Contactless Payments: How to Remove the Barriers on Contactless Implementation

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, contactless payments were on the rise. First introduced in around 2007, 51% of Americans are using some form of contactless payment method, including cards and mobile wallets. 

Despite the global and national boom, 40% of retailers in the US have yet to adopt contactless payments, potentially due to costs of swapping POS hardware and software, fears over transaction security or a widespread lack of contactless-enabled cards.

Andrew Jamieson, Technology and Security Directo of UL (Underwriters Laboratories) has been advising US retailers, payment companies and tech innovators on this transition, leveraging UL’s global experience in the most advanced payment markets. With 25 years of experience of payments systems, here Andrew shares his view on the situation and the best practices for implementing contactless payments.

Contactless payment has proven very popular in all markets where it’s been widely deployed and correctly supported.  From the UK to Australia, contactless payments can account for the vast majority of in-store payments in many countries and is preferred by many customers due to its speed, ease of use, and security.  And that’s before Covid-19 added the ability to perform transactions without physical contact to the list of benefits. However, there can be pitfalls for new deployments of contactless payment…

Hold, Please

The way in which the user interacts with the terminal during a contactless payment is quite different to traditional contact and magnetic stripe transactions, and this can be an important barrier remove when first deploying contactless solutions.  The marketing used for contactless often does not help here – the process for making a contactless payment is less ‘tap and go’ than ‘hold and wait for the lights’.

The customer must bring their card into the contactless field of the terminal and hold it in that spot for about a second.  It’s common in new contactless environments to find customers literally ‘tapping’ the card on the terminal, which can result in increased errors as the card and terminal interaction is cut short.  Payment terminals should have a set of four green lights across the top of the area where the card must be held, and the customer should be educated to wait for all of these to go green before removing their card.

Location, Location, Location

Knowing how to correctly use a contactless card is only half the battle though, as before you can do that a customer must know where to place the card on the terminal.  Different terminals put their contactless antennas in different locations – some are under the screen, some are off to the side or top of the terminal, and some are on a separate part altogether.  If a customer finds that they have no problem with contactless payments in one shop, only to find that they just can’t get it to work somewhere else; this is often due to differences in antenna placement.

The EMV standard does address this – terminals are supposed to have a contactless symbol visible at the centre location of the antenna.  However, when the antenna is located behind the screen this can often mean the display can be changed during transactions, and even if not most customers are not aware they should look for this symbol (or even what it looks like!).

Can Someone Call Security?

A final hurdle that can be faced when first deploying contactless payments is that of perception.  Customers new to this type of payment can often be concerned about the security of their payment, of the ability for others to intercept, or fraudulently perform, payments.  This should not be a concern, given the historically low level of fraud in countries where contactless is widely deployed, but it is often played up in some channels as this new payment method is first deployed.

Here, the ease of contactless payment works against it – the ability to quickly, without physical contact or even the use of a PIN or other cardholder verification method, perform a transaction can be quite ‘scary’ even when portrayed as performed by a malicious party.

Removing Contactless Barriers

All of these problems can be addressed with the right planning.  Setting up contactless terminals in locations where customers can feel safe ‘practising’ using their new cards is important, as is having clearly visible documentation on how to correctly perform these transactions on your terminals.  Graphics on where the card should be held, for how long, and what to do if something goes wrong are vital.  It’s common for customers to have problems with their first attempts at contactless payment, but once they are used to it these problems go away.  Helping them through these first steps is essential if your contactless deployment is to work.

You should also help customers in understanding the security provided with a contactless payment, that there are security features that authenticate the transaction at the card level as well as backend fraud detection mechanisms.  If there is a set limit below which no cardholder verification is required, help the customers understand why this is OK, and what to do if they exceed this limit.

Ultimately, the goal is education and providing a way for customers to ‘try’ out their cards.  Contactless has been so successful in many geographies because it is easy, quick, and secure.  A major challenge in the US market is the traditional magnetic stripe transactions are already very fast, and this has often lead to a view that EMV is too slow.  Additionally, many merchants have recently invested considerable amounts in contact EMV infrastructure, and the costs for additional terminal updates and staff training can be hard to swallow.

However, in a world where many customers want to be as hands-off as possible with their purchases, and where there are increasing options for payment through mobile apps, providing customers with their preferred payment options in a secure and reliable way is just good business.


Partnerships: Why Collaboration Trumps Competition in the Fintech Ecosystem

Though the technology world has always been competitive, partnerships and collaborations have always been important in the fintech sector to be able to innovate new solutions in a constantly changing ecosystem.

One person who knows about this is Myles Bertrand, Managing Director, APAC, for Mambu, a cloud banking platform. Myles has over 20 years’ experience in software solutions, with his key strengths in payments and transactional banking. He has worked across several industries, including banking, wealth, telecommunications retail and insurance, and has been at Mambu since 2018.

Mambu has recently entered into a partnership with Ranqx, an SME loan origination and credit underwriting platform, with the aim of improving the efficiency of loan applications for SMEs and accelerate the flow of funds to customers. Here, Myles discusses the benefits of this partnership and the importance of collaboration in the fintech world.

Myles Bertrand, Managing Director, APAC, Mambu

The world of technology has always been fiercely competitive, with rival tech firms often competing in similar product spaces or for the same customer pool. However, new players in the world of fintech are shaking up this old-school model, and achieving success thanks to clever collaboration and strategic partnerships – working together to meet common goals rather than fighting for the same piece of (customer) pie.

A great example of an effective fintech partnership in action is the recent collaboration between global SaaS cloud banking platform Mambu, and NZ-based digital lending platform Ranqx. Mambu and Ranqx formed a partnership with the aim of improving the efficiency of SME loan applications for SME banks and lenders, reducing the time and cost associated with manual loan processing, and accelerating the flow of funds to end-users.

When asked why Ranqx entered into a partnership with Mambu, CEO Dave Lewis explains, “Ranqx and Mambu share great synergy in that we’re both offering cloud-native and API first solutions in the financial services space, and we’re also both looking at ways to assist a similar customer base. And the tech solutions we offer are different but complementary. Coming together in this partnership allows us to accelerate the digital SME lending innovation that banks and lenders are seeking globally, and allows us both to scale at pace.”

