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 banking is growing in popularity, with 53 per cent of UK consumers either already using it or willing to move to an online or mobile-only 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 already, while 26 per cent were considering the switch. 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 Bank has joined the Railsbank platform as a partner to issue UK bank accounts and give access to UK Faster Payments through the Railsbank Open Banking API. Railsbank is the Open Banking and compliance technology platform that gives businesses access to transaction banking through just five lines of code via a network of partner banks.
Santander UK has appointed a new chief operating officer in the shape of Michael Harte, who joins from Barclays where he was group head of innovation and previously served as group head of operations and technology. Harte will oversee Santander UK’s business divisions and investments in the areas of technology, operations, networks, property and digital change management. His role will also include joint responsibility, with chief customer and innovation officer Sigga Sigurdardottir, for customer and innovation services that will lead the digital transformation of the bank.
Poland’s Alior Bank is to launch an acceleration programme for financial technology startups, as well a new open banking development platform. The aim of the Warsaw-based accelerator is to identify innovative ideas from technology startups, provide funding and support the firms in the development of their business, helping them create added-value solutions for Alior Bank’s clients.
Viola, Israel’s largest technology investment group, has announced an initial closing of $100 million towards a new global FinTech fund, backed by financial institutions including Scotiabank, The Travelers Company and Bank Hapoalim. The mission of the Viola FinTech fund is to “bridge the gap” between the worlds of financial institutions and innovative startups.
A study undertaken by the University of Birmingham has discovered security flaws in the mobile banking apps of nine banks, including HSBC, NatWest and Co-op Bank, which could enable hackers to reveal personal information. Researchers found that a hacker connected to the same network as an app user – such as Wi-Fi or a corporate network – could perform a ‘man-in-the-middle’ attack, meaning that they could decrypt, view and modify network traffic from the app.
HSBC and Visa are among the partners of a new FinTech development programme called Scale, launched by Startupbootcamp for growth stage startups in emerging markets. Scale will work in addition to Startupbootcamp’s traditional accelerator programme aimed at early stage companies. But the new scheme will target startups in post-accelerator stage (pre-Series A funding) looking for a customised approach to help them solve challenges in areas such as business development and expansion.
Digital money transfer service WorldRemit has raised $40 million in a Series C funding round, bringing total investment in the firm to $220 million. The funds will be used to drive its next phase of growth, supporting its plan to serve 10 million customers connected to emerging markets by 2020. The firm wants to expand into new markets, develop new innovative products and services, and scale the technology that underpins its digital model.
Starling Bank has been granted approval from the PRA and FCA to add further financial services products, including ISAs, insurances, loans, mortgages and other investment products, to its in-app ‘Marketplace’ which launched in June. The challenger bank’s aim is to create a marketplace of products from FinTech companies, giving its digital banking customers the chance to easily access these providers by securely connecting them via an API.
Benny Higgins, current CEO of Tesco Bank and group strategy director of Tesco plc, is to join Australian regulation technology firm Kyckr as non-executive chair in March 2018. Higgins has more than 30 years’ experience in the financial services industry, having previously held senior posts in investment management and retail and business banking, including roles at Standard Life, RBS’ retail bank and HBOS.
A number of global banks with eligible Visa credit, debit and prepaid accounts have partnered with Garmin, enabling customers to pay for goods and services using the Garmin Pay wearable contactless range. Bank of America, Capital One, U.S. Bank, BonusCard, Cornérbank, National Australia Bank and ANZ have all signed up to the service. Customers will need a Garmin account and one of the enabled devices to pair with their Apple or Android smartphone so they can start using the payment service.
UK Millennials are driving the demand for artificial intelligence (AI) and biometric authentication when making payments through their smartphones, preferring these methods over traditional passwords and PINs, a new report from Vocalink has found. The 2017 State of Pay report found that 77 per cent of Millennials thought that new AI technologies, such as virtual assistants and hands-free speakers, were appealing as payment devices.
Traditional banks in the UK are losing ground to challenger banks when it comes to providing customers with a digital experience, according to a new report from P.A.ID Strategies. The study, which scores the digital bank account opening process for 10 banks, found that the majority still require consumers to go through manual processes like visiting the branch rather than using digital identity technology to onboard applicants.
Barclays, Nationwide and first direct are among the participants revealed to be in the third cohort of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulatory sandbox. The sandbox allows firms to test innovative products, services or business models in a live market environment, while ensuring that appropriate protections are in place. It is part of Innovate, an initiative kicked off by the FCA in 2014 to promote financial services competition in the interest of consumers. The sandbox was a first among regulators worldwide at the time.
Morgan Stanley Wealth Management has launched Access Investing – a new online platform designed to provide a wider range of clients, including Millennials, with greater efficiency and personalisation when making investments. The new platform is programmed to help build, monitor and automatically rebalance a diversified investment portfolio.
South Africa’s Absa Bank has joined the CLS network, a market infrastructure delivering settlement, processing and data solutions, as a settlement member. Absa joins 66 other banks in becoming a settlement member in CLSSettlement, a payment settlement service for the global foreign exchange market, which settles $5 trillion on an average day for its clients.
Seven in 10 European consumers would trust organisations more if they were to use biometrics for authentication on their online accounts, a new Unisys survey has revealed. The study asked 3,500 consumers across seven European countries their opinion on biometric authentication for access to web-based accounts. Security was cited as the key driver for adopting biometric technology, with 52 per cent of respondents believing it to be a more secure way of accessing services.
JPMorgan Chase has completed the acquisition of US payments firm WePay, in a deal worth more than $300 million. WePay will continue to offer integrated payments to software platforms like Freshbooks and Constant Contact, and will provide instant merchant onboarding and give software developers and partners access to Chase’s business network. More than 1,000 software companies have adopted WePay as a payments service, and expanding that number is a key priority for both organisations, the companies said.
More than three quarters of commercial banks are preparing to increase FinTech investment over the next three years, according to a new survey. The study also revealed that 86 per cent of senior managers expect an imminent rise in investment, but seven in 10 respondents believe that the rise of technology within commercial banks threatens traditional one-to-one banking and customer relationships.
London-based Monzo has announced that it is working with the Welsh government and Cardiff Council on a grant application for opening a new office in the Welsh city. The digital challenger bank is hiring between 20 and 60 new staff in Cardiff during a trial phase, who will spend their first three months working in a temporary office in the Cardiff city centre.
ING-owned money app Yolt has reached 100,000 registered users in less than six months of operating in open beta in the UK. Yolt allows users to view all of their financial accounts and credit cards in one place. It also offers other features such as setting budgets, tagging purchases and comparing the best options for international money transfers.
International funds transaction network Calastone has announced that the technology underpinning its core systems will be migrated onto a full blockchain-enabled infrastructure. More than 1,300 financial service organisations across 34 markets are connected to Calastone’s network, processing over £80 billion of trades and seven million messages each month – making it the largest global fund transaction network.
UK digital micro-lender Oakam has announced that it has secured a £35 million debt investment from Victory Park Capital Advisors. Through its digital-first approach and use of alternative data in its underwriting process, Oakham says it is able to evaluate more applicants at a lower cost than traditional lenders. The company has built a strong track record of growth in the decade since its launch in 2006, with its loan application levels growing by 300 per cent in 2017 to date.
Barclays has stopped offering free anti-virus software from Russian firm Kaspersky to new banking customers, following a warning from the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) that using it could “harm national security”. The NCSC has contacted all government departments warning that Russian-based security software could be exploited by the Kremlin and should not be used in systems containing information that could harm national security if it was accessed.
DBS Bank has partnered with IBM to develop an enterprise-wide Centre of Excellence in Robotic Process Automation (RPA) – the first-of-its-kind in Singapore’s financial services sector. In June, IBM helped DBS set up the centre and since then, DBS has already optimised more than 50 complex business processes across the bank. Having commenced in Singapore, the RPA programme will now be progressively implemented in other markets including Hong Kong, China, India, Indonesia and Taiwan.
Quantum computing startup 1QBit has announced the closure of a $45 million Series B fundraising round led by Fujitsu, with additional investors including RBS, Accenture, Allianz and CME Ventures. 1QBit has seen significant growth over the last year, adding science and business leaders to its team of experts, and plans to use this latest investment to continue to expand its research and software development teams.
Deutsche Bank has announced that it has officially joined Chinese social media channel WeChat in an effort to promote itself among Chinese-speaking stakeholders. WeChat combines the functions of WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, ApplePay, Yelp and many other popular apps, enabling its users to do virtually everything they do online all on one single platform.
Taxpayer-backed RBS has announced that it will close 259 bank branches as well as cut 680 jobs as more of its customers turn to online banking. The closures equate to one in four RBS branches and will leave the bank with just 744 across the UK. 62 Royal Bank of Scotland branches will close in addition to 197 NatWest branches. An RBS spokesperson said: “More and more of our customers are choosing to do their everyday banking online or on mobile.
Mastercard has revealed the latest FinTech companies to join its Start Path Program, including firms focused on digital receipts, hashtag payments on social media and smartphone contactless acceptance. The 11 selected startups from across five countries will connect with a host of global Mastercard executives and partners from banks, digital giants and retailers at today’s third annual Start Path Summit 2017.
There has been a significant evolution on the cyber threat facing the global financial industry over the past 18 months as criminal have significantly advanced their knowledge, according to a new report from SWIFT. The report evaluates cyber attacks on customers around the world, analysing the sophistication of the attackers’ tactics and techniques. Based on the insights gained, the report published how users can protect themselves better against the cyber threat – called the SWIFT Customer Security Programme.
Sberbank, in partnership with IBM, has organised what it claims is the Russian banking industry’s first ever pilot blockchain payment transaction. The transaction used the IBM Blockchain Platform on the basis of HyperLedger Fabric. Sberbank’s partners and participants in the pilot were MegaFon, MegaLabs, Alfa-Bank, and IBM. Sberbank CIB organised the process of transferring money from the payer to the receiver using blockchain technology. Sberbank’s IT infrastructure was used to set up a service for establishing the uniform transaction procedure, the certification centre of the network, and a web app for the client with a personal account section.
Nordea has launched a new service which allows Norwegians to pay their bills via an e-invoice in Facebook Messenger. The service is fully automated and the payment is initiated via an online dialogue with a chatbot in Facebook Messenger. Customers first enroll via their Bank-ID and afterwards use the PIN they have created for mobile banking. Users can also confirm, view or change their outstanding e-invoices in Facebook Messenger.
Nordic bank Nordea has established a fund to make strategic investments in FinTech startup companies, supporting the bank’s strategy of building a digital bank. Nordea has already partnered with and invested in FinTech firms to help develop new solutions faster than the bank could do on its own. Nordea Ventures will further accelerate the rate of bringing innovative products and services to market for its customers.
The banking and telecoms sectors are the most mature in the drive for digital transformation, a new study from Ovum has found. The study was based on primary interviews with over 6,300 enterprises globally, asking senior ICT executives to rate their organisations against nine steps identified by Ovum as key to digital transformation. These ranged from tackling cyber security, to developing digital skills, creating the necessary organisation structure and culture
Credit Suisse has announced that it has bought a majority stake in Tradeplus24 – a Swiss FinTech firm in Zurich that offers lending solutions to SMEs. The startup will use the new capital to further scale-up its operations and delivery of its automated lending solution. As part of the deal, Credit Suisse will also integrate the FinTech’s products into its own offering.
Singapore-based FinTech outfit Change has announced the completion of a $17.5 million crowdfunded investment round. The funds raised will be allocated to the product development of their upcoming digital wallet, banking card and mobile app. Customers will have the ability to manage all of their finances - both cryptocurrency and fiat – completely from their mobile devices.
With the rapid development of financial technologies, operational risk remains an area of concern for 55 per cent of EU banks, according to a new EBA report. This number has increased from 43 per cent in December 2016 and 35 per cent in December 2015. Most EU banks are still taking steps to address their weaknesses that are stemming from technology-driven evolution.
Garanti Bank, Turkey’s second largest private bank, has selected analytics technology from NICE to boost efficiency, improve customer satisfaction, and ensure greater regulatory adherence. Within just two months of implementation, the bank reduced complaints by almost 15 per cent and increased customer satisfaction in the collection department, according to Garanti. With the NICE solution Garanti Bank is able to quickly and accurately detect complaint and risk of churn among its late paying customers, as well as regulatory compliance errors.
US blockchain and cryptocurrency FinTech startup Libra has secured $7.8 million in Series A funding. The funding round was led by an unnamed multi-billion dollar European family office, with participating investors including Liberty City Ventures XBTO, Boost VC, and Lee Linden. The capital will be used to help Libra continue building its Libra Enterprise Platform, as well as releasing new applications and data services. Libra’s platform provides institutional-grade blockchain and cryptocurrency ecosystem connectivity, standardisation, and delivery of data. The new applications and data services will provide real-time, continuous, and automated accounting, audit, and tax processing and reporting capabilities.
CaixaBank, Global Payments, Samsung, Visa and Arval have unveiled the Payment Innovation Hub – Spain’s first innovation hub specialising in merchant commerce and payment methods. The Payment Innovation Hub is located at Barcelona’s Pier01, a space set up by Barcelona Tech City to accommodate more than 100 digital and tech businesses and startups. An initial total investment of €5 million has been earmarked for the project over the next three years.
The deadline for next year’s FStech Awards has been extended to 8 December 2017, so there is still time to submit your organisation’s entries. The event celebrates technology excellence and innovation within the UK and EMEA financial services sector, and there are 27 trophies up for grabs this year, including five new categories: Best Use of Social Networks or Gamification, Blockchain Project of the Year, Partnership or Collaboration of the Year, Incubator or Investment Initiative of the Year and the Social Responsibility Award.
Mastercard and CYBG, owner of the Clydesdale Bank, Yorkshire Bank and B brands, today announced that they will extend their partnership, with CYBG switching all of their remaining Visa credit cards to Mastercard. The 7-year agreement means that all CYBG debit, credit and commercial cards will use the Mastercard network. The renewed partnership also allows Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank’s business customers to benefit from the enhanced functionality to control and add flexibility to their company’s future spending.
Bank of Cyprus has selected new security and risk technology as it looks to meet the authentication requirements issued by the European Banking Authority (EBA) in regards to the upcoming Payment Services Directive (PSD2) regulation. Bank of Cyprus has secured access and transaction signing on its mobile and online banking application using Vasco’s DIGIPASS for Apps solution.
Russia’s Sberbank has announced a deal to acquire 25 per cent in facial recognition technology outfit VisionLabs. The investment in VisionLabs is the first step to build a biometrics platform of Sberbank’s ecosystem, involving face, voice and retina identification, as well as other biometric factors. After a series of tests and pilots of the VisionLabs Luna platform, the decision was made to use it as the foundation for the identification platform. This will allow the creation of a unique biometric identifier that will let Sberbank clients access any service. The biometric platform will be used within Sberbank’s ecosystem and also be available to the wider market.
Spanish banking group BBVA has carried out what it claims is the first blockchain-based international trade transaction between Europe and Latin America. Working in collaboration with tech firm Wave, BBVA conducted the first pilot that uses blockchain to automate the electronic submission of documents in an import-export transaction between the two continents.
Malaysia’s MayBank has introduced facial and voice biometric features to its mobile banking app, which already utilises fingerprint IDs. After activating the biometric login, customers can access all of their accounts in seconds using facial points, voice pattern or their fingerprint. More than one billion transactions will have passed through the Maybank2u app by the end of 2017, according to the bank’s head of community financial services Datuk Hamirullah, with a value of more than RM22 billion.
UK consumers remain cautious about sharing personal data with their banks, at the same time as demanding more innovative financial services from them. That is according to a new survey of more than 1,000 UK adults, which found that nearly half (47 per cent) who had personal bank accounts would only feel comfortable with banks collecting the bare minimum of data required to run their accounts. But at the same time, 91 per cent of respondents agreed that banking services should be “innovative and modern”, revealing a disconnect between consumers’ lack of trust in sharing data and their desire for more advanced services from their banks.
The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) have signed an agreement which provides a framework for cooperation to support and understand financial innovation between the two countries. The agreement will enable the DFSA and ASIC to refer innovative FinTech businesses to each other for support provided through their respective FinTech functions. It provides Australian FinTech businesses wishing to operate in the Dubai International Finance centre with a simple pathway for engaging with DFSA, and vice versa.
Commuters on Hong Kong’s MTR rail network will soon be able to pay through their WeChat Pay or Weixin Pay mobile apps. This is according to the South China Morning Post, which claims that Alipay will also be rolling out a similar feature in the near future following talks with MTR. WeChat Pay will be the first new payment option for the Hong Kong public transport network, which has been using the Octopus card system since 1997.
The death of cash has been “greatly exaggerated”, according to a new report from the San Francisco Federal Reserve, which found that currency in circulation (CIC) has grown faster than GDP in the majority of countries over the past decade. CIC measures the total amount of cash held by the public, including businesses, banks and consumers. When people want to hold more cash, the central bank adds cash into the banking system, resulting in an increase in CIC.
Starling Bank has entered into a first-of-its-kind partnership with Yoyo Wallet, enabling its customers to automatically benefit from retailer-specific loyalty programmes each time they pay with their Starling card. Yoyo currently delivers a mobile payment and loyalty app for consumers at more than 2,000 retail outlets across the UK and Ireland. At the same time, Yoyo provides retailers with the tools to better engage, reward and retain their customers via mobile, and to personalise the loyalty experience by linking a consumer’s individual profile to their basket data.
ING says it has created a new blockchain code that is reportedly 10 times more efficient than existing technologies that are designed to keep information on a ledger private. The new code, known as ‘zero-knowledge range proof’ (ZKRP) adds a layer of cryptography to blockchain technology. This solves the previous issue that information on a public ledger is not private, given that changes must be verified by each participant in the network.
Axis Bank (based in India), Standard Chartered (Singapore) and RAKBANK (UAE) are using Ripple technology for a new cross-border blockchain payments platform. The RippleNet platform will power real-time corporate payments from Standard Chartered to Axis Bank, and retail remittance payments from RAKBANK to Axis Bank beneficiaries. Payments will now be completed within minutes, with the certainty of settlement.
The UK’s Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) has expanded its standards to include all payment account types covered by PSD2 – including credit cards, e-wallets and prepaid cards. In a move referenced in the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s autumn Budget yesterday, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has approved the amendments to include a programme of enhancements to ensure that Open Banking delivers maximum benefits for retail customers and SMEs.
Phillip Hammond delivered his Autumn Budget today, announcing new investment for digital startup and scale-up firms. Hammond said: “Last Autumn I launched the National Productivity Investment Fund, to provide an additional £23 billion of investment over five years to upgrade Britain’s economic infrastructure for the 21st Century. Today I can announce that I will extend this fund for a further year and expand it to over £31 billion.”
Nations Trust Bank of Sri Lanka and Daon have launched a new mobile banking and lifestyle platform that utilises Daon’s biometric authentication capabilities. The new app, named FriMi, is 100 per cent online and open to anyone with a smartphone. All FriMi accounts can be topped up by cash deposits at all Nations Trust Bank Branches, CDMs and FriMi Agents.
