PwC and Microsoft Tap FintechOS for Digital Banking
  • Financial services firm PwC and tech giant Microsoft are leveraging digital banking solutions provider FintechOS to create a digital banking solution.
  • The group aims to help banks adapt and modernize their operations to fit into the digital-first era.
  • “This will drive a massive improvement in time-to-value, and the extensibility of digital banking growth and expansion,” said PwC Partner Akhilesh Khera.

In the fintech industry, third party partnerships are king. So it’s not surprising to see the news that financial services firm PwC and tech giant Microsoft are tapping into the expertise of digital banking solutions provider FintechOS.

The trio announced their partnership, which will leverage FintechOS’ expertise, PwC’s digital banking prowess, and Microsoft’s Cloud for Financial Services technology to create a digital banking solution aimed at helping financial institutions adapt and modernize their operations to fit into the digital-first era.

For its part, FintechOS will be crucial in providing banking and investment, customer management, and integration and orchestration services. “We are delighted to be playing a key role in this ground-breaking initiative, as it demonstrates both the market-leading capability of our high-productivity fintech infrastructure and the strength of our relationship with PwC,” said FintechOS VP of Ecosystem Sales at EMEA Todi Pruteanu. “We are excited about the opportunity to work closely with and actively support PwC as this proposition revolutionizes banking across the globe.”

PwC Partner Akhilesh Khera said that the firm selected FintechOS for the company’s high-productivity infrastructure. “This will drive a massive improvement in time-to-value, and the extensibility of digital banking growth and expansion,” explained Khera.

U.K.-based FintechOS was founded in 2017 to help companies quickly launch and manage products and services across lending, savings, insurance, investment, and embedded finance. By helping financial services companies replace their core banking infrastructure operations, FintechOS also helps companies reduce costs, modernize operations, and deploy modern customer journeys that meet today’s standard expectations of great customer experience.

In March of this year, FintechOS launched a pair of accelerators to help financial institutions support their small business clients. Earlier this month, the company unveiled its spring release, which contained a digital retail mortgage and BNPL features. FintechOS demoed Sunglow, a banking super app at FinovateFall 2021. Teo Blidarus is co-founder and CEO.

Photo by Miriam Espacio

Trustly to Acquire Ecospend
  • Sweden-based account-to-account payments specialist Trustly will acquire U.K.-based open banking payments platform Ecospend.
  • Trustly anticipates the deal will help accelerate its move into the U.K. market.
  • Financial terms of the deal were undisclosed.

Global payments fintech Trustly announced plans to acquire U.K.-based open banking payments platform Ecospend this week. Trustly anticipates that the deal, which will close for an undisclosed amount, will complement the company’s account-to-account (A2A) payments platform and accelerate its rollout in the U.K.

The U.K. is a key geographical market for Sweden-based Trustly. The company set a goal to be the market leader in the U.K., and today’s acquisition accelerates Trustly’s journey towards that target. “I am delighted to welcome Ecospend to Trustly,” said Trustly CEO Johan Tjärnberg. “This is a perfect strategic fit and I am convinced that it will enable us to deliver a market-leading product in the U.K., allowing us to capture opportunities and accelerate our current U.K. expansion.”

Ecospend was founded in 2017 and is now a regulated A2A payments provider for the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Leveraging this certification, the company seeks to power open banking payments and financial data services. In the past year, Ecospend has processed over $6.3 billion (£5 billion) in A2A payments to over two million consumers. The company connects with 80+ U.K. banks, making it a valuable asset to Trustly’s A2A payments service.

“We will continue to leverage our market-leading technology and bank connectivity in the U.K. and, together with Trustly, broaden our capabilities to stretch across Europe and further markets,” said Ecospend Founder Metin Erkman. “We are really excited to join the Trustly family.”

Trustly was founded in 2008 and offers a simple A2A payments platform that doesn’t require the user to sign up, enter their card or bank numbers, or provide any billing information. From a merchant perspective, Trustly offers a card-not-present payments experience that provides a secure way for consumers to transact using their online banking credentials. The A2A nature of the payments experience is superior to traditional card payments because it offers stronger user authentication, higher approval rates, and guarantees payments with no risk of chargebacks.

A FinovateEurope 2017 alum, Trustly works with more than 8,100 merchants, helping them connect with 525 million consumers and 6,300 banks across 30 countries.

Photo by Christina Morillo

Plaid Teams Up with Truework to Launch Income Verification Solution
  • Plaid teamed up with Truework to launch a new income verification solution, Plaid Income.
  • The new offering will make it easier for loan applicants to share income and employment information with lenders.
  • The Truework partnership comes just days after Plaid introduced its Identity Verification and Monitoring solution, as well as its partnership with financial wellness company Current.

Income and employment verification company Truework has partnered with Plaid to help the firm launch its new Plaid Income product. Plaid Income will bring greater accuracy, security, and speed to the loan application process. Prospective borrowers will be able to share income and employment data digitally and instantly with their approved lenders. Plaid Income will provide faster approvals for loan applicants while giving lenders greater confidence that they are lending the right amounts, to the right people, at the most appropriate interest rate.

“We built Plaid Income to provide a more inclusive credit system for all,” Plaid Head of Revenue Paul Williamson explained. “Partners like Truework share our consumer-first vision to empower them with control of their own financial data. Combined with their digital approach to income verification, we’re excited that Plaid Payroll is now integrated into the Truework platforms.”

A Finovate alum since 2014, Plaid introduced itself to Finovate audiences as part of our developers conference, FinDEVr Silicon Valley. In the years since, the San Francisco, California-based fintech has grown into a major force in the democratization of financial services, partnering with more than 6,000 fintechs – from Venmo to SoFi – as well as many of the world’s largest banks. The company’s network reaches 12,000 financial institutions in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Europe.

Most recently, in addition to its partnership with Truework, Plaid introduced a new verification and compliance solution, Plaid Identity Verification and Monitor, that helps reduce fraud and boost conversion rates. Launched earlier this month, the new offering features a complete verification, AML, and KYC compliance solution that serves multiple use cases including account opening and funding, trading, and lending. Also this month, U.S.-based financial wellness platform Current announced Plaid as its first partner. Current offers a platform API that helps fintechs to build embedded financial solutions.

“Our new platform API gives open banking partners the capability to embed our core banking technology,” Current CTO Trevor Marshall said. “With Plaid, our members can access experiences that can help improve their financial lives with control and security.”

Photo by Pixabay

Trendspotting: What’s Driving Fintech Innovation Today?

This year at FinovateSpring, we asked a handful of Finovate attendees, presenters, and demoing companies what ONE trend they think we should all be paying attention to in fintech over the next 12 months.

Will it be the return of cryptocurrencies or the ability to deliver better financial advice at scale? Embedded finance or the continued rise of personalization and niche banking? And what about macro-economic trends, and their impact on the ability of fintech startups to raise capital and fuel growth?

This is what they told us.

Be sure to check out the videos from our FinovateSpring demoing companies – including Best of Show winners Array, Horizn, Keep Financial, FinGoal, QuickFi, and Spave – coming soon to our Finovate video archives.

Photo by Pixabay

In Tandem With Finclusion Day, The Inclusion Foundation Launches eBook Celebrating Paytech Inclusion

The Inclusion Foundation has released an eBook, ‘The Network Effect: Digital payments as a gateway to financial inclusion’, in tandem with the first annual ‘Finclusion Day’, celebrating financial inclusion within the payments sector. The eBook maps out the importance of digital innovations and technologies in order to support the financially excluded, through exploring the four pillars that enable financial inclusion to occur: technology, government, education and inclusive communities.