Ben Goldin, CTO/CPO at Mambu, adds, “Ranqx’s innovative digital lending platform removes the manual processes inherent with traditional loan applications for small and medium-sized enterprises, resulting in cost savings of up to 80 per cent and allowing SME banks and lenders to assess and approve loan applications within five minutes, in a fully digital customer experience. This is the kind of innovative tech that Mambu loves to partner with and we look forward to working together to help our mutual customers.”

With a reputation for being fast-moving and agile, fintechs have an inherent ability to innovate and respond to change rapidly, something that larger, more established companies – be they banks or more traditional-style technology companies – can only dream of.

High-performing fintechs like Mambu and Ranqx are able to leverage their agility, pivot when and as required, and work with their customers to build digital banking solutions within weeks, rather than months or years. In a partnership like this, each organisation brings their own particular expertise to the relationship – there’s no need to reinvent the wheel and develop new products or capabilities when your fintech partner already brings these to the party. At Mambu we see building strategic partnerships with innovative and best-in-class fintechs like Ranqx as a no-brainer.

“Partnerships play a key role in our business strategy and we actively seek out synergistic relationships. Being able to seamlessly partner with adjacent technology means that innovation, speed of deployment and cost savings can be delivered to banks and lenders at scale,” adds Lewis

Of course, partnerships and collaboration are not the exclusive domain of fintechs, with many banks and financial institutions – particularly challenger banks and neobanks – working to cultivate a trusted network of partners in the fintech ecosystem as they develop new products and services. These challengers operate like fintechs rather than traditional banks, leveraging technology like APIs, and running lean and nimble operations.

Partnerships are incredibly valuable in the fintech space and will continue to drive innovation in the sector.

Alternative Payment Methods: The Key Factors Driving the New Era

Due to the constantly evolving behaviour of shoppers, the rate of alternative payments adoption is increasing rapidly across the globe. With the Covid-19 pandemic causing consumers to go digital as well as shop online, methods such as mobile payments and e-wallets are becoming ever more popular.

James Booth is VP Head of Partnerships, EMEA at PPRO, a payments services company that helps consumers pay with their local payment methods globally. James has over a decade worth of experience in the financial sector, with a large portion of that working in the fintech industry. In his current role, he leads the new business and Partner development teams in managing PPRO’s strategic partnerships.

Here, James discusses the key factors in driving a new era of alternative payment methods, as well as which companies are leading the charge on the adoption of APMs.

Thanks to evolving consumer shopping behaviour, the rate of alternative payment adoption is continuing to move at lightspeed. Following the nation-wide lockdown earlier this year, the shift to online shopping continues to accelerate, and with it the use of alternative payment methods (APMs), such as mobile payments, bank transfers, pay later schemes and e-wallets.

Just this month, Klarna, a payment provider operating on a buy now, pay later concept, was crowned one of Europe’s biggest privately owned financial technology providers – with nine million consumers in Britain having used the service, and 90 million users worldwide.

UK consumers are more inclined than ever to try a range of different payment methods, such as Klarna, to provide a more convenient payment experience. In the UK, any payment method other than cash and credit or debit cards is viewed as an alternative payment method. However, across the globe, these forms of payment are considered “local” payment methods due to their broad adoption.

With over 450 significant local payment methods in use across the globe, merchants who sell cross-border are learning it is no longer adequate to simply offer only credit or debit card payments to consumers.

From an increasing use of PayPal to bank transfers and mobile wallets (Apple and Google Pay), consumers now have more choice of payment methods than ever before.

So, what is influencing the adoption of alternative payment methods amongst UK consumers? Who is leading the charge? And, what does the future hold as we enter a new era of APMs?

Younger generations are driving adoption

With Generation Z growing up with social media and smartphones, it’s no surprise that there’s a buzz about new payment methods in the news and on social media, which is a critical driving force for APM adoption. According to statistics, 31% of Generation Z consider this the biggest motivation to try new payment methods, whilst for Millennials, 37% said that merchant acceptance is their main driver.

It seems confidence in these methods is being predominantly led by younger generations in the UK. According to PPRO’s recent survey, 42% of millennials (born between 1980-1993) and 35% of Generation Z (born between 1994-2001) feel confident using, or have used, either a bank transfer or e-wallets as methods of payment. And, with 33% of Generation Z increasing online spending since the beginning of the pandemic, they are a force not to be underestimated.

Reaching new levels of convenience

While younger generations have been early APM adopters in the UK – increased convenience and security remain a key driver across all age groups. In fact, when choosing to use a payment method, security was favoured over reputable brand image, with over half (59%) of UK consumers believing it to be the most important factor when choosing a payment method.

More consumers shopping online has encouraged a rise in fraud – and as a result, consumers are growing increasingly concerned for the safety of their transactions. Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) – as required by the Payment Services Directive (PSD2) – is just one regulation coming into force to combat fraud. Ensuring compliance with multi-factor authentication will be vital to reassure customers as they continue to shop online, and support future confidence in APMs.

But, merchants should be warned; demonstrating security and providing a simple, easy checkout are a delicate balance. A major element of frictionless payment experience is making sure the checkout page has the right payment mix for the region and target age group. With more than one in two (50%) global online shoppers making purchases on foreign websites, and the fact that 54% of European cross-border e-shoppers are millennials, payment preferences will only continue to become more pivotal to attract shoppers from across the globe.

The future of APMs and e-commerce growth

It is safe to say the explosive growth in e-commerce and cross-border payments across the globe has really set the stage for the expansion of APMs this year. And, with further growth ahead, APMs are quickly becoming not-so-alternative.

We are moving away from traditional shopping practices and today, buyers no longer want to be restricted by traditional payment methods, such as cards and cash. Retailers who choose to ignore the payment preferences risk losing 44% of UK customers. Merchants who offer a variety of payment methods that appeal to all ages, cultures, and regions will be able to widen their offering to a more extensive customer-base.

The opportunity for merchants offering APMs is huge and is a necessity for every merchant seeking to grow their business – certainly domestically and especially across borders.


The Benefits of a Perfect Partnership: The Keys to Success From Visa and Railsbank

As The Fintech Times in October focuses on
partnerships, we speak to industry leaders from
Railsbank, a banking-as-a-service platform, and
Visa, a financial services company, about their
recent partnership and how collaboration is integral to the
evolution of the fintech industry.

