Over 40 per cent of businesses experienced a cyber security breach or attack in the last 12 months, according to a new report from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. The Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2018 was carried out among 1,519 UK businesses, with 50 in-depth follow-up interviews, finding that three quarters of businesses have made cyber security a high priority for their senior management.
Areal Bank, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, DZ Bank and Nets Group have become the first five corporate partners to join the FinTech Europe Innovation Platform, established by Plug and Play and TechQuartier. The partnership, known as FinTech Europe, is based in Frankfurt and will be home to disruptive and innovative startups who will be piloting their solutions alongside leading financial institutions. The goal of Fintech Europe is to have 10-15 banks and financial service providers as partners in Frankfurt.
TSB’s CEO stated on Twitter this morning that the TSB mobile banking app and website were up and running again, following five days of technical problems which saw customers being locked out of their accounts, vanishing payments and mortgages, and some users being able to see others’ details. Despite the statement, many customers remain unable to access the bank’s services, receiving the message: “We’ve restricted the number of customers who can log in at once to ensure a good service once you’re in. So please bear with us and keep trying.”
With only a month to go until the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force across the UK, experts have warned that many companies still have work to do. Under the GDPR, all companies that collect and process data from European Union citizens face fines of up to €20 million, or 4 per cent of global revenues; whichever is greater.
Saxo Bank is aiming to run its entire technology stack on the Microsoft Cloud, as part of a new partnership. As part of Saxo’s ‘banking-as-a-service model, which allows other banks and brokers to leverage its technology and global capital markets access, the decision was made to use the Microsoft Cloud to ensure scalability, flexibility and security in digital infrastructure.
Digital payments specialist Nets has started testing finger vein payments with students and visitors at Copenhagen Business School (CBS). The FinTech firm said that scanning the structure of veins in customers’ fingers makes for faster and safer payments.
Yolt has completed Open Banking integration with the RBS Group, becoming the first mobile app to do so with one of the big nine UK banks. Last month, the ING-owned app stated it was onboarding up to 100 users per day from RBS, Natwest and Ulster Bank under the new regulations.
Two thirds of online banking systems still contain at least one critical vulnerability, according to Positive Technologies’ Financial Application Vulnerabilities report. Drawn from audits performed by the company, the data showed that each e-banking system analysed in 2017 contained, on average, seven vulnerabilities – up from six in 2016.
Britain’s financial firms must work in collaboration with law enforcement and government agencies in order to tackle the threat of cyber crime, according to UK Finance and KPMG. A new report argued that the threat of cyber crime cannot be mitigated just by spending more money, but rather by increased collaboration to render cyber criminals’ markets, tools and systems ineffective.
Swedbank is strengthening its partnership with software firm Meniga by making a €3 million equity investment, as part of a latest strategic financing round. The companies started working together last year to improve Swedbank’s digital customer experience through a personal finance activity feed and data aggregation platform.
Research from Intrinsic Insights has found that 87 per cent of technology professionals believe blockchain will be as transformative for business as the internet has been. Commissioned by BTL Group, the study asked 279 IT professionals in the UK and US about the impact of blockchain. It found the main benefits of the technology are greater data security and protection against cyber threats.
The Central Bank of Ireland will launch an innovation hub and industry engagement programme to keep up with the evolving FinTech and regulatory landscapes. In a speech this morning, the director general for financial conduct Derville Rowland announced that the unit will focus on engagement, sharing and listening.
The shadow chancellor John McDonnell has welcomed the “substantial” impact of big data and artificial intelligence (AI), but warned that effective regulation would be needed to realise the benefits. Speaking at Bloomberg’s new European headquarters yesterday, he cited the Bank of England’s last stress tests, which estimated that existing banks could take a £1 billion hit to their profits as a result of FinTech innovation.
Cash remains the most widely used form of payment in all regions of the world, while the amount of cash in circulation is growing, according to a report from G4S. The World Cash report surveyed 47 countries covering three quarters of the global population and over 90 per cent of the world’s GDP, with results revealing a growing global demand for cash – despite the increase in electronic payment options in recent years. Cash in circulation relative to GDP has increased to 9.6 per cent across all continents, up from 8.1 per cent in 2011.
A rise in the trend of ‘fake data’ could make global banks vulnerable to false business insights and bad decisions, according to a new report from Accenture. The study found that many banks have not invested in the capabilities to verify the validity and accuracy of their data. A survey of more than 6,300 business and IT executives across 27 countries found that only 11 per cent trust their data is reliable, but do not validate it. A further 16 per cent try to validate their data but are not sure of the quality, while 24 per cent validate the data, but recognise that they should do a lot more to ensure the quality.
Financial inclusion is on the rise globally, accelerated by mobile phones and the internet, but gains have been uneven across countries, according to a World Bank report. Globally, 69 per cent of adults – 3.8 billion people – now have an account at a bank or mobile money provider, up from 62 per cent in 2014 and just 51 per cent in 2011.
Swedish FinTech firm Tink has launched an application programming interface (API) platform, granting developers in companies of all sizes, across any sector, access to its technology. This will allow developers to use Tink’s account aggregation and categorisation products via a self-serving platform, with access to financial data from more than 300 banks in a single API, once the end user has given their consent for this data to be accessed.
Mastercard has called on merchants, acquirers, issuers and other technology players to support the new EMVCo Secure Remote Commerce (SRC) framework, which aims to create a ubiquitous online payments experience for global shoppers. Mastercard believes that SRC can be implemented as one, common checkout button – delivering a more consistent checkout experience by reducing the multiple steps that consumers face at different sites.
The use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in financial services is on the rise, with 83 per cent of banks having evaluated such solutions, and 67 per cent having actively deployed them. Capital market research firm TABB Group surveyed 200 global tier one and tier two banks on behalf of augmented intelligence solutions provider Squirro, also revealing that 87 per cent of bankers said it would be highly impactful if an AI engine could spot relevant events that led to engaging with a client and closing a deal.
Japanese payments firm JCB will conduct a trial of its new biometric card which features fingerprint authentication. Enabled by IDEMIA, the new payment solution requires users to first register one or more fingerprints for authentication purposes. When they want to buy something, they need only touch the fingerprint sensor on the card's lower right corner with their finger so as to authenticate payment.
The Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) has confirmed its Managed Roll Out programme has successfully proven the account data access functionality of the Open Banking system, so FCA-authorised third parties are now able to offer products based on it to customers. However, as regulated companies have focused on the data capabilities of Open Banking, a statement explained that it has not been possible to test the payments functionality to the same degree, so new payments-focused services will still be put through extensive proving as they engage with the system.
The Bank of England (BoE) has announced that the first non-bank payment service provider (PSP) has joined a UK payment system settling in central bank money. TransferWise, a Financial Conduct Authority-regulated PSP facilitating the international transfer of payments, is now a direct participant in the UK’s Faster Payments system.
Brazilian lending platform Creditas has secured $55 million in a Series C funding round, led by Vostok Emerging Finance, with participation from current investors and Santander InnoVentures, the FinTech venture capital fund of Santander Group. Creditas has grown seven-fold in the past 12 months, and plans to use the news funds to support the company’s rapid expansion – with significant investment in technology and the expansion of its client base.
Lloyds Banking Group has confirmed cuts to 305 staff and closures of 49 branches as part of its ongoing digitalisation plan. The latest staff and branch reductions are part of a three year plan to shut and shrink its physical outposts in favour of a more digital, online approach.
The 6th annual Payments Awards have launched today, with entries open to companies demonstrating excellence and innovation in the payments space. Organised by FStech and Retail Systems - in association with Bandwidth, Card & Payments Jobs and PIF - the awards ceremony will return to the London Marriott in Grosvenor Square on 14 November.
Spanish bank BBVA has invested $50 million in an investment fund specialising in artificial intelligence (AI), established by Kai-Fu Lee, former president of Google China. As a result of the investment, the bank hopes to gain key insights and access into the growing Chinese innovation market, particularly around usage of AI. Likewise, from a financial perspective, it will also give BBVA the opportunity to understand and potentially co-invest into Chinese AI technological startups.
FinTech Australia has responded to calls from banks and industry bodies to phase the implementation of Open Banking legislation by urging the government to resist such delaying tactics. The consultation period for Australia’s review into Open Banking concluded last month, with the Australian Banking Association stating the Treasury should adopt a “phased approach” to including different banking products and calling into question the 12-month time frame for reforms.
Digital challenger bank Revolut has announced the launch of Vaults – a new feature enabling users to round up and save spare change from everyday purchases. Users will be able to save money in any of their 25 supported currencies, as well as Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ether. One-off or regular payments can also be added to a Vault at any time through the Revolut mobile app.
Barclays UK has established a new unit, Barclays UK Ventures, to focus on developing new business lines and promoting innovation. Led by Ben Davey, formerly Barclays’ group head of strategy, it will have the mandate and space to find and develop opportunities both within and outside the bank. Those will then be captured through a combination of organic build-out, commercial partnerships and venture investments.
Metro Bank is planning to launch an artificial intelligence (AI) powered money management service, Insights, this summer via its app. Developed with Personetics, it uses predictive analytics capabilities, alongside AI, to continuously monitor transaction data and patterns in real-time, identifying relevant trends and events in users’ spending habits. These are then translated into tailored prompts, providing customers with more control over their finances.
Eight in 10 UK Millennials trust that the personal information they provide online is kept private, according to new research from Satsuma. The study of 1,000 people aged between 18 and 24 found that banks are the most trusted institution, with 85 per cent of Millennials having faith that their bank keeps their information private and safe.
CybSafe has been selected by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to help shape guidance on tackling the human aspect of cyber security in the financial services sector. The cyber security awareness platform has been adopted by the UK regulator to determine how it can measure and improve personnel security and culture within financial services organisations as part of its 2018/2019 Business Plan.
Financial management platform Moneyhub has integrated with Monzo and Starling’s application programming interfaces (APIs) to offer the digital-only banks’ customers a holistic overview of all their assets. Users of the two UK challenger banks will now have access to Moneyhub’s proprietary categorisation engine and can link up current and savings accounts alongside any credit cards, pensions, loans, mortgages, properties, ISAs or investments.
The House of Lords has called on the UK industry to lead the way in the development of artificial intelligence (AI) solutions, providing the economy with a major boost for years to come. The House of Lords Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence published its AI in the UK: Ready, Willing and Able? report today, with chairman of the Committee, Lord Clement-Jones, noting that the UK has a unique opportunity to shape AI positively for the public’s benefit. “The UK contains leading AI companies, a dynamic academic research culture, and a vigorous start-up ecosystem as well as a host of legal, ethical, financial and linguistic strengths.”
UK-based savings platform Oval Money has raised £1.3 million in its latest funding round, with more than 60 per cent generated through the Crowdcude platform. The FCA-authorised firm plans to use the funds to help launch a feature within the platform that will allow people to invest their money in the industry’s first multi-sided marketplace for savings and investments products.
Global payments provider Paysafe has reached an agreement to acquire iPayment – a US-based provider of payment and processing solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The acquisition forms part of Paysafe’s investment strategy to expand its presence in North America in response to significant growth opportunities, particularly in the fast-growing SME sector.
Half of UK Millennials would like to have all their bills, accounts, investments and other financial information on one mobile app - a figure which rises to 60 per cent of under-24s - according to Crealogix UK research. The digital banking solutions provider surveyed 2,000 UK consumers in February, finding that 51 per cent of Millennials (defined as those aged 18-34) think Open Banking is a good idea as it will help them budget better, compared to just 12 per cent of over-55s.
The European Commission has announced that 22 European countries have signed a declaration on the establishment of a European Blockchain Partnership. Signatories will exchange experience and expertise in technical and regulatory fields in preparation for the launch of EU-wide blockchain applications across the Digital Single Market.
Bank of America has launched the Digital Mortgage Experience to guide clients through the mortgage process via its mobile app or website. With advanced application prefill capabilities, clients can have many aspects of their mortgage application auto-populated, significantly reducing time and effort.
Peer-to-peer lender Zopa has undergone a governance restructure in advance of launching its next generation bank. This will establish separate boards for the Zopa P2P business, proposed bank - subject to banking licence approval - and group, in order to facilitate the increasing scale, ensure good corporate governance and protect the interests of its customers.
Mastercard has announced it will expand its presence in Ireland, hiring 175 new employees in Dublin focused on driving innovation in payments. Roles include software engineers, blockchain specialists, data scientists, project managers, analysts, product designers, cloud infrastructure specialists and information security experts.
Santander has launched the first blockchain-based international money transfer service across four countries. Santander One Pay FX will make it possible for customers to complete international transfers on the same day in many cases or by the next day.
The co-founder and chief technology officer at challenger bank Revolut has suggested that the rise of blockchain technology, contactless and mobile payments, will lead the UK to be fully cashless within the next 10 years. Vlad Yatsenko opined that financial institutions must adapt to this rapidly changing landscape, with Revolut aiming to be at the forefront of a cashless society.
Three quarters of Brits would be willing to choose a digital-only bank for a financial product, yet only one in 10 would prefer to use a digital-only bank over a traditional High Street bank, according to MoneySuperMarket research. The comparison website surveyed 1,021 UK homeowners during February, finding that 37 per cent did not trust these new banks enough to allow them to share their financial data with other providers under the new Open Banking rules.
Two-thirds of senior IT decision-makers believe failure to adopt artificial intelligence (AI) will lead to a loss of competitiveness, according to Feefo research. The survey of 100 senior IT decision-makers in the UK also found that 96 per cent think AI will have a positive effect on customer-engagement in their organisation, with 61 per cent stating they are using, or will use, AI for customer-service analysis and intervention.
Ransomware attacks are a key cyber security threat for global organisations, according to Verizon’s 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report. It is the most common type of malware, found in 39 per cent of malware-related data breaches - double that of last year’s report - accounting for over 700 incidents.
A total of 192 ATM malware and logical attacks were reported across Europe in 2017, an increase of 231 per cent from 2016, new research from the European Association for Secure Transactions (EAST) has found. Some 189 of the attacks were logical attacks where equipment typically referred to as a ‘black box’ is used to send dispense commands directly to the ATM cash dispenser in order to cash-out the ATM.
Lebara has made WorldRemit its exclusive global money transfer partner, enabling more than three million Lebara Mobile and Lebara Money users to use WorldRemit’s service directly from the Lebara app and website. Lebara customers in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands and Denmark will benefit from WorldRemit’s payout network in over 145 countries and its low cost digital money transfer service.
HSBC has selected big data specialists Quantexa to support the bank in combatting money laundering, following a successful pilot. The bank will integrate Quantexa’s technology into its systems later this year, enabling HSBC to spot potential money laundering activity through analysing internal, publicly available, and transactional data within a customer’s wider network. The deployment of the technology follows a pilot of the software with HSBC in 2017.
Francisco Partners, a technology-focused private equity firm, has entered into a definitive agreement for the purchase of payments firm Verifone for a total consideration of approximately $3.4 billion. Under the terms of the agreement, Verifone stockholders will receive $23.04 in cash for each share of Verifone common stock held, representing a premium of approximately 54 per cent to the Company’s closing share price of $15.00 on April 9, 2018.
FinTech in Scotland has attracted nearly £37 million investment over the last 10 years, with an ‘ecosystem’ of startups, large firms, universities and the public sector. Firms such as HSBC, Morgan Stanley, NCR, Ingenico and Avaloq all have headquarters in Scotland, while JPMorgan’s European Technology Centre in Glasgow is a key hub, with 1,300 employees.
Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has announced the launch of Coinbase Ventures – a new venture capital arm that will be investing in “the best and brightest minds in the crypto space”. With the new fund, Coinbase will be providing financing to early-stage startups that are exploring new technologies and ideas within the cryptocurrency market. The goal of the fund is to enable these companies to scale successfully, forge strong relationships within the industry and spur development.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published its Business Plan for 2018/19, setting out several pieces of regulatory work in the FinTech sector. The regulator stated that it intends to respond to the Treasury Committee’s enquiry into cryptocurrencies, although it noted they are not currently within the FCA’s regulatory perimeter.
Three quarters of UK businesses are confident they will comply with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), due to come into force across the European Union on 25 May 2018, according to EfficientIP. The network security technology provider commissioned a survey of 1,000 senior IT officials at businesses across the EU, North America, Asia and Australasia. It found that 86 per cent of UK firms believe GDPR compliance will increase customer loyalty.
DriveWealth has announced the closure of a $21 million (£15 million) Series B investment, led by Raptor Group Holdings, SBI Holdings and Point72 Ventures. The company offers a range of APIs to modernise financial services for online brokers, digital advisors and mobile online financial services companies, helping them access the US securities market. “We are thrilled to partner with SBI Group, Japan’s leading provider of internet financial services and two leading venture investing firms
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has banned the banks it regulates from dealing or settling cryptocurrencies. In a statement yesterday, the regulator noted that technological innovations, including those underlying virtual currencies, have the potential to improve the efficiency and inclusiveness of the financial system.
An updated, voluntary Code of Conduct for Indirect Access Providers (IAPs) has been published following a consultation with stakeholders. The code is aimed at improving the experience of Indirect Payment Service Providers (IPSPs) by clearly setting out the responsibilities of IAPs that subscribe to it.
The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has set up a FinTech programme to consider innovation facilitators and carry out a proof of concept (PoC) on using distributed ledger technology (DLT) for interbank clearing and settlement.
The main goal is to track and analyse new developments and to assist policymakers in formulating suitable frameworks.
Businesses must get smarter in how they handle money laundering or face some hefty financial fines from HM Revenue & Customs, according to Gordon Dadds. The legal and professional services firm blamed the digitalisation of cash for exposing many companies to criminal money being inadvertently laundered through banks and regulated businesses.
The first digital mortgage deed has been entered into the Land Register, under a new service to speed up the signature process. Coventry Building Society and Enact Conveyancing lodged the first digitally signed mortgage for a house in Rotherhithe, London.
Digital-only challenger bank Monzo has reported that 94 per cent - or 362,000 - of its beta customers have upgraded to current accounts. After launching in beta in March 2016, Monzo received its banking licence last year and started asking its prepaid users to make the free upgrade.
Payment card data remains the primary source of cyber fraud, representing 40 per cent of total incidents in 2017, according to the latest Trustwave Global Security report. Of that 40 per cent, card-track (magnetic stripe) data made up 22 per cent and card-not-present, which is mostly used in e-commerce transactions, accounted for 18 per cent. This is a significant decline from 2016, when attackers targeted card data in almost two thirds of incidents.
Faced with the growing threats of cyber fraud, cryptocurrency, quantum computing and open banking, financial institutions are planning to increase their compliance investment, according to a new report from Accenture. A global survey of 150 compliance executives at financial services institutions found that 89 per cent expect to increase their compliance investments over the next two years.
