch Service (CASS), which has successfully switched more than 3.5 million current accounts since launch. The free-to-use CASS service, which is runs by Bacs, allows consumers to transfer their current bank account – including overdraft and direct debits – to their Starling account and vice versa. It was set up to make switching quick and easy for individual customers as well as small businesses, charities and trusts, and to help drive competition in the marketplace.
Nordic payments processor Nets has announced a partnership with Chainalysis in a move designed to help the region’s banks live up to strict anti-money laundering requirements in relation to a growing market for virtual currencies. More and more companies are choosing to accept blockchain-based currencies, such as Bitcoin, as a means of payment. However, digital currency can be a challenge for the banks to facilitate, as they have to be able to document that the money complies with legislation and has not, for example, been used in connection with criminal activities.
Clarity Money, a US personal finance app, has announced the closure of an $11 million Series B funding round led by RRE Ventures and Citi Ventures. The financing comes just three months after Clarity Money launched its product and eight months after raising $3.5 million in Series A funding, bringing the total raised by the company to $14.5 million.
Samsung has announced the launch of the Contactless Companion Platform (CCP), in collaboration with Smartlink and Ingenico, which has been designed to “enable digital cash for everyone”. Through the new CCP system, a user can make digital cash payments at any contactless-enabled location via a device of their choice – such as a dedicated smartcard, wristband, key fob, watch or smart ring.
Barclays, Ethoca, Deutsche Bank, LV=, Lloyds Banking Group, Misys, Temenos and trueEX were among the companies who took home a coveted trophy at the 17th annual FStech awards last night. Recognising excellence and innovation within the UK and EMEA financial services sector, these awards were hotly contested, with the winners revealed at a prestigious gala dinner and awards ceremony at the London Marriott Hotel in Mayfair, hosted by comedian Marcus Brigstocke.
UK financial data analytics firm, Quantexa, has announced the closure of a £3.3 million Series A funding round led by HSBC and Albion Ventures. The London-based startup will use the new capital to further accelerate its “product development and international expansion”. Founded in 2016 by a team of software, data and advanced analytics experts, Quantexa currently uses big data analytics to tackle complex financial crime and data challenges within the financial services, corporate and public sectors.
Israel’s Bank Leumi and Ping An, China’s largest insurance group, have signed a strategic cooperation agreement to promote the entry and integration of Israeli technology companies into the Chinese market. As part of the agreement, Leumi-Tech, Leumi Group's high-tech banking arm, will constitute a bridge between Leumi Group customers and the Ping An Group. Israeli technology companies with potential and interest in entering the Chinese market, will be introduced to Ping An, which will assist these companies either through establishing relationships with Ping An subsidiaries.
The European Commission has announced the launch of a public consultation on FinTech in order to develop the organisation’s policy approach to technological innovation in financial services. The consultation, which will run from today until 15 June 2017, is open to anyone, with individuals and organisations encouraged to submit their views via an online questionnaire on the commission’s website.
Sweden’s Skandiabanken has agreed to purchase a 39.9 per cent stake in local AI and machine learning firm Quantfolio in order to strengthen the digital bank’s private savings division by offering robo-advisory services. The investment, which means the bank now becomes the largest shareholder in Quantfolio, represents a significant step in the bank’s ongoing work to further strengthen and facilitate user-friendly digital saving options for the private market.
Collaboration between banks and FinTech companies is now critical to ensure their survival, according to a study from banking software firm Temenos. The report states that with the EU’s second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and open architecture framework set to come into force next year, regulation may tip the scales between banks and FinTechs for customer loyalty.
Global wealth and fund management firm ZEDRA has selected software from tax compliance specialist Sovos to meet its Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) reporting requirements. The AEOI is an OECD global standard which aims to help firms more easily navigate the global challenge of multi-jurisdiction tax compliance. More than 100 tax jurisdictions have committed to the standard – with 54 undertaking their first exchanges this year and 47 going live in 2018.
Samsung has launched its mobile payments service Samsung Pay in India, allowing users to make contactless purchases via their mobile device. Samsung Pay also allows Indian consumers to integrate their Paytm accounts into Samsung Pay, enabling them to pay by scanning QR codes securely, generating one-time codes for merchant payments and also do peer-to-peer money transfers.
Payments Canada is collaborating with financial consultancy firm Accenture to help drive a modernisation initiative, designed to transform the systems and rules of Canada’s payments ecosystem. In December last year, the payments firm released detailed plans to change the infrastructure and rules that underpin financial transactions in Canada.
The Singapore Exchange (SGX) has been told by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to implement measures to enhance its recovery processes and operational resilience, following an investigation into trading disruption to the securities market last year. The outage, which was caused when duplicated trade confirmation messages halted trading in stocks, took place on 14 July 2016.
The Cheque and Credit Clearing Company (C&CCC) has today announced details of the launch of an industry-wide image-based cheque clearing system that will speed up cheque processing significantly for customers across the UK. The new system will go live with some banks and building societies from 30 October 2017. Following that, at some stage in the second half of 2018, all of the UK’s banks and building societies will clear all cheques via the image-based system to the faster timescale, according to the C&CCC.
Deutsche Bank announced today that it has opened an innovation lab in New York City – its fourth globally. The lab will be based in Lower Manhattan, and will enable to bank to access a leading innovation ecosystem in one of the world’s largest financial hubs. It will explore new technologies focused on several areas, including artificial intelligence, cloud technology and cyber security.
Digital financial services firm Avoka has published its second annual State of Digital Sales in Banking report, which found that Australian banks are leading their global counterparts when it comes to digital preparedness. Despite banks in North America and Europe making headway in improving their digital capabilities, they are still failing to capitalise on opportunities to retain and grow their mobile-first customer base.
India’s ICICI Bank has announced the launch of a new mobile banking app for rural customers that allows them to not only access banking services but information on agricultural services as well. Non-ICICI Bank customers can also download and use the app, called Meri iMobile, which is available in 11 Indian languages.
Jiffy, the service developed by SIA in Italy to send and receive money in real-time from a smartphone using a mobile number, has surpassed 4.2 million users. A significant increase in recent months has made Jiffy the leading person-to-person (P2P) digital payment service in the euro area, and the second largest in Europe after Sweden's Swish (five million), and ahead of the UK's Paym (3.5 million).
Tandem Bank will miss a deadline for obtaining its banking licence following the news that Sanpower, the Chinese conglomerate which owns House of Fraser, has been forced to cancel a £29 million investment in the digital challenger. The halted investment – which the Financial Times claims is in relation to concerns that the Chinese regulator would reject the deal as a result of capital controls – means that Tandem has paused its plans to offer savings accounts to customers in the short term, but will not delay its app’s launch to market.