Railsbank and Visa have been partnering in the Europe and Asia
Pacific regions since 2019, working closely to empower start-ups
and support Visa’s plans to launch new card-issuing programmes.
Railsbank’s speed and flexibility combined with Visa’s scale
and expertise has set the baseline for a strong partnership aiming
to support fintechs from their initial go-to-market plans through
to their global growth aspirations.

“Railsbank have been a fantastic partner,” said
Claudia D’Avino, Senior Account Manager and part
of the Visa UK Business Development team. “They champion our goal
to deliver the next generation of payments solutions with their
inclusive and flexible approach. The issuing programmes we have
launched together over the last year span a variety of industries
and use cases; from insurance and digital currencies to aiding
disbursements for vulnerable individuals. Railsbank’s commitment
to work with such a diverse group of start-ups and integrate
payments in their existing business models is an essential driver
for the development of new payment flows. This aligns with Visa’s
aim to advance digitalisation and ultimately make life better for
consumers, businesses and communities.”

Partnerships like this are a regular occurrence in the fintech
and are often crucial to help companies offer better,
more developed solutions for their customers as well as support
growth in the industry. Heather Ribbans, who is
the Head of Cards at Railsbank, said that cultivating partnerships
within the industry is important as they can facilitate the sharing
of knowledge and learning. “Understanding trends within the
market and learning how you can work together to excel both brands
and products to make something unique is essential.”

Debbie Wong, Head of Sales for SEA at
Railsbank, confirms this, advising that Railsbank are keen to aid
in the sharing of knowledge, as well as sharing her own. “We are
an active member of the Singapore Fintech Association (SFA) and
will be speaking at the Singapore Fintech Festival (SFF) as well as
attending lots of events across the industry. I enjoy networking
and mentoring others; while I learn innovative or disruptive
business ideas/models from fintechs I share my knowledge gained
from my over 16-year experience in payments.” Railsbank also
powers Nextmoney, a leading fintech network and
community in the Asia Pacific region reinventing finance through
design, innovation & entrepreneurship.

Partnerships in Payments

The fintech industry and its many facets, in this case paytech,
often move at an extremely fast pace, and another key benefit of
partnerships is the encouragement of innovation as the industry.
D’Avino said, “in my view partnerships with enablers like
Railsbank are integral to encouraging innovation in the sector. For
example, through the Visa Fast-Track programme, we collaborate with
a variety of partners, from Issuers to Processors. Our aim is to
support nimble fintechs entering the payments space and provide
them with access to VisaNet so they can leverage the capabilities,
reach and security of our network at speed.”

Stressing Visa’s commitment to fostering innovation through
partnerships, she added: “We are already experiencing how
payments are becoming ever more integrated into consumers’
everyday life. Maintaining an open network between partners,
clients, and fintechs is essential to ensure innovation can thrive
within the ecosystem. I’m really excited about the role fintechs
continue to have in enhancing the banking experience for consumers,
merchants and communities alike, as well as how we can support them
as they scale their solutions.”

Partnerships have always been fairly integral to Railsbank, and
they always strive for win/win relationships with all their
customers, regardless of their size. Wong said “We help smaller
start-ups learn and quickly get to POC (proof of concept). Others
are established companies that we have offered consultations to and
help them to navigate options. We deal with both as small start-ups
can become big companies (and customers), all want to grow across
countries and our product helps them do this.”

Railsbank is not just limited to Visa and have had many fruitful
partnerships with a variety of companies. “One of our most
successful partnerships is Singlife, where they
were so impressed with our capabilities that they invested in
us,” said Wong. Railsbank also have had good partnerships with and Wirex who needed
to migrate their card programmes to Railsbank, which was completed
in record time avoiding damage to the businesses and having no
impact on end customers and cardholders.

It’s a similar story with Visa, who have had numerous
partnerships alongside the boom of the digital payments sector,
particularly in light of the Covid-19 pandemic shifting consumer
habits online. “Through our partnership with we’re helping to enable people to
shop from local merchants without leaving their home,” said
D’Avino. “These are the types of partnerships that I see the
most value in, as they focus on supporting those who have been
hardest hit by the pandemic as well as deliver positive results for
the whole ecosystem.”

The Recipe for Greatness

For Ribbans, a great partnership is one where both parties can
work together to generate more leads and have an understanding of
each other’s products and services, with her advice on how to
create a successful partnership is to really understand your
partner. “I embedded myself in Visa to the point where it was
like I worked there. You promote them, they promote you. It’s
important to feel like you’re part of the organisation, if you
don’t it can be challenging when you need to get things done. You
need to understand their product and understand every element of
the team to be able to plug the customer into the relevant part of
the organisation.

“A bad partnership is one that has no benefits, or when a
company just wants to sell you their service. There’s no benefit
to me or them in that. A relationship is different to a
partnership, but a partnership should be structured so that
everyone is winning. A great partnership is one that can provide
something unique for the customer. Even if it isn’t a revenue
driver for us it can create something positive for both

Transforming the Digital Payments Experience with Visa and Razer

Throughout October, The Fintech Times has celebrated partnerships and collaborations across the international fintech community. Here, Visa and Razer Fintech explain why they joined forces to bring financial inclusion to Southeast Asia’s unbanked and underserved population.

The digital landscape in Southeast Asia has seen rapid growth over the past few years. Consumers continue to shift towards digital payments and the global pandemic has accelerated this shift.

In Singapore, two in three consumers prefer to pay with cards and mobile applications, and nearly four in five indicated a preference to continue paying digitally instead of going back to cash, even beyond the pandemic.[1]

However, Southeast Asia has a large unbanked population of more than 438 million, and a massive youth population of more than 213 million.

An exclusive partnership between Razer Fintech, one of the largest offline to offline digital payment networks in emerging markets, and Visa, the leading global payments technology company, aims to help meet the unmet demands of this sizeable market by providing them with innovative financial tools to participate in the global cashless economy.

TFT chats to Kunal Chatterjee, Visa’s country manager for Singapore & Brunei, and Lee Li Meng, CEO of Razer Fintech, about the partnership and how it will help accelerate financial inclusion in Southeast Asia.

TFT: What’s the driving objective behind this partnership?

