The Fintech Fix – Weekly Roundup 10/11/2021
The Fintech Fix, Week 4:
Welcome to the fourth week of The Fintech Fix, where we cover the biggest stories of the financial week! Whether it’s the next groundbreaking advancement in Blockchain technology, a new CEO creating an economic revolution or an upcoming startup generating a huge following, this is the place to keep up with the breaking news of the future.
Hot Topics – This week’s hot topics are exciting, with themes of digital payment capabilities, wealthtech and environmental sustainability projects generating lots of media traffic. Missed last week’s The Fintech Fix? Catch up now!
First though, is the huge success of the FintechOS Leap 2021 event. The annual digital banking and insurance summit had over 45 speakers, 30 sessions and sponsors including Microsoft, Mastercard, EY and other global leaders to discuss the future of financial services. One of the key topics that emerged was the promotion of ambient financial services to combat the $900 million wasted on digital transformation programmes. From Amazon with Alexa, to Paypal rumoured to buying Pinterest, embedded finance only strengthens with super apps, De-Fi, parametric insurance, robo advisors and so on. The conference also touched on the key trends for retail banking in 2022, including optimizing customer engagement, embracing disruptive imperatives and taking an ecosystem approach to growth.
The Visa Accelerator Programme generated big discussion points as the company invites startups from Asia Pacific to build next-generation digital payment capabilities. Visa, a world leader in digital payments, is looking to help more startups expand their business into new markets, with a strong emphasis on identifying commercial opportunities for startups. Chris Clark, Regional President of Visa Asia Pacific, commented that ‘there is great demand for digital-first experiences that shape new thinking around digital currencies and open data. As a network working for everyone, Visa is uniquely positioned to help startups break into new geographies and reach new customer groups.’
This was not all Visa was known for in the news this week. The company also launched Visa Eco Benefits, a new package of sustainability-focused benefits designed to enable and encourage cardholders to engage in sustainable consumption behaviours. The available features include a carbon footprint calculator, carbon offsets, personalised education on sustainability, sustainable card materials donations to environmental organisations when Visa cards are used and expanded rewards for cardholders for sustainable behaviours.
Temenos have urged banks to act now to reduce their carbon footprint. Kalliopi Chioti, Chief Environmental, Social and Governance Officer at Temenos, commented that the solution lies in adopting cloud based technologies; ‘cloudify to greenify.’ Every year, the banking sector produces about 6.5 billion cards globally, churning out 136,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide in the process. Moving to the cloud allows operational efficiency, reduced carbon emissions and competitive advantages.
Tred, a game changing debit card that helps save the planet, announced that they’ll be launching a Mastercard green debit card in the UK, enabled by global payment platform, Nium. Although similar to Visa’s ‘Eco Benefits’ package, the Tred green debit card, made from recycled plastic, will be the UK’s first green debit card that gives you the all-in-one ability to track, reduce and offset your carbon footprint as you spend. Scott Abrahams, Senior Vice President, Business Development at Mastercard UK and Ireland, added that the project will ‘help to embed sustainability into every transaction, helping consumers to understand the impact of their purchases and turn that into meaningful action for our planet.’
Now looking onto the ‘S’ in Environmental, Social and Governance Finance, Currensea, who created the UK’s first open banking powered direct debit travel card saving users at least 85% on foreign exchange (FX) charges, is launching a first-of-its-kind concept to allow cardholders to convert these savings into donations. With this new ‘powered-by’ service, Currensea will help charities, businesses and other socially responsible organisations to issue their own branded cards to supporters, customers, or employees. The first charity to sign up to this new service is the Cameron Bespolka Trust, who encourage young people to connect with nature and animals. This follows on from Currensea’s project announced in April, where customers could ‘clean the sea with their savings.’
The FF Virtual Arena was lucky enough to host Peter-Jan de Venn from Mobiquity, John Wilson from Avaloq and David Semmens from Wealthify to look at the digital opportunity for global wealth management, which you can watch here. Some interesting discussions regarding the differences in geographical demand for the end-customers and the opportunities for financial digitisation which are not fully utilized emerged.
Moolahgo, a leading Fintech headquartered in Singapore, has just announced the launch of its hassle-free, real-time payment service from Singapore to Indonesia eWallets. Stephanie Lu, Head of Marketing at Moolahgo, commented that ‘most Indonesian foreign workers in Singapore are sole breadwinners of their families back home. With real-time low-cost transfers, they can have a peace of mind that their hard-earned money reaches their loved ones immediately.’ Projects like these really restore the meaning of the power behind cross-border payment transactions.