HSBC has hired former Google engineering director Mike Warriner as its chief information officer of its retail banking and wealth management digital operations. Warriner has worked for the past five years at Google, where he was responsible for the company’s engineering site, and also served as the European chair of Google Payments. Prior to his work at Google, Warriner worked for 19 years at UK banking technology house Intelligent Environments, reaching the position of chief technology officer.
International asset management firm Robeco has announced the launch of a new FinTech-specific equities fund. Robeco Global FinTech Equities fund, which is domiciled in Luxembourg, will invest in stocks of listed companies which benefit from the increasing digitisation of the financial sector. It makes Robeco one of the first asset managers to launch an actively managed fund that only invests in listed Fintech companies and which is available to wholesale/retail investors.
BNP Paribas has signed a deal with Fenergo who will provide the bank with a new client lifecycle management (CLM) solution. Fenergo’s CLM solution will support BNP Paribas’ global transformation project, delivering a single client view across all jurisdictions and entities and enabling the bank to efficiently comply with all local and global regulatory rules as well as deliver an improved customer experience.
Insurance firm Zurich has launched a ‘selfie’ app called FaceQuote to encourage more people to think about and engage with their finances. FaceQuote estimates a user’s age before calculating how much life cover would cost per month based on the age suggested. The app has been launched to encourage people to engage with life insurance and show how affordable life cover can be.
Bank of America has revealed that customers made more than five million Zelle transactions totalling $1.5 billion in October, up 90 per cent from P2P transactions in October last year. Zelle enables customers to send, receive and request money to existing contacts on their mobile devices. Funds are sent from one bank account to another typically within minutes, when both parties are enrolled, using only a recipient’s email address or mobile number.
Spanish bank IberCaja has partnered with Meniga as it looks to personalise its customer’s digital banking experience. Meniga is the first personal finance software provider that IberCaja has partnered with as part of its digital transformation journey. The bank has successfully implemented and integrated the solution into its core systems, enabling real-time customer data processing and enrichment. This allows for improved accuracy of categorisation of transaction data, giving customers a clearer view of their financial spending history.
BBVA has unveiled an iris scanning feature which allows the Spanish banking group’s customers who have Samsung-compatible smartphones to log on to the mobile banking app just by looking at their displays. With the launch of this feature, BBVA becomes the first Spanish bank to deploy Samsung’s advanced biometric authentication technology, Samsung Pass, which will permit customers to bypass login/password authentication methods.
The SEPA Instant Credit Transfer (SCT Inst) scheme has officially launched, going live with nearly 600 payment service providers (PSPs) from eight European countries. The scheme, created by the European Payments Council, brings real-time electronic money transfers to the continent, allowing payments of up to €15,000 to be made in less than 10 seconds any time and on any day of the year, including weekends and holidays.
B2B payments platform PayStand has announced a $6 million Series A funding round, led by BlueRun Ventures with participation from Cervin Ventures, Serra Ventures, TiE and Capital for Founders. PayStand will use this new round of funding to scale its account receivable systems, and launch a new free accounts payable product line, which has opened in beta this week.
Blockchains that transact with one another could replace central authorities such as banks, clearing houses and lawyers in the future, a new report has predicted. According to an Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) study, with the ability to directly interactthe technology could save firms the cost and effort of doing business with a ledger owner, and increase transparency and security against financial crime.
BNP Paribas Asset Management has entered into a strategic alliance with European alternative SME credit company Caple, acquiring a 10 per cent stake in the firm in the process. Caple facilitates access to alternative credit for SMEs, working with international institutional investors to address gaps in the funding landscape by offering finance that “complements” traditional bank loans.
R3 and Microsoft have expanded their strategic partnership to further accelerate adoption of R3’s Corda platform amongst businesses using Microsoft Azure. Blockchain consortium R3 developed Corda, a distributed ledger platform for financial services, in collaboration with its member banks. The latest partnership will now offer deeper integration of the Corda platform with Azure making it easier for businesses to deploy underlying computing resources for blockchain networks. The expansion reaffirms Azure as R3’s preferred cloud provider.
American Express has announced the introduction of blockchain-enabled, business-to-business cross-border payments. American Express’ FX International Payments (FXIP) business is working with Ripple, provider of enterprise global blockchain solutions, to make blockchain payments commercially available, reducing the time and cost of settlement, while maintaining the level of security that American Express customers know and expect. Santander UK is the selected partner to initiate this new transaction channel, which has the potential to expand substantially over time.
OakNorth has selected a new cyber security solution from Illusive Networks to defend its systems from targeted attacks and ‘advanced persistent threats’. The new Deception Cybersecurity system detects and analyses attacks in real-time with no false positives, minimising manpower required to monitor alerts. The ability to mitigate attacks at the earliest opportunity accompanied by detailed forensic evidence at the time of the alert was also a priority for OakNorth.
Financial institutions need to improve the efficiency of their KYC and sanctions remediation processes or risk losing business, a new report has found. The study from LexisNexis Risk Solutions revealed that seven in 10 professionals in financial institutions are worried that customer friction caused by inefficiencies in these practices is resulting in lost business.
Vocalink, Starling Bank, Nationwide, ClearBank, Barclaycard, Currencycloud and Paysafe were among the companies who collected trophies at the fifth annual Payments Awards last night.Recognising excellence and innovation across the payments sector, the 2017 awards received a record number of entries, reflected in this year’s closely fought categories. The winners were revealed at a glittering gala dinner and awards ceremony at the London Marriott Hotel in Grosvenor Square, hosted by actor and presenter Chris Barrie.
A consortium of major US banks has announced the formation of a new company, TruSight, which will provide third-party risk assessment services.The consortium includes American Express, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. TruSight aims to simplify the process of conducting third-party risk assessments of suppliers and partners across the financial services industry.
Monzo customers can now activate their new current account service by tapping their card on their mobile phone. Once the card arrives in the post, customers simply have to open the app and tap their card to activate it, rather than having to type in the card number or take a picture. The new feature uses near field communication (NFC), which uses a specific radio frequency to allow information to be shared between different devices at close range.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has announced the launch of a new $27 million artificial intelligence and data analytics grant. The grant, which was unveiled by Ravi Menon, managing director of MAS, at the Singapore FinTech Festival, is part of the MAS Financial Sector Technology and Innovation scheme (FSTI). The new grant aims to promote the adoption and integration of artificial intelligence and data analytics in financial institutions.
Technology departments in financial services firms are unable to innovate with technologies like artificial intelligence and blockchain because they have lost influence in boardrooms, according to a new report. A survey of over 200 European IT decision makers commissioned by Excelian, Luxoft Financial Services reveals that 86 per cent of respondents have recently championed a major digital project that failed because it did not get past the boardroom.
A quarter of 18-24 year olds predict that mobile payments will eventually become the main payment method in the UK, rendering cash and plastic cards obsolete, according to a new study. The survey from MoneySuperMarket found that contactless payments have doubled since last year, while three quarters of respondents are withdrawing less cash today than they were 12 months ago. The survey also revealed that Brits make 20 per cent more payments with card or contactless devices (1.8 times) than with cash (1.5 times) each day.
India’s Federal Bank has implemented the Digital Transaction Banking (DTB) platform from Intellect Design Arena, which will provide enhanced banking services to its clients. The new platform is powered by an integrated front-end omnichannel Corporate Banking eXchange (CBX) portal with backend processors for collections & receivables, payables, account services and supply chain finance. DTB will also augment the front end of their existing trade finance portal.
Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has announced the launch of a $100 million FinTech-focused fund to accelerate the development of financial technology by investing in startups from incubation through to growth stage. The new fund will leverage the DIFC’s FinTech ecosystem, which consists of experimental licenses and several collaborative spaces.
The industry consortium led by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) has released the report and source-codes on distributed ledger prototypes for inter-bank payments. The report describes the prototypes developed on three Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) platforms (Corda, Hyperledger Fabric and Quorum) and shares the findings and observations from the project.
The Clearing House has launched a new real-time payments system in the US, which leverages technology from UK payments firm Vocalink. The new platform, labelled RTP, enables consumers and businesses to send and receive immediate payments domestically, with financial processes that used to take days now concluded within seconds. Two banks – US Bank and BNY Mellon – have completed the first live transactions.
Spanish payments services company Iberpay has announced that it is ready to connect Spanish banks with the EBA Clearing system for cross-border euro real-time payments. The move comes in time for the pan-European SCT Inst Scheme which launches on 21 November 2017. Iberpay will be one of the first national providers of clearing and settlement services that will connect to the pan-European instant payment infrastructure platform RT1 as a technical service provider.
Standard Chartered has unveiled a new chatbot on its online and mobile banking platforms and websites. Powered by Kasisto’s conversational artificial intelligence (AI) platform, KAI Banking, the chatbot will act as a virtual personal assistant to help clients manage money, make payments and analyse their spending in a split-second, via natural conversations in English and other languages.
Insurance outfit Aegon has announced that it is replacing its local risk systems with a single global solution from Wolters Kluwer. Aegon has selected the OneSumX for Operational Risk to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of its operational risk management. Following successful local implementations in the UK and within its asset management business, Aegon will use the OneSumX for Operational Risk software across more than 20 countries around the world.
The majority of UK consumers under the age of 35 think that banks and lenders must do more to improve customer loyalty, as 61 per cent said they expect to switch accounts more frequently, a new study has found. The survey by Feefo of more than 1,000 consumers showed that 88 per cent of under 35s believe banks must do more to keep them loyal. With 12 per cent of respondents describing themselves as not loyal, UK banks and lenders are now in danger of sustaining severe losses of more than £1 billion in the £8.7 billion current account market, £156 billion in the £1.3 trillion mortgage market and more than £8 billion in the £67 billion credit card market, Feefo predicts.
Singapore’s DBS Bank has partnered with Equinix to transform one of its traditional data centres in Singapore into a cloud-optimised centre. The new initiative will enable the bank to move its main data centre to significantly smaller premises, which are a quarter of the size of its existing data centre, making the new centre 75 per cent cheaper to run.
Payments Network Malaysia (PayNet), the country’s financial market infrastructure provider, has signed a deal with ACI Worldwide to build a real-time retail payments (RPP) platform. The new solution will be built using ACI’s UP Immediate Payments solution, and is designed to modernise the country’s retail payments infrastructure, drive innovation in electronics payments and bring the benefits of immediate payments to all participants in the payments ecosystem – including banks, payment institutions, businesses, consumers and the government.
China Everbright Bank (CEB) has chosen regulatory reporting software from Wolters Kluwer which will be used for the bank’s operations in Luxembourg. CEB will utilise Wolters Kluwer’s OneSumX Regulatory Reporting solution, which uses a single source of data to ensure consistency, reconciliation and accuracy and includes the firm’s regulatory update service. This service is maintained by Wolters Kluwer experts who actively monitor regulation in approximately 50 countries, helping to ensure the solution is current at all times.
The Asset Management Exchange (AMX) has selected FinTech outfit InvestCloud to build a bespoke digital solution for its growing client base of both asset owners and asset managers. The digital interface will provide clients with a “flexible, intuitive and transparent” way to access and monitor some $2 billion of investments already on the exchange. Established by Willis Towers Watson earlier this year, AMX is a global institutional asset management marketplace. It is an open architecture exchange that provides institutional investors with a central marketplace where they can engage with asset managers.
Barclays has partnered with Flux to trial instant itemised digital receipts with 10,000 customers via the bank’s Launchpad app. Customers taking part in the trial will see their receipts in real time, including all purchases, with VAT, delivered directly to their Barclays app. Users can take ownership of their financial data by going paperless and keeping track of everything they buy without having to download extra apps or changing behaviour. Successful pilots are then rolled out to the five million customers using the Barclays mobile banking app.
BNP Paribas is introducing Chinese mobile payment solution WeChat Pay to retailers across France and the rest of Europe, underlining the bank’s aim to attract Chinese customers. In what is claimed to be a European first, the WeChat Pay solution was initially rolled out at the two Paris flagship stores owned by the Galeries Lafayette Group – Galeries Lafayette Haussmann and BHV MARAIS – at the end of September.
Swiss financial infrastructure provider SIX is establishing a CHF 50 million (€43 million) venture fund to promote innovation within Switzerland’s financial services sector. SIX is already active in the FinTech space with incubator and accelerator programme F10, while the firm also has a number of partnerships with FinTech startups such as Veezoo and Payrexx.
European card issuers are taking advantage of the wider acceptance enjoyed by Mastercard and Visa by pushing ahead with the upgrade of Maestro and Electron cards, new RBR research has found. The ‘Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts to 2022’ study found that by doing so, issuers are increasing the number of merchant outlets in which their cards can be used – particularly for online payments. This move is also popular with their customers, who increasingly expect to pay by card.
UK banking customers sent £101.2 million to criminals after being tricked by ‘authorised transfer’ scams in the first six months of 2017, new research has found. The figures from UK Finance revealed the growing problem of criminals targeting consumers and businesses directly to trick them into authorising a payment. Data found that there were 19,370 cases in H1 2017, with 88 per cent of them being consumers losing an average of £3,000, and the remainder businesses who lost an average of £21,500 per case.
OCBC Bank has become the first in Singapore to distribute health insurance via its mobile and internet banking platforms. Eligible customers can now buy Early Cancer Care via OCBC Bank’s mobile and internet banking platforms in a few clicks, without the need to fill in any physical forms. Typically, health insurance plans like critical illness, disability, hospitalisation and surgical are not sold via online channels as they require a health check-up to evaluate the applicant’s medical condition. However, with Early Cancer Care, eligible OCBC Bank customers simply need to make a health declaration with the click of a button.
TSB customers will be among the first in Europe to use facial recognition technology, Face ID, to unlock their TSB mobile banking app and make payments. The new facial authentication technology exclusive to Apple’s iPhone X aims to add further security and convenience for the increasing number of smartphone banking users. The move by TSB comes just weeks after it launched Samsung Pass iris recognition for its customers.
Chinese FinTech outfit WeLab has announced that it has raised $220 million of combined Series B and equity and debt strategic financing. The financing brings WeLab’s total funding to $425 million and marks a significant milestone for the Hong Kong-based company which received backing from the Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund, International Finance Corporation (IFC) and other global banks.
More than half of global banks expect their digital investments to yield “measurable returns” by 2020, new research has shown. The survey, conducted by Infosys Finacle and Efma, revealed that technology investments in 2018 will revolve around ‘topical’ areas such as information security, advanced analytics and open banking APIs, as opposed to ‘future-looking’ areas such as conversational AI, robotic process automation, the Internet of Things, augmented reality or virtual reality.
Societe Generale has launched its very first Innovation Week in the UK, which will bring together staff, experts from the industry, and FinTechs in a move designed to encourage collaboration, the sharing of ideas and discuss emerging opportunities. Based across three key themes, ‘Tech Day’, ‘SG Innovation in Action’ and ‘FinTech Day’, Innovation Week will showcase the bank's progress and ambitions in terms of technological innovation, both internally and in working with clients and other stakeholders.
Some of the world’s largest banks, trading houses and energy companies have announced a joint venture that will develop a blockchain-based digital platform intended to transform post-transaction management of physical energy commodities trading. The new venture, which will be managed and operated as an independent entity, is awaiting relevant regulatory approvals.
Facebook has launched its Messenger payments service in the UK, enabling users to send each other money through the messaging app. Launched in the US in 2015, the social media giant has said that the payments feature has been used widely to split bills, pay babysitters and send gifts. Users press the blue plus symbol within a chat and select the payment option, with customers prompted to enter their card details upon the first time a payment is made.
UK digital challenger bank Monzo has announced the closure of a £71 million fundraising round just a month after rolling out its current account service. The fundraising was led by Goodwater Capital, Stripe and venture capitalist Michael Moritz, through his charitable investment vehicles including the Crankstart Foundation.They join existing investors Passion Capital, Thrive Capital and Orange Digital Ventures, who have each made follow-on investments.
SIA and R3 have established a strategic partnership aimed at speeding up the global development and adoption of blockchain applications by leveraging SIAnet’s 600 nodes provided to financial institutions, corporates and public administrations. As part of the partnership, SIA will build a secure and protected network called SIAchain, which will be integrated with R3’s Corda platform to enable SIA customers to run CordDapps – applications designed specifically to meet the needs of institutions across the banking and finance sector.
Tesco Bank has announced changes to its mobile banking app, which will allow iPhone X customers to log in and authenticate payments using Face ID. To date, the bank has seen over one million customers register for the mobile app as their preferred method of accessing their account. To use Face ID within the mobile banking app, customers must first ensure the functionality is enabled on their device. Customers can then turn on Face ID within the app by visiting the settings menu or during registration. At this point they will be prompted to provide either their passcode or password to confirm their decision.
The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) and FinTech Consortium (FTC) have announced the launch of what they claim is the largest FinTech hub in the Middle East and Africa. The Bahrain FinTech Bay (BFB) hub aims to further the development and acceleration of FinTech firms as well as the interaction between investors, entrepreneurs, government bodies and financial institutions.
UK digital challenger Starling Bank has become the first mobile only bank to integrate with ING-backed smart money app Yolt. Yolt’s aggregation functionality now enables Yolt users to view their Starling Bank account details and transactions alongside their other bank accounts, together in one place. Starling becomes the 29th bank, and first mobile only bank, to connect with Yolt.
Total UK funding of FinTech firms halved between Q2 and Q3 2017 to $636 million, compared with $5 billion in the US and over $1 billion in Asia. Germany accounted for the largest share of FinTech investment in Europe this quarter helped by the $806 million secondary buyout of ConCardis. The UK, meanwhile, accounted for seven of Europe’s largest deals, including $100 million plus rounds to Prodigy Finance and Neyber.
Orange Bank has rolled out its mobile payment and banking app in France, providing customers with a bank account, debit card, overdraft protection and an interest-bearing savings account. Developed in collaboration with Wirecard, the new app integrates contactless mobile payments and real-time bank balances. Wirecard is providing all the technical components integrated into the Orange Bank platform to manage their mobile payments.
DBS Bank has launched what it claims is the largest banking API developer platform in the world. The API platform is expected to help the bank create innovative and customer-centric experiences by making available a wide array of APIs for other brands, corporates, FinTechs and software developers to plug into. More than 50 companies including household names such as AIG, McDonald’s, MSIG, PropertyGuru, as well as startups like Activpass, FoodPanda, Homage, and soCash have already joined onto the platform to develop solutions that will bring more convenience and value to customers.
Spanish banking group BBVA has signed an agreement with Telefónica that will allow the bank to optimise its communications, increase the capacity of its technological network and facilitate operations in the cloud. As part of the deal, BBVA will convert its current communications network to a ‘service platform’ mode that will aim to improve the capacity and the management of the group’s global communications. In addition, it will guarantee the new bandwidth needs required by the cloud environments and by the exponential increase in transactions.
OCBC has become the first bank in Singapore to enable Face ID facial recognition technology for customers to make payments or view their bank account, credit card and investment information. OCBC has rolled out the enhancement to its consumer and business banking apps for Apple iPhone X users. By leveraging Apple’s Face ID facial recognition technology, OCBC Bank customers who have the new phone can now dispense with passwords or even fingerprints when doing their everyday banking.
