JPMorgan Chase takes 40% ownership stake in Brazil’s C6 Bank

JPMorgan Chase on Monday announced it is taking a 40% ownership stake in Brazil’s C6 Bank, a Sao Paulo-headquartered digital bank. The $3.7 trillion JPMorgan Chase has had a local presence in Brazil for nearly 60 years in corporate and investment banking, markets, wholesale payments, private banking and asset management. The deal is still subject […]

Bankers are turning bearish on branch networks

The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated a shift toward digital services in banking, a trend that may sound the death knell for in-branch activity in the next five years. Nearly two-thirds of the 305 banking executives worldwide surveyed between February and March by the Economist Intelligence Unit said branches could disappear altogether in the next five years, […]

Finastra grows fintech marketplace for banks solutions

Banking technology provider Finastra is aggregating some of the many fintech offerings available on its marketplace, which has more than 150 apps for banks to tap for digital banking, cross-border payments, regulatory compliance and reporting, among other services. With so many fintech offerings available, it can be tricky for financial institutions to keep track […]

Bank of America Remains True To Racial Equality With $4.2 Million Career Development Grant

It is reported that Bank of America has announced a partnership between longtime bank partners NPower and Urban Alliance; a union powered by a $4.2 million grant split between both organisations.

The collaboration between the two parties will connect students, predominantly those deriving from communities of colour, to technical skills and jobs; an outcome that aligns with Bank of America’s continued commitment to advancing racial equality and economic opportunity for all.

Statistics show that many students of colour don’t have access to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) courses and are often closed out of higher career opportunities. This effort will empower high school students with future-proof skills to become economically self-sufficient after graduation and access entry-level jobs in tech or tech-adjacent fields, while supporting employers with developing diverse, entry-level talent pipelines.

Kerry Sullivan, President, Bank of America Charitable FoundationKerry Sullivan, President, Bank of America Charitable Foundation
Kerry Sullivan, President, Bank of America Charitable Foundation

“We recognise that early employment is critical to help young people build the skills, networks, and experience needed to break out of cycles of poverty and achieve long-term success,” comments Kerry Sullivan, President of Bank of America Charitable Foundation. “Bringing the collective expertise of Urban Alliance and NPower together further demonstrates our ability to be a catalyst for jobs in the communities we serve by preparing young people of colour for upwardly mobile jobs in tech and tech-proximate career fields.”

NPower, a national nonprofit that is committed to advancing race and gender equity in the tech industry through skills training, real-world experience, support and mentorships, will provide technical training to all Urban Alliance students over the next three years, complementing Urban Alliance’s intensive soft skills curriculum.

This effort will provide 1,500+ students with “digital-literacy” training and deeper tech certification for a self-selected subset. Technical skillsets will open the door for students going on to college as well as those transitioning from high school to full-time work. Bank of America has been an unshakable supporter of the organisation, providing entry-level opportunities for young adults, with employees also volunteering over 4,800 hours of their time through activities such as guest lectures.

“Young people are struggling financially, emotionally and facing significant barriers to employment,” said Bertina Ceccarelli, Chief Executive Officer of NPower. “We, in partnership with Urban Alliance, and supported by our long-time partner, Bank of America, can expand the learning pathways for high schoolers that will position them for quality, recession-proof careers.”

In parallel, Urban Alliance will continue to build a more equitable, diverse next-generation workforce by providing deep-touch professional soft skills training, mentoring, and 9-month paid internships to young people, 99% of whom are from communities of colour, during their senior year of high school.

Through this collaboration, the organisation will expand its two-track offering for high school students – an experiential internship track for students going on to college and a high-school-to-career track for students preparing to enter full-time work, this time in the tech industry.

Bank of America’s funding is critical to this new tech pathway, allowing the organisation to serve more students, increase their exposure to career possibilities, and expand its employer base. Urban Alliance has been a long-time partner with Bank of America on its Financial Centre Internship Programme, which introduces high school and college students to careers in the financial industry.

“This kind of collaboration between nonprofits in the workforce development space is rare and much-needed if we are going to make real progress toward removing systemic barriers to economic opportunity for youth of colour,” comments Elizabeth Lindsey, CEO of Urban Alliance. “We’re grateful for Bank of America’s investment enabling Urban Alliance and NPower to advance digital equity and connect more diverse young talent to high-growth careers in tech.”

Bank of America has a longstanding focus on addressing critical societal challenges, including connecting youth to early employment and helping individuals from low and moderate income (LMI) communities access jobs.

Since 2018, the company has invested $160 million to connect youth and young adults to jobs, including funding jobs with nonprofit partners and supporting skills-building and alternative pathways. Annually, Bank of America connects more than 4,000 high school students with work experiences each summer through partnerships with nonprofits and mayors’ offices, a Financial Centre Internship Programme, and its Student Leaders programme.

Through its Pathways programme, the bank works with nonprofit partners to provide professional skills training and career pathways for members of the communities it serves. These efforts align with the bank’s focus on advancing racial equality and economic opportunity and are demonstrations of how the company is working to be a catalyst for jobs in local communities.

  • 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.

Automation in large enterprises is mostly small, pilot rollouts

Organizations, including those in financial services, are struggling to realize the full value of automation, in part because they’re tentative about fully rolling it out. That’s left nearly half of process automation deployments at the proof-of-concept stage or team scale, although process automation received a high satisfaction rating in a recent survey by Emergence Partners, […]

Mastercard Research Finds 81% of SMEs in MENA Optimistic About Future Growth

After facing unprecedented changes in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) confidence in MENA is on the rise, according to the latest research by Mastercard.

The inaugural Mastercard Middle East and Africa (MEA) SME Confidence Index found 81% of SMEs in MENA are optimistic about the next 12 months. In fact, 77% are projecting revenues that will either grow or hold steady. Over half (56%) are projecting an increase.

Access to data, digitalisation and skills key for future growth

As many regional economies gradually enter the normalisation and growth phase, and social restrictions continue to ease, small and medium-sized businesses in MENA have identified better data and insights (42%), easier access to credit (41%) and upskilling staff (40%), as the top three drivers for growth. This highlights the opportunities for small businesses that arise from both internal transformation as well as industry regulations and trends.

Making sure that SMEs have all the support they need to go digital and grow digital is a key focus for Mastercard. The company works closely with the government, financial organisations and the wider business community to create opportunities for SMEs across the region.

Mastercard has pledged $250 million and committed to connecting 50 million micro, small and medium-sized businesses globally to the digital economy by 2025 using its technology, network, expertise and resources in support of the company’s goal of building a more sustainable and inclusive digital economy. As part of these efforts, Mastercard is focused on connecting 25 million women entrepreneurs. For many small businesses, reducing their dependence on cash through digital payments acceptance has played a major factor in being able to get paid and maintain revenues.

“The results from the SME Confidence Index clearly indicates an upliftment in sentiment that most businesses across MENA are feeling today. This is a positive sign for the region on its journey to economic recovery, and a clear indication of the power of technology in helping enable this growth. As a technology enabler of choice, Mastercard is working closely with small and medium businesses across the region to ensure that their needs are being heard and met with the latest tools and technology that can help them make the most of out of an evolving digital economy,” said Khalid Elgibali – Division President, MENA, Mastercard.

