Finovate Global Germany: Ecolytiq Partners with Tatra Banka; Airbank Inks Deal with Klarna Kosma

This week’s edition of Finovate Global takes a look at recent fintech developments in Germany where green banking, embedded finance, and open banking are the themes at the top of this week’s fintech headlines.

First up, Berlin-based Sustainability-as-a-Service innovator ecolytiq announced that it was teaming up with Slovakian financial institution Tatra Banka. The climate engagement fintech will provide Tatra Banka with the technology the firm needs in order to launch new green banking functionality on its online banking brand, Blue Planet. The new feature, which will be made available to Tatra Banka’s more than 600,000 customers, will enable users to monitor the impact their transactions may have on the environment (for example, with CO2 emissions), provide users with ideas on how to reduce their environmental impact, and offer rewards for spending that is environmentally friendly.

Founded in 2020, ecolytiq demonstrated its technology at Finovate’s developer event, FinDEVr 2021, which was held as a part of FinovateSpring that year. Putting accurate data at the center of the ability to move toward greater environmental sustainability, ecolytiq demonstrated how its open knowledge graph and streaming technology keep its data relevant and current. More recently, the company announced a strategic partnership with exceet Card Group, makers of sustainable payment cards made from wood and, the following month, teamed up with French sustainable neobank Green-Got.

Peter Golha, a director at Tatra Banka said that the institution believed it had a a role to play in the transition toward a more environmentally sustainable economy. “Not only have we a chance to change our own trajectory, but also a chance to live the topic of sustainability alongside our clients,” Golha said.

Founded in 1990, Tatra Banka was the first private bank to be established in Slovakia. Winner of the TREND Bank of the Year award for two years in a row, Tatra Banka announced this spring that it had achieved its greatest profit to date, reporting $164 million (EUR 162.1) in consolidated profits for the financial year 2021.

Second, German financial management platform for businesses Airbank inked a deal with Klarna Kosma this week. Klarna Kosma is an open banking platform launched by Swedish e-commerce innovator Klarna this spring. Seen as a rival to fellow Finovate alum Tink and its open banking platform, Klarna Kosma offers financial institutions, fintechs, and merchants connectivity to more than 15,000 banks in 24 countries around the world via a single API. Kosma was made possible in many ways by Klarna’s acquisition of direct, bank-to-bank payments company SOFORT in 2014, and Klarna has been developing and expanding the service ever since.

“Over the past year, the demand for Open Banking services from financial institutions and fintech startups has reached a tipping point,” Klarna Kosma VP Wilko Klaassen said. “(This) is why we have built a dedicated business unit which brings together engineering, product management, sales and marketing all together in the same team to focus on this $15 billion, fast-growing market.”

Airbank will leverage its new relationship with Klarna Kosma to “accelerate” its expansion into European markets and beyond. Airbank enables businesses to consolidate their bank accounts in a single location, allowing them to more easily automate bill management, make payments, and manage their finances. Companies also can use Airbank’s platform to track their financial transactions and forecast future liquidity. The partnership with Klarna Kosma will make it possible for Airbank to securely access account information from thousands of banks around the world, expand more aggressively, and better serve its SME customers that have global requirements.

“By the end of this year, we will serve over 50 counties, making Airbank the most comprehensive global banking solution for SMEs in the industry, with the ability to connect bank accounts from almost anywhere in the world,” Airbank founder and CEO Christopher Zemina said. “We are delighted to have Klarna Kosma as an experienced and dynamic partner that shares our ambition to shape the future of B2B financial management.”

Lastly, early in the week we learned that Berlin-based embedded finance startup Monite had teamed up with Codat, a U.K. firm that offers a universal API to enable access to consented business data from banking, accounting, and ecommerce platforms. The partnership will enable both SaaS platforms and financial institutions to integrate invoicing and billing functionality into their apps. This will allow platforms and institutions to offer businesses a unified solution for managing their financial operations.

In a statement, the CEOs of both Monite and Codat praised the great variety of financial apps and platforms dedicated to serving SMEs. The challenge, according to both Monite CEO Ivan Maryasin and Codat CEO Pete Lord, is that the variety can be overwhelming for many small businesses. “What’s still missing are the ‘super apps’ that bring everything together,” Maryasin said. “It can be time-consuming to manage and get the most out of them all,” concurred Lord.

Founded in 2020, Monite has raised $7.8 million in funding for its technology that empowers financial institutions and platforms to offer financial services such as multi-banking, AP automation, invoicing, and more to their customers. London, U.K.-based Codat neared unicorn status last month upon raising $100 million in Series C funding. The investment took the company’s total funding to more than $176 million and gave Codat a valuation of $825 million. The round was led by JPMorgan Partners, and featured participation from Plaid and Shopify.

Founded in 2017, Codat began this year with the announcement of a partnership with Moody’s Analytics to enhance small business lending.

Here is our look at fintech innovation around the world.


Sub-Saharan Africa

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Austrian fintech, which specializes in providing financial solutions for SMEs, raised more than $10 million in Series A funding.
  • Rubicon, a fintech headquartered in Albania, announced an expanded partnership with Mastercard.
  • Latvia’s Crassula, a white label cloud banking software company, teamed up with Canadian open banking solutions provider Salt Edge.

