Tempcover CEO on How the Trials and Tribulations of Another Turbulent Year will Impact the Future


Alan Inskip, Tempcover CEO & Founder, reflects on the past year and shares his predictions for the industry in the year to come. 

Another year has passed and Covid still continues to make consumer trends unpredictable and business planning more challenging than ever. And it is no different for the insurance industry which, in the face of the pandemic, is making strides in reversing the perception that it is still stuck in its old ways of operating under the confines of a cumbersome and inflexible model.

Here is my top pick of trends to watch in the industry.

It takes partnerships to win new business and improve customer service

InsurTech companies, which provide fully-digital UBI products such as temporary car insurance, have been able to swiftly adapt to market changes and meet new consumer demand instantly. At face value this may paint a bleak picture for traditional insurers, but scratch deeper through the surface and there is an exciting new era of possibility awaiting the motor insurance industry.

We know that the large insurers lack the agility to respond swiftly according to unpredictable market trends, and this is where smaller InsurTech businesses can prove to be invaluable partners, as they are at the heart of the digital UBI product revolution.

They have the proprietary technology and skillset to create bespoke digital products for the large insurers, thereby enabling them to keep up with the industry disruptors through collaboration rather than direct competition – all while satisfying ever-evolving customer demand at a competitive cost. This ultimately means that UBI products should be seen as a complementary add-on, rather than an outright replacement to the existing annual model, which still has an important role to play.

Of course, it’s a two-way street and InsurTechs can also benefit substantially from collaborating with the large insurers. By partnering with a widened portfolio of well-established underwriting partners, InsurTechs are able to expand their coverage options and acceptance criteria, while ensuring that they offer their customers a comprehensive choice of the most competitively-priced policies in the market.

Partnerships expand outwards

Collaboration within the insurance space is paramount to future success, but the industry should be careful not to insulate itself from new opportunities that reach further and add greater value to the end-user. For example, enhancing an existing motor policy offering by partnering with a recovery service provider to add breakdown cover as an option for additional peace-of-mind.

Another option is for InsurTechs to partner with automotive retailers to provide temporary driveaway insurance policies as part of the purchase experience. This enables dealerships to offer customers a fixed-price insurance solution that is more transparent and user-friendly, thereby creating a more positive experience of getting a newly-purchased car insured.

Greater pricing transparency

The long-awaited dual pricing ban will be officially enforced by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) at the start of 2022. The main benefit here is that customers will receive fairer and more equitable pricing based on their risk profile, not on whether they are a new customer or not.

Although the potential short-term implication could be an increase in new policy prices, the longer-term benefit will be more transparent pricing that is not punitive towards long-standing policyholders. It may even lay the foundations for a future where insurers can reward loyal customers with more competitive rates – within the context of their risk profile.

Fraud remains a concern

While the industry is working hard to make insurance policies quickly and easily accessible at a competitive rate, this has led to a rise in bogus online car insurance deals, known as ‘ghost broking’. In fact, the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) received over 21,000 reports of fraudulent motor insurance policies in the past 12 months which could be linked to ghost broking [1].

According to the IFB, its percentage of investigations into ghost broking have doubled in recent years, warning that tens of thousands of motorists could unwittingly be driving with fraudulent cover and will face serious consequences if caught by the police.

We can only rid our industry of the scourge of predatory fraudsters by working together to educate potential customers on the perils of unrealistically cheap policies through clear product guides, a transparent quote and buy process, and an easily-digestible policy terms and conditions.

Customer fraud is another major threat that should not be overlooked. Insurers must also do all they can to combat consumer fraud using the latest real-time data available to them, otherwise they run the risk of implementing inefficient pricing models that negatively impact honest customers who may already be feeling the initial pinch from the dual pricing ban when selecting a new policy.

Customer experience will play an increasingly important role

Insurance is a very complex industry and although price competitiveness is an essential aspect, it is by no means the be all and end all, especially with the dual pricing ban coming into effect. With that in mind, ease of doing business is becoming increasingly important.

Priority will need to be placed on giving customers a greater understanding of what they are (and perhaps more importantly, are not) covered for through product transparency, simplified policy language and an enhanced user journey. This will dramatically simplify the process of how insurance is purchased and consumed in 2022 and well beyond.

  • 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.


Apex Group: Has the Pandemic Permanently Changed Fundraising Processes?


Employers are at a crossroads as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, as they are left with the decision: return to working from the office, implement a hybrid work environment or a solely remote experience. The employer-employee relationship is not the only one seeing this sort of change. The relationships between investors and the companies they invest in are now also questioning whether a return to in-person meetings are essential.

Blair McPherson, Head of Capital Introductions at Apex Group. Delivering an extensive range of services to asset managers, capital markets, private clients and family offices, the Group has continually improved and evolved its capabilities to offer a single-source solution through establishing the broadest range of services in the industry; including fund services, digital onboarding and bank accounts, depositary, custody and super ManCo services, business services including HR and Payroll and a pioneering ESG Ratings and Advisory service for private companies.

Here, McPherson explains how the pandemic has irreversibly change the fundraising processes between investors and companies:

Blair McPherson, Head of Capital Introductions at Apex GroupBlair McPherson, Head of Capital Introductions at Apex Group
Blair McPherson, Head of Capital Introductions at Apex Group

As the pandemic seemingly winds down, many employers and their employees are wondering if office life will ever go back to normal. Some hope not, believing a remote or hybrid model would best serve their companies.

Similar shifts in perspective are likely to also hold true for relationships between both general partners (GPs) and investors, and the portfolio companies they ultimately invest in. And it’s about time.

Before covid-19, investors and companies were already yearning for a different model of engagement that could go beyond investor roadshows, annual general meetings, and financial reporting. Now, having experienced the effectiveness of remote, digital engagement in their jobs and other parts of their lives, investors expect more company visibility and connectivity via engagement models underpinned by new technology.

Now it’s up to GPs to embrace this change.

Hybrid is the future

We’re in a transition period and a lot of questions linger. Restrictions on travel and in-person work are being quickly dismantled but the timing and terms of a return to the office are still up in the air.

Still, as the restrictions diminish, the number of in-person meetings is likely to rise, initially above pre-pandemic levels, as people try to make up for lost time. Even so, a sense of uncertainty remains around the future of business travel and the extent to which financial centres will remain the primary locus of work.

Before the pandemic, most private equity houses or venture capital investors favoured in-person meetings, particularly for fundraising and key management sessions. Now, a substantial portion of the professional services supporting the private equity industry appears to be adopting permanent hybrid arrangements.

This shift is a radical departure from traditional fundraising protocol, and the big question is: Will the fundraising process revert entirely once meeting and travel restrictions are lifted? The general consensus is that some technology-enabled changes, at least, are here to stay.

In fact, more than 90 per cent of LPs have said they are prepared to conduct initial meetings with GPs virtually in the wake of the pandemic, according to Private Equity International’s LP Perspectives 2021 Study. Meanwhile, two-thirds of investors will conduct fund due diligence on an entirely virtual basis, and just over half – 52 per cent – are receptive to investing in fund managers having never met face-to-face.

It is clear, that GPs and LPs alike are reluctant to return to the travel intensive schedules of pre-pandemic. Not only do virtual meetings free up time and create efficiencies, but as airmiles become a sign of an embarrassing carbon footprint, not a badge of honor. Investors see the dual benefits: digital engagement can help save both time, and the planet.

A yearlong conversation

Remote working and the use of digital technologies to stay visible and connected were suddenly and widely adopted in an effort to adapt to lockdowns, quarantines, and the new circumstances of staying home. As a result, we have a new normal in which technology plays a central role.

As market demand for secure and user-friendly digital engagement channels grows, sophisticated digital marketing platforms can provide one answer. By connecting Investors, Asset Managers and Companies instantly and providing a forum for exchange, these technological advances can help to build efficient, meaningful and productive virtual relationships.

Companies embrace change

The covid-19 lockdowns have demonstrated that digital technologies are effective and will continue to enhance engagement along with physical meetings and events. Communicating more frequently and more holistically through these new channels also helps break the old, familiar patterns of reporting as stipulated by regulation.

For example, ‘Thought Leadership’ is one crucial area where companies seeking investor cash can differentiate themselves – no matter their size. In an age in which videos can be viewed anywhere, consider making the most of the technological shift by having your senior management record their thoughts and industry insights for current and potential investors. Part of the underlying success of video is that we hunger for the face behind the story.

Video production, incidentally, is no longer the expensive and time-consuming process it once was. There is no reason not to take advantage of it. People are now used to remote work and Zoom chats. One doesn’t need an expensive studio to record a video. And if visual content still seems daunting, consider a podcast – this is a very effective way to generate content and get your message out.