The UK has been ranked the fourth most promising market for technology breakthroughs that have a global impact, trailing slightly behind the US, China and India, according to KPMG’s 2017 Global Technology Innovation report. Despite the uncertainty presented by Brexit, the UK jumped significantly from seventh last year in the global rankings.
IBM and SecureKey Technologies are collaborating to launch a new digital identity and attribute sharing network based on IBM Blockchain, in order to increase privacy and security for consumers. Due to be rolled out later this year, consumers can use the network to instantly verify their identity for services such as new bank accounts, driver’s licences and utilities.
MarketInvoice, the P2P invoice finance platform, has announced the appointment of industry guru Giles Andrews as chairman of the board of directors. Andrews, who will remain as CEO of Zopa – a business he co-founded in 2004 – has more than 25 years’ experience in the sector. He will work directly with MarketInvoice co-founders Anil Stocker and Ilya Kondrashov to support the firm’s growth ambitions and double its lending figures to £2 billion.
Poland’s Alior Bank has published its digital strategy for the next three years, placing a focus on providing a greater customer experience through a new generation of mobile and online solutions. Hoping to become a top five innovative bank in Europe, Alior will invest an additional 400 million Zloty ($100 million) over the next three years in IT and innovations, implementing new digital solutions and facilitating online sales of a more streamlined product and services offering.
Eight in 10 banks in Asia-Pacific will be running on a hybrid cloud banking solution by 2018, predicts a new report from IDC Financial Insights. The MaturityScape Benchmark: Cloud Banking in Asia-Pacific study found that the majority of banks in the region are in the initial phases of cloud maturity, where there remains a higher preference for enterprise private cloud architecture than public cloud.
The UK Cards Association has published the card spending statistics for January, revealing that expenditure was £57.1 billion – up £5 billion on January last year. Online spending amounted to 27 per cent of total card spending, with 176 million purchases worth £15.3 billion. Retail sector card spending grew by £134 million in January, to £25.7 billion, with the largest increases coming from automotive fuels and food and drink.
Dutch online broker BinckBank has announced the acquisition of local robo-advisory startup Pritle in a €12.5 million deal. The funds will help BinckBank expand its digital offering and support its European growth ambitions in investment services. BinckBank will pay a purchase price of €12.5 million, of which €7.5 million is in cash and €5 million in shares.
Poland’s mBank has announced its intention to set up what it claims is the first fund in Central and Eastern Europe that specialises in developing and selling new technologies. The bank will invest €50 million in new technologies and startups, with the aim of later becoming partners for global financial institutions. During the initial phase of the investment the innovators will work with mBank, which serves customers in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
The Bank of England’s (BoE) FinTech accelerator has announced the launch of a new community forum as well as unveiling the latest round of proofs of concept. The new community initiative brings together FinTech organisations to engage with the bank, share insights on trends and support development of the sector.
The MoneyAge Awards return for their second year in 2017, and banks, building societies, savings and investment providers, mortgage companies and personal finance specialists have until 16 June to submit their entries. The event celebrates excellence, professionalism and innovation in the hugely competitive but critically important personal finance space, and there are 29 trophies up for grabs for this year, including in one new category: Consumer Finance Product of the Year.
The new Samsung Galaxy S8 handset, which is due to be unveiled next month, will boast facial recognition technology for mobile payments verification, according to a report from Bloomberg. The publication states that the latest phone will blend fingerprint, iris and facial recognition to verify users accessing payment services including Samsung Pay. The iris detection can be used when there is not enough light to recognise facial features.
BBVA has announced the launch of the ninth edition of its Open Talent FinTech competition, which the Spanish banking group claims is the “world’s biggest FinTech challenge”. The BBVA Open Talent program has gone from one competition when it first started to five this year and has even introduced FinTech games as a way of searching for the most creative and innovative solutions.
A new study from RBR has found that the number of teller assist units (TAUs) deployed across 26 key markets reached 186,500 at the end of 2016 – despite increased cost pressures and falling branch numbers. TAUs are designed to reduce the time needed for transactions and end-of-day reconciliation, freeing up time for branch staff to help customers.
The UK’s Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) has selected Cognizant as a technology partner in order to help drive the organisation’s digital transformation. As part of a three-year agreement, Cognizant will help simplify, modernise and further secure a broad range of FSCS’ systems and applications to help meet the digital needs of customers. This is expected to help FSCS to handle claims more efficiently and accurately and employ new channels to enhance its customer service.
Starling Bank has moved a step closer to launch after unveiling the beta version of its current account mobile app to selected customers. The challenger bank is inviting its first customers to join its beta testing programme, marking the first time that Starling’s current account has been available beyond friends, family and product testers.
The number of FinTech startups launched in the MENA region is expected to more than double by the year 2020 as innovators look to transform a largely unbanked population, a new report has shown. The State of FinTech report, launched by the Wamda Research Lab and Payfort, found that FinTech startups in the MENA region have raised more than $100 million in funding in the last 10 years. The report indicates that startups could raise $50 million in funding this year alone, a 270 percent increase on the $18 million in disclosed investments last year.
Improving technology and client reporting systems are key 2017 business priorities for three quarters of asset managers, according to a new survey. The research, conducted by Osney Media and BackBay Communications, found that less than half of the asset managers surveyed provide real-time reporting, e-reporting or mobile reporting capabilities for their clients.
The University of British Columbia (UBC) is set to accelerate cyber security and financial risk research following a $2 million donation from Scotiabank. Over the next five years, the Scotiabank initiative will support research and educational practices, including internships, speaker series’, engagement activities such as hackathons, and other collaborative events to better understand cyber defence.
Identity fraud in the UK has hit the highest level ever recorded with 172,919 cases in 2016, new figures from fraud prevention service Cifas have found. Identity fraud now represents over half (53 per cent) of all fraud recorded by Cifas, of which 88 per cent was perpetrated online. To carry out this kind of fraud successfully, fraudsters need access to their victim’s personal information such as name, date of birth, address, their bank and who they hold accounts with.
Gmail for Android has unveiled a feature which allows users to send, request and receive money from their contacts directly from the Gmail app. Google Wallet has been integrated into Gmail since 2013, but customers had to access the service via an online browser. The new addition to the mobile app also allows users to exchange money with anyone – not just people using a Gmail email address.
UK challenger Starling Bank has signed a partnership with international money transfer platform TransferWise, which will provide Starling’s customers with direct in-app access to TransferWise services. Due to launch this summer, the function will see Starling customers able to make transfers from their UK account to 35 currencies available in the TransferWise app – including the euro, US dollars, Indian rupees and Australian dollars.