The term “financial inclusion” is associated to individuals and businesses that have access to essential and appropriate financial products and services that meet their needs. Although financial inclusion has improved drastically over the last decade, in the UK alone, around 1.3 million adults remain, ‘unbanked’, meaning that they do not have access to a bank account.

The Inclusion Foundation’s latest eBook presents the view that digital inclusion is a prerequisite for financial inclusion – digitalisation is required in order to boost financial inclusion globally. During the covid-19 pandemic, digital payments soared and 12 per cent of UK adults downloaded banking apps for the first time. The paper states that the rise of digital is accompanied by the revolution in retail finance being brought about by open banking and new payments models which will hugely expand the reach of financial services to the underbanked and unbanked.

The Inclusion Foundation and The Payments Association explore four core pillars throughout the eBook, which they believe are the driving force of financial inclusion:

1. Technology can allow for reduced costs of providing financial services and though technologies such as open banking, businesses can gain a deeper understanding into their customers.
2. Government has a role in controlling credit availability and the need for tighter fraud prevention tools due to the growing number of complex financial offerings.
3. Education is of digital innovations essential in businesses to retain and upskill adults in work, with the seismic shift towards digital across all sectors.
4. Inclusive communities are important in driving change – many older people will enjoy being educated by their children or grandchildren, and therefore in most cases, financial education will have to begin in the home.

Neil Harris, chair of the Inclusion Foundation, commented, “Cash is the ultimate budgeting tool, and although there are many benefits to cashless, it is crucial to ensure that everyone is with us regardless of age, race, faith and social class. Digital inclusion is, therefore, a prerequisite for financial inclusion – one cannot progress without the other. Last year there was a 50 per cent increase in online use, but around four per cent of the UK population are still digitally underserved.”

Marion King, chair of the advisory board, The Payments Association, said: “Digital and financial inclusion should be top priorities today. All UK adults should be able to access financial services that meet their daily needs, goals and aspirations. Being financially included begins with opening a bank account, which is much more than just a means to make and receive payments: it’s also a gateway to credit, insurance, pensions and saving products.”

Ron Kalifa OBE, The Fintech Review, said: “Within 20 years, 90 per cent of jobs are expected to require some degree of digital skills. In 2020, about 400,000 tech jobs were advertised in the UK, which is an increase of around 40 per cent on the previous year, despite the pandemic. Yet unemployment remains high. The real challenge is that supply cannot meet demand because of the skills shortage.”

  • Francis is a junior journalist with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

Klarna’s Customer Count Climbs While Its Staff Numbers Take a Hit

On the eve of its data-sharing initiative being implemented, Klarna has reached the milestone of 500,000 total consumers in Ireland whilst other areas of its business come under fire. 

The platform that has become synonymous with buy now pay later (BNPL) services has reached half a million active users in Ireland, which indicates that the appetite for its services is strong at a time when online shopping is on the rise and Irish consumers are increasingly moving away from high-cost credit cards.

Since its launch with ‘Pay in 3’ in November 2021, Klarna has brought further product updates to Irish consumers to improve the shopping experience, including an in-app money management feature, the ‘Express Checkout’ function for a faster and safer checkout process and ‘Pay Now’, which allows consumers to pay immediately and in full whenever Klarna is available.

Klarna has also launched its open banking business unit ‘Klarna Kosma’, which will be key for the next generation of Irish fintech companies to reach global scale as they will be able to access a network of 15,000 banks in 24 countries around the world through a single API.

Klarna, with over 800 merchant partners in Ireland, is committed to helping Irish retailers, both big or small, to meet evolving consumer demands and improve their customer experience.

That’s why it recently launched self-service onboarding, which allows new merchants to integrate Klarna’s checkout and flexible payment methods in just a few clicks.

Globally, Klarna has over 400,000 retail partners and recently announced reaching 150 million active consumers.

“Klarna’s growth in Ireland truly speaks about the evolving consumer trends and increased demand for flexible payments. Irish consumers are keen digital adopters and now more than ever are looking for options that can give them greater control and flexibility over how they want to shop and pay. 500,000 consumers now trust Klarna in Ireland and we will continue to disrupt the retail banking industry and grow our presence in the country,” Colin Creagh, head of business development in Ireland at Klarna commented.


The progression of its services in Ireland arrives in tamdem with the less-promising news that the platform is to lay off 10 per cent of its staff; totalling around 700 redundencies.

In a prerecorded message to the firm’s 7,000 staff, CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski cited a ‘likely recession’ as the cause of the layoffs.

Speaking in the announcement, which was later posted on the company’s website, Siemiatkowski said: “While crucial to stay calm in stormy weather, it’s also crucial not to turn a blind eye to reality. What we are seeing now in the world is not temporary or short-lived, and hence we need to act.

“More than ever, we need to be laser-focused on what really will make us successful going forward. Based on this, the senior leaders of Klarna have made some really tough decisions. Some of the hardest ones we have ever had to make.”

David Beard, founder of,David Beard, founder of,
David Beard

Offering an external view on the situation, David Beard, founder of Lending Expert, said: “This is distressing news for employees of Klarna and their families. Those based in the UK should check what redundancy rights they have and dig out any income or mortgage protection policies they hold.

“This news is a sign of the times – consumers aren’t spending in the ways Klarna had hoped, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see other lenders follow suit. The writing is on the wall for a recession.”

Klarna and sharing data

As discussed in our recent spotlight on the topic, from tomorrow (1 June), Klarna will start reporting consumer spending to credit reference agencies in a move that adheres to calls for tighter, more stringent regulations to be imposed on the sector. The platform will leverage its own data to provide credit agencies with an indication of who’s paying on time and who’s falling into debt.

Samantha Fogerty

“For years we’ve been calling for greater regulation within the BNPL industry, and we’re delighted to hear that at long last, from June, Klarna will be reporting consumer spending to credit reference agencies,” comments Payl8r MD Samantha Fogerty.

“As one of the longest running BNPLs in the UK, Payl8r has understood the benefits of being regulated from day one meaning we’ve always shared this type of data with credit reference agencies. FCA guidance helps us lend responsibly and helps our customers manage their money, building their credit profile as they go. It’s a more ethical and responsible model that’s always worked for us, our retailers and our customers.

“Add to this our use of open banking to assess a customer’s affordability it’s easy to see why the sector is moving towards a model that Payl8r has always lived and lent by.”

  • 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.

Em Conversa: Digital Payments with Kueski

Em Conversa looks to uncover the secrets in Latin America (LatAm) that have caused the fintech market to boom, from being worth less than $50million in 2016, to $2.1billion in 2022. This week we spoke to Adalberto (Adal) Flores, CEO and co-founder of Kueski, to further understand the digital payments scene in Mexico.

Kueski is a online consumer lender in Mexico, that provides financial services for users who are ineligible for traditional bank loans. Thanks to its technology and data analysis criteria, the company has positioned itself as a market leader.