What’s next?

Has the pandemic permanently changed fundraising processes? The short answer, we believe, is yes. The rate of change in the world has been turbocharged over the last year and whilst 100 per cent digital capital raising processes may not become the norm, hybrid fundraising is set to stay.

We should embrace new behaviours and technologies that have been net positives during the crisis. LPs seem to have moved more quickly up the comfort curve than we might have expected at the onset of COVID-19. But now they are there, and GPs need to meet them halfway.


View from the Top: Trends and Predictions With Personetics, SunTec, Vyne, Skyflow, Stylus, Mettle


As 2021 draws to a close, it’s safe to say that this year has been full of ups and downs. With the world very cautiously emerging from the global pandemic, one thing has remained constant: the innovation and growth the fintech industry continues to bring. While the year has been a whirlwind for most, the fintech sector has seen many challenges and opportunities that will no doubt continue into the next 12 months. 

This December, The Fintech Times is asking industry leaders for their ‘View from the Top’ to gain an insight into the decisions behind the last 12 months. Today, we hear from Bjorn Ovick, Nick Daniel, Nanda Kumar, Dorel Blitz, Andrea Himmelbauer and  Estella Shardlow on their 2021 thoughts, plus a look ahead to 2022. Will there be a Happy New Year? Read on…

Bjorn Ovick, Head of Fintech Business and Growth at Skyflow,Bjorn Ovick, Head of Fintech Business and Growth at Skyflow,
Bjorn Ovick, Head of Fintech Business and Growth at Skyflow

Bjorn Ovick, Head of Fintech Business and Growth at Skyflow, a data privacy vault for sensitive data, said: 

“This year we’ve seen an expansion of open data standards and the flow of data across the fintech ecosystem. API-based platforms like Plaid and Square are paving the way for a variety of new applications and use cases. In turn, the ability to share data in a secure way that preserves privacy has become critically important, especially as data breaches and ransomware attacks become more and more common.

“For consumers, the expanding array of new fintech products is driving a growing acceptance of applications designed to perform a specific transaction or task extremely well. Products like Venmo, once bundled with other services by big banks, are now successful standalone platforms and new companies are constantly popping up to fill increasingly specific roles. At the same time, consumers expect the leading data privacy and security that they get from Apple and Netflix in every new product.

“In 2022, we’ll see the major financial networks take hits from the adoption of real-time payments by major retailers like Amazon, Apple, and Target. The real-time payments systems have matured, and the retailers certainly have the clout and the incentives to move consumers to using something other than a traditional credit card.

“We’ll also see the success of many new players who were once thought too niche to get any traction. Startups offering new products in narrower categories — from mortgage-backed loans to overdraft protection — will benefit from the openness of consumers to new ways of handling their finances. These startups are picking apart the services and offerings of large traditional financial services providers for whom most users have very little loyalty.

“With high profile attacks and breach disclosures continuing into next year, data privacy will increasingly become a competitive differentiator as companies face pressure from weary consumers and more stringent data privacy laws across the globe. We’ll see even more pressure on financial services companies to be more open about their responsibility for data privacy, and more active in ensuring it.”

Estella Shardlow, Consumer Attitudes and Technology expert at StylusEstella Shardlow, Consumer Attitudes and Technology expert at Stylus
Estella Shardlow, Consumer Attitudes and Technology expert at Stylus

Estella Shardlow, Consumer Attitudes and Technology expert at Stylus believes the creation of niche fintechs has been a huge trend this year.

She said: “Besides the explosion of virtual currencies (the NFT market’s now worth more than $7bn), it’s been interesting to watch fintech disruptors rise to very real consumer needs this year and understand the nuance needs of different cohorts. This includes the rise of niche banking apps that target specific cohorts or life stages, moving away from a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to banking. Look at the gamified, goal-oriented budgeting tools helping

“Gen Z pay down student debt, like US app Charlie, or September-launched Firstly which is designed for Gen X’s juggling act of financial responsibilities when they’re, say, simultaneously covering their kids’ tuition fees, trying to build their own pension pots and covering elderly parents’ care costs.

Oher exciting neobanks around the world are targeting underserved communities – from Latin America’s female-focused Jefa, which rewards women for health expenditures, to Majority for newly arrived US immigrants, to GajiGesa empowering the country’s vast unbanked population unlock wages on-demand.

“Continuing this trend of ‘humanising’ finance, we’re also seeing some new fintechs adopt more mindful language regarding money and harnessing tech to coach better financial wellness. California-based fintech Happy Money has replaced the word debt with ‘sad money’ in its brand messaging. The rise in people avidly following ‘finfluencers’ on social media shows the appetite for frank, plain-speaking financial education.”

She continued: “In 2022, I expect to see fintech empowering individuals to monetise their online influence and get paid in new ways.

“With the pandemic increasing economic uncertainty and a growing global gig economy, tech will have an important role to play to shore up workers’ financial security. This means new solutions to overhaul clunky payroll systems and reduce dependency on payday loans. Clair, a New York-based start-up, this summer attracted $15m of investment for such a concept.

“The movement towards decentralised finance will continue to gather pace. Platforms such as Roll and MeToken are enabling creators to issue their own social tokens, powering digital community currencies. As the virtual economy workforce grows – think: people making a living from virtual asset design or cryptocurrency trading – this requires new financial products and services, which use different metrics to assess one’s capital and credit viability. There’s a substantial opportunity here.

“But there is a major sticking point for this sector to address: sustainability. The e-waste generated by cryptocurrencies will be under scrutiny, and innovators must apply themselves to decarbonising crypto in order to scale and win over eco-minded consumers. Beyond offsetting initiatives, this is about blockchain innovations that use less energy from the outset. Voice’s new private blockchain and Tezos’proof of stake (PoS) network suggest the shape of things to come.”

Nick DanielNick Daniel
Nick Daniel, Co-Founder and Director of Business Development at Vyne,

Nick Daniel, Co-Founder and Director of Business Development at Vyne, a specialist account-to-account payments platform powered by open banking for merchants, said:

“2022 is the year for the cardless economy. We have already seen a huge increase in adoption for payments through Open Banking and it’s evident that consumers want an easier way to pay – this is where cardless checkouts come in and it’s going mainstream.

“In light of the Amazon and Visa news. In 2022 we may see more payment strikes. Merchants will tire of high-cost card fees. Some may make public statements to pressure lower fees or some simply may abandon them all together and switch to alternatives such as account-to-account payments.

“Consumers are increasingly turning their backs on businesses that go against their values. They’re demanding transparency on everything from employment to manufacturing to environmental impact. 2022 will be the year of consumer exodus for the businesses that don’t truly understand their audience’s beliefs and values, and ensure they adhere to them. Some larger corporations will feel the strain of this changing dynamic, as smaller companies gain the advantage of growing with their audiences.”

Nanda Kumar, CEO of SunTecNanda Kumar, CEO of SunTec
Nanda Kumar, CEO of SunTec

Nanda Kumar, CEO of SunTec thinks that “intechs have been growing consistently during the last decade with increasing emphasis on banking services offered digitally.”

He continued: “Various factors have contributed to this rise. The recent exponential evolution of technology coupled with the increasing adoption of the internet and mobile have fostered this growth. In addition, the new growing set of customers – millennials – who are comfortable with the convenience a fintech offers have also influenced this growth.

Fintechs have been growing rapidly in North America, Western Europe, India, China and the Far East, attracting the largest share of investments. Finextra Research indicates that since 2019, close to 1,200 fintechs have processed their IPOs.

“The fintechs have imagined the possibility of extending end-to-end banking services in the digital-only model. The low overhead of having a purely online operation, low transaction fees and higher interest rates provide a unified digital solution to clients. The use of artificial intelligence and machine learning helps them personalize their offerings – faster onboarding, tailored products, prices, benefits etc. In fact, fast-tracking payments modernization is one of the most telling contributions delivered by the fintechs. The introduction of contactless payments, mobile wallets, and BNPL have disrupted existing standards and introduced new norms for the payments industry.

“Another important trend that we have seen is the move to sustainability across the board. Businesses realize they have to scale and become efficient but not at the cost of the planet. We have seen some early signs of this with fintechs during the pandemic.

“Finally, while fintechs offer very compelling solutions to customers, they still do not command the same levels of trust as that of the traditional banks. These complementary strengths – innovation and trust – has resulted in many banks and fintechs partnering to offer innovative solutions to the banks’ vast customer base.

