Stripe Launches New Online Identity Verification Tool

https://thefintechtimes.com/stripe-launches-new-online-identity-verification-tool/

Stripe has announced the launch of Stripe Identity, a simple way for internet businesses to securely verify the identities of users from over 30 countries.

As more economic activity happens online, the need for internet businesses to establish and maintain high levels of trust increases commensurately. Online businesses frequently need to verify the identities of their users to comply with age requirements or “Know Your Customer” (KYC) laws—and to increase trust and safety by reducing fraud, preventing account takeovers, and stopping bad actors.

Stripe Identity makes identity verification as effortless for a business as payment acceptance. Identity is built on the same infrastructure that powers Stripe’s own global onboarding compliance and risk management, meaning that the verification tooling Stripe originally built for itself is now available to Stripe’s users as well. Stripe Identity is the first self-serve tool of its kind, allowing any online business to begin verifying the identities of their users in just a few minutes, with no code required.

Early users of Stripe Identity include:

  • Discord, which embedded identity verification as a feature to ensure that everyone in their community is trustwothy.
  • Peerspace, which added identity verification to their checks when onboarding users or merchants to reduce fraud.
  • Shippo, whose fraud and risk teams augmented their own risk signals by asking high-risk users to verify their identity (without adding friction for good users).
  • Security teams at a range of companies, using Stripe Identity to help prevent account takeovers.

“Verifications serve as a critical tool in any marketplace that’s powered by trust, especially for a platform like Peerspace that connects people to unique spaces for important meetings or milestone life events,” said Matt Bendett, VP of Operations at Peerspace. “The integration between Stripe Connect and Stripe Identity has allowed us to reduce fraud and give our users peace of mind, all while staying in a single, consistent experience that’s powered by Stripe.”

How it works

Stripe Identity is a simple and programmable way to verify identities online. A low-code integration option allows businesses to start verifying identities in minutes, with a verification flow fully hosted by Stripe. Alternatively, without any code at all, fraud and risk teams can generate verification links to assess suspicious transactions or high-risk users.

The information collected is encrypted and sent directly to Stripe, so an individual business doesn’t have to worry about managing sensitive, personal information on its own servers. (This is similar to Stripe’s hosted payments pages, which send payment information like credit card numbers directly to Stripe for secure processing.) This means businesses can now verify identities more quickly, more easily, and more securely—but take on less effort and risk themselves.

To prove their identity, users take a photo of their government ID and a live selfie, which Stripe’s advanced machine learning then matches to the ID. Businesses can also request that users key in additional information to be checked against third-party records.

The entire verification process for an individual user can be completed in as little as 15 seconds.

“Businesses have been asking us for an easy and fast way to verify identities online. Stripe Identity offers them just that,” said Rob Daly, Head of Engineering for Stripe Identity. “Now, any internet business—from a five-person startup to a multinational enterprise—can begin securely verifying the identities of their users in a matter of minutes, not weeks or months.”

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

https://thefintechtimes.com/stripe-launches-new-online-identity-verification-tool/

Kuwait Finance House Bahrain Announce Partnership to Enhance Compliance Operations

https://thefintechtimes.com/kuwait-finance-house-bahrain-announce-partnership-to-enhance-compliance-operations/

The global API banking solutions provider, Codebase Technologies (CBT), has been selected by Kuwait Finance House Bahrain (KFHB), a pioneer in the global Shari’a banking space, to expand the bank’s digital market leadership with a streamlined regulatory reporting platform to enhance transparency and automate backend compliance operations.

As banking and financial technologies have evolved in parallel with central bank regulations, internal processes and protocols within these institutions have struggled to keep pace. Leveraging the technological advancements achieved through its partnership with CBT, KFH sought the banking solutions provider’s expertise in establishing an automated, flexible platform for regulatory reporting.

KFH’s new regulatory reporting capabilities are enabled by Digibanc RegReporting, a fully automated, end-to-end regulatory reporting platform that seamlessly integrates with multiple data sources and streamlines backend processing. The implementation will enable KFH to flexibly and rapidly respond to an ever-evolving regulatory environment while ensuring compliance and consistent, precise reporting.

Yousif Alhammadi, Executive Manager, Head of Financial Control and Administration at Kuwait Finance House Bahrain, said: “Technology’s expanding role in banking and finance will only continue to push institutions to widen their technological footprint. Partnering with the right technology enabler is where the advantage lies for institutions. Codebase Technologies consistently helps us evolve ahead of the market, empowering us with solutions and innovations that optimise our operations and keep customers coming back.

Raheel Iqbal, Managing Partner and Global Product Head at Codebase Technologies, said: “The efficacy of what Codebase Technologies is capable of is clearly exemplified in how KFH Bahrain has defined itself as a leader in GCC digital banking landscape. We’re proud to be Kuwait Finance House Bahrain’s technology partner of choice to help it achieve its digital ambitions because they enable us to deliver on our mission of demystifying digital financial services, and reshaping the possibilities for the industry.”

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

https://thefintechtimes.com/kuwait-finance-house-bahrain-announce-partnership-to-enhance-compliance-operations/

Wipro: Why are Financial Services a Prime Target for Cybercrime?

https://thefintechtimes.com/wipro-why-are-financial-services-a-prime-target-for-cybercrime/

Cybercrime, otherwise known as computer-orientated crime, is an increasingly global phenomenon, threatening all industries. The evolution of technology which is now used continuously on the move in every aspect of life enables hackers to leverage the anonymity of the internet and exploit companies and individuals. Cybercrime is more prevalent in the financial services sector than in almost any other industry.

Research indicates that almost half of black-market data originates from the BFSI sector. Unsurprisingly, the nature of the personal information held by these organisations makes them a tempting target. As banking evolves and new technologies emerge, the introduction of omnichannel platforms designed to give the customer greater accessibility ironically does the same for hackers. This is presenting the industry with new challenges. 

To discuss these challenges, The Fintech Times spoke to Amitava Chatterjee, a Senior Consultant in the Industry Domain & Consulting Services group for Wipro’s Banking and Financial Services Unit. They provide a range of services across Retail Banking, Investment Banking, Capital Markets, Wealth Management, and Insurance. 

wiprowipro
Amitava Chatterjee, Senior Consultant in the Industry Domain & Consulting Services group, Wipro

Over the past few years, banking has changed dramatically. New technologies have emerged that have completely transformed the way we bank. People are no longer accessing and generating data purely from ATMs or on-site, but instead via online banking, e-commerce platforms and mobile applications. The introduction of services such as cashless payments have made financial organisations even more vulnerable. Cybercriminals are regularly infiltrating and exploiting data in order to impersonate individuals, gain access to sensitive information, disable devices and even, sell sensitive data to competitors or marketing agencies via multiple channels. 

Key cybercrime trend data indicates that 67% of all data breaches include advanced personally identifiable information such as addresses and dates of birth. The nature of the information held, increasing digitisation and a shift to mobile banking, has meant the financial industry has become prey to a series of cybercrime incidents, resulting in data breaches for millions of customers.  

Despite the increasing sophistication of the services on offer, email phishing and third-party unprotected services are still the two major risk areas for the financial services industry. Any data from one breach can be easily used to gain unauthorised access to another infrastructure through the re-use of passwords or social engineering attacks. This data is then randomly exchanged on the Deep/Dark Web. Furthermore, aggregated data can be used to pursue enterprise-level targets, to steal intellectual property or trade secrets, customer information, financial data and/or corporate strategies. Therefore, data breaches can have wide-reaching implications not only affecting the individual customer whose data has been compromised. 

In short, the banking industry is a very lucrative target for cybercriminals.  If this sector is to keep ahead of the cybercriminals and maintain the trust of its customers and partners, it will need to implement broader and more effective security strategies. Thus, it is essential that this sector pinpoints its vulnerabilities and addresses them with absolute urgency.