When asked about the main thing that keeps them up at night, 50% of SMEs in MENA mentioned the challenge to maintain and grow their business was their top issue. Looking at concerns over the next 12 months, over half (53%) identified the rising cost of doing business, while 39% cited access to capital. Private sector partnerships (58%) and government-led initiatives (53%) were identified as having the biggest potential to positively impact SMEs and the wider MENA market.

“With rising costs among the key concerns of SMEs in MENA, it is crucial that we prioritise a safe and secure digital economy that can keep commerce going, enable healthy cash flows, and support access to capital by virtue of a digital track record. A strong digital economy benefits everyone in multiple ways, from SMEs being able to grow their customer base through eCommerce, to consumers having a choice of payment methods. Transforming a smart economy through technology, insights and omnichannel solutions is how Mastercard supports businesses of all sizes,” added Elgibali.

As consumer trends evolve in a post-pandemic world, businesses must adapt and prepare for the future. Mastercard’s Economic Outlook 2021 estimated that 20-30% of the COVID-19 related surge in e-commerce would be a permanent trend in share of overall retail spending globally. Furthermore, recent studies from Mastercard showed that 74% of consumers in MENA are shopping more online than they did since the start of the pandemic and 95% of the region’s shoppers would consider making a purchase with an emerging payment technology over the next year.

  • 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.

First Demo Wave for FinovateFall 2021 Announced!

In celebration of Finovate’s return to physical events this September, we’re maxing out the FinovateFall 2021 agenda with demos. Experience the electricity of dozens of fast-paced, 7-minute demos, one after the other, across two days.

Many of the businesses you’ll see on stage were busier than ever during the pandemic and have new expansions to announce, while others used the downtime to add to their product offerings. New founders survived the pandemic and even launched during it. You’ll see all of them this September.

Click here to learn more about how their technology can help you spot opportunities for growth in your organization. And click here to learn how you can meet these organizations virtually or face-to-face.


Interested in demoing? Reach out to the Demo Director at

HSBC: Ensuring Digital Banks are a Step Ahead of Customers

The last 18 months have acted as a catalyst for the emergence of new ideas, new opportunities, and new ways of thinking – particularly among small businesses 

Martin Hyde heads up HSBC Kinetic, a mobile banking app for SME’s. He has worked within the Business Banking space undertaking a variety of customer-facing and Product roles across major UK banks. Martin has worked on the HSBC Kinetic proposition since it was being developed as a concept in 2018, designing and leading the implementation of a variety of products.

He has headed up HSBC Kinetic since July 2020, and here he shares his thoughts on how digital banks should stay a step ahead of their customers. 

Martin Hyde, Head of Kinetic, HSBC UK

Even prior to the pandemic, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) were all too familiar with having to rapidly adapt and innovate. Often reliant on a smaller range of products or services compared to larger counterparts, they are constantly battling to meet the changing needs and wants of their customers – something only made harder by COVID-19 as it removed the vital in-person interaction between staff and customers. Many SMEs have risen to this challenge and transformed themselves and in many cases of capitalised on the changes as an opportunity. 

As SMEs adapt successfully, it has been critical that their financial providers also transform in order to support them. During this period of upheaval, SMEs have required more financial support than ever before, which became one of the driving forces behind the development of HSBC Kinetic – a digital-first banking app that has been built for SMEs, by SMEs. 

As the pandemic fundamentally changed how SMEs carried out their business, many looked to digital banking services to provide a quick and convenient way to get control over their finances. But the pace of change continues to be swift. So how did we go about ensuring that our latest service both maps to SMEs’ current needs and anticipates where they might go next? And what advice would we give others entering the digital banking realm?  

Get to know your target audience

The first requirement when developing any new product or service is to base your design on what your customers truly want, not how that service or system typically works. It is important to steer away from existing processes and well-worn routes – at least until you can validate them. That is why during HSBC Kinetics’ development and beta, our team set out to learn as much as we could about the challenges and opportunities for UK SMEs.

Throughout the app’s development we worked with over 3,000 SME owners to hone in on what they needed from a business banking app – via a range of 1:1s, focus groups, market research and surveys. When did they do their banking? Where did they do their banking? How do customers typically pay them? These sessions were incredibly useful, with customers resoundingly telling us they wanted a simple, quick platform that helped them stay on top of their finances and understand what actions to take as a result. But they also wanted that continued human connection – so it became critical to blend automated access to information with the follow-up offer of adviser support.  

Listen to the customer 

While the information gained from these exercises was great during the set-up of HSBC Kinetic, that doesn’t mean we are done with gathering insights. As any customer-obsessed business leader is aware, listening to customers is a continuous journey. Luckily, with a digital service, there are many ways to keep a close eye on how your customers think you can improve or what more they’d like to see. 

Since the launch of HSBC Kinetic, we routinely use the App Store, Google Play Store, social media and surveys to monitor for feedback. We know how customers are rating our product, but we’re also seeing what they’d like to change about it. As a team, we host a weekly discussion, or the ‘Weekly Voice of the Customer’ to talk through, in detail, how best to act on the feedback and any changes that need to be made. It has been fantastic to get feedback from customers, implement their suggestions in app and to hear their delight at the fact we have listened and that their suggestion has helped improve the proposition for both themselves and others.

Offer more than just run of the mill banking services

When it comes to today’s digital banking services, providing customers with more than just simple transactional banking products is vital. 

In this age of technological innovation, SMEs will fall behind if they’re unable to harness financial data and insights to diversify their services and offering. Within the app, we decided to leverage banking data to offer relevant and timely information that gives business owners the information they need to spot new opportunities.

But we’ve also thought about how we can bring in complementary services – setting up HSBC Kinetic as a true one-stop shop for business management via relationships with third parties such as accounting platforms, insurance providers and digital services. 

Harness your existing strengths 

All too often the temptation, when developing a new digital service, is to start from scratch – to throw out the existing infrastructure. But we believe that you need to be just as open to working with legacy systems as new technology – if they can be used to your advantage of course. At HSBC Kinetic, we consciously decided to blend the agile nature of a FinTech with the capabilities of a global bank. 

Having built the app with Google Cloud technology, we’ve been able to leverage HSBC’s existing infrastructure to migrate customers across and also assure them of the same security features that protect some of the biggest companies across the world. The notion of being semi-involved in a highly complex global organisation may at first seem like it would throw up more hurdles or challenges, especially in the FinTech space, but there has been a real appetite within the organisation to support what we are doing. This blend has, in our opinion, allowed us to offer a truly unique service offering a customer-focused challenger experience with the benefits of a global bank

Note too that this notion of harnessing existing strengths also extends to where you look for talent and inspiration i.e. pulling in the best practice, expertise and people from other areas of the business. 

It’s been a fun ride so far, and one which is by no means over. While I hope these tips come in handy, our learning has only just begun! 

  • 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.

Global Remittance Market is Expected to Grow by $200 Billion by 2026

The value of the global money transfer market reached over $700 billion in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic did not cause as much of a significant slump in transfers as experts initially predicted, and in the following years the industry should grow at a rate of several per cent annually. However, the market is facing a lot of challenges, including how to offer multiple ways of sending and receiving funds, lowering transaction costs, and increasing the security of transfers.

