Concertio Raises $4.2M in Seed Funding to Scale Its AIOps Operations

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 Concertio, the leading provider of AI-powered performance optimization software, today announced the closing of its $4.2M Seed Round, led by Differential Ventures. The funds will be used to scale operations of its AIOps Optimizer platform and to further the company’s technology lead in dynamic, continuous, and static optimization.

“We’re entering the era of self-tuning servers, where servers automatically adjust their settings dynamically in real-time according to the workloads that they run,” says Dr. Tomer Morad, co-founder and CEO of Concertio. “Our Optimizer products transform general-purpose systems into high-performant special-purpose systems, thereby boosting performance and slashing infrastructure costs.”

Modern servers employ an ever-growing number of configuration settings. Misconfiguring these settings drastically slows the performance of critical systems and leads to bloated infrastructure environments and cloud spend. Best performance is attained when these settings are tailored to the actual applications that currently run. Optimizing these hundreds of settings, however, is no small feat, as the number of potential configuration combinations grows exponentially. The result is a complex and costly manual tuning process that is challenging to maintain over time, even for experts, as any change in the system, such as a new software version, requires re-tuning.

Concertio has tackled this growing problem with its patented Optimizer products, aimed at addressing the system performance challenges enterprises face, starting from development in the lab all the way to deployment in production. Leveraging machine-learning technology, Concertio Optimizer enhances applications and systems to achieve maximum performance through the optimization of the myriad of configuration settings employed in these complex systems. Concertio Optimizer features dynamic, continuous and static modes of optimization to tackle any parameter and resource tuning challenge enterprises face today.

Concertio Optimizer products are used in a variety of use-cases, including maximizing system performance, reducing IT and cloud costs, Kubernetes resource optimization, minimizing latencies in high-frequency trading platforms, compiler flag mining, database optimization, optimization of CPU and ASIC products’ defaults, maximizing networking bandwidth, maximizing benchmark performance and more. Concertio products deliver out-of-the-box support for configuration parameters in numerous platforms, including Intel CPUs, Linux, Kubernetes, OpenMPI, Hadoop, MongoDB, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Redis, Java, PHP, NGNIX, Apache Web Server, HHVM, Mellanox NICs, GCC flags, LLVM flags, and more. Concertio features three modes of optimization: agent-based dynamic real-time optimization for use in production servers, continuous optimization where static optimization is implemented within the CI/CD pipeline, and static optimization for use by hardcore performance engineers and IT professionals. Intel, Marvell and Mellanox have each published use-cases with Concertio.

https://thefintechtimes.com/concertio-raises-4-2m-in-seed-funding-to-scale-its-aiops-operations/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=concertio-raises-4-2m-in-seed-funding-to-scale-its-aiops-operations

Fintechs launch SBA PPP platforms amid stimulus scramble

https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/biz-lines/corp-bank/fintechs-launch-sba-ppp-platforms-amid-stimulus-scramble/
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As banks scramble to stand up digital interfaces and participate in the SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that launched today, fintech providers are rolling out different technology platforms to help lenders process the flood of small business loan applications. The Payroll Protection Program, a major component of the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security” Act, authorizes lenders to provide up to $349 billion in funds to …Read More

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https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/biz-lines/corp-bank/fintechs-launch-sba-ppp-platforms-amid-stimulus-scramble/

Fintechs, lacking guidance, pivot to SBA loans 

https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/biz-lines/lending/fintechs-lacking-guidance-pivot-to-sba-loans/
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U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin last weekend confirmed “any fintech lender” will be authorized to make small business loans as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relieve and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Despite the goal to have the program up and running by today, digital lenders remain uncertain how it will work and how much it …Read More

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https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/biz-lines/lending/fintechs-lacking-guidance-pivot-to-sba-loans/

Lunar’s $22 Million Boosts Series B Funding Total to $50 Million

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Nordic challenger bank Lunar announced a new tranche of funding today, boosting its Series B round. The new $21.6 million (€20 million) installment adds to the $28 million (€26 million) the digital bank disclosed in August of last year.

Today’s investment brings the company’s Series B round to $49.6 million (€46 million) and raises its total funding to $74.7 million. Leading the extension round is Seed Capital, with participation from Greyhound, Socii, Augustinus, and Unity Technologies founder David Helgason.

Lunar’s free bank account includes transfers, payments, debit card, billpay, and access to in-app budgeting tools. The Premium accounts offer a fancier-looking card, three personal accounts, travel insurance, virtual cards, and more at a cost of just under $7 (69 krona) per month. The challenger bank also offers a business bank account for $194 per year that integrates with third-party software providers comes with commercial lending opportunities.

Lunar was founded in 2015 and received its banking license in August of last year from the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority. In all, the company touts 150,000 users. Ken Villum Klausen is founder and CEO.

https://finovate.com/lunars-22-million-boosts-series-b-funding-total-to-50-million/

Weekly Wrap: PPP ramp up dominates the credit industry

https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/operations/comp-reg/weekly-wrap-ppp-ramp-up-dominates-the-credit-industry/
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A pedestrian wearing a protective mask walks along a street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S., on Thursday, April 2, 2020. A federal judge refused to postpone Wisconsin’s presidential primary on Tuesday, but extended the deadline for absentee voting by a week. Photographer: Thomas Werner/Bloomberg

The Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program went live today, and confusion reigned. Despite shelter-in-place mandates for better than 80% of Americans, some banks urged prospective borrowers to come into branches to fill out an application. And although digital applications are sometimes accepted, many FIs are still relying on manual processes and procedures to inbound …Read More

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Will a Hackathon Help the Fight Against COVID? A Spotlight on Fintech in Asia

https://finovate.com/will-a-hackathon-help-the-fight-against-covid-a-spotlight-on-fintech-in-asia/
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The world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and financial services and fintech companies are no exception. We’ve taken a look at how lenders are working to help small businesses struggling with cash flow challenges, and how firms are offering their services free of charge during the crisis to help businesses continue operating with as little interruption as possible.

Beyond this, a number of institutions around the world have taken more innovative approaches to helping manage the dislocations caused by COVID-19. Stockholm, Sweden-based Swedbank, for example, has supported hackathons in Latvia and Lithuania dedicated toward finding solutions to help businesses and individuals deal with COVID-19 related issues. The firm announced today that it is sponsoring a global hackathon in April, called “The Global Hack” to broaden the effort to get fintechs involved in the effort.

Swedbank is specifically sponsoring the economy track of the hackathon, which Swedbank Head of Digital Banking and IT Lotta Lovén said would help drive innovation in products designed to help keep markets moving.

“We not only dive into topics that will help our customers and industry through these unprecedented times, but the results will also support the local communities and the society as a whole,” Lovén said.

The Global Hack event is also supported by the European Commission, the World Health Organization, The World Economic Forum, and LinkedIn, among others.

The Fintech Times has just published its special edition on Asia – guest edited by The Finanser’s Chris Skinner. And while the timing does not allow for much consideration of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on China’s fintech industry, a handful of articles nevertheless feature worth-reading insights on what that industry might look like on the other side of the current public health crisis.