Disruption and damage

The disruption and damage caused by a cybercrime incident generally falls into three main categories, namely: 

  1. Financial: Most cybercrime is related to fraud and has financial consequences. Shockingly, the success rate for such attacks equates around one in three.
  2. Reputational: In addition to financial implications, cyberattacks can have catastrophic implications for a company’s reputation. Breaches of a customer’s confidentiality can irreparably ruin an organisation’s reputation and credibility, which in turn, directly impacts customers’ willingness to trust institutions to safeguard and manage their wealth and assets. In a world where the customer is the key sales driver, this kind of lack of trust can be highly detrimental to the success of a business.
  3. Legal: There can be legal implications for companies who fail to safeguard their clients’ personal data. As per the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for EU member countries in 2018, there is a legal obligation for companies to report breaches to supervisory authorities within 72 hours. Failure to fulfil this obligation is punishable by a fine of up to 4% of global annual turnover or a maximum of 20 million EUR. 

Prevent rather than react

Although cybercrime seems to be an ever-increasing problem for the financial services sector there are some practical steps that can be taken to minimise vulnerability to attacks. The key is to focus on preventative, as opposed to purely reactive measures as follows: 

  1. Risk Management Regime: it is important to fully assess and understand the risk posed before implementing cybersecurity measures.
  2. Secure configuration: misconfigured controls such as an unsecure database, are often the origin of data breaches
  3. Home and mobile working: as we move forward in a post covid world, many employers will be looking to work towards a hybrid working model, where remote working is still very much an option. However, it is important to address the increased security risks faced when operating with a distributed workforce.
  4. Incident Management: establish clear policies and procedures to mitigate security incidents
  5. Malware prevention: implement anti-malware software
  6. Managing user privileges: restrict sensitive information with secure access controls
  7. Monitoring: system monitoring helps identify incidents promptly and initiate appropriate response efforts. 
  8. Network security: improve policies and technical measures to reduce vulnerabilities on the internet
  9. Removable media controls: implement policies on usage of removable devices to prevent security incidents from malware
  10. User education and awareness: train employees and customers on their responsibilities and security practices to help increase awareness and prevent data breaches. 

Implementing the above practical strategies will hopefully keep attacks to a minimum. However, moving forwards, it is critical for organisations to also focus on anticipatory approaches. Multiple industry reports suggest that some of the key measures to consider include:

  • Automation: the vast amount of data and assets held on a financial organisation’s network can be very complex and inefficient. Technology Asset Management (TAM) gives a holistic view of the whole technology stack and acts as a single source of truth in monitoring and identifying outdated and unused software. This can help optimise cyber-hygiene and reduce risk of cyber attacks
  • Artificial Intelligence: implementing intelligence-driven measures with the use of artificial intelligence (AI) can help strengthen authentication methods and reduce cyber risks. Examples such as biometric logins for multi-factor authentication (MFA) are already being used today.
  • Sandbox-Evading Malware: Sandboxing is an automated technology for malware detection used in traditional antivirus programs and other security applications. This mechanism keeps running programs separated, so malware cannot run in those programs while the security software executes the malware to determine what it is.
  • Cloud services: adoption of cloud-based Infrastructure-as-a-Service offerings for running business systems with sensitive data on public clouds. These services often reduce operating costs and increase an organisation’s speed in bringing new services to the market.
  • Security as a service: a business model in which a service provider integrates their security services into a corporate infrastructure on a subscription basis, which can be more cost-effective than most individuals or corporations can provide individually when total cost of ownership is considered.

Closing the Cybersecurity skills gap, the use of anticipatory measures, combined with increased automation, cloud services and AI will together help provide ways for organisations to protect themselves against potential threats. Employing these tactics will also allow them time to come up with countermeasures and responses to minimise any potential damage from the attacks which can’t be prevented. Experts agree that a combination of continually evolving protective technologies and solutions will be needed to stay one step ahead of cybercriminals in years to come.

https://thefintechtimes.com/wipro-why-are-financial-services-a-prime-target-for-cybercrime/

Hometrack Launch Climate Change Risk Management Product for Lenders

https://thefintechtimes.com/hometrack-launch-climate-change-risk-management-product-for-lenders/

A brand new Climate Change Risk product has been launched by Hometrack, a provider of insight and intelligence to the mortgage market, to help lenders increase their understanding of the impact of climate change on property valuation and meet increasing regulation from the Bank of England.

Lenders will gain greater control of climate change risk in their mortgage portfolio with the product’s unique ability to identify current climate change risk, as well as its ability to assess how that risk is projected to develop over time. It also allows lenders to be laser-focused in actively managing their climate change risk aligned to their risk appetite, distinguishing areas of concentration risk, and incorporating key climate change metrics into their mortgage origination strategies in real-time.

Streamlining climate change risk assessments for lenders, the product brings together critical risk components into a single lender-focused tool. It is delivered seamlessly through each lender’s existing and integrated platforms, at origination and through back book portfolio assessment, enabling quick and easy risk identification and decision management for lenders.

Hometrack’s Climate Change Risk proposition enables lenders to model for both present and future risk, and consolidates the following expert insights using a top UK valuation model (AVM) and dataset of property valuations:

  • Flood Risk: Lenders will benefit from Hometrack’s partnership with Ambiental, the UK flood specialist, who will provide river flow, rainfall, storm surge and climate change predictions. The model includes testing for ten flood scenarios, facilitating faster risk assessment of each lender’s physical assets.
  • Ground Risk: Hometrack’s partnership with Terrafirma, a UK provider of ground risk analysis, will afford lenders a forensic assessment of the climate related risk associated with property including ground movement, mining, erosion and landslides.
  • Energy: Unlocking easy access to critical data such as EPC ratings and an assessment of a property’s energy efficiency data, lenders will benefit from a present day view of the possible transitional and affordability risks to a property.
  • Valuation: Modelling the impact of ongoing climate change on property values, the product translates geo-physical climate risk into easily understandable direct risk to property for lenders. The product is also fuelled by Hometrack data from over 50 million valuations per year, delivering unique benchmarking insights for customers. This can be overlaid with other important property risk data to support lenders with more advanced risk mitigation where several risks are examined together, instantly, at the point of mortgage application.

Offering lenders the speed and cost-efficiency of a pre-packaged data service, supported by risk analysis tailored to meet their unique needs, the product is backed by the market leading expertise of Hometrack’s dedicated Data Science team. Hometrack’s Climate Change offering can deliver an assessment of risk on a lender’s existing mortgage portfolio including market benchmarking to provide analysis on market trends in this space and a comparison to the rest of the market.

Lenders can also access climate change data at the point of mortgage origination, making it easy to consume as part of the broader mortgage risk assessment. Both capabilities can be provided as a one off or updated at the preferred frequency of the lender.

Theo Brewer, Director of Analytics and Consulting, Hometrack, comments: “We need to drive climate change up the agenda for the mortgage industry and effect change from within. For Hometrack and our customers, this really means accurately identifying where, when, how often and how severe climate change related risks are going to develop, as well as devising the appropriate strategies to continue lending whilst understanding and mitigating risks.

“Our solution is designed to provide lenders with a forensic view of climate change risk, combining scientific expertise across the flood, ground and property value modelling spaces with the ability to seamlessly integrate data and decisioning capability into their mortgage and credit risk platform.

“We have enlisted the best possible partners in Ambiental and Terrafirma to deliver a collaborative solution and ensure our customers benefit from the highest quality, most accurate and most current risk data that draws upon years of experience in modelling and understanding climate change challenges.

“Our solution extends beyond identification of where physical and transitional risks are located now and in the future, to understanding how property value, desirability and saleability may also be impacted. The addition of climate change events data and the ongoing study of how properties have responded to historic events puts Hometrack in a unique position to accurately solve for the next key question for lenders: what is the expected impact to property values?”

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

https://thefintechtimes.com/hometrack-launch-climate-change-risk-management-product-for-lenders/

This Week in Fintech: TFT Bi-Weekly News Roundup 15/06

https://thefintechtimes.com/this-week-in-fintech-tft-bi-weekly-news-roundup-15-06/

The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup puts the spotlight on recent industry updates, appointments and funding success stories.

Mergers and acquisitions

Banking app Dave has unveiled plans to become a publicly traded company via a merger with VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings III. The digital bank will file under the ticker symbol DAVE. VPC has been a longstanding investor in Dave, most recently providing a $100million credit facility to the company in January.

Appointments
Hadi Raad joins SHUAAHadi Raad joins SHUAA
Hadi Raad joins SHUAA

SurePay, the confirmation of payee provider, has hired Adrian Lee-Jarman as senior business development & partnerships manager. In addition, Paul Simpson joins as senior business development manager UK. SurePay says the appointments will help its mission to make online payments safer, more personal and easier to use.

