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
A £14 billion lawsuit filed against Mastercard claiming it collectively overcharged more than 45 million UK consumers over a 16-year period has been rejected by a judge. The judge and the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) agreed with the global payments firm that the claims were not suitable under the current collective actions regime, meaning that the case will not go to trial.
Nottingham Building Society is bucking the digital trend after announcing that later this year it will open seven new branches in market towns across the Midlands, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk. The new branches will be unveiled in November and Dec ember this year, with many banks choosing to close branches in the wake of a more digital age. The Nottingham Building Society said that branches can have a future if banks and building societies ‘reinvent’ their role and make them more relevant to the needs of customers today.
OCBC Bank has piloted two FinTech solutions to enhance its competency in fighting money laundering and terrorism financing. The two FinTech companies involved – BlackSwan Technologies and Silent Eight – were part of the second FinTech Accelerator Programme run by The Open Vault at OCBC. The companies leverage artificial intelligence to conduct research on individuals and entities suspected of illegal financing. This is done by searching for information on individual profiles, and mapping how suspicious transactions may be linked to one another to see if they are indeed fraudulent or illegal.
ANZ has opened its first entirely cashless branch in Brisbane, as the Australian bank’s customers continue to choose online and digital banking options instead of cash. The new branch in George Street, Brisbane is ANZ’s seventh cashless branch across Australia since it opened the first one in Sydney’s Bondi Junction in March last year. The new George Street branch does not offer traditional telling or over-the-counter cash handling, but staff are available to help customers deposit and withdraw cash through the bank’s SMART ATMs.
Wells Fargo has unveiled a new digital banking experience to provide customers with a single view of their ‘digital financial footprint’. The new ‘Control Tower’ will provide customers with a view of where their Wells Fargo card or account information is connected (such as recurring payments, third parties, mobile wallets, devices, subscriptions etc) — and will enable customers to control when and where their Wells Fargo account is shared via an on/off function from one single, convenient, and secure place.
PayPal has expanded its relationship with JPMorgan Chase in a move designed to drive more choice, flexibility and value in the payments space for joint customers of the two firms. The new terms of the agreement enable PayPal to further expand its reach in-store, enable Chase-issued cards to be easily added to newly created or existing PayPal accounts and will allow joint customers to use their Chase Ultimate Rewards Points anywhere PayPal is accepted online and in-app.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has raised concerns about payment and e-money institutions using currency converter tools in relation to their currency transfer services in a “misleading way”. The FCA has commenced investigations into a number of payment institutions whose promotions it considers to be potentially misleading as a result of their use of the interbank rate in an online currency converter tool and in other promotional material.
Ingenico has announced the acquisition of payment services outfit Bambora from Nordic Capital in a deal worth €1.5 billion. The transaction, which will be “fully financed through available cash and debt”, is in line with Ingenico’s mission to provide a more integrated client offering and omnichannel solutions. Headquartered in Stockholm, Bambora employs more than 700 people across Europe, North America and Australia and delivers in-store, mobile and online services through end-to-end payment solutions for over 110,000 merchants and enterprises globally.
A third of all UK card payments are now contactless, a sharp rise from the 18 per cent figure posted in May 2016, the latest UK Finance statistics show. A total of £4.5 billion was spent via contactless in May 2017, compared to £3.9 billion in April 2017. The number of card payments in total continued to grow to 1.4 billion, an increase of 12 per cent over the past year.
The Bank of England has announced that it will be opening direct access to RTGS accounts to non-bank payment service providers (PSPs). This enables non-bank PSPs to apply for direct access to the UK’s sterling payment systems that settle in sterling central bank money, including Faster Payments, Bacs, CHAPS, LINK, Visa, and the new digital cheque imaging system, when it goes live.
TSB is set to introduce iris scanning technology to its mobile app, as the bank’s digital transformation gathers pace. In what TSB claims is a first in Europe, customers with a Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8+ will be able to unlock their TSB mobile banking app using the Samsung Pass iris scanner. This means TSB’s customers can access their banking using either the fingerprint or the iris scanner, so there is no need to remember lengthy IDs or passwords.
The Finstar Financial Group has unveiled a $150 million fund that it will use to invest both in new FinTech startups and its in-house research and development of financial technology. The international private equity group said its five-year investment plan was part of a wider strategy to expand and improve its FinTech offering, particularly in its primary markets of Europe, Latin America and Southeast Asia.
Six global Swiss companies have issued an open letter stating their support for the SWIFT global payments innovation (gpi) service and encouraging banks worldwide to use gpi in order to improve cross-border payments. The firms, which include ABB, Nestle, Roche, SBB, Swiss Re and Wurth, claimed in the letter that SWIFT gpi addresses their ‘pain points’ around speed, transparency, and tracking of cross-border payments.
The government has unveiled new rules outlawing additional card charges in the UK, which it says regularly see people charged 20 per cent extra for purchases when paying with a credit or debit card. Global airlines and food takeaway apps are common offenders of adding surcharge costs for customers to make card payments or use other services such as PayPal. While many industries have acted to absorb the cost and not pass these on to consumers, these rules will bring an end to the practice entirely.
Bank of England governor Mark Carney has unveiled the forthcoming polymer £10 note, which will depict author Jane Austen and include a host of new design and security features. The banknote was revealed yesterday – on the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death – in an event at Westminster Cathedral, the final resting place of the world-renowned author. It will be printed on polymer and is the first Bank of England banknote with a tactile feature to help blind and partially sighted users.
Borsa Italiana, part of the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG), has teamed up with IBM to build a blockchain solution that digitises the issuance of securities for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Europe. Designed to simplify the tracking and management of shareholding information, the new system intends to create a distributed shared registry containing a record of all shareholder transactions, helping to open up new opportunities for trading and investing.
Cloud-based global payments processing firm Form3 has secured a strategic investment of $5 million from Barclays, the Angel Co-Fund and other individual investors. The latest funding will be used to continue building on Form3’s momentum in the UK and expand services across Europe and North America. The firm’s API based Payments-as-a-Service platform offers clients real-time and interbank payment types.
Monzo has started to roll out its current account service to customers, with a view of offering a current account to all existing customers by the end of 2017. Over the next three months, the UK challenger bank anticipates between 10,000 and 20,000 customers will gain access to a current account. If everything is working as expected, remaining customers will then be given access to the service.
Mastercard has entered into an agreement to acquire Brighterion, a software company specialising in artificial intelligence (AI). The move further expands Mastercard’s suite of capabilities that aims to deliver greater customer experience and security. The technology is expected to provider more in-depth insights from every transaction to assist in making even more accurate fraud decisions.
Brighterion’s Smart Agent technology will be added to Mastercard’s suite of security products already using artificial intelligence.
Digital challenger Starling Bank has announced that Apple Pay has arrived for its UK customers, allowing users to load their card onto their digital wallet before their physical Mastercard debit card arrives in the post. Starling Bank will be the first bank in the UK to offer this ‘in-app provisioning’ service. When someone uses a credit or debit card with Apple Pay, the actual card numbers are not stored on the device, nor on Apple servers. Instead, a unique Device Account Number is assigned, encrypted and securely stored in the Secure Element on the user’s device. Each transaction is authorised with a one-time unique dynamic security code.