“Banking in the future will be vastly different from what we have been used to in the pre-pandemic days. Banks and fintechs will have to collaborate effectively to offer services to customers and to grow their respective businesses. Fintechs bring to the collaboration a deep specialization which is vertical; Banks on the other hand are horizontal and have enjoyed customer trust over the years. This therefore becomes a win-win partnership.

“The future of business is in collaboration and anyone ignoring that will perish.

“The new open banking regulations that many countries are introducing will help banks integrate better with fintechs. The new banking platforms from fintechs will allow banks to offer a large portfolio of solutions in partnership with its ecosystem. Banks and fintechs will want to own customer journeys and digital-first and digital-only banks will be common and banks will host digital frontends for customer engagement. The growing open banking adoption fuelled by favourable regulations will foster banks’ partnership with fintechs.

“The Fintech ecosystem is pivotal to creating a low carbon economy and achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Some of the purpose-built fintechs are devising business models to support the development of promising carbon removal technologies and help tackle climate change. The reach and operating model of fintechs also will enhance financial inclusion and support SMEs in getting access to credit and other banking services. We also expect fintechs to adopt various modes of cloud deployment – private, public, hybrid and multi-cloud – which will further enhance innovation and co-participation.”

Dorel Blitz, VP Strategy & Business Development at PersoneticsDorel Blitz, VP Strategy & Business Development at Personetics
Dorel Blitz, VP Strategy & Business Development at Personetics

Dorel Blitz, VP Strategy & Business Development at Personetics, said:

“2021 has been defined by record-breaking growth. In the UK, investment into fintech hit £17.7 billion in the first half of the year alone and globally, in the last three months, 33% of all total new unicorns have been fintech-focused. We’ve also seen a huge number of fintech IPOs as well as influential M&As. The growth opportunity for fintechs is greater than ever but has made market competition hotter, the challenge for fintechs this year has been standing out and prioritising customers.

“I’ve long been a believer that fintech should make the world a better place but what’s been really unique about 2021 is the growth of ‘green fintechs’ or ‘fintechs for good’. Next year, I expect to see many more solutions that prioritise financial wellbeing and allow people to make more sustainable choices with their money, for example by showing the carbon footprint of their spending.”

On the future, they said: “We’re going to see the fintech and banking world adopt the ‘Netflix effect in 2022’. Modern consumers want an experience where banks and fintechs can think on their behalf and like Netflix, provide automatic recommendations based on the individual. The burden of finance is increasingly moving away from the customer to the latest tech which can automate the ‘busy work’ of managing personal finances and actually help customers with their overall financial wellbeing. This development doesn’t hinge on a single technology but a combination of technologies together that use data to understand customers on a deeper scale.

“I’m also excited to see how technology starts to democratise wealth management by helping people with their investments and trading. There are currently millions of underserved customers who don’t have the means for their own financial advisor who will benefit from a hybrid model where data is helping relationship managers make more informed decisions and open up wealth management to a larger audience – just like Robinhood has expanded retail investing.”

Andrea Himmelbauer, Mettle’s first Culture and People LeadAndrea Himmelbauer, Mettle’s first Culture and People Lead
Andrea Himmelbauer, Mettle’s first Culture and People Lead

Andrea Himmelbauer, Mettle’s first Culture and People Lead, said:

“Next year will see even more of a shift towards remote and hybrid working environments. The lockdowns have changed the working world and employees want the freedom and flexibility to choose where they work.

“With advancements in productivity tools and more support from businesses, this trend will continue to grow. But, there will be a challenge attached to this new working model – maintaining your culture and ensuring productivity and innovation remains when employees are split between working from home and the office. It is a conundrum that businesses are going to have to face.

“We’ll also see blockchain move beyond the cryptocurrency hype and instead be used to add more transparency into transactions. Think of smart contracts where all participants can be immediately certain of the outcome. This cuts out the middle-man where there is no intermediary’s involvement and no time lost with this process. Setting up specific conditions means that workflows can be automated and actions triggered the minute they are met.

“Sustainability will come to the fore but the responsibility lies with each business to understand how sustainable their practices really are. We’d all love the products and technologies we use to contribute to our environmental and sustainability goals, but at the moment, that isn’t the reality. There needs to be a more open conversation around sustainable technology, and businesses holding themselves to account.

“Finally, next year we’ll see the ownership of data changing rapidly. The decentralisation of data ownership will give the power back to consumers. They will have the choice of who sees their data, when and why. This, to me, is the biggest trend as data underpins so much of what we do today.”

This article is part of our 2021 December series, View from the Top, to see others like it and our special edition from December 2020, please click here.

  • 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.


UK Reports £2.5Bn in Losses to Fraudsters and Cybercriminals


UK residents and businesses have seen financial losses of £2.5Bn from fraud and cyber-crime over the course of the past year, a new study reveals.

Research by chargeback firm and online trading scam specialists Payback Ltd analysed data drawn from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) to reveal that the UK has reported almost 500,000 cases of fraud and cyber-crime that have resulted in financial loss.

Spanning data from November 2020 to November 2021, it was found that the UK has reported an average 40,586 cases of fraud and cyber-crime per month, with an average financial loss of £5,700 per case. The height of cyber-crime activity appeared during the earlier months of the year. In February, the UK reported 47,800 cases equating to £267.6M in financial loss, while in March more than 48,500 cases amounted to losses of £219.3M.

Among the top five crime codes of reported cases in 2021, fraudulent activity using online shopping and auctions amounts to more than one hundred thousand reported cases through the year (100,168 in total) that amount to a value of £77.1M in financial loss. The overall umbrella of “consumer fraud” includes other criminal activity such as dating scams and bogus tradesmen, and accounts for £437.2M of the country’s losses this year.

Overall, fraud and cyber-crime cases relating to individual British residents account for 87% of the country’s total report volume. This translates to £1.8Bn of financial loss incurred over a reported 421,473 cases. Those aged 20-29 reported the most instances of criminal activity, with 82.2K reports made across the course of the year – followed closely by those aged 30-39, who clocked in 80.9K reports.

There have been 62,976 reports made by British businesses throughout 2021, equating to a total reported financial loss of £736.3M.

Commenting on the findings, a spokesperson for Payback Ltd stated: “It is difficult to see such high figures relating to fraudulent and criminal activity taking place over the course of the year. It is imperative that the British public exercise caution when making financial transactions of any kind, and to ensure that they are confident that any transactions are done via official, safe and legal means.”

This study was conducted by Payback Ltd, a global financial recovery company helping to get back money stolen by scammers for over 6,500 customers, and the only debt recovery service that successfully recovers money from cryptocurrency scams.

  • 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.


Tink Acquires FinTecSystems


European open banking platform Tink has completed the acquisition of leading German open banking infrastructure fintech, FinTecSystems, following regulatory approval. FinTecSystems is thereby becoming part of Tink.

Following the acquisition, the combination of Tink’s pan-European open banking platform and FinTecSystems’ unrivalled product suite and expertise in the DACH market, will offer both local and international customers in the region the most complete solution when partnering for open banking technology.

The completed acquisition also brings fintech and banking customers to Tink, including N26, DKB, Santander, Solarisbank and Check24. FinTecSystems’ 78 employees become part of the Tink organisation, with the new DACH management team including René Sauer, Hannes Rogall and Caroline Jenke alongside Tink’s Cyrosch Kalateh. Through this completed acquisition, Tink now increases its total number of employees to almost 600.

Tink is a European open banking platform that enables banks, fintechs and startups to develop data-driven financial services. Through one API, Tink allows customers to access aggregated financial data, initiate payments, enrich transactions, verify account ownership and build personal finance management tools. Tink connects to more than 3,400 banks that reach over 250 million bank customers across Europe.

FinTecSystems will continue to function as an independent, regulated company in Germany.

  • 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.


Daily Fintech’s most popular post from 2017


To give the experts who bring you  insights daily based on their experience as investors, entrepreneurs & executives a break during this holiday season (for some people), we are reposting the most popular posts from last 5 years.

Daily Fintech’s most popular post from 2017 was Polychain Capital: A hedge fund investing at the Protocol layer of Web 3.0


5 AI and Technology Predictions for 2022 with Mitek


As the New Year unfolds, digital technologies will play an important role in making customers’ lives easier, but also safer. It’s up to technology companies and banks to ensure that becomes a reality.

In light of this, Mitek’s CTO, Stephen Ritter and VP, Sanjay Gupta share their top predictions for 2022. 