Barclaycard and Uber have signed a new commercial agreement that will see Barclaycard customers benefit from exclusive offers when they use their personal card to pay for their Uber rides. The programme is the first of its kind between Uber and a payment provider in the UK, and sees Barclaycard expand in the transport sector, having introduced contactless payments to London’s underground transport network over a decade ago.
Berlin-based solarisBank has raised €26.3 million in a Series A funding round, which is expected to enable the bank to expand its core platform and to further grow its transaction and loan businesses. The funding was led by Arvato Financial Solutions and Japanese SBI Group, with seed investors FinLeap, Hegus and yabeo Capital also participating.
JPMorgan Chase has agreed to acquire MCX’s payments technology to help expand Chase Pay, the firm’s mobile and digital wallet solution. MCX is a network of America’s largest merchants, and was the launch partner for Chase Pay in October 2015. MCX’s members were already connected to its payments technology. Chase Pay launched in November 2016 with a handful of initial merchants, including Best Buy. Other MCX merchants such as Walmart
The shortlist has been announced for 2017’s inaugural National Technology Awards, which celebrate the pioneers of new technology and aim to help drive standards and encourage excellence across the UK technology sector. Bank of Ireland, Revolut, OakNorth Bank, Barclaycard, Seedrs, Mastercard, Misys and Santander Innoventures are among the FS sector organisations shortlisted for the awards, alongside other companies such as Addison Lee, Yale, Comtact Healthcare, Yodel and Dixons Carphone.
The US Federal Reserve Banks and The Clearing House (CHIPS) have established local market practices to facilitate end-to-end payments for their participants that use the SWIFT global payments innovation (gpi) service. Launched in February 2017, SWIFT gpi enables banks to offer an efficient, more transparent and traceable cross-border payments service to their customers.
Vista Equity Partners has agreed to acquire Canadian-based payments and lending provider D+H, and merge it with financial software firm Misys in a $3.6 billion deal – a move that will create one of the largest FinTech companies in the world. The combination will create a diversified FinTech firm with a global footprint and one of the broadest set of financial software solutions available on the market, with approximately $2.2 billion in revenues. The merger will also encompass around 10,000 employees and more than 9,000 customers across 130 countries, including 48 of the top 50 banks.
Capital One has unveiled Eno – a gender-neutral virtual banking assistant, designed to help customers better manage their money. Through use of artificial intelligence (AI), the bot can provide users with account balance information, credit card bill due dates, recent transaction history, as well as the ability to pay their credit card bills. The bank also plans to introduce P2P payments to Eno in the coming months.
FinTech startups are increasingly focused on building smarter machines as they seek to gain a better understanding of artificial intelligence (AI) to solve customer issues, a new report from the Startupbootcamp FinTech London programme and PwC has revealed. More than 15 per cent of applicants to the 2016 incubator programme looked to build new AI and machine learning prototypes, as the use of chatbots and virtual assistants to deal with customer queries becomes more widespread.
NAB Ventures, the venture capital fund of National Australia Bank, has led a $25 million investment round in San Francisco-based foreign exchange payments company Veem. Veem provides a platform that leverages blockchain technology for cross-border B2B payments, enabling organisations to send and receive payments in local currency.
Lloyds Banking Group will outsource up to 1,900 jobs and large parts of its IT estate to IBM in a deal worth £1.3 billion over seven years, according to a Lloyds Trade Union (LTU) newsletter sent to members on Sunday. The newsletter cites a recent presentation from Morteza Majour, chief information officer at Lloyds, which set out cost-saving initiatives from the banking group.
PayPal has teamed up with animal charity Blue Cross to equip 20 dogs with contactless coats, allowing members of the public to ‘pat and tap’ the canines to make a charitable donation. The four-legged fundraisers, or Tap Dogs as they are otherwise known, will be taking £2 donations at events from 10 March when Gracie, an Italian Spinone, will unveil the new dog coat at Crufts 2017.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has announced the successful conclusion of a proof-of-concept (PoC) project which used distributed ledger technology (DLT) to conduct domestic interbank payments. The project tested methods of connecting bank systems to a blockchain, and making the MAS Electronic Payment System (MEPS+) interoperate with the DLT for automated collateral management.
US banking startup Current has announced the closure of a $3.6 million seed funding round, led by original backers Expa and Human Ventures, as well as Future Perfect Ventures. The funding will allow Current to further develop its banking and payments platform, which can be accessed through mobile, tablet and desktop devices. According to Current, its platform will leverage fraud prevention
Financial institutions’ IT security expenditure is three times higher than non-financial organisations, as the increased take-up of mobile banking makes cyber attacks more commonplace, according to research from Kaspersky Lab. The research also found that customers are increasingly playing an important role in highlighting security incidents, with a quarter (24 per cent) of financial institutions saying that some of the threats they faced in 2016 were identified and reported to them by a customer.
The Financial Services Agency of Japan (JFSA) and the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have exchanged letters on a co-operation framework to support innovative FinTech companies from both countries. The letters will provide a regulatory referral system for businesses from each country seeking to enter the other’s market. The authority that receives a referral will provide support to the businesses through reducing regulatory uncertainty and time to market.
The UK is expected to see a record number of payment service providers (PSPs), such as challenger banks, gain direct access to interbank payments systems in 2017, according to a new report published by the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR). The ‘Access and Governance of Payments Systems’ paper notes that as many as 10 new providers could gain access to the interbank system this year, which is expected to improve competition and quality in payment services and High Street banking.
Android Pay has been rolled out in Belgium, making it the 10th country to introduce the ‘tap and pay’ feature which allows users to pay simply and securely with their mobile phone. Android users in Belgium will be able to use Android Pay at more than 85,000 retail locations which accept contactless payments across the country.
Kerv Wearables has announced the commercial launch of its contactless payments ring, which will allow consumers to complete contactless transactions at any locations which accept Mastercard contactless payments. The announcement at this year’s Wearable Technology Show follows Mastercard’s decision to grant approval for the Kerv ring as an M/Chip contactless payment device.
UK-based cross-border payments platform Currencycloud has announced the closure of a £20 million Series D funding round, with a new investment from GV (Google Ventures) and additional funding from existing investors Notion Capital, Sapphire Ventures, Rakuten FinTech Fund and Anthemis.
Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank has selected iGTB to implement a digital trade finance platform in an effort to better automate the bank’s operations and reduce costs. The partnership includes provision of both a client portal, as well as a full digital back-end infrastructure, thereby standardising Raiffeisen’s operations across numerous legal entities and client segments and providing guarantees, letters of credit, collections and financings through digital channels.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) have signed a cooperation agreement to foster closer collaboration on developments and initiatives that nurture FinTech entrepreneurship and support financial innovation in the two countries. The new partnership was the result of “meaningful exchanges” between the FinTech teams of MAS and the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of ADGM.
Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) has become the first bank in Canada to launch money transfers with Siri for its personal banking customers. The new innovation is now available through an update to the RBC mobile app for iPhone and iPad. Users can simply say “Hey Siri, send Jack $20”, and the Siri feature will confirm the name from the users payee list while the mobile app automatically debits their account and sends the payment. The payment is secured by TouchID.
The global FinTech sector is becoming a more attractive place for women to work, according to new research released by Innovate Finance to mark International Women’s Day. The not-for-profit membership association has released the findings of a new survey that highlights the experiences of women working in financial technology. It found that almost half (48 per cent) of its female members believe FinTech is becoming a more attractive space for female talent.
Financial institutions are set to spend $1.5 billion on AI technology this year according to research from consultancy firm Opimas, with that figure rising 75 per cent to $2.8 billion by 2021. The firm also predicts that, globally, AI technologies will reduce the number of employees in the capital markets by 230,000 by the year 2025. Opimas believes the biggest effect will be had on those in the asset management industry where 90,000 staff will be replaced by machines.
Amsterdam-based FinTech startup Dimebox has raised €5 Million in a series A funding round from the BillPro Group, a global payment processing firm. Dimebox has built a full-stack global acquiring solution, offering financial institutions innovations in online payments. Dimebox offers its customers a white-label full-service payment gateway to take control of all their payments, providing them with tools to increase automation and reduce costs. The investment will enable the growth of the company as well as the extension of the platform capabilities.
Wirecard has announced the launch of its mobile payment solution, boon, in Ireland – following its initial roll out to the UK market in May last year. The fully-digitised mobile solution is based on an automatic app-to-wallet integration via a prepaid account with a digital Mastercard. This allows users to top-up their account via wire transfer, debit or credit card. The solution works at any NFC-enabled terminal where the Mastercard contactless logo appears.
International law firm Simmons & Simmons is collaborating with London’s Queen Mary University to establish a joint student support programme specifically to work in the area of FinTech and RegTech. The initiative, between Simmons & Simmons and the university’s Centre for Commercial Law Studies (CCLS), will include holding separate introductory and research presentation events.
SBI Ripple Asia has announced that a consortium of 47 banks in Japan has successfully completed a pilot implementation of Ripple’s blockchain technology using a cloud-based payments platform. The platform, RC Cloud, is powered by Ripple’s financial settlement solution and enables real-time money transfers both domestically and internationally. The successful trial means that the project will now move into the commercial phase.
Accion and Quona Capital have announced the close of a $141 million global FinTech fund, which will focus on emerging markets in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and Asia “that have demonstrated the greatest potential for inclusive FinTech”. The fund seeks to reach out to the three billion financially underserved people in the world, supporting innovators around the world seeking to help the development of emerging financial systems.
FinTech Australia has welcomed the release of a ‘standards roadmap’ which it hopes will “spark further innovation in the industry” and support the development of blockchain technology. On 2 March, Standards Australia released its Roadmap for Blockchain Standards Report, which outlines how the organisation will work to deliver measures to support the privacy, security and interoperability of blockchain systems.
Samsung has rolled out its mobile wallet service Samsung Pay in India, including support for Visa and Mastercard debit and credit cards issued by Axis, HDFC, ICICI, SBI and Standard Chartered. Samsung Pay uses magnetic secure transmission (MST) and near field communication (NFC) technology to enable users to make secure contactless payments via their mobile.
The US Federal Reserve has published a speech by governor Jerome Powell on the development and application of technological innovations driving change in the financial world, in particular distributed ledger technology (DLT). With regards to real-time payments, Powell states that the US has adjusted slowly to the demands for greater speed and safety, trailing other leading markets and in particular the UK, who introduced a real-time payments system in 2008.
Monzo is set to connect directly to the Mastercard payment network following a ‘severe outage’ at its third party card processing supplier over the weekend. The digital startup bank sent its customers a message yesterday morning, suggesting that they take another card out with them due to an outage. The message stated that one of Monzo’s suppliers needed “to run an unexpected, large migration”.
Atom Bank, the UK mobile-only challenger bank, has agreed terms for a further £83 million in funding from major shareholders, bringing the total capital raised by Atom to £219 million. The additional capital has been raised from current investors including BBVA, Woodford Investment Management, Toscafund Asset Management and others. After securing its banking licence in June 2015, Atom Bank launched operations in April 2016.
PwC has announced the creation of a working blockchain prototype which aims to reduce costs for London insurance market claims. The project, designed for the London Market Target Operating Model (TOM) Innovation Exchange, demonstrates that exploiting blockchain technology can reduce costs and speed up the payment process in the insurance market.
Machine learning mobile banking platform Sensibill has raised $17.3 million in a Series A funding round, led by Information Venture Partners and OpenText Enterprise Apps Fund (OTEAF). Using artificial intelligence (AI), Sensibill offers a number of services for mobile banking apps centered around the everyday receipt. The Toronto-based FinTech firm last year launched its core product – a smart receipt management service with Scotiabank and TD Canada Trust’s mobile wallet app.
Credit Suisse has enhanced its digital private banking operations following a partnership with Singaporean FinTech firm Mesitis. Credit Suisse, through its digital banking platform, will provide its clients with the ability to access ‘Canopy’, an automated account aggregation platform and reporting solution provided by Mesitis.
PwC is supporting 15 potential new challenger banks on their quest to gain banking licences in the UK, with at least eight in the pipeline as of January 2017. A PwC report in collaboration with the BBA found that UK consumers are increasingly willing to open separate bank accounts to their existing one, with 54 per cent prepared to diversify to get the best deals, against 30 per cent who would prefer one bank for everything.
Speaking at a FinTech forum, Shigehiro Kuwaraba, executive director of the Bank of Japan, warned that financial institutions and financial services providers need to ‘deeply understand’ distributed ledger technology (DLT) in order to advance its services. In his speech, Kuwaraba highlighted that the majority of the core elements of DLT are now being developed by IT vendors and FinTech firms, rather than financial institutions.
Sweden’s Nordea Bank is gearing up for the introduction of the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) by releasing the first version of its Open Banking portal, targeted towards external developers. The site currently has limited functionality but selected pilot activities will be conducted through the portal during 2017, in advance of a full launch.
Financial software company InvestCloud has unveiled plans for its first financial technology accelerator and incubator at its Los Angeles headquarters. The innovation centre is inviting teams from banks, wealth managers and other FinTech firms to undertake residences at the HQ to accelerate the development of new apps through access to InvestCloud’s full technology platform.