Retail banks are still plagued by long process times and inconsistent online and offline capabilities, and should become more ‘bionic’ to address these issues, new research suggests. A report by management consultancy firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG) indicates that retail banks must effectively fuse digital technology with personalised human interaction in order to raise service levels, profitability and competitiveness.
InsurTech startups are poised to transform the insurance industry, with investment and an increasing number of new businesses and collaborative partnerships creating a thriving ecosystem of start-ups, insurers, investors and innovators. This is according to Startupbootcamp InsurTech’s 2017 trend report with PwC, which found that in 2016, just 28 per cent of insurers were exploring partnerships to leverage InsurTech, but in 2017 45 per cent are directly engaging in such partnerships.
The global payment cards market has grown by eight per cent to reach 14 billion cards currently in use worldwide, with UnionPay consolidating its position as the largest scheme, according to new research from RBR. With a billion new cards issued in the space of a year, the global market remains buoyant. The fastest growth is in Asia-Pacific, driven by financial inclusion initiatives, with China contributing by far the most to the rise in card numbers. By 2022, the number of cards worldwide is forecast to rise to 17 billion as many people, particularly in parts of Asia-Pacific and the Middle East and Africa, still do not hold a payment card.
European payments outfit Worldline has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire 100 per cent of the share capital of Digital River World Payments (DRWP). Founded in 1997 and headquartered in Stockholm, DRWP is a subsidiary of Digital River and employs approximately 120 employees worldwide. With global payment gateway, multi-acquiring and collecting services under one roof and having generated yearly gross revenue of approximately €37 million in 2016, DRWP delivers online payment acceptance and optimisation solutions for enterprise brands in 175 countries.
German FinTech ‘company builder’ FinLeap has raised €39 million in a funding round led by investors including the German insurer SIGNAL IDUNA, the SBI Group from Japan and the Dutch NIBC Bank. In addition, the reinsurer Hannover Re raised its share in FinLeap, which is the startup platform behind Berlin-based solarisBank. Having launched 12 FinTech ventures so far, FinLeap is already active in 10 European countries. The platform aims to bring together the most prominent players of the financial services industry as well as investors and clients.
The European Payments Council (EPC) has published an update on the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) Instant Credit Transfer (SCT Inst) scheme, which is due to go live on 21 November 2017. The scheme is designed to enable individuals, businesses, corporates and administrations to make instant euro credit transfers between accounts across an international area that will progressively span 34 European countries. The EPC believes that the implementation of the new scheme will progressively change payments and how consumers use them.
Some 48 per cent of UK adults plan to activate new rights over their personal data, following the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018. This is according to a poll of 2,000 UK adults from SAS, which found that 15 per cent even expressed their intention to activate their new rights in the same month that the GDPR comes into force.
Swiss banks are to begin piloting universal, vendor-neutral software developed by NCR Corporation to improve usability, reduce costs and enable faster updates. This forms part of the SIX Group’s ATMfutura initiative designed to provide Swiss banks with the same user interface and user guidance on all their ATMs, substantially simplifying their operation. Selected branches in Switzerland will begin piloting the standardised software in the summer of 2017 though the end of the year. Beginning in 2018, the new software platform will be made available for all Swiss ATMs.
Credit Suisse has completed a revamp of its online banking platform for customers, enabling them to complete payments significantly faster and customise their online banking experience. The platform has been overhauled in recent months and aligned with the current needs of Credit Suisse’s clients. The bank chose a user-centric design approach and worked closely with clients from the different segments. Over 1,000 individuals and 300 companies were asked about their requirements through a combination of surveys and workshops, enabling them to input their ideas from an early stage and on an ongoing basis.
FinTech investment platform Stash has raised $40 million in Series C funding, led by Coatue Management and existing investors Breyer Capital, Goodwater Capital and Valar Ventures. Stash has grown faster than any other investing service in the US and has raised a total of $78 million in less than two years. It is presently servicing over 850,000 accounts, 86 per cent of which are first-time investors. In 2017 alone, Stash added over half a million new investors to its platform, with over 25,000 new customers joining every week.
Data aggregation and insights firm Finicity has signed an agreement with JPMorgan Chase to enhance the security and quality of information the bank’s customers choose to share with apps. The companies will use a direct application programming interface (API) to allow Chase customers to share information securely with the financial apps and services that Finicity supports. This tokenised access will eliminate the need for customers to share their Chase credentials with third-party apps.
Sydney will be the home of a new startup and innovation hub, creating up to 6,500 new jobs, thanks to a $35 million investment from the NSW government. Sydney Startup Hub will be the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and will allow entrepreneurs to develop innovative business ideas that will create job opportunities across regional and metro NSW.
The Competition and Markets Authority has cleared the anticipated merger of Bacs Payment Schemes, Faster Payments Scheme and Cheque & Credit Clearing Company into a New Payments Systems Operator. The merger aims to further develop to capability and capacity of the operators by reducing the complexity and costs of having three separate organisations. This single entity would also become responsible for taking forward the next stage of the development of the New Payments Architecture, an industry-led initiative that aims to increase competition and resilience as well as enhance innovation across the payments and banking industry.
High Street banks face a growing threat from technology giants, with 57 per cent of retail bank IT directors believing that GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon) companies will enter the UK retail banking sector within five years, a new study has revealed. The research, conducted by Peru Consulting, found that the GAFA firms could pose a significantly greater threat to traditional retail banks than existing ‘challenger’ banks and FinTech startups.
US retail kiosk operator Avanti Markets has alerted customers that their personal and payment card information may have been compromised following a “sophisticated malware attack”. The firm said that the malware was designed to gather certain payment card information including the cardholder’s first and last name, credit/debit card number and expiration data. Furthermore, users of the Market Card option may have had their names and email addresses compromised, as well as their biometric information if they have used the kiosk’s biometric verification functionality.
Revolut has announced the closure of a $66 million Series B funding round, led by investors including Index Ventures, Balderton Capital and Ribbit Capital. The new funding will be used to improve business systems and consumer products, and support the challenger bank’s international expansion, starting with Asia and North America. The bank is also hiring a team of international expansion managers for countries across Europe, including Switzerland, Germany and France.
A consortium of French financial institutions has announced the creation of a new European FinTech venture called LiquidShare, which aims to develop a post-trading blockchain infrastructure for the SME market. BNP Paribas, CACEIS, Caisse des Dépôts, Euroclear, Euronext, S2iEM and Société Générale with the support of Paris EUROPLACE, have created the independent startup that will look to improve SME’s access to capital markets and the transparency and security of post-trading operations using blockchain.
FinTech startup Curve has raised $10 million in a Series A funding round ahead of its full UK launch, bringing total investment to £13 million. A group of global banks and venture capital firms participated in the funding round including the likes of Santander InnoVentures, Investec, Connect Ventures, Oxford Capital and former executives from Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, Paypal andGroupon among others.
Debit cards have overtaken cash to become the number one payment method in the UK, according to figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC). The annual Payments Survey reveals that, for the first time, retail purchases made by card account for more than 50 per cent of all customer transactions by volume. According to BRC, this has partly been driven by UK customers increasingly using cards for lower value payments and retailers’ investment in payment technology facilitating greater customer choice over how they pay for their goods both in store and online.
Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo Group has made an undisclosed investment in FinTech SME lender iwoca who will provide Intesa’s SME clients with credit products to bridge the funding gap and support growth. The strategic partnership will leverage iwoca’s SME lending platform and Intesa’s ‘expertise’ in building banking operations across Italy, Central Europe, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. It coincides with an investment in iwoca by Neva Finventures, Intesa Sanpaolo’s FinTech venture capital arm.
The Bank of England has published summaries of the third round of Proof of Concept (PoCs) completed by participants in its FinTech Accelerator programme. The FinTech Accelerator was established to deploy innovative technologies on issues relevant to the bank’s operations. Working in partnership with FinTech firms, the bank is seeking to develop new approaches, build its understanding of these new technologies and support development of the sector.
Santander has announced a partnership with business commerce platform Tradeshift, to deliver end-to-end digitally enabled working capital solutions, the first of which will be supply chain finance (SCF). Santander will offer trade-related financing solutions in an open marketplace connected to over 1.5 million businesses and their enterprise trading partners. With tens of billions of dollars transacted monthly across the Tradeshift platform, the partnership is expected to extend the speed and simplicity of the purchase to pay process for clients by linking e-invoicing to SCF provided by Santander.
The financial services industry is leading the field in adopting new technologies to gain customer insights, with almost two thirds of firms investing in operational data analysis. This is according to the latest CBI/PwC Financial Services survey, which found that UK firms believe that the government’s top priorities should be reducing the cost of regulatory compliance and ensuring tax stability, in addition to securing the ‘best Brexit deal for Britain’.
A consortium of European private and public sector organisations, including HSBC and Barclays, has announced it will begin a piloting the use of a citizen’s national digital identity from France to open a bank account in the UK. The project is co-financed by the EU’s Connecting Europe facility, which is a European funding organisation that supports the development of interconnected trans-European networks in the fields of transport, energy and digital services.
Deutsche Börse Group has entered into a strategic cooperation with Trumid, a FinTech company that provides an electronic trading network for corporate bonds. The Group will invest $10 million for a minority stake as an add-on to Trumid’s previously disclosed $28 million financing from earlier this year. Trumid will use the new funding to continue enhancing and expanding its technology offering.
ANZ and Westpac have teamed with IBM and Australian shopping centre operator Scentre Group to successfully digitise the bank guarantee process used for commercial property leasing. The trial used distributed ledger technology (DLT) to eliminate the need for current paper-based bank guarantee documents, resulting in a single source of information with reduced potential for fraud and increased efficiency.
UK FinTech firms Seedrs and Nutmeg have become the inaugural partners in Fidor Bank’s UK digital marketplace, which provides banking customers with access to sources of alternative investment. This partnership aims to offer Fidor’s UK commercial customers with a suite of new investment opportunities through the digital marketplace.
Mizuho Bank has collaborated with Marubeni Corporation and Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance to complete a trade transaction between Australia and Japan using blockchain technology. The project involved a trade transaction between Australia and Japan in which all trade-related processes, from issuing the letter of credit to delivering trade documents, were completed entirely via a digital platform using blockchain technologies.
Nine in ten UK consumers now use online banking or banking apps, well above their European counterparts, according to a new Mastercard study. For instance, only 62 per cent of French customers have similar digital banking access. As a nation the UK is the most likely to use these digital services regularly, with 54 per cent of Brits accessing them daily, compared with only 28 per cent of bank customers in Italy for example.
The head of Swedish payments firm iZettle has announced that it is preparing for an initial public offering (IPO) following a 60 per cent leap in revenues. The company, which allows small businesses to take payments using mini chip card readers that turn smartphones into cash registers, reported 2016 revenues of SEK 643 million (£59.1 million) against SEK 402 million (£36.9 million) the previous year. Meanwhile losses decreased by 23 per cent to SEK 228 million (£20.9 million).
Nordea has benefited from a partnership with Estonian startup Feelingstream, which uses AI to automatically analyse text, providing the bank with new opportunities to improve its customer service. Feelingstream’s AI solution analyses and categorises messages sent by customers so that they can be forwarded automatically to the right person or unit in Nordea for further processing, allowing the bank to respond more quickly to queries from its customers.
Natixis Asset Management has revealed that, for the first time in the fund industry, investors have successfully purchased shares through a blockchain-powered fund distribution platform. Investors used the blockchain-based platform, FundsDLT, to purchase Natixis Asset Management fund shares with real cash. FundsDLT is the result of collaboration between Fundsquare (a subsidiary of the Luxembourg Stock Exchange), InTech (a subsidiary of POST Group) and KPMG Luxembourg. The platform is being developed to enable asset managers to sell funds through a new distribution channel, while reducing administration costs and the time to process transactions.
Monzo warned users to take a different card out with them yesterday after its service crashed, disabling card payments, top ups and transfers for customers. The bank attributed the outage to a technical issue that occurred on the Global Processing Services (GPS) system, impacting a proportion of transactions across several customers and cardholders. Suresh Vaghjiani, managing director at GPS,
A further 22 global banks have joined the SWIFT gpi blockchain proof of concept (PoC), which is designed to foster collaboration and innovation in regards to cross-border payments. The PoC, which is part of the SWIFT gpi (global payments innovation) service, looks to validate whether blockchain technology can help banks reconcile their international nostro accounts in real time.
BNP Paribas Securities Services and FinTech firm SmartAngels have developed a share register management tool using blockchain technology. The platform enables unlisted companies to digitise their financial securities and to manage their shareholder register using a decentralised, distributed ledger. It was developed as part of a strategic partnership formed last year between France’s BNP Paribas Securities Services, and local equity crowdfunding FinTech SmartAngels.
Open Banking, the entity established by the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) to enable a new, secure way for customers to take control of their financial data and share it with organisations other than their banks, has released its Accounts and Transaction Information and Payments Initiation API Specifications. Open Banking has developed specifications that determine how banks and building societies should enable other regulated companies to, with the customer’s express permission, access accounts and send payments.
More than half of online visits to financial institutions came through mobile channels in 2016, according to a new study from Adobe. The Adobe Digital Insights report leveraged Adobe Analytics Cloud data to analyse the online performance of the top 20 per cent of companies using Adobe Experience Cloud, plus a survey of over 5,000 consumers across Europe about their online habits.
Thomson Reuters has announced the launch of its very own startup incubator which will focus on big data, advanced analytics, distributed ledgers, artificial intelligence, machine learning and other transformational technologies. Participating startups of the incubator, which is located in Switzerland and is part of the Thomson Reuters Labs network, will receive access to Thomson Reuters’ data and content sets, mentoring from executives and networking opportunities for investment and commercialisation.
Worldpay has confirmed that it has accepted a $10 billion (£7.7 billion) offer for the company, from US payments firm Vantiv. The announcement from Worldpay detailed a share price of £3.85 per share – a 19 per cent premium on their value on Monday, the day before Worldpay confirmed that it had received preliminary offers from both Vantiv and JP Morgan. Vantiv will also pay a 5p dividend to shareholders.