Joel Yarbrough, Managing Director at Rapyd, a global Fintech-as-a-Service company, unveiled the ‘B2B Payment Infrastructure of the Future’ which allows B2B firms to pay its suppliers and sellers, whilst also getting paid by customers globally in a much more efficient manner. This follows on from its industry leading Disburse and Collect platforms.
Monument also announced, at last, that it can function as a fully-licensed deposit taking bank now that the UK regulatory authorities have lifted restrictions on its licence. Monument, founded by Mintoo Bhandari, is the first neo-bank to be launched in the UK specifically to meet the unmet demands of mass affluent clients, a severely underbaking population which apps like Pennyworth Financial have also sought to support.
Transfer News – Ex-Credit Suisse veteran, Leonardo Brummas Carvalho, will be the new CEO of Aquarius Financial, a new boutique wealth management and financial services firm. With this new role, Carvalho and Aquarius will provide services including investment strategy and asset allocation, portfolio risk management and consolidation, arranging asset financing and many more, delivered both as in-house services and in partnership with external partners.
Zopa, the British Fintech company who have approved over £6 billion in personal loans over the last 16 years, appointed Graham Robinson, ex-Director of Credit at Monzo, to be their new Chief Risk Officer. Jaidev Jarnadana, Zopa’s CEO, commented that the move ‘brings a wealth of experience in risk management which will enable Zopa to build a strong and well controlled platform for continued growth.’
Funding – Only two stories to report regarding funding in this week’s fix. Firstly, Nimlba, a British insurance startup, announced a £5.1m funding round led by Silicon Valley venture fund Fin VC with participation from Barclays Bank. Flemming Bengtsen, CEO at Nimbla commented that ‘this funding round will enable us to expand our platform, grow the team as we enable a confident and trusted trading environment for businesses across the UK and beyond’.
Secondly, TotallyMoney, the free credit score service and personal finance app, have been benefiting from huge customer growth in the sector, with customers repaying £16.6 billion of credit in 2020. This has resulted in a £9 million investment from existing UK and US investors.
Big Partnerships To Watch – Moneyhub and Otto announced a partnership, in which the two aim to improve financial wellbeing and employee mental welfare in their workspaces. Otto, already a financial health pioneer, recognizes that 60% of employees have financial worries, and hopes that the partnership will provide its clients a holistic perspective of their finances to enable financial literacy, understanding wellbeing, thanks to Moneyhub’s leading technology.
Australian company, MyState Bank have AU$6b in assets, 150,000 customers and, earlier this month, placed sixth in the Australian Financial Review (AFR) BOSS Innovation Awards for the banking, superannuation and financial services category. With this success comes a new partnership with Temenos, with the goal of streamlining digital onboarding and origination. Melos Sulicich, MD and CEO of MyState Limited, commented that this partnership ‘will enable us to design and deliver exceptional customer experiences with a human touch.’ Jean-Paul Mergeai, President of APAC at Temenos, echoed this sentiment, voicing that ‘with Temenos, MyState Bank can lead the way in digital customer experience while benefiting from an open, cloud banking platform to drive rapid innovation.’
Finastra and Thunes recently partnered, hugely benefiting Thunes who are now able to integrate into Finastra’s SaaS payments connectivity platform, Fusion Total Messaging. The partnership also provides Finastra’s existing 8,600 customers with access to new, improved payment rails across over 115 markets, helping them to instantly send money to countries or use payment methods which were previously inaccessible.
And lastly, we say congratulations to Cake. Founded in January 2021, Cake is one of Vietnam’s fastest growing digital banks that enables users to open a banking account online in two minutes and transfer or receive money, pay bills, invest and make deposits using the latest technology. They have now become the first in Vietnam to partner with Radar Payments to offer a full suite of digital banking services; the future looks promising!
So that’s your weekly Fintech Fix! Stay tuned for next week’s dose so that you can stay up to date with the biggest stories of the future, right here in the present.
- EXCLUSIVE: “Swiftly conquering the new digital frontier” – Nick Kerigan, Swift in ‘The Paytech Magazine’ Read more
- Nationwide’s Matt Cox on the Biggest Challenges in Payments for Financial Institutions Read more
- Zumo appoints data guru Vicky Byrom as Chief Data and Analytics Officer Read more
- bondIT Receives a Strategic Investment From BNY Mellon to Drive Digitization of Fixed Income Investing Read more
- Zafin’s John Mason on Automation and Personalised Pricing in Banking Read more
- Chris Clark
- David Semmens
- Flemming Bengtsen
- Jean-Paul Mergeai
- Joel Yarbrough
- John Wilson
- Kalliopi Chioti
- Leonardo Brummas Carvalho
- Melos Sulicich
- Mintoo Bhandari
- MyState Bank
- Peter-Jan de Venn
- Radar Payments
- Scott Abrahams
- Stephanie Lu