An AI Bill of Rights will create new opportunities for solution providers and limit irresponsible use of data

Next year, the US government will officially establish its new advisory commission on AI technologies, and the AI Bill of Rights proposed by the current administration likely won’t be far behind. Legislation that limits the non-consensual scope and impact of AI on consumers is badly needed, as demonstrated most recently by the whistleblower accusations against Meta’s use of algorithms to prioritise engagement even on harmful content. Somewhat like the EU’s GDPR, a bill focused on consumer protections won’t limit innovation or value by companies providing AI solutions so long as they obtain consumer’s consent to use their data, but it will act as a shield against businesses marketing or otherwise using that data without disclosing it. And as important as these protections will be in the next year, we will also likely continue to see regulations further refined in the years ahead as AI technologies continue to grow and become more sophisticated. 

Touchless technology is here to stay – but not for the reasons you think

We saw a big spike in the availability and use of touchless technologies last year, largely in response to concerns about infection during the earlier days of the COVID pandemic. By introducing consumers to these technologies through touchless ATMs, QR code sign-in at hotels and other applications, service providers also showed the public how much more convenient they are. When customers don’t have to pull out their wallet or manually navigate through an interface, that reduces a lot of friction to make services faster and easier – and most people won’t want to give that up even once the pandemic is over. In 2022, we’ll see more airlines use touchless technologies, as well as new industries like concert/sports arenas, public transportation, stores and more. In addition to decreasing wait times in lines, biometrics-based authentication also prevents ticket fraud, an issue that’s been on the rise in recent years as more consumers are buying digital event tickets.

 We will see the new age of Apple vs. Microsoft in decentralised identity platforms

We’re poised for yet another major Apple vs. Microsoft competition in the next year, not in devices or software but in establishing the industry’s dominant decentralised identity platform. Apple’s approach to decentralised ID has thus far been limited to customers within its own ecosystem, creating what some have called a “walled garden,” and hasn’t made decentralisation a major selling point of its offerings. Meanwhile, Microsoft made waves announcing its own decentralised system with Azure Active Directory verifiable credentials and developer kits earlier in 2021, which in principle would allow a broader segment of businesses to use the service. If last year saw the launch and initial growth of these two platforms, 2022 will be the year competition really heats up to determine which approach and ecosystem customers choose for decentralised identity.

 Banks will focus more than ever on the digital consumer  

During the height of COVID fears, consumers were no longer coming into big branches to manage their finances, and competition from smaller more digitally focused banking groups began to steal customers away. As a result, banks poured an influx of funds into their digital strategies to add more value for digitally-minded consumers, and in seeing the success of those efforts last year, will continue to push for more mobile-first, customer-focused technologies in 2022. These digital services will focus heavily on minimizing friction to make apps faster and easier to access. Combining a focus on digital technologies with consumers’ longstanding trust in the banking industry will also provide opportunities for banks to explore newer and sometimes riskier financial services, such as decentralised finance, where consumer interest is growing.  

Voice and behavioural biometrics are the future of authentication  

The use of AI, including biometrics, to verify identification and support secure online transactions will continue to expand in 2022. According to new research from airports that have implemented biometrics systems in 2021, many consumers support these common types of identity verification, such as fingerprint matching. In the next year, we will hear more about behavioural biometrics and voice matching as these new methods enable people to more securely conduct business and transactions online.

  • 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.


Santander Loses £130m in Christmas Day Mistake


High street bank Santander has accidentally paid out £130m to thousands of accounts, both individual and business, in error on Christmas day. 

75,000 accounts that received one-off or regular payments from 2,000 businesses were mistakenly paid a second time. Payments include wages as well as money from suppliers. The second, erroneous payment funded by Santander’s own reserves, meaning no companies have been left out of pocket.

“We’re sorry that due to a technical issue, some payments from our corporate clients were incorrectly duplicated on the recipients’ accounts,” the bank said in a statement.

“None of our clients were at any point left out of pocket as a result and we will be working hard with many banks across the UK to recover the duplicated transactions over the coming days.”

Christmas blunder

The bank is now attempting to recover the cash, advising that the problem was a result of a scheduling issue. However, the money has been sent to recipients who belong to other banks, such as HSBC, Barclays and NatWest, making the process more difficult.

While the banks are able to retrieve the money, some are said to be worried that it may have already been spent and do not want to push their customers into overdraft if so.

It is actually illegal for customers to keep wrongly accredited money, and if they spend it they could potentially be charged with “retaining wrongful credit” under the Theft Act 1968.

  • 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.


Behind the Idea: WondaPay


The recent pandemic has led to era-defining changes to the world of work and employment. However, what hasn’t changed yet is the methods of paying independent workers or freelancers and the payment security available to them or their clients.

Invoicing on the completion of work and typically being paid on 30-day terms often results in late and non-payment for freelancers, with time being wasted on chasing payments, cash flow strains and mental stress. Where freelancers request an upfront deposit to protect their interests, there is often tension, with clients also questioning legitimacy in an absence of payment protection. WondaPay wants to change this.

JJ Rathour is founder and CEO of Wondapay, a secure payment holding service that seeks to provide the trust layer between freelancers and their clients.

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

The response is slow to say the least. In every company, a ‘system’ develops over time, through trial, error, refinement, investment, development, and training. This makes change difficult. Both procedurally and psychologically. There is an innate reluctance to do things differently because it is perceived as making more work. Despite the fact that Fintech can often bring a whole range of additional gains for businesses, this is still a big hurdle faced by the industry.

How has this changed over the past few years?

Digital strategy is permeating through all aspects of business. And in an intensely competitive environment, all potential opportunities for improvement need to be considered. This commercial pressure and imperative combined with a digital-first staff coming through the ranks would suggest that attitudes about change. If not with a dramatic widespread adoption of fintech in the short term, with at least, different approaches to doing things being more deeply considered.

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

Openness with the founding team has led to genuine collaboration, rather than a single senior person or team setting the agenda that everyone else is expected to follow through slavishly. It’s surprising how insightful or inspiring ideas can make all the difference in an organisation where everyone’s opinions matter.

What FinTech ideas have been implemented?

We seek to use WondaPay with all our suppliers, which means they get paid immediately on delivery for their services. Fundamental to WondaPay is Open Banking and account-to-account payments.

What benefits have these brought?

The benefits mean no more ‘payment cycles’, mistakes or delays in processing invoices, or answering queries from anxious freelancers – all of which are operational facts. More importantly, in people-terms, prompt payment reassures our freelance contractors that we are good-payers and professional though they are, it makes us certain that we are receiving their very best work.

Do you see any other industry challenges on the horizon?

FinTech is an incredibly competitive, fast-moving, expensive and well-funded industry. However, the particular challenge we see is in hiring exceptional people in a relatively limited labour pool. We are genuinely fortunate to be working in a cutting-edge business space and to be benefitting from all the excitement that entails. But we realised at an early stage that some of the skills we require don’t even seem to have a formal name. As an example, we require a CTO who is conversant with technology development, Open Banking and regulatory space. Yes, we have an awesome tech development team. We work with Truelayer and we have a 40-year veteran of financial compliance as a WondaPay director. But what we need is someone who can bring all that together. Where do you even advertise for a person like that?

Then, of course, we’ve got the additional issues of Brexit and financial passporting. But we’d need another whole interview to get to the bottom of those headaches!

Can these challenges be aided by FinTech?

Regrettably, FinTech cannot aid our hiring challenges. Our only real recourse is to hope that the prospect of individual projects will attract the interest and intellectual curiosity of awesome new hires.

Final thoughts… 

A cri de coeur: Brexit, financial passporting and an under-resourced FCA are proving significant impediments in London retaining its FinTech lead. This lead should not be taken for granted as other jurisdictions are positioning themselves to attract investment and people.

  • 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.


Santander Rushes to Recoup £130 Million Mistakenly Paid Out to U.K. Accounts


Banco Santander SA is racing to retrieve 130 million pounds ($175 million) paid out to thousands of British customers in a Christmas Day slip-up.

Spain’s biggest lender accidentally made a second payment on Dec. 25 to about 75,000 people and firms who had been due for one-off or programed payments from 2,000 businesses with accounts at its U.K. unit.

The blunder has forced Santander to talk to banks whose customers received the money or, in some cases, approach customers directly. The situation was first reported by The Times newspaper.

“We’re sorry that due to a technical issue, some payments from our corporate clients were incorrectly duplicated on the recipients’ accounts,” a spokesperson for Santander said. “None of our clients were at any point left out of pocket as a result and we will be working hard with many banks across the U.K. to recover the duplicated transactions over the coming days.”

The Times said the money went to accounts at banks including Barclays Plc, HSBC Holdings Plc, NatWest, Co-operative Bank and Virgin Money UK Plc.

Some of the banks may be worried that customers may have already spent the funds, the newspaper said. The payments came out of Santander’s own reserves, meaning its own clients weren’t affected.