Foremost among them – and having the most relevance for Western audiences – may be Jim Marous’ article, Tomorrow’s Model for Banking Exists Today. Marous, publisher of The Financial Brand, credits “big data, advanced analytics, modern digital technology and an innovation culture” for what he calls “the spectacular growth of innovative financial services in China.” The fact that this innovation is accompanied by – instead of being ahead of – successful financial inclusion makes the achievements of China’s techfin and fintech enterprises all the more worth learning from.


Here is our weekly look at fintech around the world.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Payments platform Paysafe launches Paysafecash in Latvia.
  • Russia’s second-largest bank, VTB Bank, announces big data joint venture with telecom Rostelecom.
  • Polish payments processor KIR partners with Danish authentication solutions provider Cryptomathic.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • PayBy, a fintech based in Abu Dhabi, begins mobile payment services in the UAE.
  • Dubai-based Rise, which provides banking services to underbanked migrant workers in the UAE, raises $1.4 million in funding.
  • Mobile banking services provider Khazna secures seed funding in round led by Egyptian VC Algebra Ventures.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Recko, an Indian fintech that leverages AI to reconcile digital transaction plans, raises $6 million in Series A funding.
  • Fortune India looks at the impact of COVID-19 on India’s fintech industry.
  • The case for an “urgent adoption” of digital cash in Pakistan.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Uruguayn-Mexican fintech Mozper, which specializes in helping parents financially educate their children, raises pre-seed investment of $770,000.
  • Mexico-based digital payment processor Kushki locks in Series A funding in round led by DILA Capital.
  • Brazil’s Cora adds cash flow boosting feature to its SME platform that enables customers that are observing quarantines to purchasing vouchers today from their favorite merchant for goods and services to be picked up later.

Asia-Pacific

  • Japanese digital banking startup Kyash raises $45 million in Series C funding.
  • Hong Kong virtual bank Airstar Bank pilots its virtual banking service.
  • Ripple to power cross-border payments for Thailand’s Siam Commercial Bank.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • South African fintech TaxTim teams up with PwC to support expansion to Nigeria.
  • Zeepay Ghana wins approval for mobile money license.
  • Bank of Zimbabwe inks memorandum of agreement with Apollo Fintech to build a gold-based digital currency.

Top image designed by Freepik

https://finovate.com/will-a-hackathon-help-the-fight-against-covid-a-spotlight-on-fintech-in-asia/

FIS leverages lending platform for COVID-19 assistance

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/fis-leverages-lending-platform-for-covid-19-assistance/
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FIS is enabling its Real-Time Lending Platform to enable banks and credit unions to provide loans to merchants and small businesses under the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Payroll Protection Program as part of the The CARES Act. 

The PPP authorizes $349 billion in federal loans to help small businesses and merchants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The loans can be converted to grants if companies keep workers on their payrolls and use the funds to cover salaries and other critical expenses. 

“As a critical infrastructure provider, FIS is committed to bringing the full force of our scale and resources to keep the global economy running and to assist small businesses, merchants and other clients during this enormously challenging period,” Gary Norcross, chairman, president and CEO of FIS, said in a press release. “I am extremely proud of the work our employees are doing to help our clients, and the industry, are doing to manage through this global crisis and come out stronger on the other side.”

The Real Time Lending Platform is a digital platform designed to help streamline the lending process for clients. 

FIS is also waiving minimum monthly service charges for U.S. and U.K. merchants during the month of April and is offering free virtual terminal access for U.S. merchants and retailers enrolled in the Worldpay from FIS iQ online portal for remote processing. 


Topics: Coronavirus / COVID-19

Companies: FIS, Worldpay, Inc.


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MX study reveals increased mobile banking use amid COVID-19

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/mx-study-reveals-increased-mobile-banking-use-amid-covid-19/
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MX study reveals increased mobile banking use amid COVID-19

MX, a digital transformation platform for banks and credit unions, has released research showing mobile banking engagement rose by 50% since the end of 2019 and that payments on credit card debt decreased by 25% amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Americans are turning to mobile banking as a way to take control of their finances and plan for their economic future,” Ryan Caldwell, founder and CEO of MX, said in a press release. “With increased consumer engagement across mobile banking applications, financial institutions have the responsibility to not only deliver a great user experience, but also to provide meaningful advice and guidance that’s critical to the financial well being of consumers, especially during times of economic uncertainty.”

The survey of 1,000 consumers indicated the following: 

  • More than 70% believe its important to put money away for a rainy day, but less than half of those surveyed save more than 10% of their income. 
  • More than 50% of those surveyed have gone over their monthly budget just by paying major expenses, like rent, mortgage, utilities or auto loan payments

The study also showed that 60% of those surveyed said their main financial institution doesn’t make them financially stronger, but that could change if they moved toward digital banking.


Topics: Mobile Banking, Trends / Statistics


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Publix rolls out contactless pay to all stores

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/publix-rolls-out-contactless-pay-to-all-stores/
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Publix rolls out contactless pay to all stores

Publix, a Lakeland, Florida-based grocery chain, is rolling out contactless payment to all stores, including its organic GreenWise Market, as part of a strategy to protect customers and store employees from exposure to COVID-19. 

Publix customers can use contactless credit or debit cards, the Publix mobile app and widely used mobile wallets, including Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay, according to a press release.

“In these unprecedented times, we recognize the need to make our customers trips to the stores faster and more efficient,” Todd Jones, CEO of Publix, said in the release. “By expediting this payment option, we will help customers reduce contact with commonly used surfaces like PIN pads.”

The grocer, which has 1,242 stores across the southeast, has taken several other measures to reduce spread, including: 

  • Increased sanitation through regular and frequent cleaning of PIN pads, ATM terminals, door handles, carts and vending machines.
  • Installation of plexiglass shields at cash registers, pharmacies and customer service locations.
  • Reduced store hours for cleaning.
  • Designated shopping hours for customers over age 65.
  • Emergency pandemic pay for full and part-time workers diagnosed, quarantined or caring for COVID-19 people.

Cover image: iStock


Topics: Contactless / NFC, Mobile Apps, Mobile/Digital Wallet, Mobile Payments, POS, Retail

Companies: Samsung, Google Wallet, Apple, Publix


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Innovation Within Financial Services Starts With Data

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In the financial services industry, innovation and disruption in the form of new services like mobile banking and application based finance tools present numerous opportunities for businesses to refocus and reset to gain the upper hand in a highly competitive space. Even bolstered by technology, however, such efforts are met with a number of challenges—especially because enterprises face perennial resource and regulatory constraints.

To remain at the edge of this ever-changing industry, organisations are embracing new types of data and new ways to sift through the data, such as artificial intelligence (AI). According to research conducted by Gartner, 90 percent of all corporate strategies will cite information and analytics as key competencies by the year 2022. From real-time customer feedback found on social media to early indicators of a grounded commercial aircraft through its flight sensors, publicly available information can help financial professionals shed light into deeper corners of their business and form insights that help companies optimise their services and differentiate themselves from their rivals.

Why Artificial Intelligence?

Companies have long looked to publicly available data streams to inform their business decisions, but historically, they have struggled to extract the most relevant nuggets of the ensuing information in a timely fashion. Due to expanding volume and variety of sources of publicly available data, it is impossible for one person or team to sift through potentially billions of daily data points in search of the most important details that could help enterprises make faster and sharper decisions.

