FinTech Landscape in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is known as a knowledge economy and is ranked among the top ten on IMD’s list of technology adoption. Thought leadership, pragmatic innovation, and seamless implementation are some key features of the country’s economy. Amsterdam Internet Exchange, the second-largest Internet exchange in the world, houses multiple data centers. The smartphone penetration in the country amounted to 93% as of 2019, making it a perfect testing ground for futuristic FinTech.

The Landscape 

Core banking and giro payments have been the strongest technology innovation areas in the Netherlands. Currently, however, the country’s FinTech strength lies in Digital Payments, Alternative Lending, and Investments. Adyen, Ohpen, and BUX are the local FinTech leaders. The country has a rich ecosystem of over 600 FinTech companies, demonstrating innovation at the intersection of technology and the financial sector. The Hague is becoming a hub for pension fund management and impact finance.

The FinTech Space in the Netherlands Attracted Some Significant Investments Amid the COVID-19 Crisis in 2020

FinTech is Europe’s largest investment category, with over $35 billion of venture capital invested since 2014. Although the Dutch FinTech market has a limited number of large companies, it has numerous smaller companies and is in the growth stage. FinTechs founded af …

Behind the Idea: Divi

Coinbase recently made its debut on Nasdaq. Valued at $75.9bn, (more than oil giant BP), it was the first listing of a major cryptocurrency exchange, and a big step towards the industry’s mainstream validation. However, despite this incredible achievement and unprecedented levels of interest, Crypto has some way to go before it enjoys mass adoption.

Crypto platforms are too slow, the fees too high, onboarding and usage too complex, and mostly, you have to cede custody of your coins in return for ease of use.

If crypto is to win, it must do better.

Co-Founder and CIO of the Divi project, Nick Saponaro, is an entrepreneur, crypto enthusiast, and keynote speaker who is on a mission to make cryptocurrencies easy to use and drive its mainstream adoption. His company will shortly launch its ground-breaking mobile smart wallet that will make crypto payments & earning with crypto easy and accessible for everyone.

Nick SaponaroNick Saponaro
Nick Saponaro, Co-Founder and CIO of the Divi project

What has been the traditional company response to financial technology innovations nationally?

The fintech industry is booming because it has done a superb job of creating user experiences that fit the way people use technology. Because of this, platforms from comparison sites to online banking, and personal finance tools have enjoyed mainstream adoption.

The same cannot be said of the crypto sector where complexity continues to hamper progress. At Divi we have taken inspiration from world-class design principles from across the biggest industries and integrated them into our products to ensure we deliver a user experience and interface that anyone can use, no matter their level of technical expertise.

How has this changed over the past few years?

The changes have been immense. Especially when you consider the relative age of the industry. The Bitcoin network made its debut in 2009 but you could argue that the industry didn’t really get off the ground until relatively recently as the underlying blockchain technology began to mature and real-world use cases began to expand.

But the dream of creating a new paradigm for financial services. One that is truly decentralized and works for everyone according to Satoshi Nakamoto’s original vision, has continued to elude the industry.

By removing barriers to entry, innovating new frictionless technologies, and delivering use cases for the developed and developing world, we are helping people across the globe to engage in this new economy and achieve financial freedom and inclusion.

Is there anything that has created a culture of change inside the company?

Our team spans a wide range of ages, backgrounds, and philosophies, but we all share a common goal; to bring accessible, easy-to-use financial services to everyone, everywhere. It doesn’t click for everyone right away but once they understand that goal, it’s almost as if nothing else matters. We are an incredibly dedicated team and we work nearly around the clock to achieve this dream.

What fintech ideas have been implemented?

If you want people to use your tech, you can’t expect them to change their behaviour to fit your way of working. You must adapt, so the experience fits their lifestyle.

For example, every non-custodial wallet on the market forces the user to go through an extensive and complex set up process. Backing up long seed phrases, warning them that they are at risk of losing everything if they don’t keep track of said phrase, and leaving them with nothing more than an empty screen at the end.

We offer users the ability to set up a username, avatar, and name their account. They can even connect their phone number and email address. Once they’re in the application, they can easily send and receive using any of the above.

In addition, we help them secure their account and backup the necessary info in a way that guides them rather than forces. This example is one of many user experience improvements we’re making over current technology and all remains decentralized.

What benefits have these brought?

Everyone says, “it should be so easy you’re grandma can do it.” We are achieving that. We are onboarding individuals from ages 8 to 80 with little-to-no direction. That’s what adaptation looks like and is a result of intuitive, world-class UX design.

 Do you see any other industry challenges on the horizon?

The road to mass adoption is fraught with challenges. Regulation is necessary but it mustn’t be so stringent so as to put a stranglehold on the benefits that crypto could help usher in.

There are those in traditional finance that see the crypto industry as a threat and will look to hold back our advance into the mainstream. This reality is beginning to shift, however, especially as sentiment changes from both the retail and governmental perspectives. New lobbyist foundations are being built out to support cryptocurrency as well. In my opinion, we must find a way to rub along nicely together, so that people can enjoy the best of both worlds.

Can these challenges be aided by fintech?

I’d say they already are. A consortium of crypto businesses have banded together to develop a lobbyist movement already. I also believe the further decentralization of finance will enable more individuals to take control of their financial lives, which will drive the desire to shift regulations in the right direction.

Final thoughts?

Cryptocurrencies and blockchain payment technologies can make an incredibly positive contribution to both developed and developing economies. We are already seeing this impact through our work with international projects that are using the DIVI coin to help local communities to gain access to clothing, food, and transportation.

The more we can learn from fintech, the greater our potential to bring people with us and create a financial ecosystem that makes everyones’ lives better.

  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

Innovating for Success: How Insurers Can Embrace Innovation to Drive Growth

Upcoming webinar
Title: Innovating for success: How insurers can embrace innovation to drive growth
Date: Tuesday, May 18, 2021
Time: 02:00 British Summer Time
Duration: 1 hour

Technology and innovation are key to driving growth and creating scalable and agile business models in a challenging environment. It is an exciting time for insurers and many are seizing this opportunity to transform by investing in innovation, accelerating the evolution to digital, and evolving in ways that appeal to customers. 

Join our latest webinar to explore:

  • Is innovation important and why?
  • Are insurers truly getting return from their investment in innovation?
  • What insurers can do so that their innovation endeavours lead to genuine growth?
  • Top tips that drive innovation – critical tasks and internal challenges?
  • How insurers can build an innovation funnel /roadmap?