Santander has 20,000 staff in the U.K., where it runs 450 branches and manages 209 billion pounds of customer loans and 201 billion pounds of client funds.

—By Charles Penty (Bloomberg Mercury)


Top 5 bank automation stories of 2021


2021 proved to be a landmark year for the financial services automation sector as banks employed robotic process automation (RPA), machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to drive major technology overhauls. Following is a look at the most popular Bank Automation News automation stories of 2021: No. 5: Yearend Libor phaseout to require automation […]


View from the Top: Trends and Predictions With Xero, Yooz Inc., Voyager, Investingoal, Apiture


As 2021 draws to a close, it’s safe to say that this year has been full of ups and downs. With the world very cautiously emerging from the global pandemic, one thing has remained constant: the innovation and growth the fintech industry continues to bring. While the year has been a whirlwind for most, the fintech sector has seen many challenges and opportunities that will no doubt continue into the next 12 months. 

This December, The Fintech Times is asking industry leaders for their ‘View from the Top’ to gain an insight into the decisions behind the last 12 months. Today, we hear from Chris Babcock, Filippo Carlo Ucchino, Stephen Ehrlich, Laurent Charpentier and Anna Curzon on their 2021 thoughts, plus a look ahead to 2022. Will there be a Happy New Year? Read on…

Chris Babcock is the CEO of ApitureChris Babcock is the CEO of Apiture
Chris Babcock is the CEO of Apiture

Chris Babcock is the CEO of Apiture, a provider of digital banking solutions empowering banks and credit unions to accelerate their digital transformation. He said: 

“2021 is likely to be another record year for digital adoption as consumers and businesses have grown increasingly comfortable transacting online. For the banks and credit unions Apiture serves, this year has been all about broadening their relationship with customers through digital channels while enhancing the customer experience. Open banking continues to enable financial institutions to take advantage of today’s fintech ecosystem, and banks and credit unions are embracing the opportunity to expand their digital offering with capabilities offered by innovative partners. Some examples include:

“Digital Account Opening: Financial institutions are providing customers with an easy way to create and fund new accounts — including deposits, loans, cards, and more — from any online or mobile device, within minutes, without ever visiting a branch location. 

“Value-added Experiences: Banks and credit unions are delivering features that support customers’ financial health, such as credit score tools, budgeting features, and low balance alerts. 

“Enhanced Support Tools: Community institutions are implementing more innovative in-application tools that marry digital and in-person support through online chat and video features as well as personalised messages.  “

On the future, he said: “At Apiture, we expect several trends to impact our clients next year. Firstly, financial institutions will leverage customer data through AI-based applications to deliver personalised experiences to customers, including enhanced support experiences, greater fraud protection, and targeted sales and marketing offers. Data privacy will remain a hot topic, with institutions providing customers with increased transparency and control over how their data is shared. 

Through open banking and the use of APIs, financial institutions will expose banking services to partners to develop new products. This strategy will enable banks and credit unions to benefit from the growing number of embedded financial services that are emerging from nonbanks to meet the demand for holistic, seamless experiences.  

Growth of real-time payments will continue globally and will reach a tipping point in the US next year. Beyond payments, real-time capabilities will extend to alerts, analysis, and notices as the batch world is left behind.

“A final trend we are watching and discussing with clients is cryptocurrency, and the topic can be polarising. While many banks and credit unions will maintain a wait and see approach, a growing number of institutions will implement crypto trading solutions in 2022 — and others will look to actually hold crypto as an asset.”

Fillipo Carlo Ucchino, CEO, of Investingoal

Filippo Carlo Ucchino, the CEO of Investingoal said that “there’s no doubt that 2021 has been another year dominated by crypto.”

“The total cryptocurrency market cap is on its way to replicate the 300% increase from 2020 which was already gigantic. This November the total value has almost touched the 3 trillion dollar figure. Every crypto adoption calculation has seen its scoring skyrocket throughout 2021, especially in emerging economies.

“But it’s not only numbers and percentages. More and more crypto players are officially investing in the “real world.” A good example is in the world of football, with Socios.com sponsoring Inter Milan and Binance.com sponsoring Lazio, to name just a couple. We’ve also seen a 700 million dollar investment from Crypto.com to attach its name to the Staple Center of Los Angeles for the next 20 years and change its name to the Crypto.com Arena.

“Another example is eToro, one of the fintech giants in the online trading market that’s always been at the forefront of crypto evolution. In 2021, eToro increased its total crypto offering from 16 to more than 40 digital tokens.

“2022 might be the year for crypto ETFs. For many crypto advocates, crypto ETFs are the final door that will allow the flood of capital for investment purposes from financial institutions. This will of course skyrocket liquidity bringing the whole crypto sector up with it.

“This is something that has been in the making for the past 7 years. The first was the Winklevoss twins who filed an ETF proposal with the SEC for the first Bitcoin ETF, but it was rejected due to lack of liquidity and concerns about transparency and manipulation. Back then when the SEC explained its reasoning, the market cap was 800 billion dollars. It’s now almost 3 trillion.

“Moreover, Coinbase, one of the biggest crypto exchanges, has gone public, and Binance, another whale in the sector has declared its plan to go public as well. On top of this, in October 2021 we saw the first Crypto ETF, ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF, officially start trading, followed shortly after by a second one, the Valkyrie Bitcoin Fund. The SEC has already reported dozens of other applications in 2021.

“So in 2022, trillions of dollars are likely to arrive into the Crypto arena through ETFs – and we can expect the whole fintech industry to react.”

Stephen Ehrlich, CEO and Founder of VoyageStephen Ehrlich, CEO and Founder of Voyage
Stephen Ehrlich, CEO and Founder of Voyage

Stephen Ehrlich, CEO and Founder of Voyager, the Crypto brokerage, said: 

“Throughout 2021, we saw a major mainstream shift towards cryptocurrencies as more and more people explore ways to incorporate crypto into their financial lives. In response, we saw the crypto industry explode with innovative products that can help people build real wealth, from crypto-backed rewards to NFTs. Crypto earned so much limelight this year that it also spurred more regulatory attention and discussion. What was once confusing to many is now coming up in our everyday conversations, and crypto is now regarded as the next big fintech disruptor. We think there’s a lot in store for crypto in the years to come.”

He continued: “2021 set the stage for crypto to truly disrupt our financial systems. This year, people began to learn more about crypto and start to understand its value. Now that it’s become much more mainstream, 2022 will be the year for crypto to see innovation in real-world use cases. People will regard it as more than just a store of value, so rather than just holding it in their accounts, people will use it as a form of currency for payments and utilise its technology to make transactions — from art to contracts to music.

“I think in the next year, we’ll see increasingly more people use crypto like cash and more businesses accept it as a form of payment. Beyond next year, crypto will become so intertwined in our everyday lives, we likely will not even be able to imagine our world without it.”

Laurent Charpentier, Chief Operations Officer & Chief Innovation Officer at Yooz IncLaurent Charpentier, Chief Operations Officer & Chief Innovation Officer at Yooz Inc
Laurent Charpentier, Chief Operations Officer & Chief Innovation Officer at Yooz Inc

Laurent Charpentier, Chief Operations Officer & Chief Innovation Officer at Yooz Inc. believes digital transformation was a trend of the year. 

He said: “In response to COVID, the top trend in 2021 in fintech, and accounts payable specifically, was digital transformation. Digital transformation is not a new term for those in fintech, and it doesn’t look to be going anywhere any time soon. Adopting digital transformation has been key to make anything and everything accessible without having to be in the office. This includes cloud-based software and platforms, automation, the use of smart technologies like OCR, smart data extraction, AI, and machine learning. 

“Additionally, cyber security has gone hand in hand with these digital changes to ensure companies are able to operate not only efficiently and effectively remotely in a centralized platform but also securely and free from risk.

“Digital transformation is a trend and a buzzword that we will hear for years to come in the fintech space. What started out as a response to the pandemic, and a forced shift in the way many do business, has started to shift into the new future of the finance industry that is more automated and efficient and less manual and error-ridden. 

“A prime example of this is in the trends we are seeing in SaaS and fintech companies’ plans for the coming years. Expanding automation and digitalisation even further to enable multi-national, multi-entity, multi-language, multi-currency companies to do more with the resources they have and create a truly efficient, centralised process is at the top of the to-do list for most businesses in 2022.

“In addition to creating a powerful centralized process, the elimination of manual tasks is a byproduct of this digital transformation. Everything from getting rid of paper invoices with each order and the need to cut physical checks and mail them to a vendor for payment, to reducing the human errors that are a part of manual data entry are all benefits finance departments will be looking to accomplish in the next year with digitally transforming the way they do business.”