Middle East and Northern Africa

Central and Southern Asia

Latin America and the Caribbean

Photo by XU CHEN

Citi pushes on repeat-investment CVC strategy

Citi’s investment in early-stage companies has paid off for the bank, providing them an insider’s view before determining the long-term visibility of a strategic partnership. “The bigger role of a strategic investor is not really to find unicorns … the goal should be around finding a good company early and helping them build a product […]

By the Numbers: Banking apps and RPA adoption gain popularity

Americans are leaning into technology to better understand their finances, keep track of their net worth and reach long-term financial goals. People of all ages are leveraging financial apps to manage their money in fact, 58% of Americans surveyed believe that financial apps, including investment, management and banking apps are important factors in achieving their […]

Rapyd to Power Rakuten Viber’s New Viber Pay
  • Rapyd has partnered with Rakuten Viber this week.
  • Rapyd will facilitate in-app payments for Viber users.
  • “Through this partnership, Rakuten Viber can confidently step into the world of payments and become a leader in embedded finance, supported by Rapyd’s licensed end-to-end fintech offerings,” said Rapyd CEO Arik Shiltman.

Payments platform Rapyd partnered with consumer-facing messaging app Rakuten Viber today. Under the agreement, Rapyd will facilitate in-app payments for Viber users.

“The future of payments is integrated fintech, and this partnership demonstrates why we founded Rapyd in the first place: to democratize fintech for all,” said Rapyd CEO Arik Shiltman. “We’re proud to provide the infrastructure and licensing for global companies like Rakuten Viber, one of the world’s most trusted and recognized messaging and communications platforms, to develop their own financial services without them having to build the foundation from scratch. Through this partnership, Rakuten Viber can confidently step into the world of payments and become a leader in embedded finance, supported by Rapyd’s licensed end-to-end fintech offerings.”

The move places Rakuten Viber squarely in the center of the global digital payments space. Viber users can use the messaging service to send and receive money instantly, with no fees. Recipients can store money in a mobile wallet with an IBAN, which is available in the Viber app. Rakuten Viber is launching the service in Greece and Germany, where users can transact in Euros. The company will later expand into multiple currencies and will roll out to more countries.

Founded in 2016, Rapyd is a fintech-as-a-service innovator that offers a payments network and platform to facilitate local and international supplier and customer payments. The company has offices in London, Tel Aviv, San Francisco, Denver, Dubai, Miami, Singapore, Iceland, and Hong Kong.

Jack Henry Partners with Victor Technologies to Boost Real-Time Payment Capabilities
  • Jack Henry & Associates announced a partnership with Victor Technologies.
  • The partnership will help Victor Technologies move forward with its instant payments strategy.
  • Jack Henry & Associates serves more than 8,000 customers in the U.S. via its Jack Henry Banking, Symitar, and ProfitStars brands.

Financial services provider Jack Henry & Associates has partnered with Victor Technologies to help advance its instant payments strategy. A subsidiary of MVB Edge Ventures and part of MVB Bank, Victor Technologies leverages both its integrated risk management technology as well as APIs to enable fintechs to embed financial services. The company has added real-time payments (RTP) capabilities via Jack Henry’s JHA PayCenter, which will enable MVB Bank’s Jack Henry core to send and receive real-time payments.

“Instant payments 24/7/365 is now table stakes and offers a huge competitive advantage for our clients,” Victor Head of Strategy and Operations said. “The features of the RTP network provide payment finality and certainty, which reduces back-office reconciliation because transactions are now settled in real-time. This is especially true for key growth verticals like gaming and crypto where transactions need to be processed at any time regardless of banking hours. The addition of real-time payments gives end-users quicker access to their money.”

MVB Bank is the first Jack Henry client to go live using the company’s RTP Send functionality, and the bank intends to offer RTP Request for Payment services, as well. The ability to offer both solutions will make it easier for Victor Technologies to provide its customers with the kind of faster payment needs their businesses require.

A Finovate alum since 2010, Jack Henry & Associates serves 8,000 clients around the country via its three signature brands: Jack Henry Banking, Symitar, and ProfitStars. The company leverages these brands to deliver innovative solutions to community and regional banks, credit unions, as well as corporate entities and large-scale financial institutions. Founded in 1976 and headquartered in Monett, Missouri, Jack Henry & Associates’ partnership announcement with Victor Technologies comes just one month after Jack Henry announced that more than 250 financial institutions have taken advantage of its JHA PayCenter – and its connections to both The Clearing House RTP network and the Zelle Network – to execute their faster payment strategies.

“We strategically built JHA PayCenter to support the diverse faster payments strategies of Jack Henry clients, financial institutions using third-party core and digital platforms, as well as other fintechs,” Jack Henry & Associates VP of Payment Solutions Tede Forman said. “The payments hub virtually eliminates the inherent technology and staffing challenges experienced by financial institutions that elect to build and maintain direct connections to one or multiple faster payments networks.”

Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia

MX Names Former PayPal Exec as New CEO
  • MX has appointed Jim Magats as CEO, replacing Interim CEO Shane Evans.
  • Magats comes to MX after spending 18 years as a senior executive at PayPal, where he specialized in open finance.
  • Evans will continue to serve as a senior advisor.

Open finance fintech MX named Jim Magats CEO this week.