Over two billion consumers worldwide will use a mobile wallet to make a payment or send money in 2019, according to Juniper Research, up by almost 30 per cent on the 1.6 billion recorded in 2017. The study found that contactless card payments remain far more prevalent than mobile payments in most markets, but leading wallets are seeking to redress the balance by enabling both online and offline payment options.
The majority of chatbot owners and developers are not satisfied with the performance of their artificial intelligence assistants, suggesting human validation is still key. Text analytics specialists Warwick Analytics surveyed 551 professionals involved in the development or management of chatbots, finding 59 per cent of businesses who have a chatbot are unsatisfied.
Saxo Bank has launched SaxoTraderPRO, a new trading platform for private traders and institutional clients. This will replace the current SaxoTrader platform, while SaxoTraderGO continues to cater to a wider range of retail traders and investors. The FinTech specialist connects users with more than 100 global liquidity providers and exchanges to offer access to more than 35,000 financial instruments across stocks, bonds, ETFs, CFDs, foreign exchange, futures and options that are cross margined from a single account.
Only a third of businesses have a financial plan in place in the event of a cyber attack, but over a third would pay a ransom to get their systems and data back, according to Lloyds Bank. Only half of companies discuss the risk of cyber at board level, while only a quarter of firms have dedicated cyber insurance.
NatWest has strengthened its fraud protection systems with the adoption of a machine learning solution - Corporate Fraud Insights from Vocalink Analytics. The system is designed to detect and prevent invoice redirection fraud, which is where businesses are duped into paying money into a fraudster’s account rather than to their intended supplier.
The Bank of England has started a proof of concept project to understand how the renewed Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) service could be capable of interacting with distributed ledger technology (DLT). A statement explained that although the BoE concluded that DLT is not yet sufficiently mature to provide the core for the next generation of RTGS, it places a high priority on ensuring that the new service is capable of interfacing with DLT as and when it is developed in the wider sterling markets.
Brightside Group has partnered with Data Capture Solutions to introduce robotics for the first time into its back office. DCS helped identify the most suitable parts of the operation for Robotic Process Automation (RPA), like compiling document packs where the insurance documents are coming from third parties portals, reconciling invoices and posting credits received from debt cases.
CME Group will acquire NEX Group for $5.5 billion (£3.9 billion) in a transaction valued at £10 per share, consisting of 500 pence in cash and 0.0444 CME shares. The proposed transaction has been approved unanimously by the board of directors of both companies and is expected to close, pending approvals by regulators and NEX shareholders, in the second half of 2018.
Global investment in the insurance technology industry surged in 2017, with Europe emerging as a new InsurTech hub outside the US, according to Accenture research. The number of InsurTech deals increased 39 per cent globally last year, with the total value of deals up 32 per cent, to $2.3 billion.
TSB has unveiled plans to create a lending marketplace to help small UK businesses attract the funding they need to scale effectively. The challenger bank will be partnering with Funding Options to launch the marketplace in May, enabling SMEs to compare financing options in one place, opening up the range of loans and types of finance on offer to them. TSB’s new commercial banking director, Richard Davies, will also head up a multi-million pound investment programme to build new banking services for small businesses across the UK.
Eli Rosner has joined Finastra as chief product and technology officer, and will lead a team of strategy and product managers, architects, data scientists and software engineers. Rosner joins with more than 25 years of industry experience, joining from NCR Corporation where he served as chief technology officer and head of product management. Prior to this, he was chief business delivery officer at Solera Holding Company, where he optimised the portfolio and led projects to modernise products and converge to a common platform.
Royal Bank of Scotland has had a takeover bid for accounting software firm FreeAgent accepted, valuing the company at £53 million. RBS will acquire the entire issued and to be issued ordinary share capital of FreeAgent. Shareholders will be entitled to receive 120 pence in cash for each FreeAgent Share held. The £53 million valuation represents an 86 per cent premium on yesterday’s share price and a 43 per cent premium to the IPO price of 84p.
Belgium’s KBC bank has announced plans to convert 66 of its Flanders-based locations into unmanned branches where customers can complete banking transactions at self-service terminals. Forming part of the bank’s omnichannel strategy, the changes will also see eight existing branches close and fully merge with another nearby branch, while the number of existing full-service branches that are open for longer will be doubled to 145 – spread evenly across all provinces.
Belgium’s KBC bank has announced plans to convert 66 of its Flanders-based locations into unmanned branches where customers can complete banking transactions at self-service terminals. Forming part of the bank’s omnichannel strategy, the changes will also see eight existing branches close and fully merge with another nearby branch, while the number of existing full-service branches that are open for longer will be doubled to 145 – spread evenly across all provinces.
London-based multi-asset execution firm FlexTrade has partnered with Kensho Technologies to integrate its pre-trade analytics solution into its trading platform. Kensho captures events to surface company-specific key developments, such as product launches, mergers and acquisitions or corporate announcements. These events come from reputable news outlets and other sources, and cover an assortment of categories, including regulatory events, partnerships, investments and corporate actions.
Vacancies for roles requiring FinTech skills have risen by 73 per cent year-on-year, over the last six months, according to analysis of the jobs market on ITJobsWatch. As of 15 March 2018, roles requiring skills in API development (70 per cent), API integration (107 per cent) and API testing (83 per cent) have seen significant year-on-year increases, as non-traditional financial services companies get to grips with the Second Payments Services Directive.
Qatar Airways has expanded its collaboration with Wirecard to offer Alipay as a method of payment from April 2018 in selected Qatar Duty Free stores at Doha’s Hamad International Airport. Qatar Duty Free, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qatar Airways, operates more than 90 retail stores with over 185 points of sale. The world’s largest mobile payment network, Alipay has more than 600 million active users in China,
Denizen, a banking platform backed by BBVA’s New Digital Businesses unit, has launched a new borderless bank account for expat banking, enabling customers to receive money in one country and pay it out in another immediately – avoiding transfer and currency exchange fees. Denizen notes that country-specific regulations, currencies and settlement times are halting the free flow of money around the world, which in turn results in additional time, stress and fees for consumers.
New Zealand’s payments system governance organisation Payments NZ has launched an industry application programming interface (API) pilot, potentially opening the door to easier digital payments for Kiwis. The pilot will be conducted by six development partners - ASB, BNZ, Datacom, Paymark, Trade Me and Westpac - which will build and test two payment-related API standards designed to simplify partnering and system interfaces.
Schroders is launching a global in-residence programme for tech startups.
Via the Cobalt programme, Schroders will support and collaborate with financial services-focused startups - specifically those which have progressed beyond the conceptual or early-growth stage and offer solutions relevant to investment management.
Deutsche Börse Group has formed a strategic partnership with HQLAx for the creation of a new securities lending solution using the R3 Corda blockchain platform. Using blockchain technology, the two firms will build a fully-integrated operating model to facilitate more efficient collateral management of high quality liquid assets. Due to the implementation of new bank regulations for liquidity, mandatory clearing and margin requirements for OTC derivatives, liquid assets are growing in demand.
Global cross-border B2B transactions are expected to exceed $218 trillion by 2022, up from $150 trillion this year, new research from Juniper has suggested. This is being driven by the money transfer market being ripe for disruption, according to the study, as new technologies and regulatory changes are beginning to refine traditional banking practices. The FinTech sector is also helping to drive the increase, having a profound effect on traditional cross-border transactions.
New functionality added to Google Assistant means people can send money to friends and family via Google Pay using only their voice. It is now possible to send or request cash from contacts for free using the Assistant on Android and iOS phones in the US, with plans to extend this to voice-activated speakers like Google Home.
Investment firm Motive Partners have announced the opening of a new European Innovation and Investment Centre in London, with firms such as Mastercard and RBS taking residence there. The 14,000 square foot space will focus on building the next generation of financial technology and boosting industry growth through building and partnering with market-leading technologies. The centre will be home to collaborative projects between institutions and emerging technology firms, seeking new solutions for the financial services industry.
A FinTech alliance between the UK and China was launched this week by BGTA during the Innovate Finance Global Summit. It is aimed at fostering the development of the global tech and investment ecosystem with a fund that benefits the UK via inward investment and acts as a catalyst for exports to China.
Barclays, HSBC, Deutsche Bank, Bank of Ireland, Wayra and Starling Bank were among the companies to scoop a coveted trophy at the 18th annual FStech Awards last night. Celebrating excellence and innovation within the UK and EMEA financial services sector, this year’s awards saw a record number of entries, with the winners revealed at a prestigious gala dinner and awards ceremony at the London Marriott Hotel in Mayfair, hosted by comedian Lucy Porter.
The Bank of England is setting up its own FinTech hub to explore ways emerging technology such as digital currencies can be used to benefit the UK’s economy. Speaking at HM Treasury’s International Fintech Conference yesterday, the deputy governor for markets and banking Dave Ramsden said the hub will be a central point of contact for the FinTech sector to engage with the BoE, and will play an active role in the new regulatory taskforce.
Revolut has launched disposable virtual cards to help improve the security of online transactions. Each time a Premium customer makes an online payment with a Disposable Virtual Card, systems will instantly detect the transaction and automatically destroy those card details, generating new ones that will appear directly in the Revolut app.
The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) has published its Annual Plan and Budget for 2018/19, stating it will not shy away from direct intervention and using its competition powers. Hannah Nixon, managing director of the PSR, said it has succeeded in shaking up a sector that was dominated by major players.
Trading and investment platform eToro has raised $100 million in a Series E funding round, led by China Minsheng Financial with participation from SBI Group, Korea Investment Partners, World Wide Invest and others. The funding round, which brings the total capital raised to $162 million, follows a period of significant growth for the company, which now boasts more than nine million users worldwide.
A new cryptoassets task force, the next steps in ‘robo-regulation’ and a UK-Australia ‘FinTech bridge’ to help UK firms expand internationally, have been announced by the government. Speaking at its second International Fintech Conference, chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond said he was committed to helping the sector grow and flourish.
Two thirds of global FinTech companies see government controlled factors, such as regulation, as their largest barriers to growth. A survey carried out by YouGov among more than 400 FinTech companies across Australia, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Singapore, Turkey, UK & USA – all of which have had at least Series A funding rounds or above – also found that access to skilled staff and costs to business, including tax, further impeded their expansion.
Dutch bank ABN AMRO has signed a partnership with SIA to connect with the EBA Clearing pan-European instant payments infrastructure RT1. Clients of the bank are now able to complete instant payments of up to €15,000 to other banks that are also participating in the instant payments scheme. ABN AMRO will connect through the SIAnet platform – a fibre optic network with high speed and low latency stretching over 170,000 kilometres.
Bank of America customers can now add multiple credit and debit cards to their PayPal account directly from the bank’s mobile banking app. This marks the initial integration from the partnership that was announced in July 2017. Later this year, customers will also be able to add their cards within PayPal.
Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) has become the first Canadian bank to launch an Application Programming Interface (API) developer portal. Once registered and approved to use the RBC Developers portal, external parties will be able to browse and learn about the APIs before building, testing and deploying applications using them.
Some 94 per cent of UK FinTech companies see Open Banking as a major area of opportunity for 2018, new research from EY has found. The survey asked 31 UK-based FinTechs on their views of the Open Banking initiative, finding that 59 per cent of firms view Open Banking as an opportunity to review their collaboration strategies. Three quarters of participants believe that new competitors such as technology firms will become increasingly important over time.
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is in the early stages of creating a standalone digital bank, according to Sky News, which reported that former chief operating officer Mark Bailie is leading the project. RBS has already signed agreements with several FinTech firms such as Funding Circle – which it works with to direct customers to peer-to-peer and other alternative finance providers – but this move would be in direct competition with challenger banks like Monzo, Revolut and Atom.
Atom bank has joined the Faster Payments Scheme as a direct participant and migrated all traffic across its retail deposit book to the real-time payment scheme. Chief executive Mark Mullen stated that as its customers expect real-time services, joining Faster Payments enables them to send or receive money knowing that it will be instantaneous, safe and simple.
Japan Post Bank has significantly expanded its relationship with international payments firm Earthport, to deliver cross-border payment services across a number of additional regions including North America and Europe. The expansion aids the bank’s mission to become “the most accessible and trustworthy bank in Japan”, offering clients greater capabilities in high volumes of low-value cross-border payments.
Artificial intelligence (AI) specialist Digital Reasoning has closed a $30 million funding round, led by BNP Paribas with participation from Barclays and Square Capital. Digital Reasoning uses AI technology to understand human intentions and behaviours, enabling financial institutions to improve their return on interest. The new injection of funding will enable the company to expand its product portfolio for capital markets and wealth management use cases, accelerate AI innovations across speech analytics, natural language understanding, and machine education and expand its go-to-market capacity.
Using a debit or credit card with a PIN number is still the preferred method of payment for 42 per cent of people in the UK. Contactless methods followed at 34 per cent, with the majority of these respondents (31 per cent) preferring a contactless card to using their phone or wearable technology (3 per cent).
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will begin to work with interested regulators from around the world on a blueprint for a global FinTech sandbox. The aim of the global sandbox is to enable institutions and companies to conduct FinTech tests in different jurisdictions and to allow regulators to collaborate on solving common cross-border issues. The FCA sought feedback from interested parties about the viability of such proposals, and found that there was much interest in the idea of cross-border testing and the benefits this could bring
Since launching the service in October last year, digital challenger bank Monzo has onboarded 500,000 users to its upgraded current account service. The current account offers instant payment notifications, built-in budgeting, the ability to freeze your card, and P2P payments. After securing a banking licence in April last year, Monzo customers are also now able to make bank transfers, set up Direct Debits and standing orders, and have their salary paid straight in.
Spanish bank BBVA is currently trialling new facial biometric technology to make payments ‘invisible’ at its headquarters’ in-house cafés and restaurants. Developed alongside Sodexo Iberia, the new payment system forms part of BBVA’s strategy to transform in-store purchases for customers. BBVA employees are currently able to order a coffee through a mobile app, pick it up without having to wait in line, and pay for it without their wallets.
Barclays has signed partnerships with seven watch brands, including Guess, Mondaine, Timex and Krobaby, to embed contactless bPay technology into traditional watches and fitness trackers. Building on the Timex Fairfield Contactless watch last year, bPay and Timex will launch an expanded range of contactless-enabled watches in May. Guess Watches will also work with bPay to launch a range of six contactless watches.
Metro Bank has launched a new ‘walk out trading’ service – enabling businesses to accept debit and credit card payments as soon as they open their account. Customers will now be able to set up business current accounts instantly in store, receiving their card and PIN on the spot, as well as being automatically registered for internet and mobile banking. Existing customers can also choose to add the service to their business account at any time.
FinTech group ayondo has announced that it will be the first FinTech company to be listed on the Singapore Exchange (SGX), acting as an agent on behalf of the Monetary Authority of Singapore. ayondo is a global financial technology group with subsidiaries authorised and regulated in the UK (FCA) and Germany (BaFin) and additional offices in Singapore, Spain and Switzerland, offering innovative trading and investment solutions for retail and institutional customers.
Credit Suisse has announced a new CHF 30 million venture capital fund to invest in Swiss FinTech firms, with the aim of promoting the country as a centre for business and employment. SVC was created by Credit Suisse eight years ago with a total venture capital of CHF 100 million with the aim of supporting Swiss SMEs, providing funding to a total of 44 companies to date. The institution has now decided to provide an additional CHF 30 million in venture capital, to be used specifically for investing in Swiss FinTechs.
Business regulations and rising financial literacy among consumers are boosting card usage globally, while merchant card acceptance is also set to surge by 40 per cent to 85 million outlets worldwide by 2022. This is according to new research from RBR, which found that the number of card-accepting merchant outlets rose by seven million in 2016 to 61 million. Double-digit growth was recorded across Asia-Pacific, central and eastern Europe and the Middle East and Africa, with growth expected to continue over the coming years.
The European Banking Authority has outlined plans to create a FinTech Knowledge Hub, designed to enhance engagement between incumbent institutions and new FinTech entrants. The Hub will contribute to the monitoring of the continuing impact of FinTech, including on business models and interconnectedness in the financial system. The EBA will draw on the experience and knowledge of European authorities, the ESAs and will interact with similar EU and national institutions.
Money management FinTech firm Yolt has announced that it has connected with three banks since the Open Banking initiative launched two months ago. Customers of RBS, NatWest and Ulster Bank will now be able to benefit from the services provided by Yolt. The FinTech firm will introduce customers in phases, connecting up to 100 users per bank per day. During the coming months, Yolt will continue to add 100 users per day for each bank, before increasing the daily connections for each bank.
Canada’s Bank of Montreal (BMO) has rolled out two personal chatbots for Facebook Messenger and Twitter, providing instant responses to customer enquiries. Developed in partnership with Finn AI, the new Facebook Messenger chatbot is a first-of-its-kind capability for a major Canadian bank. The chatbot, named BMO Bolt, has been fed with 250 of the top customer questions received by BMO call centres and online. AI and natural language processing capabilities allow BMO Bolt to interpret customer intentions and provide the most relevant answers.
UK banks and card companies prevented £1.4 billion in unauthorised financial fraud last year, representing two thirds of total attempted fraud, the latest data from UK Finance has revealed. In 2017, fraud losses on payment cards dropped eight per cent year-on-year to £566 million, while card spending increased by seven per cent – meaning card fraud represents to 7p for every £100 spent, the lowest level since 2012.
One of Europe’s largest private equity firms Nordic Capital Fund IX will acquire a majority share in European online payments provider Trustly, with the deal rumoured to value Trustly at around €700 million. Trustly’s largest shareholder Bridgepoint Development Capital will dispose of its full equity interest in Trustly but management, founders and investment company Alfvén & Didrikson will remain significant shareholders in the company.
J.P. Morgan has announced that it has added Mosaic Smart Data to its strategic investments portfolio, taking a minority stake in the company. Mosaic uses state-of-the-art technology to address the challenges faced by financial institutions trading in FICC markets, including change management, productivity, efficiency, restructuring and the growing automation of trading processes. It’s platform provides a visualisation of market activity in real-time.
The Treasury has released a report on the future of cash and digital payments in the UK, questioning the continuing importance of the 1p and 2p coins in the UK economy. The report noted that 60 per cent of 1p and 2p coins are used once in a transaction before leaving the cash cycle. They are either saved, or in eight per cent of cases are thrown away. In the past, the Royal Mint has needed to produce and issue more than 500 million 1p and 2p coins each year to replace those falling out of circulation.