Featuring Preetham Peddanagari, Digital Insurance Leader, EY EMEIA and Roy Jubraj, Chief Strategy & Transformation Officer, esure Group, with more panelists to be announced soon!

Daily Fintech Announces 3 Licensees Serving the Educational Market

Content is being delivered to Newsbank, Cengage, EBSCO using our NewsML export software.

Daily Fintech recently signed contracts with three leading licensees which serve the educational market. These new relationships provide libraries, professors, students and other researchers access to the latest information and insights on the world of financial technology (Fintech).

Investors know that the researchers served by these educational licensees are where a lot of innovation comes from. Many are students who later become the leaders in the global Fintech market that Daily Fintech has been serving since 2014. Bernard Lunn, CEO of Daily Fintech, said “we are proud to announce these relationships, secured for us by the people at Triumvirate Content Consultants (TCC) who are helping us monetize our content assets through new distribution channels and new markets.

“TCC were introduced to Daily Fintech by Paul Conley, our Content Advisor, who has been working with Daily Fintech since 2018. Bernard Lunn, CEO of Daily Fintech, commented that “we rely a lot on world class advisers such as Paul Conley and TCC, to help us navigate this fast-changing market”.

Daily Fintech is delivering content using the NewsML format. This is the enterprise friendly XML alternative to RSS.

Daily Fintech invested in building NewsML export software which it is now licensing to other publishers.

Paul Gerbino, President, Triumvirate Content Consultants, commented “Daily Fintech publishes original and insightful research that students need now and when they graduate. It is great that they now get access through their libraries via these 3 well respected licensees: NewsBank, Cengage, and EBSCO.”

Central Bank of Kenya Releases New Data on the Importance of Remittances

Remittances, in this case taking the form of money that migrant workers send back to their families in their origin countries, have a huge impact on a given countries development, helping to alleviate poverty. Particularly in the Middle East and Africa Region, remittances are a crucial source of income for developing nations, despite some predictions that remittances to the region are projected to decline in the coming year.

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has recently announced the release of additional data on remittances, showing the amounts received from individual countries. Since 2007 CBK publishes monthly data on remittances grouped into three broad regions; North America, Europe, and the Rest of the World. In addition to this broad grouping, CBK has now introduced a detailed breakdown of the remittances by individual countries from which they were sent. The new detailed data start in February 2019 and are available on the remittances page on CBK’s website.

Remittance inflows continue to provide a stable source of foreign exchange for Kenya and a key support for many households, totalling $3,094million in 2020. Remittances in March 2021 amounted to $290.8 million, compared to $228.8 million in March 2020, an increase of 27.1 per cent. The US remains the largest source of these inflows, accounting for 55.9 per cent of remittances in March 2021. The other top source countries were: UK (11.2 per cent), Saudi Arabia (4 per cent), Canada (2.9 per cent), and Australia (2.9 per cent).

In terms of remittances and fintech, it is clear that they are growing in the MEA region. For instance, it is important to note that 85 per cent of the fintech firms in Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region operate in the payments, transfer and remittances sectors. In the UAE, expatriates form the majority of the population – coupled with being home to Dubai and Abu Dhabi hubs, known for their growing fintech and wider tech ecosystems.

Another example is Kenya itself – both as a source of immigrants but also attracting talent due to its growing fintech and tech ecosystem. Notably Nairobi, the capital and largest city of Kenya, is also the hub for East Africa. Nairobi, as well as Johannesburg and Cape Town of South Africa and Lagos in Nigeria, in addition to Cairo in Egypt, Kampala in Rwanda and Accra in Ghana, are often referenced and known as key fintech hubs in Africa. With Kenya, their fintech strengths lie in payments, remittances, bank and lending technologies. Nevertheless, mobile money and lending platforms dominate Kenya’s fintech industry both in terms of subscription numbers and financial performance.

Remittances are important for the countries that receive them, as they play a large part in the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). An example of a MEA country that relies heavily on remittances is Egypt and its 100 million population. Despite overall being relatively more affluent than much of Africa, many Egyptians do go overseas. In 2019, Egypt received more than $26billion in remittances – many Egyptian workers go to the GCC, as well as Jordan – to name a few.

CBK Remittances Survey

The importance of remittances has revealed a need for more information that would support policy decisions in Kenya. In this regard, in collaboration with the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, CBK has rolled out an anonymous online Kenya Diaspora Remittances Survey that is running from March 19 to May 17, 2021.

The Survey focuses on the costs and efficiency of sending remittances, the difficulties encountered in sending cash or non-cash remittances, how remittances are used by the recipients, and the availability of information on investment opportunities in Kenya. This information will help guide policies intended to boost the role of remittances in supporting the economy and livelihoods. Kenyans living abroad are urged to participate in the survey.

  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

Andra PR’s Fintech Series 2021 to be Powered by Kuwait Finance House Bahrain

Andra Public Relations, a Bahrain based Public Relations and Corporate Communications firm with a prime focus on fintech, has announced that their Fintech Series 2021 will be powered by Kuwait Finance House-Bahrain, one of the leading Islamic banks and an integral contributor to the evolution of Bahrain’s Islamic Financial sector. Andra PR will partner with Kuwait Finance House-Bahrain to hold 5 bi-monthly key events that will run from April until December with the 8th edition to be announced this month.

The 8th edition will be held at the beginning of May with a prime focus on financial inclusion in celebration of the end of Financial Literacy and Inclusion month. The edition will raise public awareness about the importance of financial education and inclusion. The event’s agenda and speakers will be announced soon in the next two weeks.

Andra’s Fintech Series is known for extensively supporting the fintech ecosystem growth in Bahrain and providing an engaging platform for fintech industry pioneers, allowing them to share their stories, address pressing issues and discuss trends in the fintech sector.

Kuwait Finance House – KFH-Bahrain’s mission is to deliver excellence and innovation through a broad and integrated range of financial products and services that comply with Shari’a principles. The financial institution will bring forth their thought leaders and innovators to highlighting several key issues and trends that are transforming the financial landscape in Bahrain and the MENA region.

Fatema Ebrahim, Founder and CEO of Andra PR said: “With the drive to continue our efforts in sharing a focus on various fintech innovations and themes within the region, the upcoming editions in partnership with the Kuwait Finance House Bahrain will strengthen these efforts and create a much stronger platform bringing in well-renowned thought leaders and innovators within the financial sector. We are pleased to partner with a pioneering financial institution in the region to further position Bahrain as a prime fintech Hub within the MENA region.