Adalberto (Adal) Flores, CEO and co-founder of KueskiAdalberto (Adal) Flores, CEO and co-founder of Kueski
Adalberto (Adal) Flores, CEO and co-founder of Kueski

In 2016, Adalberto Flores, CEO and Co-founder of Kueski, was recognised as Mexican Entrepreneur of the Year by Endeavor. Tuesday Capital, Victory Park Capital, Sobrato Family, Angel Ventures Mexico, Rise Capital, Core Ventures Group, are among the companies betting on this project. The Fintech Times sat down with Flores to understand how the Mexican digital payments market has been impacted by the pandemic and how it compares to other countries in LatAm:

How has the Mexican market been impacted by the increase in digital payments?

For the third consecutive year, Mexico is positioned among the top five countries with the highest growth in e-commerce activity and volume, exceeding the world’s average growth by more than 10 points. So, despite our economy’s high informality rate and corresponding low banking penetration, we continue to see the e-commerce market expand exponentially and therefore, the use of digital payments.

At Kueski, we’re working to expand financial access to the Mexican population, while educating consumers on the benefits of participating in the financial services system. Given these developments, we’re seeing a lot of opportunities for Kueski as Mexicans are increasingly adopting digital payment methods and becoming comfortable with shopping online.

Has this varied from the rest of the region?

We are seeing some similarities in other Latin American countries. For example, consumers are increasingly shopping online and adopting innovative payment solutions, which results in exceptionally strong growth projections for the region. As a matter of fact, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina made up three of the top five countries with the highest e-commerce growth last year.

On the other hand, we are also seeing differences with regards to the financial situation in each country. For example, Brazil has a much higher banking penetration rate (more than 70 per cent) compared to Mexico (less than 40 per cent). This can be explained by the fact that Mexico has a much higher informality rate than Brazil. And this is where the biggest opportunity in Mexico lies ahead.

What have been some of the biggest challenges in Kueski’s expansion?

While the pandemic served as a catalyst for e-commerce growth, it also led to a sharp increase in online fraud. This development affects every player in this industry, but we believe that Kueski is in an advantageous position here given our years of experience and the vast data sets we leverage to assess an individual’s willingness – in the case of fraud – and ability to repay a loan.

Another big challenge Kueski has been facing is that parts of the Mexican population are still hesitant to try online shopping. Given our economy’s high informality rate of nearly 60 per cent – which means that workers are paid in cash and often don’t have bank accounts – cash remains the number one payment method in the country. Because of these circumstances, many people think that buying products and services online is almost impossible for them, based on the lack of payment solutions that cater to their specific banking situation. So, a big part of our work around our BNPL product “Kueski Pay” is to enable them to buy online. With Kueski Pay, we are not requiring people to have a bank account or even a credit history. Rather, we use machine learning to underwrite consumers instantaneously and enable them to be part of the e-commerce community. Given Kueski Pay’s substantial and sustained growth over the past year, we’re very confident that we’re moving in the right direction.

Are Kueski’s offerings tailored specifically for the LatAm market or could they be adopted worldwide?

We’re building an incredibly strong portfolio of products for Mexican consumers, which currently consists of Kueski Pay, our BNPL solution, Kueski Cash, our inaugural cash loan product, and Kueski Up, an earned wage advance product that allows employees to advance their payroll interest-free. We have a few other innovative products on our roadmap that we’re currently working on, but are not quite ready to announce yet.

Our short-term goal is to serve the Mexican market first, considering it is the third largest financial inclusion opportunity globally (based on the percentage of Mexico’s unbanked population and the size of Mexico’s GDP). Once we’ve achieved this goal, we will consider expanding into other markets where we can leverage our competitive advantages.

What is the company’s road map and growth plan?

Our goal has always been to improve the financial lives of people living in Mexico. We’re planning to launch a few products soon and will eventually expand internationally. Stay tuned!

How has the pandemic affected the LatAm market and Kueski?

We’ve seen a fundamental shift in Latin America as consumers throughout the region are now increasingly adopting new technologies and services they weren’t interested in before. There are also hundreds of new companies that are now offering a myriad of mobile and digital products. The pandemic also accelerated the growth of the e-commerce market – particularly in Latin America, which provided tailwinds for our business as well. In 2021, we were able to grow our Kueski Pay merchant network from 56 partners to thousands as of today. Kueski Cash disbursed more than 600,000 loans, while Kueski Up provided advances on thousands of salaries last year.

Is the BNPL hype going to continue in 2022 and beyond?

BNPL is the perfect example of a product category that took many years to become an ‘overnight success’. Although the category has been getting significant attention recently, the reality is that many companies around the world have been offering BNPL products for years.

What is particularly interesting about BNPL is that it has become a ‘disruptive innovation’ (under Clayton Christensen’s definition) to the credit card industry – by changing the business model, acquisition channel and target market. Incumbents will have a very hard time replicating the model and big tech companies will try to get a piece of the cake as well (see Apple Pay Later rumors). The disruption is even more pronounced in countries like Mexico, where BNPL is literally enabling most of the population to shop online – without forcing them to have a bank account or credit history.

It is also worth noting that we believe that BNPL will not become (or stay) a standalone product by itself. Given the competitive dynamics of the space, the fees that BNPL providers charge to merchants might eventually become commoditised, and this will hurt BNPL providers in the short term. This is why smart companies will offer BNPL as part of a bigger ecosystem of financial products and services.

What must companies like Kueski do to stay competitive in an extremely demanding region and field?

We believe that our track record of successfully underwriting instant online consumer loans for almost 10 years has given us a significant competitive advantage in Mexico. We have a series of data network effects that we’re leveraging to offer credit solutions in a country that tends to be risky for lenders.

But in the long run, we are not just building a specific business or product, we are building an organization with the people, systems and culture that can innovate quickly and sustain itself for decades. That is our ultimate goal.

  • Francis is a junior journalist with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

Commercial Customers Able to Implement NatWest’s Confirmation of Payee API Into Business

A new direct access Confirmation of Payee (CoP) Application Programming Interface (API) has been launched by NatWest for its commercial customers.

Confirmation of Payee was introduced across the UK banking industry in June 2020 to combat scammers and guard against customer errors. The technology allows banking customers to carry out a check on individual payments through their online banking, by ensuring the account details entered by the sender accurately match those of the payee.

NatWest’s new API will allow its corporate customers to embed this service directly into their own systems, and carry out bulk checks against outbound payee details, for payments made using BACS, CHAPs and Faster Payments. This will in turn help save time, improve customer experience, reduce costs and detect fraud.

Gaurav Gaur, head of commercial payments, NatWest Group said, “Confirmation of Payee has been a game-changing innovation in the battle against fraud and scams in the UK, and today we’re delighted to launch our own API that will allow commercial customers to implement this functionality into their own systems. Not only will this detect fraudulent and misdirected payments, but CoP is also proven to reduce operating costs and improve the digital journey for customers.

NatWest is committed to investing in the development of new and innovative services which are API enabled to allow customers to embed them into their business. The launch is another example of our commitment to support customers in this space.”

The API will be available under the NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank brands for commercial customers. Businesses can apply to use NatWest’s Confirmation of Payee API and will need to have the technical capability and resources within their business to implement the API at their own cost.

  • Francis is a junior journalist with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

This Week in Fintech: TFT Bi-Weekly News Roundup 31/05

The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup on Tuesday brings you the latest fintech updates from around the world.

Company updates

SH Payments, a provider of tier one banking and payments services, has officially joined the CENTROlink payments system in order to give its clients access to the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). CENTROlink, which is operated by the Bank of Lithuania, will allow SH Payments to clear SEPA payments via the European Banking Authority (EBA) clearing without using a correspondent bank.