Coinbase has become the first crypto-exchange to support the UK’s Faster Payments Scheme, and has also been granted an e-money licence by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The e-money licence from the FCA will enable the company to issue e-money and provide payment services in the UK. The licence also requires Coinbase’s e-money operations to meet the strict rules enforced by the FCA and the Payment Services Directive. The licence will extend beyond the UK to 23 countries within the EU.
Behavioural biometrics specialists Biocatch has announced that it has closed a $30 million funding round, led by Maverick Ventures. The company collects and analyses more than 2,000 parameters to generate user profiles and model different types of genuine and malicious behaviour. The platform is able to recognise malware, robotic activity, social engineering, phishing and other cyber threats.
Nordea Bank has launched a wearable payment solution through Fitbit and Garmin wearable devices, providing customers with a new way to pay. The service is available to all customers with a private Nordea Mastercard or Visa debit or credit card in Sweden, Denmark and Finland – becoming the first bank in the region to launch such technology. A new wallet solution from Nordea provides improved navigation, a new overview page and support for card enrolment for wearable payment services.
Global business spend on cyber security solutions will grow by 33 per cent over the next four years, reaching $134 billion annually by 2022. This is according to new research from Juniper, which found that almost 70 per cent of 2022 spend on cybersecurity would originate from medium-sized businesses, as cyber criminals target smaller entities. For financial services, mobile operators, enterprise and Internet of Things (IoT) service providers, digital transformation and IoT endeavours were key catalysts for increasing spend to defend assets from threats.
FCA-authorised FinTech firm TrueLayer has integrated with UK digital challenger Starling Bank, enabling the bank’s customers to access TrueLayer’s services through an open API. Customers who grant TrueLayer access to their data will be able to benefit from various new services – including income verification, lending products and collated financial dashboards. Account information will only be accessible when a customer chooses to use a new product and actively agrees to share their information.
Money transfer services firm Azimo has launched an enhanced service for transfers to China, enabling delivery to Chinese bank accounts and halves the sending costs. Customers of Azimo will now be able to send money from 24 countries in Europe to individual bank accounts in China, delivered in local currency. The expansion follows Azimo’s recent launch of fast weekend transfers to a number of countries including Nigeria, the Philippines, Bangladesh and Colombia.
Addleshaw Goddard has announced the six FinTech firms who have been selected for its 2018 ‘AG Elevate’ accelerator programme. The successful applicants have been assigned a mentor from the AG Elevate FinTech team, and will receive advice and guidance on legal and commercial challenges, receiving up to 30 hours of free legal advice. The cohort will also gain access to briefings, seminars and regulatory developments, as well as networking opportunities.
TransferWise has selected Wirecard to issue a debit card to serve alongside its ‘borderless’ digital bank account for customers. Previously available only to businesses, the new banking platform is now available to the company’s wider customer base. Users can hold and convert 28 currencies at the real exchange rate, with local bank details for the UK, US, Australia and Europe.
Augmentum, a newly established FinTech investment company, has raised a total of £94 million in its Initial Public Offering (IPO), with shares to commence trading on the London Stock Exchange this week. Founded by Augmentum Capital, the new company will be a closed-ended investment firm that will invest in private financial services technology businesses based in the UK and Europe.
Some 53 per cent of consumers would like their bank to provide them with more opportunity and better quality services as the Open Banking initiative rolls out. This is according to new research from the Emerging Payments Association (EPA), which surveyed more than 2,000 UK consumers on fairer banking. It found that just seven per cent of consumers would choose not to have greater control over their finances through FinTech, yet only one fifth have been informed of Open Banking by their bank.
Belgium’s BNP Paribas Fortis has signed an agreement with Swedish FinTech firm Tink for use of its aggregation, personal finance management and payment initiation technology in its mobile banking applications. The first step of the partnership will be the release of the new multi-banking app for Hello Bank! later this year.
Egyptian bank Banque du Caire has selected a new core banking platform from Temenos, alongside solutions for channels, financial crime mitigation, front office, payments, and risk and compliance. By upgrading its systems, Banque du Caire will be able to accelerate its growth strategy in a cost effective manner, as well as bring cutting edge banking services to its 2.7 million retail and corporate customers in Egypt.
Finovate Europe returned to London for the seventh year running this week, this year moving from Old Billingsgate to the ExCel Arena and switching from a two-day to a four-day format. More than 70 companies were given seven minutes each to demo their latest FinTech products and innovations to a crowd of executives, venture capitalists, product managers, entrepreneurs and press.
The European Commission has unveiled a new FinTech ‘Action Plan’ on how the financial services industry can harness the opportunities presented by technology-enabled innovation. The Action Plan outlines proposals to enable the European financial sector to make use of the rapid advances in new technologies, such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and cloud services. At the same time, it seeks to make markets safer and easier to access for new players, in order to benefit consumers, investors, banks and new market entrants.
BABB (Bank Account Based Blockchain) has secured $20 million to help build and launch its blockchain banking platform by the end of the year. Located at the Level39 FinTech accelerator in London, BABB is developing a decentralised banking platform to provide anyone in the world with a bank account, payment card, and access to its global peer-to-peer network.
London-based Emma Technologies has successfully integrated with digital challenger Starling Bank, to provide customers with an enhanced view of their finances. Emma, which recently gained approval from the Financial Conduct Authority, is building an app for Millennials to help users avoid overdrafts, find and cancel subscriptions, track debt and save money. The aim of the product is to provide a consumer-focused banking experience, designed to improve the financial situation of its users.
Mastercard has announced that it will be integrating its physical and digital payments teams under one organisation from 2 April 2018. The new integrated team will accelerate efforts to create the best solutions for consumers and businesses by securing each transaction and simplifying access to the company’s digital assets. The change comes as Garry Lyons, chief innovation officer at Mastercard, departs the company to launch an outside venture
The Japan Bank Consortium, which comprises of 61 banks, is set to release a new mobile payments app, powered by Ripple’s blockchain technology, to enable instant transaction settlements for their customers. Named MoneyTap, the new app is the first solution in Japan to be developed and used by multiple banks. Three banks, SBI Net Sumishin Bank, Suruga Bank and Resona Bank, will be the first to go live with the platform in autumn 2018 – followed by a staggered roll-out by the rest of the consortium.
German FinTech banking platform solarisBank has closed a €56.5 million Series B funding round, with BBVA, Visa, Lakestar and ABN AMRO joining as strategic investors. solarisBank became the first FinTech banking platform in Germany to gain a full banking licence in March 2016, and is now available in seven countries. The bank has nearly 60 corporate clients currently using its system, and expects that number to increase to over 100 by the end of this year.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) has announced the creation of a new international consortium to strengthen cyber security for FinTech companies and data aggregators. The move is in response to the findings of a group of cyber security experts bought together by the WEF, which identified the growing threat of cyber attacks on technology providers to the finance sector as the number one risk to the whole industry. The consortium’s founding members include Citigroup, Zurich, Kabbage, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation.
Mastercard has completed its acquisition of mobile payments technology company Oltio from South Africa’s Standard Bank Group. Mastercard said that the move built on its longstanding relationship with Oltio, a startup that has patented several mobile payments and banking solutions, including a new authentication technology. That particular technology enables consumers in South Africa to authenticate purchases in Mastercard’s digital wallet Masterpass, using their bank PIN and mobile phone.
UK digital challenger bank Atom has landed £149 million in its latest wave of financing, led by investors BBVA and Toscafund, who will both increase their shareholdings. Spanish banking group BBVA will invest a further £85.4 million in Durham-based Atom, raising its ownership to around 39 per cent, subject to regulatory and shareholder approval. Toscafund will also contribute £54.4 million and up its stake in the bank.
Banks and credit card providers are the most trusted holders of personal data, according to a new consumer survey. The financial sector out-ranked social media networks and tech firms such as Amazon in the poll of 2,000 Britons, conducted by ComRes Global on behalf of ForgeRock. The research found that 82 per cent of consumers trusted banks and credit card companies to store and use their personal data responsibly, compared to 63 per cent who said the same of social platforms.
Not-for-profit financial cooperative Clockwise has partnered with API provider TrueLayer on a new Open Banking initiative, FStech has learnt. The credit union is using TrueLayer’s technology to retrieve member information made available by Open Banking in order to make credit decisions. This significantly increases the speed at which loan decisions can be assessed, improving access to finance for Clockwise’s 10,000 members. Furthermore, TrueLayer has committed to providing its financial API to Clockwise for free, as part of its wider offer to not-for-profit and charitable organisations.
Big Data analytics (73 per cent) and cyber security (72 per cent) are the two digital technologies being utilised most commonly by banks today, according to new research. Enterprise cloud (65 per cent) was the next most popular technology cited by the 113 banks surveyed by Vanson Bourne for the latest Infosys report. Some 109 insurers was also asked the same question, and indicated that cyber security (66 per cent), Big Data analytics (65 per cent), enterprise cloud (58 per cent), and artificial intelligence (AI) (45 per cent) were the four digital technologies currently being used the most by insurance companies.
Dubai-based Maliyya, a FinTech P2P lending and borrowing platform, has secured its first seed investment of €1.3 million from UK private investment firm Ground1 Ventures. Maliyya is working on launching its product across the Middle East, North American and Asian regions. The company successfully graduated from the first cohort of DIFC FinTech Hive accelerator programme, and is now part of the Cloud10 Scalerator programme based in Bahrain.
Bradford-based Yorkshire Building Society has successfully deployed a new cloud-based bank operating system from nCino. The building society recognised the need for a digital solution that would allow its commercial lending team to improve value for customers through better service and greater efficiency. The nCino platform combines customer relationship management, loan origination, account opening, workflow, enterprise content management, business process management, digital engagement and instant reporting.
International digital P2P remittances conducted via mobile and online platforms will exceed $300 billion globally by 2021, a new study from Juniper has found. The research estimates that total international remittances via formal channels will exceed $600 billion in 2018, meaning that remittances conducted via mobile and online services will account for 36 per cent of total value in 2018 – growing to 44 per cent by the end of 2021.
BBVA has launched its Open Talent FinTech competition for the tenth year, and is seeking to work with a record number of startups to help shape the future of banking. The bank is looking for innovative ideas and solutions to help customers make the most of their money and data, as well as reduce the stress of money management and financial decision-making for consumers. The bank is also seeking out those solutions that will make financial institutions and businesses operate more effectively.
Oman’s Bank Muscat has gone live with a fund and investment management platform from Tata Consultancy Services, providing extensive capabilities for multiple asset classes such as funds, equities, fixed income and money markets. Business growth and the underlying complexity of current systems were the key drivers for Bank Muscat to seek a system upgrade. The TCS BaNCS platform positions the bank for higher growth in the future and operational efficiency.
Commercial payments company Fleetcor will be piloting the use of Ripple’s XRP currency to enhance the efficiency of its international payments. Cambridge Global Payments, which is owned by Fleetcor, processes more than $20 billion in B2B cross-border payments annually for 13,000 clients. Under the agreement with Ripple, Cambridge will pilot the use of XRP, the native digital asset of the XRP Ledger, in payment flows through xRapid, Ripple's solution for on-demand liquidity.
Bean, a new mobile app that helps users manage recurring payments, has become the first of its kind to gain approval from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK. Bean connects to individual bank and credit card accounts and tracks all regular payments, including subscriptions and household bills, alerting users to opportunities to save money through switching or allowing them to cancel altogether.
Mastercard has announced that it will be using Facebook Messenger to provide QR technology to small businesses in Africa and Asia, to help drive affordable acceptance of electronic and mobile payments. The Messenger bot will initially launch in Nigeria, where Mastercard will trial a new Masterpass QR bot to help businesses accept QR payments. Ecobank and Zenith Bank will support the inaugural programme.
Insurer Allianz has signed a partnership with Visa to launch a new payments and loyalty app called Allianz Prime, enabling customers to make secure payments with their mobile both in-store and online. The app, which features built-in token technology for security, also features a loyalty programme and a money management tool for customers to keep on top of their spending. Users will be able to complete payments anywhere in the world where contactless payments are accepted.
Financial phishing accounted for 53 per cent of total phishing attacks in 2017 – the first time that this figure has surpassed the 50 per cent mark globally, according to new statistics from Kaspersky Lab. Financial phishing attacks are fraudulent messages which link to copycat websites that appear legitimate. They aim to gain users’ credentials for banking and credit accounts, and data to access online banking or money transfer accounts – all for the purpose of stealing the victims’ money afterwards.
Credit Suisse and ING have completed the first live securities lending transaction through the HQLAx securities app, settled using R3’s Corda blockchain platform. The two institutions swapped baskets of securities of value €25 million using the HQLAx lending application. Credit Suisse and ING agreed to transfer legal ownership of Dutch and German government securities on the platform while the underlying securities remained static with unique DCR-linked custody accounts held by Credit Suisse and ING.
UK innovation foundation Nesta has opened applications for the next phase of its Open Up Challenge – a £2.5 million prize fund to promote financial technology innovation in the small business market. Nesta is looking for FinTech solutions that will promote competition within the sector, with teams able to apply for one of three prize tracks:
Today (1 March) is the last day that consumers can use their paper £10 notes to make a payment before they are no longer legal tender. The Bank of England estimates that there are around 211 million paper £10 notes still in circulation – representing 17 per cent of all £10 notes currently in circulation. After today, people will still be able to exchange the paper notes at the Bank of England indefinitely, in person or via post. The bank has stated that some retailers, banks and building societies may still accept these notes, but it is at their own discretion.
Spending via smartphones reached £975 million in the UK in 2017, representing a 328 per cent year-on-year increase, according to new data from Worldpay. The number of in-store contactless transactions made via a mobile device totalled 126 million last year, with almost a third of consumers making use of their phone’s payment capabilities. Supermarkets accounted for 59 per cent of all in-store mobile transactions, while pubs, bars and restaurants accounted for a further 12.5 per cent.
UK bank Santander, via its merchant acquiring partner Elavon, is enabling its business customers to join the European networks of Chinese payment wallet providers. Santander customers will now have the option to accept Chinese payment methods via their own websites. Elavon plans to expand this functionality across its PoS solutions, which already accept UnionPay, by the end of 2018.
Over two billion people will access retail banking services via smartphones, tablets, PCs and smartwatches in 2018, representing almost 40 per cent of the global adult population. This is according to a study from Juniper Research, which forecasts that mobile banking users will grow 14 per cent year-on-year, while online banking users will increase by six per cent on last year. Juniper attributes the growth to accelerated adoption in key emerging markets such as India and China.
Bank of America has announced that it will be making significant investments across physical and digital, including the opening of 500 new digitally-enhanced branches over the next four years. The bank plans to redesign more than 1,500 branches across the US, with new technology, furnishings and layouts, and add more than 5,400 certified professionals to better meet client needs. The bank has completed 620 renovations and opened more than 160 new branches, including 13 high-technology ‘advanced centres’ that were piloted in 2017.
Global investment in financial technology firms reached an all-time high in 2017, boosted by a surge in funding for startups in the US, UK and India, new research has found. The study from Accenture and CB Insights showed that FinTech financing rose by 18 per cent in 2017 to $27.4 billion – with deals in the US jumping 31 per cent to $11.3 billion. Deal values also increased nearly fivefold in India to $2.4 billion.
Visa has partnered with Spain’s CaixaBank and the National Bank of Greece to enable European customers to pay for goods using their wearable devices. CaixaBank and Visa have teamed up with Garmin in Spain to enable Visa cardholders who own a Garmin watch to make in-store payments. Customers can load their Visa card onto the device and complete payments anywhere that accepts contactless.
Mobile-only challenger bank Starling has joined the UK’s Bacs payment network, offering access to Direct Debit and Bacs Direct Credit options to its commercial customers. Starling is the fourth bank in the past 12 months to joins Bacs, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2018. Last year, Direct Debit and Bacs Direct Credit payments totalled a new record of 6.35 billion transactions, with a high of 111.7 million transactions processed in a single day.
Collaboration between up and coming FinTech firms and traditional financial institutions will be key to the future success of the financial services industry, according to a new report. Emerging technology, increasing competition and changing customer demands are transforming the FS sector, found the World FinTech Report 2018. But it noted that many FinTech startups have realised that they will “struggle to succeed alone” and are seeking “symbiotic collaboration” with the traditional financial services firms they once sought to overthrow. More than 70 per cent of FinTech executives surveyed for the study said their top challenges to partnering with traditional financial firms was the latter’s lack of agility, while traditional firms perceived negative impacts on customer trust and brand, as well as changing the internal culture, as their top challenges for collaboration.
Australia’s ANZ Bank has announced a strategic investment in and partnership with local tech startup Data Republic The move is designed to speed up the bank’s innovation through secure data sharing environments and will give ANZ access to the Data Republic platform. This offers a ‘data sharing control centre’ for organisations to store, categorise and share data while maintaining strict governance and auditing frameworks. ANZ will be able to use the platform to share data with trusted third parties in a secure and well-governed environment.
Coventry Building Society has adopted predictive analytics software to enhance its anti-fraud defences. The UK’s second largest building society has selected Precision software from Synectics Solutions to boost its existing systems and provide its investigations team with additional information to help interrogate referrals. The software uses configurable predictive algorithms and data analysis to accurately predict future customer behaviour based on past experience.
Open Banking has the potential to unlock £1 billion in additional GDP for the UK annually, a new study has claimed. The Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) accessed the impact on the economy of the new Open Banking standards – the UK’s initiative to implement requirements of the EU’s second Payment Services Directive (PSD2), which came into force in January. The Open Banking standards for APIs will see third party companies able to access consumer and SME banking information – with their permission – in a move designed to create greater competition in the financial services and payments sectors. Cebr also estimated that 17,000 jobs could be created by this expanded market.
OCBC Bank customers will now be able to check their balances, credit card overview and make e-payments via Apple’s Siri platform. The bank becomes the first in Singapore to offer a conversational banking experience for its customers. The e-payments can be made instantly to any bank account in Singapore, including those not linked to the P2P service PayNow.
Banco Santander has signed an agreement with technology provider Appian to leverage its cloud platform for enterprise process improvement. The platform covers business process management (BPM) and case management in a digital environment, with the ability to deploy applications through a low-code development. Appian is accredited for HIPAA, SOC 2 and SOC 3, The PCI Data Security Standard, G-Cloud 9 Framework and more.
Banco Sabadell’s digital business hub InnoCells has led a €1 million investment round in Biometric Vox – a Spanish authentication startup that uses electronic signature solutions through voice biometrics. Established in 2015, Biometric Vox uses machine learning technologies to offer multiple products based on voice biometrics, adaptable to each context and customer.
BNP Paribas has launched a new investment fund to support technology startups that are transforming financial services and insurance. The fund will be managed by BNP Paribas Capital Partners, which specialises in selection and multi-management in the alternative investments field. The fund will take direct minority stakes in FinTechs and will make indirect investments through venture capital funds whose priorities in technologies, geographies and topics match those of BNP Paribas.