The news comes after company Founder and former CEO Ryan Caldwell stepped down at the beginning of the year, appointing Shane Evans as Interim CEO. After the transition, Caldwell stepped into a new role as Executive Chair to spend more time with family and focus on his daughter’s health recovery.

“Jim Magats brings a wealth of experience and knowledge about how to deliver high-impact financial solutions and products for consumers, merchants, and financial organizations, along with a vast network of partners and customers at the world’s leading financial institutions and fintechs,” said Caldwell. “We have tremendous confidence in Jim’s ability to lead the organization through the next phase of our growth in establishing our leadership in the open finance economy, helping organizations of all sizes access and act on financial data to improve customer outcomes and grow their businesses.”

Magats comes to MX after spending 18 years as a senior executive at PayPal. Most recently, he served as the company’s Senior Vice President for Omni Payments Solutions where he was charged with overseeing the company’s open banking strategy and partnership network of more than 150 financial institutions and networks.

The appointment is strategic for MX, which has spent the past few years positioning itself as a leader in the open finance space, because of Magats’ experience in open finance. While at PayPal, he worked with regulators in Europe helping to create PSD2 banking standards. He also spent time building PayPal’s open, secure API capabilities to facilitate digital payments.

“Financial data is the lifeblood of a connected economy, and nobody helps organizations access and act on financial data better than MX. Our opportunity to make financial data accessible and actionable is global, extends across verticals, and has the potential to make a positive difference in the lives of billions of people,” said Magats. “After 18 amazing years at PayPal, I’m incredibly excited to join MX, a company on a mission to build the open finance economy and empower the world to be financially strong. We are going to deepen and extend our partnerships with financial institutions and fintechs to fuel the next wave of innovation while fostering greater participation in the global economy through new products, use cases, and services.”

During his seven-month tenure as Interim CEO, Evans saw the company through the tragic passing of company Cofounder Brandon Dewitt. Evans, who joined MX in 2019 as Chief Revenue Officer, will continue to serve as a senior advisor.

Photo by Pixabay

NCR makes SaaS transformation, sees revenue spike

Automated teller machine (ATM) provider NCR Corporation remained steadfast in its software-as-a-service (SaaS) transformation in the second quarter amid a rise in digital banking alongside software and services revenue. NCR saw total revenue increase 23% year over year to $2 billion, according to its Q2 earnings release. Digital banking revenue grew 2% YoY to $131 […]

Visa, Mastercard swipe fees targeted in planned Senate bill

Two US senators plan to introduce legislation as early as this week that would give merchants the ability to route Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc. credit-card transactions over alternative networks.

The legislation — set to be introduced by Democratic Richard Durbin of Illinois and Republican Roger Marshall of Kansas — would direct the Federal Reserve to make sure that banks with more than $100 billion in assets ensure that their credit cards provide a choice of at least two networks that can be used to process electronic credit-card transactions, according to a handout provided by Durbin’s office.

“This would inject real competition into the credit-card market — opening the door for new market entrants such as current debit-only networks, encouraging innovation and enhanced security, creating backup options if a network crashes, and exerting competitive constraints on Visa and Mastercard’s fee rates,” according to the handout.

A spokesman for Purchase, New York-based Mastercard had no immediate comment, while a representative for San Francisco-based Visa didn’t respond to requests for comment.

With the bill, Durbin and Marshall are taking aim at a key source of revenue for the two companies, which set the fees merchants are charged each time a consumer swipes one of their cards at checkout. Banks collect the bulk of these so-called swipe fees before handing over a slice to the two payments giants.

Visa shares dropped as much as 5.3% Wednesday afternoon, and were down 0.6% at 3:14 p.m. in New York, while Mastercard slipped as much as 2.9% before recovering to rise 0.9%

The move by Durbin and Marshall comes after the two firms introduced a series of changes to swipe fees earlier this year, sparking outcry among retailers who say they’re already dealing with the effects of inflation at a 40-year high.

Fee Changes

Visa, for its part, cut the fees it charges firms with less than $250,000 in Visa consumer credit-card volume by 10% — a move that it says applies to the vast majority of U.S. businesses. At the same time, though, the payments company increased the fees it charges for most online spending.

Mastercard, on the other hand, lowered the fees it charges for any transaction under $5 by about 300 basis points while decreasing the rates it charges hotels, rental-car companies, daycare facilities and casual-dining restaurants. The company also increased its so-called digital-enablement fee, which it charges on all online transactions.

These fees often amount to just pennies per transaction. But, last year alone, merchants paid $137.8 billion in processing fees, up 24% from 2020, according to the industry publication The Nilson Report.

This isn’t the first time Durbin has taken aim at swipe fees. In 2010, Congress passed the so-called Durbin Amendment, which required banks to put two unaffiliated networks on every debit card they issue. Merchants, then, are supposed to have the ability to choose which network handles transactions.

Banks typically issue debit cards with either Visa or rival Mastercard, but there are also smaller, lesser-known networks with names like Pulse, Shazam and Star. These networks often charge a lower fee, averaging just 25 cents per transaction in 2020, compared with 35 cents for debit spending routed over Visa’s debit networks, according to data compiled by the Federal Reserve.

‘Complete Overhaul’

Lenders rely on swipe fees to offer rewards for credit card users, so banks may have to introduce new annual fees to preserve those perks for customers, said Dan Perlin, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets. And while banks and merchants have long since adjusted their debit systems to comply with the Durbin Amendment, other analysts were quick to note that the same functionality doesn’t currently exist in the world of credit cards.