This includes early indications of risk to an enterprise. Ability to detect risk can be a major competitive advantage, as it allows organisations to prepare for what’s coming and make smarter choices. Learning early on about breaking news and events, for example, enables senior decision-makers to act upon the information they receive before the original incident turns into a crisis.

Today, missed opportunities are increasingly a thing of the past, thanks in large part to AI.Gartner writesthat data and analytics are likely to become a focal point for businesses, which will layer artificial intelligence onto market and customer information to gain valuable insights. With the help of AI, ingesting and processing digital data becomes a more manageable task. Data in the form of social media, Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, weather reports, blogs, and the dark web can lead teams to pursue new avenues of exploration and innovation that can help companies retain a competitive edge.

AI can help financial services companies identify patterns, exceptions, and insights that are relevant to their business. It can alert them to events like tech outages, cyber security incidents, and natural disasters even before broadcasters report this news to the public, so they can understand the scope of the issues that might impact their operations.

Visibility Is Key

Without AI, companies can fall into the trap of having “innovation blind spots” — situations in which they may not be receiving and acting on relevant and high-impact information quickly enough, and therefore can’t readjust and innovate as needed.

Think of market, security, and breaking news visibility as a kind of peripheral vision. It provides a clearer, more comprehensive picture of issues and situations as they unfold. This is especially important to enterprises that operate in numerous geographic regions and time zones. A major event occurring halfway around the world, in the middle of your night — such as a typhoon or other extreme weather event — could affect your business while you’re offline. But deploying an AI system that delivers real-time alerts will help ensure you and your global colleagues are informed of critical developments as they unfold — so that you can respond decisively for the benefit of your business.

Solving Old Problems with New Data

Data analysis is hardly new, but the ways in which public data sources are multiplying, diversifying, and proliferating — and the extent to which companies extract information from them — have improved dramatically. Digital transformation and related analysis strategies present opportunities to solve age-old problems and improve upon outdated practices.

In the ever-evolving financial services landscape, knowledge is the greatest form of power, and crucial to optimising business strategy. Having constant access to the right public data, and the tools to sift through it for relevant information in real time, will empower organisations to drive innovation and enhance their competitive position in their market sector. With real-time alerting, you can ultimately safeguard your business, both now and in the future.

Authored by Jonathan Barrett, SVP EMEA & APAC, Dataminr

https://thefintechtimes.com/innovation-within-financial-services-starts-with-data/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=innovation-within-financial-services-starts-with-data

Xamin Offers Free SOC2 Secure Remote Connectivity During COVID-19 Pandemic

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Managed IT service provider offers technical assistance to help organizations remotely connect their employees during crisis

  Xamin, a leading provider of managed IT services for highly regulated and reputation-sensitive companies, announced today the company is temporarily offering its SOC2 secure remote solution at no cost to help highly regulated and reputation-sensitive companies securely connect their remote workforce.

Due to the influx of people working remotely amidst the coronavirus pandemic, providing a secure and protected network is becoming increasingly important for employers and their employees. In fact, in a recent study, more than 52 percent of employees shared that their workplace has restricted travel and required them to work remotely, according to TechRepublic.

While this unexpected change to a predominately remote workforce can make any company uneasy, Xamin is easing the transition by making its SOC2 secure remote access solution available at no cost to highly regulated and reputation-sensitive companies. The solution helps companies securely connect their workforce from home, making it easy for employees to access their workflows and necessary documents, and it runs out of Xamin’s SOC2 certified datacenter, ensuring all connections are highly secure and void of risk.

The solution provides an encrypted and secure way to remotely access systems that are left in the office. These systems can be accessed from anywhere with a web browser and an internet connection. For more information, contact Jake Charuk, Business Development Coordinator at Xamin, at [email protected] or call him directly at 815-322-5110.

“Although some companies are prepared to handle this pandemic through disaster recovery testing and business continuity planning, we’ve seen others struggling to enact plans to scale-up their remote work infrastructure to handle the massive change in users needing access to remote connectivity,” said Jonathan Smith, CEO of Xamin. “At Xamin, we want to provide technical assistance to companies still looking to securely connect their remote employees, so we are offering our SOC2 secure remote solution at no cost during the COVID-19 crisis. If you need help securing your remote workforce, please reach out, so we can extend our support.”

Additionally, Xamin recently provided tips on how to minimize the attack surface for potential bad actors and malicious software and recommendations for how to secure an organization’s remote workforce during a crisis to help alleviate some of the security concerns. To learn more, visit Xamin’s website.

https://thefintechtimes.com/xamin-offers-free-soc2-secure-remote-connectivity-during-covid-19-pandemic/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=xamin-offers-free-soc2-secure-remote-connectivity-during-covid-19-pandemic

Leading tech law firm launches free Covid-19 Toolkit for businesses

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 Kemp Little has launched a free advisory resource to help businesses navigate tax, legal and financial processes thrown into discord by Coronavirus.

The Covid-19 Toolkit gives comprehensive advice on issues such as data protection, corporate governance, IP, contracts and people management for founders, SMEs and big business owners.

Andy Moseby, Corporate Partner at Kemp Little, says:The last few weeks have thrown up a whole host of logistical challenges for businesses as many restructure to accommodate the new normal of home working. With a mass of misinformation in circulation and a lack of clarity in areas like employment law where the goalposts have changed, Kemp Little wants to provide a free, reliable and up-to-date overview of the legal and financial issues many are navigating.”

In recent weeks, Kemp Little has witnessed an increase in inquiries around contractual rights, employee furloughing and directors’ duties.

It is making the advisory content its lawyers have created for clients publically available for the duration of the pandemic and beyond. This content is regularly moderated to stay in line with policy updates.

Andy Moseby says: “Business leaders now face the necessity of moving operations and staff online, whilst devising new strategies to stay afloat in an environment of uncertainty – and all whilst remaining compliant. Our aim is to provide as much advice as possible to a wide network of businesses facing these challenges.” 

The Covid-19 Toolkit joins FlightDeck in Kemp Little’s suite of free tools. FlightDeck is a free offering provided to start-up and rapid growth businesses full of advice to help start – and build – a business.

https://thefintechtimes.com/leading-tech-law-firm-launches-free-covid-19-toolkit-for-businesses/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=leading-tech-law-firm-launches-free-covid-19-toolkit-for-businesses

UK Payment Systems Regulator continues to prioritise competition and innovation whilst relaxing deadlines in response to COVID-19

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The UK’s Payment Systems Regulator has published its annual plan for 2020/21. It continues to prioritise work on developing the New Payments Architecture, reviewing card-acquiring services and tackling authorised push payment scams, among other things. It is, however, mindful of the need to allow organisations to focus on essential services during the current crisis and is extending deadlines to support that.

2020/21 Annual Plan

The Payment Systems Regulator has published its annual plan and budget for 2020/21. It was initially drafted before the full effects of COVID-19 had become apparent. Since then, it has extended certain deadlines and flagged that other timelines in the report may need to be adjusted. Still, the plan provides a good indication of the PSR’s priorities, aside from supporting organisations in dealing with the current crisis.  