Lee Li Meng, CEO of Razer Fintech

Lee Li Meng, CEO of Razer Fintech

Lee Li Meng, CEO of Razer Fintech

Lee Li Meng: Razer Fintech aspires to transform the world of digital payments, especially for youth and millennials — where we intend to further build our ecosystem and capabilities to bring innovation and cater to their unmet demand via our business to consumer digital payments business.

This collaboration will bring Razer Fintech one step closer to making digital payments more accessible to our key target segment — youth and millennials. We observed that youth and millennials face multiple challenges in financial planning, and we want to tackle one of their biggest challenges through this partnership — the lack of access to digital payments.

Kunal Chatterjee: At Visa, we have a commitment to unlock the potential with each transaction and bring new experiences to the global digital payments network. As a network business, we have a responsibility to partner with players such as Razer Fintech, to bring innovation into the digital payments network — that is how the network evolves. Coupled with Visa’s expansive global payments network, our partnership with Razer is thus an opportunity to expand digital payments access to youth and millennials, by creating personalised, innovative and secure payment solutions targeted to fit their lifestyles and needs.

How does the Visa and Razer partnership accelerate financial inclusion in the region?

KC: Although 10 per cent of Southeast Asia’s population (over 660 million) are already using e-wallets, over 174 million consumers across the region are unbanked and lack access to credit cards, while another 30 million are underbanked.[2] With new and seamless payment solutions like the Razer card, we are not only able to make financial products more accessible to consumers, bringing them into the digital economy, but also benefitting them by providing them with a wider range of options for moving money.

Kunal Chatterjee, Visa country manager for Singapore & Brunei

Kunal Chatterjee, Visa country manager for Singapore & Brunei

Kunal Chatterjee, Visa country manager for Singapore & Brunei

LLM: Despite over 70 per cent adults in Southeast Asia remaining either ‘underbanked’ or ‘unbanked’ entirely, the penetration of smartphones and mobile internet has increased rapidly.[3] This will allow greater access to these underserved communities, in spite of the setbacks caused by the pandemic.

Through this partnership, we are enabling youth and millennials — the driving force of the region’s economy in the next decade — become more financially savvy. By introducing the Razer Card, which is a prepaid card, we are allowing youth and millennials to seamlessly integrate into the digital payments ecosystem, thereby accelerating financial inclusion.

What makes a great partnership?

KC: We believe that complementary capabilities unified by a shared vision and common goals are key to a great partnership. This enables synergy between both parties, allowing for innovation and evolution, to introduce new and seamless solutions that benefit the payments ecosystem as a whole.

LLM: A great partnership is one that complements each partner’s strengths and is able to value-add in terms of what they bring to the table. Marrying two different sets of expertise to offer solutions that bridge gaps and accelerates growth for target markets is what makes a great partnership. Our partnership with Visa is a good example of how two innovative companies can come together to brainstorm, refine and create a unique prepaid solution that serves to offer users more value whenever they make a transaction. With industry-leading product features including a light-on payment physical card option, the Razer Card has sparked a viral reaction globally since its announcement especially amongst the youths – a challenge in itself as they are one of the most digitally-savvy age groups.

What are your thoughts on partnerships in the future of payments? 

LLM: I believe we will see more of such partnerships in the future of payments. The digital payments ecosystem is evolving fast and in order to keep up, we need new innovations which can be tested and rolled out more efficiently through such collaborations. This sentiment is echoed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s call to financial institutions and fintechs to achieve greater fintech innovation — by launching a S$1.75million fintech innovation competition earlier this year. With greater collaboration and knowledge-sharing between the incumbent financial institutions and budding fintechs, I believe this would accelerate the path towards the future of payments.



KC: Visa is a network business, and our performance is fuelled by partnerships — be it with traditional financial institutions, fintechs, commercial players, merchants etc. These partnerships have enabled our continued growth, so that we can pioneer new digital payment solutions that drive the next generation of payments innovation.

As a key player in the payments ecosystem, we want to support a broad range of new partners who are helping to redefine and enhance the payment experience for consumers and businesses — by expanding assets through electronic payments, opening new acceptance, driving new payment flows and creating new ways to pay and be paid. We believe that partnerships are instrumental to driving the future of payments, and we want to connect fintechs and their ideas with our bank and merchant partners, so that innovative payment experiences can be delivered with scale and made accessible to all.

[1] Visa COVID-19 Sensor: Consumer pandemic behaviour in Singapore

[2] Southeast Asian Consumers Are Driving a Digital Payment Revolution



BlueVine ramps up payment, connectivity with new features

Fintech lender BlueVine is enhancing the SMB banking experience, one that has traditionally lagged behind consumer and corporate secotrs, by leaning into payments, third-party connectivity and the mobile experience. Redwood, Calif.-based BlueVine launched new payment capabilities on BlueVine Business Banking, the company announced this week. BlueVine Business Banking is a platform for integrated banking and […]

Weekly Wrap: Banks, startups push automation

Bank Innovation sat down this week with Christian Kitchell, Bank of America’s head of AI solutions who also leads Erica.  “Ultimately, what we want to do is be able to get to a universe of one, which is to say, every client will have a unique experience based on their situation, their needs, their relationship with […]

NerdWallet Acquires Small Business Lending Marketplace Fundera

Just a few months after buying U.K.-based financial service price comparison site Know Your Money, NerdWallet is back at the register with another big purchase. The company announced late last week that it had agreed to acquire online, small business lending marketplace Fundera. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The acquisition enables NerdWallet to expand its offerings for small business owners, and adds to the financial wellness platform’s content and marketplaces for products including student loans, insurance, mortgages, and investments. Founded in 2013 by Jared Hecht, Andres Moran, and Rohan Deshpande, Fundera will become a NerdWallet subsidiary as a result of the transaction, with all of Fundera’s employees joining NerdWallet.

In a statement, NerdWallet co-founder and CEO Tim Chen pointed to the small business market as an area of “tremendous opportunity” that the acquisition will enable his company to pursue.

“Although we offer free tools and content, we’ve never been able to fully support small business owners — that changes today,” Chen said. “Fundera has been one of our partners for several years and their deep understanding of the SMB market, the long-standing, trusted relationships they’ve built with both lenders and business owners, and their commitment to putting the needs of small business owners first is really unique and impressive.”