FintechOS has announced it is an accredited fintech for PwC and Microsoft’s digital banking solution, designed to empower financial institutions to innovate, adapt and modernise. The FintechOS platform playing a key role in the provision of banking and investment, customer management, and integration and orchestration services.

Cryptocurrency app OKX has acquired a substantial land holding in Everdome, the hyper-realistic metaverse, marking its first foray into the metaverse. OKX will work with the Everdome team to bring their partners and others into the metaverse to design unique cultural programming and innovative experiences that ‘surprise and delight’.


Payments technology company Mastercard and travel website Musafir have partnered to beef up bookings originating in the Middle East and North Africa. The partnership will digitise end-to-end payment flows and launch new payment products with travel benefits to both consumers and corporates. says it is the UAE’s first online travel agency.

Fintech startup Grey has launched a service to East Africa starting with Kenya in partnership with Cellulant. Its products, including foreign bank accounts, instant currency exchange and international money transfers, are now available to Kenyan residents who sign up on Grey.

Meanwhile, crypto wallet MetaMask has unveiled a strategic partnership with Asset Reality, an end-to-end solution for recovering, managing, and accessing seized crypto and complex assets. Through this partnership, MetaMask and Asset Reality will be helping victims of scams recover their digital assets where possible.

Northern Arc has entered a strategic partnership with Indian Bank to leverage synergies and offer customer-centric financial solutions to retail borrowers. The partnership will enable Indian Bank to access Northern Arc’s n-POS platform, which helps NBFCs, fintech, digital lenders, and investors co-lend to retail borrowers.

Alquity, the investment manager, has teamed up with Haven Green Capital Partners, the multi boutique focused on sustainability. The agreement will give investors wider access to Alquity’s ESG and impact funds through Haven Green. It will focus on institutional investors and with geographical coverage across the Nordics, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria and Latin America. In the Benelux and UK, the Haven Green and Alquity teams will also work alongside each other.

partnerships roundup

partnerships roundup

Job moves

Bitfinex Securities, the tokenised securities trading platform of Bitfinex, has appointed Jesse Knutson as head of operations. Knutson will be responsible for expanding the platform’s issuance pipeline, oversee distribution, build out its user base and work with regulators.

Cashplus Bank appoints Tatiana Lipiyaynen as chief customer & marketing officer (CCMO). She was most recently sales and marketing director at Virgin Money Investments. She will also take responsibility for customer experience, UX and design strategy.

Mollie, the European payment service provider, has named Koen Köppen as its new CTO. Prior to Mollie, he spent more than a decade at Klarna. Köppen will be tasked with accelerating technological innovation to enhance Mollie’s existing and future products and services.

Muse Finance, the business finance startup, has hired Darren Ross as its head of embedded risk. Ross will be responsible for spearheading Muse’s risk underwriting as well as the implementation of embedded financing products.

Meanwhile, TradeSun has hired Bhumish Shah as CTO as the company continues its rapid global expansion. He joins TradeSun from banking leader JPMorgan where he was most recently executive director for more than a decade, with a focus on financial and cloud-based solutions across banking.

Finally, Kore Labs has announced Vincent Cambonie as CFO. Cambonie was most recently a partner and goup CFO of Embark Group. He will help Kore build on its significant growth in the past 18 months, and further strengthens the leadership team.

job hires

job hires

Funding news

Berlin-based fintech Mondu has unveiled a $43million Series A round led by US-based venture capital fund Valar Ventures. The funding will enable Mondu to scale its BNPL for B2B solution for merchants and marketplaces by investing in its product and customer acquisition. Mondu also plans to expand into more European countries later this year, starting with Austria this summer.

Kroo has raised £26million in a funding round that saw more than 60 per cent of investors reinvest. This round of investments will assist the neo bank with further growth and development including recruitment, expansion and social causes.

Babel Finance, a wholesale crypto financial services provider, has completed a $80million Series B financing round at a valuation of $2billion. The main investors in this round include Jeneration Capital and 10T Holdings, as well as existing shareholders Dragonfly Capital and BAI Capital. The firm has also opened a new office in Singapore and applied for licences in Hong Kong, Luxembourg and the UK.

Viola Credit, an alternative credit asset manager, has closed Viola Credit Alternative Lending Income Fund II (ALF II) with $700million of investable capital including its flagship fund and related managed accounts. ALF II will follow the strategy of its prior vintage and will provide minimally dilutive asset-based lending capital solutions to emerging and established global fintech, proptech and insurtech companies.

Funding roundup

Funding roundup

Digital Banking Platform CA24 Mobile Launched by Credit Agricole Bank Polska and Efigence

Dedicated to individual customers and SMEs, the CA24 Mobile application has been released by Credit Agricole Bank Polska in cooperation with the technology company, Efigence, to offer a new digital banking platform.

The new “CA24 Mobile – pełna korzyści” application presents the bank’s products and services, offering touches such as an interface with accordion cards, a pull-out drawer with transaction history and a bottom menu.

Efigence is responsible for the UX / UI area of the application, working in multiple stages with the bank’s team. Efigence created the concept and developed the system’s design, comprising a universal library of components for the entire mobile ecosystem.

One of the most important underlying assumptions of the application was the optimisation of everyday use. This is one of the purposes of the accordion, an element of the start screen interface, enabling the customer to quickly access comprehensive knowledge about their current financial life.

“The new Credit Agricole Bank Polska application focuses as much as possible on the customers’ needs, building a lasting relationship with them and supporting them in their daily tasks. On the way to achieving this effect, one of the key elements was the appropriate design of the tool. That is why the Efigence team was integrated into a broad bank team with business, analytical and design competences, being the core of the part responsible for UX and UI solutions throughout the entire process. We are glad that, on a project of particular importance to us, we cooperated with such an experienced partner knowing the needs of our clients”, commented Katarzyna Tomczyk-Czykier, managing director of channel excellence and omnichannel orchestration and seamless daily banking.

Designers from Efigence, together with the Credit Agricole Bank Polska team, also rebuilt the information architecture, proposing an innovative approach to a client’s financial assets. These assets have been categorised into either daily banking products, collected in the “money” tab, or grouped under “assets” for those that change slowly, and are related to saving and financial resources.

“In line with the bank’s strategy, we put a lot of emphasis when designing on showing additional benefits to the user. We implemented the project according to our own methodology, starting with the concept stage, which is very important to us. It allows you to gain insights into the organisation, learn about the technological background, and research and understand the user’s perspective. Thanks to this, we set the directions for UX solutions in the project, but we also started to speak the same language with the client, which is crucial to the success of the entire project. We are delighted that, together with Credit Agricole Bank Polska, we can create solutions from scratch which take the relationship between the user and the bank to the next level”, sums up Paweł Dunia, UX director at Efigence.

Efigence is also the co-author of a solution named “rzeka korzyści” (benefits stream) which sits in a central place in the application and displays the Credit Agricole Bank Polska’s Klub korzyści (benefits club). Here, customers can find tailored offers from top Polish and global brands. In addition to discounts on purchases, customers accessing the benefits stream will also receive personalised offers of the bank’s products and services, also available on special terms.

“From the point of view of developing user experience for a mobile application, working on this project – with such a wide scope – was not only a huge challenge, but also a great pleasure and even greater satisfaction. We created an excellent team of UX Designers who worked hand-in-hand with entire teams of specialists. We conducted as many as seven usability tests with 70 potential users”, says Marcin Kindermann, user experience director at Credit Agricole Bank Polska.