Anna CurzonAnna Curzon
Anna Curzon, Chief Product Officer, at Xero,

Anna Curzon, Chief Product Officer, at Xero, said:

“We often see periods of economic downturn speed up the arrival of new trends, and in 2021, it was all about business digitisation. Over the last 12 months of lockdowns and restrictions, businesses that were more digitally enabled had better rates of survival.

“Xero’s aggregated and anonymised data of more than 300,000 small businesses showed that those using more business apps prior to the pandemic pivoted much faster to offer online services and were more resilient.

“Additionally, governments around the world mandated digitisation in different ways, such as Making Tax Digital in the UK and Single Touch Payroll in Australia.

The acceleration of digital transformation has driven other trends, such as the growth of new small businesses and industries — especially in areas like e-commerce. This includes an influx of tradespeople, freelancers and gig workers who have taken advantage of evolving market dynamics.

“In the US, a KPMG report estimated there was a 14% increase in the number of gig workers — expected to reach more than 50% by 2027. ‘How to start a business’ also had over 60k searches in the US each month. Business digitisation was always coming, but it truly arrived in 2021.”

On 2022, she said: “Digital is a must-have. If we want a resilient recovery, we need to help businesses become successful in a digital world. By 2024, three-quarters of start-ups will have a digital-first strategy. By 2026, three-quarters will significantly increase their IT spend. With more access to digital tools and growth in SMEs, the fintech environment is ripe for innovation, which will help fuel the recovery of economies. Problems will be redefined and radical solutions proposed in numbers we’ve never seen before.

AI is also here to stay.AI’s role in augmenting our lives for the better is only going to become more prominent. This year, we’ve rolled out a number of AI tools, including Xero Analytics and a new predictions feature in bank reconciliation. I think we can expect to see a sharp rise in the number of business tools powered by AI, to help people reduce manual toil and plan for the future.

Finally, young people will drive innovation. More than 50 million people around the world consider themselves creators. It’s become the fastest-growing type of small business, and hundreds of tools emerge every day in this space. But we’re only at the tip of the iceberg. We can expect more innovation in the months to come, as the next generation confidentially say ‘we’ll take it from here’.”

This article is part of our 2021 December series, View from the Top, to see others like it and our special edition from December 2020, please click here.

  • 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.


One Year in Fintech: 2021 Funding Success Stories


Fintechs secured a record $94.7billion of new funding during the first nine months of the year, almost twice as much as in the whole of 2020, according to CB Insights. As 2021 draws to a close, we highlight some of the biggest funding gains and notable investment updates for fintechs over the last 12 months. 


Checkout.com, the payment solutions provider, closed a $450million Series C fundraising round. It tripled the business’s valuation to $15billion. The funding round was led by Tiger Global Management, with participation from Greenoaks Capital. It said the new funding would used to further grow its balance sheet and drive new innovative opportunities.

Also in January, LendInvest – a marketplace platform for property finance – raised a £500million funding round from JP Morgan in January.


UK challenger bank Monzo revealed a £50million extension in Series G round from existing shareholders as well as Octahedron Capital. Monzo went on to enjoy a £360million Series H round in December 2021 to increase its valuation to $4.5billion. The funding will go towards investment in building new products, including its own trading platform.

TomoCredit, a fintech startup offering a credit card designed to build credit history, also secured a $7million seed funding round. It later announced a $10million Series A funding round in September 2021.


Digital payments firm Stripe raised a $600million Series H funding round in March to boost its valuation to $95billion. The company said it planned to use the capital to invest in its European operations, and its Dublin headquarters in particular. Primary investors included Allianz X, Axa, Baillie Gifford, Fidelity Management & Research Company, Sequoia Capital, and Ireland’s National Treasury Management Agency.

Also in March – SumUp, the UK card payments startup, secured €750milliion in new funding.


UK digital bank Starling enjoyed a £50million investment by Goldman Sachs Growth Equity. The investment was an extension of the bank’s oversubscribed £272million Series D funding round in March 2021. It said the new funding from Goldman would support Starling’s continued rapid and profitable growth.

There was also funding success for open banking platform TrueLayer in April. It secured a $70million Series D investment round led by new investor Addition.


German neobroker neobroker Trade Republic landed $900million in a Series C investment round led by Sequoia. Other investors included TCV and Thrive Capital as well as existing investors Accel, Founders Fund, Creandum and Project A. The company said it planned to use the funds to expand to more countries such as Spain and Italy, followed by Benelux, Ireland and Finland.


Swedish payments firm Klarna raised $639million from a group of investors led by SoftBank‘s Vision Fund II, lifting its valuation to $45.6billion. Additional participation came from existing investors Adit Ventures, Honeycomb Asset Management and WestCap Group. It planned to use the additional funding to support international expansion and further capture global retail growth.

Plus, Dutch payment company Mollie closed an $800million funding round in June. While, digital insurer wefox closed a $650million Series C round that pushed its valuation past the $3billion mark.


UK fintech Revolut bagged $800million in Series E funding, valuing the business at $33billion. The funding round attracted two new investors, SoftBank Vision Fund and Tiger Global Management. Revolut said it planned to use the investment to ‘further its growth plans’ including product innovation. It would also support the expansion of Revolut’s offering to US customers and its entry to India.


Fintech Rapyd enjoyed a $300million Series E funding round led by Target Global. Also joining the round were new investors including funds managed by Fidelity Management and Research Company, Altimeter Capital, Whale Rock Capital, BlackRock Funds and Dragoneer. Rapyd also closed a $300million Series D in January 2021. According to Rapyd, it planned to use part of the investment for ‘more acquisitions’, and part for research and development.


Buy now pay later provider DivideBuy secured a £300million lending facility. The funding from global investment management firm Davidson Kempner Capital Management would help drive DivideBuy’s charge as a leading player in the point-of-sale market.

Meanwhile, UK fintech Prodigy Finance secured $750million funding to expand into new markets. Plus, Melio, a B2B payments platform, raised an additional $250million, tripling the company’s valuation to $4billion since January 2021.


German digital bank N26 announced it had raised $900million in Series E funding. The round was led by Third Point Ventures and Coatue Management, and joined by Dragoneer Investment Group, as well as N26’s existing investors. Despite withdrawing from the US and UK this year, N26 plans to deepen its footprint in existing core European markets, primarily Germany, France, Italy and Spain, as well as expanding into Eastern Europe.

Also in October, UK-based payment technology company Global Processing Services (GPS) nabbed more than $300million in funding.


Fintech platform Airwallex raised an additional $100million in a Series E1 financing round in November. The new funding raised Airwallex’s valuation to $5.5billion and came just a month after Airwallex enjoyed an oversubscribed Series E round. Its total Series E fundraising reached $300million, with $802million raised in total. It said the capital injection would fuel M&A opportunities to accelerate its global expansion plans.


Brazilian neobank Nubank has ended the year as Latin America’s most valuable financial institution after raising $2.6billion in a US initial public offering. This follows a $750million extension to its Series G in July with funding led by Berkshire Hathaway. Nubank planned to use the funding to grow the business, including hiring more people.

Also in December, neobank Jupiter raised $86million in a Series C round. The round was led by US-based QED Investors and Sequoia Growth fund.

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


Who Cares Wins: Why Insurtech is the New Frontier for Proactive Lifetime Wellness


The insurance industry, and health in particular, is at an inflection point, with the fallout from Covid-19 helping to accelerate a series of defining behavioural trends. The growth of digital and on-demand services has forever changed what consumers expect from their health insurers – with demand surging for a more holistic experience that couples ongoing wellness support with intuitive technology.

Deborah Stafford-Watson, Head of Provocation & Strategy UK at Elmwood

Here, Deborah Stafford-Watson, Head of Provocation & Strategy UK at Elmwood shares her thoughts on why insurtech is the new frontier for proactive lifetime wellness.

Just as legacy banks are losing out to fintech challengers, those health insurance brands that fail to adapt in this fast-developing sphere stand to lose the spoils. The global health insurance market is predicted to be worth over $653 billion in 2025, at an impressive CAGR of 13.7%. But this upward growth curve is open only to those contenders savvy enough to evolve their brands beyond the traditional – and increasingly limited – model of insurance provision.

For incumbents and startups alike, the mark of a progressive health insurance player is now whether they can gain the trust of customers with a more meaningful, consumer-led experience. This will require companies to reframe what their brand is about and its role in people’s lives, and ensure this is reflected across their entire product service and proposition. 

As consumers feel better understood and supported, health insurance provision then becomes less a product and more of a destination for lifetime wellness. Here’s how both incumbent and challenger brands in this space can break ahead to reach that balance.