OakNorth has announced that GIC, the Singaporean sovereign wealth fund, will invest £90 million for a close to 10 per cent stake in the digital-only UK bank. GIC, which has more than $100 billion of assets under management in more than 40 countries worldwide, will assist OakNorth’s expansion in the US, European and Asian markets. The news follows a recent investment round that saw OakNorth secure £154 million in funding from Coltrane, Toscafund and The Clermont Group.
European mobile banking platform N26 has announced that it will be entering the UK market in the first half of 2018. The bank has grown its customer base to more than half a million within two and a half years, adding an average of more than 1,500 new customers each day. UK customers can register on the company's website to get early access effective immediately, and will receive a fully-fledged GBP current account with an individual N26 account number, sort code and Mastercard.
London-based FinTech firm TransferWise has announced the closure of a $280 million Series E funding round, as it prepares to launch in a number of Asian markets. US asset management firm Old Mutual Global Investors and Silicon Valley venture capital firm IVP led the funding round, marking only the second ever time that OMGI has made an equity investment in a private company. Sapphire Ventures, Mitsui & Co, and World Innovation Lab also joined the funding round as new investors.
National Australia Bank (NAB) has announced there will be 6,000 job losses over the next three years, as it looks to invest $4.5 billion to digitally transform the bank. The job losses will span all of the bank’s departments, according to NAB’s CEO Andrew Thorburn, while the bank is also happy to retrain those members of staff who have “got the aptitude and commitment to do some retraining”.
The Financial Stability Board (FSB) has published a report that considers the implications of the growing use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in financial services. Financial institutions are increasingly using AI and machine learning in a range of applications across the financial system including to assess credit quality, to price and market insurance contracts and to automate client interactions.
Brexit uncertainty is causing UK business owners to look at alternative finance options, such as peer-to-peer lending, crowdfunding and business cash advances to support growth, according to a new Worldpay report. UK small business owners have expressed concern that political and economic uncertainty could make it more difficult to secure funding in the future.
Visa has announced the European launch of Visa Direct – a real-time payments platform that allows companies to transform domestic and cross-border payments for businesses and consumers. Visa Direct enables person-to-person (P2P), business-to-consumer (B2C), and business-to-business (B2B) payments. With the new platform, funds can be transferred into the recipient’s Visa account instantly and securely.
OneSavings Bank has selected Lombard Risk Management to install a new regulatory reporting platform. The challenger bank has signed a 10-year licence for Lombard’s AgileReporter platform, which will enable it to gather key management information and analytics around trends and variances for audits and approvals. It will also enable OneSavings Bank to track and prove its compliance with all relevant PRA, FCA, BofE and EBA reporting requirements using Lombard Risk’s end-to-end reporting solution.
Capital One has announced an agreement with Intuit which allows its customers who use Intuit's suite of services including QuickBooks Online, Mint, and TurboTax, to securely import their financial data without sharing login credentials. The data sharing deal utilises an application-programming interface (API) enabling Capital One customers to directly connect their personal and small business credit card and banking information with Intuit.
Digital challenger Cashplus has announced that it will be submitting a banking licence application, consolidating its instant online decision, real-time, anytime banking services and specialised lending products. The move will allow Cashplus to convert most of the £200 million in customer safeguarded funds it currently holds into bank deposits as well as expand its credit lending to thousands more UK entrepreneurs, via credit cards and overdrafts.
Kaspersky Lab researchers have discovered a new CryptoShuffler Trojan which steals cryptocurrencies from a user’s wallet by replacing their address with its own in the device’s clipboard. To date, criminals have already succeeded in attacking Bitcoin wallets, stealing 23 BTC, which is equivalent to almost $140,000. The total amount stolen from other wallets ranges from a few dollars to several thousands.
Cash machine network LINK is proposing to reduce its interchange fee, but the plan has been criticised for potentially cutting the number of free-to-use ATMs in the UK. LINK is consulting its members and the LINK Consumer Council on proposals to reduce the level of interchange - the fee paid by card issuers (banks and building societies) to ATM operators - by up to 20 per cent.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed a $1 million fine on Yes Bank for not reporting a cyber security incident involving the bank’s ATMs within the required timeframe. The RBI issued the fine “for non-compliance with the directions issued by RBI on Income Recognition Asset Classification (IRAC) norms and delayed reporting of information security incident involving ATMs of the bank”.
North American digital remittance firm Remitly has agreed to raise up to $115 million in Series D funding, led by Naspers’ FinTech investment division PayU. Remitly’s digital money transfer platform aims to make the process of sending money internationally faster and more transparent for users, while keeping fraud loss rates low. Customers of the digital remittance firm are sending almost $4 billion annually around the world.
Middle Eastern banking group Emirates NBD has implemented Gemalto’s Mobile Suite that offers security and an enhanced end user experience across all digital channels. Emirates NBD customers in the United Arab Emirates who choose to use Smart Pass can now activate the service from their mobile phone and then receive a unique four-digit PIN. When making a transaction, a notification is sent immediately to their mobile and customers confirm the transaction by entering the PIN. As a result, there is no need to wait for an OTP and benefit from higher security than SMS technology delivering the code.
Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and National Australia Bank have collaborated to launch a new mobile payments app that will enable instant payments for all Australians, including small businesses. Named Beem, the new app enables users to make an instant payment using their smartphone, and request payment from someone who owes them money or to split a bill. Bank level security and encrypted user account information means each transaction will be authenticated and subject to real-time fraud monitoring.
R3 and 22 of its member banks have developed a solution that leverages distributed ledger technology (DLT) to enable efficient and cost-effective cross-border payments. While many DLT initiatives have experimented with specific use cases within international payments, R3 is the first to develop a shared infrastructure – built on its Corda platform – to facilitate the full payments workflow.
Banking chief investment officers (CIOs) are more focused on digitalisation than CIOs in any other industry, new research has found. The survey from Gartner, which polled more than 3,000 CIOs in 98 countries and across a number of major industries, suggests that banks are increasingly convinced that their old business models and existing value propositions will not be sustainable in the future.
Vocalink and Exela Technologies have announced that the new image-based cheque clearing system, built on behalf of the Payment System Operator and the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company, has officially launched. The new Image Clearing System (ICS) enables cheques in the UK to be processed by the end of the next weekday, allowing customers to access their funds quicker and with certainty that their cheque will not bounce.
HSBC has issued a public apology after many of its UK customers were unable to access online and mobile banking services on Friday. On the morning of Friday, October 27, customers began to report having issues signing in to their online banking accounts, with messages stating “your session has expired, please log in”. The bank responded to the reports via social media, stating: “We are working hard to fix the problem with our online and mobile banking service. Sorry for any inconvenience.”
Westpac has announced that it will now offer customers a new range of wearable, hands-free and battery-free payment accessories. The Australian bank has teamed up with local designers in a move which will allow its customers to take advantage of the new tap-and-pay option, called PayWear. PayWear Essentials, which will be available in early December, includes a silicone band and a ‘keeper’, which can be attached to an existing watch or fitness band, containing a microchip linked to the customer’s everyday transaction account.
Canada’s TMX Group, which operates equities, fixed income, derivatives, and energy markets exchanges, has signed a deal with Intercontinental Exchange to acquire Trayport for £550 million. In conjunction with the proposed acquisition of Trayport, TMX Group has agreed to sell Natural Gas Exchange and Shorcan Energy Brokers to Intercontinental Exchange.
Seven in 10 UK Millennials now use their mobiles to keep track of their financial affairs, according to new research from Visa. Visa’s third Digital Payments study asked over 42,000 Europeans, including more than 2,000 UK respondents, about their attitudes to alternative forms of payment and money management. It found that 69 per cent of British people between the ages of 18 and 34 said they have used a mobile banking app, with more than half noting that they do so regularly.
TSB is set to launch its new state-of-the-art banking platform, designed and built with new owner Sabadell, and aimed at enabling a more seamless banking experience for customers. The bank said in its latest trading update that it has passed many significant milestones and the platform is already being used to support a number of its key services. TSB customers are already benefiting from the bank’s new mobile app, which was the first in Europe to integrate iris scanning security features.
Some 83 per cent of financial services firms consider frictionless customer authentication to be a key driver behind their omnichannel verification efforts, a joint survey from NICE Actimize and PwC has found. Almost two thirds (63 per cent) of the 65 financial institutions surveyed were currently assessing their authentication strategies to identify where there may be requirements for further investment in omnichannel authentication. Only three in 10 respondents had completed those assessments – of which, 61 per cent were expecting to invest in authentication technology within the next 12 to 18 months.
The New York subway is in line to accept contactless for fare payments after the Metropolitan Transport Authority (MTA) board voted to approve a contract to phase in the new system. The move marks an official transition away from the MetroCard ticketing scheme, which was first introduced to the city in 1994. The shift to contactless will take place in a series of phases over a period of more than five years, with customers first being able to use contactless payments in 2019.
Uber has collaborated with Barclaycard US to launch an Uber Visa Card, which offers rewards to customers through the ride-hailing firm’s mobile app. The card will have no annual fee for customers and features a $100 starting bonus, as well as an annual $50 credit on digital subscription services such as Netflix if customers spend more than $5,000 on their card per year.
New research from McKinsey predicts that the digitisation of operations could add $350 billion to the banking sector’s bottom line, while also warning that financial institutions should be wary of serious competition from ‘platform’ companies such as Alibaba and Amazon. The study suggests that banks cannot afford to wait any longer to extract the potential of digital to industrialise their operations. In order to compete effectively, the report states, banks must begin to explore the new tools at their disposal and build the necessary skills in digital marketing and analytics.
JPMorgan Chase has unveiled Finn – an all-mobile digital bank aimed at giving US customers greater control of their everyday spending and saving. The new app, which has been designed by working closely with Millennials, features a number of customised tools that are focused on helping consumers build savings and analyse everyday spending. The bank’s research found that while emotions played a large role in Millennials’ financial decision making, they did not have a way to understand the impact it had on their financial lives.
Dutch bank ING has announced the launch of ING Ventures – a €300 million fund which will focus on investing in FinTech companies. ING considers partnering with and investing in FinTechs as a key element of its innovation strategy, and the new initiative will build on the success of the bank’s current approach, which has seen 115 FinTech strategic partnerships and investments signed in the past three years.
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) have signed and exchanged an agreement to strengthen co-operation and foster FinTech development within the region. The HKMA and MAS will collaborate on a number of initiatives, including joint innovation projects, referrals of innovative businesses, information sharing and exchange of expertise, to facilitate financial innovation in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is critical to a bank’s digital transformation, while integrating legacy technologies and security issues remain key challenges for the UK banking sector. This is according to a survey from financial services IT consultancy GFT, which found that 86 per cent of UK respondents acknowledged the importance of AI, while a quarter said that it has strategic importance within their organisation.
ANZ has announced the roll-out of specially designed accessibility features for all of its retail and commercial Visa debit cards to make everyday banking easier for customers with a disability. All of ANZ’s 3.4 million Visa debit cards will now have tactile indicators, larger fonts and high visibility leading edges to help customers identify their cards and to help them easily identify which way to insert their card into ATM and electronic funds transfer at point of sale (EFTPOS) terminals.
Shift Technology, a software-as-a-service platform that uses artificial intelligence to help insurers detect fraud, has announced a $28 million Series B investment co-led by Accel and General Catalyst, with participation from previous investors Elaia Partners and Iris Capital. The FinTech firm has more than doubled in headcount in the past year and has grown its revenue base by over 800 per cent.
Bank of Asia is using Avaloq’s banking suite in a Software as a Service (SaaS) model to build a digital bank, expected to be fully operational by the end of the year. The software will be operated as a service from the Singapore-based service centre Avaloq Sourcing (Asia Pacific). The solution is pre-configured with industry proven components and processes, and a host of mission critical third party-components are embedded.
Berlin-based mobile bank N26 will be launching in the US in mid-2018, aiming to bring fresh innovation to the country’s banking industry. In August, the digital bank announced that it had reached 500,000 customers across 17 European countries – less than three years after launching. The bank does not own or operate any physical branches, making it easier to scale and reach customers who might not typically have access to digital financial services.
Westpac New Zealand has, in partnership with ACI Worldwide, completed a major banking technology transformation. Westpac NZ has adopted ACI Worldwide’s Universal Payments portfolio of solutions which focus on real-time payments and fraud prevention. A long-standing ACI customer, Westpac NZ is utilising ACI’s UP Immediate Payments solution as its financial transaction hub, orchestrating payments across channels, networks and payment types, and settling to any clearing stream in real-time.
Swedish FinTech company Tink has signed agreements with three European financial institutions including the bank Nordea, Klarna and Nordnet as well as announcing €14 million in new investments. The agreements will enable the banks to integrate Tink’s aggregation and payment technology and Personal Finance Management (PFM) platform within their existing customer channels.
Customers of Starling Bank will now be able to make payments through their Fitbit Ionic device, after registering their Mastercard debit card to the device. Fitbit Pay can be easily set-up on Fitbit Ionic by following simple steps within the Fitbit mobile app on Android or iOS devices to add a debit card to the Fitbit Wallet. To make a payment, users press and hold the left side button until the debit or credit card is seen on the Fitbit Ionic screen, and hold the watch against the payment terminal until a confirmation of the payment appears on the Ionic screen.
Dutch bank ING has collaborated with suppliers and FinTechs to offer online lending to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in France and Italy. While ING manages the entire process, the bank works with multiple partners combining specialist capabilities. ING is working with Kabbage, who the bank is already offering instant lending with to SMEs in Spain,
JP Morgan has deployed a new real-time data analytics platform as it looks to optimise the productivity and profitability of its global fixed income sales and trading division. JP Morgan has selected Mosaic Smart Data’s MSX solution which enables banks to utilise the increasing volume of trade data they hold and apply cutting-edge technologies such as predictive analytics and artificial intelligence.
Bank of America has announced that it will be implementing Intel’s biometric authentication technology into its online banking platform, adding a further layer of security. The Intel Online Connect solution aims to provide an effortless experience that improves security over passwords. It requires biometric data and is stored only on the user’s device and not on a public server or cloud.
The second annual National Technology Awards, which celebrate the pioneers of new technology in areas such as healthcare, finance, transport, gaming, IoT and analytics, are now open for entries. There are a total of 30 trophies up for grabs this year as well as two new categories - Manufacturing or Construction Technology of the Year and TV, Film and Broadcasting Technology of the Year. Technology experts have until 19 January 2018 to submit their entries.
Warsaw-based Bank Polskiej Spóldzielczosci SA (Bank BPS) has chosen Wolters Kluwer to provide an integrated risk and regulatory reporting solution following a competitive tender process. Bank BPS has chosen to use the OneSumX solution for static and dynamic projection analysis, liquidity reporting, interest rate and FX risk with value at risk analysis on top of it.
Tokyo’s SBI Holdings has teamed up with UK FinTech firm Wirex to establish a joint venture that involves rolling out a new cryptocurrency payment card in Japan. Wirex is a provider of payment services that allows customers to use bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on the Visa Card networks around the world. This payment service enables the user to instantly exchange cryptocurrencies to legal tenders.
The Canadian province of Ontario has established a team of financial services and information technology experts with the goal of strengthening consumer protection and helping promote business growth and development in the FinTech sector. Over the coming months, the experts will look to help shape a FinTech strategy that enhances Ontario's position as a global leader and promotes growth that produces jobs and investment in the province.
Mastercard has announced that it will be opening up access to its blockchain API for partner banks and merchants. The move means both the merchants and banks will gain access to Mastercard’s blockchain technology via its API published on Mastercard Developers. The blockchain solution provides a new way for consumers, businesses and banks to transact and is key to the company’s strategy to provide payment solutions that meet every need of financial institutions and their end-customers.
Sberbank and SWIFT have signed a memorandum of cooperation regarding the development and piloting of high-tech products, created and promoted by SWIFT. The parties agreed to coordinate steps to assess the potential application of blockchain technology in interbank settlement platforms. In particular, Sberbank joined the international group of financial institutions testing the prototype of SWIFT’s distributed ledger technology platform, which has been developed as part of SWIFT gpi (global payments innovations).
Israeli-based startup PayKey has secured $10 million in a funding round led by MizMaa, with other investors including SBI Group, Siam Commercial Bank’s FinTech subsidiary Digital Ventures, SixThirty and FinTech71. PayKey enables customers to make secure peer-to-peer payments on all social network mobile platforms such as Facebook’s Messenger, WhatsApp and Twitter. The technology used enables banks to support the payments where consumers want them most.
RBS has entered into an agreement with Landmark Valuation Services to adopt its Valuation Risk Model (VRM) service, to deliver greater risk insights and efficiencies in its mortgage valuation process for both Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest. Using property analytics and a wealth of land and environmental data, Landmark’s VRM will assess the potential risks relating to a property for every mortgage application processed by the lender. In doing so, it enables the Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest to apply the best fit valuation approach on each and every case.
Payments Canada, Bank of Canada and TMX Group have announced a new collaboration to experiment with an integrated securities and payment settlement platform based on blockchain technology. The move is part of the third phase of the Project Jasper research initiative which was launched in March 2016 and sought to better understand how DLT could transform the future of payments in Canada.
The first Startupbootcamp FinTech programme in Latin America, a joint venture with Finnovista, saw startups collectively secure 30 pilot projects and collaborations with financial entities and corporate partners of the programmes. The 11 startups showcased their innovation story and evolution during their acceleration process in front of key players from the financial industry and across the entrepreneur community in Mexico City.
HSBC UK, through its first direct brand, has announced a partnership with FinTech startup Bud to trial a new business model, which provides customers with an integrated offering of financial services products and tools from across the market, including those from other providers. The trial forms part of HSBC UK’s Open Banking strategy, and follows the recent announcement of its beta trial. Over the coming months the group will be evaluating new opportunities brought by Open Banking across its different brands in order to continue to provide the latest in customer-centric services and digital banking offerings.
JPMorgan Chase has announced its plans to acquire WePay in an effort to make it easy for business app makers and independent software vendors (ISVs) to integrate payments into the software commonly used by small businesses. The partnership aims to ease payment friction for both software providers and merchants. Software providers will be able to provide instant onboarding to small business clients no matter how they take payments - in store, online, or on-the-go, with the backing and fraud protection of Chase.
Only 46 per cent of global financial institutions have a FinTech strategy in place, despite 57 per cent of institutions claiming that FinTech is the greatest source of disruption, according to a new report from KPMG. Furthermore, less than half of those believe that their strategy is well aligned with the challenges posed by FinTech.
The Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF) and McKinsey have examined the potential use cases of the Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) in streamlining verification processes, finding that its application could save entities around $650 million annually. Across different systems and organizations, the LEI can simplify and expedite reconciliation among different systems or networks, enabling faster identity verification when using multiple data sources.
The European Central Bank (ECB) is preparing to launch TARGET Instant Payment Settlement (TIPS) for settling instant payments in euros, and has challenged service providers to develop an app that can be used to initiate transactions for settlement. TIPS will be compliant with the SEPA Instant Credit Transfer scheme developed by the European Payments Council to accommodate instant credit transfers across the Single Euro Payments Area.