A multi-million pound investment in digital technology has been announced by the Nottingham Building Society, making it easier for members to access the society’s advice and service proposition online as well as in branch. The initial focus will be on replacing the society’s existing digital capabilities, its e-savings and mortgage broking platforms, which are both approaching renewal. Once completed, the new programme will then seek to give members high quality access to the building society’s advice and services.
Monzo has published its annual results for the 12 months to 28 February 2017, revealing total losses of £6.7 million. The report revealed that the challenger bank’s prepaid programme has surpassed 240,000 funded accounts, with more than a quarter of a million pound spent in total. The bank has seen an average of five per cent weekly growth in customer numbers and seven per cent weekly growth in transaction volumes.
Germany’s Commerzbank has announced a joint research project with local consultancy firm Fraunhofer IML to look at the digitisation of trade finance based on blockchain technology. The pair have agreed on a cooperation which aims to develop scenarios for future supply chains. Fraunhofer IML supports the bank with the orchestration of the new processes and provides latest insights into the future of physical supply chains as well as the future deployment of blockchain based technology in this area.
Nordea Bank has kicked off its first Open Banking pilot programme with a selected group of 22 customers, FinTechs and “innovative” third parties. The pilot provides a sandbox environment where developers can test the Account Information Service (AIS) API, and can retrieve data such as the account information details, account balances, and transaction history.
UK Millennials are the most valuable demographic for financial institutions, which need to drive a mobile-first digital strategy to accommodate them, according to a new report by Telstra. The global report, which quizzed 27,000 adults worldwide, including 8,000 Millennials, found that the UK Millennial average wallet size has now overtaken all other demographic segments, making them more lucrative to the financial services sector than ever before.
UK FinTech firm Curve has announced the launch of a new mobile feature which allows users to retrospectively switch bank cards for a transactions, up to two weeks after the transaction was initially made. Curve customers use an all-cards-in-one Curve Mastercard and a secure mobile app to manage their money from one place. The card works like a normal bank card, anywhere in the world that accepts Mastercard. After more than 50,000 sign-ups in Beta mode, Curve cards have been used for over £50million in payments in over 100 countries.
Metro Bank has selected cloud software from US firm NICE in order to increase its operational efficiency and productivity. Metro Bank will use the NICE Workflow Management solution in order to cut scheduling inefficiencies, improve forecasting, and provide schedule management via smartphone. The move also aims to boost agent productivity at the bank's 1,000 branches and 600 contact centres.
Virgin Money has partnered with IT services provider Niu Solutions to further enhance the lender’s intermediary mortgage portal. The new partnership forms part of Virgin Money’s digital transformation process, in response to the changing needs of its intermediary clients. The project saw Virgin Money develop its Mortgage Lab which sought to innovate and make the mortgage application process more efficient.
Mobile-first SME banking platform Tide has raised $14 million in one of the largest Series A investment rounds closed by a FinTech company this year. The round has been led by specialist FinTech investor Anthemis, alongside Creandum, the Scandinavian fund that has backed global leaders including Spotify and iZettle. The new money will be used to expand Tide’s workforce at its central London headquarters and develop more features to help the UK’s small and medium-sized businesses manage their finances quickly and efficiently. Existing investors Passion Capital and LocalGlobe have also participated in the round, which follows the $2 million seed investment last year.
Despite the national demonetisation initiative in India, digital banking is struggling to get off the ground across the country, according to a new study from Oracle. The 2017 Oracle JD Power India Retail Banking study, which surveyed over 5,300 retail banking customers in India, found that branches continue to dominate banking channels, with 94 per cent of customers having visited a branch at least once in the past 12 months.
Enterprise Ireland has launched this year’s Competitive Start Fund (CSF) which is aimed at supporting early stage FinTech startups, who will be in with a chance of securing a €50,000 investment. Successful applicants will receive access to the Bank of Ireland’s innovation team, as well as desk space at the bank’s new dedicated FinTech hub, called startlab. In addition, there will be a number of talks and classes provided by industry experts.
RBC Global Asset Management (RBC GAM) has established an in-house technology innovation hub to incubate digital capabilities and drive innovation. Using the network of technology and innovation capabilities across RBC, the new lab will focus on developing and executing next-generation initiatives to enhance the experience and outcomes of investors and advisors.
UK challenger bank OakNorth has deployed a new bank operating system from nCino, designed to help the FI scale its business and configure its loan processes. OakNorth is the first financial institution outside of the US to implement nCino’s platform, which combines traditionally disparate solutions such as CRM, loan origination, business process management and reporting in a single, secure cloud-based environment.
UK Finance has opened for business today, representing more than 300 firms in the UK providing credit, banking, markets and payments-related services. The new organisation is taking on the previous responsibilities of the Asset Based Finance Association, the British Bankers’ Association, the Council of Mortgage Lenders, Financial Fraud Action UK, Payments UK and the UK Cards Association.
A record £75.6 trillion was sent via the CHAPS high value payments network in 2016, marking a 10.5 per cent increase on 2015. The figures were revealed in the CHAPS Market Summary 2017 report, which found the total volume of payments also reached an all-time high of 39.0 million. Nearly £300 billion was processed daily, with a peak of £434 billion.
Financial technology firm FIS has announced plans to integrate its ‘cardless cash’ service across Cardtronics’ ATM network in the US. Cardless cash, available through the FIS mobile banking app, enables customers to withdraw funds from ATMs without having to use a plastic card. Cardtronics is the world’s largest non-bank ATM operator, and a planned 24-month roll-out will see cardless cash available through ATMs at some of the largest retailers in the US.
The new head of Ping An’s $1 billion technology investment fund has said that the insurance giant is predominantly looking to invest in FinTech companies from outside its homeland of China. Speaking at this week’s Money 20/20 Europe in Copenhagen, Jonathan Larsen, chief innovation officer at the Ping An Group, and chairman and CEO of the Ping An Global Voyager Fund, said that 90 per cent of the time the financial and healthcare technology fund would be seeking opportunities over the border from China.
Santander Brasil has signed a deal with GuardiCore for a new platform that will provide advanced data centre security for the financial institution. Santander Brasil is the fifth largest commercial bank in Brazil with around 36 million customers, operating in all segments of the financial markets, with a network of 3,420 branches.
Thailand’s Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) has worked together with Japan’s SBI Remit to launch real-time remittance payments between the two countries using Ripple’s blockchain enterprise solution. There are approximately 40,000 Thai nationals currently living in Japan, with total remittance flows from Japan to Thailand roughly $250 million each year.
Banco Santander has announced the appointment of Lindsey Argalas as its chief digital and innovation officer. Argalas will be responsible for developing the bank’s digital strategy and encouraging collaboration across Santander’s businesses and markets. Argalas joins the bank from Silicon Valley-based software firm Intuit, where she held a number of senior positions over the last nine years, including senior vice president and chief of staff.
Total card fraud losses for 19 European countries hit €1.8 billion in 2016, with the UK recording the highest losses at £618 million – a nine per cent increase on 2015. This is according to research from analytics software firm FICO, which found that card not present (CNP) fraud has gone from 50 per cent of gross fraud loss in 2008 to 70 per cent in 2016. Ten countries saw an increase in fraud losses, while eight saw a decrease.