UK consumers completed 14.8 billion card transactions in 2016, totalling £647 billion, data from the UK Cards Association shows. This is an increase on the £620 billion spent on cards in the previous year. Three quarters of retail spending was completed through card payments, reaching £298 billion in 2016, compared with £290 billion in 2015.
The UK government has set out its post-Brexit digital strategy which, with the help of Lloyds Banking Group and Barclays, includes offering digital skills to millions of people, charities and businesses by 2020. Under the proposals, Lloyds Banking Group will offer face-to-face digital skills training to 2.5 million individuals, charities and SMEs. Meanwhile, Barclays will teach basic coding to 45,000 more children and assist up to one million people with general digital skills and cyber awareness.
FStech has partnered with China Telecom to host an evening of drinks, canapes and discussion at the Masonic Temple in the Andaz Hotel in Liverpool Street on 30 March 2017. The event is an opportunity to network with peers and listen to views on the relationship between the UK and China following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, and the future finance and technology links that have been created.
Digital wallets, artificial intelligence (AI) and connected devices dominate social media conversations on digital payments, according to a new Mastercard study. The fifth annual Digital Payments Study, which looked at 3.5 million social media posts across 188 global markets in 2016, found that digital wallets – which store customers’ account details electronically – made up 75 per cent of all mentions.
Poor customer service was cited as the main reason UK consumers would be encouraged to switch banks, a new survey from Engage Hub has found. Almost half (48 per cent) cited poor customer service as their biggest concern, followed be inadequate fraud protection (44 per cent). Banks sending irrelevant communications (23 per cent), having a hard-to-use app (17 per cent), and failing to have sufficient digital communication channels (14 per cent) made up the top five.
Japan Exchange Group and the Tokyo Stock Exchange have announced the decision to apply artificial intelligence (AI) technology to market surveillance operations. The two exchanges are working with NEC Corporation and Hitachi to examine ways that AI can be used to conduct preliminary investigations into unfair trading practices. Once suspect practices are identified by the robots, surveillance personnel then determine the possibility of unfair trading before conducting detailed investigations.
Mobile money is proving to be a key driver of economic growth in emerging markets, with more than half a billion mobile money accounts registered worldwide by the end of 2016. This is according to the latest GSMA mobile money report, which found that in December 2016 alone, the industry processed 1.3 billion transactions, averaging around 30,000 transactions per minute. Furthermore, there are more than 4.3 million mobile money agency outlets, with 30 countries now having 10 times more active mobile money agents than bank branches.
Credit checking firm ClearScore has opened its new headquarters in Vauxhall, London, officially opened by Matt Hancock, minister of state for digital and culture. The 8,500 square foot facility is expected to accommodate the firm’s growth plans. Four million people in the UK now use ClearScore, with thousands joining each day. ClearScore plans to create 200 new jobs over the next three years at the site, adding to the 100 people the company already employs.
Swiss-based WIR Bank has, in partnership with SIX Payment Services, launched a new payment card for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs). In collaboration with SIX, WIR Bank launched its new WIRcard plus at the end of 2016 which was exclusively designed with Swiss SME clients in mind. However, until now, holders of the card could only pay at merchants who are also customers of WIR Bank.
Yielders, a London-based startup, has become the first UK FinTech company to receive Sharia Compliance Certification. Becoming fully Sharia certified allows Yielders, an equity-based property crowdfunding platform, to operate across Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Yielders, which is also compliant with FCA regulation, offers the public the opportunity to invest as little as £100 towards buying a share of a crowdfunded property.
Santander and IBM have announced a collaboration to boost client experience by creating a suite of customer service apps designed to support the bank’s 11,000 employees. The suite of IBM MobileFirst for iOS apps aims to support the banking group’s digital transformation and “give employees the tools to create deeper engagements with their customers”.
Nick Ogden, founder and former CEO of Worldpay, today unveiled ClearBank – a startup he described as “the bank for banks” – that has become the first clearing bank to enter the UK market in more than 250 years. Gaining FCA authorisation in December, the bank is currently undergoing a pilot phase with a number of unnamed building society and credit union participants, with the target of opening its doors in autumn 2017.
Visa has announced the launch of Everywhere Initiative in Europe, an innovation programme designed to encourage the development of new payment technologies. Entrants into the initiative will have the opportunity to compete for a €50,000 prize to support a development programme with Visa, or through business partnerships with Visa’s clients, and potentially access to Visa APIs, executive mentors and technologists.
The majority of financial services firms in the UK are worried about the future of their organisation when considering the impact of digital disruption – that’s according to a new survey from Fujitsu. The firm’s Fit for Digital: Co-creation in the Age of Disruption report found that 78 per cent of financial institutions were worried about digital disruption, making it the most concerned industry when compared with the retail, public, manufacturing and utility sectors.
Turkey’s İşbank has announced a new partnership which will allow the bank to offer e-commerce merchants 13 local alternative payment methods worldwide. Under the agreement with e-payment firm PPRO Group, İşbank can now extend access to real-time online-banking payment methods and e-wallets in more than 25 countries in Europe, Asia and Latin America to their merchants looking to enter leading and emerging e-commerce global markets.
UK Chancellor Phillip Hammond has announced that FinTech Week 2017 will take place in April, with the aim of showcasing the sector’s successes and attracting more investment into Britain. Building on the success of last year’s event, UK FinTech Week is designed to bring together industry, government and regulators to focus on the issues affecting FinTech, including investment, access to skills and business support to startups.
Barclays has apologised to customers after experiencing issues affecting debit card and ATM transactions over the weekend. The outage, which took place on Saturday, left many of the bank’s 15 million customers unable to withdraw money from cash machines or use their debit cards in-store. Online banking and in-branch payments were also affected.
Japanese bank Mizuho and tech provider Cognizant have built a new blockchain application after completing trials using the technology for cross-border document sharing and a custom digital currency. The application was developed to help enhance collaboration through facilitating data sharing, as well as the issue and transfer of digital currency between Mizuho subsidiaries. The trial verified that blockchain technology can be leveraged to create an effective platform for information sharing among multiple group companies.
The amount of financial phishing attacks increased by 13 per cent in 2016 to account for 47.5 per cent of all phishing attacks registered by Kaspersky Lab last year. The firm’s anti-phishing technologies detected almost 155 million user attempts to visit different kinds of phishing pages in 2016. Of those, almost half of detections were attempts to visit a financial phishing page – where the aim was to obtain valuable information from users, such as account numbers, social security numbers and login information for online banking.