Insurtech and the human touch

The interest in developing health insurance as a consumer proposition is intensifying and technology is a huge part of the new offering, providing rich new channels for brands to communicate with customers and provide meaningful value. This represents a win-win for both sides. Insurance companies get to adopt technology that promotes wellness and reduces the number of claims they have to deal with; customers get access to technology that reduces their premiums and maximises their wellness.

Clever technology alone is not enough, however. Health insurance companies must become brands that celebrate human connection and make their customers feel like more than just a number. This can be done by designing hallmarks into the brand. For example, pet insurance provider Waggel, uses the name of its customers’ pets for the policy number. Home insurance startup, Urban Jungle, uses comedic value to lighten and poke fun at the insurance industry, helping to humanise itself and better relate with customers.

The rise of telemedicine is also offering the opportunity to establish more of a human connection, particularly in helping to bring people and healthcare professionals together. Insurance giant Axa Health for example offers its [email protected] service, which allows customers to book video appointments with GPs anywhere in the world. Telehealth startup, PlushCare, also offers easy access to doctors via a simple app. After appointments, PlushCare also sends prescriptions directly to the nearest pharmacy for easy pickup.

Empower and inform

If health insurance companies want to earn their customer’s trust and build a more meaningful relationship, clarity and transparency needs to be built into their brand values and approach, something that has often been lacking in the insurance world. French insurtech startup Alan, which recently raised a $220 million funding round, is a good example of how this can be achieved. Its goal is to empower and inform its customers by making health insurance as simple as subscribing to a Software-as-a-Service product, starting with clear pricing and transparent reimbursement policies.

Content is another powerful tool for informing and empowering customers to help establish and maintain deeper connections. Online insurance broker Anorak has built a website that is packed with detailed guides and insider tips to help customers make informed decisions about the cover that they need. Blogs, vlogs and polished social posts can all be used in combination to talk about health in the widest context possible. The goal here is to humanise your insurance brand with a curated health experience that is rooted in meaning and lasting impact.

Build a brand ecosystem

Companies in this space need to move from being insurance-first brands to becoming health-first brands, where proactive wellness takes centre stage. Understanding the health & wellness ecosystem and curating services and offers for your customers has become essential for adding the value that people now expect from their chosen insurer. Building partnerships with like-minded brands helps to not only attract new customers but retain existing ones in an increasingly competitive environment.

The quantified self-movement enabled by wearable technology, where people are taking greater charge of their own healthcare, offers particularly fertile ground for partnerships. Private medical insurance provider Vitality, for instance, offers discounts on monthly payments for a range of fitness trackers to customers if certain activity levels are met. UnitedHealthcare, the world’s largest health insurance company, recently announced that its members will get free access to the online fitness platform, Apple Fitness +.

Beyond fitness trackers, health insurers could potentially strike partnerships with new healthtech players that are pioneering everything from digital triage to voice analysis that can detect Parkinson’s.

From healthcare cover to holistic wellness

A combination of external forces – including the pandemic and the growth of wearable technologies – has dramatically altered the parameters of the health insurance industry over the past 18 months, with a fresh focus on wellness and proactive healthcare now taking centre stage. The biggest challenge in making this transition will be trust. Our health data is some of the most private information we hold, and insurance companies – whether startups or incumbents looking to pivot towards new technologies – are going to have to go out of their way to build brand credibility with their new customers to achieve success.

By thinking creatively around products that consumers in a self-care era want and need, smart insurers can craft the foundations of a deep and lasting relationship with their audiences. Building partnerships with relevant organisations is also key to enabling consumers to manage their healthcare more proactively than ever before. This, in turn, will build up insurers’ defences, making them less vulnerable to incoming winds at a time of relentless and fast-paced change. 

  • 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.


Smarter Technologies: How Connected Technology is Energising the UK’s Smart Cities of the Future


Climate change is a growing concern across the world and every sector must play its part in tackling this global issue. As companies resort to using renewable energy sources, there is a greater demand placed on energy grinds. In order to deal with this growth, companies must ensure they use connected and smart technology. 

Matthew Margetts is Director of Sales and Marketing at Smarter Technologies, an IoT company that tracks, monitors and recovers assets across the globe in real-time, providing asset tracking systems to the open market and fulfilling the world’s most complex asset tracking requirements. 

Speaking to The Fintech Times, Margetts explains how companies can best prepare for the next wave of the energy revolution: 

Matthew Margetts is Director of Sales and Marketing at Smarter TechnologiesMatthew Margetts is Director of Sales and Marketing at Smarter Technologies
Matthew Margetts is Director of Sales and Marketing at Smarter Technologies

Part of the UK’s plans to limit and eliminate carbon emissions is to switch from fossil fuels to a more electric-based infrastructure, from electric vehicles to electric heating and more. One of the concerns with this process is the tremendous strain this may put on the UK grid network.

Road transport remains the single biggest source of UK greenhouse gas emissions, and electrical infrastructure is deemed essential to decarbonising transport. In 2020, the number of electric vehicles (EVs) on the roads rose more than 40 per cent  year on year. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the number has now surpassed 10 million globally. Although this represents only one per cent of the total number of vehicles in the world, electric car sales are accelerating, pardon the pun. In fact, the IEA suggests that the global fleet of EVs could increase to 145 million by 2030 under current policies to reduce carbon emissions. The UK has pledged that every new car sold will be zero emissions by 2035 at the latest.

In another push towards electrification and reducing reliance on fossil fuel heating, the UK government has set out plans to offer grants to help households install home heat pumps and other low-carbon heating systems. Currently, heating is one of the most polluting sectors of the UK economy, with fossil fuels used in homes contributing to over a fifth of the UK’s carbon emissions.

Of course, these decarbonisation technologies are welcomed, but what does this increased electrification of the country’s economy mean for the national grid?

A study by the UK’s Climate Change Committee predicts that annual demand could double from 300 terawatt-hours (TWh) in 2019 to 610 TWh by 2050. Grid operators now face the challenge of not only keeping lights on, but also keeping wheels rolling. Britain will need to invest in new power plants, grid networks and electric vehicle charging points to avoid local power shortages.

The good news is that renewable energy sources are growing rapidly to help meet demand. Another important technology enabling a green revolution is smart connected technology which is empowering stakeholders with accurate data on which to base efficient power planning and distribution.

Power demands can only be catered for if efficiently mapped out through the adoption of digitised demand management systems. Smart meters, automated meter readers and other connected technologies give property developers and planning councils real-time data at their fingertips in order to make data-driven decisions around power management.

To ensure that grids do not act as a brake on EV adoption, cities will need to adopt smart charging systems, more charging points and time-of-use tariffs. Supporting millions of electric vehicles over the next few decades is feasible if drivers can be incentivised to recharge them overnight when spare power capacity is available. Spreading out charging through the night could save around £2.2billion pounds of expenditure in replacing or upgrading cables or transformers. The development of smart meters and smart charging systems will also be central to harnessing the cleanest and cheapest power.

Smart meters and automated meter readers provide real-time energy consumption data. This information gives the end consumer greater clarity on their consumption behaviour and helps electricity suppliers with system monitoring and customer billing. The information can also help regulators and policy-makers with regards to formulating plans and policies for optimal energy consumption.

A smart EV charger transmits data between the car, charging operator and the utility company to optimise charging power and performance. One of the main benefits of smart charging is that it can manage power consumption according to how many people are using electricity at that time, thus putting less pressure on the grid. It also allows utility companies to define certain limits for energy consumption and prevents charging operators from exceeding their building’s maximum energy capacity.

All the information from smart meters and EV chargers can be submitted to a centralised, cloud-based management platform, which can report on anything from the local grid’s currency capacity to energy consumption patterns over a given time period. The mass of data is automatically analysed and visualised in real-time and can be used to make automatic decisions about energy management.

As a key pre-preparation tool for the next wave of the energy revolution, connected technology and smart management systems should be given top priority. With smart technology, renewable energy and incentivising policies, it is entirely possible to create an energy system that provides more reliable, efficient and low-carbon energy.


Daily Fintech’s most popular post from 2018


To give the experts who bring you  insights daily based on their experience as investors, entrepreneurs & executives a break during this holiday season (for some people), we are reposting the most popular posts from last 5 years.

Daily Fintech’s most popular post from 2018 was The Blockchain Economy courseware


Issue #344 – Towards A New Year


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Crypto Altcoin BNB smokes Bitcoin and Ether with 1,300% gain this year


This year, the old guard of cryptocurrencies lost ground to tokens with greater returns. Researchers predict the trend may continue.