According to World Bank data, the global money transfer market in 2020 was worth over $700 billion. In turn, Allied Market Research forecasts that this market should reach a value of over $930 billion in 2026, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.9 per cent. The digital remittance industry alone has growth prospects at a rate of 13.3 per cent annually to reach over $42 billion in 2028 (Grand View Research). The economic situation should be driven partially by economic migrants who leave their homelands to find better-paid jobs and want to financially support their families back home.

According to the World Bank, the countries that received the most remittances last year were India (USD 83 billion), China (60), Mexico (43), the Philippines (35) and Egypt (30). Looking at the statistics of individual regions in the world, remittances grew in Latin America, South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. Weaker performance was recorded in East and Central Asia, the Pacific region, Europe and sub-Saharan Africa.

“The money transfer market is looking promising. The number of expats in the world is constantly growing, access to mobile services is also increasing, and online financial transactions are already standard in most regions. Digitally sent money has many advantages, which is being realised by the governments of many countries while promoting non-cash transactions. As long as money transfers become cheaper, more secure and available via many digital tools, these services will reach millions of users,” said Evgeny Chamtonau, CEO of

The pandemic did not end up having as much of a negative impact on the global remittance market as initially expected. The detrimental impact of COVID is estimated to have been weaker than during the most recent major economic crisis, which ended in 2009. The market is expected to return to growth this year, with remittances to less affluent and middle-affluent countries expected to increase by 2.6 per cent in 2021 and by 2.2 per cent in 2022.

Users of the money transfer market still see potential for development, e.g. in unbanked people who do not have access to banking services. According to World Bank data, in 2017 it was 1.7 billion adults.

Still many challenges facing money transfers

Money transfers can be a potential area for manipulation, which is why reputable companies in this field place particular emphasis on ensuring the best security procedures with regards to user data verification (including KYC – Know Your Customer procedures) and the transfers themselves.

“Users expect flexibility above all. They need a simple solution that allows them to choose the right payment method for instant money transfer, regardless of the country of sending or receiving the funds. Our app offers expats an opportunity to use local payment methods that are most convenient and familiar to them. It is also important to gradually reduce transfer costs as they are still often very high. Every year, expats who send money to their families on a regular basis give away significant sums, which should change,” adds Chamtonau.

According to data from FTI Consulting, almost half of Europeans prefer local payment methods. Looking at individual countries, in the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Poland, the most popular are payments made through bank accounts, while in Germany, Spain and Italy, users prefer digital wallets (eWallet).

Access to technology is associated with increasing competition, and this can help meet another challenge – high transfer costs. Although the trend is declining – according to the World Bank, transfer commissions have fallen from an average of 14 per cent in recent years to 6.5 per cent, there are still some companies on the market that charge a dozen or so per cent commission on transactions. On the other hand, there are companies that offer commission-free transfers to selected countries. This includes when it comes to transfers to Nigeria, Ukraine, Brazil and Turkey to help users send money to their families.

The future of transfers

Could anything new happen on the money transfer market? Cryptocurrencies, which are increasingly used in transfers, can be a breakthrough. However, until they are widely accepted as an official method of payment and become equal to money, this area will not be able to develop at a faster pace.

One thing is certain. More and more transactions are being made fully online. Cash is still used, but its importance is slowly declining, especially in developed countries, where digital economies are being created with ecosystems of cashless transactions. Technological development and access to mobile solutions is where we are headed, and this will drive the global transfer market.

  • 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.

FinTech Investments by Top Insurance Companies (Part – 2)

An insurance company’s investment strategy can be interpreted by understanding where it’s investing, its target sectors, and the type of funding series it’s investing in. In the second part of the insurance-FinTech investment series, we’ll discuss five insurance companies that have primarily invested in InsurTech startups over the past three years: American Family Insurance, Munich Re, Nationwide, Greenlight Re, and Liberty Mutual. We’ll also explore the pre- and post-pandemic investing behavior, focus areas, target geographies, and venture capital funds.

American Family Insurance

AmFam (American Family Insurance) has been an active investor in the InsurTech ecosystem. American Family Ventures, AmFam’s corporate venture arm founded in 2013, invests in seed and early-stage insurance companies, including artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), the Internet of Things (IoT), FinTech, and enterprise software. The company has invested $172 million in 65 startups over the past eight years, leading to 16 successful exits including an IPO and acquisitions by Google, Amazon, and Apple. AFV launched its third venture fund (AFV Fund III) worth $213 million in 2020, which primarily invests in early-stage star …

Happy 7th Birthday Daily Fintech

7th Birthday is a big deal for a startup, because the data says it takes 7-10 years for startups to build real value. That data is from VC funded startups and as Daily Fintech is bootstrapped/self funded, it may take a bit longer; fortunately being bootstrapped means I own 100% of Daily Fintech so I can be patient, without outside shareholders forcing a timeline.

From the first post in 2014, one thing that has been consistent is how we deliver content that is both High Quality AND Low Cost, which is what we articulate on About Us:

“Daily Fintech is written by an invite only group of experts who have “walked a mile in your shoes”, bringing their perspective as entrepreneurs, bankers, senior executives, technologists, investors, regulators and consultants. Our view is that it is easier to help an expert in a market learn some journalism techniques than to expect journalists to be experts in complex fast-changing markets. Daily Fintech experts go through a rigorous onboarding process and have to comply with strict editorial and disclosure policies.”

I can celebrate that Daily Fintech has come a long way from a single blog post in 2014; but I also know that we have a long way to go. On our 5th birthday we chose to de-emphasise the advisory business (which we had used for bootstrapping) so that we could focus on building a scalable media business. To that end we created a paywall, which forced us to up our game in every way, including content expansion and subscriber experience.

We are investing in technology to meet these needs. Content is where we started and content will always be our core, but we need to become a tech-enabled media business in order to scale and monetise our content while maintaining the high quality and respect for our readers that we are known for.

We have two big external trends on our side:

Growth in Fintech. According to research by UBS, Fintech industry revenues will more than triple from USD 150bn in 2018 to USD 500bn in 2030, implying an average annual growth rate about three times faster than the broader financial sector’s. We need to grow our content to match that reality.

Work from anywhere trend accelerated by the pandemic. Daily Fintech has been a decentralized operation since we started; location is never a factor in our hunt for talent. This means that  “talent is equally distributed, opportunity is not”  (Leila Janah) is a trend that we welcome.

Content about Fintech (ie B2B Media) should be seen as very valuable, but the reality is that while Fintech is hot, B2B Media is not; so we are also building Fintech data spinoffs such as Fintech 50 Index and Robot Equity Analyst. 

For the record, here is our first birthday celebration post.

This Week in Fintech: TFT Bi-Weekly News Roundup 29/06

In today’s The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup, Tide commits £100million investment into India, while Klarna partners with Liberis to offer merchants revenue-based financing.

Job moves

Equifax UK has appointed Phil McGilvray as the new managing director for its debt services business, which incorporates TDX Group and Indesser. He will manage the growth and ongoing development of the Equifax debt services businesses in the UK and Spain.

Fabian Vandenreydt, innovation ecosystem advisor to Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), has joined the advisory board of RE5Q. The real estate AI and technology platform said Vandenreydt brings a wealth of knowledge in technology, capital markets and corporate innovation.