Anthony Wooley has been announced as the new head of innovation for the UK arm of Societe Generale. In his new role, Wooley will be responsible for strengthening connections between Societe Generale and the FinTech sector in order to accelerate the adoption of emerging technologies across the organisation and to leverage the bank’s financial services expertise with industry innovations in financial technology.
BNP Paribas and EY have announced the completion of a pilot demonstrating the feasibility of using blockchain to optimise the global internal treasury operations of the bank. The ALM Treasury department, which manages the bank’s internal treasury, carried out an internal blockchain pilot this summer. This pilot highlighted how an internal, private blockchain could be used to improve operational efficiency by providing a more integrated cash management approach between businesses, allowing greater flexibility and a 24/7 capability.
Digital Asset, a distributed ledger technology (DLT) provider for the financial services industry, has announced that it has raised more than $40 million in a Series B funding round.
The round included existing as well as new investors and was led by Jefferson River Capital. The latest round brings the total funding raised by Digital Asset to over $110 million as the company looks to expand its global presence.
Bangkok Bank has selected transaction banking and technology firm iGTB as a technology partner to implement a new comprehensive cash management platform and corporate portal. The self-service digital portal will integrate a number of previously separate platforms, giving the bank’s clients – from SMEs through to multinational corporations – a consistent and consolidated view of their working capital and payments activities, irrespective of the country they operate in.
Spanish banking group BBVA has launched online app Tuyyo, a new global money transfer service which allows people in Mexico to send money to friends and family quickly and securely. In the initial phase – the USA to Mexico corridor – the app is expected to deliver benefits for both senders and receivers in what is the world’s biggest remittance market where more than $27 billion flows annually.
All but one of 100 payments executives at large banks said they plan to make major investments in Open Banking initiatives by 2020, according to a new Accenture study. Open Banking is an emerging service model that allows customers to share access to their financial data with non-bank third parties. Banks can also use the Open Banking platform to offer plug-and-play financial products to third parties, such as retailers or FinTech companies, ultimately expanding their reach to new customers.
Santander InnoVentures, the FinTech venture capital fund of Santander Group, has announced a $6 million investment in Mexican mobile payments startup ePesos. The new funding will enable ePesos to continue growing its platform serving and supporting small and medium sized enterprises across Mexico. Other institutional investors participating in the round include VilCap Investments, Pomona Impact, and Fiinlab, the innovation lab owned by Gentera.
Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) has collaborated with Wave to integrate invoicing, accounting and business financial insights into the bank’s online business banking platform. In what the RBC describes as a first of its kind offering for a bank in North America, the new service will enable RBC’s small business clients to manage their full business financial services’ needs - from banking and bookkeeping to invoicing – in a single place with a single sign-on.
Alibaba has launched a new global research programme, with a particular focus on FinTech, machine learning and the Internet of Things, as the Chinese e-commerce giant looks to invest more than $15 billion in the project over the next three years. The DAMO Academy, which stands for Discover, Adventure, Momentum and Outlook, will oversee the opening of research and development labs worldwide and seek to recruit talented scientists and researchers to join the programme. Alibaba Group’s chief technology officer, Jeff Zhang will be the head of the academy.
IBM, in partnership with Stellar.org and KlickEx Group, has announced the unveiling of a new blockchain banking solution that aims to help financial institutions address the processes of universal cross-border payments. The IBM blockchain solution is designed to reduce the settlement time and lower the cost of completing global payments for businesses and consumers. It is intended to improve the speed in which banks both clear and settle payment transactions on a single network in near real time.
SWIFT has published a report on the proof of concept (PoC) for real-time Nostro reconciliation using a distributed ledger technology (DLT) sandbox with 33 global transaction banks. The PoC is testing whether DLT can help banks reconcile Nostro accounts more efficiently and in real-time, while lowering costs and operational risk. The report provides an overview of the PoC to date, including technical objectives, early findings on the potential business benefits, as well as key challenges that still need to be addressed to achieve industry-wide adoption.
UK business bank OakNorth has secured a £154 million investment from The Clermont Group, Toscafund and Coltrane. The new funding will enable OakNorth to continue supporting UK businesses and launch its ACORN platform to lenders around the world. ACORN enables lenders to originate, underwrite, monitor, and book transactions faster. Its cloud-based technology sources millions of data items on SMEs across various parameters, sectors, and markets, and then uses machine learning algorithms to pull out the pieces of data that lenders need to make more informed credit decisions.
National Australia Bank (NAB) has partnered with realestate.com.au in a move which combines online property searching with financing options. In what it describes as a world first, realestate.com.au has combined searching for property and getting a home loan in a single experience. Buyers can instantly apply for online conditional approval for a home loan powered by NAB and have their finance information overlayed as they search. Or they can access a panel of more than 30 other lenders through realestate.com.au Home Loans.
Total investment in the FinTech market more than doubled on a quarter-over-quarter basis to more than $8.4 billion in the second quarter of 2017. This is according to KPMG’s Pulse of FinTech report, which found that large increases in private equity funding and M&A funding propelled the increase, while the amount of venture capital investment held relatively steady. The Americas dominated FinTech investment during Q2
Accuity has announced that it has successfully integrated its financial crime screening solutions with Corda – R3’s financial grade distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform. Accuity’s innovation team, working closely with R3, has developed a solution that enables financial crime screening of customers and transactions on Corda. For financial institutions, this would facilitate financial crime compliance with regulatory requirements.
Taiwan’s O-Bank has partnered with Avaya to provide customers with a solely digital banking experience. O-Bank already has established the video service centre with advanced technologies and is the first Taiwan bank to provide 24 hour full media with video on customer engagement. Avaya’s platform enables O-Bank to quickly and easily allocate internal resources to provide the most efficient service, improving the consistency of the customer experience across channels and different lines of business.
Québec’s La Caisse and Desjardins Group have announced the creation of a $75 million investment fund dedicated to FinTech and AI. Established in Montréal, the venture capital fund's purpose is to support the growth and development of new FinTech companies in Québec and Canada. This fund, created under la Caisse's initiative and built in partnership with Desjardins, will operate independently and is expected to have a maximum size of $75 million. Its two sponsors will invest equal amounts totalling $50 million. Other institutional investors have already expressed interest in joining before the first closing, which is expected by the end of the year.
Openbank, the digital bank of Santander Group, has selected Temenos to provide it with a new core banking solution for retail and SME banking across its global operations. Openbank has chosen to implement the Temenos Core Banking system which will allow it to utilise open APIs to operate collaborative business models and work with an ecosystem of third parties. By adopting the new solution, Openbank will be able to gain a deeper understanding of their customers and be quicker to market with new personalised products and services.
The majority of US consumers believe that their financial institutions are not evolving fast enough, but remain loyal for the meantime, new research suggests. The Blumberg Capital survey, which polled more than 2,000 US adults, found that half of the respondents surveyed said they use traditional financial institutions, while 57 per cent have a positive view of FinTech and want to seek the benefits of new technologies and services.
Mastercard has announced the launch of its first innovation lab in India, which will work with financial institutions and merchant partners to identify and experiment with new technologies. Mastercard Labs in India is the company’s ninth lab in the world and the second in Asia Pacific (following Singapore). The lab, which is located in Pune, will focus on key areas including digital payments, data solutions, financial inclusion, alternative payments and safety and security.
TSB Bank has signed a five-year deal with NCR which will see the software firm provide managed services for TSB’s 900-strong ATM network. The contract covers remote ATM monitoring, incident management and help desk support for TSB’s branch partners, and 24/7 second line maintenance to ensure high availability of the bank’s self-service channel. NCR manages the service performance and provides reporting and deep dive analytics on all incidents and service calls.
Fujitsu has reached an agreement with three major Japanese banks to conduct a joint field trial of a person-to-person money transfer service using blockchain technology. Fujitsu will work with Mizuho Financial Group, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group with the trial set to begin in January 2018 and expected to last for about three months. Fujitsu has already initiated development of the trial system.
More than 100 financial institutions have now joined Ripple’s enterprise blockchain network, RippleNet, which aims to modernise global payments by leveraging blockchain technology. The newest members of RippleNet include AirWallex, Bexs Banco, Credit Agricole, Cuallix, Currencies Direct, dLocal, IFX, Krungsri, RAKBANK and TransferGo. Each institution is now on path to join existing members like SEB and Siam Commercial Bank who have deployed Ripple solutions commercially.
UK digital challenger bank Monzo has announced that, following successful testing, it is ready to fully launch its current account service to customers. Back in July, Monzo launched its Current Account Preview and has since successfully piloted it with more than 18,000 users. Over the next eight weeks the bank will invite all existing Monzo users to upgrade to a current account, after which it will open signups to totally new users.
ScramCard has unveiled its Da Vinci Choice Mastercard payment card – an electronic card that generates a one-time PIN/security codes for use when purchasing in store, online, over the phone or when withdrawing cash from an ATM. Consumers are able to link eight payment cards into one, with added eInk display technology, battery and touch numerical keypad. The one-time-use security codes protect shoppers from fraudsters who steal card numbers, skim PINs, phish for security codes and scan contactless credentials.
Standard Chartered has announced strategic partnerships with TradeIX and Infor as it looks to advance the digitalisation of trade finance. The two partnerships will enable clients and their ecosystems access to the bank’s full range of trade financing solutions. Standard Chartered has worked with TradeIX, a new trade industry FinTech, to roll out the first open blockchain platform for trade finance. The platform leverages blockchain technology and its API-driven system to automate the process for pre-and post-shipment financing and risk mitigation for buyers and sellers.
The Luxembourg Bankers’ Association (ABBL) has released a FinTech map of Luxembourg in an effort to help interested parties better understand the country’s growing FinTech ecosystem. This initiative is aimed at mapping and classifying various FinTech firms, software vendors and IT solution providers for the financial services sector of Luxembourg.
The European Commission has confirmed that its officials carried out unannounced inspections in a few Member states concerning online access to bank account information by competing service providers. Following the probe, which took place on October 3, the commission stated that it “has concerns that the companies involved and/or the associations representing them may have engaged in anti-competitive practices in breach of EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices and/or abuse of dominant market positions”.
Deutsche Bank has made some of its computer code publicly available for the first time, in a move designed to create a common industry standard for trading technology. The bank will put over 150,000 lines of code from its electronic platform Autobahn into the public domain so that trading applications from different providers can use it as a shared foundation and work with each other. The code will also be integrated into the Symphony collaboration platform, which is widely used by financial institutions.
Swiss Euro Clearing Bank (SECB) has selected Earthport, a payment network for cross-border transactions, to provide SWIFT payment processing services. Headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany, SECB processes euro transactions for banks and other businesses domiciled in Switzerland. The new contract with Earthport will enable SECB to enhance its cross-border payment capabilities, further increase payment processing efficiency and add greater value to its customers.
The UK’s Faster Payments Scheme is seeking ‘expressions of interest’ for the renewal and management of its infrastructure – the services that enable the UK’s 24/7 real-time payment service to function consistently and securely. The competition aims to drive innovation and ensure that the Faster Payments Service continues to meet the needs of participants achieving the objectives set out by the Payment Systems Regulator.
UK-based digital wealth outfit Moneyfarm has announced that it has purchased the technology behind FinTech startup Ernest. Moneyfarm has claimed that the move makes it the first digital wealth manager to explore the use of a personal finance chatbot to help individuals manage their money and investments. Ernest is a personal banker, powered by artificial intelligence that leverages Facebook Messenger to connect with an individual’s bank accounts. It combines natural language processing technology with machine learning. The new technology has had two modes of operation: answering questions and proactive notifications, all with the aim of helping an individual manage their money better. The technology will be combined with Moneyfarm’s existing services.
ATM ‘black box’ attacks in Europe have soared in the first half of 2017, with 114 attacks across 11 countries over the last six months, according to data from the European Association for Secure Transactions (EAST). This figure is up from the 28 recorded in the first half of 2016, marking a 307 per cent increase. Related losses were up 268 per cent, from €0.41 million to €1.51 million. Black box is the connection of an unauthorised device which sends dispense commands directly to the ATM cash dispenser in order to ‘cash-out’ the ATM.
US asset management and business solutions firm Navient has entered into a $155 million agreement to acquire FinTech lending company Earnest. Founded in 2013, Earnest serves financially responsible consumers who have been underserved by traditional banks. The company is expected to originate nearly $1 billion in student loan refinancing loans in 2017.
Customers of the National Australia Bank (NAB) will now be able to get answers to basic banking questions from Google Assistant, with the launch of a new ‘Talk to NAB’ functionality. The pilot uses the Google Assistant’s voice-activated, hands-free experience to allow NAB customers to ask general banking questions – such as how to replace a lost card or reset their password – via Google Home or a smartphone with the Google Assistant. The Google Assistant also provides customers with guidance on simple banking questions around transaction and savings accounts, credit cards, personal loans, travel cards and internet banking.
Dubai-based Mashreq Bank has unveiled a new full-service digital bank, Mashreq Neo, in the UAE. The new digital bank will be completely branchless, is targeted towards the connected generation who are digitally savvy, use mobile devices extensively, and will immerse users in a digital experience. Mashreq Neo is also the first digital bank in the GCC region to provide access to international markets for investment opportunities including foreign equities, gold trading and foreign currency accounts.
Insurance giant Aviva has announced a strategic investment in digital wealth management outfit Wealthify. The move advances Aviva’s digital strategy to provide an online one-stop-shop for all their customers’ insurance, pension and investment needs. The investment will also enable Wealthify to meet its customer acquisition targets as well as adding new products. It will also help Wealthify grow its team to support the firm’s expansion plans.
A consortium which includes Finastra, R3 and seven leading banks are working together to create a platform for the syndicated lending market based on blockchain technology. The group are looking to develop an online marketplace, called Fusion LenderComm, in order to drive transparency and efficiency in the syndicated loan market. Underpinned by Corda, R3’s distributed ledger technology (DLT) based platform, Fusion LenderComm exposes real-time credit agreement, accrual balances, position information and detailed transaction data to lenders, directly from agent bank loan servicing platforms.
Mastercard and PayPal have announced an expansion of their partnership into Canada, Europe, Latin American, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Africa, in an effort to “enhance customer choice and optimise the customer experience”. As part of the deal, Mastercard will be presented as a clear and equal payment option within the PayPal Wallet, making Mastercard and their issuers easily identifiable to the consumer when transacting. Consumers will also see a familiar digital representation of their Mastercard from their chosen issuer. Additionally, consumers will be able to choose Mastercard as their default payment method to allow for quick and easy check-out.
UK digital challenger Starling Bank has announced that it is expanding into the business market with the upcoming launch of business banking accounts. The Starling for Business account will initially be designed for entrepreneurs, sole-traders, and small business owners. The aim is to offer a fast, secure, and flexible way of managing business finance from users’ mobiles. Registration for interested customers is now open ahead of an anticipated live date in early 2018.
OCBC Bank has integrated its business mobile banking app with Apple’s Siri, allowing users to make fund transfers and account balance enquiries by using the voice recognition technology. These features will be available from 9 October 2017 to SME customers using iPhones running on Apple’s iOS 11 mobile operating system. Over 120,000 Singapore-registered users of OCBC Bank’s internet business banking portal stand to benefit from the new service.
Disconnected digital experiences are disappointing customers when it comes to buying financial products, new research has found. The survey by Black Pepper Software indicates that poor online experiences could be costing financial service providers sales opportunities. The figures revealed that half of UK consumers now solely research and buy financial products online and a further 36 per cent like to find out information about financial products and services independently via digital channels.
Four major global banks have joined the initiative, which was launched last year by UBS and IBM, to build a new global trade platform based on blockchain technology. Bank of Montreal (BMO), CaixaBank, Commerzbank and Erste Group have joined the project to develop the new platform, which is called Batavia. Batavia is built to be openly accessed by organisations of all sizes anywhere in the world, and can support trade finance for transactions across all modes of trade, whether goods are being transported by air, land or sea.
Increased automation and regulation in the banking industry is having a negative impact on mid-sized bank – that’s according to a new joint white paper produced by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and SWIFT. The white paper has reviewed the new forces reshaping the international payments landscape, including the emergence of FinTech competition, globalisation of trade, digitalisation of interfaces, client expectations for more transparency, increasing regulatory activism, new technologies like open APIs, and cybersecurity.
Multi-asset trading firm Saxo Bank has received an offer from Nordic financial services group Sampo, to take up a stake of 19.9 per cent of the bank. In May 2017, it was announced that Geely Financials Denmark, a subsidiary of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, had made an offer to buy 30 per cent of the shares of Saxo. Geely Group has offered to buy more shares and will thus become majority shareholder with a total of 51.5 percent.
Technology spending is key when it comes to fixed-income market share growth, a new report suggests. The report, from market intelligence outfit Greenwich Associates, found that the global and regional bond dealers who made the biggest IT investments over the past decade have also achieved the highest levels of market share growth. The top six US government bond dealers have an aggregate annual technology budget of $26 billion. This illustrates the extent to which technology prowess has become the key determinant of success or failure for banks competing in capital markets, says Greenwich Associates.
Equifax has revealed that approximately 2.5 million additional US customers have been potentially impacted by the cyber security breach at the firm. Last month it was revealed that consumer credit reporting agency Equifax had fallen victim to a cyber security incident which potentially impacted 143 million US consumers, as well as around 400,000 UK customers.
Speaking at a Bank of England event in London, Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, outlined her standpoint on the growing use of virtual currencies and artificial intelligence. Lagarde stated that virtual currencies such as Bitcoin currently pose “little or no challenge to the existing order of fiat currencies and central banks”. This is because, according to the IMF chief, they are too volatile and energy intensive and because the underlying technologies are not yet scalable.
ANZ has acquired local startup REALas in order to help bolster its digital offering in Australia’s property market. Launched in 2011, REALas uses an algorithm to predict property prices. The move comes just a week after ANZ became one of four major banks in the country to scrap ATM withdrawal fees for non-customers. Commenting on the acquisition, ANZ managing director of customer experience and digital channels, Peter Dalton, said: “This is an important acquisition for our digital transformation as we know customers are increasingly turning to online resources for help as they navigate the Australian property market.
Zopa has teamed up with Saffron Building Society in an effort to help more consumers get access to “better value, flexible personal loans” and “do more with their money”. The new partnership means that consumers will able to get access to a Zopa loan at any of Saffron Building Society’s 11 branches across Hertfordshire, Essex and Suffolk and via Saffron’s website. Consumers looking for finance who visit a Saffron Building Society branch will be able to access Zopa’s personal loans.
OCBC Bank, HSBC and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), together with the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), has become the first consortium in Southeast Asia to successfully complete a proof of concept (PoC) for a Know Your Customer (KYC) blockchain. The development raises the possibility of using blockchain technology to make one of the most complex and highly-regulated of financial processes more efficient and secured, thereby combating anti-money laundering (AML) and the financing of terrorism (CFT).
Lloyds Bank has opened a state-of-the-art flagship store in Manchester, offering a new banking experience combining face-to-face expertise with new technology. The new store will be open seven days a week and will feature a digital zone that supports those new to internet banking, offering educational support as well as demonstrations. There will also be a new deposit facility, utilising the latest biometric fingerprint technology, and which enables customers to store their valuable possessions in a convenient, safe and secure location.