Key points of interest

A number of the PSR’s aims echo and develop the key priorities from the 2019/20 annual plan, including:

  • New Payments Architecture

    The PSR will continue its work in ensuring the New Payments Architecture delivers a resilient and beneficial way of making digital payments.

    The New Payments Architecture is intended to replace the UK’s retail interbank payment systems (i.e. Bacs, Faster Payments and potentially Cheque and Credit). This new clearing and settlement system will be a single platform, operated by Pay.UK. Depending on how it is designed, it could fundamentally change the mechanics of how UK retail payments are made. 

    Pay.UK is currently seeking to procure a supplier to build and operate the central infrastructure. The PSR is supervising this process and wants to ensure the new system allows new and existing payment service providers to compete effectively to develop innovative services that benefit consumers. 

    In January, the PSR issued a call for input on issues that could affect competition and innovation in the NPA. In the current circumstances, the PSR is mindful of the need to allow organisations to focus on essential services and has thus pushed back the deadline for responses until 21 April 2020.

  • Card-acquiring services

    The PSR is aiming to finalise its market review in relation to card-acquiring services.

    The PSR has been conducting a review into the supply of card-acquiring services over the last couple of years, and has published various consultation documents in the process. Card-acquiring services are services which merchants buy in order to accept card payments. The market review is in response to concerns that the supply of these services has not been working well for merchants. The PSR has been planning to publish and consult on its interim report in June 2020, with a view to publishing its final report later in the year. The proposed timeline may again be impacted by COVID-19.

  • Authorised push payment scams

    The PSR will continue its efforts to reduce the risks of authorised push payment (APP) scams.

    In order to tackle the growing problem of APP scams, the PSR coordinated the launch, last May, of a voluntary industry code for reimbursing victims. Subsequently, it compelled the six biggest banking groups to comply with one of the standards in the code – the “Confirmation of Payee” service. This requires banks to check the name on a payee’s account as well as the sort code and account number. The deadline for full compliance was originally set for the end of March, but this has again been extended to enable banks to respond to current needs. The PSR will continue its work to encourage more payment service providers to follow the industry code.

Other lines of work 

The PSR plan also highlights its focus on the following areas:

  • Access to cash: ensuring that people can continue to access and use cash. This will include overseeing LINK’s management of ATMs as well as developing longer term plans with the FCA and Bank of England for protecting access to cash and making digital payments work for more people. 
  • Competition: ensuring that payment systems and markets are more competitive and/or deliver better outcomes for users. This includes tackling anti-competitive conduct, so that there is a credible deterrence against such behaviour. The PSR will continue to progress and launch new investigations to support this.
  • Intelligence: ensuring the PSR has a deep understanding of the sector to inform decision-making and strategic planning. This will involve measures to improve the collation and analysis of market data.
  • Strategy: ensuring stakeholders have a clear understanding of the PSR’s longer term focus. For the first time, it plans to consult on, and publish, a long-term strategy paper.
  • Powers and procedures: ensuring stakeholders understand the PSR’s decision-making and procedures. To this end, it aims to publish its final Powers and Procedures Guidance.
What is the Payment Systems Regulator?

The PSR regulates payment systems and the participants in those systems, e.g. banks and other payment service providers, among others. It aims to promote competition, innovation and the interests of stakeholders in the sector.

http://www.linklaters.com/en/insights/blogs/fintechlinks/2020/april/payment-systems-regulator-continues-to-prioritise-competition

COVID-19 has a profound effect on the Fintech industry, and their reaction may surprise you!

https://thefintechtimes.com/covid-19-has-a-profound-effect-on-the-fintech-industry-and-their-reaction-may-surprise-you/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=covid-19-has-a-profound-effect-on-the-fintech-industry-and-their-reaction-may-surprise-you
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COVID-19, and it’s dramatic impact on all walks of life, has dominated the headlines for several weeks now. What hasn’t dominated the headlines, however, is the way in which industries and communities within the Fintech industry have come together to support one another, along with the industry itself.

We at the Fintech Times have watched these developments unfold with pride and delight, and we wanted to shine a spotlight on those who have chosen to do the right thing in these difficult times.

We will be updating and sharing the list regularly, in order to make sure that those who have taken steps to act in an altruistic manner will get the attention and recognition that their efforts deserve. Below is a small taster of some of the support that is being offered throughout the industry to assist those in most need.

Consumer & employee-facing initiatives

The first group of people who have been hit hardest by the impacts of COVID-19, will be the regular people, consumers and employees. Many will be facing job uncertainty, a potential drop in earnings, and possibly may be facing a lengthy period off work due to illness.

Governments have taken commendable steps to provide aid and support to those who will be most affected by this pandemic. But this does not mean that there are people out there who will not be struggling to pay bills, debts, and rents & mortgages.

One of the first ports of call for such people will be their banks. Some banks have, unprompted, taken swift and decisive action to provide support to their customers, whilst others have required a fair amount of peer pressure in order to provide such support.

Unsurprisingly, some of the best reactions have come from the startup fintechs. Monzo have offered a range of repayment options for their customers who hold overdrafts or loans, whilst Tide have been very proactive in providing a high-level of detail and explanation to all of their business customers, from the self-employed to business owners. In addition, Monzo’s CEO, Tom Blomfield, has stated that he won’t be taking a salary for the next twelve months, whilst the senior management team and board have all volunteered to take a 25% cut in salary.

To illustrate what measures are being taken and implemented by other financial institutions, financial guidance stalwarts Money Saving Expert have produced an extremely handy guide. Some examples include banks waiving interest on overdrafts, introducing interest-free overdraft buffers, offering mortgage and loan payment holidays, and sanctioning emergency credit limit increases. Barclays and Metro Bank deserve an honourable mention for coming out and waiving all overdraft interest for 3 months, well ahead the rest of the pack, and without customers needing to get in touch.

Kat Robinson, Director of Bank Accounts at Metro Bank, comments: “We’re mindful of the uncertainty caused by coronavirus and are committed to supporting our customers whose personal finances may be impacted at such a challenging time. We will therefore waive all overdraft interest due from the beginning of March until the end of June for personal current account customers. We hope that this will provide some flexibility for our customers as we all adjust to the unprecedented circumstances we find ourselves in.”

WorkinStartups have been one of the many companies who have been doing what they can to assist workers hunting for jobs during this period. They have set up a system where they are indicating which companies will still be hiring for roles during this time, to make sure that jobseekers don’t end up wasting their time by approaching a company that is no longer able to continue hiring for a position.

Assistance for Key Workers

Whilst many people find themselves working from home or being furloughed during this time, there are a number of employees who will still be going into the ‘office’ everyday for the foreseeable future – key workers. These include health workers, government employees, and persons whose jobs are vital to the infrastructure of countries. Many companies are now taking the opportunity to offer certain groups of employees discounts on goods on services, to thank them for the potentially dangerous work that they are carrying out.

One such company is Cabify, a ride-hailing company, who are offering free travel for government workers in Madrid who can’t take public transportation during this time. Another,

 Offers for fellow Fintechs and other businesses

Obviously, it is not just workers and individuals who have been affected. The companies that they work for have also been going through significant hardship, with many finding that their work has dried up, along with clients being largely unresponsive. This is where we see the collaborative, resourceful, and positive nature of the Fintech community come into play.