Diginex Limited, recently rebranded as EQONEX Group, has appointed Chris Ashe as group chief technology officer. He will lead the roll out of EQONEX’s technology and product roadmap. Ashe previously held the position of CTO at virtual bank Mox.

Meanwhile,  LPA Group, the capital market technology firm, has expanded its French office with two new senior hires. Michael Lemke is head of client delivery solutions, while Vincent Stefanović is client director sales for the buy-side.

Mergers and acquisitions

Visa has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Tink, the European open banking platform. Visa will pay €1.8billion, inclusive of cash and retention incentives, to acquire Tink. Furthermore, Tink will retain its brand and current management team, and its headquarters will remain in Sweden.

Fintechs Deposit Solutions and Raisin have completed a merger to form Raisin D. The merger will unite both companies to provide a European B2C savings marketplace. It will also lead to accelerated growth, providing wider European coverage and help Raisin D develop a significant US presence.

Partnerships and collaborations

Stax by Fattmerchant has partnered with expense management platform Divvy. The collaboration serves as a referral partnership with Divvy delivering qualified business leads that have expressed interest in a payment processing solution. Stax is also part of Divvy’s recently launched SMB Toolbox, an initiative providing capital and software to businesses.

Prove, the identity verification service, has integrated TransUnion’s TruValidate ID verification feature into its offering in order to launch in Hong Kong. Prove’s phone identity network is now in 60 countries. They say the solution will help businesses better secure customer journeys and help stop fraud before it happens.

HIPS Payment Group Ltd., a provider of e-commerce and mobile payment solutions, has paired up with Vourity, a Swedish SaaS platform for sales and payments. Together they will enable crypto payment for 50,000 electric vehicle charging stations across the European Union.

Meanwhile, One Inc unveils partnership with Insuresoft to expand integrations for inbound and outbound claims payments. The partnership will also offer carriers out-of-the-box integration of One Inc’s digital payments solution with the Insuresoft Diamond platform.

There’s also a partnership for Nium and Pelekin with travel cards. Through the Nium platform, Pelikin can quickly deploy new financial services from card issuance to cross-border payments. Cards are available for use in more than 100 global markets with the Visa acceptance mark.

While law firm Pinsent Masons has advised digital asset management company 3iQ on its listing of The Bitcoin Fund on Nasdaq Dubai. The fund is the Middle East’s first listed digital asset-based fund.

Global technology platform Stripe is teaming up with Hargreaves Lansdown, the digital wealth management platform. As its primary payments partner, Hargreaves Lansdown will use a range of Stripe products including Stripe Payments, Stripe Radar and Stripe Connect.



More partnerships

Klarna selects Liberis to provide revenue-based finance to e-commerce companies across 17 countries. Liberis will embed business finance solutions within Klarna platform to expand scope of services to its customers. Through the partnership, Klarna will offer pre-approved revenue-based financing to its global merchant base.

Instant payments provider Transactive has plumped for Sentinels to upgrade its compliance efforts. It wanted to enhance its existing processes rather than replace them, such as bringing in risk detection capabilities that Sentinels delivers.

Meanwhile, JCB expands partnership with Nets Group to grow JCB Contactless acceptance in the Nordics. JCB card members can now use JCB Contactless on 244,000 merchant POS systems across Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland.

Payfare will integrate Mastercard Send into its financial technology platform in order to expand real-time payment options for the gig economy. Payfare is leveraging Mastercard’s full-service disbursements and person-to-person platform. Gig workers will also be able to send domestic and international money transfers in Payfare digital banking apps.

Emirates Development Bank and Zoho Corporation have signed a MoU to support SMEs with cost-competitive enterprise solutions. Following the partnership, existing EDB customers get Zoho Wallet credits worth $900 to purchase Zoho One. While new EDB customers can benefit from the solution for $1800.

Zoho EBD

Zoho EBD


The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has launched a global challenge for retail central bank digital currency solutions – the Global CBDC Challenge. It’s in partnership with the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, UN Capital Development Fund, UN High Commission for Refugees, UN Development Programme, as well as the OECD. Fintechs can submit solutions that enhance payment efficiencies and promote financial inclusion.

SINOSURE becomes first Chinese insurer to open regional office at Dubai International Financial Centre. The China export and credit insurance corporation has plumped for DIFC for its first office in the Middle East. SINOSURE says Dubai is the ideal ecosystem for Chinese businesses looking to expand in the region.

Digidentity, the online identity verification company – and provider of GOV.UK Verify – has experienced year-over-year annual growth of 20 per cent. Digidentity is also celebrating the establishment of a strong base in the UK and Netherlands alongside a growing client list across the EMEA region.

Nium has expanded its global payments network into Poland. Nium customers can send money to Poland in its local currency PLN (Polish Zloty). The expansion will help businesses overcome the complexity of sending local payments into Poland and open pay-outs into the country to facilitate transactions.

A high-level forum, organised by Dubai Chamber, has identified prospects for driving future economic growth in Dubai. The Future Growth Forum, hosted at the Dubai World Trade Centre, was attended by more than 500 participants representing 24 sectors.

Future Growth Forum

Future Growth Forum

Further updates

Qatar FinTech Hub (QFTH) has announced the Demo Day for Wave 2 of its incubator and accelerator programmes. Taking place virtually on 1 July 2021, QFTH Demo Day for Wave 2, sponsored by Doha Bank, will be one of the major fintech events.

Mamo, the UAE-based fintech, has been granted an Innovation Testing Licence to operate in or from Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). The licence allows Mamo to test its products and services under conditions defined by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA).

The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has invited local and international firms to apply to join the next cohort for its Innovation Testing Licence (ITL) Programme. The cohort will be open to applicants from 1 to 31 July. The ITL is a licensed regulatory sandbox.

Finally, Rain Management, the cryptocurrency platform, has crossed $1billion in trading volume during the first half of 2021. It say the 20-times growth makes it one of the highest trading volume by any crypto platform in the MENA region.


Tapoly launches bespoke instant professional treatment insurance for the health and wellbeing sector. Launched in partnership with Peach Pi, a UK niche commercial insurer, the product will provide bespoke cover for dental nurses, hairdressers and barbers, massage therapists, counsellors and therapists, as well as physiotherapists.

tZERO launches new crypto app with higher buy limits, additional cryptocurrencies and faster settlement times. The tZERO Crypto app now supports Chainlink (LINK), Bitcoin SV (BSV), and Basic Attention Token (BAT), with plans to add more assets in the near future.

Meanwhile, Future FinTech Group has registered new subsidiary FTFT Capital Investments, to do business in the UAE. FTFT Capital intends to operate digital currency trading service and crypto asset management businesses in Dubai.

Unizest launches e-current accounts for overseas workers

FinaMaze, the MENA digital wealth manager, launches two new opportunistic investment themes: cryptocurrency and inflation protection. FinaMaze is an AI digital wealth manager regulated by ADGM’s FSRA and launched during the Abu Dhabi Fintech Festival in November 2020.

Paxful, the peer-to-peer fintech, has unveiled Paxful Pay, an e-commerce solution that lets businesses worldwide to receive Bitcoin. Merchants will also have control over the configuration of the solution on their Paxful Merchant Dashboard and can track every transaction.