“Our team is excited for what lies ahead for such an important platform that was started with a long-term vision and a passionate team. With KFH Bahrain’s support, we will be able to take it to the next level.”

Executive Manager and Head Operations, IT and Corporate Communications, Mohammed Fahmi Hamad, said: “As an integral contributor to the evolution of Bahrain’s Islamic Financial sector, we believe in supporting platforms such as the Fintech Series to highlight Bahrain’s innovative approaches and the steps it has taken forward to embrace the fintech industry with the development of a wide range of financial innovations and initiatives in line with the Kingdom’s Economic Vision 2030. We are pleased to partner with Andra Public Relations to highlight the lucrative financial technology sector in the Kingdom and MENA region as a whole.

The Fintech Series was launched in 2019 in partnership with the Capital Club and since then has become a prime event in the kingdom for game-changing leaders, corporates and startups within the fintech community. In 2020, the series was in partnership with brinc batelco; the Middle East’s only IoT Hub. Inspiring and supporting IoT entrepreneurs to achieve their goals.

  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

Virgin Money Australia and Ascenda Launch Digital Bank Loyalty Programme

Ascenda, the global loyalty technology company, has unveiled its disruptive launch of Virgin Money Australia’s much anticipated digital bank loyalty programme, which breaks new ground by extending across the entire banking experience and sets new global standards for customer engagement in consumer financial services.

At the time of launch, rewards encompass card spend, transaction and savings accounts, as well as incentives for good financial management to help customers make their money go further. Home loans and other banking products will be added over time.

The new programme, which sits at the centre of the Virgin Money Australia digital bank experience, is leading a continued global surge of brand investments in loyalty and rewards, exceeding $387billion globally in 2020, according to data aggregated from Alliance Data and Euromonitor. It introduces a transformational opportunity for challenger banks globally to grow revenue and market share by differentiating beyond their classic focus on low fees and easy user experience. Relative to traditional banks, who are often encumbered by complex and costly legacy systems, these challengers are more technologically advanced and hence ideally placed to create a more holistic customer value proposition through personalised bank-wide rewards.

Kyle Armstrong, Ascenda’s CEO, said, “We’re delighted to launch this innovative and holistic bank rewards program with Virgin Money Australia. It breaks new ground when it comes to bank-wide rewards and hyper-personalisation, and sets a new benchmark for how leading consumer banks globally can think about customer engagement in the future.”

Greg Boyle, Virgin Money Australia CEO said: “Our loyalty program is a core value proposition of the new Virgin Money digital bank and represents a powerful tool to share real value with customers. Ascenda’s unique package of superior technology, plug-&-play content, merchant and card-linked offer capabilities and rapid implementation has truly made loyalty simple for Virgin Money.”

The Virgin Money Australia Digital Bank is now available to download in the App Store and Google Play.

  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

Cheeze Launches Decentraland as the First Fully Decentralised Virtual Platform for NFTs

Cheeze is allowing their customers to mint their own photos into Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), giving them the ability to trade and sell on the blockchain through the app-based platform Decentraland.

The soon-to-be-launched app has designed and constructed as part of a new virtual game called Decentraland. The game is the first fully decentralised world, controlled via the Decentralized Autonomous Organisation (DAO), which owns the most important smart contracts and assets of Decentraland. Via the DAO, users can influence, decide, and vote on how the world works.

This move by Cheeze comes as a direct result of the NFT market tripling in size during 2020, with the total value of transactions increasing by 299% year-on-year to more than $250 million; as highlighted in studies recently published by the NFT market analyst firm

Over the last year, the length of time that people spent online significantly increased – the footfall for virtual galleries alone can boast up to 30,000 visitors in a single day. Decentraland is a blockchain-based Metaverse that allows anyone to create, explore and trade in a virtual world. People can network and also have the power to purchase items, including land, where buildings can be constructed.

Cheeze has purchased a plot of land which will house the Cheeze Art Gallery, which is being built by an architect as a destination where images minted via its mobile app in the studio will have the opportunity to be showcased in the gallery on a given day.

This growing relationship between blockchain and the art world was recently touched upon by MoonPay CEO Ivan Soto-Wright, who shared “in particular, the digital art and music worlds have felt the impact [of Blockchain], offering a whole new way for artists to engage with their fanbase, get discovered, or at a very base level, simply make more money.”

Likewise, the fintech Curve has joined forces with Theatre Support Fund+, to sell five pieces of unique digital art in an online auction for charity. The series of animated Curve branded figures is set to go under the virtual hammer as NFTs, with online bids invited from all over the world.

“When building Cheeze, we wanted to give photographers as many opportunities as possible to showcase their masterpieces,” comments Cheeze CEO and Founder Simon Hudson. “Not only will people be able to list them on our NFT marketplace app, but now they have the option to display them in Decentraland’s virtual ‘muzeum’. We plan to do launch events and virtual drops in our muzeum and are excited to open the doors for users to come and explore these photos in the metaverse.”

  • Tyler is a Fintech Junior Journalist with specific interests in Online Banking and emerging AI technologies. He began his career writing with a plethora of national and international publications.

This Week in Fintech: TFT Bi-Weekly News Roundup 29/04

The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup sees payment service provider Mollie hire executive Schoute. While core banking firm Thought Machine teams up with payments technology company Wise.


Global innovation platform Plug and Play has opened a new office in Seoul, Korea. Plug and Play Korea will primarily focus on corporate innovation in the areas of fintech, insurtech and health, as well as smart cities. As well as accelerating Korean startups that target the global market, it will also bring in overseas startups. Its first Korean accelerator programme is scheduled for summer 2021.

Edenred, the salary processing provider, is offering financial literacy workshops to modest-income workers in order to break down barriers to financial empowerment in the UAE. It has also unveiled a WhatsApp channel to offer tips and tutorials on finance management, fraud prevention, mobile app usage as well as money transfers.

Global e-commerce payments provider dLocal is entering three new markets in Southeast Asia – Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. dLocal will now provide payment capabilities for e-wallets, cash and international card payments, as well as chargebacks and refunds. dLocal will be also adding cash payments as well as local bank transfers in Thailand.

While, Mastercard has pledged $10million to address critical Covid-related needs in India. Delivered through the Mastercard Impact Fund, the efforts will focus on access to hospital resources, oxygen supplies, as well as support of the company’s employees across the country.