Barclaycard has agreed two new partnerships that will see its bPay payment technology embedded into jewellery and watch brands available on the High Street. The first deal is with DCK Group with their range of ‘Tutch’ jewellery, while the second is with Tappy Technologies, which embeds payments functionality into watches. Full details on the products, retail stockists and price ranges are set to be announced over the coming months.
A new report from State Street has found that many investment firms are moving slowly to embrace new technologies when compared to leading counterparts in their sector. The study stated that firms who are successful with digital transformation are excelling in integrating their internal and external data; drawing new intelligence from IT to improve decision making, agility and client-centricity; and then safeguarding the data with the highest levels of cyber security.
Credit checking firm ClearScore has launched what it claims is the world’s first chatbot designed to build consumers’ credit confidence. The bot-based service, called Coaching, is free to use and is split into three programmes. Depending on whether someone has a thin credit file, has faced financial challenges in the past or just wants to fine tune their finances, ClearScore automatically recommends the right Coaching programme for them.
The North Wales Business School at Wrexham Glyndwr University has opened applications for a new degree dedicated to financial technology. The three-year course aims to provide students with the appropriate business skills needed to exploit opportunities within the FinTech sector. A mix of theory and practical skills will be incorporated into the course. Students can also study on a fast-track option over two years, saving on a year’s tuition fees.
UK challenger bank Monzo has completed a new £19.5 million funding round, led by Thrive Capital, Passion Capital and Orange Digital Ventures. The digital startup will use the money to launch its current account service later this year as well as expand the bank’s current team of staff. Monzo are also looking to raise a further £2.5 million from a new crowdfunding round. In a blog posting, the firm stated: “Last year our community invested £1 million in Monzo in what is still the fastest crowdfunding round in history — the response was just incredible.
Under a new co-operation agreement between the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), FinTech firms in the UK and Ontario will be able to seek support from their regulators as they look to expand to the other’s market. The regulators may provide support to innovative businesses to help reduce regulatory uncertainty and time to market.
Starling Bank has revealed plans to host its first hackathon, making it the first UK licenced bank to launch a public API in keeping with the ambitions of PSD2 and the Open Banking initiative. The API enables third-parties to access customer data and build on top of the Starling platform to create products and services such as chatbots, spending analytics or connections with the Internet of Things.
Bank of America has introduced new person-to-person payments technology to its mobile banking platform, as part of a broader strategy to digitalise the American banking industry. The new solution makes it easier for users to send, receive and request money, allowing them to use the existing contacts on their mobile device to securely transfer money to peers, regardless of who they bank with.
NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland are investing in specialist ‘TechXperts’, who will help branch customers use online and mobile banking and raise awareness of other convenient ways to bank. By the end of April 2017, NatWest (which has 1,000 branches) and RBS (with 200 branches) aim to have a TechXpert in every outlet in England, Scotland and Wales.
More than half of UK consumers do not trust businesses, including financial institutions, to protect their confidential data, a new report has found. ACI Worldwide’s global survey of more than 6,000 consumers found that only three countries had more than 50 per cent of respondents indicate that they trust institutions to protect their financial and payments data.
Northern Trust has collaborated with IBM to launch a new blockchain-based solution for the private equity market. The two firms have built a distributed ledger solution, based on the Hyperledger Fabric, which is available for use for managing the administration of a private equity fund managed by Unigestion, a Swiss-based asset manager. The blockchain network provides real-time insight and transparency to all parties, including the fund managers and investors as well as allowing regulatory access when required. The blockchain network has been designed to support compliance with current, local regulation and both government and regulator were kept informed during the development process.
The European Banking Authority (EBA) has announced that it will relax controversial rules in the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) following a record number of responses to its proposals. In a speech yesterday at the Westminster Forum, Andrea Enria, chair of the EBA, outlined a number of changes, including raising the additional authentication threshold for remote payment transactions from €10 to €30.
ING Australia has integrated mobile wallet solution Apple Pay, enabling half a million customers to complete secure payments with their mobile. John Arnott, executive director at ING Australia, explained: “At ING we are digital-first, and increasingly mobile-first. Our customers are the most digitally engaged of any bank in this country, with 74 per cent of their interactions with us through our mobile app – that’s almost 200,000 interactions through mobile each day.”
Switzerland’s Valiant Bank has collaborated with Backbase to deliver a new customer engagement platform, which aims to increase agility and management control across all channels. With the new platform, Valiant Bank has set itself the goals of expanding customer interaction via its online channels and enhancing the banking experience for all customer segments and other stakeholders. The first step in this digital transformation journey was its public customer website, which was launched in mid-January.
TransferWise has integrated its payments platform with Facebook Messenger, enabling customers to send money and set up rate alerts directly from the social messaging app. The chatbot is able to set up transfers from the US, UK, Canada, Australia and Europe, guiding customers through each step. If users make regular payments between two currencies, rate alerts can be set up to stay updated on the daily exchange rate.
Visa has announced the launch of a new innovation centre at it European headquarters in London, encouraging institutions, merchants and other partners to work alongside Visa in the development of new payment technologies. The 1,000 square metre facility, located in Paddington Basin, features practical demonstrations for visitors, including applications of the Internet of Things (IoT) in connected car and connected home environments, such as paying for car insurance or placing a grocery order from a refrigerator. Visitors can also experience virtual reality to choose a seat for upcoming events, as well as biometric authentication to pay for tickets.
RBS is to deliver a series of initiatives worth £750 million to support challenger banks and the FinTech sector, under new proposals put forward by the UK government in lieu of the sale of RBS subsidiary Williams and Glyn. The plans from HM Treasury, which have been made in agreement with RBS, are designed to help small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) access and benefit from greater choice in the banking services available to them.
Estonia’s Bigbank AS has collaborated with Accuity to streamline its account and payments screening processes and help it better identity financial crime risk, highlight potential sanction breaches and flag high-risk customers. The new solution from risk software firm Accuity allows for more robust customer screening and the strengthening of existing ‘know your customer’ measures that are currently in place across the business.
Barclaycard has announced that it has extended its contract to provide payment solutions to Transport for London (TfL) as part of a new 10 year deal. As TfL’s merchant acquirer, Barclaycard will support the launch of the new Elizabeth line as well as help introduce contactless payments for train travel beyond London. The renewed contract runs for seven years with an option to extend for a further three years.
Asian FinTech firm 8 Securities has opened up its B2B robo-advisor platform to banks and asset managers across the region, following a successful launch in Hong Kong. The platform allows financial institutions to customise the robo-advisor in order to meet the needs of their customers, and can be launched in any geography, language and currency in a matter of months.
Singapore’s DBS Bank has announced its intention to launch a new coding hackathon as it looks to hire 100 developers skilled in emerging and disruptive technologies. The Hack2Hire event, believed to be the first of its kind in Southe East Asia, aims to identify top coding talent skilled in disruptive technologies such as the cloud, machine learning and bBig dData, allowing the bank to drive its digital growth.