SHUAA has appointed ex-Visa and Google alumnus Hadi Raad in the newly created role of chief digital officer. He will be responsible for building and leading the fintech, driving product innovation and development, digital user experience design, fintech partnerships, as well as its new digital wealth management platform.

Lendtech company DivideBuy has unveiled three senior hires. Heather Goode is now retailer risk and risk oversight manager, Jarone Macklin-Page is business development manager, while Charlotte Bright is named marketing manager. DivideBuy was also recently recognised for its growth by ranking top of the Deloitte Fast 50 UK list.

Partnerships and collaborations

Grameen America, the microfinance non-profit focused on low-income minority women in the US, has extended its partnership with SaaS banking platform Mambu. In 2013, the pair first partnered to replace the lender’s custom-built legacy system with a cloud-native platform. The five-year extension will now help Grameen scale its operations to invest $12billion in loans to minority small business owners.

Meanwhile, online mortgage broker Mojo Mortgages has partnered with GoCompare. The new partnership lets GoCompare customers compare personalised mortgage deals using Mojo’s tech as well as accessing live expert advice with a mortgage adviser.

Impact data provider partners with investment app tickrImpact data provider partners with investment app tickr
Impact data provider partners with tickr

Global payments service provider SumUp has collaborated with Google Pay to help merchants make quicker business transactions using SumUp Card. Existing SumUp Card-holders in the UK, France, Italy and DACH, can add the card to their phone wallet. They can also use it for business payments in stores, online and with other Google products.

Cashflows has unveiled two new partnerships with IMX Software and eDynamix. Both will integrate Cashflows’ acquiring solutions to expand their payment methods, as well as access data in real time to speed-up the settlement period.

Meanwhile, Net Purpose is partnering with investment app tickr to provide data on companies’ social and environmental performance. tickr says Net Purpose’s data will be central to ensuring its users know and understand the good they’re doing.

Virgin Money has partnered with New Zealand-based fintech 9Spokes to support the development of its business banking proposition. The collaboration provides customers with a personalised financial wellness tracker, as well as track, connect and explore management tools.

Finally, Yapily has launched a new open banking bulk payments service with SME payments platform Comma. Harnessing Yapily’s bulk payment offering, Comma’s accountant and bookkeeper customers can create and share payment runs with clients.

Launches

MENAT banking group Emirates NBD has launched a financial education programme targeted at young adults. The week long web-based programme will be held in collaboration with 10 schools in the UAE. It is among several key initiatives undertaken by Emirates NBD to foster financial wellness in the UAE.

While SHUAA Capital, the asset management and investment banking platform in the UAE, is launching an independent fintech platform. The new Digital Wealth Platform will serve existing clients as well as the next generation of investors. The platform will provide personalised curated management and advice.

New charity Tulinawe, which means ‘we are with you’ in Ugandan, has launched to provide locals short-term financial aid in unexpected hardship. Set up by Shamila Mhearban, director of UK HR consultancy Gingko People – and her husband James – Tulinawe hopes to help at least 12 families in Uganda with grants by the end of this year.

Uganda

Uganda

The Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI) has officially launched its online banking system and mobile app following a soft launch. An international money transfer option lets TBI customers transfer funds to any global bank. Customers can also see the nearest TBI ATMs and branches.

Payments platform xpate has unveiled a new payment gateway and operational support project. xpate Links meets demand from acquirers requiring end-to-end fraud control, dispute management and reporting. The solution also offers global online omnichannel payment card acceptance.

While VTB, under an agreement with the Federal Tax Service of Russia, has launched a service for issuing a qualified electronic signature (QES) on a physical medium. The pilot project will start in Moscow and St. Petersburg before becoming available to all regions in the third quarter of 2021.

Announcements and updates

Blockchain platform Zilliqa and its sister company Zilliqa Capital have become members of the US Chamber of Digital Commerce. Through the membership, they will gain access to opportunities for collaboration with the Chamber’s roster of partners and members. In addition, both firms will benefit from increased exposure across the US market, bringing access to new market and investment opportunities.

The Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group (IFWG) has published a position paper on crypto assets. Crypto assets will enter the South African regulatory purview in a phased and structured manner, according to the paper.

Fintech Saudi, an initiative launched by the Saudi Central Bank and the Capital Markets Authority to support the growth of fintech in Saudi Arabia, has launched a Fintech Saudi Youth Art Competition. Open to under 16s, the winning artwork will feature in Fintech Saudi’s upcoming Fintech Hub in King Abdullah Financial District, Riyadh.

Cybersecurity firm RSA has announced its new spinoff company Outseer, branching off from its fraud and risk intelligence business. Following a recent surge of e-commerce transactions and heightened fraud risk, Outseer will serve to address payment authentication and security issues.

AWNIC Receives ‘Innovation of the Year’ Award by InsureTekAWNIC Receives ‘Innovation of the Year’ Award by InsureTek
AWNIC receives InsureTek Award
Further updates

Al Wathba National Insurance Co (AWNIC) has scooped the ‘Innovation of the Year Award’ by InsureTek. The InsureTek awards recognise companies who stand out from the crowd in helping the insurance industry evolve. AWNIC has introduced several tech solutions, including implementing blockchain technology in claims processes.

There’s more awards success for Backbase, the engagement banking platform provider. It picked up the ‘Best User Experience Solution Provider Award’ at the MEA Finance Banking Technology Summit and Awards 2021.

While, Welsh accountancy business Mazuma is celebrating three nominations in the FinTech Wales Awards and the Finance Awards Wales. Mazuma is nominated for fintech company of the year, while Stephanie Collins and Bryony Ham are both up for awards for their accounting skills. Winners will be revealed at ceremonies in September.

Emirates Islamic, an Islamic financial institution in the UAE, has concluded an exclusive coaching programme to empower high-potential employees to meet leadership demands of the future. The cohort in the Asian Leadership Institute Group’s 3C Triad Programme focused on communication, collaboration, and coaching.

Finally, deVere launches green investment products in order to meet ESG demand. It is offering clients a fixed-yield note of which the proceeds are allocated to the financing of eligible projects with a clear and defined environmental benefit. According to deVere, 44 per cent clients around the world are eyeing exposure to or already have exposure to ESG investments.

Funding and investments

Klarna, the global payments provider, retail bank and shopping service, has secured a new equity funding of $639million. The round was led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 with further participation from existing investors Adit Ventures, Honeycomb Asset Management and WestCap Group. The funding will support international expansion as well as further capture global retail growth.

Upflow has raised $15million Series A in order to ‘revolutionise how B2B businesses get paid’. Following the investment, Upflow plans to double down on product development and open an office in New York. It also wants to triple the size of its team within 12 months. The funding round included participation from 9yards Capital as well as existing investor eFounders.

Meanwhile, Collegia, the UK’s first combined auto-enrolment (workplace pension) and personal pensions has raised £500,000 ahead of its June launch. Collegia has ambitions to become a major pan European pension provider. International backers from UK, HK, Italy, Brazil and Dubai follows existing support from Oxford University Incubator and private investors.

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

https://thefintechtimes.com/this-week-in-fintech-tft-bi-weekly-news-roundup-15-06/

Leave Tech to the Fintechs: Chetwood Financial on The Path Forward for Legacy Banks

https://thefintechtimes.com/leave-tech-to-the-fintechs-chetwood-financial-on-the-path-forward-for-legacy-banks/

Since the financial crisis of 2008, banking regulators have been seeking to encourage competition in an industry often characterised as being dominated by national monopolies and cartels. In the UK, we initially saw the wave of ‘Challenger Banks’, and more latterly we speak of ‘neo-banks’. Equally, a plethora of fintechs have sought to provide propositions within Financial Services without needing to go as far as becoming a bank – with all of the licensing that this involves.

But, while a hundred flowers may genuinely be blooming for fintechs and new entrants, what of the incumbents: the so-called ‘legacy banks’? What is the opportunity for them in the transformation of the industry, or must they stand on the sidelines with fingers crossed? Andrew Arwas, Head of Corporate Development at Chetwood Financial explains.