NatWest is trialling new AI technology to explore how its RegTech recording and analysis solution could be used to improve the quality of information and advice provided to customers. Developed with Recordsure, the solution records face-to-face and telephone conversations, encrypting and uploading an audio recording to the secure cloud in real-time, making it impossible for the data to be tampered with. The system also sends an alert if the microphone has been disconnected or if there has been a long period of silence.
BBVA has signed an agreement with mobile payments platform Alipay, enabling Chinese tourists to pay using their mobile wallet in Spanish stores. The Spanish banking group will integrate Alipay – which is operated by Ant Financial Services, a sister company of Alibaba – into the bank’s Smartpay service, turning a mobile phone into a means of payment.
More UK customers than ever before are relying on banking apps to manage their money, with a 57 per cent increase in app transactions during 2016, a new report from the British Banking Association (BBA) and EY has found. The research revealed that over 19.6 million people used banking apps in 2016, an increase of 11 per cent on the previous year, corresponding to almost four in 10 (38 per cent) of the UK adult population.
Mobile phones will shape the future of consumer payments rather than technologies such as blockchain, Mastercard’s president of the UK and Ireland told the Money 20/20 Europe conference. Outlining his predications, Mark Barnett said: “It’s all going to be about the phone. Often people say they are fine with their plastic, and what’s the difference between tapping plastic and tapping a phone? Which is true; it’s not going to be on the phone because it’s a better payment experience, but because it’s going to be wrapped up with other products and services that a phone can offer.”
Bank Leumi has announced the launch of Pepper in Israel – a digital platform that allows customers to manage all of their banking activities through a mobile app and with no current account fees. The platform is based on artificial intelligence technology that supports functions including onboarding, transferring money, taking out loans, managing savings deposits and more. Pepper hopes that the technology will allow them to customise relevant and personalised content for each individual customer.
Several banks in Ukraine, along with government organisations and other firms, suffered a cyber attack on Tuesday that disrupted operations. The Ukranian central bank claimed that an “unknown virus” was responsible for the attack, stating: “As a result of these cyber attacks these banks are having difficulties with client services and carrying out banking operations. The central bank is confident that the banking infrastructure's defence against cyber fraud is properly set up and attempted cyber attacks on banks' IT systems will be neutralised.”
Visa has announced its decision to invest in Swedish online payments firm Klarna as it looks to accelerate its online and mobile commerce operations across Europe. The equity investment and planned partnership is part of Visa’s global strategy to open up its ecosystem and support a broad range of new partners on the continent. The move comes just a week after Klarna was granted a full banking licence by Finansinspektionen, the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority.
The majority of consumers would consider a new financial product from a FinTech firm if it offered a clear benefit, however 90 per cent would feel uncomfortable with those firms accessing their data, according to a new survey. The research from Strive Insight, which quizzed over 1,000 adults online, found that 88 per cent of consumers agree that technology improvements will help providers to offer better products, but only 53 per cent are using their bank’s mobile app.
Mexico’s central bank, Banco de Mexico, has selected Finastra to transform its legacy risk management platform. The central bank expects to deploy FusionRisk with the goal of enabling faster, more sophisticated risk analysis. In evaluating various risk management solutions, Banco de Mexico found that FusionRisk from Finastra best suited its needs for a system capable of bringing greater speed and efficiency to risk management and reporting in a time of increasing global uncertainty.
The new Payment Services Directive (PSD2) could result in the “biggest transformation in retail banking of the last 30 years”, according to Starling Bank CEO Anne Boden. Speaking at the Money20/20 Europe conference, the challenger bank’s founder described herself as possibly “the only fan of PSD2” - the forthcoming regulation that will, with the consent of customers, open up their financial services data to third parties.
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the world’s first ATM, and despite a rise in contactless payments and new technologies cash looks set to remain “a crucial part of people’s day-to-day lives”. The first ATM was unveiled by Barclays at its Enfield branch on 27 June 1967 and as a tribute to this golden anniversary, Barclays has transformed the modern-day Enfield cash machine by giving it a lick of gold paint.
Japanese investment manager Nomura has conducted a proof of concept (PoC) study to examine whether using artificial intelligence (AI) analysis can contribute to increased accuracy of portfolio managers' investment decision-making. Portfolio managers at asset management firms usually have to process and analyse a large amount of information which includes not only analyst reports, but also various news sources, industry blogs and social media, to make forecasts and determine the impact on stock prices.
A consortium which includes seven of Europe’s largest banks has selected IBM to build and host a new trade finance platform based on IBM Blockchain, powered by Hyperledger Fabric. The platform is designed to simplify and facilitate domestic and cross-border trade for small and medium enterprises in Europe, while helping to increase overall trade transaction transparency.
Starling Bank has signed a major deal with VocaLink , enabling access to Faster Payments for its customers, other financial institutions and payment service providers (PSPs) using the VocaLink PayPort gateway. The new partnership will help to open up access to the UK’s payment services to challenger banks, established institutions, PSPs and corporates with customer propositions requiring access to real-time payments.
Iceland’s Íslandsbanki has teamed up with local software firm Meniga to provide its digital banking customers with personalised and relevant discounts from local merchants. The announcement, which was made at Money2020, means Íslandsbanki will deploy Meniga’s Card Linked Offer (CLO) program, which uses proprietary machine-learning algorithms to identify and forecast consumer spending behavior.
The UK and Germany are outperforming the rest of Europe when it comes to online bank account opening, a new report has revealed. The research, from identity confirmation provider HooYu, surveyed banks in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and France to gain insight into account opening processes. Whilst all of the banks reported a decrease in branch-led account opening, the UK and Germany have seen their online customer acquisition channels grow significantly faster than their European peers.
Monzo has partnered with mobile payments firm Jumio who will provide the UK digital challenger bank with identity verification technology. Monzo will use the Netverify solution to help verify customers who are moving from its prepaid card service to a full current account. This will enable the bank to comply with Know-Your-Customer (KYC) requirements while removing the burden of time-consuming manual verifications from its employees.
Starling Bank has announced its expansion into European markets after receiving a banking passport to begin operations in the Republic of Ireland. The London-based challenger has launched the UK’s first new mobile-only current account and is now using its banking passport to bring its services to customers in Ireland. Available via an app for Android and iOS, the Starling account can be set up within minutes of downloading the app with a valid photo ID.
Levels of FinTech adoption among consumers has surged globally over the past 18 months and is poised to be embraced by the mainstream, according to a new EY report. The research found that an average of 33 per cent digitally active consumers across the 20 markets in the EY study now use FinTech. The study, based on 22,000 online interviews with digitally active consumers across these 20 markets, shows that the emerging markets are driving much of this adoption with China, India, South Africa, Brazil and Mexico averaging 46 per cent.
Nordic payments provider Nets has updated its Dankort mobile app with a new functionality which allows iPhone users to make payments from their lock-screen. The new feature is being been piloted by Dansk Supermarket Group’s Netto, Føtex, Bilka and Salling supermarkets, making mobile contactless payments for larger amounts more convenient. Customers can use the app to validate purchases over DKK 200 (£24) simply by using Touch ID.
Santander is launching a new mortgage video service in 63 UK branches, following a successful trial last year. The new service enables customers to apply for a mortgage using a video link from the branch, which connects them remotely to a UK based mortgage adviser. Customers can go online, call, or visit a branch to go through the initial stages of their mortgage application, providing documentation where required. Customers then have the opportunity to receive in branch mortgage advice by video link.