Curve red metal card

Curve red metal cardVolt, the open payments gateway, has unveiled new cash management functionality providing merchants and PSPs with visibility of open banking payments made through the UK’s Faster Payments Service and the European SEPA Credit Transfer and SEPA Instant Credit Transfer schemes. Volt Connect is available in the UK now and across Europe by the end of May 2021.

Red metal Curve cards are back. Fintech Curve has released a new batch of its 18g cards – three times as heavy as average credit cards – for existing and new customers. Curve says it will also launch enhanced features to its foreign exchange proposition in the next few weeks.

Arab Monetary Fund has launched the Index of Modern Financial Technologies in the Arab Countries (FinxAr). The annual index aims to identify the efforts of Arab countries in enabling and promoting fiintech adoption. It consists of six main indices – policies and legislation, the demand side, access to finance, financial markets infrastructure, talent development to support innovations and finally collaboration and partnerships.

Meanwhile, The Alliance for Green Commercial Banks, co-launched by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and International Finance Corporation has hosted its first roundtable. The ‘CEO Talk: Opportunities for Green Bank Transformation’ virtual roundtable attracted more than 1,100 participants. The Alliance was jointly launched in November 2020 to help banks address climate change across emerging markets.

Total Processing opens first non-European officeTotal Processing opens first non-European office
Total Processing opens first non-European office

Manchester-headquartered payments fintech Total Processing has opened an office in Dubai. Its co-founder Alex Leigh will head up operations in the region, alongside new appointments Danny Makin, who joins as regional head (MENA) and Alex Morris as head of sales (MENA). The office is located in One Central Dubai.

On the move
Rogier SchouteRogier Schoute
Rogier Schoute

Payment service provider Mollie has appointed Rogier Schoute as chief product officer. He joins from, where he led payments product development for the past two years. Schoute. who previously worked at Klarna, will lead the development of the next generation of Mollie’s payments and financial services offering.

HSBC Bank and HSBC Europe CEO Colin Bell will join the board of directors at London fintech startup Quantexa next month. He will support Quantexa’s global expansion and accelerate data-driven transformation in its core markets. In additional news,  Ray O’Brien, global risk chief operating officer at HSBC, steps down from Quantexa’s board.

SumUp has announced Johannes Schaback is taking up the role of CTO on 1 May. The appointment follows the payments service provider’s recent €750million funding raise to fuel growth, global expansion and product push. Schaback also brings experience as an angel investor – has has invested in a mix of German and European companies over the last 10 years.

Meanwhile, Tradeshift appoints James Stirk as head of enterprise sales for EMEA & APAC regions. The e-invoicing and accounts payable automation company says Stirk supports its ambitious global growth strategy. He joins Tradeshift following a stint as vice president and general manager EMEA at FinancialForce.

Plenitude appoints former HSBC UK head of financial crime compliance, Allan Clare, as senior advisor. Clare will help support the financial crime, risk and compliance specialist’s growth plans and business strategy. He has previously held managing director roles at HSBC, Barclays and Nationwide Building Society.

Finally, there’s two new additions to the Cartlow leadership team. Anas Al-Khaldi is named chief operations officer, while Mahmoud Zou Al Ghina as commercial director. Both new hires are part of the UAE re-commence provider’s plans to ‘grow and scale-up’.

Plexian and Enfuce partner to deliver cloud-based payment solutionsPlexian and Enfuce partner to deliver cloud-based payment solutions
Plexian and Enfuce partner to deliver cloud-based payment solutions

International payment service provider ECOMMPAY is partnering with open banking solutions provider Nuapay. A solution is integrated in ECOMMPAY’s portal through API calls to Nuapay, and webhook notifications allow ECOMMPAY to track end-to-end payment events, providing a fully managed reconciliation and payout service to merchants.

Swedish fintech Plexian and Finnish Enfuce have partnered up to drive innovation within payment and loyalty solutions. Enfuce will also handle fraud monitoring, disputes and chargebacks as well as the BIN relationship for Plexian.

UTP Group has partnered with credit card processing system Faster Processing to provide its e-commerce customers with the ability to receive fund settlement within hours. UTP Group says it is the only payment solution company to offer this service to both online merchants and physical stores.

PPS has teamed up with Finnish accounting company Talenom to bolster its IBAN offering. Through the partnership, Talenom will integrate financial services into its self-service Accounting Alex, including both physical and virtual Mastercard payment cards. Plus, a Finnish IBAN provided by PPS for all accounts, SEPA payments and electronic bank account statements.

Barko Financial Services (BFS), a microfinance institution in South Africa, has gone live on Temenos software-as-a-service. Using Temenos’s solutions, BFS can originate loans for customers via mobile in 4.5 minutes. Temenos says the end-to-end platform modernisation will help BFS elevate customers’ experience and grow its business sustainably.

Meanwhile, Broadridge has integrated FundApps‘ automated compliance solution into portfolio and order management capabilities. FundApps’ compliance-as-a-service solution automates compliance monitoring and reporting. They say the strategic partnership allows firms to spend less time on operational and compliance issues and more time on managing assets.

More collaborations

ChargeAfter will add Quadpay and Zip’s buy now, pay later installments to its portfolio of consumer financing lenders and options for online and in-store shopping. Through a partnership, ChargeAfter will enable merchants to offer Quadpay’s and Zip’s ‘pay in 4’ installments product using its one step financing application.

Osu, an invoicing and payment-app for the self-employed, has joined forces with open banking infrastructure provider Yapily. The partnership will see Osu provide the self-employed with a way to receive payments without fees or settlement delays. Osu also has plans to increase its customer base to 10,000 active users by the end of 2021.

Thought Machine, the cloud native core banking technology company, has teamed up with international payments technology company Wise. The two companies have combined their technologies and built an integration layer that reduces the developer effort needed for financial institutions to plug into Wise’s API by up to 60 per cent.

Visa and Airbnb have joined forces to enable hosts to access their earnings more quickly. Using Visa Direct, hosts will have an option to move money from Airbnb to a bank account associated with a Visa debit card.

First Bank has hailed its work with Linedata after adopting its cloud-based capabilities using Linedata Capitalstream. Since the initial integration of Linedata Capitalstream in 2016, the partnership between Linedata and First Bank has supported the bank’s business lending segment in implementing automation, digitising processes, as well as offering a greater level of support to clients.