Andrew Arwas, Head of Corporate Development at Chetwood Financial Andrew Arwas, Head of Corporate Development at Chetwood Financial 
Andrew Arwas, Head of Corporate Development at Chetwood Financial

It’s clearly an over-simplification to suggest that ‘legacy banks’ don’t have modern technology. Legacy banks have a lot of technology: some ‘tried and tested’ (i.e. ‘old’) and some much more modern. However, all that technology carries a major burden in the cost and effort to simply keep it running. As well as this, there is a sunk cost and capitalised investment from which it’s just not possible to walk away. 

So, it’s not that legacy banks can’t do tech, but rather that they cannot be as nimble in switching their operations to meet the needs and demands which now change and develop so much more quickly than they used to.

While the fintechs and new entrants may have the edge in terms of the adoption of new technologies and ideas, what they don’t have – and what they must regard jealously – is the customer franchise and brand of incumbent banks. 

The big five banks in the UK are all household names. They each have tens of millions of customers all of whom would name them in answer to the question “who do you bank with”. One or two challengers are making modest inroads, but even the most successful have a long way to go.

The legacy banks – the ‘universal banks’ – set themselves up to play in every stage of the value chain: brand relationship, advice and product manufacturing. While the former has proved highly resilient despite all the efforts to introduce competition into the market, the areas of ‘advice’ and ‘product manufacture’ are seeing much more change. 

Open Banking APIs

The emergence of Open Banking APIs has enabled a raft of fintechs to analyse bank account data to make recommendations on actions, behaviours and services. Digital marketplaces such as ClearScore and MoneySuperMarket all provide a bountiful range of product offers without ever needing to go to ‘your bank’. And whilst the legacy banks might well appear on these sites, it is clear that the panels are dominated by new businesses that have built themselves to operate in this digital economy. The ‘fintechs’.

So, what’s to be done for the legacy banks? Should they seek to drive even more new technology – and digital operating models – into their mammoth organisations? Do they try to grab more with their already over-full hands? Or, do they make some selective choices about what to hold onto and what to put down.

As previously mentioned, the greatest asset of the legacy bank is their customer franchise – an asset which no fintech can hope to replicate without huge spend and many more years. Increasingly, though, those customers don’t care who ‘made’ the products. They just need them to be great.

So, with an abundance of fintechs creating new products, the role for the legacy banks would seem to be to create the marketplaces where these products can be bought. Every financial services product bought by a ‘legacy bank’ customer, not bought through that bank, is a lost opportunity. 

Banking as a Service

The emergence of Banking as a Service as a growing reality allows any business with a customer base to make available either an entirely open market, or a range of selected products. Retail is full of comparisons: Amazon being the ultimate marketplace for an open range of products, or supermarkets carrying own brand and select third party brands. The consumer knows they shopped at Amazon or Tesco, but the brand of the product they bought may or may not have been important. 

With Banking as a Service, product manufacturers can make their product available in any digital marketplace with a relatively simple API call. The growing financial services marketplaces of today are the likes of ClearScore or MoneySuperMarket – businesses who have built up brands and customer bases through propositions based on information provision, ‘advice’, price transparency and convenience in execution. The legacy banks ought to be even better positioned to do exactly this as they already have the customers and the brands and much of the contact infrastructure. 

Sourcing product – great product – is becoming increasingly easy and the legacy banks cannot afford to lose their place in the market. They need to be brave enough to stop juggling every ball or plate – to put some down and focus on their prized assets. And if they do so, then their flowers too may continue to bloom.

https://thefintechtimes.com/leave-tech-to-the-fintechs-chetwood-financial-on-the-path-forward-for-legacy-banks/

5 Things that Could be Impacting Your Credit Score Without You Knowing

https://thefintechtimes.com/5-things-that-could-be-impacting-your-credit-score-without-you-knowing/

Having a strong credit score can help you get one step closer to securing finance as it is a way to check if you are financially reliable. A higher score is a positive sign to lenders, so it is worth taking steps to avoid bad habits that could be detrimental to your score.

With searches for ‘how can I improve my credit score?’ up over 20% since May 2020, car finance provider Zuto have highlighted five activities that could be impacting your credit score.

Relationships

When we get into a serious relationship, many of us will get bank accounts, mortgages, or other credit products together. By doing this, you become financially linked to your partner. Once this happens, your partners’ credit profile can impact your ability to get approved for credit – regardless of whether you are applying together. If either of you have a low credit score, or a poor credit history it might be best to take steps to boost your scores before linking up financially.

Once you become financially linked, it’s important to maintain a good credit score and not rely on your partner’s score. It can be tempting to put all the household bills etc. in one partner’s name. However, keeping on top of bills and paying them on time via direct debits helps boost your credit score so it is important to ensure you keep some sources of credit in your name.

With COVID restrictions easing, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for weddings. Once you’re married, you may choose to change your name. Changing your name can be a lengthy process; making sure you’ve contacted everyone who needs to be aware, such as your bank, doctors, and the DVLA. To minimise the impact on your credit score, make sure you update your name on all of your accounts such as credit cards and utility bills. You’ll also want to update the electoral roll in your new name too so that the link between your credit and your new name is there.

Sadly, not all relationships work out, so in the unfortunate event you decide to part ways, let credit agencies know you would like a notice of dissociation to stop your ex’s financial activity from impacting your score.

Keep Credit Utilisation Low

We all know maxing out a credit card, or even getting close to the limit, isn’t a good habit to get into. Using credit responsibly and regularly can help improve your credit score as it shows you can pay back money you borrow. With that in mind it is important to understand how much you should be spending versus what is available to you. Credit utilisation is the amount of credit available to you, so this could be across overdrafts and credit cards, versus how much you have used.

It is best to avoid being too close to the limit as it could indicate you are having financial troubles. Different agencies suggest different ratios, one of Zuto’s trusted partners, ClearScore, suggest aiming for a credit utilisation of under 30%.

Cancel or keep old Credit Cards?

This is an important question when considering what impacts your credit score. Typically, having access to too much credit, even if you don’t use it, could be seen as a negative by some lenders. So, it’s worth considering closing down the ones you don’t use or need anymore. This can also reduce the risk of any fraudulent activity happening on old unused credit cards.

However, if you’ve had a credit card for a while, and it’s been used and managed well, this can help keep your credit score at a healthy level so it’s worth considering keeping hold of these ones. Just make sure that all credit cards are registered at your current address.

Cash and Credit Cards

It can be tempting to keep an emergency £10 in your wallet; however, it is best to avoid taking cash out using your credit card. Doing so is listed on your credit record and could be a red flag for lenders as it may be viewed in a similar way to applications for credit.

House Moves

While your address doesn’t impact your credit score, it is information that appears on your credit report which impacts your score; so it is important it is correct and up to date. Moving house often could be a sign to lenders that your living situation is unstable and may make them wary of lending to you. There are also lots of financial implications of moving, so keep an eye on your credit report. It may be best to hold off on applying for credit until you have registered to vote at your new address, as not being on the electoral role could increase your chance of being declined for credit.

Update the address on all of your accounts as soon as you move, even if you manage the account online, this can also reduce your chance of being a victim of fraud. Also, remember that having too many applications for credit over a short period of time may reduce your score, so be mindful of when you are applying for credit. Don’t forget to update your address on all sources of credit as inconsistencies in address can be detrimental to your score.

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

https://thefintechtimes.com/5-things-that-could-be-impacting-your-credit-score-without-you-knowing/

Latest Fintech Jobs New This Week: 14/06

https://thefintechtimes.com/latest-fintech-jobs-new-this-week-14-06/

These companies are all looking for talent like you!

Every week, we bring you a list of some of the most exciting job openings in the UK. Well, this week we’re shaking things up ever so slightly, and planting the focus on three companies that are actively hiring for a number of great roles. We’ll tell you all about the history, culture and everything else you need to know before applying for any one of the jobs on offer.

Here we go…

Tandem

Tandem is the bank that makes the world a better place. They empower their customers to do the right thing for themselves and for the planet. As the world adjusts to find its new normal, Tandem believe that people are taking a fresh look at how they use money. People want to build healthy habits that are good for their future and to use their spending power to enable a more sustainable world. They are on a mission to proactively help customers to reduce their carbon footprint and accelerate the UK to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Tandem are building an amazing team in London and they’re looking for ambitious and purpose-driven people to jump on board. If you’re innovative, curious and not afraid of a challenge, then Tandem would love to hear from you. Your voice, ideas and drive will always find a home at Tandem.