Australian bank ANZ has appointed a former retail e-commerce executive to lead the organisation’s digital transformation strategy. Jennifer Scott – who has previously worked as eBay Europe’s chief operating officer of finance, as a strategist at Virgin Media and vice-president of finance at Expedia – will act as general manager of digital transformation and performance at ANZ, an entirely new position.
The European Central Bank (ECB) has announced plans to develop a new instant payments settlement system, allowing EU citizens and firms to transfer money anywhere in the world within a matter of seconds. The governing council of the ECB will develop the Target Instant Payment Settlement (TIPS) platform, which is scheduled to begin operating in November 2018, and will enable real-time payments and will be available around the clock, 365 days a year.
A number of Tesco Bank customers were unable to access their online banking accounts on Wednesday due to a ‘technical issue’. The incident affected savings, credit card and current account customers only. While customers were unable to access their online banking, they were still able to use their cards as normal for example to make purchases or to withdraw cash from ATM’s.
SWIFT is offering €200,000 to two global FinTech firms who can develop new overlay services that leverage its SWIFT global payments innovation (gpi) platform. The winners will work with banks on collaborative innovation concepts that solve additional industry challenges in cross-border payments on top of SWIFT gpi. The SWIFT gpi initiative, which launched I January this year, engages the global banking industry and aims to solves core problems related to speed, transparency and traceability of payments.
Payments startup Curve has announced its intention to fully launch in the UK this year, and make a consumer version of the product available. Curve has passed 50,000 sign-ups and £50 million in user spending ahead of its full UK launch. The London-based startup has also confirmed that it will close a Series A funding round this summer, and will unveil a ‘Connect’ feature that allows users to manage their money and get a better deal on banking and FinTech services all in one place.
Rabobank has selected Finastra, the new company formed from the merger of Misys and D+H, to centralise its cross-border payments. The Dutch bank is implementing the Finastra global payment hub solution in order to enhance its ability to respond to customer demand and industry developments and “realise improved payments infrastructure and reduced cost of ownership”.
UK digital challenger Atom Bank has secured a £30 million Tier 2 capital facility from the investment arm of the British Business Bank as it looks to boost its small business lending operations. The Tier 2 eligible facility will help support the growth of the bank and its desire to lend to UK corporates and smaller businesses. Atom said its choice to launch an SME proposition as part of its first product suite signalled its intention to be a significant supporter of the UK SME market.
Online card spending is expected to double by 2021, reaching $6 trillion globally, new RBR Research has found. The ‘Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts to 2021’ has revealed that the value of e-commerce card payments made worldwide grew by 26 per cent during 2015 to reach $2.7 trillion, and represented 12 per cent of all card expenditure.
TrueLayer, a UK-based FinTech developer platform that aims to provide easy access to bank APIs, has secured $3 million in series A funding. The funding round was led by Anthemis Group, whose partner, Yann Ranchere, will join TrueLayer’s board. Existing investor Connect Ventures, with partner Pietro Bezza, also participated in the round.
PayPal has announced that its users in the US will soon be able to instantly transfer money to their bank accounts via eligible debit cards linked to their PayPal account. The move is expected to speed up the peer-to-peer (P2P) payments process, with funds being transferred in a matter of minutes rather than days. Currently, more than $7 million is transferred every hour via PayPal’s P2P services, including Venmo and Xoom.
The Startupbootcamp FinTech accelerator has announced the nine FinTech startups chosen to be part of its first programme in Latin America, based in Mexico City. The first cohort of the programme, which is being run in partnership with Finnovista, was selected after a final evaluation over a three-day selection process. The top 17 FinTech startups from the region, chosen from 275 applications, battled it out before being whittled down to the winning nine.
Spanish banking group BBVA and local startup Das-Nano have together formed Veridas, a new technology company specialising in biometrics that will look to develop client identification and authentication systems. Veridas, directed by Eduardo Azanza, who is also co-founder of Das-Nano, will be dedicated to the research and development of software for the digital verification and authentication of personal identity, through facial, voice, image or document recognition, or fingerprint reading.
AimBrain, a London-based startup which uses biometric authentication to tackle FinTech fraud, has announced Series A investment of £4 million, led by BGF Ventures. Financial institutions have been battling rising fraud levels over recent years, in particular mobile and internet banking fraud. The AimBrain platform is a deep-learning service that uses behavioural biometrics to track how a person uses a device, such as their typing speed, touch pressure and even how much their hand shakes as they hold it. Facial and voice recognition biometrics can identify a customer based on what they look like and what they sound like.
Australia’s CommBank has launched its Youth mobile app, which has been designed to help children understand the concept of digital money. A survey from CommBank found that parents believe online transactions make it harder for kids to learn the value of money, but also agree that technology can make it easier to learn how to track savings goals and monitor their spending (42 and 41 per cent respectively). The survey also found that 97 per cent of 5-12 year olds have access to a smartphone, tablet or consumer.
Swedish payments firm Klarna has become Europe’s newest bank after it was granted a full banking licence by Finansinspektionen, the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority. The banking licence is an important step for Klarna, enabling the company to broaden its product portfolio for its 60 million customers and 70,000 merchants. Earlier this year, Klarna announced the acquisition of Wonga’s German online payment subsidiary, BillPay, in a deal valued at around £60 million – subject to approval by the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority in Germany.
Banking institutions in the UK will have to change the sort codes of around one million retail and corporate customers, due to new ‘ring-fencing’ regulation which is to be implemented by 1 January 2019. James Proudman, an executive director at the Bank of England, explained that “ring-fencing is a major infrastructure programme that forms part of a broader strategy of co-ordinated improvements” to the financial sector and that “ring-fencing is seeking to deliver wide-reaching benefits to the public”.
Open Banking regulation will herald a consumer finance revolution, opening up the market to new challenger banks, research from Deloitte suggests. Rapid technology advancements, regulatory changes and consumer demand will result in a dramatic overhaul of traditional banking models in the next decade, according to the business advisory firm.
UBS has announced the launch of its second Future of Finance Challenge, with a prize fund of up to $200,000 for successful FinTech startups. The Future of Finance Challenge is a competition open to FinTech companies around the world, through which UBS looks for innovative and potentially disruptive technological ideas and solutions that will “support the transformation of the banking industry”.
The number of purchases using debit and credit cards has more than doubled in the past 10 years, as contactless payments and online retail have driven a change in the way consumers pay, a new report from The UK Cards Association has shown. Debit and credit cards were used to make 16.4 billion purchases in 2016, up 146 per cent from 6.7 billion in 2006. It means that 518 card payments were made every second last year by cardholders both in the UK and travelling overseas.
Openbank, a subsidiary of Grupo Santander, has become the first full-service digital bank in Spain, offering customers a full suite of products and services through a new mobile app and website. Developed over the past 15 months using some of the latest technologies, the Openbank platform is one of the first banks worldwide to use a cloud-based IT infrastructure – enabling the bank to offer a 100 per cent digital proposition with ‘the most advanced security’.
