Metro Bank unveils ‘first selfie account opening’
Metro Bank has launched instant online account opening for its retail current account, enabling customers to sign up via their desktop or mobile. It is the first High Street bank in the UK to offer this service using selfie technology. Customers will be able to instantly use their account after completing the registration process, with account details provided immediately once verified. Bank cards are then delivered by first class post, or customers can choose to go into a Metro branch and have their Mastercard debit card printed straight away.
NAB and Westpac go live with Amazon Alexa
Australian banks NAB and Westpac have integrated Amazon Alexa capabilities to their banking offering, meaning customers request account information via the voice assistant. Customers of the banks will now be able to ask Alexa questions such as: “What’s my savings account balance?”, “How much do I owe on my credit card?”, and “Did I get paid this week?”.
OBIE signs Open Banking verification partnership
The UK’s Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBI) has partnered with RegTech and compliance firm Contego to support Open Banking’s identity proofing and verification processes. Contego will conduct thorough and comprehensive verification checks on those FCA-regulated parties that are able to apply to access customer data. The firm’s platform provides a fully-automated authentication process, delivered in real-time via a single API.
Ledger closes $75m funding round
French cryptocurrency and blockchain security firm Ledger has announced that it has secured $75 million in a Series B funding round, led by Draper Esprit. The company will use the investment to significantly scale up its operations as demand for their products increases. Ledger has sold over a million cryptocurrency hardware wallets across 165 countries, and will be launching a new solution for financial institutions – which enables banks and hedge funds to manage their crypto assets.
BB&T opens $50 million FinTech fund
US financial services group BB&T has committed $50 million to invest in emerging digital technology companies, with a view of securing the corporation a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Kelly King, chairman and CEO of BB&T, said: “This sizable investment in financial technology companies represents an important strategic milestone in our digital business transformation. We’re excited about the possibility of new partnerships and innovative approaches to provide the best possible experience for our clients.”
Bankers ‘see Open Banking as an opportunity’
Eight in 10 bankers see Open Banking as more of an opportunity than a threat, with 62 per cent prepared to distribute third-party products through their platform, new research from Temenos and Accenture has found. According to the findings, banks view other banks – rather than non-bank entrants – as their main competitive threat. One in five respondents cited challenger banks as the leading competition, while the majority of respondents also expressed interest in collaborating with FinTechs.
Standard Chartered unveils new FinTech initiative
Standard Chartered has launched SC Ventures – a digital innovation programme that will invest in FinTechs and other startup firms to promote the testing and implementation of new business models. An investment unit will be established to manage the international banking group’s minority investments in FinTech companies and seek further investments in promising technologies.
Santander enhances cross-border payments
Santander Corporate and Commercial has appointed cross-border payments provider EQ Global to strengthen the bank’s international payments offering. Through the new partnership, Santander business customers will be able to make payments in 100 currencies to more than 120 countries worldwide. Furthermore, the deal will increase the speed and efficiency at which international payments can be made by customers.
SWIFT collaborates with CSDs on post-trade DLT
SWIFT and seven central securities depositories (CSDs) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work together to demonstrate how distributed ledger technology (DLT) could be implemented in post-trade scenarios, such as corporate actions processing, including voting and proxy-voting. Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, Caja de Valores, Depósito Central de Valores, Nasdaq Market Technology AB, National Settlement Depository, SIX Securities Services and Strate Ltd are among the CSDs participating in the DLT project with SWIFT. Additional CSDs are expected to join in the coming weeks.
Payment card growth slows in western Europe
The number of payment cards in Europe rose by two per cent in 2016 to reach 1.5 billion, with western Europe still accounting for two thirds of this total despite slowing growth in the region, new figures show. The new report from RBR found that both the western Europe and central and eastern Europe (CEE) regions saw similar growth in 2016; for CEE this was faster than 2015, while it slowed in western Europe.
deVere Group to launch cryptocurrencies app
Independent financial services consultancy deVere Group has revealed plans to launch a cryptocurrency app, citing a soaring global demand for digital currencies. Named deVere Crypto, the new app will enable users to store, transfer and exchange five major cryptocurrencies – including Bitcoin and Ethereum. The app, which will be available on both Apple and Android devices, is due to launch in a matter of weeks.