Founded in 2009 and headquartered in San Francisco, California, NerdWallet offers personalized, objective, actionable financial guidance to help consumers make intelligent financial decisions. Via its website and app, NerdWallet provides consumers with free access to its expert content and comparison shopping marketplaces to enable them to save time whether they are looking for insights into the best credit card for their needs or assistance in buying a first home.

NerdWallet has raised $105 million in funding. The company includes Camelot Financial Capital Management and Institutional Venture Partners (IVP) among its investors.

Photo by Mitja Juraja from Pexels

Fintech in Latin America: A Beacon of Resilience

Over the past few years the Latin American fintech sector has been
growing steadily, capturing the attention of the global market and
even adapting well to the Covid-19 situation.

One person interested in this market is Mario
, CEO Payments at PayU, a
company that provides payment technology to online merchants. Mario
is a payments veteran and has held positions at both
Mastercard and Paypal prior to
joining PayU, and is also an advisor to Metamorphic
in NYC. In his early career, Mario was an equity
analyst at Goldman Sachs and subsequently a strategy consultant at
Bain. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School
and a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and Economics from
Bryant University.

Here Mario discusses the Latin American fintech sector and how
governments have been relying on and investing in fintech to keep
the economy ticking.

Mario Shiliashki, CEO
Payments, PayU

Alongside ‘coronavirus’, ‘pandemic’ and ‘vaccine’,
‘resilience’ is right up there with the most used words of

One sector which has shown not only resilience but real growth
during the past year is
fintech in Latin America
. The crisis has sparked significant
change in a region that was already demonstrating its agility,
adaptability and appetite when it comes to financial services.

Despite ongoing social and political pressures, the market has
boomed over the past decade. Since 2014, fintech funding in Latin
America has grown from less than $50 million to top $2.1 billion in
just six years. In total, fintech in Latin America is estimated to
have a valuation of more than $150 billion. This eye-watering
amount has truly captured the world’s attention and continues to
dilute the spotlight from other markets, such as Asia.

There are a number of factors behind this incredible rise, which
is transforming the region – regulation, government backing,
skyrocketing internet and mobile penetration, and of course, huge
adoption in e-commerce – both local and cross-border.

Strong government drives to increase foreign direct investment
have proven effective, with businesses capitalising on tax and
investment incentives in the region. Such incentives have not just
targeted businesses, but also individual consumers. In Colombia,
the government instigated VAT-free days as an initiative to
kickstart spending and halt economic contractions. As a result, we
at PayU recorded sales rise by at least seven times that of regular
shopping days. This is a great example of how the government has
collaborated with both fintech and e-commerce platforms to make
sure they’re ingrained across Latin America.

In this dynamic and thriving market, fintech players are
offering tangible benefits to both businesses and consumers alike,
which is particularly beneficial in a time of crisis.

As an online payments provider, we’ve witnessed high levels of
fintech adoption first-hand, with a strong migration towards
e-commerce being one of the most clear-cut trends. Both domestic
and international merchants are working quickly to implement
e-commerce platforms built on the shift in consumer behaviours that
are clearly here to stay.

In the first seven months of 2020 alone, we processed in excess
of 120 million transactions for more than 25,000 merchants in Latin
America. This represents over 70% growth over 2019 – a truly
meteoric rise, which is showing few signs of slowing. Long periods
of isolation at home translated into increases in online
entertainment consumption, with payments for streaming platforms
averaging monthly increases of 100% compared to the same period in
2019. Similarly, home and garden improvements rocketed over 130%
between January and July, with people no longer being able to put
off DIY projects. Keeping up with this demand requires the ability
to scale and grow online seamlessly, which is where a global
payments partner with local expertise is invaluable.

Although fintech in Latin America has remained resilient, the
pandemic is not over, and nobody has a crystal ball. As borders
begin to re-open, global e-commerce remains the best way for
merchants to safeguard themselves for the long-term effects of
Covid-19. Merchants wanting to capitalise on the surging demand for
e-commerce must seek expertise from an informed partner; Latin
America is an exciting albeit complex and diverse region. Payment
technologies that make the shopping experience adaptable to
different consumer needs, frictionless and safe are integral to

Ultimately, thanks to the welcoming regulatory landscape and
skyrocketing internet penetration, there’s never been a better
opportunity for both international and domestic merchants to
maximise on Latin America’s e-commerce opportunity. I, for one,
cannot wait to see this region continue to flourish, both in
e-commerce and into a global fintech hub.

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Fintech in Latin America: A Beacon of Resilience
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Ant’s IPO; SpyCloud Takes On Southern Europe; Icon Earns Strategic Investment

The biggest news in international fintech was the $34.5 billion pricing of Ant Group’s upcoming initial public offering. We covered the news earlier this week. The company will be making a dual IPO, offering half of its shares on Hong Kong’s Hang Seng, and the other half on Shanghai’s Star Market. The date for the Hong Kong IPO has been set for next week, November 5th. No date has been determined for Ant Group’s IPO on the Shanghai-based exchange.

The $34.5 billion target would represent a new record, topping the $29.4 billion raised by Saudi Aramco earlier this year in its IPO. Ant Group anticipates earning a valuation of more than $313 billion. This amount would rival that of most of the biggest banks in the U.S., with the only exception being JP Morgan Chase with its market cap of $434 billion.

On the European fintech front, a handful of Finovate alums have made headlines this week. Account takeover prevention specialist SpyCloud announced a partnership with Southern European-based information security solutions value-added distributor, DotForce. U.K.-based Icon Solutions, a payments technology provider, picked up a strategic investment from JPMorgan. In the Americas, FIS teamed up with Brazilian financial services firm Afinz to help the company enhance its private-label credit card processing capabilities. Meanwhile to the north, Toronto, Ontario, Canada’s Finn AI inked a deal with Michigan-based United Federal Credit Union to bring conversational chat to the firm’s 200,000 members.