E-current account provider Unizest has launched in the UK with support from Mastercard and Railsbank alongside the Association of Labour Providers, as well as several international recruiters. Unizest lets workers and students coming to the UK open an e-current account before they leave their home country. Upon arrival in the UK, customers receive a Debit Mastercard.

Funding and investments

EQONEX (formerly Diginex & EQUOS) has announced that total spot and derivative trading volumes on its cryptocurrency exchange have exceeded $5billion over the past 30 days. EQONEX says it has devoted substantial time and resources towards bootstrapping its volumes organically at s level where it could begin generating revenue.

Smart, the global retirement savings technology platform provider, announces new £165mIllion funding round. Chrysalis Investments, a UK crossover investor, has led the funding round with a £75million equity investment, with additional investors to be announced in the coming weeks. The overall round will comprise £110million of primary and £55million of secondary equity.

Cashee, a UAE-based fintech and edtech startup, has successfully raised a $1million pre-seed funding round. Cashee provides a prepaid card and digital platform for families. The vision of the company is to improve financial literacy in the MENA region whilst empowering the youth on the subject of money management.

While ClearScore, the free credit score and credit marketplace, receives $200million investment from Invus Opportunities. The investment will accelerate ClearScore’s ongoing investments to expand its team and product suite, as well as grow its customer base globally. The deal also sees Benjamin Tsai of Invus join the ClearScore board.

Drata raises $25million series A to accelerate rapid growth of its security and compliance automation platform. The new financing follows six months after the company’s initial seed round and launch out of stealth. New investors Okta Ventures and Silicon Valley CISO Investors (SVCI), as well as Cowboy Ventures and Leaders Fund also participated in the round.

Drata Raises $25M Series ADrata Raises $25M Series A
Drata raises $25million Series A
More investment updates

Tide, the UK business financial platform, has unveiled plans to invest more than £100million in India. It has selected India as its first international market, with a fully-fledged launch early next year. It will also create 1,000 jobs, including product development, software development, marketing, risk and compliance.

Finally, Marstone, the digital wealth technology firm, has closed a $5million Series A round. It brings the company’s total funding to more than $20million. The first close, led by Apex Fintech Solutions, was completed in May 2020. Amerant Bancorp Inc led the latest with a $2.5million investment.

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

Yolt: Open Banking Can Help Retailers Improve Personalisation, Customer Trust, and Loyalty

Personalisation is key to persuading customers to shop online, but previously payments have played a minor role. Today open banking can change that, offering rich data opportunities to improve the customer experience.

Leon Muis, Chief Business Officer, YoltLeon Muis, Chief Business Officer, Yolt
Leon Muis, Chief Business Officer, Yolt

Helping to lead the change is Leon Muis, Chief Business Officer at Yolt Technology Services (YTS). YTS is a prominent open banking provider in Europe, as well as a driving force behind the launch of open banking in the UK, having worked closely with the OBIE and FCA to bring open banking to the UK market.

Leon is an open banking expert and built and leads the Yolt Technology Services proposition. Based in the Netherlands, he is a regular commentator across the Open Banking and wider technology space, including the role of APIs and open banking payments in changing the current business landscape and evolving the user experience, the development of Open Banking technology in a variety of different sectors, and the move towards Open Finance.

Without a doubt, the pandemic has accelerated digital adoption and changed the way consumers shop online. But that doesn’t mean their expectations around the customer experience are any less. In fact, with this shift in adoption has also facilitated a shift in expectation. Customers expect the same personal experience online that they are traditionally used to in-store and are growing increasingly intolerant of anything that falls short of that. But they can also be wary about sharing the data that allows that level of personalisation, with worries over data security and privacy.

In part, this change in expectation is because they have been influenced by a handful of online retailers, who have found a way to manage this process seamlessly. Successful online retailers such as Amazon have long used sophisticated data analytics to shape their personalisation offerings and improve their customer experience – and customers have noticed. As a result, they now expect all retailers to be able to offer similar experiences online, regardless of their size or technical capabilities.  

Customer data is the key to identifying the buying patterns and behaviours that allow retailers to offer more personalised products and services, and so improve experiences. And it’s here where open banking can provide enormous value. Using Account Information Services (AIS) retailers can, with the consent of the customer, access detailed information about their shoppers – such as their spending habits – which can give them real-time and unparalleled insight into their customers’ behaviours and needs. They can do this with the reassurance that it’s been obtained safely and securely since it requires the customer’s consent to access. 

Using data enrichment, another open banking service that uses machine learning to explore trends, retailers can transform customer data into actionable insights that can help pave customer journeys. From this, they can develop personalisation strategies that allow them to suggest products that are more relevant to the consumer concerned, creating a true competitive advantage over their rivals. 

Personalisation means that the buying experience becomes quicker, easier, and more relevant because the retailer is anticipating customer needs. That not only prompts them to buy but increases customer loyalty since the experience is akin to having products suggested to them by a knowledgeable associate in-store. 

Of course, there are other benefits to open banking beyond just the usefulness of the data that it enables retailers to collect. Open banking also reduces friction, for both retailer and consumer, and allows customers to pay securely by enabling immediate payment from their bank account, rather than transferring sensitive card details to the retailer. It gives the customer greater control since, ultimately, it’s them consenting for the payment to be initiated. 

That said, retailers need to use their data in the right way. Product and service suggestions should be specific to the customer and their needs and buying patterns, and not overstep boundaries – one of the quickest ways to turn customers off sharing data. Data exists as a currency and as such the customer needs to get something back in return for its exchange. This means that retailers should deliver genuine value through relevance and through complementary products. It’s here that extra insight into spending patterns can really prove to be of value.

Although they must be careful about not overstepping the mark, it’s not solely about serving up what the customer is looking for. Do that and retailers risk providing a homogenised, over-personalised experience in which customers never sway from their usual buying patterns. Instore retailers don’t boost sales by simply selling the same products over and over. They do it through upselling, cross-selling, and prompting their customers to try something new. True personalisation must do the same – it should suggest and tempt customers into new product areas, subtly. 

Traditionally knowledge about the customer has been built through a patchwork collation of different elements of information about the customer. It’s a picture that’s not always complete and often not accurate. Open banking allows for a clearer, truer view about the customer and about their purchases. 

Using AIS and data enrichment, retailers are able to process the basic transactional information of their customers to create personal data models that will allow them to explore customer trends and deliver the personalisation their customers are after, tailoring appropriate products and services to those consumers at the right time as a result. Businesses are able to use this data to re-train a machine learning model, providing much more accurate predictions over time than other methods which use plain automated approaches to label certain categories. 

Making the most of the data available to them means that retailers can better deliver the personalised level of service and the customer experience that prompts customers to buy, not just once – but again and again.

  • 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.

Finastra Finds BaaS is Set to Make Significant Impact on Financial Services this Year

Finastra research reveals that Banking as a Service (BaaS) and embedded banking services are set to have a notable impact on the industry in the next 12 months. Whilst all markets broadly anticipate this trend – 85% of respondents at global financial institutions – Hong Kong (92%), the UAE (90%) and Singapore (87%) expect the impact to be greatest.