The introduction of PSD2 and Instant Payments will drive a 37 per cent decline in online card volumes by 2027 – that’s according to new study from Ovum. The research ‘Instant Payments and the post-PSD2 landscape’, commissioned by Icon Solutions, provides insights into how PSD2 will be the catalyst for both the decline in card transactions and the uptake in direct and frictionless payment methods such as Instant Payments in Europe. It also shows how Instant Payments under PSD2 will change the way consumers pay for goods and services.
Following the completion of its FCA sandbox test, Billon Financial now has an unrestricted small e-money registration which operates on distributed ledger solutions. Billon enables micropayments that were previously unprofitable to be executed instantly without traditional intermediaries. Its technology allows corporate clients to manage thousands of loyalty incentive payouts themselves, and provides the ability to gather data on recipients during the transaction, a feat impossible with a one-way bank transfer or with a voucher.
Instant mobile current account provider Monese has launched a Direct Debit service for its customers, bringing its offering closer to that of a traditional High Street bank account. Alongside this, the UK challenger bank has also gained access to Faster Payments, meaning that customers sending funds to accounts outside or within the UK will enjoy an even quicker transfer.
AIG, IBM and Standard Chartered Bank have announced a successful joint pilot of the first multinational ‘smart contract’-based insurance policy using blockchain. The distributed ledger technology (DLT) solution creates a new level of trust and transparency in the underwriting process, enabling AIG and Standard Chartered to execute multinational coverage more efficiently. Coordinating management and placement of multiple insurance policies across multiple countries is highly complex. The pilot solution was built by IBM and is based on Hyperledger Fabric – a blockchain framework and one of the Hyperledger projects hosted by The Linux Foundation.
The US Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra) has announced that it has established a new initiative designed to foster an ongoing dialogue with the securities industry that will help Finra better understand FinTech. The Innovation Outreach Initiative aims to boost Finra’s knowledge of FinTech innovations and their impact on the industry.
European banks could face fines totalling €4.7 billion in the first three years under the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a new report from Consult Hyperion has forecast. The report has been described as ‘conservative’, as it excludes compensation claims, costs associated with lost customers, damaged reputations and senior executive resignations. Financial institutions may experience 384 data breaches with fines as high as €260 million per breach, according to predictions.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has revealed the successful applicants for the second cohort of its regulatory sandbox. The regulatory sandbox allows businesses to test innovative products, services, business models and delivery mechanisms in a live environment while ensuring that consumers are appropriately protected.
Machine intelligence software firm CognitiveScale has announced that it has secured investment from a USAA affiliate, taking its total investment to over $50 million. As part of the new investment, USAA will also implement the CognitiveScale augmented intelligence products for delivering contextual customer engagement and improving advisor productivity. By using CognitiveScale, USAA will be able to provide its more than 12 million members predictive, data-driven banking and insurance services while learning continuously from user interactions and data.
A ‘security incident’ involving a bank’s online services costs the organisation almost £1.4 million on average, according to a new global report by cybersecurity outfit Kaspersky Lab. The report, which looked at cybersecurity threats in the financial sector, found that security incidents cost banks £1,371,000 on average – double the price of recovering from a malware incident, which costs approximately £645,000 on average to resolve.
The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) has launched a regulatory sandbox which will enable startups and FinTech firms to test and experiment their banking ideas and solutions. The creation of the regulatory sandbox provides an opportunity for FinTech businesses around the world to expand and thrive in the Gulf and strengthens Bahrain’s position as a FinTech and financial services hub in the GCC region.
SWIFT has announced the launch of an instant payments messaging solution for the European market, enabling instant payments to be made over the SWIFT network. Expected to be available by November 2018, the solution will provide customers with a single gateway to connect to multiple instant payments systems. It could also support instant payments initiatives elsewhere.
Misys and Canadian-based payments and lending provider D+H have today joined forces to create the world’s third largest FinTech company, which will operate under the name Finastra. The new merged company has approximately 10,000 employees and over 9,000 customers across 130 countries, including 48 of the top 50 banks globally. This follows the $3.6 billion acquisition of D+H by Vista Equity Partners, which already owns Misys.
Monzo has temporarily frozen some customer accounts in order to carry out additional identity verification checks, due to new European money laundering regulations. Monzo explained that its customers are currently on one of three levels of identity verification – standard, full or enhanced. Each of these levels corresponds to different payment and withdrawal limits on your Monzo account, ranging from a maximum held balance of £2,000 to £10,000.
Biometric payments are the future according to more than half of UK consumers, while the inventor of text messaging claims people will soon transact with simple words and gestures, according to research from Nationwide Payments. According to the Nationwide poll, which surveyed 2,000 UK adults, almost six in ten (58 per cent) Brits believe that by 2037 they will be able pay for items in shops using just their thumbprint, and around a quarter (23 per cent) think they will be paying using a microchip implanted in their hand.
WorldRemit has become the first global remittance provider to enable Android Pay, allowing users to send money internationally using their mobile wallet account. Launching the service at MoneyConf this week, WorldRemit will enable Android Pay users to safely and securely send money to more than 112 million money accounts accessible via its network. The integration will make WorldRemit the only remittance provider offering international payments through Android Pay around the globe.
Pan-European payments organisation the Berlin Group has announced the creation of an open, common and harmonised European API standard to enable third party providers (TPPs) to access bank accounts under PSD2. PSD2 requires banks to grant third party providers access to its customers’ online accounts and payment services in a regulated and secure way, and mandates banks or other account-holding payment service providers to facilitate secure access
The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has entered into an agreement with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) to establish a framework for FinTech cooperation. Under the agreement, the SFC and ASIC will cooperate to share information on emerging FinTech trends, developments and related regulatory issues as well as on organisations which promote innovation in financial services.
NatWest has launched a ‘digital centre of excellence’ in Bristol, which will be designing tools to help its commercial and corporate customers across the UK reduce their risk and save time. This will initially include the roll-out later this year of a new online banking solution to more than 100,000 customers, followed by a wider suite of digital capabilities including mobile banking.
FinTech provider Fiserv has announced a “firm offer” to acquire Monitise in a move which is expected to accelerate Fiserv’s digital strategy and its development of a next-generation digital banking platform. The offer to acquire is at 2.90 pence per share and values the entire issued and to be issued ordinary share capital of Monitise at approximately £70 million. The transaction, which is subject to certain conditions including Monitise shareholder approval, is anticipated to close in the third quarter of 2017.
The vast majority of consumers (93 per cent) prefer biometrics over passwords for authenticating payments or other financial services, a new joint study between Mastercard and the University of Oxford has found. This comes as no surprise, according to the research, as using biometrics is more secure and eliminates the hassle of having to recall a password. However, while 92 per cent of banking professionals want to adopt biometric technology, execution has been inconsistent and only 36 per cent of relevant executives feel they have adequate experience to deliver.
Starting this month, more than 86 million US mobile banking customers will be able to send and receive money through Zelle – a new peer-to-peer (P2P) payments network from bank-owned Early Warning Services. Zelle allows for funds to be sent from one bank account to another in minutes, using just a recipient’s email address or phone number. Integrated directly into mobile banking apps, Zelle is set to make digital payments in the US a fast and easy alternative to cash and cheques.