Here is our look at fintech around the world.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • German business banking platform Penta partners with savings marketplace Raisin.
  • Lithuanian government authorizes new Centre of Excellence in Anti-Money Laundering.
  • German sharia-compliant banking app, insha, raises €2.5 million en route to planned U.K. launch.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Bahrain-based open banking platform Tarabut Gateway launches in the UAE.
  • Oman Banks Association urges lenders in the country to embrace fintech and open banking.
  • Turkish fintech Payguru introduces new pay by text message service.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Indian fintech GetVantage raises $5 million in seed funding.
  • Smart Engines partners with Alfa Bank Kazakhstan to power digital onboarding and online payments.
  • PhonePe, an online payments company based in India, announces availability as a payment option at more than two million locations in Maharashtra.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Risk analytics software company Provenir partners with Mexico’s Estudia Mas to automate and digitize risk decisioning for education loans.
  • Visa to acquire YellowPepper, a company that supports Latin American and Caribbean financial institutions and startups.
  • Real-time financial data aggregator Afterbanks begins operations in Mexico.


  • Rapyd launches its “all-in-one” payment capabilities in South Korea courtesy of a partnership with local PSPs.
  • Hong Kong-based virtual bank Mox onboards 35,000 customers in its first month of operation.
  • TechinAsia looks at the “brutal” competition in the Vietnamese e-wallet market.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Evolve Credit, a Nigerian loan and financial product marketplace, raises $25,000 in funding from Nigerian VC firm Microtraction.
  • Fintech infrastructure platform Nium announces expansion into Africa.
  • Two South African fintechs, B2B digital lender Lulalend and biometric digital identity company Paycode, earn recognition by the 2020 Inclusive Fintech Awards.

Photo by Poranimm Athithawatthee from Pexels

Qatar Fintech Hub Offers Incubator and Accelerator Programmes to Global Market

As Qatar steadily progresses to achieving its 2030 vision, the nation has recognised the Fintech Industry as a key component of its knowledge-based economy objective. The National Fintech Strategy, set by Qatar Central Bank (QCB), provides a framework for initiatives that enable the local startup sector and create a favourable ecosystem for international FinTech’s to choose Qatar as their launchpad to the global market.

As an established financial and sports hub in the region, with access to nearby markets that are worth $2.1 Trillion, Qatar is opening its doors to startups with innovative solutions in Financial Technologies such as e-payments, Bitcoins and Crypto Currencies, and processes automation among others.

With that aim, QCB has partnered with Qatar Development Bank (QDB) and Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) to rollout Qatar Fintech Hub (QFTH) to stimulate the sector and rise to meet the evolving needs of the country. QFTH is dedicated to offer Qatar’s first-ever specialised Incubator and Accelerator Programs, which target entrepreneurs with innovative and cutting-edge Fintech ideas.

The first wave of these two niche programs have kicked off recently with over 20 Fintech’s from around the world enrolled for a rigorous 12-week schedule of orientation, workshops, mentoring, logistical support, networking, speaker sessions, and opportunities for business development.

With the first call for applications, the Programmes witnessed a massive turnout, receiving more than 750 applications by early-stage and mature Fintech’s from Qatar and 72 other countries including USA, UK, Australia, India, Singapore, Turkey, Nigeria, Germany, Russia, Indonesia, Jordan and Kuwait and other Regional and International countries, indicating how the country is increasingly regarded as a destination for the international business community.

Abdulaziz Bin Nasser Al-Khalifa, CEO of QDB and Chairman of Qatar FinTech Hub, said: “QFTH is part of our plan to deliver on the Qatar National Vision 2030. Supporting the local market and enabling the development of our economy requires home-grown state-of-the-art financial technologies that cater to the needs of the tech-savvy Qatari consumer. The hub also strives to find solutions that could scale-up the local, regional, and global industry, acting as a launchpad for FinTech’s from Qatar to the world.”

“The large number of quality applications we have received is a strong testament of the trust that QFTH has quickly gained with the FinTech community worldwide.”

As part of its commitment to offer world-class expertise to participating FinTech’s, QFTH has collaborated with local and international institutions including financial institutions, technology and service providers, payment networks, academic institutions, regulators, in addition to partnering with other FinTech hubs from Singapore, UK, Turkey, India, Lebanon, Malaysia, Lithuania, Australia, Nigeria and Sweden. Major partners for the QFTH Wave 1 Programs include Amazon, Microsoft, Visa, Mastercard and others.

  • Editorial Director of the The Fintech Times

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Paya partners with Artis Technologies

Paya, a leading provider of integrated payment and commerce solutions, has partnered with Artis Technologies a lending solutions provider for businesses.

With this partnership, Paya’s payments technology will integrate directly into the Artis Connect and Artis Credit platforms, providing a seamless payment experience for businesses while offering real-time consumer financing.

Paya enables Artis to process payments digitally and track them in real time, significantly increasing operational efficiency. As part of Artis’ real-time lending framework, businesses quickly secure funding for their client and automate the payment processing based on the client’s new line of credit, ensuring that funds are readily available to support project continuity.

“Paya’s collaboration with Artis represents yet another use case of integrated payments for businesses and consumers, this time for the lending space,” Mark Engels, Paya’s chief officer said in the release. “Through our partnership, Artis will enhance its embedded financial services platforms with integrated payment capabilities, offering businesses a more efficient way to track and process payments, and improve the overall experience for their customers.”

Fintech in Egypt 101: Middle East and Africa

Egypt has a thriving and growing fintech scene. The FinTech Times has reported on several developments this year in the country. 

To elaborate more, Noha Shaker, the founder and Secretary General of the Egyptian FinTech Association, as well as the elected vice-president of the Africa FinTech Network, speaks exclusively about Egypt and its fintech ecosystem.

To watch the conversation in its entirely see below:

Creating an omnichannel marketing strategy for banking

Omnichannel marketing is a key factor in reaching and retaining customers today. Whatever channel a customer may be using, there is one thing they expect: a personalized experience. Mark Aldred, head of international sales for Auriga shares his insight on this topic.

Adopting a seamless and channel-integrated marketing strategy for banking, aimed at offering a personalized customer experience and delivering the right message (at the right moment) to whichever channel the customer is on is not just a smart marketing concept, but a key strategy to interact and retain customers.

In our digital age, consumers fuel the omnichannel revolution and expect a frictionless experience in each aspect of their life, especially the financial one. To stay relevant, sustain growth, and lead among competitors, banks must tackle the challenge of overcoming fragmented channels and closing the online and offline divide. This can be done in a number of ways.

One example is by orchestrating omnichannel experiences for the individual banking consumer, tracking the unique journey for each, and leveraging data-driven insights to anticipate and meet their ever-evolving needs.