There are a number of great open opportunities at Tandem right now, from Legal to Customer success and beyond. Check them out!

Finastra

Formed in 2017 by the combination of Misys and D+H, Finastra builds and deploys innovative, next-generation technology on their open Fusion software architecture and cloud ecosystem. Their scale and geographical reach means that they can serve customers effectively, regardless of their size or location—from global financial institutions to community banks and credit unions. Finastra brings a deep expertise and an unrivalled range of pre-integrated solutions spanning retail banking, transaction banking, lending, and treasury and capital markets. With a global footprint and the broadest set of financial software solutions available on the market, Finastra has $1.9 billion in revenues, 9,000+ employees and ~8,600 customers, including 90 of the top 100 banks globally. Pretty impressive stuff, right?

Fancy joining the ranks? Finastra is on a hiring spree at the moment, with thousands of open roles all over the world.

MSCI

MSCI is at the forefront of the trends dominating the financial services landscape today and is committed to the future sustainability and transparency of the financial markets. They create innovative products and services that allow clients to make more informed investment decisions, and they provide investors with critical performance measurement and risk management data and analytics. Their values define the working environment they strive to create. Personal accountability and responsibility are key to success, and they always work as a team to remain client centric. They are inclusive, champion bold ideas, pursue excellence, and always act with integrity.

They are an international company with a highly diverse global footprint. Diversity is at their core and inclusion defines their culture. Their people are empowered to maximise their potential in an environment where all individuals are respected and encouraged to bring their authentic selves to work. This culture drives them to innovate and provide industry-leading solutions that power better investment decisions. Increasing their diversity expands their talent pool which helps accelerate innovation in all that they do. MSCI is dedicated to hiring and promoting qualified candidates who have been historically underrepresented in the industry, including women, ethnic minorities, and those in the LGBT+ community.

Head on over to their careers page and discover the exciting jobs on offer!

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

https://thefintechtimes.com/latest-fintech-jobs-new-this-week-14-06/

BharatPe Acquisition of PAYBACK India Formally Announced

https://thefintechtimes.com/bharatpe-acquisition-of-payback-india-formally-announced/

The India-based financial services company BharatPe has announced the acquisition of PAYBACK India from American Express and ICICI Investments Strategic Fund, for an undisclosed amount.

This is the first-ever acquisition by BharatPe and will accelerate PAYBACK India’s journey towards becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary. The acquisition of PAYBACK India is in line with BharatPe’s strategy to build a robust and engaged network of over 20 million small merchants by 2023, as PAYBACK India remains the country’s largest multi-brand loyalty programme with 100 million+ active members

With PAYBACK India, BharatPe will be able to enhance its value proposition for merchant partners. Additionally, it will enable BharatPe to build a lucrative set of offerings for end customers, that will enhance footfalls at merchants and accelerate the growth of their businesses.

As a result of the acquisition, all PAYBACK India employees will become part of the BharatPe group. Suhail Sameer and Gautam Kaushik, the Group Presidents of BharatPe, along with Sumeet Singh, the General Counsel of BharatPe, have joined the Board of PAYBACK India.

The role of the senior leadership team at PAYBACK India will be expanded to also work on the loyalty programme for the 6 million+ merchants of BharatPe. The team, led by Pramod Mahanta and Rijish Raghavan, will be working closely with Gautam Kaushik, a renowned name in the financial services and loyalty industry in India, to build a new version of PAYBACK India. PAYBACK India will continue operating under its current name and there will be no impact on the existing customer and partner relationships. PAYBACK India will continue to roll out initiatives to offer value for all customers across India. 

Ashneer Grover, Co-Founder and CEO, BharatPeAshneer Grover, Co-Founder and CEO, BharatPe
Ashneer Grover, Co-Founder and CEO, BharatPe

Speaking on the acquisition, Ashneer Grover, the Co-Founder and CEO of BharatPe, said, “Our products have always been designed to empower the businesses of millions of small merchants and kirana store owners in India. With the acquisition of PAYBACK India, we will be able to add a whole new dimension to our merchant value proposition. In addition to the range of payment and credit products which BharatPe offers to help merchants scale their business, we will also be able to drive more consumers to their stores. We are committed to building India’s largest and most engaged merchant network and this acquisition will be a game-changer in that regard. We are very selective about strategic partnerships & acquisitions, and belive this is a win-win to meet the brand promises of both BharatPe and PAYBACK India.”

Gautam Kaushik, the Group President of BharatPe, added, “Consumers today are very aware, and make their choice of purchase based on convenience and value. We aim to empower offline merchants with the ability to offer additional rewards, coupons, or cashback to customers, to drive sales and customer stickiness. PAYBACK is a pioneer in loyalty programmes and has a host of offerings to drive value to our merchants, as well as a very large customer base. We are excited to partner with the PAYBACK India team and jointly build a very compelling payment plus rewards franchise.”

Markus Knorr, CFO of PAYBACK Global, concluded with, “It was our top priority to ensure that for the members of the successful PAYBACK India program there would be no changes and that the great customer experience would also be maintained: Users can collect points while shopping offline and online and benefit from exclusive offers in the usual way, now at even more merchants with BharatPe. We are convinced that the great PAYBACK value for customers is guaranteed sustainably and in the long term with BharatPe as the new operator.“

  • 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.

https://thefintechtimes.com/bharatpe-acquisition-of-payback-india-formally-announced/

Covid-19 Remains Prevalent Influence Towards Insurance Adoption; Zurich Report Finds

https://thefintechtimes.com/covid-19-remains-prevalent-influence-towards-insurance-adoption-zurich-report-finds/

A recently published report by multi-line insurer Zurich International Life, who are operating within the Middle East, has revealed the trend of the region’s health risks. The findings placed a renewed focus on the serious illnesses or causes of death across the Middle East, as well as the factors which influenced customers’ insurance purchasing decisions.

Its 2021 Customer Benefits Paid Report revealed that people are giving more consideration to insurance cover, especially since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic.

With Covid-19 the major health story of 2020, the pandemic has had a marked effect on people’s behaviour towards financial protection. According to a YouGov survey commissioned by Zurich, only 22% of respondents felt financially prepared for unfortunate family events. Interestingly, more male respondents (65.56%) felt somewhat/well prepared, compared to 56.07% of women who felt the same.

Across all age categories, more than half of respondents said that due to Covid-19, they were somewhat likely or extremely likely to consider purchasing life or critical illness cover, with more than 63.3% of respondents aged between 18 and 34 stating that they had already purchased life insurance since the start of the global crisis.

Citizens of the Middle East are also paying increased attention to the benefits of a healthier lifestyle, with many taking up exercise, yoga, and other physical and mental wellbeing activities in a bid to reduce or mitigate the risks of developing long-term, serious illnesses.

This factor is especially prescient, as the report highlights the strong correlation that exists between critical illnesses and life insurance claims; with the rate being almost equal to each other. This demonstrates that while people are actually living longer, an increasing figure is experiencing critical illnesses and dealing with the associated financial impact of managing chronic conditions.

In terms of the biggest threats to life, heart attacks and strokes were the biggest risk – 43% – followed by cancer – 27% – and accidents – 10%. Covid-19, while a relatively new illness, was responsible for 5% of all life insurance claims; a revelation revealed by the report. 

Cancer led the list of the gravest critical illness risks, followed by heart attacks, various chronic conditions, and strokes. A split by gender reveals that heart attacks were the lead critical illness insurance claim for males – 53% – while only 5% of females claimed for the same condition. Cancer led the female benefit claims list at 85%; with the illness accounting for only 31% of benefit claims for males.

Richa Bhagari, a Zurich customer from Dubai, said that being diagnosed with cancer in August 2020 was one of the most challenging periods of her life. The 45-year-old happily married entrepreneur and mother of one said that the treatment was not only painful but both physically and mentally draining.

She revealed the secret to coping was “to have a positive outlook, be it in business or in life. You have to train your mind to be optimistic, place mind over matter and take things in your stride.”

“My learning from this experience is to be secure; to be protected financially, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Be ready for life.”