Many, if not all, accelerators, co-working spaces, and startup hubs have now been closed down due to the virus and/or governmental regulations. Rise, created by Barclays, are one of the leading proponents of such a service, and have taken steps to do what they can for the startups and fintechs who rely on their service. They have written to all Rise members to inform them that they will be taking 3 separate actions. The first, and the one with the biggest impact, is to freeze Membership payments for their member companies in April & May, whilst their London location is closed. This will be invaluable to companies who are looking to free up some money during this period, in order to remain financially solvent.

In addition they will provide digital sessions, virtual access to services, personal well-being classes, and virtual events. They have also pledged to create further initiatives, based on further feedback from their community. Magdalena Krön, Rise Global FinTech Platform Director, gave a further explanation as to why they are taking these steps: “We at Rise wanted to do something very practical that would assist our global community in these tough times. So we froze our membership fees for April and May for existing Rise members. We’re glad that’s gone down well. It’s one way of showing our commitment to the ecosystem of FinTech companies and their employees, so they can continue doing what they do best – disrupting and innovating. Individual resilience is important at this time. So too is community spirit. That’s why Rise is developing new digital events and regular targeted content that can keep anyone working in FinTech informed and inspired in this new world.”

 3S Money Club, the online banking service, and one of the companies hosted in Rise London, have taken the altruistic step of lowering fees on SEPA payments during this time. From now on, any EUR-out payments to SEPA-connected recipients will see the fees reduced from €8 down to €2 (flat fee irrespective of amount sent). Incoming payments in EUR and all other currencies will remain free of charge during this time. They believe that this small, but efficient contribution, could make a difference for many businesses challenged by an unprecedented level of uncertainty. Posting this announcement on their Linkedin page, they stated that “We are in this together, so let’s help each other to the best of our abilities and work out a reasonable approach to maintain a healthy financial ecosystem!”

We’ve seen what the startup jobs website, WorkinStartups, has been doing for workers. Fellow job-advert company, Angel.co, are also taking action to help out the startups who are doing their bit to help others, promising that “Any startup helping during this crisis can use our premium talent products for free.”

One of the biggest victims of this shutdown are bars, clubs and restaurants. Give Local is helping support local restaurants during this time, by allowing their users to buy a restaurant gift card from their website. Once the gift card has been purchased, the restaurant receives the money straight away, whilst the customer can then use this gift card to spend on a meal when this crisis is over. This will give the restaurant valuable and vital cash-flow during this difficult time, hopefully helping them to stay afloat.

 

Hosting of Virtual Events

 Events, conferences, and meetings are the lifeblood of the Fintech industry, and are often vitally important for individual companies and startups. Nearly all of these have now been either cancelled or postponed for the coming months, leading to a scramble to work out how to arrange alternative ways of getting the benefits that these events provide.

Some events have been directly converting themselves into an online set up. This includes the Open Banking World Congress, who will now run the speaking agenda part of their Congress as a free of charge virtual event, which will also include real-time Q&A and polls. In addition, they will also be providing access to their networking event app for industry delegates that had already purchased tickets to their event. In a similar fashion, Innovate Finance’sUK Fintech Weekwill be running a series of webinars instead of their usual in-person event. This will allow them to still keep all of the interesting speakers that they have already signed up, whilst enabling their attendees to still benefit.

London-based virtual events company, Hopin, is also going from strength-to-strength with their recently launched product. Their offering is a unique mixture of livestreams, video conferencing, and one-to-one virtual conversations, which can be used for any number of events. Having already received a lot of interest from investors before the crisis, the company will surely now find their services in high-demand. In response to the current climate, they have opened up their early access platform, along with discounted pricing for everyone who has been affected by the coronavirus. In a statement on their website from co-founder Dave Schools, he states that “We hope that our platform can be used to keep your events going in an accessible and sustainable way — by bringing your event online and still achieving the interaction and engagement that in-person events provide — while keeping everyone safe at home.”

Taking a slightly more innovative approach, Facebook are also getting in on the act with their imminent plans to launch Horizon “an ever-expanding VR world where you can explore, play, and create in extraordinary ways”.

Resources & provided by Fintechs

 Many companies are also taking this time as an opportunity to provide valuable tools and resources for people to use during this pandemic, either on their own, or in collaboration with others.

 Babyscripts, a virtual care company for managing obstetrics, are aiming to facilitate the access that new and expecting mothers have to valuable information and data that is relevant to them and their pregnancy. They have teamed up with George Washington Medical Faculty Associates (GW-MFA) to compile a new resource-base that contains clear, concise and relevant recommendations and information, complete with accessibility from a mobile app. Babyscripts state that they will also mount similar campaigns during the Coronavirus outbreak, for all of their health system partners.

“At times of crisis like this, access to accurate information is key for reducing anxiety and panic,” said Juan Pablo Segura, President and Co-founder of Babyscripts. “There’s a lot of conflicting information floating around on the internet, and pregnant women are especially vulnerable because they’re in a unique situation that complicates their normal responses to things like virus-protection”

Staying on the parental theme, there is the startup School Closures, who are providing guidance to parents while their children remain at home. They are a free hotline and information hub that will cover online learning, food, childcare, remote work, financial security. It’s a collaborative effort, involving a dozen or so organisations, such as Khan Academy, Crisis Text Line, Twilio and Revolution Foods.

Finally, there is the work being done by Fintechs in order to provide support and assistance to self-employed workers, a group number around 5 million, who will be particularly at risk during this period due to insecurity of work, lack of clients, and financial difficulties. A group of Fintechs have formed together, to create a product now known as “Covid Credit”. Founded by Fronted and Credit Kudos, they were able to collect a number of other volunteer companies, and managed to turn around a proof of concept of this product in 48 hours.

The product, which will likely be available in app form, enables sole traders in the UK to self-certify that they have lost income due to the Coronavirus outbreak. By using the newly-implemented Open Banking protocols, sole-traders will be able to connect this app to their bank accounts in order to share their last 12 months of statements and earnings. This will enable sole-traders to demonstrate to HMRC their change in financial circumstances, which will potentially lead to increased support from the government in the form of financial aid. They are now just waiting on the green light from the UK Government, in order to make this app publically available for all. It’s a fantastic effort, and shows recognition from the Fintech community as to how important freelancers, the self-employed and sole-traders are to the industry as a whole.

Share your stories of Fintechs doing their bit

The response from the Fintech community has been so positive, and really heart-warming. Hopefully, this is just the tip of the iceberg, and we will be seeing many more initiatives rolled out in the coming days and weeks.

Do you have a company, or know of one, that is going above and beyond during these difficult times to provide assistance or a benefit to the wider community? If so, we would love for you to get in touch so we can add them to this fantastic, fast-growing list.

https://thefintechtimes.com/covid-19-has-a-profound-effect-on-the-fintech-industry-and-their-reaction-may-surprise-you/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=covid-19-has-a-profound-effect-on-the-fintech-industry-and-their-reaction-may-surprise-you

Azimo forms partnership with one of Thailand’s leading universal banks SCB to make transfers faster and cheaper

https://thefintechtimes.com/azimo-forms-partnership-with-one-of-thailands-leading-universal-banks-scb-to-make-transfers-faster-and-cheaper/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=azimo-forms-partnership-with-one-of-thailands-leading-universal-banks-scb-to-make-transfers-faster-and-cheaper
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 Global money transfer service Azimo  announced a partnership with Siam Commercial bank (SCB), one of Thailand’s leading universal banks.