FinTech startup Curve has partnered with accountancy software firm Xero to launch a new feature that automatically manages users’ expenses. The move, which aims to simplify business spending, means Curve users can spend from all their existing accounts through one card, and Curve will do their expenses for them – by connecting straight through to Xero.
Mastercard has announced the launch of its Early Detection System, a new service that provides banks with an advanced alert for high risk cards and accounts that are exposed in security incidents or data breaches. The new service uses Mastercard network insights, predictive capabilities and a combination of internal and external data sources to determine if a card or account is at risk, and will alert the relevant bank, quantifying the level of risk.
The Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI) has outlined its strategy to improve the security of wholesale payments that involve banks, financial market infrastructures and other financial information. The new document is aimed at focusing industry efforts to tackle the increasing threat of wholesale payments fraud.
As PSD2 nears, two thirds of UK consumers said they will not share their personal financial data with third-party providers, giving banks an advantage, new research has found. Less than six months before the revised Payments Service Directive (PSD2) makes open banking a reality across Europe, research from Accenture found that UK consumers are wary of sharing their financial data with third-party providers, giving banks the opportunity to benefit from the trust they have built with their customers over the years.
Stockpile, a Millennial-focused brokerage has raised $30 million in a Series B funding round led by Fidelity backed Eight Roads Ventures. The latest investment in the fractional stock trading firm brings the total raised by Stockpile to more than $45 million. Mayfield, Arbor Ventures, Hanna Ventures, Wang Ventures, and others also participated in this latest investment.
British consumers continue to favour cash as a means of payment, with 74 per cent believing there will always be a role for cash, new research has revealed. According to a survey carried out by Glory, a cash technology solutions firm, which polled more than 1,500 shoppers in the UK, US and Australia, 86 per cent of consumers are comfortable using cash and 48 per cent still use cash on a daily basis.
Mediterranean Bank, one of the largest financial institutions in Malta, has gone live with a new lending platform from Infosys Finacle. The bank has replaced its existing lending solution with Finacle to provide a more unified, consistent platform for its corporate customers. The Finacle Lending Module will provide the bank with a flexible solution that has the ability to offer various types of loans to meet customer requirements faster and at a lower cost, in an effort to enhance revenues.
Germany’s Deutsche Börse Group has announced a strategic investment in San Francisco-based ‘data wrangling’ outfit Trifacta. Data wrangling is the process of manually converting or mapping data from one raw form into another format that allows for more convenient consumption of the data with the help of semi-automated tools. Deutsche Börse has acquired a minority stake in the firm and the investment will be managed by its corporate venture capital arm, DB1 Ventures.
AccessPay has been awarded €100,000 after being named one of two winners at an industry challenge event hosted by international payments network SWIFT. At the two-day challenge event held in Singapore, AccessPay was one of five startups to share their views on the challenges impacting cross-border payments.
Total losses on card, remote banking and cheque fraud were £366.4 million in H1 2017 – eight per cent lower than H1 2016, new figures from UK Finance show. The data also revealed that the industry prevented over £750 million of fraud during the same period, or 67 per cent of attempted fraud. This compares with £400.4 million of losses and £678.7 million of prevented fraud in the first half of 2016.
Online identification platform Onfido has raised $30 million in a funding round led by Crane Venture Partners and Microsoft Ventures, with participation from existing investors. The London-based firm will use the new funds to expand its international reach, particularly in the US and in Europe, as well as further research and development into its machine learning technology. The company now has a 150-strong team across three continents, serving 1,500 businesses globally.
Ant Financial and CK Hutchison have announced a strategic partnership that will see the two companies offer a consumer-orientated digital wallet in Hong Kong. Under the ‘AlipayHK’ brand, the new mobile wallet aims to further integrate online and offline payments to provide a universal experience for consumers. AlipayHK attracted over 100,000 active users in the first two weeks after its launch last May, with the mobile app now accepted in over 4,000 leading retail brand outlets in Hong Kong.
The UK’s new payment system operator (NPSO) has appointed Paul Horlock as its chief executive officer, who will take up the position on 1 October 2017. Horlock has working in the financial industry for more than 15 years, most recently at Nationwide, where he held a number of positions including head of group service management and director of payments. Prior to that, Horlock worked for eight years at Barclays Bank, with roles including head of global payment processing.
The Italian ministry of economy and finance and the City of Milan have opened a new FinTech district in the city, dedicated to harbouring cutting edge businesses in the financial industry. Milan’s FinTech District will be located at the new Palazzo S32 in Via Filippo Sassetti 32, a development where companies and FinTech startups will also find office space and co-working facilities, with the opportunity to cooperate, attract new investments and drive further growth. This follows similar set-ups in other European cities, such as Level39 in London or Station F in Paris.
SEB, the Nordic financial services group, and Nasdaq have announced a joint project to test a developed prototype for a mutual fund trading platform based on blockchain technology. The aim is to increase efficiency in the processing of purchases and sales of fund units and to create a unit ledger – an area which today is largely characterised by manual routines, long settlement cycles and paper driven processes.
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has claimed reports that it is stepping back from cyber security are incorrect, stating that it is continuing to invest and grow its cyber security capability. The announcement follows reports from national newspaper The Australian that CommBank was exploring options to outsource some cyber security work abroad in a money-saving move.
R3 is working with trade finance technology firm TradeIX and 12 banks to launch an initiative focused on the overhaul of open account trade finance infrastructure. The 12 financial institutions included in the initiative are Bangkok Bank, Barclays, BBVA, Bladex, BNP Paribas, Commerzbank, CTBC Bank, ING, Intesa Sanpaolo, Shinhan Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland and Wells Fargo.
Commerzbank, KFW Banking Group and MEAG, the asset manager of Munich Re and ERGO, have jointly traded a Euro Commercial Paper (ECP) issued by KfW, and simultaneously replicated the transaction in a blockchain. The security was sold to MEAG, and settled without a paying agent or a clearing system. This pilot transaction comprised a €100,000 issuance volume with a five-day term. In parallel to issuance and settlement, key transaction elements were replicated and simulated by means of distributed ledger technology, using the R3 Corda platform.
UK digital challenger bank Monzo has announced that it is testing a new service which allows users to switch energy suppliers. In five minutes and a few clicks, people who receive a recommendation will be able to transfer their energy contracts to a new provider. That could be a supplier recommended by Monzo’s partners or one the bank is working with directly.
Four of Australia’s largest banks have removed ATM withdrawal fees for non-customers, meaning users now will not be charged when taking cash out of thousands of machines across the country. Commonwealth Bank was the first to announce that it would be removing the fees for both its customers and non-customers. Westpac, National Australia Bank and ANZ quickly followed suit.
Almost three quarters (74 per cent) of all UK banks expect to eliminate human interaction from their retail banking services within the next decade, according to new research. The Avanade research found that almost two thirds (63 per cent) of senior IT and digital decision makers from across the UK banking sector recognised that traditional methods of banking are being overtaken by disruptive competition.
More than three quarters of UK businesses are aware of FinTech products and 65 per cent have adopted at least one FinTech application, while a fifth have taken on four. This is according to a new survey from MarketInvoice, which found that these adopters reported saving more than £5,500 annually as a result of using the new products and services. A quarter of respondents have used FinTech solutions for banking transactions and foreign exchange services (16 per cent).
Digital money transfer service Azimo is offering fee-free money transfers to Mexico, following the recent earthquakes that have left millions without basic resources. Since the earthquake first struck, Azimo witnessed a 15 per cent increase in money transfers to Mexico as people seek different routes to fund family and friends in affected areas. Michael Kent, Azimo’s CEO and founder, said: “Direct remittances to the people of Mexico can be a vital lifeline for those whose lives have been devastated by the earthquakes.
Scandinavia’s largest payments processor Nets has received a $5.3 billion takeover bid from US private equity firm Hellman & Friedman. The offer represents a 27 per cent premium to the share price of Nets on 30 June 2017, the day before Nets confirmed it had received takeover approaches. The board of directors has decided to recommend that Nets’ shareholders accept the offer. At the time of announcement, shareholders representing in total 46 per cent of the company's share capital have agreed to accept the offer.
Starling Bank has announced it is to open a £40 million fundraising round to help accelerate its international expansion. The London-based challenger bank has engaged Quayle Munro as their advisers to raise up to £40 million in the first half of 2018. This round of funding will primarily serve to drive Starling Bank’s growth strategy in Europe and further develop its current account product. In June, Starling received its banking passport into Ireland as its first step to bring the product to market in Europe.
China Construction Bank (CCB) Asia and IBM today announced the successful development of the first blockchain-enabled bancassurance project in Hong Kong. Bancassurance is an arrangement whereby a bank and an insurance company form a distribution partnership in which the sales associates of the bank can sell the insurance company’s products to the bank's client base and through the bank’s channels. The arrangement can be hindered by delays in data transmission or incomplete information.
WorldRemit has launched its digital money transfer service in Malaysia, allowing migrants to transfer money to over 140 countries as easily as sending an instant message. This digital, mobile-first model aims to significantly improve security and compliance standards. It also eliminates the need for the sender to visit a bricks and mortar agent, which can often be inconvenient and time consuming.
SWIFT has announced that two FinTech startups will have the opportunity to work with the co-operative and gpi banks over a three-month period to further enhance cross-border payments, leveraging on SWIFT gpi. The two startups will receive up to €100,000 each to further develop their innovative concepts and will participate in Sibos, SWIFT’s annual financial services event to be held in Toronto in October.
Banca Generali and Saxo Bank have signed an exclusive partnership to offer online trading and digital services to customers. The objective is to offer clients, on an exclusive basis for the Italian market, access to an ‘innovative’ platform for advanced trading, based on Saxo Bank’s technology and managed by a newly established SIM owned by Banca Generali and Saxo Bank.
The number of security vulnerabilities detected in the financial services sector has increased by over 418 per cent in the last four years, according to new research. The figures, released by cyber security and risk mitigation firm NCC Group, found that security vulnerabilities detected within the sector has increased dramatically in recent years, rising from an average per organisation of 217 in 2013 to 910 in 2016.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Hong Kong Insurance Authority (IA) have entered into a co-operation agreement in an effort to enhance collaboration in supporting FinTech innovation. Under the agreement, the FCA and the IA will cooperate on information sharing on innovation and referrals of innovative firms seeking to enter the counterpart's market.
Slovenia’s Bankart has signed an agreement with Nets to deploy and operate an instant payments solution for financial institutions in the country to handle both SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT) non-urgent and SCT instant credit transfers. Bankart intends to deliver more than a basic payments infrastructure to the Slovenian banking community by developing and operating new additional services and solutions as well making full use of the scalable and open central infrastructure solution supplied by Nets.
The European Commission has proposed reforms to enable further financial integration and a full Capital Markets Union, to promote jobs, growth and investment in Europe. The proposals include steps to foster the development of FinTech and to ensure that sustainability considerations are systematically taken into account in supervisory practices at the European level.
CivilisedBank, a UK branchless digital challenger bank, has agreed terms for a further round of funding from current investor Warwick Capital Partners. The bank, which uses a network of local bankers, has also appointed Philip Acton as CEO to lead the bank through its build phase towards launch in early 2018. The appointment follows the successful licence application phase under previous CEO Gordon Dow, which culminated in May with the bank being granted Authorisation with Restriction (AWR) by the Bank of England.
Former Barclays chief Antony Jenkins has secured £34 million in a Series A funding round for his 10x Future Technologies company, led by China’s Ping An and management consultancy firm Oliver Wyman. As part of the deal, 10x has also signed a strategic partnership with the two firms for joint business development. The partnerships will enable 10x to further build out its digital platform offering and expand into some of the fastest growing markets, including China and other Asian markets.
SBI Ripple Asia has signed a partnership agreement with DAYLI Intelligence to bring Ripple’s enterprise blockchain solutions for cross-border payments to the South Korean market. DAYLI Intelligence provides blockchain solutions and AI-based technology infrastructure for financial institutions and will work with SBI Ripple Asia to enable instant cross-border payments between customers in Japan and South Korea, as well as other global markets.
ABN Amro has selected trade finance technology from Norwegian software vendor Commercial Banking Applications (CBA) to offer additional functionality to customers, increase efficiency and reduce total cost of ownership. The Dutch bank will be implementing the CBA’s new IBAS customer front-end system for trade finance across its global operations.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has announced that it will provide Swedish payments firm iZettle with €30 million in debt funding over the next three years. The funds are earmarked for research and development of financial and commercial tools that address the needs of smaller companies. iZettle provides services through technology which allows small companies to take payments, to register sales and to get funding.
Bank executives believe that bank branches are here to stay but only with the proper investment into digital transformation, a new report has found. The research, conducted by Synechron and Efma which surveyed decision-making bankers from across the globe, found that 88 per cent believe physical branches add value to customers and will play a role in the future of banking.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published its approach to implementing the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2). PSD2 is an EU Directive which sets requirements for firms that provide payment services, and will affect banks and building societies, payment institutions, e-money institutions and their customers. As well as promoting innovation, PSD2 aims to improve consumer protection, make payments safer and more secure, and drive down the costs of payment services. The new regime will be in force from 13 January 2018.
London-based payments FinTech GoCardless has secured $22.5 million in funding, led by existing investors Accel, Balderton Capital, Notion and Passion. GoCardless has created a new international payments network to help businesses take and settle recurring payments from anywhere and in any currency. Users are currently able to collect payments from the UK, the eurozone countries and Sweden, with Australia, Denmark and others soon to follow.
Australia’s Commonwealth Bank has collaborated with Google to allow its customers to use Android Pay and enable payments on the go with Garmin smartwatches. Android Pay allows customers to make convenient and secure payments on their Android compatible devices. Android Pay is available at almost 800,000 stores across Australia, wherever contactless payments are accepted.
ING-backed money management app Yolt has released a series of new updates today, following the apps launch earlier this year. Yolt lets users view their accounts and credit cards in one place, set budgets and plan for upcoming expenditures. The new upgrade has improved the app’s spending categories and extended them with the most requested ones.
Japanese bank Nomura has announced plans to establish a new office in San Francisco, equipped with $100 million to invest in Silicon Valley tech startups. Serving as a hub for global collaboration between Nomura, Silicon Valley startups and venture capital firms, the new office will explore next-generation businesses and cutting-edge technologies. Nomura said it will leverage these technologies to further enhance its existing businesses and transform the way it operates.
HSBC customers in China can now make peer-to-peer payments with a selfie, as the bank has introduced new facial recognition technology to its mobile app. Customers will be able to add new payees to their account and transfer money easily and securely via their mobile phone and a face scan. Customers simply blink into their camera using the ‘selfie mode’ and their identity is then checked against a photo held on a database. If the pictures match, and the customer enters the correct passcode into their banking app, they can transfer up to $7,600 a day.
Google has introduced a new mobile payments and commerce app to India. Labelled Tez, the new app gives users a simple and secure way to pay for goods or services, online or offline. India now has more than 300 million smartphone users and rapidly improving connectivity, making the internet a daily part of life for many Indians, Google noted. However, cash still remains king in India, with smartphones often going unused when it comes to payments.
Equifax has confirmed that the personal information of around 400,000 UK consumers may have been breached in its recent US cyber attack – which has also now seen the company’s CIO and CSO step down. The Equifax statement said that while UK systems were not affected by the US attack, a file containing UK consumer information may potentially have been accessed. This was due to a process failure, corrected in 2016, which led to a limited amount of UK data being stored in the US between 2011 and 2016.
For the first time since their introduction 50 years ago the number of ATMs in western Europe have seen a decline, with the region ending 2016 with 2,000 fewer terminals than the previous year. This is according to a new study from RBR, which found that the three largest markets in the region – the UK, Germany and France – all saw marginal falls, while the Nordic countries continued to shed ATMs at a high rate. Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland all saw annual reductions of five per cent or more, as consumers increasingly switched to alternative payment methods such as cards and mobile banking apps.
Hong Kong-based digital wallet firm TNG FinTech has completed a $115 million Series A funding round, led by Chinese private equity firm NewMargin Capital. The round values the startup at $565 million, with TNG claiming that the deal is the largest Series A funding round raised by any startup in Hong Kong and any FinTech firm worldwide. A spokesman for the TNG said that the new version of its electronic wallet will be available in Hong Kong at the end of the year.
FinTech startup SETL and four French asset management firms have announced that Iznes, a pan-European fund record-keeping platform based on blockchain technology, will go live in early 2018. The platform provides investors, asset management firms, distributors and wealth management advisers with easy and rapid access to fund units.
HSBC and venture capital fund Ignia have been announced as Startupbootcamp FinTech Mexico’s two new partners. Startupbootcamp FinTech Mexico City is a joint venture between Startupbootcamp and Finnovista and marks the first programme of its kind in Latin America. The involvement of both organisations endorses their commitment to innovate and disrupt financial services across Latin America. HSBC Mexico has joined the programme as a corporate partner and IGNIA as an investment partner for the startups in the programme.
ING-Diba, the banking group’s German arm, is to expand its retail banking offering by including online wealth management, delivered by Scalable Capital. The partnership, which marks the first fully integrated partnership between a major German bank and an online wealth manager, is a pilot project and ING will assess the new service in Germany before it looks to further expand it across Europe.
Monzo has asked its customers to vote on how the challenger bank should charge customers for ATM withdrawals abroad, at the same time as announcing the decision to axe its free foreign money service. Monzo said that it is currently absorbing the high foreign transaction fees itself – costs which have more than doubled in the past year. In June 2016, ATM withdrawals cost Monzo around £6 per active user per year, but by the end of August 2017, ATM withdrawal costs per customer had more than doubled to nearly £16 per year.
Rabobank has partnered with digital performance management company, Dynatrace, in a move which will allow the Dutch bank to monitor the real-time experience of every customer and user for all services. The partnership supports Rabobank's vision to centralise and optimise company-wide application performance monitoring to future-proof customer experience.
Saxo Bank has celebrated its 25th anniversary by announcing that it has joined the Copenhagen FinTech Lab. Saxo Bank joins Copenhagen Fintech Lab to support the Fintech environment in Copenhagen and to provide a platform on which Danish FinTechs can build their international partnerships via the bank’s experience and network of international client relationships. Saxo Bank sees a wide range of new partnerships as the next disruptive factor in the financial industry and expects to see increased collaboration between FinTechs and established institutions.
Advanced technologies such as blockchain, drones and connected devices are now becoming the norm for insurers rather than the exception, new research has revealed. The Capgemini and Efma report shows that a wave of new digital technology is confronting most insurance sectors. Of the more than 8,000 consumers surveyed worldwide, nearly one-third (31 per cent) of customers said they rely on InsurTechs either exclusively or in combination with incumbent relationships to access insurance services.
The UK’s new polymer £10 note has entered circulation today. Featuring new security technology, more than one billion notes are set to be issued by the Bank of England. The new £10 note joins the £5 in the first UK series of polymer banknotes – a move designed to make notes safer, stronger and cleaner. It is expected to last at least 2.5 times longer than the current paper £10 note – around five years – and stay in better condition during day-to-day use.