“Enabling dual network capabilities for credit cards would require a complete overhaul of the existing technology for credit card transaction processing including making networks interoperable, enabling issuer processors to handle alternative network messages, and a complete re-issuance of all credit cards for banks with more than $100 billion in assets, among other technological and functional challenges,” analysts at Credit Suisse Group AG said in a note to clients.

Trade groups representing banks and payment companies immediately cried foul on Wednesday, arguing the bill could create security concerns in the payments industry and may lead to more foreign payment networks — including China’s UnionPay — handling US credit card transactions.

“It’s highly conceivable and highly likely that a lot of these transactions might end up running over a foreign network,” said Jeff Tassey, chairman of the Electronic Payments Coalition.

Merchants, though, have been adamant that a bill like the one Durbin and Marshall are proposing would allow them to ultimately lower prices for consumers. That would come as US inflation accelerated to a 40-year high in June, a sign that price pressures are becoming entrenched in the economy.

“For the retailers, it means everything,” said Leon Buck, vice president for government relations for banking and financial services at the National Retail Federation. “It would allow us to negotiate a fairer, lesser, more equitable price.”

Take convenience stores, which are known for razor-thin margins. NACS — a trade group representing the industry — said swipe fees climbed 26% for the industry in 2021 compared to the year earlier and another 33% in the first quarter alone.

“Our estimate is that having basic competition ought to be about $11 billion in savings overall,” said Doug Kantor, general counsel for NACS and an executive committee member for the Merchants Payments Coalition trade group. “You ought to see a vast majority of that going to consumers.”

(Updates with additional information and analyst commentary in 13th paragraph)

–By Jenny Surane and Laura Litvan (Bloomberg)

Why financial services CFOs need to partner with their CIOs

It’s no secret that the financial services industry is highly regulated, and it’s just one challenge the industry faces. In addition to the ubiquitous burdens the COVID-19 pandemic brought to just about every industry, financial services firms are also trying to navigate de-globalization as well as digital disruption. 

Renee Wells, vice president of product strategy, Rimini Street

In order to succeed, financial services institutions need to remain proactive and continue to help drive innovation. As they align their budgets and resources on future goals where their businesses and operations are concerned, it’s vital to reprioritize digital strategies to emerge as winners despite continual volatility and shifts in the market.

And in order to do that, it’s imperative that chief financial officers (CFOs) are in lockstep with chief information officers (CIOs) and other technology leaders to keep innovation moving forward. 

The pandemic-induced reality

While the financial services industry has its list of challenges, there’s no getting around the fact that the global pandemic has created some harsh implications. A recent PwC assessment of the industry laid out a series of macro trends that financial services leaders need to grasp as they develop their plans for the future. Among them: the COVID-19 recession will reduce the risk-bearing capacity for regulated industries — including financial services — to support the “real” economy as it enters a recovery stage over the next year. 

In addition, the firm says that low interest rates will continue to add a layer of volatility to business models and margins, while de-globalization will further coordinate the size of financial institutions with the GDP of the countries in which they’re based. That, PwC argues, will lead to continued offshoring and increase operational risk across the industry. Finally, the firm says that the pandemic won’t delay — and may actually accelerate — the development and implementation of regulatory measures across many countries and regions. 

Prioritizing digital innovation

Digital transformation is a priority in just about every industry, but it appears that it’s slightly less important to executives in the financial services industry. A recent Dimensional Research survey of CFOs and senior finance leaders found that 65% of respondents from financial services and insurance organizations view digital transformation investments as key to their business’ success. That’s lower than any other industry examined in the survey; as an example, 81% of manufacturing respondents said digital transformation investments are vital to their success, as did 79% in the tech industry, 75% in retail and 73% in construction. When asked, financial services respondents identified optimizing existing tech investments as the top IT initiative they’d like to see more of from CIOs. 

This is where CIOs can help their CFO counterparts. Creating strong relationships with their CIO not only helps CFOs drive more innovation where transformation is concerned but also helps meet other wider business goals. The CIO is uniquely positioned to convey which digital initiatives can provide the most near-term value and ROI, as well as which projects are worth shelving for the time being. Armed with this knowledge, the CFO can then turn to other decision-making executives and explain why driving digital innovation forward is important to the health of the business. 

In most cases — particularly in this environment — the safer bet is to focus on smaller initiatives that drive the digital strategy forward incrementally over time, as opposed to a lengthy and costly infrastructure overhaul that may not yield tangible results for three to five years (or more). Quick wins every few months demonstrate added value across the organization and showcase the why behind digital transformation efforts. 

Leaders must invest in their most valuable asset: Their employees

As financial services companies — like just about every other industry — reassess their strategies in the post-pandemic landscape, it’s becoming clear that the winners are investing in employees. Just about every organization in the industry expects to allow employees to continue to work remotely in some fashion in the coming year, which means CFOs and their CIO counterparts have an opportunity to help their businesses provide employees with the resources they need to remain productive while working remotely. 

A recentGartner study on the digital future of finance noted that the pandemic proved that efficiency comes at the cost of flexibility, and that businesses need to fund the right investments to increase employee performance in what will likely be a hybrid workforce for the foreseeable future. This means providing employees with the hardware necessary to remain productive, but also to make smart and efficient investments when it comes to organization-wide systems that the business runs on. 