A personalized customer experience is a key element in the bank-customer relationship, which is the focus of every banking strategy, no matter what the channel is — whether it be physical branch or digital (mobile, internet social). It needs to adapt to the channel as well as the customer.

Don’t neglect the human aspect

The relationship, therefore, needs to include voice, conversation, technology, and data analysis that translates into an integrated and synergistic marketing strategy. A strategy that passes through the branch, a place where it is possible to funnel every phase of the customer experience — from welcoming customers and consulting to product sales and assistance.

There needs to be a digital strategy put in place, which does not neglect the human aspect, and which aims to preserve the territorial presence, co-create value together with the customer, and at the same time enhance the role of consultants in terms of skills.

Banks need to provide customers with a tailored approach. This can be done by targeted marketing, where a message or campaign is aimed at a specific user at the right time to transform each touch point into a channel tailored to each type of customer.

Hence, financial institutions require a solution that allows them to configure and manage marketing and information campaigns for prospects and customers. Whatever method they choose, they must not forget the human aspect. For example, the process of automating large-scale services cannot disregard the importance of human contact, and instead aim for a truly integrated and enhanced brand experience.

The solution is an omnichannel marketing solution, where each channel becomes a marketing tool capable of delivering a single and uniform message in line with the bank’s strategy or differentiating campaigns in the context of a multi-message marketing plan.

This in turn provides a new banking experience for both the customer and the bank, therefore maximizing the potential of each individual interaction.

The role of AI

The greatest potential for AI in marketing is around the opportunity to deliver personalization and relevance at scale. As consumers engage with their bank and more transaction and behavioral insights are collected, the consumer expects interactions with their bank to be more contextual and personalized.

Most financial organizations have such a huge pool of data that they do not know how to use it effectively, but that is quickly changing. Today, customer experience platforms and automation tools make it easier than ever to utilize and apply data as part of a company’s marketing efforts.

For instance, data can tell you who is saving up for a big purchase and most likely need pre-approval for a loan. It can help business leaders identify and offer services before or after they are needed, while helping to target specific customers for additional customer service or education, and can assist in minimizing the need for customer service.

Auriga‘sNextGenBranchprovides banks with a data-driven platform that aims to improve the user experience on all bank channels, even in the fully automated remote branch. Its benefits include a personalized customer journey, informative and promotional messages, contextual marketing messages, and improved customer satisfaction.

There is also the option for interactive feedback request messages that will help the bank to enhance the user experience and therefore boost customer retention.

The digital transformation of banking makes omnichannel marketing capabilities more valuable than ever. With omnichannel marketing financial institutions whether brick and mortar or digital can combine data-driven insights, innovative banking and marketing strategies, and robust technologies to automate and augment efforts to meet their customers’ omnichannel banking expectations. By doing so they will deliver high-impact communications, fuel top-line growth, and more importantly, create lasting customer connections.

DKB introduces robot-approved loans

Deutsche Kreditbank has introduced a robot credit checker to approve online loan applications within minutes, according to a report in Finextra.

New applicants only need a smartphone or a computer with a webcam, an identity card and online access to their salary account. Approval happens within minutes and is sealed by a digital signature.

Developed in collaboration with FinTecSystems, DKB has already successfully tested the 120-month instant loan for existing customers and is now rolling the system out to the general public.

The algorithm-approved loan offers an effective annual interest rate of 3.19 percent for amounts between €2,500 (US $2900) and €30,000 (US $3500).

Tilo Hacke, DKB’s private customer board member, said the pandemic acted as a catalyst in the development of the product.

“More and more consumers are currently switching from analog banking services to a digital banking experience,” Hacke said in the release. “And they rightly expect uncomplicated, fast digital lending without a lot of paperwork.”

Wirex launches ‘Women in Crypto’ Takeover

Wirex, in partnership with The Fintech Times, has announced it has entered the final stretch of its “Women in Crypto” campaign. Until 8 November, the women at Wirex will be taking over all of its channels, including social media, emails and the website, to share content and exciting insights from the team as well as from female influencers in the crypto and fintech fields.

The ‘Women in Crypto’ campaign was created to celebrate the achievements of women in the fintech and crypto sector, to show that anyone can be involved and succeed in the sector regardless of their gender. These industries are often male-dominated, and the campaign looks to spotlight some of the talented women within the sector while encouraging new talent.

In August, Wirex launched it’s first ‘Rising Women in Crypto Power List’, that closed last month after receiving over 350 entries. With a diverse pool of women nominated, the judging panel spent hours reading nominations and deliberating to narrow down the final 10, with the shortlist being announced on Monday 2 November 2020.

The campaign has received high volumes of support from women across the industry, praising Wirex for advocating women in fintech and crypto. With the takeover, they have worked alongside these women to pull together exclusive written and video content. These industry experts will be sharing their experiences and thoughts about fintech and crypto, as well as their tips and hints for succeeding in the sector.

The takeover will include content from:

  • Ashley Koh, COO at Spark Systems, about what she’s learnt as a woman in fintech
  • George Coxon, COO at the Nano Foundation, with three things you didn’t know about Nano
  • Erica Stanford, Founder of the Crypto Curry Club, on her top tips for surviving networking events

To see their content or for more information visit the Women in Crypto Hub, as well as their social media channels.

Worldline merges with Ingenico

Worldline merges with IngenicoImage courtesy of Worldline.

Global payments providers, Worldline and Ingenico, have combined under Worldline to create the largest European payment services provider, according to a press release. A Worldline spokesperson told this website he could not comment on the terms at the present time because the acquisition offer has not been made available to U.S. investors. Worldline announced last month it received merger control clearance from the European Commission for the planned acquisition of Ingenico.

The merger of the two France-based companies will provide a wider range of digital payment capabilities through integrated payment solutions, improved technology, enhanced innovation capabilities and an extended global footprint, according to the press release.

“Having the scale and now global capabilities, we have reshaped our group entirely in order to support, now more than ever, our clients, merchants and banks in particular, enabling them to rely on state-of-the-art electronic payment services to accelerate their own growth as well as their digital transformation strategy,” Gilles Grapinet, chairman and CEO of Worldline, said in the press release. “Despite the difficult times we are all facing at the moment, I have never been this confident in the group’s potential and future and in its 20,000 employees.”