Under the terms of the agreement, Azimo will deliver payments instantly for its customers from Europe to SCB bank accounts in Thailand. The new service takes advantage of PromptPay, which comprises a real-time clearing and settlement infrastructure that enables instant transfers to Thai bank accounts.

According to the World Bank, Thailand is one of the top remittance destinations globally, with $6.7 billion received from abroad each year. It is also one of the most expensive countries to send and receive money.

SCB is currently transforming cross-border payments in Thailand and across south-east Asia by working with fintech companies like Azimo to offer better services for millions of customers. The new service also uses RippleNet, a global payment network that harnesses the power of blockchain to enable users to track funds, delivery time, and status.

Richard Ambrose, CEO of Azimo, said: “We’re delighted to partner with SCB to launch this instant payment service for anyone sending money to Thailand. Transfers can be set up in minutes from a smartphone. The fees are low and the rates are great, so our customers will be spared the extortionate charges levied by many competitors.”

Arthit Sriumporn, Senior Vice President, Wholesale Banking Platform Department at Siam Commercial Bank, said: “We are very pleased to partner with Azimo and expand our reach across Europe. With the service available 24×7 and instant payment to any Thai bank account within minutes, Azimo customers are able to send money to their loved ones back in Thailand fast, cheaply and with certainty. We are very excited about this launch and being part of helping to make people’s lives better.”

Azimo’s digital money transfer platform is used by more than a million customers, who can send money from 25 countries to more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. The volume of transfers it enabled increased by 60 percent year on year during 2019. Azimo recently received €20m in financing from the European Investment Bank.

https://thefintechtimes.com/azimo-forms-partnership-with-one-of-thailands-leading-universal-banks-scb-to-make-transfers-faster-and-cheaper/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=azimo-forms-partnership-with-one-of-thailands-leading-universal-banks-scb-to-make-transfers-faster-and-cheaper

Italy's UniCredit reaches deal with union on jobs, benefits

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/italys-unicredit-reaches-deal-with-union-on-jobs-benefits/
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Italy's UniCredit reaches deal with union on jobs, benefits

UniCredit, an Italian banking group, reached an agreement with that country’s major labor unions on a package of job cuts and benefits following its Team 23 strategic restructuring announcement to move its operations to accelerate digital transformation. 

The bank will offer voluntary retirement to 5,200 full-time employees, while 800 workers will be requalified and retrained for new professional roles. 

UniCredit has committed to hiring 2,600 people over the next four years to ensure what it calls a more positive generational turnover and digital upskilling of the workforce. The banking group will also convert 900 apprenticeships into standard employment contracts in order to increase job security. 

The company will also invest in new client contact and back office centers in Sicilia and Campania in Southern Italy.

The agreement calls for enhanced benefits, including a 10-day paid paternity leave and increased meal vouchers for all employees. 

The company will increase its Pension Fund contribution to 4% for new apprenticeships over the first three years of employment. The bank also agreed to an annual productivity bonus of 1,430 euros or 880 euros in cash, with an average increase of 10% per year.

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6 technology silver linings in the dark Coronavirus cloud

https://dailyfintech.com/2020/04/03/6-technology-silver-linings-in-the-dark-coronavirus-cloud/
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6 positive impacts from Coronavirus enabled by technology .001

It is human nature to seek a silver lining in what is obviously a very dark cloud.

This is the third in our series on how Coronavirus is changing our world. The first looked at how this is crashing legacy financial markets. This was the destructive part of creative destruction. The second in the series was a hopium dream of a positive post Coronavirus future in general terms – not business as usual but better. Now we turn to some specific positive impacts from Coronavirus enabled by technology.

Futurology warning – the direction of travel is clear, the speed of travel is much harder to figure out ie don’t ask me when this will happen.

1. Faster/cheaper drug development. 

The problem: new drugs costs $2.6 billion to develop, so they have to be sold at a high price. Worse for people who need help now is that it takes 10 years when 10 months is too long.

The pieces of the puzzle to create a solution to this have been around a long time – the Internet to share research, generic drug vendors, open source, genome data. 

We need what Linux did to software to happen to medicine.

The desire for that and the pieces of the puzzle are there. The bug from Wuhan brings us two catalysts for positive change:

  • Urgent need from billions of people. If you have a vaccine or a cure that works, finding customers will be easy.
  • Political pressure to create economically viable solutions in months not years. The big cost in money and time is in proving that it works and is safe ie in the trials phase.Think of the motivation of people who work for regulators such as the FDA. There is every motivation to slow down the process; releasing a dangerous drug is very bad for your career. Now those same people have to weigh the cost of doing nothing – which could be equally career damaging.

In the past we had diseases that impacted lots of poor people that the market ignored or diseases that impacted a few rich people with little political clout to put pressure on the regulators. Bill Gates famously pointed out the market failure of more budget going towards curing male baldness than malaria. Coronavirus impacts everybody, rich and poor alike, so there is both cash to fund development and political incentive to speed up trials.

Faster/cheaper drug development is a natural for new technology such as Security Tokens that democratise investing (see point 6). Imagine somebody on a clinical trial seeing many people starting to get better and asking “I wonder if I can buy a stake in the company that makes this drug?”

2. Better air quality

The images from space showing reduction in pollution in places like Wuhan and Italy are inspiring. Clearly factories will restart and planes will carry passengers again, so this maybe just a temporary halt to destroying our planet.  However there is likely to be some behaviour change when people figure out that better air quality improves health and productivity and that it is a talent magnet. You hear this when you speak to foreigners making fortunes in China who want to return home, albeit to less money, because pollution is harming them and their family (and bad health is costing them money as well as ruining their quality of life).

Some people may also change their behaviour because they believe that factories and transport built to run on fossil fuels are driving climate change (some may disagree, but behaviour change does not need everybody to change, just enough people).

The people invested in fossil fuels know this. That is why oil prices are so low, making it hard for renewable energy to compete. This is where technology, specifically Fintech has a big role to play.

Renewable energy that is funded through both Security and Utility Tokens can tip the balance towards renewables. Security Tokens can reduce the cost of capital and Utility Tokens can reduce the cost of marketing. Imagine working with a community to switch over to renewables using a particular supplier and everybody in that  community investing in the Security Token of that supplier.

This the same thing that can enable faster/cheaper drug development.

3. Better decentralized work.

Millions have been forced to work from home by government decree. For many this is a very bad experience. It does not need to be. Some companies have done very well with decentralized working (aka work from home) and have achieved benefits for both the company and the employees.

There are two scenarios for our post Coronavirus world. One scenario is that as soon as the lockdown is over we will return to commuting to work. The other scenario is that some employers and employees will change their behaviour in a way that ushers in a new era of decentralized working.

Many employers are looking at this as a simple cost cutting lever by not renewing office rental leases.