According to the report, finance professionals and organizations have an opportunity to reduce waste and redundancy in this environment. I would argue that one way to do this is to not succumb to the vendors of ERPs and other types of business software by over spending on the so-called “latest and greatest” updates. The truth these vendors probably don’t want you to hear is that most businesses can remain just as effective, productive and secure — a major must for this industry — by maintaining the systems they already have in place rather than investing in the latest versions of everything just because the vendor says it’s time to do so. 

Digital transformation isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition. Taking a more measured approach and investing incrementally where it makes sense frees up funds for organizations to invest in other ways to help foster employee growth, development and ultimately, productivity. 

In the end, this is a key area where CFOs and CIOs can partner to help keep employees productive so they can move their organizations forward. As CIOs identify strategic areas where bolstering technology supports the business’s digital transformation aspirations, CFOs can illustrate to other leaders why these initiatives make good business sense. 

Renee Wells serves as vice president of product strategy at Rimini Street. A 27-year veteran of IT and enterprise software with extensive experience in network engineering, management consulting, product marketing and product management, she held several leadership roles at AT&T prior to her current role.

TD Bank’s Paul Margarites joins Bank Automation Summit Fall

Paul Margarites, head of commercial digital platforms at the $1.4 trillion TD Bank, will join the Bank Automation Summit Fall 2022 speaker faculty to discuss “Embedded Finance: Frontiers in Open Banking” on Monday, Sept. 19, at 1:45 p.m. PT.

Bank Automation Summit Fall 2022 will take place live from the Hyatt Olive 8 in Seattle on Sept. 19-20. The Summit brings together industry experts to discuss a wide range of topics, from using automation to stop fraudulent bank transactions to improving customer and employee experiences.

View the event agenda here.

Paul Margarites, head of U.S. commercial digital platforms, TD Bank

With more than a decade of experience in guiding digital transformation for both large investment banks and management consulting firms, Margarites is responsible for developing, scaling and running digital products at TD Bank.

Recently, he has focused on embedded banking to help TD Bank clients automate payables processes, Margarites previously told Bank Automation News. “Our decisions around automation focus on client experience and ease of doing business with the bank.”

The embedded finance panel at the Summit will cover the following topics:

  • Opportunities and challenges for FIs pursuing an embedded finance strategy;
  • Best practices in API development – before going to market; and
  • Compliance considerations for FIs and fintechs.

The Bank Automation Summit Fall 2022 agenda invites participants to collaborate and learn, with multiple sessions dedicated to topics such as facilitating citizen developers in banking, automation to detect and stop fraudulent transactions, new frontiers in open banking, and more. Participants will have the opportunity to explore relevant case studies and engage in roundtable discussions on key automation and innovation trends.

Learn more and register for Bank Automation Summit Fall 2022.

XBRL News sustainability reporting and X’s

Here are the three most relevant developments in the world of structured reporting we became aware of in the course of last week. 

1  India gears up for digital sustainability reporting

2  X or x? A note on terminology

Should the ‘X’ in ‘XBRL’ be capitalised? How do different terms relate to different specifications and formats? And what do we mean by xBRL-XML? These are questions we are sometimes asked, so we thought it was time for a quick clarification. For more on essential XBRL-related terms, the XBRL Glossary is also an indispensable resource.

At last, we are tempted to say! The powers that be have heard our plea for an explanation of the difference between XBRL and xBRL – but go read for yourself!

3  Updates and perspectives on ESG at XBRL Europe event

Another really interesting session at the 30th XBRL Europe conference was the plenary session on environment, social, and governance (ESG) matters, with presentations now available to peruse online. It focused particularly on the crucial theme of how digital thinking is being built into emerging ESG standards.

The challenge is massive, but we will have to rise to it: create sustainability reporting standards, their delivery mechanism (XBRL) and use them in actual reporting, and all that within a mere 2 years …


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

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

 For context on XBRL please read this introduction to our XBRL Week in 2016 and read articles tagged XBRL in our archives. 

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API-Storefront of Auto OEMs & Value For B2B Partners

Data ingestion from cars is gaining importance beyond shared mobility, where it was always recognized as significant. Fleet operators for car subscription companies, rentals, and commercial-fleets are leveraging data to reduce costs, increase revenues, and improve clients’ experience. They pull data from OEM telematics units found in most new cars, making vehicles digital-ready seamlessly. OEMs are providing richer, robust data via factory fitted telematics than ever before.

An example is MSPF, an open platform developed by Toyota Motor Corporation that provides a variety of functions. Vehicular big data gathered by Toyota’s connected vehicles is managed by a cloud service and offered via multiple APIs for vehicle management and authentication. The platform is actively championed by partners, such as ride-sharing and insurance companies, who provide joint services based on vehicular data.

Key features include:

  • Location Based Service – API service that provides Map, POI search, Traffic Information and Route Guidance
  • Smart Key Box – an onboard device that implements secure door locking/unlocking, engine startup for car-sharing. Simply by installing the device in vehicles, the key needed to borrow a vehicle can be transferred to a smartphone safely and securely.

Other OEMs have similarly been expanding their API offerings.