A quarter of Europeans expect to start using a wearable device, such as a smartwatch, bracelet or keyring, to complete contactless payments, according to new figures from Mastercard. Contactless spend on Mastercard and Maestro grew by 145 per cent in the last year, as the tap-and-go payment method continues to grow in popularity. Barriers to using contactless have also decreased, according to Mastercard, with concerns around fraud dropping 24 per cent across Europe, particularly in the Netherlands (-41 per cent), Spain (-33 per cent) and the UK (-31 per cent).
Zurich has launched an Innovation Foundry in the UK, designed to renew the insurer’s focus on innovation for customers. The new initiative will support the development of all ideas ranging from process improvement, the introduction of a new technology or a brand new proposition. The insurer has recently partnered with firms like Laka, FaceQuote and EasyJet to provide customers with innovative insurance products or services.
The Treasury Select Committee has launched a new inquiry into digital currencies and distributed ledger technology, exploring the opportunities and risks of cryptocurrencies in the UK. The committee will examine the regulatory response to digital currencies from the government, the Financial Conduct Authority, the Bank of England, and how regulation could be balanced to provide adequate protection for consumers and businesses without stifling innovation.
The boards of Temenos and Fidessa have reached an agreement on the terms of an all-cash £1.4 billion acquisition of the UK-based technology supplier. As part of the agreement, Fidessa shareholders will be entitled to receive £35.67 in cash for each Fidessa share, representing a premium of approximately £6.9 per cent to the closing price of £26.05 per share on 16 February 2018. The Temenos board believes that the partnership will yield significant benefits through efficiencies and cross-selling opportunities
Lloyds Banking Group has announced that it will be investing more than £3 billion in strategic initiatives to further digitise products and services for customers. The group revealed the plans in a strategy update released alongside its latest financial results, identifying four strategic priorities for the new digital investment: further enhancing customer experience; further digitising the group; maximising group capabilities; and transforming methods of work.
Digital challenger bank Starling has introduced a new Settle Up feature to its mobile app, designed to make it easier for friends and family to send payments to each other. There is now a Settle Up option in the Pay section of the bank’s mobile app, which prompts customers to set up their Settle Up page. Whenever a customer wants to request money, they simply send a link to their friends or family.
Blockchain specialists Ripple have announced that five new financial institutions have joined RippleNet, expanding the network’s reach into India, Brazil and China. Itaú Unibanco, Brazil’s largest private sector bank; IndusInd, a leading private sector bank in India; and InstaReM, a major remittance provider based in Singapore, will now use xCurrent to provide faster cross-border payments to other financial institutions around the world.
Germany’s Degussa Bank will be collaborating with FinTech firm Giromatch to provide clients with faster loan decisions and flexible repayment options. The two organisations will start with a pilot phase, with corporate customers being able to use a virtual Visa credit card for shopping with Amazon Business, with flexible repayment plans. Giromatch and Degussa Bank will gather customer feedback to further develop the digital application route and to transfer experiences to other products.
Global banking initiative Marco Polo is to pilot a distributed ledger technology (DLT) trade finance solution, following a successful proof of concept. Marco Polo was launched last year by trade finance technology firm TradeIX and blockchain consortium R3, together with a group of global financial institutions including BNP Paribas, Commerzbank, ING, Standard Chartered, DNB and OP Financial Group.
BBVA Switzerland has implemented DocuSign to digitise account document management for users to provide an optimum experience for clients. BBVA’s decision to implement DocuSign followed an internal study that found the cost of having employees receive and review documents manually, scanning and storing them, was inefficient and expensive. Instead, BBVA wanted to deliver high-end solutions to its often-demanding clients, and analysed the market before deciding DocuSign was the best option to navigate Switzerland’s strict banking regulations.
Credit Europe Bank will be accepting JCB credit cards across its network of ATM and point of sale (PoS) terminals in Russia. The bank’s acquiring network includes more than 11,000 PoS terminals and 514 ATMs. The bank also provides acquiring services for major retailers including IKEA, Metro Cash & Carry, Marks & Spencer, Gap, Banana Republic and US Polo Assn.
Blockchain consortium R3 has launched a ‘Legal Centre of Excellence’ (LCoE) as a platform for the global legal community to share best practices regarding blockchain technology. R3 has developed the LCoE to collaborate with and gather feedback from the legal sector, helping law firms to better engage with the technology, while updating R3 on the specific needs of the legal community and their clients.
The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced that it is seeking views on how technology can make it easier for firms to meet their regulatory reporting requirements and improve the quality of information they provide. In November 2017, the FCA and the Bank of England held a two-week ‘TechSprint’ to examine how technology can make the current system of regulatory reporting more accurate and consistent.
Banking software vendor Temenos Group has announced that it is in advanced discussions regarding an all-cash takeover bid of £1.4 billion for trading systems technology firm Fidessa. Fidessa is a British-headquartered firm that provides software and services, such as trading and investment management systems, analytics and market data. Under the proposed terms of the deal, Fidessa shareholders would receive £35.67 in cash for each share
A third of small business owners expect cryptocurrency payments to become a reality on the British High Street within two years, according to new research. Card machine provider Paymentsense surveyed 500 small business owners in the UK, and found that a fifth predicted that cryptocurrency payments would start appearing even sooner, within just one year.
The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) have signed an arrangement that commits the two regulators to collaborating and supporting innovative firms through each other’s FinTech initiatives – namely FCA Innovate and LabCFTC. The new FinTech arrangement focuses on information-sharing for financial technology market trends and developments. It also facilitates referrals of FinTech companies interested in entering the other’s market, and the sharing of information and insight derived from each authority’s relevant sandbox, proof of concept and innovation competitions.
The Investment Association (IA) has announced that it will be launching a specialist FinTech accelerator for the UK’s asset management industry. The new accelerator – named VeloCity – will go live in Q2 this year, and is part of IA’s drive to boost innovation and speed up the adoption of new emergent technology across the asset management sector. The association said that the FinTech accelerator will, for the first time, bring together FinTech firms with “market viable” technology tailored to the asset management sector, supported by industry practitioners from across the IA membership.
UAE’s Mashreq Bank has partnered with Blue Prism to increase productivity, improve customer experiences and deliver new services through an integrated AI solution. The Digital Workforce platform will automate dozens of the bank’s processes across multiple business functions, including banking operations, compliance, customer care and their technology help desk.
Belgium’s KBC Bank has become the first financial institution in the country to offer customers the ability to chat with the bank through the WhatsApp messenger app. The service, available on weekdays from 8am to 10pm and on weekends from 9am to 5pm, is intended to provide quick answers to general banking and insurance questions from live staff. The bank has seen a steady rise in the number of chats and calls through its KBC Live service.
Digital lending platform Roostify has completed a $25 million Series B funding round, with new investments from Santander InnoVentures, Cota Capital and Point72 Ventures. The new funds will be used to fuel the company’s expansion plans, including a greater presence in the enterprise space, product enhancements, and expansion into new markets. Roostify’s cloud-based solution enables lenders to offer clients a seamless experience from search to closing their home loan.
Azlo, a digital banking platform aimed at freelancers and self-employed workers, has announced the public availability of its service in the US. Customers will be able to access dedicated business banking services instantly online, with no fees, minimum balances or “confusing conditions”. The platform has been designed with Millennials and entrepreneurs in mind, integrating modern digital business tools, such as e-commerce, point of sale and marketplace offerings.
The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) has signed an agreement with Ripple to pilot the firm’s cross-border payments technology. SAMA and Ripple have created a pilot programme to support banks in the country trial the xCurrent payments platform. SAMA will support the banks with programme management and training. Banks will be able to process cross-border payments in seconds, with end-to-end visibility and lower costs.
Dutch bank ABN AMRO has developed a blockchain solution to manage funds for its business customers who offer escrow accounts to their clients. The majority of non-bank organisations that are entrusted with client funds use escrow accounts to manage those funds. With the new platform, each client of the non-bank organisation gets a bank account with the ABN AMRO Clearing Bank via the blockchain.
Digital identity specialist IdentityMind has closed a $10 million Series C round of funding, co-led by Benhamou Global Ventures and Eastern Link Capital. IdentityMind provides a Software-as-a-Service RegTech platform that maintains and analyses digital identities worldwide, allowing companies to perform identity proofing, risk-based authentication, regulatory identification, and to detect and prevent identity fraud.
The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is exploring the possibility of a global regulatory sandbox, enabling firms to conduct FinTech tests in different jurisdictions and allowing regulators to work together to solve common cross-border issues. The current FCA sandbox allows firms to conduct new technology and product tests in the UK, but the watchdog noted that many aspects of financial markets and FinTech are global.
Wells Fargo mobile banking customers will now have access to a predictive banking feature that analyses account information to provide tailored insights and personalised financial guidance. The feature is the latest innovation from the bank to give customers a more comprehensive view of their finances, and increased control to advance their financial health and meet goals.
Singapore’s OCBC Bank has successfully tested and rolled out a facial recognition system at its Holland Village branch to identify Premier Banking customers when they walk in. The system, developed by NEC Asia Pacific, instantly identifies OCBC Premier Banking customers in real time as they approach the lounge in-branch, without needing to stop and look at the camera. This allows staff to identify customers, offer them preferred drinks and magazines, and provide a more personalised experience.
Digital challenger bank Monzo has made its Monzo.me P2P payments service – which allows people to complete a payment through an online link – available to all users following a beta trial. Monzo.me has been available since 2016 to users who started using prepaid card accounts, but newer users with current accounts have not been able to access the service. The feature allows anyone to pay you using a debit card, Android Pay, Apple Pay, or their own Monzo account.
Global FinTech funding reached the $31 billion mark in 2017, fuelled by a strong investment of $8.7 billion in Q4, according to new figures from KPMG. The Pulse of FinTech report found that 2017’s total brings global investment over the last three years to $122 billion. Despite total FinTech deal volume declining in Q4, the number of venture capital (VC) transactions exceeded 1,000 for the fourth consecutive year, while private equity (PE) deals reached a new high of 139.
UK-based FinTech firm TruFin has secured £70 million through an AIM listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). TruFin is the holding company of an operating group comprising of three FinTech and banking businesses operating in three lending markets: supply chain finance, invoice finance and dynamic discounting. The company was established through a series of acquisitions and investments by Arrowgrass Master Fund between 2014 and 2017,
Starling Bank has announced that Pensionbee will be rolling out on its in-app Marketplace platform, with Wealthsimple, Habito and Kasko also set to join in the coming weeks. The Marketplace platform, which launched last June, has been designed to offer a range of products from various FinTech companies, providing customers with the opportunity to easily access these services by securely connecting to them via an API.
A number of UK cryptocurrency companies have created a self-regulatory trade body – CryptoUK – to improve industry standards and engage with policy makers. CryptoUK will work to raise understanding of the sector and call on the government to introduce appropriate regulation to protect consumers and businesses. The new body has developed a code of conduct, which members must comply with and is intended to improve industry standards.
A new payments system has officially launched in Australia, enabling businesses and consumers to transfer money instantly between different banks. Around 60 banks, building societies and credit unions across the country will commence rolling out the new platform today, following a successful trial in November last year between employees at a number of financial institutions.
YapStone, an international payments firm for large marketplaces, has announced that it closed a $71 million Series C funding round, led by Premji Invest. The latest injection of funds will provide YapStone will the platform to expand its product offering, broaden its geographic footprint and accelerate growth. The funding round also included investments from Mastercard and existing investors Accel and Meritech Capital Partners.
Visa has agreed a £124 million deal to acquire Fraedom, a Software-as-a-Service technology firm that provides payments solutions for financial institutions and their customers. The two companies have been partners for almost 10 years, with its technology used for Visa’s IntelliLink Spend Management platform for commercial and small business clients. The acquisition has been completed to strengthen and expand Visa’s business suite of solutions.
Citi is expanding its global network of innovation labs with the opening of a new hub in London, demonstrating Citi’s commitment to the UK technology sector. Based in Moorgate, the Citi innovation lab will initially employ 75 technologists with a focus on software development skills across a range of sectors and disciplines. The lab will also host the EMEA operations of Citi Ventures – the team in charge of venture capital investments and partnerships.
Middle Eastern money transfer platform UAE Exchange has announced a deal with Ripple to enable real-time cross-border payments. The partnership makes UAE Exchange the largest payment solutions provider in the Middle East to make use of Ripple’s blockchain technology to process payments in real time. As part of the deal, UAE Exchange joins RippleNet – Ripple’s blockchain network with more than 100 member banks and financial institutions.
New challenger bank Chetwood Financial has secured a UK banking licence, along with a £150 million investment from Elliott Advisors. The banking licence, acquired from the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority, adds to the existing authorisation that Chetwood gained for its lending business in early 2017. The new investment and banking licence will accelerate the bank’s plans to launch its first consumer finance product in Q1 2018
Mobile messaging service WhatsApp has launched a beta P2P payments service in India, with select users now able to send money to each other. WhatsApp confirmed that it was working on a payments service in India back in April 2017. The Facebook-owned company has support from a number of Indian banks, including the State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank.
Russia’s Tinkoff Bank is to open a development hub in Moscow that will focus on delivering new business solutions based on blockchain, as well as voice and face recognition technologies. The online-only bank said that improving its financial ecosystem “through the use of highly promising technologies and research” will be the hub’s first priority.
High Street challenger bank Metro has confirmed plans to recruit for a further 900 posts this year, which will include new roles in its expanded IT apprenticeship programme. The recruitment drive will take the bank’s workforce to almost 4,000, and comes after the financial institution hired an additional 500 new colleagues in 2017. The company said that a key area of investment was its apprenticeship scheme, with the bank last year becoming a certified employer provider, meaning that as well as hiring apprentices it is also able to deliver apprenticeship training through its dedicated in-house facility, Metro Bank University.
A number of major Swedish, Danish, Norwegian and Finnish banks are exploring the possibility of establishing a pan-Nordic payments infrastructure, supplemented by common products. The banks are aiming to create an area for domestic and cross-border payments in multiple currencies (SEK, DKK, NOK, and EUR). The infrastructure will be based on open access and common European standards and will contribute to increased competition among payment service providers in the Nordics.
Financial technology and payments firm Wirecard is to offer automated consumer interaction experiences via new chatbots that can handle customer enquiries. Wirecard’s mobile payment solution boon will be the first to roll out the AI-based consumer interaction channel from Astute Solutions. Based on deep learning technology, the chatbots will interpret the individual intent of each consumer and determine the best path for resolution.
Financial technology and payments firm Wirecard is to offer automated consumer interaction experiences via a new chatbot that can handle customer enquiries. The two companies will be providing contactless Revolut cards to all 59 Team GB athletes headed to the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, as well as the wider delegation accompanying them. The card will enable athletes to make secure payments at contactless-enabled terminals in South Korea free of foreign exchange fees.
Business finance firm MarketInvoice has established a partnership with trade-credit insurance company Euler Hermes, which will provide credit insurance policies to MarketInvoice customers. Businesses that use invoice finance solutions will now have the assurance that they are protected in the event of a customer becoming insolvent or failing to pay within the agreed terms. A risk prevention tool also monitors a company’s financials, enabling a forward view on debtors that will improve future trade decisions.
Deutsche Bank has made software code publically available that is designed to help firms better understand their IT environments, allowing them to manage their technology more effectively. The solution, known as ‘Waltz’, enables organisations to gather information about their IT estate from multiple sources across the firm, including information on applications, infrastructure, data, processes and costs.
Attacks on payment transactions in financial services have grown 100 per cent year-on-year, with new FinTech and cryptocurrency platforms being increasingly targeted by fraudsters. This is according to the ThreatMetrix Q4 2017 cybercrime report, which found that the financial services payment attack rate has grown 452 per cent from 2015, with cryptocurrency marketplaces now a prime target for attacks on legitimate transactions.
Chinese money transfer firm LianLian International has partnered with Ripple to use its xCurrent blockchain solution to process real-time cross-border payments for merchants and consumers. LianLian will accept payments from overseas financial institutions through RippleNet and disburse the payments to Chinese recipients. LianLian will also provide a connection service into China for other RippleNet members, supporting transaction flows between merchants and consumers in China and other markets.
Verifone has signed a deal with e-commerce payment firm Mash to roll out a ‘pay later’ solution use in retail stores across Europe. The new service will offer consumers the option to pay for the purchases later, while enabling merchants to immediately collect payment. Within 14 days, the consumer will receive an invoice to pay the balance in full or choose to convert the payment into a monthly instalment plan.
Nordic financial services group Nordea will be deploying Veridium’s ID platform to replace tokens with biometric authentication for access to confidential and secure data. This forms part of Nordea’s strategy to transform its organisation, embracing multi-factor biometric authentication for information security classification. The partnership will provide increased security, ease of use and a lower total cost of ownership that is scalable.
Venture capital investment into UK FinTech saw a 153 per cent increase year-on-year in 2017, with $1.8 billion invested across 224 deals. This is according to new figures from Innovate Finance, which revealed that the UK ranked second globally in terms of both capital invested and volume of deals, after the US. The top two UK deals, TransferWise and OakNorth, both raised rounds of over $200 million and were ranked among the top 20 global deals.
Apple, Cisco, Aon and Allianz have announced a new cyber risk management solution for businesses, comprised of cyber resilience services from Aon, technology from Cisco and Apple, and options for enhanced security coverage from Allianz. The new solution is designed to help a wider range of organisations better manage and protect themselves from cyber risk associated with ransomware and other malware-related threats, which are the most common threats faced by organisations today.
Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) is launching a digital community for personal finance aimed at Millennials, where people can exchange information and advice with peers and experts. The new community, named moneysmart, will be launched in collaboration with Germany’s Fidor Bank, which owns similar communities in Europe. The moneysmart community is open to anyone and will feature articles, blogs, tips and comments from users, who can receive cashable reward points for their input.
Flux has integrated digitised loyalty rewards into Starling Bank’s mobile app, instantly displaying loyalty stamps when a customer uses their Starling card at a participating retail partner. The integration marks the second stage of a partnership between Starling and Flux, which unveiled real-time digitised itemised receipts for customers in September last year. Flux will automatically send loyalty rewards to Starling customer accounts.
Robotic process automation (RPA) in banking is expected to generate $900 million in software and services revenues by 2022, new data from Juniper Research has found. Traditionally, RPA was limited to replicating simple or repetitive tasks that require high accuracy, such as data entry. However Juniper suggests that the current market represents a ‘perfect storm’ created by the convergence of chatbots, AI-driven RPA software and banks’ digital transformation strategies.