Fintech firm PayBy has announced a new partnership with NT.Payments to expand its footprint in the UAE. PayBy top-ups and repayments can now also be done using cash at NT.Payments kiosks. PayBy customers can also repay credit bills, purchase goods and services.PayBy NT Payments kiosk

PayBy NT Payments kiosk

More partnerships

Meanwhile, Central Bank of Kenya and E4Impact Foundation have agreed to support Kenyan fintech startups and enterprises. This will be through access to customised capacity building, linkages to investors, markets and ecosystem partners. The MoU will leverage on programmes run by the two organisations.

JCB and GB Prime Pay announce partnership to expand online merchant network in Thailand. GBP online merchants across the country will now offer JCB acceptance. They say the partnership responds to further expanding and meeting the growing demand of online business.

B2B global payments fintech Currencycloud is partnering with Alviere, the embedded finance platform provider. The Currencycloud multi-currency e-wallet Spark solution has now been incorporated into Alviere’s Hive API solution. Alviere can offeer its large corporate clients the ability to embed financial services into their businesses.

Meanwhile, Visa has teamed up with MEA payment provider Pyypl to promote financial inclusion in emerging markets. The strategic collaboration will provide Pyypl with access to Visa’s international network and expertise in payment solutions.

Finastra has announced BANK OF AFRICA has selected Conpend’s TRADE AI app from its open innovation platform, Conpend’s app is designed to reduce risk and speed up trade finance transactions. It digitises trade finance processes using optical character recognition, NLP and progressive machine learning.

Kinetic and payments platform Vyne have partnered to help students pay rent directly from their account in three clicks. The partnership will use open banking to move money in real time between bank accounts. Kinetic Software works with 80 per cent of universities in the UK and also manages 425,000 student bedrooms worldwide.

Research and insights

New research by Australian Ethical reveals that climate change and environmental factors are the top driver of investment decisions by ESG investors. According to a survey of 2,854 Australian investors and 321 financial advisers, 78 per cent of ESG investors intend to invest based on environmental factors in the next 12 months.

Funding and investments


StepsFintech banking startup Step has raised $100million in Series C funding. Led by General Catalyst, the round also attracted NBA All-Star Stephen Curry, actor Jared Leto and Dreamers VC, the fund founded by Will Smith. The bank for teens will use the new funding to improve product infrastructure, add new features and for recruitment.

Akeyless, the secrets management company, has secured a $14million Series A round of financing. Led by Team8 with participation from Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP). The firm will use the funding to accelerate product development and growth of the world’s first SaaS-based unified vault.

Finally, payment fintech Tribal Credit has closed a combined Series A and debt round of $34.3million. The investment was led by QED Investors and Partners for Growth. Additionally, existing investors BECO Capital, Global Ventures, OTG Ventures and Endure Capital took part – joined by new investors Endeavor Catalyst.

  • Claire works across print and online as Editor for The Fintech Times.

Are Women More Financially Excluded Than Men? Why Covid is Shining a Light on Financial Exclusion

The pandemic hasn’t been the “great leveller” that many have suggested. In fact, in many cases it has exacerbated inequality, and nowhere is that more true than access to digital services and payments

Someone with clear thoughts on this topic is Louise Clements, Chief Marketing Officer at Paysafe. Louise is a proven, digital marketing professional with over 20 years of experience in leading high growth sales and marketing teams in multiple sectors. In her role, she is responsible for developing a results-driven marketing and corporate communications strategy that drives further usage of Paysafe’s B2B and consumer payments solutions. She oversees the company’s team of over 120 marketeers around the world. Before joining Paysafe, Louise held various executive roles for several high-profile organisations, including AOL and Facebook, as well as at leading digital marketing agencies. 

Here she shares how the pandemic is shining a light on financial exclusion.

Louise Louise Clements, Chief Marketing Officer, Paysafe

In the early stages of COVID-19, there was a sense that the nature of the pandemic and its consequences was non-discriminatory. As the virus spread quickly, and governments reacted by enforcing social measures to protect individuals and health services, authorities were quick to tell us that will were “all in this together”, and that adhering to the universal guidelines would be the roadmap to conquering the pandemic.

The sentiment was well-meaning. However, as the pandemic has rolled on and we have learned more, not only about the medical impact of the virus itself but also the social impact of the government responses, it is clear that neither is having a ubiquitous effect.

In fact, in many circumstances, COVID-19 has exposed and even deepened inequalities in society. One of these is financial inclusion. The pandemic has accelerated the shift to e-commerce and digitised services, and those that cannot access these risk their health in the short term as they are forced to continue relying on physical interactions. They are also being left behind once the world is reshaped beyond the pandemic.

The drive for digitised services and contactless payments

Digitisation, especially the growth of e-commerce, is well-documented. For example, when we commissioned a survey of consumers during the first wave of the pandemic 42% of consumers said they were shopping online more frequently and 18% were shopping online for the first time. And the majority plan to make this is a permanent shift.

Where consumers are still shopping in stores, there has been a drive towards contactless payments replacing cash. This is being driven by consumers to an extent, but also by stores themselves that are concerned about the safety of using cash during the pandemic. This has left unbanked cash consumers extremely vulnerable, with many saying they haven’t been able to purchase even basic provisions.

This situation is highlighting the inequality created by financial exclusion. Consumers that do not have access to traditional bank accounts are often prevented from accessing the digital economy, meaning that they do not have the choice to limit the amount of time they spend outside of their home. This increases the risk of contracting COVID-19. And even as they are forced to leave their homes to buy products, in many instances they are forced to compromise their activity by shops that refuse to accept cash.

Women are more financially excluded than men

Another element of financial exclusion that is even less frequently discussed, but has been worsened by COVID-19, is the difference in levels of financial exclusion between men and women. According to sources, 55% of the 1.7 billion unbanked population are women. Accessing digital financial services is also not as straightforward; there is also a gap of 8% between women and men when it comes to owning a smartphone in low- and middle-income countries and a 20% gap when it comes to use of the internet.

According to an analysis published in 2020 by UN Women, the global pandemic has put 47 million women into poverty, and it is estimated that in 2021 there will be 435 million women living on less than $1.90 (ca. €1.60) a day. There are many reasons we can point to that might contribute to an explanation as to why women are more financially excluded than men, but one thing that is certainly clear is that COVID-19 is making it an even more critical issue to address.