The SAMOVAR DRIVE project, one of the most widely cited studies of telematics devices in the world, sponsored by the European Union, along with a series of U.S.-based studies conducted in later years demonstrated that installing telematics systems into vehicle fleets cuts accident occurrences by 20-30%.

In addition, OEMs are going beyond making vehicles tougher to designing cars that actively avoid accidents in the first place. Crash prevention technology is appearing across the spectrum of cars. Swedish car maker Volvo’s City Safety technology is capable of braking automatically if the driver turns in front of an oncoming vehicle, potentially avoiding a head-on smash, and automatically brakes at intersections.

In personal auto insurance, inaccurately priced premiums cause millions of dollars in losses every year. The tasks involved with correctly matching risk to rate are complex. However, few factors that contribute to inaccurate pricing, can be easier to verify. Mileage, for instance, is a good indicator of the number of at-fault claims a driver will file. Underreported mileage is known to cause an average 2.6% loss per policy. Using APIs to read odometer, the insurer’s application can curtail such leakages.

Garaging location is another factor, rarely verified, that leads to more than 10% of policies with verifiable garaging inaccuracies. An example is of policyholders forgetting to update their garaging address after moving. Sometimes, policyholders lie about garaging location to get better rates. As a result, insurers lose an average of 1.4% in leakage per policy. OEM APIs can be used to easily verify each policyholder’s garaging location. Similar to mileage and garaging locations, incorrectly reported VINs cause insurers millions of dollars in annual losses. More than 5% of policyholders report an incorrect VIN to their insurer. Here, insurers lose on average 1% on each insurance policy. Altogether, that’s 5% in average losses.

Indicative price points from connected data platforms are illustrative in pinning down value from key segments, with fleet operators pricing at $25, insurers at $15 for usage-based-insurance and car dealerships at $15 per-vehicle per-year. Consider the average annual car insurance premium in the U.S. of $1,056.55 in 2018, per 2021 Auto Insurance Database Report. That translates to platforms charging 1.5% of average premiums against potential leakage prevention of 5%. Add to that the 20-30% reduction in accidents mentioned earlier, auto carriers are headed towards multiple tech-driven opportunities to reinvigorate technical results.

We can expect to see more and more data available via OEM telematics. This encompasses driving behavior data, eco-scores, data from road signs recognition and autonomous driving. Car data will gain increasing prominence, with value accruing from its large untapped potential.

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Issue #374 – Let’s See The Glass Half Full

An increasing number of finance executives are acknowledging the benefits of blockchain, digital assets, and smart contracts – both for their organisation and for wider society. But the unfamiliar landscape requires vigilance and thorough investigation.

Blockchain in Finance 2022 is written for finance executives who want to understand how the financial services sector is approaching blockchain, how much progress is being made, and what the most common challenges and opportunities are.

Jack Henry teams up with Victor Technologies and MVB Bank on RTP

Core provider Jack Henry announced a partnership this week with MVB Edge Ventures subsidiary Victor Technologies and MVB Bank to integrate a real-time payments (RTP) solution that improves the bank’s instant payment offerings to its clients. The West Virginia-based MVB Bank is the first Jack Henry customer to launch RTP send and request capabilities on […]

Five Fintechs Helping Employers Help Employees Achieve Financial Wellness, Education, and Inclusion

One of the more interesting developments in fintech in recent years has been how a number of innovators have sought to leverage the workplace as a way to make financial wellness, education, and inclusion a reality for workers. Today’s column will introduce five of fintechs – Finovate alums all – that are bringing the benefits of fintech innovation not only to where users live, but to where they work, as well.

Digital Align | Fremont, California | FinovateSpring 2019

Digital transformation consulting services company Digital Align introduced its AlignMoney solution at FinovateSpring two years ago. The offering is the world’s first, digital Banking-as-a-Benefit platform for employers to offer to their employees, helping companies both attract and retain talent. AlignMoney makes it easy for employees to secure a variety of banking products and services – ranging from savings, checking, and credit cards to home loans, insurance, and investments.

Icon Savings Plan | San Francisco, California | FinovateFall 2021

Making its Finovate debut as part of our all-digital fintech conference in 2020, Icon Savings Plan returned to the Finovate stage a year later for FinovateFall in New York. The company’s innovation is a portable retirement plan that replaces the complexity and fragmentation of the 401(k)s with a low-cost, personalized savings and investing plan for both W2 and 1099 employees. And when the employee leaves their employer, their Icon Savings Plan goes with them without any change in service or hassle – and potential expense – of having to rollover the account.

Keep Financial | Atlanta, Georgia | FinovateSpring 2022

Among Finovate’s newest alums, Keep Financial made its Finovate debut earlier this year at FinovateSpring. The company, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, and founded in January 2022, won Best of Show for its Cash Vesting Plans that help companies solve hiring and retention challenges while aligning interests between employees and employers. More than a typical bonus, Keep Financial’s Cash Vesting Plans vest over time, enabling workers to be rewarded for their continued contributions to the company. The plans operate like 0% interest loans from which employees can draw upon at any time and for any amount. Borrowed funds are repaid at each vesting milestone while the employee continues to work for the company.