However there are also companies such as Automattic (creators of WordPress) that have operated a decentralized work environment at scale for many years and take a more strategic view that it is about being a talent magnet. As Daily Fintech (which uses WordPress) has also operated a decentralized work environment since inception in 2014, I can vouch for this personally. When looking for talent, location is not a factor we need to consider. Listen to CEO Matt Mullenweg explain how and why they do it.

The obvious play is using/investing in tools to enable communication such as Zoom, Skype, Teams, Slack, Hangouts & WebEx. However it is more about the culture than the technology as Matt Mullenweg explains.

For the employees,  hitting delete on the commute is the easy part. The hard part is: 

  • finding companies with a good decentralized work culture.
  • replacing external discipline (what your boss tells you to do) with internal discipline (what you decide is needed to be effective).
  • Replacing work relationships with local relationships (family, neighbours etc)

4. Digital + Private payments.

Cash payments are less popular due to  coronavirus. Some businesses ban cash payments to protect staff from potential infection risks associated with contaminated cash. Some consumers do this voluntarily, using a card even for small payments, rather than run the risk of infecting the cashier.

With health and safety top of mind we don’t worry about privacy (eg the cops noting I have more than my allotted amount of toilet paper!)

In the ideal world we will get the payments magic quadrant of digital + privacy. Many in the cryptocurrency world are working on that. We are not constrained by technology. The constraint is human inertia. Maybe we don’t care about privacy until it is too late, until an authoritarian government can track and control your every move. That is already true in China.

I am optimist who believes that enough people will choose freedom and that private digital payments will be a key part of their life. The people who care about privacy may be derided as fringe nuts today when the consensus is that it is OK to sacrifice privacy to get security and a better shopping experience, but innovation adoption usually happens first at the edge.   

5. Democratized AI & automation.

There are many reasons why we do not want to go back to business as usual. We want freedom of movement and assembly of course, but we do not want to go to path we were on leading to machines making everything for and decoding everything for us.

AI & automation can be good if that power is democratized.  AI & automation can lead to deflation which, despite the scary use of the word, can be a good thing – who does not like prices falling?

AI & automation are not good if they take away our ability to work and get paid and if all the profits go to a handful of people, leading to even greater inequality

What we want is AI As A Service and Robots As A Service, both based on an open source software and open source data. The pieces are in place – open source business models, Internet delivery, civic minded developers willing to donate time to a good cause – so it only takes an entrepreneur to bring these services to market. Then those services can be used in businesses that are funded via Security and Utility Tokens.

6. Democratized investing.

Back in the day, individual investors funded their retirement and kid’s education by actually researching the fundamentals of a company.

Some did it spectacularly well, like Warren Buffet, but thousands did the same thing on a much smaller scale, researching the stocks of companies that made products that they liked.

The reality during the everything bubble was that 75% of stock market trades were done by computers. The algorithms look at things like words in a speech by central bankers and sentiment expressed by day traders on Twitter.

The 25% of trading done by humans is mostly done by Hedge Funds which means that investors pay 2 and 20 (2% of funds under management and 20% of the capital gains aka profit) for the privilege of human judgement.

Patient investing in individual publicly listed stocks only makes sense when valuations are low enough. Post the Coronacrash, prices are low enough. Great profits can be made and here is the secret that the financial services industry does not want you to know. Your competitive advantage comes more from knowing which products are good than from financial expertise. You need some basic financial analysis tools and techniques, but they are simple and many are free or very low cost. What matters more is seeing from your own experience which products are better.  For example look at tools we use from our lockdown location such as Zoom, Skype,  Hangouts and WebEx. Each is owned by a public traded company where you can buy or sell the stock.

Ultra High Net Worth  Individuals (UHNWI) working through their Family Offices are retail investors on steroids. Like JoeQ Public they make their own decisions, they are not intermediaries who are motivated to go with the herd. Unlike JoeQ Public,  each Family Office can deploy a lot of capital.  Family Offices are the decentalized central bankers of the post Coronavirus era, who may lead the investments that will both profit their family and create a better world.

New readers can read 3 free articles.  To  become a member with full access to all that Daily Fintech offers,  the cost is just US$143 a year (= $0.39 per day or $2.75 per week). For less than one cup of coffee you get a week full of caffeine for the mind.

https://dailyfintech.com/2020/04/03/6-technology-silver-linings-in-the-dark-coronavirus-cloud/

Capital On Tap Teams up with Other Fintech Companies To Create New Tool “Covid Credit” To Aid SMES and Self-Employed

https://thefintechtimes.com/capital-on-tap-teams-up-with-other-fintech-companies-to-create-new-tool-covid-credit-to-aid-smes-and-self-employed/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=capital-on-tap-teams-up-with-other-fintech-companies-to-create-new-tool-covid-credit-to-aid-smes-and-self-employed
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Capital on Tap has worked with other fintech companies to create a tool to help support business owners to track and claim back the money they have lost as a result of COVID-19.

  • Capital on Tap introduces new system along with other fintech businesses to make it easy for sole traders and self-employed workers to demonstrate loss of income to HMRC
  • The proof of concept site is now online and those interested can join the waiting list

While the Government recently announced financial support for full-time employees, many of those who are self-employed or sole traders may now be facing uncertainty in their cash flow due to difficulties calculating their actual income.

A group of UK Fintechs including Credit Kudos, Fronted, 11:FS, Coconut, Capital on Tap, Mazuma, Seedlegals and True Layer have been in the process of developing a simple tool called “Covid Credit”, that allows the user to fill in banking data and create a straightforward PDF report, which can then be shared with HMRC to display the user’s financial situation.

The concept arose as part of a discussion in the FinTech community over how best to provide support to millions of customers. Although the latest update from the government is that self-employed will be eligible for up to £2,500 per month, however this is not due to start until June.

The intention is that the Covid Credit product will be beneficial to the government in streamlining the processes they put in place to manage the applications they receive from sole traders, to ensure businesses at risk receive support as quickly as possible.

The Covid Credit system is one of several ways that Capital on Tap is working to assist not only its customers but small businesses across the country. Other measures the company has taken include hiring additional staff in the customer service centre, and applying to become an accredited lender of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

David Luck, CEO of Capital on Tap, comments:

“Covid Credit is a tool that we hope will really make a difference to small businesses and those who are self-employed. It is important to us to make that process easier during this challenging situation.

A large portion of our customer base are sole traders and would need additional financial support from the government due to lost work. Our focus has been on what we can do to support our customers, whether that’s through initiatives like Covid Credit, or providing information on other government schemes like those that provide business rate relief or grants.

At the moment, Covid Credit is a proof of concept, but there has been an amazing level of interest already with thousands of people joining the waiting list.”

For more information on Covid Credit, please see the website here.

https://thefintechtimes.com/capital-on-tap-teams-up-with-other-fintech-companies-to-create-new-tool-covid-credit-to-aid-smes-and-self-employed/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=capital-on-tap-teams-up-with-other-fintech-companies-to-create-new-tool-covid-credit-to-aid-smes-and-self-employed

This Week in Fintech ending 3 April 2020

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this week in Fintech .001

This weekly summary from our 5 experts, brings you insights based on their experience as investors, entrepreneurs & executives.