The Bank of Canada has published a report assessing the use and future of digital currencies such as Bitcoin, concluding that “appropriate government regulation” is vital for them to succeed in the long-term. The report provides a brief history of bank notes and ‘Dominion’ notes in Canada from the 19th and 20th centuries and looks at how they compare with the rise of digital currencies today.
US-based Fifth Third Bank has selected AxiomSL’s platform to meet the requirements for its analytical and regulatory reporting needs. The new solution enables Fifth Third to manage its risk exposure across all business functions more effectively and transparently. The high-performance capabilities of the platform in gathering, aggregating, enriching, validating and processing large amounts of data across multiple systems were key considerations for the bank.
Chase has announced plans to launch a digital self-serve mortgage platform designed to allow customers to track a loan application entirely online or from any mobile device. The new platform, which will be rolled out later this year, is expected to offer a faster and more transparent home loan process for consumers. Through collaboration with Roostify, a mortgage technology provider, the platform aims to improve the customer experience through enhanced mobile accessibility, digital updates, eSign capabilities, and direct interactions with Chase mortgage professionals.
Banking software firm Temenos has confirmed that it has entered into a binding Scheme Implementation Deed to acquire Rubik Financial, a software provider to the financial services sector in Australia. Founded in 2007, Rubik provides banking, wealth management and mortgage broking solutions, primarily in Australia, and also internationally across Asia and the Middle East. In the past, Rubik has successfully used Temenos solutions as the foundation for its banking and digital front end platform.
IBM and Visa have announced a landmark collaboration which will see billions of automobiles, appliances and other connected devices turned into potential points of sale. The partnership will bring the point of sale everywhere Visa is accepted, allowing businesses to introduce secure payments for any device connected to the Internet of Things (IoT).
Half of UK consumers won’t spend more than 20 minutes applying for financial products online, according to research from business insights firm Equifax. The survey, which was conducted by YouGov and took in responses from more than 2,000 UK adults, also found that after submitting an application for a financial product online, many consumers expect an immediate decision on whether they have been approved for short term loans (34 per cent), credit cards (26 per cent) and bank loans (18 per cent).
SWIFT has announced that a number of international banks are now using its new global payments innovation (gpi), which opened for live payments in January 2017. ABN AMRO, Bank of China, BBVA, Citi, Danske Bank, DBS Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, ING Bank, Intesa Sanpaolo, Nordea Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and UniCredit are live with the new solution, exchanging payments across 60 country corridors. Additional banks are expected to join in the coming months.
Traity, a Spanish startup which focuses on ‘online reputation’ has announced the launch of a new blockchain-based insurance chatbot, which aims to protect online shoppers from frauds or scams. The chatbot, which is called Kevin, has been developed in collaboration with Suncorp, Australia’s largest insurance company. Buyers and sellers notify Kevin of the type and value of transactions. Kevin then, using Traity’s algorithms, checks the identity of the buyer and seller and analyses the information from social networks in order to avoid fake identities. Once Kevin approves them, a guarantee is created against fraud and scams.
The European mobile payments market will almost triple over the next five years, increasing from $52 billion at the end of 2015 to $148 billion by 2021, a new report predicts. Forrester’s Mobile Payments Forecast 2016-2021 report describes the three types of mobile payments: mobile in-person payments; mobile remote payments, such as purchasing via an app when the consumer is not physically present with the seller; and person-to-person payments.
NatWest has announced that it is set to launch a new digital platform to allow small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) to quickly obtain unsecured loans of up to £150,000. The new Esme Loans service aims to give customers a fast decision on their lending application which, if successful, should result in rapid funding, potentially within an hour. Working with Ezbob, a FinTech loans startup, Esme has been developed in response to the emergence of direct and P2P lending platforms, and aims to simplify and speed up the lending process.
Global venture-backed FinTech investment declined by 13 per cent in 2016 compared with the previous year, with the number of deals falling by one per cent, according to a new report by CB Insights. In 2016 FinTech startups across the globe raised $12.7 billion from 836 deals; down on 2015’s record high of $14.6 billion from 848 deals.
Innovation foundation Nesta has launched the Open Up Challenge, a £5 million prize fund to inspire the development of new banking services, apps and tools for the UK’s five million small businesses. The programme is looking worldwide for 20 winning entries that will use Open Banking APIs – available from early 2018 – to transform the way that small businesses use core financial products.
PayPal has announced a definitive agreement to acquire multi-channel bill payment processing firm TIO Networks for approximately $233 million. Vancouver-based TIO is a cloud-based processing and receivables management firm, which processed more than $7 billion in consumer bill payments in fiscal 2016. The firm serves 14 million consumer bill payment accounts and has more than 10,000 supported billers, including telecom, wireless, cable and utility companies.
Jaguar drivers can now use their car’s touchscreen system to pay for fuel at Shell service stations with a new cashless payment app. Initially launching in the UK, the new service allows customers to drive up to any pump at a Shell service station, use their vehicle’s touchscreen to select how much fuel they have filled up with, and then pay using PayPal or Apple Pay. Android Pay will be added later in 2017.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has announced the formation of a new Data Analytics Group (DAG), which will begin operations in mid-March. The group has been established to unlock insights and enhance the supervision of financial institutions, make regulatory compliance more efficient for institutions, and improve work efficiency across the wider MAS organisation. DAG will comprise of three units, including the Data Governance & Architecture Office
Following the completion of a $1.3 million funding round, TrueLayer has launched the private beta of its API platform that aims to connect FinTech applications with financial services institutions. The platform gives developers an easy way to access the bank data they need (via the forthcoming PSD2 regulation) to build new apps and services. Financial providers and other regulated businesses will also be able to use the platform to drive their technology innovation.
US military financial services group USAA has launched a new design studio in Austin, Texas, focusing on building an improved digital experience for customers. The studio will house more than 120 employees, who will be working on a number of new projects, from website design to the optimisation of internal processes, in order to provide a more efficient service for customers.
The Malaysian arm of Al Rajhi Bank is planning a “comprehensive digital transformation” of both its corporate and retail banking services. Al Rajhi Banking & Investment Corporation Malaysia (ARBM) will be embarking on the digital overhaul this month. It hopes the new strategy will provide a richer banking experience for its customers in a move that will see a shift away from traditional branch banking to online, mobile and tablet banking applications. The bank also intends to boost its mobile sales force and invest in pop-up branches.