Financial inclusion must be a priority

As countries begin the road back to normality beyond the pandemic, the lessons we have learned should not be forgotten. Where the pandemic has shone a light on inequalities, now is the time for these to be addressed. Financial inclusion is one such area. Governments, financial services, and businesses across the globe have the power to make financial inclusion a priority, and now the consequences of exclusion are even more tangible there is no excuse not to act.

Facilitating greater access for more people to traditional financial services such as a bank account should be a global objective. But we can go further, including enabling consumers that do not have bank accounts to store and spend their finances digitally.

One solution for this is eCash, an alternative payment method that enables consumers to pay easily and securely at an online checkout using cash. This payment method is not tied to a bank account in any way, the consumer only needs physical currency to complete digital transactions with online merchants. For those that either cannot, or do not want to share their financial details online, eCash opens the door to using their preferred payment method digitally.

This can be completed in one of two ways; shoppers either pre-purchase a card with cash that stores digital value and can then be used as a source of funds in an online checkout, or the consumer initiates the transaction with the merchant online and is directed to a pay point to complete the purchase at a physical location with cash.

And eCash not only bridges the gap between the unbanked and e-commerce, through partnerships we can give cash consumers access to other financial services such as digital-only bank accounts, digital loan repayments, and paying bills online.

Digital wallets also enable consumers to store finances digitally, send money to friends and family digitally through a simple email address, and make purchases with online merchants.

Educating unbanked consumers on the benefits of these alternative payment methods, and facilitating them broadly, is the first step to reducing the inequality that the pandemic has highlighted.

  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

XBRL News about sustainability reporting and derivatives

Here is our pick of the 3 most important XBRL news stories from the last week. 

1 The ESG interview: making climate data comparable

IOSCO Chair Ashley Alder believes we’re in sight of “a real step change” in sustainability reporting. The IFRS Foundation’s climate-first approach to globally standardised sustainability reporting offers the most efficient path to decision-useful, corporate-level ESG information for institutional investors, according to Ashley Alder, Chair of IOSCO and CEO of Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC).

We couldn’t agree more. As sustainability reporting goes mainstream, it will have to be globally standardised, mandatory, audited and prepared using a control framework similar to financial reporting’s. Or as this fabulous piece expresses it in the most concise way possible: Measure less, better.

2 Big News! Europe to get mandatory digital ESG disclosure using inline XBRL

The European Commission has adopted a proposal for a Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), to amend and replace the current Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD). It will require the use of Inline XBRL (or iXBRL) in reporting detailed and consistent structured data, and marks a new chapter in environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosure, promising much more meaningful, comparable information for investors and other stakeholders. It was announced as part of a sustainable finance package intended to foster sustainable activity.

And yet another acronym to learn in the ESG pantheon: CSRD! While we certainly support the expanded scope of the reporting requirement as well as the data vector to be used, we are concerned that the lack of informational focus and standardisation as per the above comment will render that information less decision useful that necessary. But we’re open to be positively surprised!

3 A new path forward: global data harmonisation in derivatives trade reporting

Some suggest that, had data on over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives transactions been available before the financial crisis in 2008, the build-up of risk could have been foreseen and managed very differently. This is what led to G20 demands that all derivatives products be reported to trade repositories and made available to regulators.But as early as 2010, before the first repositories were live, regulators, the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) and others in the industry had identified derivatives data fragmentation issues and began raising awareness of the need to implement standards at that time. Derivatives markets are interconnected and international — therefore, derivatives data needs to be consistent and readable across all jurisdictions.

Read this piece to learn many more arcane acronyms from the derivatives trading world! But more seriously: the article supplies a useful overview of the growing understanding around the globe that intergovernmental regulatory cooperation in the world of derivatives trade reporting is pointless unless broken down to the fine technical detail, because that’s where the devil is, as we all know.


Christian Dreyer CFA is well known in Swiss Fintech circles as an expert in XBRL and financial reporting for investors.

 We have a self-imposed constraint of 3 news stories each week because we serve busy senior leaders in Fintech who need just enough information to get on with their job.

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bunq Hits €1 Billion Milestone in User Deposits

European challenger bank bunq has reached €1 billion in user deposits. The amount of money deposited in bunq by their users has more than doubled for the second year in a row – in 2019, user deposits grew from €211M to over $433M. This has shown the importance of easy-to-understand, user-centric banking available online 24/7 during a volatile year that challenged traditional institutions.

With the rapid growth of user numbers, bunq is expanding its operations into Germany by opening a brand new office in Cologne and introducing local IBAN (International Bank Account Numbers) for German members to enjoy all of the features of their bank accounts to the fullest.

From now on, bunqers living in Germany can receive a German IBAN. This empowers them to use their bunq account for all payments, direct debits, receiving their salaries, and Payment Sorter – all hassle-free and without worrying about IBAN discrimination.

All IBANs for Euro-denominated bank accounts within the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) should be treated equally and accepted universally, but in practice, discriminating against foreign IBANs in SEPA countries is commonplace. In addition to launching local IBANs for German users, bunq has joined the initiative, which allows users who experienced IBAN discrimination to easily and securely report it to the correct authorities.

Ali Niknam, CEO and founder of bunq, said: “We’re so happy that our users trust us with their daily lives and keep on using the features that make their lives easy. With a local account number, our German members can get the full bunq experience!”

Germany is just the beginning – bunq’s future plans include offering local IBANs in other countries based on reports and feedback gathered from members.

  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

Advances in Location Intelligence propel Property and Parametric Insurance

In property insurance, precision in assessing risks is a prerequisite for pricing policies competitively and curtailing excessive claim pay-outs. With better location intelligence, carriers mitigate risks, accelerate claim procedures, improve fraud detection and expand their customer base. Location intelligence (LI) has become crucial to enabling organizations in several industries to achieve strategic business goals, with the LI global market expected to grow to $32.8 billion by 2027. Underpinned by geographic information systems (GIS), LI enables businesses to map, analyze and share locational data. In the case of parametric insurance, LI forms the core technology when environmental perils are trigger points.

Interestingly, carriers stand to gain across a variety of processes, ranging from managing policyholder addresses to providing property risk coverages to handling claims logistics. By overlaying and modelling historical claims with weather patterns, high exposure areas are predicted. Rich location data such as region-specific theft rates, hyper-local weather conditions provide valuable insights that aid product development, marketing and pricing models. LI also helps identify fraudulent claims.