German challenger bank Penta has announced that it has raised €2.2 million in funding, led by London-based Inception Venture Capital. Penta has been designed to meet the banking needs of small and medium-sized businesses, including startups. The firm launched its app publicly in Beta to businesses in Germany in December. Penta wants to address issues faced by SMEs, such as account opening and fees for completing transactions.
Standard Chartered will be further enhancing personalisation and engagement in its digital services, following a partnership with digital technology firm Moneythor. The initial deployment will add advanced client-facing transaction insights to the roll-out of its chatbot service for the Hong Kong market. The bank will also use the new technology to address its clients digital expectations for personalised services, which improve their finances.
Palestine’s stock exchange has signed a new market technology agreement with Nasdaq to implement new matching engine technology. The Palestine Exchange (PEX) will continue to use Nasdaq’s surveillance technology for monitoring its markets and will leverage the new platform to provide additional services to its members and clients.
Lloyds Banking Group is to prohibit its customers from purchasing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on their credit cards from today. The ban – which does not apply to debit cards – will affect customers of Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland, Halifax and MBNA. The financial institution has made the move to avoid exposure to unpaid debts relating to customers buying cryptocurrencies – which are notorious for their price fluctuations.
The European Commission has launched the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum, designed to highlight key developments in blockchain technology and reinforce European engagement with stakeholders involved in blockchain activities. The Commission has been funding blockchain projects through the European Union’s research programmes FP7 and Horizon 2020 since 2013. The Commission wants to build on these initiatives, ensuring that they can work across borders and address the challenges faced by the technology.
UK Finance has announced that the process for small business owners preparing to open or switch to a new business current account has been simplified. Eighteen business current account providers must now require the same basic set of information from new customers. UK Finance has published a new online guide with the essential details and documents that most businesses will need to open an account.
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group has announced that it will acquire a 33 per cent equity stake in FinTech firm Ant Financial. Under the terms of the agreement, Alibaba will acquire newly-issued equity from Ant Financial in exchange for certain intellectual property rights owned by Alibaba exclusively related to Ant Financial, with no cash changing hands.
Banco Santander is partnering with Ripple to roll out distributed ledger technology (DLT)-based payments for individuals over the coming months. According to the bank’s Q4 2017 results, Santander will be launching same-day mobile international payments in “three clicks and 40 seconds” for retail customers in Q1 2018. The service will initially go live in four countries: Spain, Brazil, the United Kingdom and Poland.
myPOS, a new mobile payment system which claims to be the first to allow retailers instant access to their funds, has launched in the UK market. The myPOS system – which will be a rival to iZettle and Square – says it has been designed to remove the barriers to small retailers and business accepting card payments. It combines a mobile point of sale terminal with an online account and business card, enabling traders to accept card payments as readily as cash.
Japanese financial services firm SBI Holdings has signed a memorandum of understanding with Moven to invest in the payments startup and establish a joint venture company for operating business in Asia. Moven partners with banks around the world and provides them with mobile banking apps, using data science, behavioural psychology and financial analytics.
US internet retailer Overstock has announced the launch of a digitally-driven investment platform, in collaboration with tZero Advisors. The tZero Advisors platform is powered by FusionIQ’s B2C investment platform, which providers intelligent investment solutions to enables easy online investments. The new platform will use proprietary algorithms and a scoring system to develop and rebalance portfolios based on dynamic market factors.
Bankwest customers in Australia are now able to tap and pay for goods using the Bankwest Halo, reported to be Australia’s first payment ring. The release of the payments ring forms part of the bank’s focus on providing its customers with new and innovative methods of payment. The ring links to a customer’s Bankwest account and works like a contactless card.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch has announced a collaboration with PayPal that will enable the bank’s US commercial customers to make payments in local currencies to payees with PayPal accounts. The payments, which are initiated through the bank’s global Digital Disbursements service, can be made from the US to PayPal account holders in Mexico, France, Germany, Italy, the UK and the Philippines.
UK challenger bank Revolut has launched a new cryptocurrency platform, providing an easy-to-use and instant pathway to cryptocurrencies for customers. Users will be able to buy, hold and sell Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum directly from the Revolut mobile app in 25 currencies. Customers will also be able to transfer cryptocurrency to other Revolut users for free, and will be able to pay for goods in Bitcoin.
Rabobank has launched Rabo Frontier Ventures (RFV) – a €60 million strategic investment fund that focuses on early-stage Fintech and food and agriculture companies. Forming part of the bank’s innovation strategy, RFV is completely financed by Rabobank with the objective of providing a boost for FinTech and food and agriculture innovations. RFV will collaborate with and invest in companies that offer new possibilities for customers in the long term and align with the bank’s strategic direction.
French banking group BPCE has signed a partnership with technology firm Meniga to deploy its personalised digital banking solutions to customers in France. BPCE will integrate Meniga’s technology as part of its digital transformation plans, enhancing its digital channels and providing new personalised services to better serve its customers. The first phase of the roll-out will include Meniga’s financial activity feed, real-time spending overview and data-driven personalised alerts and insights.
Dutch bank ING has created a ‘digital shoebox’ mobile app which enables small business clients to track and manage their income, expenses and tax payments in real time. Users are able to scan receipts and bills with their mobile phone, and link them directly to debit and credit card transactions. Once set up the app, named Receipts & Invoices, makes it easier for clients to complete administration tasks.
Cash machine operator LINK has announced a series of measures designed to “maintain and rebalance” the UK’s ATM network, which includes a reduction in interchange fees. There will be a phased reduction in interchange fees (the fee card issuers pay to ATM operators) beginning with a five per cent reduction from 1 July 2018. LINK said it will review the position on fees annually, taking into account the impact on consumers.
Santander has opened registrations for its Building Banking Your Way hackathon, offering startups, students, tech enthusiasts and creative minds in the FinTech industry the opportunity to develop software solutions for the banking industry. Participants in the hackathon will access a sandbox of data to help bring their ideas to life, and will choose one of four core challenge tracks to build a solution around:
Finastra has acquired Olfa Soft SA and its foreign exchange e-trading platform for banks and financial institutions. The deal, which marks the company’s first acquisition as Finastra, enables the firm to deliver a real-time online foreign exchange trading solution for banks’ treasury departments, covering distribution, position-keeping, post-trade and payments.
Online payments firm Shieldpay has announced a partnership with Vocalink to use its Pay by Bank app as a new deposit method to customers. Shieldpay’s payments network protects both buyer and seller in any transaction by verifying the identity of all parties. Funds are held securely in the Shieldpay Vault, and are only released when both parties agree. Shieldpay enables either individuals or businesses to create this instant digital escrow facility with no set-up costs in order to eliminate payment fraud.
A new study examining consumer perspectives around digital identity has revealed that people now prioritise security over convenience when logging in to devices and applications – particularly financial apps. The IBM Security survey of almost 4,000 adults from across the US, Asia Pacific and Europe found that security ranked as the highest priority for logging in to the majority of applications, particularly money-related apps.
BFC Bank has become a direct participant in the Faster Payments Scheme, the UK’s real-time payment service. With participation in the Faster Payments Scheme, BFC Bank is now able to support small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and payment service providers (PSPs) with their domestic payments. BFC Bank is the 21st direct participant in the Faster Payments service.
Chinese mobile giant Huawei has partnered with UnionPay International to accelerate the international roll-out of its Huawei Pay mobile payments service. Through the agreement, Huawei and Honor mobile phone users will be able to complete mobile transactions by adding their UnionPay bank cards to their Huawei Pay account. The company uses payment token technology to effectively protect the privacy and data security of cardholders.
Emirates NBD has announced two new senior technology appointments as part of its digital transformation strategy. Miguel Rio Tinto has been appointed as chief information officer to lead the group’s information technology division. He joins from McKinsey & Company’s Iberia office where he was a partner responsible for major IT and digital transformations for financial institutions across Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.
ING has agreed a €270 million deal to acquire a 75 per cent stake in omnichannel payments service provider Payvision. The transaction, which forms part of ING’s Think Forward strategy, has been completed to strengthen ING’s footprint in omnichannel payments services and expand its merchant services for its business customers.
NatWest has partnered with Canadian technology firm Sensibill to launch a new digital receipt feature which is now available to all small business customers with the NatWest app. The new feature will enable receipts to be captured using a smartphone camera or sent to the app via email, and reconciled with a list of transactions held by the business. It will allow users to track spending and categorise expenses for HMRC, as well as exporting the receipts for invoicing or accounting purposes.
Nordic payments firm Nets has secured a contract with Hungarian financial services provider GIRO to deliver an instant payment solution to all bank users in Hungary. The partnership intends to deliver more than a basic payments infrastructure to the Hungarian banking community by developing and operating new additional services and solutions as well as utilizing GIRO's existing services and solutions to make full use of the scalable and open central infrastructure solution supplied by Nets.
Business commerce platform Tradeshift has announced the launch of a new innovation lab and incubator to drive supply chain innovation. Named Frontiers, the incubator is directed at exploring and transforming business networks, supply chains, and global trade through the application of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, distributed ledgers and the Internet of things. Frontiers will also engage in business development enhancing partnerships to drive commercial goals.
Yolt has reportedly become the first third party provider to complete a successful connection under the new Open Banking system. The first successful test connection was made on 17 January between Lloyds Banking Group and Yolt, making the money management firm the first third party provider to work with a CMA9 current account provider under the new regulation.
Arsenal Football Club has signed a partnership with CashBet ahead of the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) of its new cryptocurrency CashBet Coin. The agreement will give the CashBet Coin brand prominent placement via in-stadium advertising channels for Arsenal home Premier League games at Emirates Stadium. Vinai Venkatesham, Arsenal’s chief commercial officer, said:
JPMorgan Chase has committed to opening 400 new branches across the US, as part of a $20 billion investment initiative. The five-year plan is designed to help employees and support job and local economic growth in the US. The bank will open branches in several new US markets, increase wages and benefits for hourly employees, make increased small business and mortgage lending commitments, and add 4,000 new jobs.
Tesco Bank has announced the appointment of Gerry Mallon as its new chief executive, assuming the role in July 2018. Mallon will join from Ulster Bank, where he is currently chief executive. Prior to that, Mallon was CEO of Danske Bank UK from 2008 to 2016, and held senior positions at Bank of Ireland, McKinsey and Co, the Industrial Development Board for Northern Ireland, and the Northern Ireland Civil Service.
A new survey from ING Bank and Illuminate Financial has found that 70 per cent of banks view FinTechs as enablers, playing a positive role in supporting banks. However the relationship is not without challenges, according to the survey. Both banks and FinTechs agree the primary challenge in partnering together is navigating organisational decision making. Six in 10 banks acknowledge that it can be very difficult or difficult for FinTechs to connect with the relevant people in banks and 78 per cent of FinTechs agreed.
The Current Account Switch Service (CASS) has released new statistics, revealing that almost 4.5 million successful current account switches have taken place in the UK since the service launched in 2013. However, the number of people moving their current account to a new provider has started to slow. Across the 2017 calendar year there were a total of 931,956 switches recorded, compared to 1,010,423 switches in 2016. CASS reported a switching success rate of 99.3 per cent for last year.
Chinese tourists visiting Italy will soon be able to purchase both online and in-store through their WeChat Pay app, thanks to a new partnership signed with Digital Retex, Tencent Trusted Partner, and DOCOMO Digital. Chinese consumers completed more than one million transactions per minute in 2017, with more than 980 million monthly active users and a market penetration of 93 per cent in the largest cities.
Mastercard has revealed that all customers will be able to identify themselves through biometrics such as fingerprints or facial recognition, when making a purchase with Mastercard by April next year. This means that banks issuing Mastercard payment cards will have to be able to offer biometric authentication for remote transactions, in addition to existing PIN and password verification. The switch will also apply to all contactless transactions completed at the point of sale.
The Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank Group (CYBG) has selected ServiceNow as a strategic platform to support a major digital transformation initiative. The new solution is an IT service management (ITSM) platform that can be integrated with various enterprise applications such as Office 365 and Jira for operational efficiency. The platform, which has completed a three month pilot programme, is now scheduled to go live in the coming weeks.
Trinity College Dublin and the Bank of Ireland have announced a new partnership to support students and graduates innovation and entrepreneurship skills at the university’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E) Hub. All Trinity students, researchers and graduates will be able to participate in and benefit from cutting edge innovation, entrepreneurial and idea development programmes at the I&E Hub.
The first full agricultural commodity transaction using a blockchain platform has been completed by a group of companies including ING, Societe Generale and ABN Amro. The trade included a full set of digitalised documents – the sales contract, letter of credit and certificates – and automatic data matching, therefore avoiding task duplication and manual checks. The transaction mirrored the paper-based process, and reduced the time spent on processing documents and data by fivefold.
Following its FCA approval last week, UK money management app Emma has confirmed that it is getting on board with Monzo’s interim API, in what will be the first Open Banking integration for both companies. London-based Emma Technologies is currently building a banking app on both iOS and Android that targets Millennials. It is being designed as a mobile-only solution to help consumers avoid overdrafts, find and cancel subscriptions, track debt and save money across multiple financial accounts – something made possible through the UK’s new Open Banking initiative.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has gone live with a new chatbot that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to assist customers with more than 200 banking tasks. Named Ceba, the chatbot is designed to help customers complete banking activities such as activating their card, checking their account balance, making payments and getting cardless cash. The technology is currently available to 20 per cent of CBA’s NetBank customers, and will be rolled out to all 6.2 million NetBank and CommBank app customers in the coming weeks.
Consumer group Which? has urged the regulator to review proposed changes by ATM network LINK that could leave some communities in the UK with no access to free-to-use cash machines. LINK, which runs 70,000 ATMs in the UK, announced in November that it might lower its interchange fees by 20 per cent – a move that could ultimately lead to fewer free-to-use cash machines on Britain’s streets.
Citi has unveiled a new initiative that sees university students embedded in digital innovation efforts across the organisation. Run by Citi Ventures – the banking group’s innovation and venture capital arm – the programme is called Citi University Partnerships in Innovation and Discovery (CUPID). It currently has more than 80 students from 12 US universities receiving course credit for their work in semester-long projects focused on emerging technologies such as machine learning, natural language processing and Big Data analytics.
Eighty five per cent of global banks cite the implementation of a digital transformation programme as a business priority for 2018, according to a new EY report. Investment in technology in order to drive efficiency, manage evolving risks and benefit from growth opportunities is seen by banks as critical for sustainable success, found the Global Banking Outlook 2018 study.
French cryptocurrency and blockchain security firm Ledger has announced that it has secured $75 million in a Series B funding round, led by Draper Esprit. The company will use the investment to significantly scale up its operations as demand for their products increases. Ledger has sold over a million cryptocurrency hardware wallets across 165 countries, and will be launching a new solution for financial institutions – which enables banks and hedge funds to manage their crypto assets.
The UK’s Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBI) has partnered with RegTech and compliance firm Contego to support Open Banking’s identity proofing and verification processes. Contego will conduct thorough and comprehensive verification checks on those FCA-regulated parties that are able to apply to access customer data. The firm’s platform provides a fully-automated authentication process, delivered in real-time via a single API.
Australian banks NAB and Westpac have integrated Amazon Alexa capabilities to their banking offering, meaning customers request account information via the voice assistant. Customers of the banks will now be able to ask Alexa questions such as: “What’s my savings account balance?”, “How much do I owe on my credit card?”, and “Did I get paid this week?”.
Santander Corporate and Commercial has appointed cross-border payments provider EQ Global to strengthen the bank’s international payments offering. Through the new partnership, Santander business customers will be able to make payments in 100 currencies to more than 120 countries worldwide. Furthermore, the deal will increase the speed and efficiency at which international payments can be made by customers.
Eight in 10 bankers see Open Banking as more of an opportunity than a threat, with 62 per cent prepared to distribute third-party products through their platform, new research from Temenos and Accenture has found. According to the findings, banks view other banks – rather than non-bank entrants – as their main competitive threat. One in five respondents cited challenger banks as the leading competition, while the majority of respondents also expressed interest in collaborating with FinTechs.
US financial services group BB&T has committed $50 million to invest in emerging digital technology companies, with a view of securing the corporation a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Kelly King, chairman and CEO of BB&T, said: “This sizable investment in financial technology companies represents an important strategic milestone in our digital business transformation. We’re excited about the possibility of new partnerships and innovative approaches to provide the best possible experience for our clients.”
Metro Bank has launched instant online account opening for its retail current account, enabling customers to sign up via their desktop or mobile. It is the first High Street bank in the UK to offer this service using selfie technology. Customers will be able to instantly use their account after completing the registration process, with account details provided immediately once verified. Bank cards are then delivered by first class post, or customers can choose to go into a Metro branch and have their Mastercard debit card printed straight away.
Standard Chartered has launched SC Ventures – a digital innovation programme that will invest in FinTechs and other startup firms to promote the testing and implementation of new business models. An investment unit will be established to manage the international banking group’s minority investments in FinTech companies and seek further investments in promising technologies.
The number of payment cards in Europe rose by two per cent in 2016 to reach 1.5 billion, with western Europe still accounting for two thirds of this total despite slowing growth in the region, new figures show. The new report from RBR found that both the western Europe and central and eastern Europe (CEE) regions saw similar growth in 2016; for CEE this was faster than 2015, while it slowed in western Europe.
SWIFT and seven central securities depositories (CSDs) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work together to demonstrate how distributed ledger technology (DLT) could be implemented in post-trade scenarios, such as corporate actions processing, including voting and proxy-voting. Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, Caja de Valores, Depósito Central de Valores, Nasdaq Market Technology AB, National Settlement Depository, SIX Securities Services and Strate Ltd are among the CSDs participating in the DLT project with SWIFT. Additional CSDs are expected to join in the coming weeks.
Independent financial services consultancy deVere Group has revealed plans to launch a cryptocurrency app, citing a soaring global demand for digital currencies. Named deVere Crypto, the new app will enable users to store, transfer and exchange five major cryptocurrencies – including Bitcoin and Ethereum. The app, which will be available on both Apple and Android devices, is due to launch in a matter of weeks.
Fraudulent payments have increased by 100 per cent globally over the last two years, as changing consumer behaviour has led to a shift in cyber crime trends, a new study has claimed. The report from ThreatMetrix found the opening of 83 million fraudulent payment accounts was attempted between 2015 and 2017, with fraudsters creating complete identities and opening new accounts by compiling identity data taken from data breaches and the dark web.
The Bank of Lithuania has revealed plans to open a regulatory and technological sandbox, enabling domestic and foreign companies to develop and test the latest FinTech innovations. Named LBChain, the new platform would provide participants with a technical platform and consultations on applicable regulations. Facilities will only be available to innovative companies that devise and develop blockchain technology-based services and solutions.