  • Francis is a junior journalist with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

Neobank Brand New Day To Expand Its AML Controls With Sentinels

The Dutch neobank Brand New Day has adopted the transaction monitoring and compliance solution of Sentinels to scale its anti-money laundering (AML) controls in tandem with its own growth. 

Since obtaining its banking licence five years ago, Brand New Day has accumulated around 200,000 customers, for whom the bank manages nearly €4.5billion (£3.8billion).

With this, the bank reports how it naturally sought out a compliance partner that could provide the appropriate regtech; something it found in Sentinels.

According to the neobank, its selection has resulted in increased efficiency, the reduction of operational and resource costs and the creation of an internal compliance department.

Further resources are saved through Sentinels’ automated development of client risk profiles. These provide Brand New Day’s compliance officers with an overview of customer activity, enabling the neobank to focus on required due diligence measures.

Joost van Houten, CEO of SentinelsJoost van Houten, CEO of Sentinels
Joost van Houten

“Neobanks like Brand New Day are committed to disrupting conventional wisdom to create stronger services, making them an increasingly popular choice for end-users,” comments Joost van Houten, CEO of Sentinels.

“However, this disruption comes with intense regulatory scrutiny, particularly for those operating using their own banking licenses.”

Working together, Brand New Day and Sentinels are trying to challenge ‘typical’ compliance assumptions by sharing determined best practices.

False positives will apparently be one area of major focus for the duo, being one of the most prevalent issues facing financial businesses across the globe, and many arise from internal compliance infrastructure. For example, early £3billion is wasted every year chasing false fraud leads.

Gerjan de Lange, CIO at Brand New Day, adds: “We’re excited to be working with Sentinels, benefitting from its industry-leading position and commitment to providing workable and futureproofed compliance solutions that are tailored to our core business goals and processes.

“We look forward to growing together, safe in the knowledge that our regulatory needs are being met, that false positives will not increase exponentially as we scale, and that our operational costs are kept low while our internal compliance standards are high.”

  • 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.

Compliance Isn’t Enough: Your Customers Deserve Data Privacy

Focusing on meeting the minimum bar of industry standards and legal compliance instead of building true data privacy into your products puts your company’s reputation and customers at risk.

Founded in 2019, Skyflow is a data privacy vault for sensitive data. Its founders wanted to radically transform how businesses handle their users’ financial, healthcare, and other personal data – the data that powers the digital economy.

Robin Andruss, chief privacy officer at Skyflow, has more than 13 years of privacy experience including senior-level positions at Google, Yahoo, TrustArc and Twilio.

Here Andruss explains why customers deserve data privacy.

Robin Andruss, chief privacy officer, SkyflowRobin Andruss, chief privacy officer, Skyflow
Robin Andruss, chief privacy officer, Skyflow

Your customers want real data privacy when they entrust you with their data, not merely ‘compliance’ with laws and regulations like GDPR, GLBA, SOC2, and PCI. They want you to ensure that their sensitive data is only used for authorised purposes by those who need it, and protected from hacks, breaches, and leaks.

Go beyond compliance

Every company needs to go beyond treating compliance as an afterthought to deliver true data privacy. For example, in the Equifax data breach, the personal information of over 140 million customers was compromised. This happened despite Equifax being compliant with all applicable laws and industry standards.

Equifax has suffered lasting damage to its brand. And, while providing consumers with a year of free credit monitoring reduced the damage to customer relationships, no remedy can fully negate the impact of such an incident.

What could they have done differently? Protecting the privacy of sensitive data by isolating it and applying strong data governance would have helped.

This is just one example of how compliance is necessary, but not sufficient, to ensure data privacy.

ACH data deserves better

For another example of the need to go beyond compliance to protect sensitive data, consider the gap between the regulation of PCI and automated clearinghouse (ACH) data in the US. If you process transactions using both PCI data and ACH data you’ve probably noticed that the regulations around PCI data are stringent, but ACH data is very lightly regulated. That’s because payment card data is regulated by the PCI DSS standards, and no equivalent to PCI DSS exists for ACH data.

I’d argue that ACH data should have more protection than PCI data – consumers can contest fraudulent credit card charges, but it’s nearly impossible to reverse wire transfers. Should you wait for new regulations before securing ACH data? Of course not. You should centralise ACH and other sensitive data in a data privacy vault that isolates, secures, and tightly controls access to manage and use sensitive data – and that works with your existing infrastructure.

Raise the bar on customer data privacy

Skyflow’s Data Privacy Vault is designed to centralise and protect sensitive data, including financial data, health data, and PII. Skyflow offers a wide range of capabilities, including:

  • Data Governance Engine: How much control do you have over your data if employee credentials are compromised? With Skyflow’s unique data governance engine, you can control who sees what, when, where, and how. You can also add column- and row-level data access controls, based on any combination of policy, role, or attribute; so you can keep your most sensitive data beyond the reach of employees who don’t need it.
  • Polymorphic Encryption: Encryption-at-rest is required by several industry standards, and it’s far better than storing unencrypted data. But in many cases, encryption-at-rest isn’t sufficient. Skyflow’s polymorphic encryption lets you treat each type of sensitive data differently, so when you only need the last four digits of a customer’s SSN, that’s all you decrypt. And, it lets you run matching and comparison operations on encrypted data without the need to decrypt it, so you can run credit and KYC checks while keeping sensitive data fully encrypted.
Tokenise and centralise sensitive data

By using Skyflow’s APIs to collect sensitive data and tokenise it, you can manage sensitive data without having your backend systems ever touch it. Instead, your backend manages tokens that point to sensitive data that’s centralised and isolated in your Skyflow Vault.


SkyflowTo detokenise sensitive data, your backend provides those tokens to Skyflow, which confirms that your request meets zero trust access controls before detokenising and returning the requested data.

Centralising sensitive data carries a host of benefits, making it easier to meet data residency requirements and reducing the scope of PCI compliance.

Build for data privacy with Skyflow and Plaid

Plaid’s API connectivity to over 12,000 banks and financial services makes it a popular choice for companies that need financial data on their customers. Skyflow partnered with Plaid to make it easier than ever to protect sensitive data, so you can use Plaid’s APIs while also using Skyflow’s Data Privacy Vault to protect sensitive PII and financial data.

Give Skyflow a try

By centralising sensitive data in Skyflow’s Data Privacy Vault, you can ensure that your product goes beyond compliance with standards and laws that slowly evolve to respond to the threat landscape. To learn more about how Skyflow Data Privacy Vault can help you to isolate and protect your customers’ data, give Skyflow a try.

Part 5. Bottom up innovation protected by top down legislation

Disruptive innovation such as Bitcoin is usually bottom up, with initial traction from people who are not concerned with legality.

However for Bitcoin to become mainstream it does require some top down legislation; most people are concerned with legality.

El Salvador and other jurisdictions making Bitcoin legal tender are giving the people some legal certainty.

The future is not bottom up innovation OR top down legislation. It is bottom up innovation AND top down legislation.

Some subjects are too complex for our short attention spans, so we do 4-5 posts one week apart, each one short enough not to lose your attention but in aggregate doing justice to the complexity of the subject. Stay tuned by subscribing.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

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.

Financial Services of All Kinds to Launch Their Own Programs With EnKash’s CardX Suite

EnKash, an Indian all-in-one spending management and corporate cards company, has launched a Card API Suite, ‘CardX’. The suite will come with ‘plug-and-play’ integration that will enable non-fintech/fintech companies and banks/NBFCs to launch their own card/BNPL/reward programs, in a hassle-free manner.