Another significant trend to consider is that while there has been an increase in the number of people with pre-existing conditions seeking the financial security of insurance protection, Zurich is still accepting 99% of applications for cover. The report shows that 12% of applicants were shown to be overweight, with 5.6% having raised blood sugar levels – which can lead to long-term serious conditions.

Given the role of females as key decision-makers when it comes to household finances, it is noteworthy that women tended to find life insurance too expensive to purchase compared to men. Of those surveyed, 42.8% of women said they don’t have insurance because it is too expensive, compared to 34% of men who lacked cover due to similar circumstances. 

Walter Jopp, CEO, Zurich in the Middle East.Walter Jopp, CEO, Zurich in the Middle East.
Walter Jopp, CEO, Zurich in the Middle East.

“This report demonstrates that while people are living longer, many of us may have to contend with a life-threatening situation at some point in the future,” comments Walter Jopp, CEO of Zurich in the Middle East. “This is why it’s important to be prepared and to consider all options – whether that be the potential of contracting a serious illness or even death.”

“Our survey shows that 37% of respondents don’t have life or critical illness cover because they deem it too expensive, however, people might be surprised to learn we have a range of flexible and affordable coverage options. For instance, we’ve launched YourLife and YourCare, which are instant, simple, and accessible solutions, with protection starting from just 2 AED per day.”

“At Zurich, we are committed to helping provide financial security and assurance to families – whatever the circumstances. We are proud to have paid 98.1% of life insurance claim payments, amounting to a total of $136 million in customer benefits between January 2018 and December 2020.”

  • 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.

https://thefintechtimes.com/covid-19-remains-prevalent-influence-towards-insurance-adoption-zurich-report-finds/

SIM Swap Detection Technology Leading Prevention of Mobile Fraud

https://thefintechtimes.com/sim-swap-detection-technology-leading-prevention-of-mobile-fraud/

The authentication platform tru.ID has released Active SIMCheck, an easy-to-integrate API product, as a timely response to the alarming growth in SIM swap fraud and account takeovers. Banks, fintechs, and any company using SMS to send security PIN codes are all at risk.


By using Active SIMCheck, any online business that uses PIN codes sent by SMS for user authentication can now protect their customers and their brand from the potential damage of identity theft and account takeover caused by SIM swap fraud.

Many kinds of mobile fraud, including SIM swap, are now becoming mainstream. Just recently, Wired UK reported on the “relentless rise” of Royal Mail text message scams, while The Sun warned against WhatsApp scam access codes. According to Javelin, the strategy and research firm, there’s been a 72% year-on-year increase of account takeover fraud; as of 2020.

One of the most common ways to implement SIM swap fraud is to intercept a PIN code, and then take over a customer’s account. 

How Active SIMCheck Works

tru.ID Active SIMCheck is an API-based service that connects directly, and in real-time, to mobile network operators to verify the identity of the SIM card in a user’s mobile phone. If there has been a recent change to that SIM card, it will be flagged by the API, enabling action to be taken and blocking potential fraudsters from intercepting SMS messages including SMS 2FA PIN codes. 

This new security check can be integrated quickly and easily by developers alongside existing SMS 2FA solutions. There is no need for any change to the user experience.

Paul McGuire, co-founder and CEO, tru.IDPaul McGuire, co-founder and CEO, tru.ID
Paul McGuire, co-founder and CEO, tru.ID

“Many of the security challenges faced by businesses today are caused by antiquated reliance on passwords and SMS PIN codes,” comments Paul McGuire, co-founder, and CEO of tru.ID. “tru.ID delivers user authentication that is mobile-native, seamless, secure, and private. Active SIMCheck is part of the range of powerful new mobile authentication products developed by tru.ID that are based on the cryptographic security of the SIM card. Active SIMCheck is an important stepping stone on that journey enabling businesses to rapidly solve a major fraud risk without impacting the user experience.“

Who is at risk from SIM swap fraud?

Consumers’ general reliance on m-commerce, and other online interactions for banking, health, and education has been accelerated by lockdowns – and fraudsters have taken advantage. Now it is not only high profile cases, such as Twitter CEO’s Jack Dorsey account takeover, or tech entrepreneur Robert Ross’ $1million life-saving losses on crypto, who are targets of fraudulent activity. The customers of every business that uses PIN codes sent by SMS are now at risk of having their identity taken away and their savings stolen.

Why has SIM Swap become such a big issue?

Most phone-based authentication methods today simply use the mobile number and rely on a PIN code that is sent via SMS, or a voice call. Companies assume this is a possession-factor authentication method, but the problem is that it doesn’t reliably prove possession. There are some fundamental flaws – and bad actors are taking advantage.

The primary issue is SIM Swap. Bad actors are increasingly committing SIM swap fraud by persuading the mobile operator to issue them with a replacement SIM card that takes over the same mobile number. They are then able to receive all voice calls and SMS messages (including PIN codes) sent to that number, and then use those codes to take over that User’s accounts. 

The solution? SIM-based authentication

The technology which authenticates the identity of each SIM card is a core part of every mobile network – it’s how MNOs are able to bill us correctly for our mobile network usage. But it is only now becoming available for identity management and fraud prevention. This new approach is what’s known as SIM-based authentication and tru.ID makes it available via API for fast and easy integration.

  • 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.

https://thefintechtimes.com/sim-swap-detection-technology-leading-prevention-of-mobile-fraud/

Crypto-Enabled Payments: A Trend to Define the Payments Space

https://thefintechtimes.com/crypto-enabled-payments-a-trend-to-define-the-payments-space/

The adoption of cryptocurrencies by financial institutions and payment providers is set to ignite a state of “hyper-growth” for digital payments globally. 

That’s according to Pat Thelen, VP of Global Account Management at blockchain-powered payment provider Ripple. He believes that crypto-enabled payments are among a number of key trends that are set to define the payments space in the next few years. Here, The Fintech Times sits down with Pat to discuss crypto enabled payments and the future of the payments industry.

Pat ThelanPat Thelan
Pat Thelen, VP, Managing Director at Ripple

How do crypto enabled payments work? What are the benefits of crypto enabled payments?

The current cross-border payments systems have been designed for high-value payments – with globalisation, the need for remittances and low-value payments has increased. When we look at traditional correspondent banking, there is a complex system of multi-hops that a payment must make from one country to another to reach the end beneficiary, resulting in cross-border payments that are opaque, slow and costly. Often there can be between 5-15 different hops from one bank to the next – a system riddled with errors and messages that only move one way. As a result, financial institutions must pre-fund Nostro accounts on each side of a transaction in that country’s native currency. However, these accounts come at a high cost and lock-in funds that could be used as working capital in other areas of the business. Oftentimes, these high costs are passed along to the people who have the least – on average it costs $14 to send $200 cross-border remittances.

Similarly, small & medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) experience exorbitant costs as well as high expectations from their customers. Delayed payments to overseas suppliers, employees or other critical partners can be very damaging to these businesses.

Digital assets and blockchain-based technology have the capability not only to lower the cost of the overall transaction, they also allow for real-time settlement. Financial institutions, banks and even e-commerce companies can free up the tapped capital that would normally be committed to funding Nostro accounts around the world. Even better, these financial institutions banks that would usually be locked out of transacting on their own, can now engage in international, cross-border payments directly. This cost-saving can also be passed along to their customers.

Why do you think crypto enabled payments are going to be a key trend?

The current global financial system does not meet the needs of 1.7 billion unbanked people and millions of SMEs globally. Digital assets and blockchain technology have the potential to transform how unbanked and underbanked populations and underserved businesses access basic financial services and send and receive money across borders, making it more accessible, affordable and secure.

Most global banks are not able to serve the unbanked and unserved segments, not because they don’t want to, but because the existing corresponding banking model is too costly and inefficient, resulting in a lack of transparency into third party charges, hefty transaction fees and lengthy delays. Up until a decade ago, this wasn’t possible. Now with new technology and the adoption of crypto – many players are recognising that blockchain and digital assets could provide easier ways for unbanked individuals to access the global payment ecosystem and an opportunity for more efficient and affordable payment services.

Are there any risks or challenges involved – for example there is still some wariness around cryptocurrency?

Regulatory clarity is a big problem across the industry. In many jurisdictions, there is no clear regulatory framework for how consumers and businesses can properly use cryptocurrency, while others like the UK and Singapore are leaning into innovation and providing clarity for consumers and businesses alike to understand how they’re able to engage with these new technologies.