Blockchain consortium R3, in partnership with the FCA, RBS and another unnamed global bank, has built a prototype application for regulatory reporting of mortgage transactions on its distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform. This collaboration between two major banks and a national regulator demonstrated how DLT’s shared data model can enable continuous regulatory reporting for financial institutions. The application is also able to generate automated delivery receipts for the regulator when a mortgage is booked.
B3i, the Blockchain Insurance Industry Initiative, has announced the launch of market beta-testing of its reinsurance blockchain prototype. The group of 15 global insurers and reinsurers participating in the B3i initiative has been working on a joint distributed ledger for reinsurance transactions driven by blockchain technology. The group for the first time publically showcased a fully functional beta-version of its integrated blockchain solution for the re/insurance industry at a conference in. Details of its vision, an industry business case and planned next steps were also shared.
The number of UK card payments increased to 1.39 billion in July, largely because of the migration of cash payments to card and the increased use of contactless, the latest UK Finance figures reveal. Total card spending rose to £57.8 billion in the month, up from £54.2 billion in July 2016. Meanwhile, contactless payments accounted for 36 per cent of total purchases, compared to 19 per cent in July 2016.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has released a warning to consumers about the risks of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). The term ICO refers to a digital way of raising funds from the public using a virtual currency, also known as cryptocurrency. An ICO can also be known as ‘token sale’ or ‘coin sale’.
The majority (85 per cent) of retail bank IT leaders acknowledge that they will face an IT skills shortage within the next five years, according to research from Peru Consulting. The report also revealed that 41 per cent of the tech bosses surveyed believe that the best professionals are likely to be lost from the ‘traditional’ banking sector in favour of the more ‘exciting’ GAFA (Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple) companies. In fact, GAFA companies are seen as even greater skills magnets than the current FinTech startups (cited by 37 per cent of respondents).
Digital challenger bank Monzo has launched the pilot of its current account service, posting debit cards to approximately 2,500 customers. The pilot will feature a new technology platform that Monzo has tested over the past few months. Customers will receive a debit card in the post, with their name, account number and sort code on. They will also have access to Direct Debits and Faster Payments, and can pay their salary directly into the account.
A number of major Belgian banks and mobile network operators have collaborated to launch itsme – a single digital identity that replaces all passwords on the web. Using the itsme mobile app, Belgian users can prove their identity at an online store or when signing an official document online. With every action they carry out, users are required to enter their secret five-digit itsme code into their mobile, or can verify through a fingerprint.
Starling Bank has gone live with their Marketplace, a new ecosystem of financial products accessible through Starling’s app. The mobile-only challenger bank has also welcomed Flux, a rewards and receipt platform, as the first integrated partner to sit within the Marketplace. The Starling Marketplace is a concept whereby products from other FinTech providers - and in the future lifestyle products - can sit within an easily browsed ecosystem all from within the app. These partners integrate with Starling Bank using their Open Banking and PSD2 compliant APIs.
San Francisco-based FinTech startup PayJoy has secured $6 million of investment in a new funding round, with the additional capital enabling the firm to expand internationally throughout Latin America, Asia, and Africa. The investment was led by Santander InnoVentures and ITOCHU Corporation, one of the largest Japanese general trading companies. Other strategic partners joined from Brazil, Nigeria, Mexico, China, Vietnam, and Europe.
Lloyds Bank has partnered with Intuit to allow QuickBooks customers in the UK to automatically and securely import transactions from their Lloyds Bank accounts at no extra charge. Through a global initiative to ensure that QuickBooks customers gain access to financial data through whatever technology they choose, Intuit now offers direct bank feeds with three out of the top four retail banks in the UK, covering more than 60 percent of the UK market.
Berlin-based mobile bank N26 has chosen Mambu, the SaaS banking engine, to integrate systems and quickly bring services to market in support of its growth strategy. Before N26 was granted a full banking licence in July last year, it used the services of a partner bank and then migrated to its own platform in late 2016. Since then their customer base has grown by 500 per cent, helping them reach the 500,000 customer mark in August 2017.
Consumer credit reporting agency Equifax fell victim to a cybersecurity incident which potentially impacts 143 million US consumers, as well as UK users. The firm stated that criminals exploited a US website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files. Based on the company's investigation, the unauthorised access occurred from mid-May through July 2017.
Visa has appointed former Bank of England COO Charlotte Hogg as its new chief executive of European operations. Hogg, who will commence work at the payments firm on October 1, will report to Visa’s CEO Al Kelly and Visa Europe board chairman, Gary Hoffman. Hogg has more than 25 years of experience in roles that span financial services, bank operations and management consulting. She most recently worked for the Bank of England from 2013 to 2017. Prior to this she led retail distribution for Santander in the UK and previously worked at Experian as the managing director of UK and Irish operations.
The number of payment cards globally reached 14 billion in 2016 and is predicted to rise to 17 billion by 2022, driven by further debit card issuance as the banked population continues to increase, a new RBR report has revealed. The study found that the number of payment cards worldwide increased by eight per cent to 14 billion in 2016. This is forecast to rise by 22 per cent to 17 billion by 2022, driven by an increase in bank account holding in large but developing markets such as China and India.
EY and software security outfit Guardtime have collaborated to launch what is believed to be the world’s first marine insurance blockchain platform. The blockchain platform, which is built on Microsoft Azure global cloud technology, is expected to be implemented from 2018 onwards. The first of its kind in the insurance industry, the platform’s initial phased rollout will involve deploying the benefits of blockchain for end-to-end use across the marine industry.
German banking platform solarisBank has selected electronic payments firm SIA to support the launch of new contactless debit cards and to contribute to the development of electronic payment solutions. As part of the agreement SIA’s technology platform will manage the processing of transactions made using payment cards issued by solarisBank for its clients.
BNP Paribas has acquired a majority stake in robo-advisory firm Gambit Finance Solutions, as the latter looks to boost its international growth. The French bank’s asset management arm became has become the majority shareholder and Gambit will become the preferred robo-advisory solutions provider for BNP Paribas Group’s retail and wealth management networks.
Square, the mobile payments firm run by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, has filed an application to become a new challenger bank, according to reports. The startup, which was launched in 2009, will apply to become an industrial loan company (ILC), with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The new bank will be called Square Financial Services according to the Wall Street Journal.
The European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan have concluded that distributed ledger technology (DLT) is ‘not mature enough’ for their RTGS payment systems. The pair outlined their views as part of a joint research project into the possible use of distributed ledger technology for financial market infrastructures. DLT, is a set of tools for recording data, such as asset holdings or financial transactions, allowing a network of computers to verify and store updates without a single central management system.
Tech City UK has launched an initiative to find FinTech startups that can make a difference to those people who are in danger of being left behind by financial services. As part of the government’s Digital Strategy, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has asked Tech City UK to run a competition to find the best products and services from the FinTech sector that promote financial inclusion.
Deutsche Börse and Illuminate Financial Management have co-led a $5 million Series A funding round in RegTek.Solutions, a regulatory reporting solutions provider. Based in New York, RegTek.Solutions was launched earlier this year as a provider of global regulatory compliance software by Risk Focus. It provides trade reporting solutions and compliance software, enabling firms to improve the quality, transparency and control of regulatory reporting obligations across multiple jurisdictions and asset classes.
Atom bank has announced that it has been granted permission to offer retail deposits in Germany after securing a partnership with Deposit Solutions. Atom will be launching fixed savings products to German customers from 4 September, as part of the tie-up. Atom bank will subsequently be able to gather deposit funding from Europe’s largest savings market onto its balance sheet, without having to set up additional retail infrastructure in Germany.
HSBC has partnered with GT Nexus, a cloud supply chain platform, in a move designed to help the bank’s customers improve their operational efficiency. The tie-up will enable HSBC’s US customers to manage their suppliers and supply chain finance programmes. They can now gain access to a digital commerce platform that helps companies manage complex supply chain processes whilst simultaneously simplifying supplier financing.
Half of UK FinTechs expect their revenue growth to more than double in the next year, but question remarks remain around customer adoption, a new survey has found. The census, conducted by Innovate Finance and EY, revealed that half of respondents are expecting global revenue growth of over 100 per cent in the next 12 months. Historical average UK revenues, another key indicator of success, grew by 22 per cent between 2014 and 2016, where average revenues reached £5 million.
ANZ today announced it has appointed Opher Yom-Tov as its first chief design officer, reporting to group executive digital banking Maile Carnegie. Yom-Tov will lead a team of specialists focused on building ANZ’s human-centred design capability to deliver better experiences for customers and employees. Yom-Tov spent a decade working at global design and innovation firm IDEO in Silicon Valley and then leading the organisation in Shanghai, China.
The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), Investment Company Institute (ICI) and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) have overseen the transition from three days to two days for the standard settlement timeframe of trades such trades include in-scope securities, including U.S. equity, corporate and municipal bond, and unit investment trust trades.
Co-op Insurance has unveiled the UK’s first ever car insurance chatbot, allowing Facebook Messenger users to receive a no-obligation quote in under 30 seconds. The Co-op Insurance chatbot gives users a sneak peek into how much they can expect to pay for their car insurance, before completing the full quote on the Co-op website.
Nasdaq has announced that it will acquire eVestment, a content and analytics provider used by asset managers, investment consultants and asset owners to help with institutional investment decisions. eVestment provides institutional investors with a database for both traditional and alternative strategies, including as many as 2,800 individual data points on more than 74,000 investment vehicles. The firm has more than 2,000 clients, including 92 per cent of the top asset managers, 76 per cent of the top consulting firms and 80 per cent of the top 20 pension funds.
Three years on from the launch of Apple Pay, mobile wallet adoption is on the rise globally and consumers in the US and Europe are beginning to catch their Asia and Latin America counterparts, new research shows. The data of more than 6,000 consumers, which was conducted ACI Worldwide and Aite, found that 17 per cent of US consumers now regularly use their smartphone to pay, up from six per cent in 2014.
Starling Bank has announced that it has introduced Android Pay to its app, offering Android users a fast and free way to pay securely using their mobile phone. The Android Pay function has been integrated with the Starling Bank app ensuring minimal setup time. Using Android Pay, customer card numbers are not shared with the store, rather a virtual account number is individually assigned, keeping customer information safe in the user’s hands.
NatWest, in partnership with Entrepreneurial Spark – the world’s largest free business accelerator, has officially opened its first incubator hub in London. FStech was invited to the event which saw a host of startups covering a broad range of industries, including finance and technology, descend on NatWest’s Regents House innovation centre in Angel.
The value of cryptocurrency transactions is expected to surpass the $1 trillion mark in 2017, more than 15 times the level in 2016, according to new research from Juniper. The study found that transaction values in H1 2017 surpassed $325 billion, driven by the increase in Ethereum’s price, which saw it account for two thirds of cryptocurrency transaction values in that time.
National Australia Bank (NAB) has launched a virtual banker designed specifically for business customers, enabling them to receive instant answers and assistance with banking questions and requests. The virtual banker is currently in pilot and is available 24/7 on the bank’s website, providing help with more than 200 common questions related to the servicing of business banking accounts.
ANZ will reportedly be the first Australian bank to roll out Voice ID technology on its mobile banking platform, enabling its customers to complete higher value transactions conveniently and securely. With Voice ID, ANZ customers can now make payments of more than $1,000 on their mobile without needing to log into internet banking, or remember additional passwords or PINs, or visit a branch. They can also use Voice ID to make BPAY payments of more than $10,000 on their mobile.
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the country’s central bank, has declared an immediate ban on initial coin offerings (ICOs) and has asked all related fundraising activity to be halted immediately. ICOs, which use blockchain-based technology, are digital token sales for new cryptocurrencies. They have experienced unchecked growth over the past 12 months, raising $1.6 billion worldwide. China now views ICOs as a threat to the Chinese financial market, as authorities struggle to control financial channels that operate beyond the traditional banking system.
US FinTech company Fiserv has announced the completed acquisition of UK firm Monitise in a £75 million deal, as it looks to expand its digital technology suite. Last month, Monitise accepted the improved takeover bid of £75 million from Fiserv, after a previous bid of £70 million was deemed as “too low” by shareholders. The first bid was initially accepted by Monitise, but caused concern among shareholders, who threatened to withdraw their support from the acquisition.
Scandinavian payments processor Nets is moving closer to a deal with US private equity firm Hellman & Friedman for a proposed takeover which is expected to value Nets at around 31.3 billion Danish Krone ($5.01 billion). According to the Financial Times, the board of Nets met this week to decide on a suitor following an auction. The outcome of the meeting is expected to be revealed soon, with H&F apparently leading the process and could soon enter into exclusive talks.
The rapid adoption of enabling technologies and the emergence of new business models pose an increasing challenge to incumbent banks, a consultative document on the implications of FinTech has found. The report, from The Basel Committee, assessed how FinTech may affect the banking industry and the activities of supervisors in the near to medium term. Various future potential scenarios were considered, with their specific risks and opportunities.
Barclaycard has today marked the 10-year anniversary of introducing contactless payments to the UK. The first UK contactless payments card, the ‘Barclaycard OnePulse’ was launched in September 2007 and since then the use of contactless has grown at a staggering rate, transforming the way British consumers shop.
Investment in UK InsurTech has surged to record levels despite Brexit ‘jitters’, according to a new Accenture analysis. The study, based on figures from CB Insights, found that UK InsurTech investment increased to £218 million in the first half of 2017, compared to £7.3 million the year before. One major deal had a dramatic impact in the UK (Gryphon Insurance raising £180 million). However, even without it, funding increased from £7.3 million to £38.3 million year-over-year, increasing by 422 per cent. The rest of Europe combined raised £104 million in the same period.
The shortlist has been announced for the Payments Awards 2017, which look to recognise excellence and innovation across the payments sector. Deutsche Bank, Amazon Pay, Klarna, Barclaycard, Wirecard, Saxo Payments, ClearBank, Vocalink, Fiserv, Starling Bank and Nationwide Building Society are among the organisations shortlisted for this year’s awards.
Chinese tourists in South Africa will now be able to pay for goods via their Alipay mobile app, following a partnership with mobile payment and customer insight firm Zapper. This partnership will allow Chinese visitors to use their Alipay app to settle payment at 10,000 Zapper-affiliated merchant locations across the country. Chinese tourists will also be able to search for restaurants, bars, theatres, book shops, adventure parks and more through the in-app Discovery platform, and pay for their orders in RMB via Alipay by scanning a Zapper QR code.
Singapore-based DBS Bank has unveiled digibank – a digital-only bank designed specifically for mobile. The new solution is paperless and signatureless, and brings together a suite of new technologies, from biometrics to artificial intelligence. Customers will be able to converse with digibank’s AI-powered virtual assistant to get their queries answered, while an intelligent financial planning and monitoring feature helps customers to be smarter with their money.
Mastercard has unveiled a pilot project in Poland, which will make a smartphone the only device necessary for a merchant to accept contactless payments in their store. The solution, which is being developed in partnership with Elavon, Polskie ePłatności and Mobeewave in Poland, is aimed at small and micro merchants that have traditionally taken cash payments, providing them with a simpler and more secure way to run their business.
Ping Identity, the verification security firm for over half of the Fortune 100 companies, has been chosen by Open Banking to provide the identity and access management (IAM) technology that will underpin the UK’s open banking framework. Ping’s IAM solution suite will provide the hub for Open Banking, where all UK banks and financial services organisations, and third-party providers (TPPs) wanting to participate in the open banking ecosystem, will need to go through an enrolment and verification process before becoming trusted identities stored in a central Ping repository.
Russian state-owned development bank Vnesheconombank (VEB) has collaborated with several government ministries to launch a new research facility focused on blockchain and other technologies. The new centre will be based at the National University of Science and Technology in Moscow, and will form part of a wider digital push from the Russian government. The government offices which are participating with the programme are the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Communications and Mass Media.
Urban FT, an SaaS-based digital banking platform, has confirmed that struggling US-based mobile FinTech provider Digiliti Money has rejected its takeover offer. Earlier this month, Digiliti Money announced its intention to file an extension with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) after failing to meet the deadline to submit its Q2 earnings.
Singapore’s Payments Council has set up a taskforce to develop a common QR code for payments in the country. At the council’s inaugural meeting earlier this month, council members advocated the use of QR code-based payments as a practical and convenient way to introduce e-payments to cash-based merchants. While debit and credit card schemes worked well for large merchants and retailers, the council indicated that these solutions were often not feasible for smaller merchants who preferred an infrastructure-light and cheaper solution.
The FStech Awards return for their 18th year in 2018, and financial institutions and technology providers now have until 24 November to submit their entries. The event celebrates technology excellence and innovation within the UK and EMEA financial services sector, and there are 27 trophies up for grabs for 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.
The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) in Hong Kong has entered into a co-operation agreement with the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) to establish a framework for mutual assistance in the development and application of FinTech. Under the agreement, the SFC and the DFSA will cooperate on information sharing, potential innovation projects and referrals of innovative firms seeking to enter one another’s markets.
Welsh FinTech outfit Delio is the only UK firm to have been accepted onto a financial services accelerator programme in Dubai. The accelerator, launched in collaboration with Accenture and FinTech Hive at The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) consists of a 12-week curriculum in which the 11 finalists will work closely with financial institutions and other stakeholders to create solutions to “address the evolving needs of the region’s financial services industry”.
Redwood Bank, a business bank for SMEs in the UK, has announced that it is officially open for business, just four months after securing its banking licence. The bank stated that it has completed its ’mobilisation‘ phase, now offering secured SME mortgages for business owners, as well as for experienced commercial and residential property investors. It has also launched a business deposit account.
Singapore’s OCBC Bank has launched a mobile keyboard that allows its customers to make peer-to-peer payments without having to exit their current mobile applications. The OCBC Keyboard can be used within any mobile app or browser – for instance, within Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram or Chrome – to send money instantly to anyone with a bank account in Singapore, including those who have not yet registered for PayNow. The payment rides on the OCBC Pay Anyone e-payment service and can be completed using just the recipient’s mobile number.
Japan’s Mizuho Bank has partnered with IBM to begin a move towards more advanced and efficient risk management by employing cognitive technology to take measures against financial crimes. IBM’s Financial Crimes solution is designed to efficiently manage all investigation efforts through streamlined research and advanced investigation techniques. The cloud-based solution analyses a wide range of data sources, including retrieving news sources and extracting data using screening technologies – processes that were previously done manually.
Money transfer service Xendpay has announced a new initiative called ‘Pay Day’, which will offer zero transfer fees and remove payment amount limits for users during the payday period. The offer will run towards the end of the month – when most workers get paid – and aims to support migrant communities by enabling users who send small frequent payments abroad to take advantage of the best exchange rates. Over 60 per cent of payments made via Xendpay are for family support reasons (such as to pay for university fees, living expenses and bills), with an increase in transactions at the end of month around payday.
Banks are at risk of falling behind in the financial services space in the wake of technological transformations such as blockchain, ex-Barclays boss Antony Jenkins has warned. In an interview with CNBC, Jenkins said that banks “tend to be quite good at innovation”, but that “transformation is much harder for them”, at the same time as being the focus of many FinTech challengers.