CardX is also designed to be developer-friendly and can enable multiple use cases of credit card, prepaid cards and wallets. It comes with a complete card management suite and integrated functionalities such as real-time KYC solution, fraud and authorisation controls, reward management, multiple credit products like EMI, BNPL and supply chain finance, data analytics and insights, among other essential elements. Using EnKash’s Open API Stack, businesses can issue credit and prepaid cards to their customers, users, agents, employees, and others, for their respective use cases.

What differentiates CardX from other global market players is its low-code modern stack and innovative solutions around KYC and compliance, which helps companies go-to-market faster. CardX also comes with a curated set of partners that clients can leverage for their customer communication, operations and customer service setup. CardX is equipped to enable card launch on any of the global networks, and is currently integrated with SBM Bank as its strategic issuing partner, with more banks in the pipeline.

With plans for global expansion in geographies like the US, Europe and the Middle East, EnKash had raised $20million in April 2022, in a Series-B round from Ascent Capital, Baring India and Singapore-based White Ventures. With CardX’s launch, the brand is eyeing to disrupt the global embedded finance market and enable businesses to launch their own Fintech product lines.

Speaking of the launch, EnKash co-founder, Naveen Bindal said, “We are thrilled to enter the ‘Banking Infra Services’ space with the launch of ‘CardX’. The world is poised to see accelerated growth of card and financial products as customer adoption increases. Being one of the earliest entrants in the corporate cards and spend management sector, we bring strong expertise that our clients can leverage in developing their own card and other financial programs. CardX will help companies use a customisable API to develop their fintech product lines. It will also help businesses to scale up through better customer reach and engagement, with the launch of their card offerings. We are already seeing strong interest amongst fintechs and digital marketplace-based companies to empower their customers with cards. Our vision is to make the launch of cards and other fintech products, as simple as a website launch.”

With CardX, EnKash aims to become the preferred API partner for companies willing to launch their own fintech offerings, either as their main product or as an additional product line. Their key target market would be NBFCs, fintechs, consumer internet companies, retail chains and other consumer-facing industries.

  • Francis is a junior journalist with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

MoonPay Integration Introduces ZEBEDEE Gaming App to Bitcoin

The services of the crypto payments infrastructure provider MoonPay are to be integrated into the ZEBEDEE gaming app, which will enable gamers to top up their Bitcoin balance with credit or debit cards within the interface itself.

The initial integration will allow the US-based customers of ZEBEDEE to buy Bitcoin with their credit and debit cards. However, it is expected that the scope of this integration will be expanded into more countries and currencies, as well as the ability to sell Bitcoin and receive fiat directly into a bank account.

While MoonPay provides similar services, the partnership with ZEBEDEE is different because it rests upon the Lightning Network, a second layer of the blockchain that facilitates instant and near-zero-fee transactions, but its use has historically been troublesome for non-technical users, due to the difficulty of getting Bitcoin from the blockchain to the Lightning Network.

The worlds of crypto and gaming are quickly merging, as the two industries are proving to be a natural fit. With over three billion gamers around the world, incorporating cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin into games is an excellent way to spread mainstream adoption of crypto, while providing users with a simple, intuitive and non-threatening experience.

“We love how MoonPay has created an extremely simple, fast and frictionless way for anyone to buy or sell Bitcoin,” says Simon Cowell, CEO of ZEBEDEE. “The capabilities they provide are a perfect fit for what we want to achieve at ZEBEDEE. And that is a seamless experience for people to start using Bitcoin, without it feeling like a burden, which is often the experience of using finance apps or exchanges for people who are not as tech-savvy.”

MoonPay co-founder and CEO, Ivan Soto-WrightMoonPay co-founder and CEO, Ivan Soto-Wright
Ivan Soto-Wright

MoonPay co-founder and CEO, Ivan Soto-Wright, added to this with: “What we’ve built with ZEBEDEE is a remarkable example of how crypto and gaming can unite to dramatically improve access to Web3.

“The solution we’re launching today is just a first step, and we look forward to bringing extremely simple Bitcoin buying and selling features to millions more gamers.”

  • 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.

Lloyds Bank Reports Increased Consumer Engagement With Its Credit Score Service

As inflation continues to push prices up and lending becomes a more attractive option, an increasing number of customers are checking their credit score and taking steps to improve it. 

It is the customers of Lloyds Bank in particular that are becoming more interested in how much capital is available to them. The bank’s ‘Your Credit Score‘ service reportedly experienced a 432 per cent increase in first-time checkers between March and April of this year.

Elyn Corfield, managing director of consumer finance at Lloyds BankElyn Corfield, managing director of consumer finance at Lloyds Bank
Elyn Corfield

Speaking on this significant influx of users, Elyn Corfield, managing director of consumer finance at Lloyds Bank, said: “This exceeded our expectations and highlights the focus people are putting on their personal finances.

“More than ever, people across the country are taking a closer look at their financial situation and having easy to access information can empower people to make the right decisions for them.”

Powered by the information and insights company TransUnion, the service currently has around 2.5 million customers.

The service, which updates every 28 days within online or mobile banking, provides a range of information related to a customer’s creditworthiness. This includes a customer’s rating, information on what’s affecting the score and how their score may affect any borrowing applications.

What is a credit score?

A credit score is a number based on analysis of a person’s credit records. It shows how likely or unlikely people are to be credit worthy. The score takes into account factors including account history, if bills are paid on time, if customers are registered to vote, amongst other things.

The figure is then used by credit providers (such as banks) when a person applies for credit, to understand their financial health, and expected ability to repay.

Consumer engagement

People aged between 25 and 44 are the most engaged, making up 54 per cent of those signing up to check their credit score.

The bank found that 56 per cent of people who had checked their credit score in the mobile app by the end of March, returned the following month to re-check their score and get guidance on how to improve it.

According to TransUnion, those that monitor their credit health regularly see a greater improvement over six months than those that don’t.

Kelli Fielding, Managing Director, Consumer Interactive, TransUnion UKKelli Fielding, Managing Director, Consumer Interactive, TransUnion UK
Kelli Fielding

Kelli Fielding, managing director of consumer interactive at TransUnion in the UK, said: “It’s really encouraging to see people engaging more with their credit information, with more than one in three UK consumers now checking their credit report and score at least once a month.

“We’re also seeing a much better level of understanding in terms of how this information is used, thanks to tools like Your Credit Score, which enables customers of Lloyds Bank to access their TransUnion credit score for free.”

  • 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.

Nordigen: Regtech – What’s Open Banking Got To Do With It?

Regtech has enjoyed an extraordinary rise to prominence, becoming the bread and butter of companies looking to comply with the full extent of the law. And now, its third regeneration is being powered by open banking technology. 

Rolands Mesters is the co-founder and CEO of NordigenRolands Mesters is the co-founder and CEO of Nordigen
Rolands Mesters

Here in this guest-authored article for The Fintech Times, Rolands Mesters discusses the rise of regtech and how open banking is helping compliance technology stretch its wings into a new era.

Mesters is the co-founder and CEO of Nordigen, a Latvian account data analytics provider that assists banks, lenders and fintechs in leveraging open banking. With industry knowledge and first-hand experience with open banking, here Mesters analyses how open banking is powering a new, more powerful generation of regtech.