SalaryFits | London, U.K. | FinovateFall 2019

In the same way that fintechs urge banks to leverage their relationship with customers to provide new and better financial products and services, SalaryFits seek to leverage the relationship between the employee and employer to provide better, fairer financial solutions, as well. The London-based company connects the product offers from financial institutions to the payroll of companies. This enables businesses to contribute to the financial wellbeing of their employees and gives providers a way to reach a broader market of potential customers. Financial solutions from more than 100 financial institutions are available via SalaryFit’s cloud-based platform.

SecureSave | Kirkland, Washington | FinovateSpring 2021

Taking to the Finovate stage for the first time two years ago at FinovateSpring, Kirkland, Washington-based SecureSave offers a new type of workplace savings program that helps employees build and maintain an emergency savings account. SecureSave provides employees with a free emergency savings app to make the process of saving for an emergency fund easy and automatic via payroll deductions. The company partners with employers, benefit brokerage firms, and financial services providers to make emergency savings a component in a holistic financial wellness program.

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo

Transactions: Visa teams up with fintech Wex

Visa reached a multiyear agreement with fintech WEX to “enable their travel, health and corporate clients to make payments using Visa virtual card capabilities,” Visa Chief Executive Al Kelly said during Tuesday’s fiscal third-quarter earnings call. In addition, Visa also partnered with credit fintech Fundbox at the end of May to enable new payment capabilities […]

Credit unions see AI opportunities in the wake of the ‘great resignation’

Credit unions are looking to personalize their customer experience offerings by leveraging artificial intelligence (AI), particularly as customer expectations have changed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the mass employee resignations that have followed. Financial institutions have struggled to keep up with customer demand since the pandemic began as branches shuttered and call […]

Collaborative Banking Innovator Asa Partners with Pyramid Federal Credit Union
  • Provo, Utah-based fintech Asa announced a partnership with Pyramid Federal Credit Union.
  • Asa will use its collaborative banking approach to enable Pyramid FCU to expand its offerings via connections with customer-facing fintechs.
  • Asa made its Finovate debut last September at FinovateFall 2021.

Pyramid Federal Credit Union, a Tucson, Arizona-based financial institution with $168 million in assets, has selected Asa to enhance the customer experience for its more than 17,000 members. Asa specializes in connecting financial institutions with customer-facing fintechs via a secure, compliant, and easy-to-implement marketplace. The company helps credit unions, as well as community and regional banks, leverage what it calls “collaborative banking” to innovate faster and provide the most modern customer experience possible.

Pyramid FCU CEO Ray Lancaster underscored the challenge that smaller financial institutions face when it comes to providing their customers and members with the kind of up-to-date digital experience they are accustomed to in other areas of their lives. “As a community institution, it can be challenging to keep up with the rapid rate that technology and member expectations change,” Lancaster explained. “Asa and the collaborative banking model help solve for this pain point, providing members with fast and easy access to the apps and tools they want to try, all without having to share any sensitive information. This allows us to nimbly innovate without being bogged down with cumbersome one-to-one vendor due diligence, carving out a strong competitive advantage.”

The partnership with Asa will enable Pyramid FCU to connect to a community of fintechs courtesy of Asa’s digital rails, which will allow Pyramid FCU to provide its customers with a range of new innovations and capabilities. The collaboration will ensure that member data is tokenized, normalized, and anonymized before being shared with any connected fintechs in order to remove both liability and risk.

“By embracing the collaborative banking model, Pyramid FCU is improving the member experience and empowering them with unprecedented choice, all while removing much of the liability and risk that has traditionally hindered credit union-fintech partnerships,” Asa founder and CEO Landon Glenn said.

Founded in 2019 and headquartered in Provo, Utah, Asa made its Finovate debut last year at FinovateFall 2021. At the event, we had the opportunity to talk with Asa’s Head of Fintech Relationships Ryan Ruff about the challenges of creating successful partnerships between financial institutions and fintechs and how Asa can help facilitate these partnerships.

Asa has raised $1.8 million in funding courtesy of an August 2021 seed round led by CFV Ventures.

Photo by Bilel Naili

Stablecoin News for the week ending Wednesday 27th July.

Here is our pick of the 3 most important stablecoin stories during the week.

How much and what type of Collateral is your stablecoin backed by?

First, It’s not every week that regulators from both sides of the Atlantic ocean come together to discuss cryptocurrencies. But that’s what happened last week, with the European Union and United States counterparts sharing their thoughts on stablecoins, central bank digital currencies (CBDC) and the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) proposal. 

Regulators across the ocean discuss stablecoins and MiCa at joint forum (

At the same time a new type of stablecoin is in the works and after the recent debacle with Terra it’s not surprising that the innovation is overcollateralization.

Curve, an Automated Market Maker (AMM) has reportedly confirmed that a new stablecoin will be overcollateralized at a web3 summit.

It stands to reason that the basic mechanism for a Curve stablecoin would be to mint it against liquidity provider (LP) positions. At a high level, this would be similar to MakerDAO’s collateralized debt position model. 

Using LP positions as collateral should theoretically make liquidity more sticky on Curve, as an outstanding loan against an LP position would require users to pay down that loan before retrieving their collateral. After all, people use Maker partially so they don’t have to sell their ETH. In this case, people could borrow against their Curve LP positions so they can access liquidity without giving up that fee-generating collateral.

Another potential advantage of a native stablecoin for Curve would be borrowing fees earned from it. This, too, would be similar to Maker. 