Breakthroughs in open data, artificial intelligence, visualization and LI APIs have all paved the way for brisk uptake in LI solutions by insurers.

Open Data

A substantial amount of environmental data is open. This makes possible easy access to rich data points such as weather data, earthquake reports and flood alerts, most of which is accessible through seamless APIs. Remarkably, satellite data has become much more affordable through sources such as Copernicus, NASA’s Global Flood Monitoring System and OpenQuake.

Location Intelligence APIs

Location Intelligence APIs integrate into existing workflows augmenting policy systems, underwriting and agency portals. The APIs expose key data and insights that aid risk assessment through several available data products and associated services. Cross functional teams share datasets to produce a consistent view of risk. RMS provides Location Intelligence APIs through cloud based Risk Intelligence, exposing geocoding services, hazard lookups and risk scores.

RMS Risk Intelligence


Geospatial data visualization tools such as Map View by LexisNexis, offer visibility into risks encompassing flood, windstorms, fire and crime spanning a carrier’s book to help price better, plan strategies for extreme weather events and manage claims. Carriers have reported 50% reduction in flood exposure and 8% improvement in new business.

AI/ML with location data

While non-AI prediction tools have existed for some time, AI enriches the process with more variables to make accurate predictions. One major insurer has used AI-driven methods to generate smart routes for drivers—turn-by-turn directions for the safest path to a destination. To generate this routing, the program considers many variables – accidents for different locations, the time of day and the weather – engendering fewer accidents and lower premiums.

With thousands of attributes augmenting location data sets, it gives fillip to new discovery of causalities and correlations. For properties located along a coastline that are subject to greater risk from severe weather events, an insurer can more effectively determine risks by assessing the distance between insured properties and the nearest coastline. Similarly, wildfire risk can be understood based on distance to combustible vegetation, wind patterns, the direction of nearby roads, roofing material and elevation. With regard to earthquakes, the damage from risk is better understood by analyzing soil density.

LI and Parametric Insurance

An insurtech specializing in index insurance, Skyline has developed a solution for renewable solar energy. By combining its index modelling strengths with big data geospatial solution ARLAS from partner Gisaïa, Skyline provides quick cash disbursement upon the occurrence of adverse events. Their risk transfer platform lets clients monitor and insure the lack of solar radiation. Other environmental parametric products deploy IoT sensors to record environmental conditions (e.g. flood water levels). Device availability and monitoring via LI technology has provided impetus to this growth.

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StashAway to Raise $25million in New Funding Round

StashAway is raising $25 million ($33.34 million SGD) in its Series D funding round led by Sequoia Capital India, one of the region’s leading venture capital firms.

StashAway’s existing investors, Eight Roads Ventures, the global investment firm backed by Fidelity International and early investor in Alibaba; and Square Peg, the largest venture capital fund in Australia, also participated in the round. The transaction will close in the next few months pending necessary regulatory approvals.

This funding round will bring StashAway’s total paid-up capital to $84.04million SGD and accelerate investment product and feature developments across its 5 markets. The company will also offer to buy back up to $4 million SGD in stock options from its employees and expand its engineering team in Singapore and abroad.

Michele Ferrario, Co-Founder and CEO says, “This vote of confidence by one of the most successful venture capital firms affirms that we’ve been taking the right approach by expanding early into high-opportunity markets, continuing to deepen our product offering, and building a lean and mission-driven team. These steps have translated into rapid AUM growth since our beginning.”

Abheek Anand, Managing Director, Sequoia India, will be joining StashAway’s Board of Directors as part of the funding round, pending regulatory approvals. Anand has more than 20 years of experience in consumer tech, financial services and deep tech sectors across the US, Southeast Asia and India. He says, “StashAway is growing rapidly as it fulfils an obvious gap in the digital wealth management space, especially in areas where its competitors may be lacking: an easy-to-use platform, robust client relationships, and a very sophisticated investing framework. StashAway has built trust with its client base by navigating them through market volatility while providing strong returns.”

On buying back employee shares and expanding the team, Nino Ulsamer, Co-Founder and CTO adds, “Providing up to $4 million SGD in liquidity to our employees helps StashAway attract the best talent; it shows that startups can succeed and be financially rewarding. We want all of our team members to participate in the financial benefits of building a successful company, and our promise to all team members has always been an attractive compensation package that includes a significant amount of stock options in the company. This promise is now starting to materialise financially.”

  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

Personalizing the Digital Divide at FinovateSpring

We may still be enduring the absence of in-person networking, but there are a handful of ways to stimulate casual banter among conference participants.

At FinovateSpring, taking place digitally May 10 through May 13, we are making it as easy as possible for attendees and speakers to engage with each other through interactive roundtable sessions, networking “rooms” and a digital cafe.

One avenue we’ve found particularly useful to bring a personal element to the demo presentations is our curated set of 25-in-5 videos. In these videos, our team asks 25 rapid-fire questions in under five minutes to the demo companies at FinovateSpring.

My favorite part of these videos is that they bring a human element to each demo company. That’s because we ask the presenters off-beat questions that help you get to know them on a more personal level.

All of the 25-in-5 interview videos will be available as exclusive, on-demand content within the FinovateSpring Digital event platform. If you’re registered, keep an eye out for early access to schedule meetings and curate your event-day agenda with the sessions that most interest you.

And don’t worry about missing out. There’s still time to register, and with no need to buy a plane ticket and book a hotel room, FinovateSpring is more accessible than ever.

See you in the networking hall!

Accenture: Bank adoption of automation slower than other industries

A global survey of 1,100 bank executives shows a slim majority of banks are automating processes, and at rates lower than in other industries. Moreover, this automation is broad rather than deep — an approach that could lead to rework down the road. Fifty-eight percent of banks currently use automation on a wide scale, a […]

Fiserv Launches QR Code Payments at the Point of Sale

Today brings yet another indication that QR codes are back in style. Fiserv announced it is partnering with PayPal to enable businesses to use QR codes to offer touch-free payments at the point of sale.

Through the partnership, small and mid-sized businesses using Fiserv’s Clover point of sale and large enterprises leveraging the company’s Carat commerce ecosystem will be able to accept payment via PayPal and Venmo through QR codes at the point of sale.

“With consumer preference shifting towards touch-free interactions, it’s critical that businesses are able to connect physical and digital commerce,” said Fiserv’s Head of Global Business Solutions Devin McGranahan. “By enabling consumers to pay digitally via a QR code and popular digital wallets like PayPal and Venmo, businesses are providing added convenience and choice as in-person shopping, dining and entertainment experiences resume.”