London-based Millennial banking app Emma Technologies has been approved and registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Emma provides a mobile banking solution for Millennials that is designed to help users avoid overdrafts, find and cancel subscriptions, track debt and save money. Following the launch of a closed beta in December last year, the company is now able to fully operate as a bank under the recently launched PSD2 scheme.
Mountain America Credit Union has joined the Bank of Cyprus in trialling a biometric-enabled contactless payment card from Visa. The new biometric payment card pilots will test the use of fingerprint recognition as alternatives to a PIN or signature when authenticating the cardholder. Customers place their finger on the sensor and their fingerprint is compared with the previously enrolled fingerprint template securely stored in the card to authenticate the transaction.
Bank of America has reported record-breaking person-to-person (P2P) payments in 2017, transacted through digital payments platform Zelle. Over the course of 2017, almost 68 million transactions were carried out by Bank of America customers using mobile-based Zelle – an 84 per cent growth rate when compared with the previous year. In Q4 alone, the bank processed more than 23 million Zelle transactions, totalling nearly $7 billion – up 91 per cent from 2016.
Financial services software firm SS&C has announced that it agreed to purchase technology firm DST Systems in an all-cash transaction for $84 per share plus assumption of debt, equating to a value of approximately $5.4 billion. The transaction significantly increases the scale of SS&C, and expands the firm’s footprint into the US retirement and wealth management markets. The combination leverages SS&C’s software platform for institutional and alternative asset managers to drive increased automation and efficiency across wealth management services.
Stephen Ingledew has been named as the new CEO of FinTech Scotland, bringing years of experience in the financial sector where he has worked in implementing customer-focused and technology-enabled initiatives. Ingledew previously worked as a senior executive at companies such as Standard Life and Barclays, as well as small financial enterprises. He has been an influential advocate of making financial services more open, creative and inclusive through new technologies.
Money transfer firm MoneyGram has partnered with Ripple to trial use of Ripple’s XRP digital currency in its payment flows. XRP is the native digital asset of the XRP Ledger, and has transaction fees of less than a penny – compared with Bitcoin fees of around $30 per transaction. Similarly, the average transaction time for XRP is 2-3 seconds, compared with other top digital currencies which range from 15 minutes to an hour.
The long-awaited second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) is set to be implemented across Europe this weekend, while the accompanying Open Banking initiative will also take effect in the UK. PSD2 aims to increase competition across the European payments industry, introducing new types of payment services and allowing non-banks access to payment rails, while enhancing the protection and security of customers.
SETL has started to process live transactions through IZNES, a pan-European record-keeping platform powered by the company’s blockchain technology. OFI Asset Management has successfully trialled the system with selected clients, with other asset managers in the initiative including Groupama AM, La Financière de l’Échiquier, and Arkéa Investment Services.
The Central Bank of Lithuania has partnered with SIA to access RT1, the pan-European instant payments infrastructure. Through the new connection, Lithuanian banks will now be able to execute instant payments up to €15,000 in less than 10 seconds all year round. The network infrastructure is designed to meet the security and reliability requirements of instant payments and complies with SEPA’s Instant Credit Transfer scheme created by the European Payments Council.
Bacs Payment Schemes processed more than 6.34 billion payments in 2017, worth a total of almost £5 trillion – marking another record-breaking year for the firm. On one day in June 2017, 111.7 million Direct Debits and Bacs Direct Credits passed through the system – the equivalent of more than 7.2 million payments each hour the processing window was open, or in excess of 120,000 transactions per minute. That figure surpasses the previous daily high of 109.3 million transactions recorded in September 2016.
New research from eMarketer has found that proximity mobile payments are gaining popularity in the UK, but are still far from mass adoption. Just over 22 per cent of UK smartphone users will use their phone to pay for goods and services at the point of sale in 2018, according to the study. In addition, the payment method is expected to see double-digit growth to 2020, with 17 per cent growth expected in 2018.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has launched a new FinTech platform, which aims to help further the success of the UK’s small business and self-employed communities by matching them with alternative lenders. The recent Small Business Index Q4 from the FSB found that confidence within the sector has fallen for only the second time in the last five years. FSB noted that access to funding is crucial to the small business sector, which accounts for an annual turnover of £1.9 trillion a year – 51 per cent of all private sector turnover in the UK.
UnionBank of the Philippines has partnered with NCR Corporation to unveil its wholly-digital branch in Makati City, Manila, in line with the bank’s digital transformation strategy. Named ‘The Ark’, the new branch will feature an array of technological features, including touch screen, augmented reality and digital interaction. Centrally-located video tellers will remotely deliver 90 per cent of the services typically available at a traditional branch, across extended hours.
Visa has collaborated with tech firm Dynamics to unveil the ‘Wallet Card’ – a connected payment card that incorporates new features and technologies, as well as stores multiple payment cards. Features of the new Visa-branded Dynamics Wallet Card range from the ability to access multiple cards – whether EMV, contactless, or magnetic stripe-based – to a programmable on-card display that enables account information, such as alerts or coupons, to be sent to the cardholder.
BNP Paribas Asset Management has successfully completed a full end-to-end fund transaction using blockchain technology. The test demonstrated that Fund Link, the firm’s blockchain programme, is able to connect with other blockchains, opening the door to a new model of interoperability. The transaction included each part of the fund trade process, from delivery of the order to the processing of the trade.
Key roll-outs from Apple, Facebook and Google are expected to drive the global social payments, according to a new report from Juniper Research.Juniper predicts that uptake for Apple Pay Cash, the service which allows customers to send and receive money to friends and family, will initially be slow due to a strong banking network in its launch markets. However, the total number of annual transactions via the service will approach one billion by 2020.
Dutch bank ABN AMRO has invited 500 of its customers to test a range of wearable devices as a new payment method. Following successful internal tests in 2017, customers will now be able to complete contactless payments with a ring, watch, bracelet or keyring. Registration is now available for customers to participate in a four-month pilot. In exchange for providing the wearables, the bank requests feedback through an app, so the client experience can be continuously optimised while the pilot is ongoing.
Google has announced that it will be bringing together the different ways a customer can use it to pay by consolidating services including Android Pay and Google Wallet into a single brand called Google Pay. The new platform will make it easier for consumers to use the payment information saved to their Google account – speeding up the online checkout process.
Open Banking – including the introduction of Payment Services Directive Two (PSD2) – has been identified as the most important development for the FinTech industry in 2018, a new survey of sector CEOs has revealed. The report from digital agency FleishmanHillard asked 30 senior leaders from companies including Ant Financial, Citi, Ripple, Santander, Western Union, Starling Bank and Visa to share their insights on the biggest opportunities and fears for the year ahead.
Software-based financial services firm Wealthfront has secured $75 million in funding, led by Tiger Global Management with participation from all existing venture capital investors. The company will use the new capital to expand its efforts to optimise and automate more financial services using its Path financial planning service platform as the foundation for all client interaction.
A report from the London Assembly Economy Committee has recommended that all 16-18 year olds should have a bank account, to help reduce the risk of them finding themselves in financial difficulty. The report found that 44 per cent of people in the UK who are in financial difficulty are between the ages of 18 and 34, while 27 per cent of 18 to 30 year olds in London said they are in debt all the time.
The SWIFT Institute has opened its third annual student challenge, calling on Australian-based students to devise new ways of protecting personal information in an open banking environment. The challenge, which is aimed at students in all levels of further education, addresses the issue of data privacy in an Open API environment. The challenge is available to any recognised university or further educational establishment based in Australia.
Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC, RBS, Starling, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and Saxo Payments are among the companies which have been shortlisted for the 2018 FStech Awards. Now in its 18th year, this prestigious event continues to celebrate technology excellence and innovation across the UK and EMEA financial services sector.
The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) has fined money transfer firm Western Union $60 million for violations of the New York Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering (AML) laws. Following an investigation, the DFS found that Western Union had failed to implement and maintain an anti-money laundering compliance programme for over a decade. Such programmes are designed to deter, detect and report on criminals’ use of its electronic network to facilitate fraud, money laundering and the illegal structuring of transactions below amounts that would trigger reporting requirements.
Japanese credit card company JCB is running a trial of multipurpose visible light palm authentication, in collaboration with Universal Robot and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology. The trial will use Universal Robot’s visible light palm authentication, using both palm print and vein patterns – which has the world’s highest level of accuracy with a one in 100 billion false acceptance rate.
Charles Randell has been appointed as the new chair of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Payments Systems Regulator (PSR). Randell, who will take up both roles on 1 April 2018 for a five-year term, is currently an external member of the Prudential Regulation Committee of the Bank of England, and a non-executive board member for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
UK financial technology firms attracted a record £1.34 billion in venture capital funding in 2017, according to new data from London & Partners. London’s FinTech firms dominated the investment, accounting for more than 90 per cent of all money raised by UK FinTech firms over the course of the year. Firms such as TransferWise (£211 million), Funding Circle (£81.9 million) and Monzo (£71 million) all completed major funding rounds in 2017.
Australia’s Bankwest has invited customers to register for access to Bankwest Halo – a new wearable payment ring that can be used in the same way as a debit card for contactless payments. Rather than having to tap their card on a contactless reader, Bankwest customers will be able to tap their ring for payments up to $100. For transactions over $100, customers will be required to enter their PIN number.
US-based digital personal finance platform MoneyLion has announced the closure of a $42 million funding round, led by growth equity investment firm Edison Partners. MoneyLion provides an AI-powered consumer finance platform that broadens consumer access to low-interest credit, automated savings and investment opportunities. The firm, which now boasts more than 1.5 million customers, will use the funds to expand its product line.
The Bank of Cyprus has selected Gemalto to supply the world’s first EMV biometric payment card for both chip and contactless payments. Using fingerprint recognition instead of a PIN code to authenticate the cardholder, the card is compatible with existing payment terminals already installed in the country. When customers place their fingerprint on the sensor, a comparison is performed between the scanned fingerprint and the reference biometric data securely stored in the card.
Nordic Bitcoin broker Prasos has secured €2.5 million in equity funding to boost its expansion in Europe and to develop cryptocurrency-based investment services for investors. Prasos offered up to 15 per cent of equity during the funding round and found more than 1,000 new shareholders from Finland and abroad. The company plans to expand across Europe, study potential company acquisitions in target markets and further develop its exchange services to lower the barrier for traditional investors.
BBVA has revealed that it has passed the 50 per cent mark in the number of customers now engaging with the bank via digital channels in six of its 11 core markets. The countries to have passed the milestone are Spain, the US, Turkey, Argentina, Chile and Venezuela. In Spain specifically, the use of digital channels to access banking services has grown by more than 17 per cent in the last 12 months alone, while the number of customers accessing services through mobile has soared 30 per cent over the same period.
The much-anticipated second Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) has launched across Europe, despite both the UK and Germany granting last-minute extensions to futures exchanges ICE Futures Europe, the London Metal Exchange and Eurex. The aim of the new regulation is to increase transparency and increase investor protection to avoid another financial crisis. Firms dealing in shares, bonds, commodities and derivatives must now report detailed information on transactions.
Cross-border remittance and currency exchange firm LuLu Exchange has selected Fiserv to enhance its financial crime prevention capabilities and enable its expansion into new markets. LuLu Exchange will implement a cloud-based version of Fiserv’s AML risk management technology, which uses methods such as machine learning to detect suspicious transactions. This system has been designed to eliminate the inconvenience of legitimate transactions being flagged for investigation.
US remittance firm Moneygram has announced that its $1.2 billion merger deal with Chinese FinTech giant Ant Financial has been mutually terminated after failing to obtain the required approval from the US Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS). But the two companies confirmed that they plan to continue to collaborate on new strategic initiatives in the digital payments market, bringing together their capabilities to provide respective customers with transfer services into emerging markets around the world.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) lender Funding Circle is preparing for a £1 billion float on the London stock market, potentially in the autumn. Launched in 2010, Funding Circle is a major lending platform for small businesses, and has lent over $5 billion globally. The UK firm has grown particularly quickly in the US, where it has now facilitated over $1 billion in funding – making it the first P2P platform to have lent more than $1 billion across two markets.
Revenues generated by wealth management robo-advisory platforms will grow to $25 billion globally by 2022, up from $1.7 billion in 2017, according to new figures. The latest report from Juniper Research estimated that total assets under management by robo-advisors will increase twelve-fold to reach $4.1 trillion four years’ time, up from an estimated $330 billion in the past 12 months.
The Japan Bank Consortium – a coalition of 61 banks in Japan, organised by SBI Ripple Asia – has announced a new Ripple pilot with South Korea’s Woori Bank and Shinhan Bank. The initiative will be the first time money has moved from Japan to Korea over RippleNet. The consortium will use Ripple’s settlement technology xCurrent to settle transactions between participating banks.
NCR Corporation has announced a partnership with CoinHub, a cryptocurrency exchange in the UAE, to enable users to make cash withdrawals from their cryptocurrency account at ATMs. Through NCR’s CxBanking software, users will be able to access their bitcoin funds as simply as any other transaction at the ATM. A withdrawal begins with authenticating the user either by scanning a standard ATM card or via cardless access with a mobile device.
The Canadian Competition Bureau has published a report on its market study concerning technology-led innovation in the Canadian financial services sector. The report outlines the barriers to growth and adoption of financial technology and provides a number of recommendations aimed at fostering competition and innovation across payments, loans and financial advice.
Barclays has published a page on its website, describing to customers the bank’s Open Banking strategy and how it can provide them with more control of their financial information. The bank has been working with registered third parties to develop application programming interfaces (APIs), which help to secure the Open Banking operations. APIs are commonly used by mobile apps and online tools to provide integrated services, allowing software developed by different companies to talk to each other.
Italy’s ABI Lab is building a blockchain proof of concept (PoC) to simplify and standardise domestic interbank reconciliation on R3’s Corda platform. ABI Lab, a banking research and innovation centre run by ABI for over 160 banks and 65 information communication technology companies in Italy, will leverage Corda’s distributed ledger technology (DLT) to address outdated and time consuming reconciliation practices and the challenges associated with managing bilateral data sources.
Asset managers in Europe are faster to adopt technologies than their sell-side counterparts because CEOs in the industry understand the importance of technology within the business, according to a survey of 200 IT executives working in the financial services sector. The survey, carried out by Excelian, Luxoft Financial Services reveal that 87 per cent of IT executives working for wealth and asset management firms believe their CEOs understand the importance of technology within the business.
Over half of financial services firms do not think their IT systems are up to scratch when compared with their FinTech counterparts, new research from IDG Connect has found. The study, which was commissioned by Digital Realty and surveyed more than 100 IT decision-makers at companies with 500 or more staff, also found that 54 per cent of financial services firms believe that they are ‘constantly fighting’ to update security defences and keep out the latest challenges. Just 32 per cent said that they have comprehensive defences and strong processes, while 13 per cent said that they need to make significant changes.
Payments solutions provider Tsys has entered into an agreement to acquire Cayan, a payment technology firm, in an all cash transaction valued at approximately $1.05 billion. Cayan currently provides technology-led acquiring services to more than 70,000 merchants and 100+ integrated partners in the US. The firm’s flagship Genius platform aims to deliver a seamless and scalable commerce experience across all channels.
Standard Chartered has gone live with its US Dollar SWIFT global payments innovation (gpi) services to extend its offering to customers making cross-border payments. With the SWIFT gpi, customers are able to receive end-to-end confirmation of their payments over the entire transaction life cycle. This enables them to manage their cash better and offers benefits such as faster, same day use of funds with increased visibility over transaction statuses and costs.
A new Visa survey of 1,000 Americans has found that consumers have a strong interest in new biometric technologies replacing traditional password verification. Some 86 per cent of respondents are interested in using biometrics to verify identity or make payments, while 65 per cent are already familiar with the technology. Seventy per cent of consumers believe that biometrics are easier and 46 per cent think that they are more secure than using passwords or PINs.
New research from Accenture suggests that retailers are positioned to benefit as banks open their network in compliance with the second Payments Services Directive (PSD2). PSD2 requires banks to grant third-party providers – such as retail merchants – access to a consumer’s online account/payment services in a regulated and secured manner, with the consumer’s consent. The goal is to drive increased competition, innovation and transparency across the European payments market.
The number of cash withdrawals made at ATMs globally in 2016 was 106 billion – up six billion on 2015, according to new figures from RBR. The report also found that the number of ATMs that could be used to automatically deposit banknotes reached 1.1 million, which equates to 34 per cent of the global ATM total. This, according to the study, has enabled banks and independent ATM deployers to reduce costs, as automated deposit ATMs allow banks to move staff members to other roles, such as sales.
Private equity firm Finstar Financial Group has committed to invest up to $50 million in APAC’s consumer lending sector, in line with its five-year plan to invest $150 million in the financial technology space globally. The company is also planning a roll-out of its Digital Finance International (DFI) division in several large Asian economies in the near future.
Specialist UK savings and lending bank Shawbrook has deployed a central platform for the management of business-critical spreadsheets. The new solution, developed by ClusterSeven, provides the bank with central, automated oversight of all major spreadsheets and end-user computing models. It provides automated audit trails that highlight when and what changes have been made by individuals in the bank’s high risk applications.
Thomas Cook Money, the newly launched financial services arm of Thomas Cook, has partnered with Ferratum Group to introduce its first Banking-as-a-Service venture. Ferratum will provide Thomas Cook Money with a fully functional and regulated mobile consumer finance offering, enabling customers to use a mobile banking app – which has been designed around holidays – through the new Thomas Cook Money brand Sumo.
The Financial Conduct Authority has published feedback on its discussion paper on distributed ledger technology (DLT), revealing that the UK regulator is open to all forms of deployment of the technology. Earlier this year, the FCA announced that it was seeking stakeholder views of the development of DLT for the financial services sector.
Schroders Singapore has launched a beta version of an online chatbot operating through Facebook Messenger, which is designed to allow asset managers to better engage with their clients. Named Schroders GO, the chatbot provides investors with information on any fund as well as market information, without having to download an app. Launched in collaboration with distribution partners Citi Income, UOB and Synergy Financial Advisers, the chatbot is able to process four major types of inquiries, including: fund related queries
Wirecard has signed an agreement with Mastercard to make its Pay by Bank mobile app available to Wirecard-supported merchants in the UK. The Pay by Bank app was created by Vocalink – now a Mastercard company – and it enables people to make ‘digital debit’ payments for goods and services via their own banking app, with the payment made directly from their current account.