Outside of the scope of finance industry professionals, regtech is unlikely to be a commonly used term. Despite this, the practice itself is imperative to the financial industry, implemented for the successful and safe running of processes and maintaining the protection of businesses and consumers.

Short for regulation technology, regtech refers to a community of tech firms that create solutions to assist companies in complying with regulatory requirements in cost-efficient ways through automation. These solutions are created through the use of cloud computing, along with findings procured through big data collection and analysis.

The rise of regtech

The main goals of regtech are to facilitate financial companies’ compliance with the myriad of ever-evolving regulations.

Staying on top of the full set of rules that companies within finance need to follow can be difficult, especially when their offices span across multiple countries and therefore have to comply with all local requirements. Compliance, in this case, can be expensive, time and resource-intensive, necessitating a more automated solution that underpins regtech.

Common use cases for regulation technology include the finance sector, cryptocurrency platforms and iGaming websites. It is now viewed as one of the fastest-growing phenomena in the fintech world.

While regtech seems like a new addition, a version of regulation technology has actually been around since the 1990s, when institutions started to introduce new ways to stay on top of regulation monitoring and risk analysis. This variation became known as regtech 1.0 and was followed by regtech 2.0 in the 2000s when financial regulation software became more focused on processes relating to know your customer (KYC).

KYC refers to a series of operational procedures performed by institutions to verify the validity of client information during the onboarding process.

The financial crisis of 2008 highlighted the necessity for regtech even more. Following the crisis, financial reforms were implemented to ensure that banks and financial institutions maintained high-risk management standards.

As a result of these regulatory reforms, a vast number of new laws and regulations have been enacted, expanding the purview and complexity of the regulatory domain. In the more recent years, technological advancements and new digital standards have further propelled regtech and established it as a necessity for companies wishing to stay compliant efficiently.

The use of outdated systems, such as old anti-money laundering (AML) solutions, can lead to institutions losing money when they could be instead benefiting from AI-powered analysis and big data. It is therefore essential that banks and other financial firms turn to modern means to keep on top of their processes to ensure regulatory compliance in a way that guarantees cost-effectiveness, as well as efficiency.

The rise of financial crime and the need for enhanced cybersecurity practices have signified the need for regtech as well.

Regtech solutions in the financial crime arena operate using sophisticated big data analysis, going through vast amounts of data and connecting seemingly unrelated data points to gain a more complete regulatory insight. Access to this data is achieved through open banking, connecting directly to the bank to facilitate real-time transaction monitoring and client risk assessments.

A new era of regtech, powered by open banking

The financial industry is on the cusp of the next era. Regtech 3.0 shifts the focus from ‘know your customer’ to ‘know your data’ – financial institutions using technology and data analysis to highlight and forecast risks through prediction algorithms.

The emergence of payments services directive two (PSD2) has enabled approved third-party services such as regtech firms to gain access to key account data and payment systems, with consumer approval.

Regtech providers are eager to capitalise on the potential presented by open banking in order to broaden the scope of their goods and services and utilise fintech’s existing customer bases to collect more data and expand their offerings.

Open banking, established as a result of PSD2, provides a regulator-approved way of acquiring financial data directly from accounts. For example, this can be used to perform AML and KYC checks, when pinpointing a client’s source of funds, which can be easily extrapolated from their bank account history.

Data sourced through open banking significantly increases the amount of data available to regtech to analyse, ensuring greater accuracy and comprehensiveness. Data can be gathered and analysed in real-time using automation processes, machine learning and algorithms. The process is significantly faster and does not rely on manual input or a large amount of employee resources, and is, therefore, less susceptible to human error.

Open banking enables regtech to gain data where they otherwise wouldn’t be able to do so through other means, such as lending. There are millions of people across Europe who are ‘credit invisible’, essentially having little to no credit history.

Open banking data is sourced directly from customer bank accounts, not outdated financial history stored by credit bureaus. Regtech tapping into open banking technology allows them to more accurately determine risks by analysing a much greater amount of data and a larger amount of customer profiles.

  • 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.

Pattern: Four Ways Embedded Insurance Will Transform the Industry in 2022

The demand for embedded financial services has been seen across the industry, with the insurance sector being no exception. Embedded insurance has the potential to remove the hassle from a purchase, create tailored products, allow the insurer total control of what they want to sell, and help close the ‘protection gap’.

Noam Shapira is a successful entrepreneur, co-founder and President of fast-growing global insurtech MGA, Pattern. Drawing on more than 20 years of experience in the development and execution of market, technology and product strategies at companies including Sizer, Comverse and Pontis, Shapira also successfully co-founded TravelerMate and is a graduate of the Kellogg-Recanati International Executive MBA program. 

Speaking to The Fintech Times, Shapira analysed the four main ways in which embedded insurance can impact the insurance industry in 2022:

Noam Shapira, co-founder and President of PatternNoam Shapira, co-founder and President of Pattern
Noam Shapira, co-founder and President of Pattern

Embedded insurance is the hottest topic in the insurance industry right now. With advancements in technology, changing consumer behaviour and the accelerating e-commerce boom, the days of calling up an insurance broker or visiting a dedicated insurance site to buy or claim on a policy is set to become a thing of the past. In fact, a recent report by InsTech London estimated that the embedded insurance market could be worth $722billion by 2030, as the insurtech space leverages digital transformation to reinvent the customer journey.

Embedded insurance, where insurance is bundled into the purchase of a third-party product or service, is about getting the cover people need, at an affordable price, at a time they need it the most. Utilising emerging technologies to automate processes provides a much more seamless, streamlined experience which today’s consumers not only prefer, but expect. Embedded insurance has been around for a while, but has mostly been about taking insurance products and selling them online. In order to realise the benefits from embedded insurance, it requires a different way of selling, innovative new products and a closer relationship with the business providing the insurance. This is how we expect embedded insurance to evolve in 2022 and beyond.

  1. Removing the hassle from purchase

Insurance has long been considered a hassle. From the buying process and the need to enter endless details into lengthy application forms, to the claims process and having to jump through hoops in order to be able to make a claim. Moving to embedded is about making everything much more simple. Insurance is offered when the customer has already entered most of their details, ensuring the cover provided will be accurate, relevant and only one click away. The claims process is similarly streamlined; there’s no need for proof of purchase, as there is an existing data record showing what was bought and when. It creates a hassle-free, closed-loop insurance process.

Rather than needing lengthy phone calls and excessive application forms, as with traditional insurers or brokers, embedded products are offered to consumers when they feel they need them the most. For example, flight delay insurance is offered when booking a flight. The convenience, timing and clear added value will reinvent the customer experience, raising awareness of additional coverage options and providing protection when people need it the most.

  1. One-size-fits-all no longer works

No two consumers are the same. When a consumer buys something online, a vast amount of data is collected that can tell us a lot about the individual and their specific needs. Alongside this, risks are constantly evolving. Traditional insurance companies are slow to react, due to complex and lengthy processes. They also tend to be working on older IT systems which are unable to cope with the need to adjust in real-time to the type of product that is needed according to the consumer’s needs.

New technologies and next generation MGAs oriented to embedded insurance will put an end to the traditional one-size-fits-all approach, as customers are able to build clearly defined packages. Bundling the protections that are actually needed provides highly relevant cover, not only increasing customer satisfaction but also the market opportunity to upsell additional covers.