The merger makes Worldline the largest European provider of payment services and the fourth largest player worldwide with pro forma 2019 revenue of 5.3 billion euros ($6.18 billion) and a presence in 50 countries, according to the press release.

Worldline payment services include online payments, omnichannel solutions and payment terminals, and provides digital banking to 1 million merchants and 1,200 banks and financial institutions.

Yolt Partners With PPS to Launch Its First Physical Card

PPS, formerly PrePay Solutions and subsidiary of Edenred, the everyday companion for people at work, has announced its partnership with Yolt, the smart money app, following the inaugural launch of its contactless debit Mastercard.

Following its first step into the payments space with Yolt Pay in 2019, the award-winning fintech is now working with PPS on the launch of its first physical card.

Thanks to PPS’ technology and licensing, Yolt’s product experience is enhanced, equipping customers with an e-money account linked to a PPS powered Mastercard debit card enabling the users to manage and spend money online and instore. Together with PPS, the Yolt app helps people to save on every single purchase with round-ups and cashbacks on selected brands.

Ray Brash, CEO of PPS, said: “Following the recent launch of Yolt Pay, we’re delighted to support this exciting fintech in the next leg of its evolution, with its first ever card. We look forward to the future of our partnership supporting the company with a roadmap of enhancements and new functionalities.”

Born in 2017 out of a simple mission to give everyone the power to be smart with their money, over 1.5 million users have registered with the app to date. Yolt enables customers to bring together all of their accounts in one central place from the likes of American Express, Starling, Barclays and HSBC, enabling smart spending, budget tracking and financial goal setting.

Pauline van Brakel, Chief Product Officer, Yolt, added: “We’re incredibly proud of the progression of the Yolt app. Now, more than ever, is a time for people to be spending cautiously and saving where they can, preparing for any uncertainty that may lay ahead of us. We couldn’t have made this launch happen without the help of innovative partners such as PPS, who can improve our customer offering. In the future, we are excited about further enhancing our product by utilising PPS’ platform.”

This Week in Fintech ending 1st November

This week our experts brought you the following insights based on their experience as investors, entrepreneurs & executives.

To continue receiving This Week in Fintech, you can either become a paying Member for $143 per year (and receive all our content in addition to this weekly summary) by clicking here.  If you just want to receive This Week in Fintech for free, you will need to fill in this form

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

Monday Ilias Hatzis our Greece-based crypto entrepreneur (Founder & CEO at Kryptonio and Weekly Columnist at Daily Fintech) @iliashatzis wrote ālea iacta est… PayPal crosses over to Bitcoin

When Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon, he uttered the famous phrase ālea iacta est (“the die has been cast”). On the October 21st, we had one of those moments and passed the point of no return. PayPal, one of the biggest payment companies in the world, with a market cap of $240 billion, 346 million users and 26 million merchants will soon allow its customers in the  US to buy, sell and HODL Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Litecoin. In a press release the company announced that its new cryptocurrency service will be available in the US. in the coming weeks and by early 2021 customers will be able to use crypto to shop with its network of 26 million retailers. PayPal is offering this service to its US customers, then plans to add more geographies and features over time. PayPal also plans to expand the service to Venmo, its peer-to-peer payment app popular with younger consumers, by the first half of next year. While the announcement is cause for excitement, there is one big problem with the new service. PayPal users won’t be able transfer their cryptocurrency into or out of PayPal, nor will users have control of the private keys. PayPal is not alone here, Robinhood, Revolut and eToro are all in the same boat when it comes to crypto ownership. While there are many places to buy crypto which and keep ownership of the coins, there is no question that the announcement of PayPal’s crypto service is huge piece of news and has the potential to bring millions and millions of new users to crypto world and propel Bitcoin’s usage beyond speculation.

Editor note: Ilias analyses the news that drove BTC/USD over $13k.

Bernard Lunn, CEO of Daily Fintech and author of The Blockchain Economy wrote: Cross border payments part 1: the competition is really, really old

This 4-part series on cross border payments starts by describing how the legacy competition works today as a way to segue to part 2 which describes why it is so expensive today. Part 3 looks at 4 types of Stablecoin disrupters. Part 4 looks at the adjacent markets for monetisation in the event that cross border payments fees go to zero.

These four posts will be published one week apart.

Editor note: Part 1 of 4 part series on a huge market that is about to undergo major disruption


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 Universal Basic Income – A 40yr old UBI & the latest experiments

The social need for a Universal Basic Income and its social and economic implications have not subsided. UBI is not as hot as stablecoins and DeFi but there are more and more UBI pilots that are mushrooming around the world. I am noticing pilots that move into implementation and also UBI programs that were launched for a small part of the population and have now grown multiple times.

Most people know of the Swedish experiment that was not considered a great success. From experience and from the academic points of view, values and cultures matter because they shape the perceptions of self worth, purpose, and value add. At the same time, we live in an era during which values are shifting.

Editor note: Efi describe some of UBI initiatives around the world, including some private sector projects using cryptocurrency wallets and programmable money.

Wednesday Alan Scott Managing Director EMEA at 24 Exchange @Alan_SmartMoney wrote Stablecoin News for the week ending Wednesday 28 October 2020.

This weekly snapshot is the news that matters in the Stablecoin market.



Rintu Patnaik, an Insurtech expert based in India, wrote: ILS: A Lone Wolf Among Securities, A Boon For Cat Covers

The ongoing pandemic stoked large corrections in equity, commodity and debt markets as players grappled with the full extent of its impact. At such times, insurance linked securities (ILS) are a boon, being mostly uncorrelated to mainstream financial markets. Since natural catastrophic ILS are driven by disaster events, there is no direct link to credit or economic cycle.

Editor note: The Cat in Cat Covers is short for Catastrophe. Read this to understand the innovators working in an arcane but lucrative niche of the Capital Markets known as ILS (Insurance Linked Securities) which are a form of Reinsurance.

Christian Dreyer @x3er, our Swiss based CFA who focusses on how XBRL changes our world wrote XBRL News: SEC enforcement, investment-grade sustainability data, invoicing

Editor note: This weekly snapshot is the news that matters in the XBRL market.


Friday Howard Tolman, a well-known banker, technologist and entrepreneur in London, wrote: Alt Finance for week ended 30 October 2020

Editor note: This weekly snapshot is the news that matters in the Alt Lending market.


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