Ilias Hatzis started his first company, an internet search engine, during the dot-com era & now focusses on crypto.

Efi Pylarinou worked for top tier Wall Street firms and is now a top global Fintech influencer.

Jessica Ellerm is CEO of Zuper Superannuation & previously worked for a top Fintech startup, Tyro.

Patrick Kelahan is a CX, engineering & insurance professional, working with Insurers, Attorneys & Owners.

Sheldon Freedman is a Fintech lawyer at Hassans International Law Firm

Bernard Lunn is the CEO and Editor of Daily Fintech and author of The Blockchain Economy.

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Your Editor is Bernard Lunn. He is also the CEO of Daily Fintech and author of The Blockchain Economy.

Monday Ilias Hatzis @iliashatzis our Greece-based crypto entrepreneur (Founder & CEO at Mercato Blockchain Corporation AG and Weekly Columnist at Daily Fintech) wrote Coronavirus will shape the next decade. Will we prep before the next one?

Everywhere people are dying, global lockdown and massive government intervention. The coronavirus pandemic is disrupting global industries and supply chains, causing disastrous problems for businesses, consumers and the global economy. Just like the disease is killing older people at high rates, it is also about to kill mature western economies. Businesses are struggling to produce and distribute products and services, that consumers depend on. The coronavirus outbreak has limited our ability to produce and consume goods. Its financial ramifications are already severe and will only get worse. 

Editor note: Ilias identifies the problem “This is not just a health pandemic, it’s a pandemic of fear and mistrust” and then goes on to look at how Blockchain and IOT  based data networks could provide more trusted data for future pandemics.

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Tuesday Efi Pylarinou @efipm our Swiss-based Fintech Adviser,  founder of Efi Pylarinou Advisory and a Fintech/Blockchain influencer – No.3 influencer in the finance sector by Refinitiv Global Social Media 2019 wrote A Buoyant Digital coin at a tender age – Ndau

The Ndau (XND) is a stateless Buoyant digital currency with a built-in design to act as a store of value, is less known as it is not conducive to pump and dump. It was launched 2 yrs ago out of  the Cayman Islands.

It is more actively traded on BitMart exchange with a presence in New York, China, Hong Kong, and Seoul. According to Cointelligence, BitMart is included in the top 20 exchanges by volume.

Editor note: Efi takes an early look at what could be a new stateless digital currency. If it can become both a store of value and a unit of account this will be a very big deal. 

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Wednesday Jessica Ellerm @jessicaellerm, our Australia-based Fintech entrepreneur and thought leader specializing in Small Business and the Gig Economy & CEO/Co-Founder of Zuper, a new superannuation startup in Australia wrote ‘Know Thy Customer’ A Key Trend Going Forward in Fintech Innovation For SMEs

The world is rapidly becoming a very different place and businesses will need to adapt fast to survive. Never has the phrase ‘survival of the fittest’ been so literal, for so many.

Over the coming months (or years?) many businesses will encounter survival pains that would have been unthinkable several months ago. How the fintech community responds to these challenges will also make or break many new startups in this space.

Editor note: Jessica has identified one of those big opportunities coming out of the Coronavirus crisis, which is how small business can make genuine connections with their customers without that lovely old face to face time. Not an easy one, but a big one.

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Thursday Patrick Kelahan @insuranceeleph1, our US based Insurtech expert (a CX, engineering & insurance professional, working with Insurers, Attorneys & Owners who also serves the insurance and Fintech world as the ‘Insurance Elephant’) wrote The best product insurers provide is empathy. It’s been missed in COVID-19 response.

Strategy sessions begin now for the insurance industry- addressing coverage gaps, policy forms, staff utilization, remote working methods, customer engagement, scalability of digital methods, virtual claim adjusting techniques, parametric products, and business interruption cover among others, and the big challenge of the insurance world- systemic risk.

 And the big, big elephant in the room- selling empathy as a key deliverable.

 Outside of health cover being broadened in most countries, there are few COVID-19 positives the insured public have seen recently from the insurance industries, and several negatives.

How to avoid repeating the COVID-19 outcome?  Learning starts now. 

Editor note: Pat raises a risk subject that should be top of the agenda for Insurance Boards – reputation risk.

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Friday  Sheldon Freedman, Fintech lawyer at Hassans International Law Firm

wrote: Security Token news for Week ending 3rd April 2020

Editor note: This weekly snapshot is the news that matters for busy senior people in the Security Token market.

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https://dailyfintech.com/2020/04/03/this-week-in-fintech-ending-3-april-2020/

Duco chosen for Tech Nation’s Future Fifty programme, achieving recognition as one of the UK’s most successful digital businesses

https://thefintechtimes.com/duco-chosen-for-tech-nations-future-fifty-programme-achieving-recognition-as-one-of-the-uks-most-successful-digital-businesses/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=duco-chosen-for-tech-nations-future-fifty-programme-achieving-recognition-as-one-of-the-uks-most-successful-digital-businesses
http://thefintechtimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/0-5-1.jpeg?#

 Duco, the global provider of self-service data integrity and reconciliation services, has been included in the latest cohort of Tech Nation’s Future Fifty programme, an exclusive network of high-growth, late-stage UK technology companies.

The Future Fifty programme –  which includes Deliveroo, Skyscanner and Funding Circle among its alumni – brings together some of the country’s most successful tech companies, to problem-solve with peers and inspire the next generation of tech entrepreneurs.

Duco – which was founded in 2013 and now processes data for over 80 financial institutions and insurance companies – was chosen following a rigorous judging process, and joins innovative tech companies from fintech, cyber security, AI and digital entertainment as part of a peer-to-peer community to share best practice and support growth. Being part of Future Fifty will also see the company take part in c-suite roundtables and workshops led by global experts, and have access to government through sessions with key officials and exclusive ministerial events.

The only fully cloud-based, Software as a Service (SaaS) offering in its space, Duco empowers business users to work with complex data directly. It cleans up and reconciles the data using machine learning and ensures it is safe, reducing operational risk, cost and enabling firms to focus on using data for revenue growth. In 2018, the firm announced a $28m Series B investment, and is now checking the integrity of one billion data records every four business days for its clients.

Christian Nentwich, CEO of Duco comments, “When Duco first started in April 2013, we were told that a cloud-based service could never get off the ground in finance, let alone succeed.  To now be recognised as one of Tech Nation’s Future Fifty companies is testament to both the increased trust in the technology and the determination of the team to prove the doubters wrong.  It demonstrates that the finance sector is now fully-embracing the potential of a cloud-based service to aggregate, validate and reconcile data, and is increasingly using intelligent systems for on-demand data integrity and insight.

“To be able to share best practice and learn from peers that have been recognised as some of the UK’s most successful and innovative digital companies will help support our own growth plans, as we continue to support the financial sector on its journey to better control of its data.”

https://thefintechtimes.com/duco-chosen-for-tech-nations-future-fifty-programme-achieving-recognition-as-one-of-the-uks-most-successful-digital-businesses/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=duco-chosen-for-tech-nations-future-fifty-programme-achieving-recognition-as-one-of-the-uks-most-successful-digital-businesses