  1. Ability to control what the insurer wants to sell

Insurers who sell through embedded insurance platforms will have the ability to sell a more balanced risk portfolio. This is because they can control the products they offer in real-time which in turn enables them to plan their exposure levels on different types of products, allowing them to constantly control what is being sold.

This goes one step further though; the ability to easily and immediately change information in the customer journey allows insurers to adjust their prices to reflect the most up-to-date changes and understanding of risk.

  1. Personalised insurance is closing the ‘protection gap’

The ‘protection gap’ – the split between the amount of insurance that is both socially and economically beneficial and the amount of coverage that is actually purchased – is widening all the time. In fact, research from the Swiss Re Institute discovered that from 2000 to 2020, the protection gap doubled, due to global trends in urbanisation, digitalisation, climate change and a poor understanding of new risks. Swiss Re estimates the shortfall globally for weather-related risks alone is around $180billion, a huge deficit leaving the consumer unprotected and out of pocket.

Embedded insurance is helping to close this gap. By utilising data, insurtechs can provide highly personalised cover, delivered in real-time at the point of sale. Customers instantly find immediate value added to their purchases, and the resulting increased cover helps reduce risk, thus making for a safer and better-protected society.

Embedded insurance is not a new concept, but it is going to undergo a major change and has the potential to transform the industry significantly in the coming years. Customers benefit from the convenience of purchasing protection in seconds, without needing to reshare their data. Partners gain additional income when selling risk protection alongside their product or service and see improved customer experience and cost savings through APIs that utilise the latest technologies. Finally, the embedded insurance business model is especially attractive to tech-savvy insurers, providing low cost distribution to an unlimited number of customers in real-time and at scale.

With embedded insurance, the industry has been presented with an opportunity to innovate like never before but we need to make sure we get it right. To do so, there is a need for companies that can provide SaaS platforms that can deal with the needs of e-commerce players and their consumers.

Open Banking in The UK: CMA Publishes Findings of ‘Lessons Learned’ Review

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published the findings and recommendations of a review to identify lessons from open banking.

Significant governance failures at the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) were identified in an independent report which was published in 2021.

Kirstin Baker, a CMA non-executive director, has led a ‘Lessons Learned’ review into specific lessons for the CMA in its approach to designing, implementing and monitoring remedies in future market investigations.

Her review has found that the technical solutions to achieve the open banking remedy have and continue to be successfully implemented. However, the CMA did not fully anticipate the scale and complexity of its remedy and it failed to foresee or manage some of the key risks inherent in the delivery of the project, in particular in relation to governance at the OBIE and relationships with key stakeholders.

The review makes seven recommendations to the CMA:

  1. Build more effective board oversight and risk management of the end-to-end strategy for complex remedies
  2. Set out processes and governance for CMA board and executive oversight of the delivery and implementation of remedies
  3. Consider questions relating to implementation at the remedies design phase
  4. Ensure key factors are considered where a remedy establishes a new entity or large and enduring CMA function
  5. Include gateways in the remedy delivery and implementation process
  6. Implement effective and agile internal governance and stakeholder engagement in remedy delivery and implementation
  7. Conduct an evaluation case study of complex market investigation remedies

Kirstin Baker, said: “The open banking remedies are some of the most complex ever implemented by the CMA and have been important in opening up competition in retail banking and supporting the growth of UK fintech. Many stakeholders I spoke to for this review underlined that the CMA should continue to be bold and innovative in using its market powers to benefit consumers.

“However, the board recognised that there were lessons for the CMA to learn from the governance failings at the OBIE identified by Alison White and my review has found that the CMA did not match the ambition of the remedy with an appropriate level of oversight or strategic risk management.

“The CMA seeks to be a learning organisation and I am pleased that staff at all levels engaged constructively with this review and that changes have already been made or are in progress to address the issues identified.”

The CMA will publish a further update next year on its progress in implementing this work programme on remedies. Its response to the consultation on the future oversight of open banking was published on 25 March.

Sunbit Research Finds 69% Of Respondents Are Keen to Use BNPL to Pay For Necessary Services

As inflation continues its squeeze on American consumers, a recent study, commissioned by Sunbit and conducted online by the Harris Poll with more than 2,000 US adults, shows that the majority of consumers would like BNPL to go beyond its current focus on e-commerce businesses and extend to everyday needs.

BNPL for necessities is a must-have

Most consumers can’t cover an unexpected $400 expense, and having access to the right financing tools is essential to meeting the needs of consumers. 69 per cent of US consumers report an interest in BNPL to pay for necessary services such as car repairs, eyewear or dental care. Those who are feeling stressed by the current economic situation are more likely than those who are not stressed by it to say they want access to a BNPL option for these services (74 per cent vs. 53 per cent).

But financing options aren’t only for consumers in a pinch. According to the survey’s findings, those with an annual household income of $100,000+ are more likely than those with an annual household income of less than $75k to say they are very likely to finance a necessary service in the next 6 months (18 per cent vs. 11 per cent).

In keeping with other findings in the survey, Boomers are the least likely to be interested in BNPL for necessary services (52 per cent vs. 72 per cent of Gen Z, 84 per cent of Millennials, and 72 per cent of Gen X), while Millennials are most likely to express interest in BNPL for necessary services.

Everyday needs are being put off

Current inflation is negatively impacting about eight out of 10 US consumers, and 81 per cent cite feelings of diminished buying power as a result. A similar proportion of US consumers (79 per cent) plan to cut back on ‘wants’ to better save funds for necessities over the coming months in anticipation of prices of goods/services continuing to rise.

More than two-thirds of US consumers (67 per cent) have delayed necessary services and purchases due to inflation.

The top items being delayed include home repairs (27 per cent), dental work (27 per cent), car purchases (26 per cent), and car repairs (20 per cent), pointing toward a need for solutions to help consumers address these necessities.

Consumers appear to expect the economic outlook to remain challenging, with half of US consumers (50 per cent) planning to finance a necessary service over the next 6 months.

Consumers reveal their feelings about BNPL

While it is less surprising that 92 per cent of US consumers have at least heard of BNPL, and nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) are at least somewhat familiar with it, the study was able to get an inside look at the emotional impact BNPL usage has had on consumers.

Sunbit learned that those who have used a BNPL service in the past have very positive feelings about the experience, whether they used BNPL for discretionary or nondiscretionary purchases. Many of those who have used BNPL for necessities report feelings of happiness (47 per cent), relief (63 per cent), and excitement (39 per cent), while only 10 per cent report feelings of regret or stress. Similarly, many of those who have used BNPL for non-necessities report feelings of happiness (53 per cent), relief (43 per cent), and excitement (32 per cent), while only about one in 10 report feelings of regret (11 per cent), stress (12 per cent), or guilt (nine per cent).

Moreover, most US consumers who have used BNPL (76 per cent) have used it more than once and on average have completed five transactions with it.

BNPL is likely to evolve

The study outcomes point to a broad range of consumers’ use of BNPL as part of financial management, spanning the gamut from those under economic pressure to those who choose to use it as a budgeting tool or just another option in their financial toolkit. Consumers have been drawn to BNPL as a faster, cheaper alternative to credit cards. As with any category, as BNPL matures, customers may evolve in the way they use it. The Sunbit study suggests that consumers may be gravitating toward using BNPL as a means of reducing stress for everyday purchases and at the point of sale – and to avoid endless cycles of debt. Whatever the nuances, the current data points to the idea that BNPL is here to stay.

  • Francis is a junior journalist with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.