The lack of regulatory clarity is stifling innovation in some countries, and driving interest and investments to elsewhere. We’ve now come to an inflection point within the industry where this needs to be addressed. We’ve come a long way since the days of Silk Road – market participants today understand the benefits of crypto and blockchain – we just need to understand the rules of the road.

Has the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the uptake of these kinds of payments?

Financial institutions and payment providers have had a duty to provide essential services during the COVID-19 crisis — especially when it comes to delivering remittances cost-effectively without interruption to developing economies. Payments made with blockchain and digital assets have provided an essential service during the pandemic to lower the cost of cross-border payments where possible.

There’s no doubt that throughout history, great disruption has accelerated change. In enacting this change, some business decision-makers have made necessary changes that ensured that innovations borne out of the current crisis endure and lead to better services for the future. Being faced with a global shutdown demonstrated the gaps we have in the current system and put a spotlight on why we need alternative payment methods, especially for those in underbanked communities.

What do you think the other key trends will be going forward in the payments industry? 

We’ve seen a growing awareness towards the sustainability of payments, and more specifically towards the sustainability of crypto. digital payments. It’s no question that crypto and blockchain will be part of the future of finance. As more companies and financial institutions use this technology, the industry needs to make a concerted effort to address the environmental impact of high energy consumption from proof-of-work models and make renewable energy accessible and cheap for cryptocurrency miners.

Making the transition to a clean energy future and reducing carbon emissions can save the global economy some $26 trillion by 2030. As cryptocurrencies become mainstream and interest in Bitcoin increasingly grows, so will the entire industry’s carbon footprint. It’s easier to build a more sustainable ecosystem now than to reverse engineer it at a later growth stage.

Do you think that financial institutions are going to experiment more in the crypto space? Is crypto the future of finance?

So far in 2021, we’ve already seen unprecedented adoption of crypto by not only consumers but for institutions like PayPal, Visa, Square and more.

A big opportunity for innovation is where fintech and traditional finance can partner together. Innovation could be at the forefront of product development, combining the established reach and influence of traditional banks with the industry-leading tech and new talent at the disposal of fintechs.  Offering these innovative services as a team would help to boost trust in fintech’s financial services to a greater level, and could give established banks’ customers a far faster and more contemporary experience.

If fintechs and banks were to build this kind of continued and mutually beneficial relationship, more services could be elevated to modern standards of customer service and speed as we continue to pull legacy banking systems out of their comfort zone and into the modern era of banking. New technology is providing more options for consumers – financial institutions that don’t take note and evolve their offerings to meet consumer demand will be left behind.

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

https://thefintechtimes.com/crypto-enabled-payments-a-trend-to-define-the-payments-space/

Teradata: Digital Payments Analytics Rapidly Respond to Changing Preferences

https://thefintechtimes.com/teradata-digital-payments-analytics-rapidly-respond-to-changing-preferences/

The payments industry is changing. With new systems like Buy Now Pay Later, old payment methods like credit cards are beginning to fall off as they have lost favour with consumers. The nature of applying for a credit card no longer seems worth it for an average consumer as according to OnDot, more than one-third of potential credit card customers abandoned their applications due to frustration with the process. Businesses are not finding credit cards to be a viable option either, as 65-70% of SMEs have their applications turned down, as funding is often based on the owner’s private credit score. Therefore, the question is begged – how are companies responding to the changing preferences amongst consumers and businesses?

Deborah Baxley is an international mobile/cards payment consultant at Teradata, recognised expert in the industry, creator of growth strategies for new and existing markets with more than 20 years’ experience consulting to cards and payment companies. She specialises in retail financial services, mobile payments, credit cards, technology strategy and business model development. Through her work in fifteen countries, she has advised issuers, acquirers, fintechs, networks and processors on product direction and competitive positioning, delivering millions of dollars in new revenue or operating cost savings.

Here Baxley gives her views on how digital payments analytics are rapidly responding to changing preferences and emerging value propositions:

Deborah Baxley, Financial Services Enterprise Industry Consultant at TeradataDeborah Baxley, Financial Services Enterprise Industry Consultant at Teradata
Deborah Baxley, Financial Services Enterprise Industry Consultant at Teradata

Payments are no longer something people do – they’re integrated into consumers’ everyday activities.  As illustrated below, payments are occurring every hour of the day, but they are largely invisible – subscriptions, card on file scenarios, embedded in apps and automated.

a day in the life of a digital mobile consumer

a day in the life of a digital mobile consumer

Data and analytics now allow rapid response to changing preferences and emerging value propositions to seed future growth in the digital payments area. One emerging space is “Buy Now Pay Later,” also known as point of sale financing. This provides a convenient way to finance larger purchases with an installment loan offering superior terms to the typical revolving line on a credit card. This requires real-time automated underwriting, powered by data, and there are several FinTechs pioneering this capability in partnership with lending banks, including Klarna, Affirm, AfterPay, and PayPal’s new Pay in 4.

According to OnDot, more than one-third of potential credit card customers abandon applications due to frustration with the process. This might lead us to reimagine the customer journey using data and mobile, meeting expectations set by Big Tech – Apple and Amazon. The entire customer journey from acquisition to money management is elegant and seamless. A consumer can apply with just a few keystrokes, a selfie and an ID scan, opening a new account within a few seconds. The payment credential is instantly provisioned into the mobile wallet so the customer can start using it right away. This makes a huge difference: nearly half of customers say instant issuance would influence where they bank.

Finally, tools are available to help customers understand and manage their money. For example, I recently saw a transaction on my credit card called “MULTIPLE SHOPS 8446593879” with no location specified. Issuers that enrich transaction data by clarifying the merchant name (in this case an Etsy storefront), and augmenting it with merchant location, category and purchase channel, create a far superior experience for the customer.

Another pain point addressed with data is the annoying experience of having to update card on file and recurring payment credentials with each individual merchant or biller for reissued cards (either expiring or compromised). Why not offer this as a service to cardholders and do it for them? Increasingly it is also possible to offer a much richer set of card controls such as turning the card on and off, specifying the card only works if in proximity to mobile device, geolocation limits and budgeting limits. These empowering tools make cardholders feel more secure and satisfied.

Small businesses can also benefit from these data-enabled features. In today’s environment, with so many small businesses suffering, the ability to underwrite their business based on cash flow insights from the acquiring line of business enables the issuance of more credit cards.

According to the Federal Reserve, 66% of small business face financial challenges, with 88% of firms rely on the owner’s personal credit score to secure financing. This could have a negative impact on the owner’s personal credit and cause ongoing hardship. Only 44% were getting bank loans. Why aren’t more turning to their banks?

According to Aliaswire, banks are declining 65-70% of small business credit card applications. Why? Rigid underwriting processes often view small businesses like consumers, without considering cash flow cycles and ability to cross-sell multiple banking products such as 401Ks, SEPs and merchant services. This might be the result of a lack of understanding of the business sector, very small credit lines and on-boarding processes that take weeks or months.

acquirer enabled smb card issuing

acquirer enabled smb card issuing

Aliaswire’s PayVus solution is an innovative data-driven example of a way to better serve small businesses. As the acquirer, the bank has cash flow insights to better gauge the creditworthiness of the small business. Risk is mitigated in real time because the credit card payments are taken from a daily split settlement file.

Data-driven analytics drives critical business outcomes including the understanding of rapid changes in customer behavior and leverages real-time analytics to integrate with new form factors and value propositions.

https://thefintechtimes.com/teradata-digital-payments-analytics-rapidly-respond-to-changing-preferences/

Funding Options: How Have Emergency Lending Schemes Impacted the SME Finance Industry?

https://thefintechtimes.com/funding-options-how-have-emergency-lending-schemes-impacted-the-sme-finance-industry/

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme (CBILS) and Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), rolled out during the pandemic, as well as the more recent Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS), have made it clear the Government continues to recognise the vital importance of SMEs to a thriving economy. Against other nations, the UK government delivered a comprehensive support package relatively quickly, enough to keep many vulnerable businesses alive.