The ‘Financial Services: State of the Nation Survey 2021′,  also finds that most organisations are now deriving the benefits of Open Banking and Open Finance, with the latter considered the natural evolution for the sector. Globally, 94% of those surveyed agree that Open Banking is important to their organisation, with 63% reporting that it’s enabled them to improve customer experience and 59% stating that it’s helped attract new types of customers.

The research was conducted amongst 785 professionals at financial institutions and banks in March 2021 across the US, UK, Singapore, France, Germany, Hong Kong and the UAE. It explores the Open Banking and Finance landscape, the technology and initiatives set to make an impact in financial services over the next year, and how COVID-19 has impacted the sector.

Other insights include:

  • Alongside BaaS, mobile banking and artificial intelligence are identified as the other top technologies which will be improved or deployed in the next 12 months. 95% of organisations are forecasting that they will look to improve or develop technology in this period. The UAE (44%) and Hong Kong (42%) lead the way when it comes to interest in mobile banking, compared to an average of 36% across all seven markets.

  • Collaboration remains important to 94% of financial services institutions, though there remain several existing and new barriers surrounding regulation, security, and technology. Complex regulations have been identified as a significant barrier, with 40% of global respondents agreeing. France (47%), Singapore (45%) and Germany (44%) picked this as their number one barrier. An increase in security risk was identified as the top barrier by banks in the US, Hong Kong and the UAE (all 40%), while legacy systems and IT was cited as the top barrier to collaboration in the UK (48%).

  • COVID-19 has acted as an accelerator for businesses to adapt and invest in new technology and innovation, according to 8 in 10 global organisations. Respondents in Singapore (87%), the UK (82%) and the UAE (82%) are most likely to agree.

  • Financial services organisations are increasingly looking at their organisational purpose. 86% agree that ‘financial services and banking is about more than just finance, and we have a duty to support the communities we are serving’. At Finastra, we call this redefining finance for good.

“Our findings show how financial institutions are already benefiting from Open Banking and, new this year, a growing role for BaaS. We believe that these initiatives have already started paving the way to true Open Finance, helping financial services institutions to develop and enhance the services they provide to their customers,” said Eli Rosner, Chief Product and Technology Officer at Finastra. “For BaaS specifically, 81% of global respondents see it as a means to grow business, enhance their distribution channels, shorten time to market and streamline operations. Valuable insight from so many financial institutions sets the tone for the evolution of financial services as banks and their customers adapt beyond the pandemic and, together with the industry support they provide, serve their communities 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.

Latest Fintech Jobs New This Week: 28/06

After what feels like a lifetime of lockdowns, restrictions and hitting pause on life, things are slowly returning to normal. And frankly, we couldn’t be happier. During this global pandemic, countless businesses all over the world introduced hiring freezes, furlough schemes and had to make some tough decisions. But there has been a shift, and we have front row seats. The world is returning to work, and this has resulted in some pretty amazing companies setting off on hiring sprees, with growth ambitions for the next few months.

And that’s what brings us here today. We wanted to shine a bit of a spotlight on three brilliant jobs that are live on our job board now…

API Product Lead REMOTE, Tutuka

As Tutuka continues to expand as a global payment processing, they are looking for their next Product Lead to own their roadmap and API strategy. You’ll be leading an amazing global team with different backgrounds, from product management to development and business analysis. Do you know payments inside out? Are you passionate about working with people and enabling them to reach their full potential? Join our Product team and bring a real impact to API planning and delivery!

As product leader you will be setting up Go-to-market strategy and managing the delivery times. This includes making sure the new features will be out in the agreed timelines, communicating timelines and updates with the customer base and technical teams, as well as managing expectations and finding suitable solutions when roadblocks occur.

The ideal candidate will bring loads of experience in payments in either merchant services, acquiring, card issuing platforms, and/or payment processing. They will have a strong technical background in the API space, along with demonstrated experience in establishing roadmaps based on prioritisation of opportunities and deep understanding of customer needs. Bonus points, you know how to code.

Security Compliance Analyst, Tandem

As the world adjusts to find its new normal, Tandem believes that people are taking a fresh look at how they use money. People want to build healthy habits that are good for their future and to use their spending power to enable a more sustainable world. Tandem are on a mission to proactively help customers to reduce their carbon footprint and accelerate the UK to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

They’re building an amazing team in London and are looking for an ambitious and purpose-driven Security Compliance Analyst to jump on board. Reporting to the Head of Information Security the Security Compliance Analyst will be responsible for defining a suitable set of secure configuration baselines/technical standards for Tandems technology stack. This role will report to the Head of Information Security and will be a critical part of the team, providing leadership and expertise within the Governance, Risk and Compliance space.

Senior Software Engineer (Remote – EU Only), MarketFinance

MarketFinance is one of the UK’s leading Fintechs and they use smart technology, backed by help from great people, to deliver flexible business finance solutions, directly and quickly. Their online platform and proprietary risk models enable them to provide business loans and advance cash against outstanding invoices, in the form of working capital funding, so that businesses can get on with growing – instead of having to worry about cash flow. They believe in the endless possibilities that arise when entrepreneurs have more time to focus on what they love.

They’re looking for a talented software engineer to join their ranks. This is a remote position, they support you being fully remote, with optional access to a great office in the heart of Shoreditch if you prefer the hustle and bustle of a London office!

They strongly believe that by putting smart people from different backgrounds together they’re able to help customers in ways that others can’t. They value diversity and recognise it as a strength; to support this they organise themselves into cross-functional teams, this means that they empower you to learn new skills, drive innovation and redefine your role to suit your passion and focus. For example, they’ve had engineers discover that their passion is in data, and MarketFinance have supported them in becoming data engineers. They have a strong DevOps culture too and believe CI/CD and testing are the only ways to innovate at scale; deployments should take minutes, not hours!

  • Rebecca works for our job board partner, Jobbio. Based in Dublin, she has been working as a writer for six years, creating engaging and insightful digital content. She has worked in Dublin, New York and London, and has a Masters Degree in Marketing from DIT.

Online Casinos: Digital Wallets are the Way Forward

According to a global report from the processing company Worldpay, payments in cash dropped by 13% in 2020, compared to the 27% of in-store transactions for which cash payments accounted in 2019.

The report predicts that over the next three years the use of cash will continue to decrease. Even now, in Sweden, Canada and Australia, less than one in ten payments is made in cash. Sweden is predicted to be “almost cashless” by 2024.

Accepting cashless payment methods

This type of payment method has become a huge source of convenience for customers in many different types of establishments and service or goods providers in a wide variety of industries. Retail and hospitality are two big industries in which cashless payment methods have gained a major foothold, with customers able to merely scan a card or even a mobile phone rather than struggle to remember their PIN number.

In the world of online gaming especially, digital payment options have become popular. In an effort to make players feel safe and to modernise gaming platforms, operators offer a range of e-wallet options for players.

But how did online casinos come about in the first place?

There is some dispute regarding certain aspects of the history of online casinos, including the first online casino to go live. Although it is generally accepted that the first one opened up in the mid-1990s, some consider InterCasino to be the first online platform for gambling, whereas others feel that software provider Microgaming beat them to it.

Online casino gambling all started in the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda. Sites started operating from there because of laws on the island that gave it the right to grant businesses licences to open online casinos. Essentially, Antigua and Barbuda gave birth to a whole new industry.