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has launched a working group to “anticipate and accompany the digitalisation of trade finance”. The aim of the group is to identify strategies to overcome the constraints of digitalising trade finance – such as a reliance on paper-based practices, a lack of recognition of the legal status of electronic documents, uncertainty over standards, and a general lack of clear legal and regulatory frameworks.
UAE’s Emirates Islamic bank has announced that it will introduce blockchain technology into its cheques as a fraud prevention measure. Dubbed ‘Cheque Chain’, the bank is reportedly the first Islamic bank in UAE to undertake this initiative, which aims to enhance cheque security. Emirates Islamic will issue new cheque books carrying a unique QR code on every leaf, along with a string of 20 random characters.
Asset and wealth managers are taking a cautious approach to digitisation, but expect partial to full disruption in the industry within the next decade, according to a new report. Findings of the Dassault Systèmes report, which surveyed 450 senior executives, revealed that 54 per cent of asset managers have adopted social media tools, while 56 per cent of wealth managers have adopted new digital platforms. Blockchain was the least implemented of eight digital tools cited.
Global banks are increasingly turning to terminals offering remote video transactions as part of their branch transformation strategies, according to a new report from Retail Banking Research (RBR). The Teller Automation and Branch Transformation 2017 report found that banks are implementing video banking as it helps to keep branch costs down while maintaining a strong relationship with customers. It also allows the bank to reach a larger number of customers, reaching people in areas where opening a branch would be impossible or unprofitable.
BDO Unibank, the largest bank in the Philippines, has extended its partnership with Fiserv to upgrade its core account processing platform and expand its managed services. The new Signature platform is a multi-currency banking solution which offers a scalable environment for bank processing, automated customer relationship management, product design, transaction processing and financial management.
Japan’s Mizuho Bank has announced the launch of its API banking interfaces, designed to enhance the customer experience by providing them with more tailored services and solutions. The switch to API banking comes as a result of a digital transformation initiative among Japanese financial institutions to embrace open APIs for the industry. APIs will enable personal financial management services provided by Mizuho’s business partners to be offered to the bank’s customers, delivering a better digital experience.
Blockchain and cryptography startup Stratumn has announced the closure of a €7 million Series A funding round, led by Nasdaq, Open CNP, Otium Venture and Digital Currency Group. Marking what Stratumn says is the largest investment round to date in the European blockchain and data ecosystem, the money will help to accelerate the firm’s development and expansion into the US market.
Lloyds Bank has signed a £1.3 billion contract with IBM, in a 10-year outsourcing deal that will see 1,900 jobs switched to the computing giant. According to The Register, the bank reportedly told its staff that it has “signed one of the largest cloud transformation deals” within the financial sector, where “most colleagues working in Infrastructure Technology Services supporting these systems and delivering change will transition to IBM, with a number retained in Lloyds Banking Group to manage the relationship, service and governance of IBM”.
Sberbank increased the percentage of merchant transactions it handled by 41 per cent in 2016, moving ahead of Worldpay to become Europe’s largest acquirer with 7.5 billion transactions, according to the latest Nilson Report. Europe’s 40 largest acquirers of Visa, Mastercard and Maestro bank card transactions handled 57.24 billion transactions, valued at $2.524 trillion from 9.4 million active merchant outlets in 2016.
BBVA’s FinTech strategy is enabling it to better anticipate changes in the financial world, according to the Spanish banking group’s executive chairman Francisco Gonzalez. Speaking at the closing of MoneyConf 2017 in Madrid yesterday, Gonzales noted that the group had started its digital transformation journey in 2007. He said that the bank was engaging with the FinTech world through different channels, including its Open Talent competition and Propel (its venture capital fund for startups), as well as its investments in and acquisitions of startups (such as Simple and Madiva).
NatWest has partnered with RocketSpace UK to open a new London campus that will house around 1,500 high-growth startup companies. This will be RocketSpace’s first presence outside of the US, where the firm has worked with more than 1,000 tech startups since it was founded in 2011 – including Uber, Spotify and Blippa. Opened at NatWest’s Regents House in Islington this week, the campus occupies the building’s basement
Companies from the UK continue to dominate the latest FinTech50 list, published by FinTechCity this week, while German, Swiss and Irish FinTechs also performed strongly. A panel of industry experts compiled the list – which includes 24 new businesses – from a pool of 1,500 companies across Europe. Highlighted trends included a rise in artificial intelligence firms, new partnerships between FinTechs and the number of mergers and acquisitions in the sector, as banks acquired market-leading challengers.
Thailand’s Kasikornbank (KBank) has launched a new venture capital fund worth one billion Baht ($30 million), named Beacon VC, in search of financial innovations that align with the bank’s business strategy. KBank’s recent VC financing of Thai startup FollowAccount was reportedly the first such FinTech investment by a Thai bank. KBank said its goal for the remainder of 2017 was to directly invest in three to five more startups, and in two to three VC funds.
Lloyds has been rated as the best UK bank for mobile services for the third year in a row, according to a new industry report, with the FI performing well in all categories. The 2017 UK Mobile Banking Benchmark report from Forrester found that the bank earned full marks in the marketing and sales category, outshone its competitors in cross-channel guidance and solid transactional features, and also scored very highly in the usability stakes.
Dublin-based FinTech firm Plynk has secured €25 million in a Series A funding round led by Swiss Privee, which will support the global roll-out of its mobile money app solution. With the investment, the company has also announced plans to increase the employee headcount from eight to 28 over the course of the next 18 months, as the number of Plynk users has this week surpassed the 6,000 mark.
Consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices to pay bills and complete peer-to-peer (P2P) payments in the US, where the use of mobile wallets is also on the rise. This is according to a new survey of more than 3,000 American consumers by Fiserv, which found that the percentage of consumers using mobile bill pay rose from 22 per cent in 2015 to 28 per cent in 2016. Among mobile banking users, 41 per cent had used the service to pay bills in the 30 days before they were canvassed.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) lender Zopa has become the latest firm to submit its data to the Crowdsurfer analysis platform, deepening insight into the global alternative finance market. Zopa has lent more than £2.3 billion to customers in the UK since launching in 2005. Last week, the firm also outlined plans to secure a banking licence following a £32 million investment round led by Wadhawan Global Capital and Northzone.
Money 20/20 Europe is set to return to Copenhagen at the end of this month, featuring more than 380 industry speakers across 100 conference sessions. Twenty top keynote speakers have also been confirmed, including Carlos Torres Vila, CEO of BBVA, Ashok Vaswani, CEO of Barclays UK, Jonathan Larsen, chief innovation officer at Ping An Group, Jack Dorsey, CEO and founder of Square, and Rita Liu, head of EMEA at Alipay.
UK challenger bank Atom has decided to postpone the launch of its current account service until at least 2018, according to chief executive Mark Mullen. In an interview with the Financial Times he explained that the delay was due to the threat of new regulation that would make the UK personal banking market “too ambiguous and uncertain”.
TPBank has become the first financial institution in Vietnam to introduce video bank branches, which enable customers to complete banking tasks via an integrated video link. The bank has worked with Singapore-based FinTech firm Scale360 to develop the solution, which has opened in 12 ‘LiveBank’ locations, and will be expanding to the rest of the FI’s branches in the coming months.