Among the three largest digital tokens by market value, Binance Coin, or BNB, significantly outperformed its two larger rivals Bitcoin and Ether. The coin — issued by crypto exchange Binance Holdings Ltd. — gained roughly 1,300% in 2021, according to Arcane Research. By comparison, market leader Bitcoin increased 65% while Ether, the second-biggest token, rose 408%.

Crypto Altcoin BNB smokes Bitcoin and Ether with 1,300% gain this year
Graph by Bloomberg Mercury

BNB is used widely on Binance, the world’s biggest crypto exchange by volume. It is also the native currency of Binance Smart Chain, a blockchain platform that supports smart contracts for use in decentralized finance (DeFi) and other applications. With BSC gaining adherents as a challenger to the Ethereum blockchain, that’s helped fuel gains in the BNB token, according to Arcane Research.

Other alternative coins, or “altcoins,” saw major gains in 2021, benefiting from an explosion in investor interest for digital assets and an expansion of the crypto ecosystem. Solana and Fantom, coins connected with other blockchain platforms that support smart contracts, outpaced Binance Coin’s returns, for instance.

“While Bitcoin showed strength in 2021, we’ve seen a constant stream of capital trickling down into altcoins,” the research firm wrote in a note. The firm’s analysts predict the strongest momentum in tokens related to the metaverse and GameFi, along with “ETH-killers” targeting Ethereum.

–By Akayla Gardner with assistance from Vildana Hajric (Bloomberg Mercury)


Spotlight: The Most Influential Fintech Companies of 2021


As 2021 draws to a close, the fintech sector is more popular than ever. With fintech businesses coming in many forms with numerous products and services, the industry is predicted to be worth over $382 million by 2027.

In light of this, Utility Bidder has revealed the most influential fintech companies this year. Their research analysed measures including funding, valuation, social following, and online visibility to determine the biggest and best fintechs of 2021.

The 10 most influential fintech companies are:

Robinhood – $5.6 bn funding – $11.7 bn valuation – Influence score 7.22

Stripe – $2.2 bn funding – $95 bn valuation – Influence score 6.07

Kraken – $133 m funding – $20 bn Valuation – Influence Score 5.64

Klarna – $2.2 bn funding – $31 bn Valuation – Influence Score 4.9

Wise – $542 m funding – $11 bn Valuation – Influence Score 3.12

Current – $403 m funding – $2.2 bn Valuation – Influence Score 2.82

Chime – $1.5 bn funding – $1.4 bn Valuation – Influence Score 2.5

Gemini – n/a funding – $5 bn valuation – Influence Score 2.33

Carta – $692 m funding – $6.8 bn valuation – Influence Score 2.00

BlockFi – $504 m funding – $3 bn valuation – Influence Score1.95

The analysis found that Robinhood is the most influential fintech company of 2021, with the trading and investment app scoring 7.22/10 in the fintech influence ranking. This is largely because of its high annual search volume, suggesting it’s the most publicly sought after fintech company. It also raised the greatest VC funding totalling $5.6 billion.

It should be noted that some of the funding is accounted for by the emergency funds raised after the GameStock trading frenzy earlier this year, but it’s clear that Robinhood is one of the major players in the fintech world, with over 13 million users using the app to invest in stocks and funds commission-free.

The company with the highest valuation is Stripe, an online payment service based in San Francisco. The company is currently valued at $95 billion which is 43 times more than its funding of $2.2 billion.

Second place goes to Stripe, the software as a service company that has changed the game when it comes to payments, with no monthly or setup fees and no hidden costs. The company has the highest valuation of $95bn having experienced rapid growth over the past few years.

In third is Kraken, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world and also was the most followed fintech company on the list, with a Twitter following of over 780,000.

Finally, buy now pay later giant, Klarna, came in at fourth place, showcasing just how big the BNPL market is with people all over the globe adopting the payment method this year.

Klarna has been adopted by a host of the biggest retailers in the world and has benefited from consumers flocking to e-commerce in their droves in the last year throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

To find out more information on the full list, click here.

  • 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.


Salamantex: Three Reasons Why Blockchain is the Future of Payments for Business Owners


At their core, digital assets are programmable payment rails. Blockchain provides the ideal foundation to deliver these payment rails, uniquely catered to a multitude of use cases, while reducing the risk of costly fraud chargebacks, the expense of legacy payment methods or the complexity of currency exchange. Business owners need to be aware of their possibilities and prepare for implementing them as smoothly and securely as possible, so consumers feel confident paying this way. 

René Pomassl, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer at SalamantexRené Pomassl, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer at Salamantex
René Pomassl, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer at Salamantex

There are many reasons why blockchain is the technology of choice for payments, and here René Pomassl, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer at Salamantex shares his thoughts on three of them.


Blockchain’s decentralised nature can cut organisations’ costs. According to a Santander FinTech study, blockchain technology could start reducing the cost of infrastructure in financial services by $15 billion per annum, by next year.

Blockchain’s core premise is to make the process of intermediation in payments more efficient. With fiat money, three to five parties facilitate a single transaction, including the merchant, the merchant’s payment processor, the corresponding network and ending with the card issuer. These together create the “payment stack”, a term used to refer to all the technologies and components that a company uses to accept payments from customers. 

What blockchain technology helps to facilitate is more effective intermediation, through automation. The technology allows for data reconciliation between independent parties who, in many cases, don’t even need to trust each other. This is ensured because blockchain delivers almost guaranteed assurance to the transacting parties that ‘what you see is what I see’. In traditional payment methods on the other hand, this trust is not inbuilt, and each party takes a cut of the transaction, resulting in extra costs. 

The decentralised model of blockchain also allows cross-border payments to bypass the costs that come with international third parties. McKinsey & Company estimated that blockchain technologies used in cross-border payments could save banks about $4 billion annually.

In the world of payments, automating or reducing the number of middlemen and improving cross-border transactions not only significantly reduces costs for merchants and consumers, but also results in faster transaction times.


Consumers and merchants alike are demanding near-instant transaction times when it comes to payments. The B2C payments world is often host to a number of new technologies, many of which are seen as the touchstone of innovation, such as ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’. Underpinning these innovations is a consumer-driven desire for speed and convenience.

Again, blockchain is the technology of choice to deliver. Thanks to its decentralised nature, the technology means that payments do not pass-through existing banking infrastructure. The end result is much faster settlement times than in traditional payment methods. In the recent digital euro project, blockchain technology was proven capable of processing more than 40,000 transactions per second. 

That said, some may argue that fiat money already has a fast enough transaction time, but when it comes to transactions that go through many stages, that’s not the case. Yes, validating a payment may take place in a matter of seconds, but it can be days before money actually arrives in the business owner’s bank. This lag between time paid and money received particularly affects SMEs, for whom a healthy liquidity position is crucial.

Blockchain has the ability to end the days of these overcomplicated processes, which are far too time-consuming. Intermediary steps can be automated so that transactions are handled faster than conventional methods. Although transaction times vary for different digital assets, a Bitcoin cryptocurrency transaction can be completed within 10 minutes, and Ethereum in 15 seconds, according to Morgan Stanley. When it comes to conventional payment methods made through credit cards, for instance, it can often be the next working day when funds are cleared and arrive in the recipient’s bank account. For many business owners struggling to remain liquid, this day is one day too long.


It may seem ironic that a publicly accessible ledger can deliver superior levels of privacy for its transacting parties. However, blockchain technology promises to facilitate payments that are not only fast and low-cost, but secure. It is this public ledger that actually allows all transacting parties – known as ‘nodes’ – to monitor a money transfer. This is made possible through the use of encrypted distributed ledgers that provide trusted real-time verification of transactions. Blockchain creates “blocks” of transactions with end-to-end encryption, which significantly reduces the risk of fraud and unauthorised activity. It is almost impossible to tamper with a single record because a hacker would need to change the block containing that record as well as those linked to it to avoid detection.

While blockchain-based solutions will never be a panacea for fraud, they can help significantly reduce it.

Are business owners ready for the future of payments? 

As digital assets move towards mainstream adoption, business owners should observe and consider the right software solutions to keep up with the rapid pace of change taking place across the payment infrastructure landscape. Although the benefits of blockchain as the underlying platform for crypto payments is clear, many merchants are less clear on how to select a software solutions provider that can best deliver these.  What’s more, the move to digital assets as a means of payment is not yet unanimously accepted across the board. This means that merchants ideally need software solutions that offer them the choice to accept payments in digital assets, but to then convert it to fiat money.

Blockchain promises great improvements over traditional payment solutions for both merchants and consumers. By accepting digital assets and implementing blockchain, merchants can experience and have a taste of where the future of payments is heading.

  • 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.