Santander is trialling a new solution on its iOS SmartBank app, enabling customers to use their voice to make payments, check their account balance and report a lost bank card. It is the first High Street bank to offer such service. The new technology follows the launch of Santander’s ‘voice assistant banking’ last year, with the enhanced functionality now understanding commands such as “pay Julia £30 tomorrow”, “how much did I spend on holiday?”, and “what is my balance?”.
Air Bank, an emerging financial institution in the Czech Republic, has partnered with ATM giant Diebold Nixdorf for the deployment of its new contactless cash dispenser. The CS 2020 devices feature a range of new digital functions, including the ability to authenticate and transact without the use of a traditional card reader or PIN pad. Rather than inserting their bank card to withdraw cash, consumers can tap a NFC-enabled payment card, stick or sticker.
A new specialist FinTech hub based at the Royal Bank of Scotland’s headquarters in Edinburgh is due to open its doors to tech entrepreneurs in May 2017. The new venture is backed by both the UK and Scottish governments and is estimated to be worth up to £6 billion to the UK economy. The hub will bring together industry leaders and networks to build, grow and scale FinTech businesses.
US bank Wells Fargo is restructuring its recently formed Payments, Virtual Solutions and Innovation Group to help it focus on developing emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI). The move will help increase connectivity for the organisation’s payments projects, accelerate opportunities with AI, and advance application programming interfaces (APIs) for corporate banking customers.
The Bank of England (BoE) is to work with FinTech startup Anomali after running a successful proof of concept looking at innovative technologies that collect, integrate and investigate cyber security intelligence data. As a result of the two-month proof of concept – part of the Bank of England’s FinTech accelerator programme – the bank has agreed to extend its working relationship with Anomali to monitor and mitigate the efforts against cyber threats.
Metro Bank has accelerated project delivery and cut data provisioning time by 80 per cent after deploying a new platform from data virtualisation firm Delphix. The challenger bank wanted to embrace DevOps in order to reduce development times and continuously deliver improvements and new features, as part of the firm’s expansion plans. Consequently, Metro Bank selected Delphix’s data virtualisation solution which took two weeks to deploy with return of investment (ROI) achieved within six weeks.
ABN AMRO has teamed up with InvoiceSharing to trial a new touch-free accounting solution which provides SMEs with the ability to automate largely manual accounting processes. The announcement was made at Finovate Europe 2017 earlier this week, and a total of 20 companies will test-run the new solution.
IT spending in the banking and securities industry in the mature Asia-Pacific region will reach $67.1 billion in 2017, an increase of 5.4 per cent on the previous year, technology research firm Gartner predicts. The forecast provides total enterprise IT spending including on data centre systems, devices, software, IT services and telecom services. The mature Asia/Pacific region consists of the following countries: Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea.
NatWest is to go live with a new investment service for its online banking customers at the end of this month. ‘Natwest Invest’ is launching on 20 February, and will allow account holders to self-select an investment fund and the level of risk that they wish to take. Customers must invest a minimum of £500 for at least five years, and can track their fund’s performance online 24x7 using their normal online banking login details. They can also top up their investment pots from their NatWest accounts.
IBM has announced a blockchain initiative with Dubai Customs and Dubai Trade to advance the Dubai government’s blockchain strategy. IBM is also working with leading businesses including Emirates NBD, du, Aramex, and Banco Santander. IBM will be working with the organisations and their IT provider DuTech to explore the use of blockchain for a trade finance and logistics solution for the import and re-export process of goods in and out of Dubai.
By 2021, nearly 3 billion users globally will access retail banking services via smartphones, tablets, PCs and smartwatches – a 53 per cent rise on last year, according to Juniper Research. The research suggests that usage will continue to rise as consumers increasingly opt for banks offering the convenience of rapid, multi-channel digital services, with half of the global adult population using digital banking services by 2021.
Sberbank has rolled out its new personal assistant service on Sberbank Online, which uses machine learning to help clients change their financial habits and provide them with useful recommendations. The new function can be found in the My Assistant section of the mobile app, and allows users to analyse their expenses and set up a monthly budget. The assistant also gives recommendations based on the client’s financial activity, allowing them to tap on a link to use the recommended service or find out more information.
Nearly two thirds of Brits are interested in the future of FinTech with one in four believing that new innovations have made budgeting easier, a new Nationwide poll has discovered. However, despite 65 per cent of survey respondents showing an interest in the future of consumer financial technology, a fifth are nervous that new technologies will replace human engagement. The Nationwide Building Society poll, which was commissioned to mark the UK’s first FinTech Fortnight event, shows that around two thirds (65 per cent) of Brits recognise the benefits of FinTech.
FinovateEurope returned to London for the sixth year running this week, with 71 companies given seven minutes to demo their latest FinTech products and innovations to a crowd of more than 1,000 executives, venture capitalists, product managers, entrepreneurs and press. After the presentations, the audience were encouraged to vote for the technologies which they thought represented the Best of Show. The winners were:
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has issued a report of distributed ledger technology (DLT), setting out its possible applications, benefits, risks and how it maps to existing EU regulation. ESMA believes that DLT could bring a number of benefits to financial markets, including more efficient post-trade services, enhanced reporting capabilities and reduced costs. ESMA expects the early applications of DLT to focus on optimising processes using the current market structure.
Visa has officially opened its new office in Silicon Valley – designed to be a centre for innovation, disruption and research. The new centre will play host technologists, academics and global thinkers, as well as Visa Research – a new organisation focusing on the foundation of cutting-edge technologies, from blockchain and cryptography to artificial intelligence and deep machine learning.
VC investment for FinTech firms in the UK dropped 33.7 per cent to $783 million last year, according to statistics compiled by Innovate Finance. By comparison, global VC investment in FinTech increased by 10.9 per cent to $17.4 billion in 2016, with 1,436 deals completed in total. However, nine of the top 20 UK deals were still closed after the EU referendum result, with total investment in the second half of 2016 valued at $368 million.
Some 80 per cent of bankers expect to see the commercial adoption of blockchain by 2020, with half of financial institutions already investing or planning to invest in the technology in 2017, according to a new report from Infosys Finacle. The Blockchain Technology: From Hype to Reality study surveyed 100 senior business and technology leaders from 75 financial institutions worldwide, finding that a third of respondents expect to see commercial blockchain adoption by 2018.
Digital money transfer service WorldRemit is now available in the CIS markets of Ukraine, Armenia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, expanding its partnership with the oldest Russian payment system, CONTACT. WorldRemit users can now send money to be collected as cash pick up at more than 3,000 locations in Ukraine, 330 PoS in Kazakhstan, 120 PoS in Belarus and 65 PoS in Armenia. With the WorldRemit app or website, people in more than 50 countries can send instant, secure money transfers to more than 125 destinations.