China UnionPay has partnered with more than 30 Chinese commercial banks and payments institutions to launch Mobile QuickPass – a unified app for the country’s banking industry. Through integrating mobile payment functions and features offered by the various institutions, the new app has been developed to offer users an easy and seamless mobile banking experience. Customers are able to link their bank cards to the app, manage different bank accounts and enjoy the benefits offered by each bank on one platform.
JPMorgan Chase and Barclays are collaborating with IBM to accelerate the practical applications of quantum computing technology in the financial services industry. The two financial institutions have joined a number of other clients, including Daimler AG, Samsung and Oxford University, in gaining early access to IBM’s Q commercial quantum computing systems to explore potential implementations of the technology.
NatWest customers who have an iPhone X will now be able to log in to their mobile banking app using facial recognition technology. Customers of the bank are increasingly using digital technology to access their banking services, with 1.1 billion mobile and online transactions carried out in the first half of 2017 – representing an increase of 41 per cent since 2014. Mobile transactions have also grown by 73 per cent since 2014, while there were 3,531 logins per minute to NatWest apps in Q3 2017.
Payments company iZettle has announced the closure of a €40 million funding round, which will be used to accelerate its growth strategy and product innovation. The Swedish firm has been expanding its original mobile card reader and payments proposition into a small business commerce platform – offering SMEs tools to take payments, register and track sales, and source funding. The firm is now present in 12 markets across Europe and Latin America, and has plans to expand further in the coming months.
Nordea Bank has kicked off its first Open Banking pilot programme with a selected group of 22 customers, FinTechs and innovative third parties. The pilot provides a sandbox environment where developers can test the Nordic bank’s Account Information Service API, and can retrieve data such as account information details, account balances and transaction history.
Small businesses that bank with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) will soon be able to accept payments of less than $100 by simply tapping a mobile phone with their customer’s contactless card or mobile wallet. CBA has partnered with Mastercard, IDEMIA and Samsung Electronics Australia to bring the Mobeewave SoftPOS technology to its account holders. Mobeewave will provide a white label solution to the bank, leveraging IDEMIA’s digital enablement platform.
Ten companies have been selected by UK innovation foundation Nesta to receive £100,000 each for their developments in supporting small businesses through new Open Banking technology. Selected by an independent judging panel in Nesta’s Open Up Challenge, the 10 companies represent a mix of established and early stage FinTechs who are adopting data-driven approaches to solve banking problems faced by small businesses.
ING has introduced a new artificial intelligence (AI) tool designed to improve decision making in bond trading. Named Katana, the system uses predictive analytics to help traders decided what price to quote when a client wants to buy or sell a bond. The tool also provides traders with a visualisation of relevant historic and real-time data, which helps to assimilate information more easily, make faster and sharper price decisions, and create better liquidity for clients.
JPMorgan Chase, HSBC and American Express Ventures are among investors in malware security firm Menlo Security’s $40 million Series C funding round. The new funding round brings total investment in the firm to $85 million, and will allow Menlo to expand sales and marketing of its Security Isolation Platform, which enhances security for businesses of all sizes.
The total number of card payments made worldwide increased by 14 per cent to 310 billion in 2016, and is forecast to rise by more than 50 per cent to 483 billion by 2022. This is according to the latest RBR Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts to 2022 report, which found that while growth in the number of card payments outpaced growth in the number of cards in virtually all markets, local factors were key in boosting specific fast-growing markets.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has confirmed final UK rules which will require providers of personal current accounts and business current accounts to publish information that will help customers compare the service they could receive from different providers. The measures will require banks to report the number of major operational and security incidents that have ocurred, as well as how long it will take to open a current account or replace a debit card.
Canadian cross-border payments platform nanopay has announced a new feature that will enable international trading partners to securely process B2B payments between bank accounts in real time. Canadian users can begin using the platform in February for business cross-border payments in the US, with India and China to follow in the second quarter of 2018. Businesses are able to securely link their bank account directly to the nanopay platform, enabling them to send payment requests to business partners internationally.
Germany’s Commerzbank and HSBC Transaction Services have agreed to enter into a strategic partnership for securities settlement, which will see Commerzbank’s securities settlement business processes transferred. Through the agreement, a joint venture will be established in which Commerzbank will have a 20 per cent minority stake. The partnership will be in place for an initial period of 10 years.
New research from the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance has found that the UK online alternative finance market grew 43 per cent in 2016 to reach £4.6 billion. Peer-to-peer business lending became the largest market segment, growing by 36 per cent to hit £1.23 billion in 2016. Peer-to-peer consumer lending contributed £1.17 billion with a 47 per cent year-on-year growth rate, while peer-to-peer property lending recorded £1.15 billion with an 88 per cent annual growth rate.
Digital-only banking is growing in popularity, with 53 per cent of Brits either already using or willing to move to an online or mobile bank, new research has found. The survey of more than 2,000 consumers, by data management firm Relay42, found that 27 per cent had moved to digital services already, while 26 per cent were considering the shift. Reasons for switching included receiving a better online experience and functionality (58 per cent), more attractive finance rates or fees (29 per cent) and better quality of service (28 per cent). Just 13 per cent of respondents said they were not interested in exploring new technologies for personal money management.
Malaysia’s CIMB Bank has recently introduced Robotic Process Automation (RPA) into its banking operations, which it says has resulted in reduced turnaround time, faster processing and improved customer experience. Implemented in September 2017, the RPA enables the automation of selected banking operations covering financial, reconciliation, maintenance, e-banking, audit confirmation and auto checking/reminder follow-ups.
UK digital challenger Starling has joined the Railsbank platform as a partner to issue UK bank accounts and give access to UK Faster Payments through the Railsbank Open Banking API. Railsbank is the Open Banking and compliance technology platform that gives businesses access to transaction banking through just five lines of code via a network of partner banks.
Santander UK has appointed a new chief operating officer in the shape of Michael Harte, who joins from Barclays where he was group head of innovation and previously served as group head of operations and technology. Harte will oversee Santander UK’s business divisions and investments in the areas of technology, operations, networks, property and digital change management. His role will also include joint responsibility, with chief customer and innovation officer Sigga Sigurdardottir, for customer and innovation services that will lead the digital transformation of the bank.
Poland’s Alior Bank is to launch an acceleration programme for financial technology startups, as well a new open banking development platform. The aim of the Warsaw-based accelerator is to identify innovative ideas from technology startups, provide funding and support the firms in the development of their business, helping them create added-value solutions for Alior Bank’s clients.
Viola, Israel’s largest technology investment group, has announced an initial closing of $100 million towards a new global FinTech fund, backed by financial institutions including Scotiabank, The Travelers Company and Bank Hapoalim. The mission of the Viola FinTech fund is to “bridge the gap” between the worlds of financial institutions and innovative startups.
A study undertaken by the University of Birmingham has discovered security flaws in the mobile banking apps of nine banks, including HSBC, NatWest and Co-op Bank, which could enable hackers to reveal personal information. Researchers found that a hacker connected to the same network as an app user – such as Wi-Fi or a corporate network – could perform a ‘man-in-the-middle’ attack, meaning that they could decrypt, view and modify network traffic from the app.
HSBC and Visa are among the partners of a new FinTech development programme called Scale, launched by Startupbootcamp for growth stage startups in emerging markets. Scale will work in addition to Startupbootcamp’s traditional accelerator programme aimed at early stage companies. But the new scheme will target startups in post-accelerator stage (pre-Series A funding) looking for a customised approach to help them solve challenges in areas such as business development and expansion.
Digital money transfer service WorldRemit has raised $40 million in a Series C funding round, bringing total investment in the firm to $220 million. The funds will be used to drive its next phase of growth, supporting its plan to serve 10 million customers connected to emerging markets by 2020. The firm wants to expand into new markets, develop new innovative products and services, and scale the technology that underpins its digital model.
Starling Bank has been granted approval from the PRA and FCA to add further financial services products, including ISAs, insurances, loans, mortgages and other investment products, to its in-app ‘Marketplace’ which launched in June. The challenger bank’s aim is to create a marketplace of products from FinTech companies, giving its digital banking customers the chance to easily access these providers by securely connecting them via an API.
Benny Higgins, current CEO of Tesco Bank and group strategy director of Tesco plc, is to join Australian regulation technology firm Kyckr as non-executive chair in March 2018. Higgins has more than 30 years’ experience in the financial services industry, having previously held senior posts in investment management and retail and business banking, including roles at Standard Life, RBS’ retail bank and HBOS.
A number of global banks with eligible Visa credit, debit and prepaid accounts have partnered with Garmin, enabling customers to pay for goods and services using the Garmin Pay wearable contactless range. Bank of America, Capital One, U.S. Bank, BonusCard, Cornérbank, National Australia Bank and ANZ have all signed up to the service. Customers will need a Garmin account and one of the enabled devices to pair with their Apple or Android smartphone so they can start using the payment service.
UK Millennials are driving the demand for artificial intelligence (AI) and biometric authentication when making payments through their smartphones, preferring these methods over traditional passwords and PINs, a new report from Vocalink has found. The 2017 State of Pay report found that 77 per cent of Millennials thought that new AI technologies, such as virtual assistants and hands-free speakers, were appealing as payment devices.
Traditional banks in the UK are losing ground to challenger banks when it comes to providing customers with a digital experience, according to a new report from P.A.ID Strategies. The study, which scores the digital bank account opening process for 10 banks, found that the majority still require consumers to go through manual processes like visiting the branch rather than using digital identity technology to onboard applicants.
Barclays, Nationwide and first direct are among the participants revealed to be in the third cohort of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulatory sandbox. The sandbox allows firms to test innovative products, services or business models in a live market environment, while ensuring that appropriate protections are in place. It is part of Innovate, an initiative kicked off by the FCA in 2014 to promote financial services competition in the interest of consumers. The sandbox was a first among regulators worldwide at the time.
Morgan Stanley Wealth Management has launched Access Investing – a new online platform designed to provide a wider range of clients, including Millennials, with greater efficiency and personalisation when making investments. The new platform is programmed to help build, monitor and automatically rebalance a diversified investment portfolio.
South Africa’s Absa Bank has joined the CLS network, a market infrastructure delivering settlement, processing and data solutions, as a settlement member. Absa joins 66 other banks in becoming a settlement member in CLSSettlement, a payment settlement service for the global foreign exchange market, which settles $5 trillion on an average day for its clients.
Seven in 10 European consumers would trust organisations more if they were to use biometrics for authentication on their online accounts, a new Unisys survey has revealed. The study asked 3,500 consumers across seven European countries their opinion on biometric authentication for access to web-based accounts. Security was cited as the key driver for adopting biometric technology, with 52 per cent of respondents believing it to be a more secure way of accessing services.
JPMorgan Chase has completed the acquisition of US payments firm WePay, in a deal worth more than $300 million. WePay will continue to offer integrated payments to software platforms like Freshbooks and Constant Contact, and will provide instant merchant onboarding and give software developers and partners access to Chase’s business network. More than 1,000 software companies have adopted WePay as a payments service, and expanding that number is a key priority for both organisations, the companies said.
More than three quarters of commercial banks are preparing to increase FinTech investment over the next three years, according to a new survey. The study also revealed that 86 per cent of senior managers expect an imminent rise in investment, but seven in 10 respondents believe that the rise of technology within commercial banks threatens traditional one-to-one banking and customer relationships.
London-based Monzo has announced that it is working with the Welsh government and Cardiff Council on a grant application for opening a new office in the Welsh city. The digital challenger bank is hiring between 20 and 60 new staff in Cardiff during a trial phase, who will spend their first three months working in a temporary office in the Cardiff city centre.
ING-owned money app Yolt has reached 100,000 registered users in less than six months of operating in open beta in the UK. Yolt allows users to view all of their financial accounts and credit cards in one place. It also offers other features such as setting budgets, tagging purchases and comparing the best options for international money transfers.
International funds transaction network Calastone has announced that the technology underpinning its core systems will be migrated onto a full blockchain-enabled infrastructure. More than 1,300 financial service organisations across 34 markets are connected to Calastone’s network, processing over £80 billion of trades and seven million messages each month – making it the largest global fund transaction network.
UK digital micro-lender Oakam has announced that it has secured a £35 million debt investment from Victory Park Capital Advisors. Through its digital-first approach and use of alternative data in its underwriting process, Oakham says it is able to evaluate more applicants at a lower cost than traditional lenders. The company has built a strong track record of growth in the decade since its launch in 2006, with its loan application levels growing by 300 per cent in 2017 to date.
Barclays has stopped offering free anti-virus software from Russian firm Kaspersky to new banking customers, following a warning from the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) that using it could “harm national security”. The NCSC has contacted all government departments warning that Russian-based security software could be exploited by the Kremlin and should not be used in systems containing information that could harm national security if it was accessed.
DBS Bank has partnered with IBM to develop an enterprise-wide Centre of Excellence in Robotic Process Automation (RPA) – the first-of-its-kind in Singapore’s financial services sector. In June, IBM helped DBS set up the centre and since then, DBS has already optimised more than 50 complex business processes across the bank. Having commenced in Singapore, the RPA programme will now be progressively implemented in other markets including Hong Kong, China, India, Indonesia and Taiwan.
Quantum computing startup 1QBit has announced the closure of a $45 million Series B fundraising round led by Fujitsu, with additional investors including RBS, Accenture, Allianz and CME Ventures. 1QBit has seen significant growth over the last year, adding science and business leaders to its team of experts, and plans to use this latest investment to continue to expand its research and software development teams.
Deutsche Bank has announced that it has officially joined Chinese social media channel WeChat in an effort to promote itself among Chinese-speaking stakeholders. WeChat combines the functions of WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, ApplePay, Yelp and many other popular apps, enabling its users to do virtually everything they do online all on one single platform.
Taxpayer-backed RBS has announced that it will close 259 bank branches as well as cut 680 jobs as more of its customers turn to online banking. The closures equate to one in four RBS branches and will leave the bank with just 744 across the UK. 62 Royal Bank of Scotland branches will close in addition to 197 NatWest branches. An RBS spokesperson said: “More and more of our customers are choosing to do their everyday banking online or on mobile.
Mastercard has revealed the latest FinTech companies to join its Start Path Program, including firms focused on digital receipts, hashtag payments on social media and smartphone contactless acceptance. The 11 selected startups from across five countries will connect with a host of global Mastercard executives and partners from banks, digital giants and retailers at today’s third annual Start Path Summit 2017.
There has been a significant evolution on the cyber threat facing the global financial industry over the past 18 months as criminal have significantly advanced their knowledge, according to a new report from SWIFT. The report evaluates cyber attacks on customers around the world, analysing the sophistication of the attackers’ tactics and techniques. Based on the insights gained, the report published how users can protect themselves better against the cyber threat – called the SWIFT Customer Security Programme.
Sberbank, in partnership with IBM, has organised what it claims is the Russian banking industry’s first ever pilot blockchain payment transaction. The transaction used the IBM Blockchain Platform on the basis of HyperLedger Fabric. Sberbank’s partners and participants in the pilot were MegaFon, MegaLabs, Alfa-Bank, and IBM. Sberbank CIB organised the process of transferring money from the payer to the receiver using blockchain technology. Sberbank’s IT infrastructure was used to set up a service for establishing the uniform transaction procedure, the certification centre of the network, and a web app for the client with a personal account section.
Nordea has launched a new service which allows Norwegians to pay their bills via an e-invoice in Facebook Messenger. The service is fully automated and the payment is initiated via an online dialogue with a chatbot in Facebook Messenger. Customers first enroll via their Bank-ID and afterwards use the PIN they have created for mobile banking. Users can also confirm, view or change their outstanding e-invoices in Facebook Messenger.
Nordic bank Nordea has established a fund to make strategic investments in FinTech startup companies, supporting the bank’s strategy of building a digital bank. Nordea has already partnered with and invested in FinTech firms to help develop new solutions faster than the bank could do on its own. Nordea Ventures will further accelerate the rate of bringing innovative products and services to market for its customers.
The banking and telecoms sectors are the most mature in the drive for digital transformation, a new study from Ovum has found. The study was based on primary interviews with over 6,300 enterprises globally, asking senior ICT executives to rate their organisations against nine steps identified by Ovum as key to digital transformation. These ranged from tackling cyber security, to developing digital skills, creating the necessary organisation structure and culture
Credit Suisse has announced that it has bought a majority stake in Tradeplus24 – a Swiss FinTech firm in Zurich that offers lending solutions to SMEs. The startup will use the new capital to further scale-up its operations and delivery of its automated lending solution. As part of the deal, Credit Suisse will also integrate the FinTech’s products into its own offering.
Singapore-based FinTech outfit Change has announced the completion of a $17.5 million crowdfunded investment round. The funds raised will be allocated to the product development of their upcoming digital wallet, banking card and mobile app. Customers will have the ability to manage all of their finances - both cryptocurrency and fiat – completely from their mobile devices.
With the rapid development of financial technologies, operational risk remains an area of concern for 55 per cent of EU banks, according to a new EBA report. This number has increased from 43 per cent in December 2016 and 35 per cent in December 2015. Most EU banks are still taking steps to address their weaknesses that are stemming from technology-driven evolution.
Garanti Bank, Turkey’s second largest private bank, has selected analytics technology from NICE to boost efficiency, improve customer satisfaction, and ensure greater regulatory adherence. Within just two months of implementation, the bank reduced complaints by almost 15 per cent and increased customer satisfaction in the collection department, according to Garanti. With the NICE solution Garanti Bank is able to quickly and accurately detect complaint and risk of churn among its late paying customers, as well as regulatory compliance errors.
US blockchain and cryptocurrency FinTech startup Libra has secured $7.8 million in Series A funding. The funding round was led by an unnamed multi-billion dollar European family office, with participating investors including Liberty City Ventures XBTO, Boost VC, and Lee Linden. The capital will be used to help Libra continue building its Libra Enterprise Platform, as well as releasing new applications and data services. Libra’s platform provides institutional-grade blockchain and cryptocurrency ecosystem connectivity, standardisation, and delivery of data. The new applications and data services will provide real-time, continuous, and automated accounting, audit, and tax processing and reporting capabilities.
CaixaBank, Global Payments, Samsung, Visa and Arval have unveiled the Payment Innovation Hub – Spain’s first innovation hub specialising in merchant commerce and payment methods. The Payment Innovation Hub is located at Barcelona’s Pier01, a space set up by Barcelona Tech City to accommodate more than 100 digital and tech businesses and startups. An initial total investment of €5 million has been earmarked for the project over the next three years.
The deadline for next year’s FStech Awards has been extended to 8 December 2017, so there is still time to submit your organisation’s entries. The event celebrates technology excellence and innovation within the UK and EMEA financial services sector, and there are 27 trophies up for grabs this year, including five new categories: Best Use of Social Networks or Gamification, Blockchain Project of the Year, Partnership or Collaboration of the Year, Incubator or Investment Initiative of the Year and the Social Responsibility Award.