Curve Finance Has a Stablecoin in the Works – The Defiant

Another over-collateralized coin USDD, the decentralized stablecoin on TRON is also coming on to the market.  

Current market conditions have brought fears of assets being subject to liquidation and freezings without the consent of the holders. USDD overcomes these fears from multiple different angles. Whitelisted institutions of the TRON DAO Reserve (TDR) are authorized to mint USDD. The value of USDD is supported by the over-collateralization of highly liquid crypto assets consisting of, but not limited to, BTC, USDT, USDC, and TRX. This allows USDD to be free from centralized intermediaries (such as Banks and Central Banks) so users do not have to worry about their assets being frozen with or without notice. This enables holders of USDD to truly have full ownership of their stablecoin.      

Centralized stablecoins such as USDC and USDT are bound by regulators to maintain a 1:1 reserve ratio to the USD. If the centralized authorities of these stablecoins are unable to meet their reserve requirements, this can cause the centralized stablecoins to lose its 1:1 USD peg. USDD is immune to such issues due to its decentralized nature. USDD is not designed to strictly peg to the USD; instead, it floats up and down around it. The price stability of USDD is maintained through monetary policies adopted by the TDR based on market conditions.

Under volatile market conditions, USDD is not considered depegged when it is within 3% up or down from the USD peg. This allows for further flexibility for the TDR to make the necessary monetary policy adjustments if needed. With recent volatility in the markets, USDD has adjusted properly through TDR’s monetary policy tools which have strongly held up against recent concerns. This methodology is known as a Linked Exchange Rate System and has successfully allowed USDD to properly scale.

TRON DAO reserve addresses questions regarding USDD stablecoin (

So in summary, your stablecoin can be overcollateralized, decentralised and stable (relatively).  Another innovation for regulators to ponder. 


Alan Scott is an expert in the FX market and has been working in the domain of stablecoins for many years.  

Twitter @Alan_SmartMoney

We have a self imposed constraint of 3 news stories per week because we serve busy senior Fintech leaders who just want succinct and important information.


For context on stablecoins please read this introductory interview with Alan “How stablecoins will change our world” and read articles tagged stablecoin in our archives. 

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Socure and Middesk Forge Industry-First Integrated KYB/KYC Verification Solution
  • Identity verification and fraud solution provider Socure is teaming up with business verification and identity platform Middesk.
  • The partnership is the first instance in which two Know Your Business (KYB) and Know Your Customer (KYC0 innovators have created an integrated, end-to-end business verification solution.
  • Socure, a Finovate alum since 2013, has raised more than $646 million in funding.

Digital identity verification and fraud solutions provider Socure announced an industry-first partnership this week with business verification and identity platform Middesk. The integration combines Socure’s real-time, predictive analytics identity verification and fraud prevention solution with Middesk’s business entity verification technology to enhance the ability of B2B companies to accurately verify their customers. The collaboration marks the first time that two innovators in the Know Your Business (KYB) and Know Your Customer (KYC) space have created an integrated solution for end-to-end business verification.

“With our partnership, B2B companies will achieve an incremental lift in their business due to Socure’s industry-leading accuracy and coverage of our identity verification and fraud risk prediction solutions,” Socure CEO and founder Johnny Ayers said. “This accuracy leads to the auto-approval of more good consumers and creates increased conversion rates and a higher assurance of onboarding trustworthy business customers.”

The integration will help B2B companies verify not only the details of new business customers such as name, address, and tax ID, but also the personal details for that business’ beneficial owners. The addition of Socure’s digital identity verification and fraud platform will ease and streamline the process through which Middesk customers can authenticate the associated beneficial owners of the businesses they register and onboard. The partnership could be a major boon for businesses in regulated industries – including banks, financial services companies, and insurance companies – that require a high degree of business identity verification. The collaboration also should prove helpful to entities such as B2B marketplaces that serve gig economy businesses and entrepreneurs who often have smaller or more incomplete data footprints that can make KYB more challenging.

Middesk co-founder and CEO Kyle Mack said that the partnership would help Middesk customers who are eager to tackle the issues of identity verification. “Customers can now leverage the Socure integration to validate personal attributes of beneficial owners,” Mack said. “Additionally, Socure delivers key risk insights that determine the likelihood that someone’s identity is legitimate, and applicants are who they claim to be, which provides even more value to our customers in uncertain, but growing market conditions.”

Founded in 2012 and making its Finovate debut a year later at FinovateFall, Socure has grown into a leading identity verification solution provider. With more than 1,000 financial institutions, government agencies, and enterprises using on the company’s verification technology, Socure reported in May that it had reached record customer growth of 236%, and currently includes companies such as EarnUp and fellow Finovate alum Sezzle among its financial services clients. Also in May, Socure introduced new Chief Financial Officer Krish Venkataraman.

“I’ve long had the sense that, no matter what type of business you’re in, solving for identity verification was critical to operating in the next phase of the internet,” Venkataraman said when his appointment was announced. “What’s really becoming clear is that the line of demarcation between a real identity and how that identity operates in the digital world no longer exists. A person’s identity is how they access everything they want and need to do, and today, those things almost all happen online.” Venkataraman called Socure “the identity verification layer for the Internet.”

Headquartered in New York City, Socure has raised more than $646 million in funding. The company’s investors include Accel, T. Rowe Price, and ff Venture Capital.

Photo by Pixabay