Silicon Valley-based consumer finance startup Blend has announced the closure of a $100 million funding round, led by Greylock Partners. The latest investment brings Blend’s total funding to $166 million. Blend was founded five years ago by three entrepreneurs seeking “to bring simplicity and transparency” to the consumer finance market by leveraging technology and data to drive innovation in the industry.
UK-based SME lender Pay4 has signed a partnership deal with EQ Global to act as its global payments processor. Founded in 2013, Pay4 offers a revolving credit facility for growing UK businesses to pay for goods or services. Funding is accessed by settling supplier invoices via an online platform. In 2017, Pay4 has achieved quarterly growth in transactions of over 150 per cent.
USAmeriBank has gone live on Finastra’s hosted payments hub for US domestic and international wire transfers. USAmeriBank selected Finastra’s hosted solution in order to have the flexibility to quickly add new payments rails and services, future-proofing its technology investment, while improving customer service and increasing straight-through processing.
Barclaycard has unveiled its latest payment innovation – ‘Contactless Cones’ – a self-service ice cream van designed to reduce the wait time for customers by introducing contactless technology to a typically cash-only service. The new van consists of two separate queues, allowing ice cream fans who simply want a vanilla cone to pay and pour their own ice cream, freeing up the vendor to take orders simultaneously for ice lollies and other snacks.
North Dakota-based Heartland State Bank has selected Computer Services, Inc. (CSI) as its new core and mobile banking technology provider, with a view of implementing mobile-friendly banking applications across its platforms and for all transaction types. CSI’s digital banking solutions are directly integrated into the core, which enhances the bank’s ability to provide customer convenience solutions via more modern technology.
The Reserve Bank of Australia’s Payments System Board, has discussed the role that digital currencies could potentially play in the payments system at a recent meeting. It noted recent international work on whether there might be a demand for ‘digital cash’ issued by central banks and, if so, what form it might take. Members agreed that the bank should continue to consider the technical and policy issues associated with digital cash.
Bank account identity fraud in the UK has declined in the first six months of 2017, despite a sharp increase of identity fraud on the whole, new figures have shown. The data from Cifas, a UK fraud prevention service, shows that identity fraud has continued to rise at record levels in H1 2017. A record 89,000 identity frauds were recorded during this period, up five per cent from last year. Representing over half of all fraud recorded by the UK’s not-for-profit fraud data sharing organisation, 83 per cent of identity frauds were perpetrated online.
Bank of America has partnered with FinTech outfit HighRadius to launch a new AI solution designed to help companies improve their straight-through reconciliation (STR) of incoming payments. HighRadius’ Intelligent Receivables solution, which uses AI and other software, will look to help companies post their receivables faster. It is designed for large or complex companies that are seeking to reduce costs, decrease days-sales-outstanding (DSO), and improve cash forecasting and their end-customer experience.
Global technology giants like Amazon, Facebook and Google are causing more disruption than FinTechs to traditional banking and insurance, a new World Economic Forum has found. According to the report, the challenge to banks and insurers is down to large technology firms hollowing out the value proposition of these institutions by carrying out more core functions, even as banks and insurers lean ever more heavily on them to compete.
US brokerage firm TD Ameritrade has announced the launch of an AI bot for Facebook Messenger, allowing investors to access the markets and their investments wherever they are. The new bot provides market updates, investor education and client account access to retail investors through Facebook Messenger. Client support specialists can also intervene or, at any time, clients can proactively connect with a person.
DBS Bank has announced that it is investing £11.4 million over five years in a programme to skill its 10,000 Singapore-based employees in digital banking and emerging technologies. The move is designed to enable the bank’s employees to thrive in the digital economy and adapt to the future of work. DBS’ programme supports the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s vision to create a Smart Financial Centre where technology is used in the financial industry to “increase efficiency, create opportunities, better manage risks, and improve lives”.
Consumers in the US prefer to use mobile applications when paying other people as opposed to cash, new research has found. The US Bank survey discovered that 47 per cent of consumers prefer the use of digital apps to make peer-to-peer payments compared to cash (45 per cent). Breaking the results down by generations, 49 per cent of Millennials, 44 percent of Generation X and 32 per cent of baby boomers have made digital payments.
UK FinTech Fiserv has announced the acquisition of Dovetail, a provider of bank payment and liquidity management solutions, for an undisclosed amount. Fiserv said the acquisition would further its service offering to financial institutions around the world, as they transform their payments infrastructure to meet the evolving needs of wholesale, commercial and retail customers.
More than half of global transactions at the point of sale (PoS) will be contactless within five years, predicts Juniper Research. The new study, PoS & MPoS Terminals: Vendor Strategies, Positioning & Market Forecasts 2017-2022, found that adoption in the US would rise sharply over the period, with contactless rising from less than two per cent of transactions this year to 34 per cent by 2022.
Silicon Valley investment firm IVP, which has previously invested in Snapchat, Twitter and Netflix, is reportedly close to finalising a deal to buy a stake in UK-based international payments app TransferWise. This is according to reports from Sky News, which claims that the deal will be worth tens of millions of pounds – likely to be in the region of $60 million. The latest investment will form part of a fundraising round from TransferWise.
Barclays has become the first UK High Street bank to launch payments using Apple’s virtual assistant Siri. Bank customers can now make payments using just their voice within the Barclays Mobile Banking app. The Siri integration means users won’t need to open the app to pay existing payees or mobile contacts, they can simply ask Siri such as ‘Pay John £15 with Barclays’.
HSBC has selected Capita to provide new mortgage software as the bank looks to further grow its broker distribution channels. HSBC has chosen Capita’s Omiga mortgage software, which will provide the bank with a single platform in an effort to drive greater automation by making it easier for brokers to transact with lenders, upload documents, and track details of mortgage applications and decisions.
Canadian bank CIBC has ended a 20-year partnership with grocery retail operator Loblow Companies to launch a new digital banking brand for online and mobile customers. Named Simplii Financial, the new brand will replace the President’s Choice financial banking products on 1 November 2017. Clients can continue to use their bank accounts without interruption, and will keep the same account numbers, registered bill payments, preauthorised debits or automatic payroll deposits.
The Australian government has revealed plans to strengthen its anti-money laundering laws and regulate digital currencies, following an investigation into alleged violations by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA). The new legislation brings digital currencies, such as the likes of Bitcoin, under the remit of Australia’s crime fighting agency Austrac, which initiated legal action against CBA for breaches of money laundering and terrorism financing laws earlier this month.
US-based KeyBank has announced its strategic partnership with an equity investment in Billtrust, the latest in a series of partnerships with emerging FinTech providers. The partnership has seen the launch of the KeyTotal AR platform, which allows the bank’s corporate clients to improve operational efficiency during the invoice-to-cash process using electronic invoicing and payments in a cloud-based solution. Powered by Billtrust technology, the platform automates invoice delivery, payment and cash application.
In what is believed to be an industry first, Barclays has announced the launch of a new online tool that helps businesses manage all their own data in one place. The bank has collaborated with a number of app providers to enable businesses to import their everyday business data and information provided by these apps into one dashboard within its online banking site.
CashDash, digital wallet technology provider, and ATM operator Cardtronics have announced the integration of cardless cash withdrawal technology and foreign exchange functionality at 1,000 Cashzone ATMs in London. Visitors to the capital will be able to buy foreign currency at reportedly attractive rates, at any time, from anywhere in the world. Once deposited in the Cash2Go e-wallet, funds can then be accessed by selecting a convenient Cashzone ATM in London where they will be able to withdraw their money in GBP free of charge, and without the use of a bank card.
Singtel has partnered with Wirecard to complete the roll out of Singapore’s first Visa virtual card for Singtel’s mobile wallet Dash. Singtel Dash is currently Singapore’s most widely accepted all-in-one digital wallet. The mobile payments platform, which allows customers to shop, pay transport fares and remit money, is part of Singtel’s strategy to transform Southeast Asia’s biggest phone carrier into a leading communications technology company by investing into digital and cyber security businesses.
Australian pocket money startup Spriggy has announced the closure of a $2.5 million funding round. The funding will be used to help Spriggy, which already has over 35,000 users, expand its services in an effort to help more Australian families teach their kids about earning, saving and responsible spending in an increasingly digital world. The funding round was led by Alium Capital with additional investments from venture capital group Perle Ventures, and a number of high-net worth individuals. Former ING Direct Australia CEO Vaughn Richtor, and former Delivery Hero CTO, Scott Fletcher, will also join Spriggy in advisory roles to help guide the company into its next phase of growth.
Barclays customers have been told that they will experience web blackouts on their online and telephone banking services for one weekend each month until January 2018, as the bank prepares to separate its wholesale and retail banking businesses to comply with new ring-fencing regulations. In a message to customers, the bank said that customers will be unable to check their balance, move money online, or access money transfer app PingIt between 11:30pm on Saturday 19 August until 3:30pm Sunday 20 August. The move will also see 800,000 new sort codes issued to customers.
The value of mobile contactless transactions in the UK has skyrocketed to £370 million in the first six months of 2017, a 336 per cent rise on the previous year, the latest Worldpay data has shown. The use of mobile devices to make in-store payments has been growing steadily since the UK launch of Apple Pay in 2015, but according to Worldpay it is only in the past 12 months that the technology has begun to gain widespread acceptance beyond ‘early adopters,’ further fuelled by the launch of Android Pay in 2016 and Samsung Pay earlier this year.
Cloud-enabled managed services firm Options has secured nearly $100 million of investment from New York-based private equity firm Bregal Sagemount. The funds will enable the firm to pursue strategic growth initiatives, invest further in platform innovations and expand its reach in key global financial centres. Options has enjoyed a period of rapid growth in recent years. In the US alone, the firm’s revenues have more than doubled from 2014 to 2016.
The National Bank of Kenya (NBK) has partnered with digital money transfer service WorldRemit to enable Kenyans living abroad to make instant transfers back home. WorldRemit users can now make instant bank deposits to NBK accounts held in both Kenyan Shillings and US Dollars, as well as send funds for cash pickup in KES across NBKs extensive branch network.
Asda Money has partnered with lending platform Freedom Finance to launch a new personal loans offering, in an effort to provide its UK customers with access to “affordable finance”. The Asda Personal Loans service will launch today and marks the first time that a UK retailer has partnered with a panel-based broker. The joint venture will use Freedom Finance’s FinTech platform to search a range of lenders. The application will give customers the best available rates for personal loans, without leaving a mark on credit ratings.
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has announced that it will be cutting a further 40 per cent of permanent IT staff from its London base by 2020. The latest cuts, coupled with the 65 per cent reduction of contractors also announced, will result in a total reduction of 880 staff. The Unite union has labelled the move from the bank as ‘wholly unacceptable’ – In 2016, RBS employed 2,200 IT staff but by 2020 there will be just 950 full-time employees.
SWIFT has announced that it will provide US institutions with a gateway to The Clearing House’s real-time payments (RTP) platform. SWIFT will provide an interface to manage the requirements of sending and receiving domestic instant payment transactions on behalf of customers. The Clearing House (TCH) is building a new clearing and settlement system to support domestic instant payments in the US, allowing consumers and businesses to send and receive payments in real-time and directly from their accounts at financial institutions. It will also include data and non-payment messages that financial institutions can use to build digital commerce solutions.
Digiliti Money, a US-based mobile FinTech provider, has announced its intention to file an extension with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) after failing to meet the deadline to submit its Q2 earnings. Digiliti Money says it has initiated an internal investigation regarding very recently discovered information indicating that it may need to restate its previously reported financial results.
Bank ABC in Bahrain has become the first financial institution in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to join the blockchain-focused R3 consortium. The move follows that of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) which joined R3 back in May, becoming the first regulatory body in the MENA region to join the network. The over 80-strong consortium of the world's biggest financial institutions is spearheading research and development of blockchain-inspired distributed ledger technology (DLT) to build the next generation of financial services infrastructure.
WhatsApp could soon be rolling out a new peer-to-peer (P2P) payments service, according to leaked company screenshots. The global messaging app, which was bought by Facebook back in February 2014 for $19 billion, looks close to adding the new payments feature which will enable WhatsApp users to wirelessly transfer money within the messenger service.
PayPal has launched two new innovation labs in India to support projects in the field of machine learning, artificial intelligence, data science, IoT, AR, VR and basic robotics. The new labs, which are located at the Chennai and Bangalore tech centres, are PayPal’s first in India and its third overall after the US and Singapore.
Curve co-founder, Tom Foster-Carter, is set to join digital-only challenger bank Monzo as its new COO, according to TechCrunch. Foster-Carter had held the position of head of operations at FinTech startup Curve, which will now be filled by Rona Ruthen.
ANZ has announced that it is looking to partner with an “innovative technology provider” to bring additional insights and experience to the bank and help it support its financial services operations. Commenting on the announcement, ANZ’s group executive of technology, Gerard Florian, said: “This is not about one big-bang technology project with a finish line. At ANZ we’re continuously evolving our technology architecture to ensure we are consistently delivering great products and services to our customers.”
Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and UAE Exchange have entered into a partnership to support, develop and promote the FinTech ecosystem in the United Arab Emirates. The partnership will see UAE Exchange collaborate with FinTech participants under ADGM’s Regulatory Laboratory (RegLab) to develop and deploy promising FinTech solutions in the remittance, foreign exchange and payments space.
BBVA has announced that it has reached more than three million mobile customers in Spain, a 30 per cent increase on December last year. This upward trend has continued since December 2015, when the bank had 1.9 million customers. There are customers who use the app, for example, to contact their bank manager, and those who are more accustomed to using the mobile phone to access BBVA. In May 2016, there were 23.8 million interactions over smartphones, whereas in May of this year the figure surpassed 56 million, a 135 per cent increase.
Payments giant PayPal has agreed to acquire Swift Financial, a provider of working capital solutions to small businesses in the US. Headquartered in Delaware, Swift Financial provides funding to thousands of growing companies in the US. Back in 2013, in an effort to increase access to capital for small businesses, PayPal launched PayPal Working Capital, a financing product that has provided access to more than $3 billion in funding to more than 115,000 small firms.
Singapore’s DBS Bank has taken advantage of the relaxing of regulatory restrictions as it moves into the e-commerce market with the launch of an online car selling marketplace. With some 3,500 direct-owner car listings, DBS Car Marketplace’s official launch makes it Singapore’s first online consumer marketplace helmed by a bank.
Barclays has appointed Barry Rodrigues as the new chief executive officer of Barclaycard International. Rodrigues, who joins Barclays following six years at Citi where he was most recently head of digital payments, will be based in New York and report directly to the president of Barclays International, Tim Throsby. In Rodrigues’ role at Citi, he was responsible for the strategy, design and execution of next-generation payment solutions and platforms across both digital commerce and money transmission.
US-based digital currency exchange Coinbase has raised $100 million in a Series D funding round led by IVP. Other participants in the financing round included Spark Capital, Greylock Partners, Battery Ventures, Section 32 and Draper Associates. Coinbase has now exchanged over $25 billion of digital currency for customers since its inception back in 2012.
Fuse, the lending arm of Filipino financial technology firm Mynt, has chosen Mambu, an SaaS banking engine, to power its consumer and business lending products. Mynt aims to increase access to financial services through mobile money, micro-loans and technology by leveraging the mobile and store networks of its partners and parent company. Mynt, which is owned by Globe Telecoms, launched its lending business, Fuse, in 2016 to address the credit vacuum in the Philippines. Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which account for 99.6 per cent percent of total registered companies in the country, as well as individuals face significant difficulty in accessing credit from incumbents due to stringent credit decisioning, limited authentication documentation and lack of collateral.
Nordea Bank has entered into a strategic partnership with e-invoicing outfit Basware to deliver a new discounting solution to its corporate customers. Nordea and Basware will jointly offer the dynamic discounting solution to Nordea’s corporate customers, while Basware will deliver the solution integrated into the customers’ Purchase-to-Pay or customer’s Enterprise Resource Planning solutions.
TSB has claimed that the Competition and Market Authority’s (CMA) three-year investigation into competition in retail banking has “backfired”, following a 14 per cent drop in the number of consumers switching bank accounts. In the 12 months following the publication of the CMA’s final report, the number of people using the Current Account Switching Service (CASS) has fallen by 14 per cent. Those customers have missed out on a saving over £10 million by not switching banks – according to the CMA’s own research which found that a typical customer could save on average £70 a year.
Railsbank, a UK-based open banking and compliance platform, has announced the closure of a $1.2 million investment round led by Firestartr. Railsbank aims to give digitally native companies access to global transaction banking. By offering a single API, it allows companies to create bank accounts and connect to payment schemes to receive and send money from these accounts.
HSBC has announced that it is working with IBM to develop a cognitive intelligence solution which will combine optical character recognition and advanced robotics, in a move designed to make its global trade processes safer and more efficient. HSBC’s Global Trade and Receivables Finance (GTRF) team facilitates over $500 billion of documentary trade for customers every year, and in doing so must review and process up to 100 million pages of documents, ranging from invoices to packing lists and insurance certificates.
Russian e-commerce technology firm Yandex has signed a deal with Sberbank to combine the technologies and infrastructures of both organisations in order to developing a new e-commerce platform. The agreement states that Sberbank will invest 30 billion rubles ($500 million) into Yandex.Market, with the two partners owning equal stakes in the venture. Up to 10 per cent of the company’s shares will be allocated for an equity incentive pool for Yandex.Market management and employees.
Digital Nordic bank Nordnet has implemented a new system from IPsoft, which will enable the bank to scale customer interactions through an artificial intelligence platform. The new AI bot, which is called Amelia, will support new customers through the onboarding process and the activation of their accounts. Amelia has been designed to learn quickly, manage complex dialogues, and respond to analytical triggers in real-time.
Total card spending in the UK reached £57.1 billion in June, up by 0.3 per cent on May and seven per cent on June 2016, the latest UK Finance figures show. There were just under 1.4 billion card payments in June, a monthly record and a 12 per cent rise in the last 12 months. This is the highest annual rate of growth in the number of payments since June 2008, driven by a robust rise in online (20 per cent) and contactless (143 per cent) purchases.
Nasdaq and SIX Swiss Exchange have announced a collaboration to provide distributed ledger technology (DLT) for a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for SIX’s OTC structured products business. Working with technology partner Chain, the solution will integrate with several systems currently managed by SIX and utilise the DLT capabilities at the core of the Nasdaq Financial Framework, Nasdaq’s enterprise architecture.
Thailand’s Kasikornbank (KBank) has partnered with IBM to launch a new enterprise Letter of Guarantee network based on IBM Blockchain. The new solution is designed to help simplify and expedite procedures for KBank’s Letter of Guarantee process, with the goal of improving the customer experience, strengthening security and reducing costs for clients and the bank. The more digitised service means the solution is entirely paperless, while the transparency provided by blockchain can help to eliminate forgery and provide efficient service delivery.
Metro Bank has announced the appointment of Martyn Atkinson as its new chief information officer. Atkinson, currently director of digital and change at the bank, will take up the new role on 4 September 2017. He will report to the CEO, Craig Donaldson, and will be a member of the bank’s executive leadership team. Martyn, who joined Metro Bank in January 2016, has extensive financial services expertise and a track record in IT and digital strategy, development and change. A Cambridge graduate, his previous positions include, head of transformation at Nationwide Building Society and head of business change at Friends Life, along with senior roles at Lloyds Banking Group and Accenture.