Mastercard and CYBG, owner of the Clydesdale Bank, Yorkshire Bank and B brands, today announced that they will extend their partnership, with CYBG switching all of their remaining Visa credit cards to Mastercard. The 7-year agreement means that all CYBG debit, credit and commercial cards will use the Mastercard network. The renewed partnership also allows Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank’s business customers to benefit from the enhanced functionality to control and add flexibility to their company’s future spending.
Bank of Cyprus has selected new security and risk technology as it looks to meet the authentication requirements issued by the European Banking Authority (EBA) in regards to the upcoming Payment Services Directive (PSD2) regulation. Bank of Cyprus has secured access and transaction signing on its mobile and online banking application using Vasco’s DIGIPASS for Apps solution.
Russia’s Sberbank has announced a deal to acquire 25 per cent in facial recognition technology outfit VisionLabs. The investment in VisionLabs is the first step to build a biometrics platform of Sberbank’s ecosystem, involving face, voice and retina identification, as well as other biometric factors. After a series of tests and pilots of the VisionLabs Luna platform, the decision was made to use it as the foundation for the identification platform. This will allow the creation of a unique biometric identifier that will let Sberbank clients access any service. The biometric platform will be used within Sberbank’s ecosystem and also be available to the wider market.
Spanish banking group BBVA has carried out what it claims is the first blockchain-based international trade transaction between Europe and Latin America. Working in collaboration with tech firm Wave, BBVA conducted the first pilot that uses blockchain to automate the electronic submission of documents in an import-export transaction between the two continents.
Malaysia’s MayBank has introduced facial and voice biometric features to its mobile banking app, which already utilises fingerprint IDs. After activating the biometric login, customers can access all of their accounts in seconds using facial points, voice pattern or their fingerprint. More than one billion transactions will have passed through the Maybank2u app by the end of 2017, according to the bank’s head of community financial services Datuk Hamirullah, with a value of more than RM22 billion.
UK consumers remain cautious about sharing personal data with their banks, at the same time as demanding more innovative financial services from them. That is according to a new survey of more than 1,000 UK adults, which found that nearly half (47 per cent) who had personal bank accounts would only feel comfortable with banks collecting the bare minimum of data required to run their accounts. But at the same time, 91 per cent of respondents agreed that banking services should be “innovative and modern”, revealing a disconnect between consumers’ lack of trust in sharing data and their desire for more advanced services from their banks.
The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) have signed an agreement which provides a framework for cooperation to support and understand financial innovation between the two countries. The agreement will enable the DFSA and ASIC to refer innovative FinTech businesses to each other for support provided through their respective FinTech functions. It provides Australian FinTech businesses wishing to operate in the Dubai International Finance centre with a simple pathway for engaging with DFSA, and vice versa.
Commuters on Hong Kong’s MTR rail network will soon be able to pay through their WeChat Pay or Weixin Pay mobile apps. This is according to the South China Morning Post, which claims that Alipay will also be rolling out a similar feature in the near future following talks with MTR. WeChat Pay will be the first new payment option for the Hong Kong public transport network, which has been using the Octopus card system since 1997.
The death of cash has been “greatly exaggerated”, according to a new report from the San Francisco Federal Reserve, which found that currency in circulation (CIC) has grown faster than GDP in the majority of countries over the past decade. CIC measures the total amount of cash held by the public, including businesses, banks and consumers. When people want to hold more cash, the central bank adds cash into the banking system, resulting in an increase in CIC.
Starling Bank has entered into a first-of-its-kind partnership with Yoyo Wallet, enabling its customers to automatically benefit from retailer-specific loyalty programmes each time they pay with their Starling card. Yoyo currently delivers a mobile payment and loyalty app for consumers at more than 2,000 retail outlets across the UK and Ireland. At the same time, Yoyo provides retailers with the tools to better engage, reward and retain their customers via mobile, and to personalise the loyalty experience by linking a consumer’s individual profile to their basket data.
ING says it has created a new blockchain code that is reportedly 10 times more efficient than existing technologies that are designed to keep information on a ledger private. The new code, known as ‘zero-knowledge range proof’ (ZKRP) adds a layer of cryptography to blockchain technology. This solves the previous issue that information on a public ledger is not private, given that changes must be verified by each participant in the network.
Axis Bank (based in India), Standard Chartered (Singapore) and RAKBANK (UAE) are using Ripple technology for a new cross-border blockchain payments platform. The RippleNet platform will power real-time corporate payments from Standard Chartered to Axis Bank, and retail remittance payments from RAKBANK to Axis Bank beneficiaries. Payments will now be completed within minutes, with the certainty of settlement.
The UK’s Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) has expanded its standards to include all payment account types covered by PSD2 – including credit cards, e-wallets and prepaid cards. In a move referenced in the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s autumn Budget yesterday, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has approved the amendments to include a programme of enhancements to ensure that Open Banking delivers maximum benefits for retail customers and SMEs.
Phillip Hammond delivered his Autumn Budget today, announcing new investment for digital startup and scale-up firms. Hammond said: “Last Autumn I launched the National Productivity Investment Fund, to provide an additional £23 billion of investment over five years to upgrade Britain’s economic infrastructure for the 21st Century. Today I can announce that I will extend this fund for a further year and expand it to over £31 billion.”
Nations Trust Bank of Sri Lanka and Daon have launched a new mobile banking and lifestyle platform that utilises Daon’s biometric authentication capabilities. The new app, named FriMi, is 100 per cent online and open to anyone with a smartphone. All FriMi accounts can be topped up by cash deposits at all Nations Trust Bank Branches, CDMs and FriMi Agents.
HSBC has hired former Google engineering director Mike Warriner as its chief information officer of its retail banking and wealth management digital operations. Warriner has worked for the past five years at Google, where he was responsible for the company’s engineering site, and also served as the European chair of Google Payments. Prior to his work at Google, Warriner worked for 19 years at UK banking technology house Intelligent Environments, reaching the position of chief technology officer.
International asset management firm Robeco has announced the launch of a new FinTech-specific equities fund. Robeco Global FinTech Equities fund, which is domiciled in Luxembourg, will invest in stocks of listed companies which benefit from the increasing digitisation of the financial sector. It makes Robeco one of the first asset managers to launch an actively managed fund that only invests in listed Fintech companies and which is available to wholesale/retail investors.
BNP Paribas has signed a deal with Fenergo who will provide the bank with a new client lifecycle management (CLM) solution. Fenergo’s CLM solution will support BNP Paribas’ global transformation project, delivering a single client view across all jurisdictions and entities and enabling the bank to efficiently comply with all local and global regulatory rules as well as deliver an improved customer experience.
Insurance firm Zurich has launched a ‘selfie’ app called FaceQuote to encourage more people to think about and engage with their finances. FaceQuote estimates a user’s age before calculating how much life cover would cost per month based on the age suggested. The app has been launched to encourage people to engage with life insurance and show how affordable life cover can be.
Bank of America has revealed that customers made more than five million Zelle transactions totalling $1.5 billion in October, up 90 per cent from P2P transactions in October last year. Zelle enables customers to send, receive and request money to existing contacts on their mobile devices. Funds are sent from one bank account to another typically within minutes, when both parties are enrolled, using only a recipient’s email address or mobile number.
Spanish bank IberCaja has partnered with Meniga as it looks to personalise its customer’s digital banking experience. Meniga is the first personal finance software provider that IberCaja has partnered with as part of its digital transformation journey. The bank has successfully implemented and integrated the solution into its core systems, enabling real-time customer data processing and enrichment. This allows for improved accuracy of categorisation of transaction data, giving customers a clearer view of their financial spending history.
BBVA has unveiled an iris scanning feature which allows the Spanish banking group’s customers who have Samsung-compatible smartphones to log on to the mobile banking app just by looking at their displays. With the launch of this feature, BBVA becomes the first Spanish bank to deploy Samsung’s advanced biometric authentication technology, Samsung Pass, which will permit customers to bypass login/password authentication methods.
The SEPA Instant Credit Transfer (SCT Inst) scheme has officially launched, going live with nearly 600 payment service providers (PSPs) from eight European countries. The scheme, created by the European Payments Council, brings real-time electronic money transfers to the continent, allowing payments of up to €15,000 to be made in less than 10 seconds any time and on any day of the year, including weekends and holidays.
B2B payments platform PayStand has announced a $6 million Series A funding round, led by BlueRun Ventures with participation from Cervin Ventures, Serra Ventures, TiE and Capital for Founders. PayStand will use this new round of funding to scale its account receivable systems, and launch a new free accounts payable product line, which has opened in beta this week.
Blockchains that transact with one another could replace central authorities such as banks, clearing houses and lawyers in the future, a new report has predicted. According to an Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) study, with the ability to directly interactthe technology could save firms the cost and effort of doing business with a ledger owner, and increase transparency and security against financial crime.
BNP Paribas Asset Management has entered into a strategic alliance with European alternative SME credit company Caple, acquiring a 10 per cent stake in the firm in the process. Caple facilitates access to alternative credit for SMEs, working with international institutional investors to address gaps in the funding landscape by offering finance that “complements” traditional bank loans.
R3 and Microsoft have expanded their strategic partnership to further accelerate adoption of R3’s Corda platform amongst businesses using Microsoft Azure. Blockchain consortium R3 developed Corda, a distributed ledger platform for financial services, in collaboration with its member banks. The latest partnership will now offer deeper integration of the Corda platform with Azure making it easier for businesses to deploy underlying computing resources for blockchain networks. The expansion reaffirms Azure as R3’s preferred cloud provider.
American Express has announced the introduction of blockchain-enabled, business-to-business cross-border payments. American Express’ FX International Payments (FXIP) business is working with Ripple, provider of enterprise global blockchain solutions, to make blockchain payments commercially available, reducing the time and cost of settlement, while maintaining the level of security that American Express customers know and expect. Santander UK is the selected partner to initiate this new transaction channel, which has the potential to expand substantially over time.
OakNorth has selected a new cyber security solution from Illusive Networks to defend its systems from targeted attacks and ‘advanced persistent threats’. The new Deception Cybersecurity system detects and analyses attacks in real-time with no false positives, minimising manpower required to monitor alerts. The ability to mitigate attacks at the earliest opportunity accompanied by detailed forensic evidence at the time of the alert was also a priority for OakNorth.
Financial institutions need to improve the efficiency of their KYC and sanctions remediation processes or risk losing business, a new report has found. The study from LexisNexis Risk Solutions revealed that seven in 10 professionals in financial institutions are worried that customer friction caused by inefficiencies in these practices is resulting in lost business.
Vocalink, Starling Bank, Nationwide, ClearBank, Barclaycard, Currencycloud and Paysafe were among the companies who collected trophies at the fifth annual Payments Awards last night.Recognising excellence and innovation across the payments sector, the 2017 awards received a record number of entries, reflected in this year’s closely fought categories. The winners were revealed at a glittering gala dinner and awards ceremony at the London Marriott Hotel in Grosvenor Square, hosted by actor and presenter Chris Barrie.
A consortium of major US banks has announced the formation of a new company, TruSight, which will provide third-party risk assessment services.The consortium includes American Express, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. TruSight aims to simplify the process of conducting third-party risk assessments of suppliers and partners across the financial services industry.
Monzo customers can now activate their new current account service by tapping their card on their mobile phone. Once the card arrives in the post, customers simply have to open the app and tap their card to activate it, rather than having to type in the card number or take a picture. The new feature uses near field communication (NFC), which uses a specific radio frequency to allow information to be shared between different devices at close range.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has announced the launch of a new $27 million artificial intelligence and data analytics grant. The grant, which was unveiled by Ravi Menon, managing director of MAS, at the Singapore FinTech Festival, is part of the MAS Financial Sector Technology and Innovation scheme (FSTI). The new grant aims to promote the adoption and integration of artificial intelligence and data analytics in financial institutions.
Technology departments in financial services firms are unable to innovate with technologies like artificial intelligence and blockchain because they have lost influence in boardrooms, according to a new report. A survey of over 200 European IT decision makers commissioned by Excelian, Luxoft Financial Services reveals that 86 per cent of respondents have recently championed a major digital project that failed because it did not get past the boardroom.
A quarter of 18-24 year olds predict that mobile payments will eventually become the main payment method in the UK, rendering cash and plastic cards obsolete, according to a new study. The survey from MoneySuperMarket found that contactless payments have doubled since last year, while three quarters of respondents are withdrawing less cash today than they were 12 months ago. The survey also revealed that Brits make 20 per cent more payments with card or contactless devices (1.8 times) than with cash (1.5 times) each day.
India’s Federal Bank has implemented the Digital Transaction Banking (DTB) platform from Intellect Design Arena, which will provide enhanced banking services to its clients. The new platform is powered by an integrated front-end omnichannel Corporate Banking eXchange (CBX) portal with backend processors for collections & receivables, payables, account services and supply chain finance. DTB will also augment the front end of their existing trade finance portal.
Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has announced the launch of a $100 million FinTech-focused fund to accelerate the development of financial technology by investing in startups from incubation through to growth stage. The new fund will leverage the DIFC’s FinTech ecosystem, which consists of experimental licenses and several collaborative spaces.
The industry consortium led by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) has released the report and source-codes on distributed ledger prototypes for inter-bank payments. The report describes the prototypes developed on three Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) platforms (Corda, Hyperledger Fabric and Quorum) and shares the findings and observations from the project.
The Clearing House has launched a new real-time payments system in the US, which leverages technology from UK payments firm Vocalink. The new platform, labelled RTP, enables consumers and businesses to send and receive immediate payments domestically, with financial processes that used to take days now concluded within seconds. Two banks – US Bank and BNY Mellon – have completed the first live transactions.
Spanish payments services company Iberpay has announced that it is ready to connect Spanish banks with the EBA Clearing system for cross-border euro real-time payments. The move comes in time for the pan-European SCT Inst Scheme which launches on 21 November 2017. Iberpay will be one of the first national providers of clearing and settlement services that will connect to the pan-European instant payment infrastructure platform RT1 as a technical service provider.
Standard Chartered has unveiled a new chatbot on its online and mobile banking platforms and websites. Powered by Kasisto’s conversational artificial intelligence (AI) platform, KAI Banking, the chatbot will act as a virtual personal assistant to help clients manage money, make payments and analyse their spending in a split-second, via natural conversations in English and other languages.
Insurance outfit Aegon has announced that it is replacing its local risk systems with a single global solution from Wolters Kluwer. Aegon has selected the OneSumX for Operational Risk to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of its operational risk management. Following successful local implementations in the UK and within its asset management business, Aegon will use the OneSumX for Operational Risk software across more than 20 countries around the world.
The majority of UK consumers under the age of 35 think that banks and lenders must do more to improve customer loyalty, as 61 per cent said they expect to switch accounts more frequently, a new study has found. The survey by Feefo of more than 1,000 consumers showed that 88 per cent of under 35s believe banks must do more to keep them loyal. With 12 per cent of respondents describing themselves as not loyal, UK banks and lenders are now in danger of sustaining severe losses of more than £1 billion in the £8.7 billion current account market, £156 billion in the £1.3 trillion mortgage market and more than £8 billion in the £67 billion credit card market, Feefo predicts.
Singapore’s DBS Bank has partnered with Equinix to transform one of its traditional data centres in Singapore into a cloud-optimised centre. The new initiative will enable the bank to move its main data centre to significantly smaller premises, which are a quarter of the size of its existing data centre, making the new centre 75 per cent cheaper to run.
Payments Network Malaysia (PayNet), the country’s financial market infrastructure provider, has signed a deal with ACI Worldwide to build a real-time retail payments (RPP) platform. The new solution will be built using ACI’s UP Immediate Payments solution, and is designed to modernise the country’s retail payments infrastructure, drive innovation in electronics payments and bring the benefits of immediate payments to all participants in the payments ecosystem – including banks, payment institutions, businesses, consumers and the government.
China Everbright Bank (CEB) has chosen regulatory reporting software from Wolters Kluwer which will be used for the bank’s operations in Luxembourg. CEB will utilise Wolters Kluwer’s OneSumX Regulatory Reporting solution, which uses a single source of data to ensure consistency, reconciliation and accuracy and includes the firm’s regulatory update service. This service is maintained by Wolters Kluwer experts who actively monitor regulation in approximately 50 countries, helping to ensure the solution is current at all times.
The Asset Management Exchange (AMX) has selected FinTech outfit InvestCloud to build a bespoke digital solution for its growing client base of both asset owners and asset managers. The digital interface will provide clients with a “flexible, intuitive and transparent” way to access and monitor some $2 billion of investments already on the exchange. Established by Willis Towers Watson earlier this year, AMX is a global institutional asset management marketplace. It is an open architecture exchange that provides institutional investors with a central marketplace where they can engage with asset managers.
Barclays has partnered with Flux to trial instant itemised digital receipts with 10,000 customers via the bank’s Launchpad app. Customers taking part in the trial will see their receipts in real time, including all purchases, with VAT, delivered directly to their Barclays app. Users can take ownership of their financial data by going paperless and keeping track of everything they buy without having to download extra apps or changing behaviour. Successful pilots are then rolled out to the five million customers using the Barclays mobile banking app.
BNP Paribas is introducing Chinese mobile payment solution WeChat Pay to retailers across France and the rest of Europe, underlining the bank’s aim to attract Chinese customers. In what is claimed to be a European first, the WeChat Pay solution was initially rolled out at the two Paris flagship stores owned by the Galeries Lafayette Group – Galeries Lafayette Haussmann and BHV MARAIS – at the end of September.
Swiss financial infrastructure provider SIX is establishing a CHF 50 million (€43 million) venture fund to promote innovation within Switzerland’s financial services sector. SIX is already active in the FinTech space with incubator and accelerator programme F10, while the firm also has a number of partnerships with FinTech startups such as Veezoo and Payrexx.
European card issuers are taking advantage of the wider acceptance enjoyed by Mastercard and Visa by pushing ahead with the upgrade of Maestro and Electron cards, new RBR research has found. The ‘Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts to 2022’ study found that by doing so, issuers are increasing the number of merchant outlets in which their cards can be used – particularly for online payments. This move is also popular with their customers, who increasingly expect to pay by card.
UK banking customers sent £101.2 million to criminals after being tricked by ‘authorised transfer’ scams in the first six months of 2017, new research has found. The figures from UK Finance revealed the growing problem of criminals targeting consumers and businesses directly to trick them into authorising a payment. Data found that there were 19,370 cases in H1 2017, with 88 per cent of them being consumers losing an average of £3,000, and the remainder businesses who lost an average of £21,500 per case.