How did online casinos become so popular?

The purpose of internet casinos was to open up casino gaming to a whole new audience. Operators, then as now, wanted to create an experience that was as close to gaming in a brick-and-mortar establishment as possible. The internet helped them to achieve it.

Although clever marketing and branding have made a strong contribution to the success of online casinos, the marketing boffins at these companies can only take part of the credit. Convenience has been a huge factor in the popularity of online casino gaming, especially with the emergence of mobile gaming. Players can join a game when they want and from wherever they want. The days of only being able to access them from a desktop computer or at a land-based casino are over.

Convenience has contributed to the success of online casinos as players can play anywhere and at anytime.

Digital Wallet

Digital Wallet

The world of online slots

People do not only sign up to play blackjack, roulette, poker or other table games. Players looking for strategically easier entertainment may visit sites such as Wink Slots and get their gaming kicks from the slots.

These engaging games provide much leisure and, just like the casino games, the same level of convenience: available to play around the clock and from wherever you wish, so long as you have access to the internet.

Paying to play on the slots has never been easier. Again, it is a question of using digital payment services such as PayPal, Skrill, Zimpler and Netelller, using either an app or web browser as the payment system permits.

But what is a digital wallet, actually?

Basically, digital wallets are software-based systems that store the user’s payment information for a range of different payment methods and websites. Using a digital wallet allows the wallet owner to make quick, easy purchases. They can link their wallets to Apple Pay, Google Pay or other mobile payment systems, too, and use their phones to make purchases.

Digital wallets create massive convenience. The owners do not have to worry as much about having to carry a physical wallet. Not only that, but they enable the wallet holders to receive payments, not just to make them.

People have digital wallets stored on their phones so they can make purchases quickly.


Digital wallets, online casinos and the need for security

Online casinos have realised that more and more people are using cashless payment methods.

They understand that some customers will still want to go old-school and make payments using debit cards or credit cards, but now they also cater for tech-savvy players who prefer to pay using a digital wallet.

This is a win-win for both parties.

The player feels they can play more securely online because they do not have to supply any financial details; they can just provide an email address linked to their digital wallet and make payments by using that. Note that online casinos take major steps to protect the data they handle, by employing sophisticated encryption technology to keep transactions between them and players private and secure.

Meanwhile, not only does the casino enjoy the satisfaction of giving their players good customer service by making the digital wallet option available to them, but they can also collect data. The transactions serve up insight into a player’s habits, which the operator can then use to market promotions or services of interest to the player.

Cashless payment methods, including the use of e-wallets, have become immensely popular, offering customers major convenience. Service or goods providers who accept payments through contactless payment or digital wallets make life easier for their customers and the fact they do so may even help them to steal an edge over any competitors who do not.

Part 4 is it possible to create investable assets that are low cost AND active?

Part 1 (8 June), part 2 (15 June), part 3 (22 June).

The short answer is yes, with the help (of course) of new technology.

People investing for the long term (eg parents on behalf of new born babies or people who are decades away from retirement) need decisions that are Simple, Sensible, Set & Forget & Cheap and lead to Good Performance.

a) Simple = checklist that takes less than a minute. This is possible if 20 years is the minimum time horizon. This constraint makes many other decisions much easier.

b)  Sensible = save investors from bad decisions as much as possible. The obvious asset class is equities, because they have outperformed bonds over most 20 year periods.To get adequate diversification, there should be a minimum of 10 stocks.

c) Set & Forget = automated (robo) management for the lifetime of the investment. This makes it simple for parents and also make zero fees easier (see below). Automated (robo) management also means that the 20 year old person will learn the compounding lesson without the noise of a story about how good or bad a manager was.

d) Cheap = zero fees or taxes. Zero fees means the fund manager must donate their normal fees (ie they treat it as philanthropy or a loss leader). Zero taxes means taxes a tax advantaged scheme by country; rollout has to be country specific.

e) Good Performance. The performance of the chosen equities must be good enough over 20 years to deliver a meaningful amount that teaches a positive story about compounding.  Parents will be given a choice of a passive index tracker and an actively managed fund. In both cases the fees  will be the same (ie the active manager must match whatever fees the passive index tracker offers.

Daily Fintech’s original insight is made available to you for US$143 a year (which equates to $2.75 per week). $2.75 buys you a coffee (maybe), or the cost of a week’s subscription to the global Fintech blog – caffeine for the mind that could be worth $ millions.

Searching for Mana – Should DeFi Be Regulated? | Jakub Zakrzewski, Kraken

This week in the Searching for Mana podcast, Kraken’s Managing Director Jakub Zakrzewski joins Lloyd for an enlightening chat about crypto, fintech, angel investment, career progression and so much more! A Forbes 30 under 30 superstar, with experience at companies like Rocket Internet and Revolut, Jakub offers incredible insight into both blockchain and fintech.

Kraken is one of the world’s largest and oldest cryptocurrency exchanges, with more than $1 billion worth of cryptocurrencies stoked to date. Touching on everything from the importance of the centralised side of DeFi, Jakub and Lloyd talk about what crypto has to offer. Then they dig into Jakub’s career to provide crucial advice: how to improve your own career algorithm, how hardworking is the core of many successful stories, how to cold email Revolut’s CEO for a job and other valuable lessons!

Mana Search on Twitter:

Mana Search on LinkedIn:

Episode Highlights:

02:30: Kraken’s strategic development in APAC

11:55: Should we regulate DeFi and digital assets industry?

17:59: The cyclical nature of the cryptocurrencies’ market

21:08: Building own career’s algorithm and the next-day flight ticket to Malaysia

26:40 Working with Nik’s from Revolut

28:28: Building a company from scratch in Hong Kong

36:46: Angel investing, the traits of best founders and future of fintech

43:44 Jakub’s Mana

The Untapped Opportunity of B2B Paytech: Looking To The Future

The B2B payments market has been estimated to be bigger than the consumer market with both larger and more frequent payments. It is an area ripe for disruption.

According to Joshua Bao, co-founder of SUNRATE, a digital cross-border payments platform based in Asia, the B2B payments space has huge potential and yet it remains largely untapped.

Bao, who has more than 15 years of experience in the world of financial technology, began his career at global firm Citibank where he directed foreign exchange and investment transitions across APAC regions.

Having witnessed the payment issues SMEs experienced first-hand he and the team were inspired to create SUNRATE. As well as helping companies access fast, cost-effective and safe cross-border transactions the business also partners with leading banks and institutions to pioneer innovation within financial technology.

Here Bao looks to the future of payment technology and the potential it has to help businesses thrive.

Joshua BaoJoshua Bao
Joshua Bao, co-founder of SUNRATE

Over the last decade we’ve witnessed the rapid growth of B2C payment technology with the invention of mobile banking, mobile wallets and new point of sale providers.

Inspired by changing consumer perceptions and requirements, people now seek immediate, personalised updates on their payments.

However, while there have been huge strides within B2C paytech, many businesses still rely on face-to-face interactions and a physical paper trail.

Yet is this all about to change?

Disruption is digital

Digitisation has to be the first step on the road to a modernised B2B payments system. Paper payments are slow to process, they rely on physical human interaction and they’re not easy to track nor analyse.