Capital One has announced that it will be closing down its Level Money money management app, as of 1 September 2017. A statement on the Level Money website reads: “When we started Level Money back in 2013, there weren’t many tools to help people manage their money. We saw an opportunity to fix that—reinventing the banking experience to make managing money easier and more intuitive.
The European Banking Authority (EBA) has published a discussion paper on its approach to FinTech and the results of the first EU-wide FinTech mapping exercise. The report states that FinTech has the potential to transform the provision of financial services, and that public authorities in the EU and beyond have started to investigate the impact FinTech is having on the financial system.
Australia’s largest credit union CUA has announced that it will trial Australia Post’s new digital identity verification service later this year. CUA will pilot the Digital iD technology, becoming the first banking provider in the country to sign up to trial the platform. The CUA is one of four organisations which have committed to pilot the online and mobile identity verification service across banking, foreign currency, outsourcing of tasks and police checks.
Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and KPMG have collaborated to launch the first ever FinTech Abu Dhabi Innovation Challenge, enabling startups to access solutions to support their businesses. The Innovation Challenge, as part of the inaugural FinTech Abu Dhabi event on 22 and 23 October 2017, includes an intensive five week program, which will allow innovative and mature startups to conceptualise and present market-ready solutions that can address real business challenges identified in the financial services industry in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA).
Digital-only challenger Tandem is moving ever closer to launch after agreeing a deal to acquire 100 per cent of Harrods Bank, subject to regulatory approval. It has been a tough year so far for Tandem, which officially changed its name from Tandem Bank back in May, following the challenger bank’s decision to remove savings accounts from its offering.
Nigeria’s Access Bank has selected Earthport to provide delivery of cross-border payment services into the country. The new payment channel has been created in order to address the need for more effective servicing of remittances and low-value payments sourced from outside the country, which now total an estimated $19 billion per year.
Eleven banks have developed a prototype trade finance application on R3’s distributed ledger platform that aims to reduce inefficiencies and costs by streamlining the processing of sight letters of credit. Bangkok Bank, BBVA, BNP Paribas, HSBC, ING, Intesa Sanpaolo, Mizuho, RBS, Scotiabank, SEB and U.S. Bank have been collaborating with R3 and technology partner CGI
Companies designing innovative financial products and business solutions will be provided with the possibility to test them in a new regulatory sandbox under a new initiative by the Bank of Lithuania. The country’s central bank will supervise and provide consultations to FinTech firms as they test new financial products.
Australian FinTech firm zipMoney has announced that it has secured a $40 million strategic investment from Westpac Banking Corporation. The two firms have also agreed a strategic relationship which allows the parties to explore the integration of Zip’s products and services across Westpac’s network throughout Australia. The parties will also explore other initiatives including the provision of currently in-development business-to-business products and services to Westpac.
British FinTech firm Monitise has accepted an improved takeover bid of £75 million from Fiserv, after a previous bid of £70 million was deemed as “too low” from shareholders. The first bid was initially accepted by Monitise, but caused concern among shareholders, who threatened to withdraw their support from the acquisition.
European Investment Bank (EIB) has selected new end-to-end networking technology from Extreme Networks, to provide a scalable network across its 40 worldwide offices. Extreme has provided network solutions for EIB’s growing 4,000 public and private network users and 15,000 devices over the past 20 years. The recently deployed Gigabit Ethernet and high-density Wi-Fi allows EIB’s IT department to manage the entire network infrastructure through a single pane of glass.
Kabbage, a US-based online lender to small businesses, has announced a $250 million strategic growth investment from Japan’s SoftBank. The quarter of a billion dollar investment represents the largest equity raise in the online small business lending segment to date, with the funding brings Kabbage’s total equity raised to nearly $500 million.
Dinosaur Merchant Bank has selected InvestCloud to provide a new digital platform for the bank’s European and Latin American wealth management customers. The bank will use InvestCloud’s client portal solution, Blue, which aims to empower wealth managers and financial firms to build and maintain intuitive and responsive client relationships tailored to their specific client base, leveraging a full suite of client communications apps.
PayPal has announced a partnership with Skype which will allows users in 22 countries to send money to other Skype users via its mobile app. With over one billion Skype mobile downloads to date globally, users will be able to use PayPal directly from their Skype app to quickly send money. Over the past year, PayPal has partnered with Apple, Slack and Microsoft to enable peer-to-peer (P2P) payments with PayPal and Venmo.
Payments processing company Paysafe has accepted a £2.9 billion takeover bid from Blackstone and CVC. Paysafe is a global payment processor for merchants, platform providers and marketplaces, ISOs and partners. For consumers, the payments firm also offers digital wallet, card and mobile solutions to help customers manage and move their money without unnecessary cost and friction.
Jiffy, the service developed by SIA to send and receive money in real time via smartphone using just a user’s mobile number, has launched in more than 150 retail outlets in Milan, Rome and Turin. The new service enables users to pay via app instantly and securely with those outlets that have signed up with Intesa Sanpaolo bank. The payment is made at the store by scanning the QR Code created by the merchant at the time of purchase.
US military bank USAA has launched a pilot which allows users to access its services through a conversation with Amazon Alexa. Developed by Clinic, the technology uses artificial intelligence to provide a conversational experience for users, who can access information about account balances, transactions, and spending patterns. After asking Alexa to open their USAA account, members can ask questions like
The University of Oxford is launching a new online FinTech programme designed to “help meet the challenges of a rapidly changing financial services industry”. The Oxford FinTech Programme, which will be run by the university’s Saïd Business School, will examine current and emerging technologies around money and payments, markets and consumer experience, and explore key ideas, principles, and frameworks around RegTech, PropTech and social inclusion.
Bread, a US FinTech startup that builds ‘pay over time’solutions for online merchants, has announced the completion of a $126 million equity and debt financing round. Menlo Ventures led the equity round, with participation from Bessemer Venture Partners, RRE Ventures, and others. As part of the round, Mark Siegel, Menlo’s managing partner, will be joining Bread’s board of directors. The debt facility was provided by Victory Park Capital.
Following a period of ideological debate over the future of Bitcoin, the crypto-currency has now split into two separate entities with the new ‘Bitcoin Cash’ being mined for the first time. The new currency has been developed as a measure to increase the capacity of Bitcoin’s blockchain, as it could previously only have one megabyte of data added to it every 10 minutes – which ultimately slowed the transaction process for users.
Belgium payments outfit Payconiq has expanded its footprint into Luxembourg after acquiring local mobile payments firm Digicash. The move comes as Payconiq looks to establish a strong partnership with Luxembourg banks and retailers. Combining forces with Digicash, Payconiq will aim to further enhance the consumer experience in online, on the-go and peer-to-peer payments.
Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) has updated its mobile app, becoming the first bank in the country to allow its personal banking clients to use Siri to pay their bills on their iPhone or iPad. RBC has also launched a new payments service within iMessage, which means clients can now send a transfer without leaving their iMessage window. For those paying a bill through Siri, once the user gives a voice command, Siri will confirm the name from the user’s payee list and the RBC Mobile app automatically debits their account and sends the payment. The payment is protected by TouchID.
Juvo, a mobile identity scoring firm based in California, has announced a $40 million Series B funding round led by investors New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Wing Venture Capital. Also included in the startup’s latest funding round was SignalFire as well as a number of existing investors. Juvo will use these new funds to drive global growth, with a particular emphasis on Asia, Latin America and Europe, and broaden its suite of financial service offerings targeting the ‘financially excluded’.
ING Bank has collaborated with Calypso Technology and the R3 consortium to utilise blockchain technology in an effort to help banks’ back-end infrastructures interact easier when processing trades. The partners carried out trade matching tests on Corda (the distributed ledger technology platform developed by R3) to process foreign exchange trades, and confirmed correct matching in real time across four different time zones.
Just 30 per cent of British insurance policyholders trust their insurance providers to manage their data securely, according to a new survey from Mintel. The Consumers and Data Sharing in Insurance UK 2017 report found that a further 30 per cent said that they would rather pay more for insurance than hand over more personal data than necessary. The top data sharing concerns highlighted by the survey included fear that smart devices could be hacked or open to security breaches (78 per cent), while just over three quarters (76 per cent) worry that insurers might sell their data to other companies.
Immediate payments are a key revenue driver for 66 percent of banks in markets with IP schemes, according to a new survey from ACI Worldwide and Ovum. The benchmark report also noted that although open APIs will benefit customer satisfaction for 65 per cent of banks, nearly half of respondents are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to an open API strategy.
Spanish retail bank Ibercaja has partnered with Fujitsu to digitally transform its banking operations and offer a better customer experience with Fujitsu smart ATMs. The ATMs are a key part of Ibercaja’s new branch offices, named Ibercaja+, which combine personalised consulting with state-of-the-art self-service technology. Ibercaja’s digital strategy focuses on the evolution of branch offices and customer relationship channels. The bank aims to give its customers easier access to financial advisors, plus anywhere, anytime access to key everyday banking services via mobile apps and smart ATMs.
Japan’s Mizuho Bank and the Nomura Research Institute (NRI) announced the completion of a proof-of-concept (PoC) project which examined the applications of artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for derivative contract operation. Mizuho executives made the improvement of the operational efficiency of derivative contract procedures a priority and approached NRI to develop a test in which the bank could examine how AI solutions could address this need.
Contactless spending is expected to soar by more than 300 per cent over the next four years as seven in 10 Brits use the technology to pay more frequently than 12 months ago, new Barclaycard data suggests. The study, which has been conducted ahead of the 10th anniversary of contactless next month, also indicates that the continued surge of ‘touch and go’ payments is set to save UK shoppers 141 million hours, worth almost £1 billion pounds in time, by 2021.
Three quarters of financial services executives believe that the use of blockchain technology will boost their revenues by more than five per cent and lead to annual savings of $20 billion. This is according to a new study from Cognizant, which surveyed more than 1,500 financial services executives from 578 firms worldwide. It found that 91 per cent of respondents believe that blockchain’s implementation and use will be critical or important to their firm’s future.
Financial institutions are the most worried of any sector when it comes to data breaches, new research has found. Research from SavoyStewart.co.uk, which surveyed more than 1,500 firms, found that 60 per cent of directors/senior management in finance and insurance consider cyber security a very high priority – the highest amongst the analysed sectors. The second most concerned sector was education, health and social care (49p per cent) and the least worried was hospitality and food at just 15 per cent.
Consumer awareness of the forthcoming introduction of an image-based cheque clearing system has remained at a relatively low level, according to the latest figures from the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company (C&CCC). Awareness of the new system amongst consumers (15 per cent) is at a similar level to last year, as is business awareness at 20 per cent. However, awareness of cheque imaging among charities has risen from 23 per cent last year to 30 per cent this year.
The Payments Strategy Forum (PSF) has launched a consultation on a blueprint that sets out the design and implementation approach for a new payments system for the UK. The New Payments Architecture (NPA) is designed to provide simpler access, greater innovation, increased adaptability, improved competition and better security. It is also expected to open the door for new and innovative products for everyone who uses payment services.
British tennis ace Andy Murray is one of 40,000 investors taking part in a £4 million crowdfunding campaign for UK digital banking outfit Revolut. The new crowdfund – which includes pre-registered investors on the Seedrs platform – will complete a £50 million Series B funding round announced by Revolut earlier this month, which was led by Index Ventures with Balderton Capital and Ribbit Capital also investing. The capital will help boost Revolut’s expansion across Asia and North America.
ID Finance, a digital finance, credit scoring and emerging markets company, has unveiled a self-learning chatbot which, since going live at the beginning of July, has automatically processed over a third of its customer requests. The chatbot has been developed for MoneyMan, ID Finance’s online lending platform serving customers in Spain, Georgia, Russia, Poland, Kazakhstan and Brazil, and interacts with new customers at the loan application stage and with registered users when they log in to their personal account.
WorldRemit has launched its digital money transfer service in Singapore, allowing migrants to transfer money to over 140 countries as easily as sending an instant message. The move sees WorldRemit expanding its presence in Asia significantly to include Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and Malaysia. According to the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the most dynamic growth in remittances over the past decade has been in Asia, which now receives 55 per cent of the total.
Bank of Cyprus has selected IBM as a strategic partner to help the bank implement its digital transformation programme. The programme is designed to create a more modern and efficient IT platform for the bank, supported by streamlined processes. With the help of IBM, Bank of Cyprus will implement an enterprise wide process re-engineering program, digitising and automating processes with a goal to achieving significant efficiencies while directing routine customer interactions to digital channels.
Cards have overtaken cash for the very first time as the top payment method for Australian consumers, according to the latest report from the country’s central bank. The Reserve Bank of Australia’s Consumer Payments Survey 2016 found that Australian consumers continued to switch from paper-based ways of making payments such as cash and cheques, towards digital payment methods, particularly debit and credit cards.
RBS has been informed by the Treasury that an alternative remedies package has been agreed with the European Commission (EC) regarding its state aid obligations, which could see the bank spend almost £900 million funding FinTech startups and challenger banks. RBS is required to deliver a series of initiatives to support challenger banks and the FinTech sector in the UK in lieu of the sale of RBS subsidiary Williams and Glyn.
Bank of America and PayPal have joined forces to enable in-store payments and account linking, offering joint customers a new way to pay online, in apps and in-store. Under the strategic partnership Bank of America customers will soon be able to transact with PayPal in stores and link their Bank of America cards into PayPal. The new service will be available to customers in the first half of 2018.
Payments firm Worldline has acquired First Data Baltics (FDB) – the fully owned subsidiaries of the First Data Corporation in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – for €73 million. Earlier this week, Worldline signed the agreement with First Data Corporation for the acquisition of 100 per cent of the share capital of FDB. The transaction is expected to close during the third quarter of 2017.
Visa has partnered with open API payment card issuing platform, Marqeta, in an effort to drive further innovations in commercial and consumer payments. In addition, Visa has made a strategic investment in Marqeta in order to support the latter’s domestic and international growth. The initial efforts of the partnership will involve growing opportunities for virtual, physical and tokenised payments across a number of commercial markets and use cases that can benefit from Marqeta’s platform.
Santander has teamed up with UK startup BiBox in a move designed to boost innovation by accelerating FinTech onboarding into the bank. The partnership will enable Santander to quickly integrate new solutions and technologies across all business units faster than traditional onboarding methods via its digital marketplace, resulting in cost savings, faster speed to market, greater standardisation and data sharing.
UniCredit has announced that it has been the victim of a security breach in Italy due to unauthorised access through a third party provider to Italian customer data related to personal loans. A first breach seems to have occurred in September and October 2016 and a second breach which has just been identified in June and July 2017. Data of approximately 400,000 customers in Italy is assumed to have been impacted during these two periods.
Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) have strengthened their FinTech collaboration with a strategic partnership to further advance developments and initiatives that nurture FinTech. The FinTech bridge aims to boost entrepreneurship and support innovation in financial services in Abu Dhabi and Australia.
Spanish banking group BBVA has teamed up with Google to become the first bank in the country to launch Android Pay, allowing its customers to pay using their mobile phones. Android Pay will be operational in the more than one million businesses in Spain with contactless technology. The move means BBVA increases the mobile payment services it has offered its customers for more than three years with BBVA Wallet, making BBVA cards compatible with Android Pay.
US mobile banking startup Varo Money has applied to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) for a national bank charter and to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for federal deposit insurance to form Varo Bank. Varo Money helps customers solve financial problems, manage money and reach financial goals. The startup seeks to be the first national bank in US history designed specifically for people who want to bank on their smartphones.
Visa has announced the opening of two new state-of-the-art data centers in the UK and Singapore, in an effort to expand its global transaction processing capabilities. The new processing centres are designed to meet the growing demand for digital payments around the world. The two hubs will increase the speed, resilience and geo-diversity of Visa’s infrastructure, while looking to strengthen the company’s ability to deliver new and more sophisticated ways to pay.
Global venture capital (VC) investment in FinTech was valued at $6.5 billion in H1 2017, a 45 per cent decrease on last year, while UK investment rose 37 per cent on 2016’s half year figures, the latest Innovate Finance data shows. The research found that while global FinTech investment fell, UK VC investment for FinTech firms increased by 37 per cent to $564 million, despite Brexit and the future uncertainty between European markets and the UK’s financial services sector. However this is still lower than the pre-Brexit H1 2015 figure.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has outlined proposals to help customers make effective comparisons of the service levels available for personal current accounts and business current accounts. The FCA proposes to require firms who offer personal current accounts and business current accounts to publish service information about:
Nasdaq has announced that it will acquire Sybenetix – a startup that combines behavioural analytics and cognitive computing to solve surveillance issues in the asset management industry – for an undisclosed amount. The addition of Sybenetix to Nasdaq's risk and surveillance suite of solutions, including SMARTS and TradeGuard, will enable Nasdaq to bring greater technology expertise to buy-side compliance officers across the global capital markets who require future-focused surveillance capabilities to protect their firms.
The deadline for this year’s Payments Awards has been extended to 4 August, so there is still time to submit your organisation’s entries. Now in their fifth year and hosted by FStech and sister title Retail Systems, there are 27 categories to choose from, with five new trophies up for grabs including the Payments Infrastructure Award and Blockchain Initiative of the Year.
US-based online financial advisory outfit, Betterment, has secured $70 million in a new funding round in a move that will help the firm “aggressively grow its business and increase product development”. The funding, an extension of last year’s Series E round, was led by Swedish investment company Kinnevik, with previous investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Menlo Ventures, and Francisco Partners also participating.
UniCredit has begun testing EBA Clearing’s pan-European, real-time payments platform RT1, with the bank’s customers in Italy and Germany set to be the first to use the new payment method. The Italian-headquartered bank is looking to become one of the first in Europe to make real-time payments available to customers in the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) on the launch date of the European Payments Council’s SEPA Instant Credit Transfer (SCT Inst) scheme later this year.
Germany’s National-Bank has signed a five-year deal with Atos who will provide infrastructure and data centre services to the bank. The contract includes data centre, server, mainframe, database and storage services. Under the contract Atos will deliver the operation and maintenance of the Internet and application servers as well as be responsible for creating customised security solutions.
The US national Faster Payments taskforce has published a report summarising its accomplishments and plans for the US payments industry. The report recommends the establishment of a formal governance framework for ongoing collaboration, the establishment of rules, standards and a baseline set of requirements for the Faster Payments system, and the evaluation of laws and regulations affecting payments and payment service providers to ensure that they are suited to real-time payments.
Emirates NBD has announced the launch of FaceBanking, a new service that will offer the bank’s customers instant video and live chat with advisors on its revamped online banking platform and mobile app. The new service allows customers to instantly connect with a personal banking advisor for queries and transactions by clicking a button on Emirates NBD’s online banking platform, effectively bringing in human interaction to digital banking, in what the bank claims is a first for the industry in the region.
Spain’s CaixaBank has invested €75 million to replace all its PCs with 33,000 new tablets in move which will make it the first financial institution in the country to serve customers using 100 per cent mobile technology. The project will see all customer-facing positions equipped with Smart PC tablets, including cashiers. As a result, the bank will complete the digitisation and automation of all its processes