As shown in the video above, the QR codes make the touch-free payment process relatively frictionless. Nonetheless, there is one catch– users must have a PayPal or Venmo account and mobile app.

Consumers may be willing to endure the extra friction, however, as people have become more likely to try out new digital technologies in the wake of the pandemic.

Fiserv’s announcement comes about a month after the company agreed to acquire payment processing and payment acceptance startup Pineapple Payments.

Founded in 1984 and headquartered in Wisconsin, Fiserv’s technologies serve nearly six million merchants across the globe. Frank Bisignano is president and CEO.

Alphabet and Microsoft report strong quarters backed by growth in cloud offerings

As financial institutions eye significant digital shifts, cloud providers continued to rake in the gains in the first quarter of the year. In their quarterly financial reports released Wednesday, Alphabet and Microsoft both reported a significant uptick in revenues and signaled that persistent demand for digital services delivered through the cloud has bolstered their financial […]

Veritran Explain How Low-Code Technology Helps Banking Across LatAm

Veritran is a low-code platform for banks and financial institutions that is at the centre of enabling digital applications, delivering mobile apps and digital wallets for financial organisations of all sizes, including six of the top banks in Latin America and a new Puerto Rico-based client, Italbank.

Here Omar Arab, EVP of Corporate Business, explains the lasting impact the past year has had on companies in the financial ecosystem as they look to hasten digital transformation, as well as what they’re hearing from clients around fintech trends and technology shifts that will outlast the pandemic. Plus, case studies from how clients have leveraged low-code.

What top banks do you work with?

We work with several top banks across Latin America, helping them advance digital transformation initiatives and rapidly create digital solutions from mobile apps to e-wallets. Some of the banks we work with across the region include Banorte (Mexico), BBVA (Colombia), Banco Nación (Argentina), Banco Provincia (Argentina), and BancoEstado (Chile) – we also recently signed our first customer in the United States: Puerto Rico-based Italbank.

How can low-code help?

Low-code platforms serve as an accelerator to create applications with a faster time-to-market, while providing the same functionality, integrations and security that traditional development methods offer. Low-code adds value across the enterprise, helping push forward digital transformation initiatives and enabling the rapid creation of digital solutions – which is more important than ever now, at a time when digital-first is the new way of life and it is necessary for organisations to have online touchpoints with consumers.

How is it implemented?

Low-code platforms are designed to be very easily implemented and often have a simple drag-and-drop approach, where anyone from professional developers to nonprogrammers citizen developers can start off with a fully functional template and add in applications and features, arranging and customising them as needed. Veritran offers a variety of pre-built solutions that run on top of our low-code platform, including a scalable digital wallet, a POS manager, a digital customer onboarding solution, centralised omnichannel dashboards for retail banking, as well as payroll, FX trading, cash management solutions and more for business banking.

How have relationships evolved e.g., since the pandemic perhaps?

We’ve seen an increase in low-code platforms since the start of the pandemic and have more closely collaborated with our banking clients to help them create the technology that this moment called for, as the entire industry and wider business landscape experienced a lasting paradigm shift. As to the relationship between the banks we work with and their customers, we’ve seen them begin to engage in new ways: increasingly online. For example, we helped Argentina’s Banco de la Provincia develop Cuenta DNI at the beginning of the pandemic, a digital wallet that reached over 1 million active users in just six weeks and has now surpassed 3 million users. We also supported Guatemalan bank Bantrab in developing a mobile app that has been downloaded more than 20,000 times and is generating 30 new accounts a day, compared with an average of 10 opened in branches.

What does the future look like?

In terms of the wider financial industry, I believe that the shift to digital is here to stay; although bank branches won’t completely disappear, it seems likely that digital methods will continue to be the priority moving forward. Furthermore, I believe post-pandemic digital will have a variety of predominant financial formats and experiences, including 100% digital banking and mobile wallets, as well as increasingly integrated emerging technologies from artificial intelligence to blockchain. As traditional banks continue to undergo digital transformation, I expect that they will begin partnering more with fintechs and challenger banks when possible, to help bring new features and a superior UX to their customers.

  • Gina is a fintech journalist (BA, MA) who works across broadcast and print. She has written for most national newspapers and started her career in BBC local radio.

Kid Capitalism: Teen Banking App Step Secures $100 Million in Series C

Just a few days after Till Financial picked up a $5 million investment for its “kids-focused” spending management app and Greenlight raised a whopping $260 million for its technology that helps parents raise “financially smart kids,” teen banking app Step announced that it had scored $100 million in Series C funding for its financial wellness solution dedicated toward helping young people develop sound financial habits.

“Our mission is to help improve the financial futures of the next generation and we’re thrilled to have such a massive vote of confidence from investors, especially during Financial Literacy Month,” Step CEO and founder CJ MacDonald said. “Thirty-eight percent of teens say they lack the financial resources needed to achieve financial independence and this is a problem Step is well positioned to help solve as we educate millions of households every day.”

The round was led by General Catalyst and featured participation from an exceptionally diverse group of existing investors. This roster included Coatue, Stripe, Charli D’Amelio, The Chainsmokers’ Mantis VC, Will Smith’s Dreamers VC, Jeffrey Katzenberg’s firm WndrCo, actor Jared Leto, Franklin Templeton and NBA All-Star Stephen Curry. The investment takes Step’s total funding to more than $175 million.

In the time since Step launched in September of 2020, the company has amassed more than 1.5 million users of its financial wellness app. Step gives users a free, FDIC insured bank account, a secured spending card, and access to a P2P payments platform that enables users to send and receive money instantly. With 88% of the company’s users saying that Step is their first bank account, the platform claims that it is the only banking platform that enables youth to build a positive credit history before they reach 18 years old.

“For too long, conversations about money –– specifically how to manage it –– have been avoided despite what a critical role they play in shaping the future of the next generation,” actor, musician, and serial tech investor Jared Leto said. “Over twenty years ago, I set out to tackle this problem by starting a company in the space, so I’m excited to see Step addressing the financial literacy crisis head on with game-changing technology built to help young people learn about money in their digitally native environments.”

Step is headquartered in San Francisco, California, and was co-founded by MacDonald and Alexey Kalinichenko. The company’s financial solutions are backed by bank partner Evolve Bank & Trust.