One key benefit of digitisation is the opportunity for live communications and real-time feedback. Already a common occurrence for consumers it will soon become the norm for businesses. Modern payments systems deliver easy to access, information-rich transactional details where both the sender and receiver are notified. For businesses this new transparency will enable them to better manage payments processes and have visibility of their funds and forecasting. This in turn enables them to manage their risk and plan accordingly. Ultimately digital payments provide an additional level of clarity over the processing.

Creating data through digitisation

A further advantage of paytech is the potential when it comes to documentation. When making payments, especially in emerging countries, reams of trade documentation are required in order to process them. Payment SaaS helps convert offline documentation to online so that it is easily and quickly accessible when needed. This helps businesses manage their documents and track their payment behaviour.

As any business leader will know, through analysing data it’s possible to gather insights and improve on previous activity. This is true for digital payments. In the past payment fees were blurred or buried within the small print but with digital payments they are now transparent. This gives businesses the ability to track and analyse all of their payments so that they can make informed decisions on how they develop their infrastructure, technology and approach.

Digitising cross border B2B payments

One area of payments that is growing fast is cross border B2B trade, with global cross-border B2B payment flows expected to reach $150trillion in 2022. Historically cross border payments have fallen within the remit of traditional banks who, while functional, were relatively slow in innovation due to their large-scale and complex system. This has meant that businesses have faced a lack of transparency with both pricing and FX fluctuations, high transaction costs especially with more exotic currencies, and long settlement periods. As a result, in recent years new players have entered the market to improve the system and offer competitive solutions.

Paytech has the potential to create new revenue streams for SMEs who are currently faced with slow and expensive cross-border transactions. For example, at SUNRATE we help small businesses get access to lower transaction costs through leveraging both the international and local settlement networks. In this way the fund arrival time is reduced from a few days to same day (T+0). Instead of a prolonged settlement period, clients are able to pay their out-of-country customers and vendors way faster, with little to no friction points. This was previously only a benefit for the large businesses who were transacting large volumes of payments.

When it comes to FX rates, the risk lies in the timing of the transaction – businesses cannot commit to a potential rate, they must commit to an actual rate in order to understand the amount that they’re making. Consequently, we lock-in FX rates before the payment is made so that there is no risk that the price can go up or down enabling businesses to make calculated decisions and avoid FX market fluctuations.

Flexible card solutions

When discussing B2B payment technology and cross-border trade it is important to mention the potential impact of card schemes, as these can offer businesses great flexibility. Cards now support multiple currencies and when making cross-border trades these benefits can be passed straight on to the customer. This allows businesses to focus on their customers without worrying about additional rates or FX fluctuations. Furthermore, there are the inherent practicalities of cards which enable businesses to make instant payments with real-time reconciliation. This in turn minimises transaction disputes before they arise and improves the customer relationship.

The integration of fintechs

Finally, it’s important to look at how the new payment technology developed by fintechs can be made accessible to a wide range of businesses. Recently we’ve seen a flurry of partnerships between traditional financial institutions and fintechs and it’s becoming clear that they are no longer separate entities but two interchangeable sides of the same coin. There are now more than 26,000 fintechs in the world and they have become an integral part of the payments system due to their ability both to rapidly develop technology and offer bespoke solutions.

For example, SUNRATE partnered with Standard Chartered Bank China to launch a new initiative ‘Hui e Da’ – a one-stop digital cross-border payment solution. This combined SUNRATE’s innovative technology with StanChart’s global financial network to build a product that enables its clients, importers, to quickly execute FX transactions and digitally manage their business transactions online, helping them save up to 75 per cent on their payment costs. This was very much a bespoke solution, built for its business customers working both offline and online who needed reliable rates and a simple experience.

A final word

Taking on new technology can be daunting. For each business many departments from procurement to billing, accounts receivable and accounts payable will all be involved in payments. While it’s understandable they will have concerns about disrupting the workflow, ultimately the benefits will outweigh the costs. Payment technology has the potential to transform the workflow of companies, to enable businesses to gather data on their transactions and have visibility of their processes. It’s time for banks and fintechs to put their heads together, to ease the payments burden on businesses, and help them smoothly transition to the latest technology. This is how we’ll see our global economy flourish.

Standard Chartered and ENGIE Continues ASEAN Expansion With Smart City Infrastructure Development

Standard Chartered and ENGIE South East Asia have announced the successful execution of the Bank’s first Green Banker’s Guarantee in Singapore.

Issued under the Bank’s Sustainable End-Use Pillar of its Sustainable Trade Framework, this transaction is per JTC‘s requirement for ENGIE to fulfil its contractual obligations to build and operate an underground district cooling system for Singapore’s upcoming Punggol Digital District.

The Green Banker’s Guarantee with a renewable tenure of up to 33 years is executed in the form of a performance bond in favour of JTC as security for the performance by ENGIE of its obligations and liabilities under the project agreement. Upon full development, the district cooling system will achieve reduction of energy consumption and will be qualified against ENGIE’s verified Green Financing Framework.

This landmark transaction, also Standard Chartered’s first Green Banker’s Guarantee executed in ASEAN, is aligned with both the Bank and ENGIE’s sustainability objectives as they work towards implementing more sustainable practices across their ecosystems. As Singapore commits to its Green Plan 2030 towards sustainable development, net-zero emissions and a green economy, sustainable initiatives by corporates are important to help the nation make solid advancements towards long-term resilience.

Last year, ENGIE mandated that all projects must undergo a comprehensive ESG assessment and calculation of emissions, as well as the decarbonising effect that they provide to their clients, thus demonstrating economic and environmental value to increase investment and innovation. Going forward, ENGIE will only invest in projects compatible with its carbon ambition and is committed to Net Zero Carbon by 2045 for all 3 scopes.

Thomas Baudlot, CEO, ENGIEThomas Baudlot, CEO, ENGIE
Thomas Baudlot, CEO, ENGIE

Thomas Baudlot, CEO, ENGIE South East Asia said, “ENGIE is committed to supporting the energy transition in South East Asia. It is pivotal to see our most sustainable projects benefit from specific financing conditions. We are pleased to have brought this issuance to fruition through close collaboration with Standard Chartered. Our Green Financing Framework ensures that eligible green projects provide environmental and social benefits, and the District Cooling Project for Punggol Digital District is the first in Singapore to meet these criteria.”

Standard Chartered aims to embed sustainability and responsibility into everything it does as a bank and to be the leading private catalyser of finance for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) where it matters most, across its footprint. Standard Chartered recently launched sustainable trade finance solutions across Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Europe and the Americas to help companies implement more sustainable practices and build more resilient supply chains.

Patrick Lee, Cluster CEO, Singapore & ASEAN Markets, Standard Chartered Bank added, “We are proud to be able to provide support to ENGIE through the Bank’s first Green Banker’s Guarantee in Singapore. More importantly, this demonstrates Standard Chartered’s ability to partner with our clients in achieving their sustainability goals as we seek to move the needle on progressing both the Bank and corporates’ sustainability agendas. The private sector has a big role to play in advancing Singapore’s sustainability journey and Standard Chartered looks forward to working with more companies to realise our collective green ambition.”

  • 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.