Simone Cureton is the CEO of Funding Options, a business finance marketplace. Here he shares his thoughts on how emergency lending schemes have impacted the SME Finance industry.

funding optionsfunding options
Simon Cureton, CEO of Funding Options

It’s easy to linger on the negative impact of Covid-19 on the economy, but it is important to remain positive – and there is considerable cause for optimism when we look at the UK’s SMEs. Final data is yet to be released but indicators point to a record number of businesses having been created in 2020. Between June and August, an additional 59,358 new companies were created when compared to the same period in 2019. Faced with adversity, business owners have demonstrated incredible resilience, agility and perseverance. The impact of Covid-19 has seen SME owners rise to the challenge, pivoting their business models and displaying the entrepreneurial grit you’d expect from people driven by solving problems.

Emergency schemes and market distortion

Whilst emergency schemes have been a much-welcomed safety net for UK businesses, failing to fully include alternative lenders in their distribution inevitably led to distortion of the SME finance industry. In accrediting banks to fulfil emergency loan applications, the Government disembarked prematurely from its stated mission to deliver greater choice and competition. Being slow to trust lenders that did not have a heritage stretching back more than a century was both exclusionary and displayed short-term thinking.

Understandably, use of the emergency loan schemes has been well scrutinised. The BBLS promised a less complex process and minimal eligibility criteria to enable vital funds to be delivered at speed. As a result, standard due diligence processes were compromised. As of last month, reports of suspected CBILS and BBLS fraud cases topped 26,000. It took reactive partnerships between the incumbent banks and fintech solution providers to stymie nefarious activity.

Yet, it is access to the Term Funding Scheme that remains the single biggest issue for alt-lenders, depriving them of the advantageous Bank of England credit terms afforded to mainstream banks. Without the capacity to absorb the impact of low interest rates associated with government-backed pandemic financing schemes, innovative market-based lending products have been rendered near-redundant. There have already been some casualties within the alt-lending industry, which might well have been avoided if fintechs had been brought into the fold.

Having distributed over £75 billion to UK businesses during the pandemic, high street banks will likely have a diminished risk appetite and reduced inclination to provide significant further support for SMEs. Consequently, this will hinder the ability of businesses to source, through mainstream borrowing, the capital over-and-above the CBILS and BBLS that will be required for them to thrive, rather than simply survive, post-pandemic.

In this case, SMEs will turn to alternative lenders. Fortunately, while the ecosystem sustained some hefty blows, growth and innovation broadly remains on an upward trend. We have seen new entrants and heightened venture capital backing, which will see the resilient alt-fi community do what it does best.

Alt-lenders are innovating to revive the SME finance industry

Over the past year we have seen an unrivalled level of innovation within UK fintech. For example, data-driven Open Banking, whilst not a particularly new development, saw a significant increase in adoption over the course of 2020. It has the potential to transform the business lending landscape, improving the experience for the customer while also improving security and response times for lenders.

Open Banking minimises the amount of work applicants and lenders need to do to approve an application for credit. For applicants, they will no longer need to send bank transaction documentation to lenders. Instead, Open Banking APIs enable lending platforms to immediately make their transaction history available to lenders, in a safe and secure manner. This was a significant development, ensuring the financial services industry continues to move towards being able to pre-approve businesses for loans based on real-time data.

In driving increased utilisation of new innovations such as Open Banking, as well as digital KYC and AML solutions, the alt-fi industry rose to the challenge to show that speed and due diligence are not mutually exclusive factors in approving loans. It is a valid suggestion that if fintechs had been embraced earlier in the pandemic the number of CBILS and BBLS fraud cases would have been much lower, if existent at all.

Funding Options responded to the urgent needs of SMEs by investing heavily in bolstering its own digital proposition, which has resulted in the team achieving a new record of just 20 seconds from loan application to credit approval, with the previous record being 2 minutes and 56 seconds. This isn’t intended as self-promotion, rather it simply illustrates the speed and efficiency now available to businesses seeking finance through our platform.

In contrast, incumbent banks often have lengthy loan approval processes because they don’t have the technological infrastructure to expedite that process. According to Infosys, in normal times, businesses spend over 25 hours gathering the paperwork for applications before approaching several banks with their application. Successful loan applicants then have to wait for weeks, or even months for the funds to hit their accounts.

It’s clear the alternative finance scene still has the most to offer businesses, despite sustaining some injuries along the way. What is most important now is that SMEs are made aware of the plethora of funding options available to them, beyond the mainstream.

To conclude, emergency lending schemes – whilst not positive in and of themselves for the SME finance industry – have forced the fintechs who exist outside of the mainstream to rally and accelerate their digital agenda in order to compete. Consequently, businesses in the UK will have an enviable system of funding options bestowed upon them in the pandemic aftermath.

What these schemes and their impact have shown is that there needs to be a shift in mentality where the fintech sector is no longer seen as the “cool kid” on the block but is properly recognised as playing a critical role in a crisis of this size. The independent Fintech Strategic Review led by Ron Kalifa OBE concluded that the UK is still a fintech leader, but if we want to retain this position we need to aim to establish a more fintech-supportive environment in order to best enable existing firms to grow, new ones to be born, and to promote the integration of new technologies.

https://thefintechtimes.com/funding-options-how-have-emergency-lending-schemes-impacted-the-sme-finance-industry/

Stripe Launches Stripe Tax to Simplify Global Tax Compliance for Businesses

https://thefintechtimes.com/stripe-launches-stripe-tax-to-simplify-global-tax-compliance-for-businesses/

Stripe, the technology company building economic infrastructure for the internet, has announced the launch of Stripe Tax to help businesses automatically calculate and collect sales tax, value-added tax (VAT), and goods and services tax (GST) in over 30 countries.

Stripe Tax makes every aspect of global sales tax handling as frictionless as the rest of Stripe. It automates tax calculation and collection for transactions on Stripe, tells businesses where they need to collect taxes, and creates comprehensive reports to make filing taxes easy.

The complexity of tax compliance

For years, help with tax compliance has been a top request from Stripe users. Tax compliance has become increasingly complex, with digital and physical goods now taxed in over 130 countries, and over 11,000 different tax jurisdictions in the US alone.

Tax rules in each jurisdiction are updated frequently and often vary based on subtle details. For example:

  • The tax rate for tickets to the same webinar vary significantly depending on the location of the ticket holder, whether it’s a live or recorded version, and whether the purchaser is a private individual or a corporation
  • In the UK, food for animals is not subject to VAT, unless it’s pet food – Cowboy boots aren’t taxed in Texas, but hiking boots are.

Businesses face significant opportunity costs in becoming compliant, but also maintaining a compliant setup globally. As a result, two-thirds of businesses say managing tax compliance holds back their growth, with a majority saying they would launch more products and expand into more countries if relieved of the burden.

Non-compliant businesses face legal and financial exposure as national governments around the world increase penalties for late or inaccurate filings. In the US, businesses face an average 30% interest charged on past-due sales tax.

How Stripe Tax works

Stripe Tax radically simplifies tax compliance for businesses across more than 30 countries. Features include:

  • Real time tax calculation: By determining the end customer’s precise location, and matching that to the product or service being sold, Stripe Tax always calculates and collects the right amount of tax, and keeps up to date with rate and rule changes so businesses don’t have to. – Frictionless checkout: B2C businesses can reduce checkout friction with Stripe Tax, by using location information to calculate and show taxes in the most familiar way to their customers.
  • Tax ID management: For B2B businesses, Stripe Tax collects the tax identification number from customers, and automatically validates VAT IDs for European customers, applying a reverse charge or zero VAT rate when necessary.
  • Reconciliation: Stripe Tax saves businesses the pain of reconciling thousands of transactions by creating comprehensive reports for each market in which a business is registered to collect tax, speeding up filing and remittance.

Instead of taking weeks of work, all this can be done automatically by adding a single line of code or updating a single setting in a business’s Stripe Dashboard.

“No one leaps out of bed in the morning excited to deal with taxes,” said John Collison, co-founder and president of Stripe. “For most businesses, managing tax compliance is a painful distraction. We simplify everything about calculating and collecting sales taxes, VAT, and GST, so our users can focus on building their businesses.”

Highly scaled and global businesses like NewsUK, as well as fast-growing internet startups like Tuple and Routetitan, can use Stripe Tax to simplify their tax compliance across multiple products and geographies.

Ruan Odendaal, Head of Subscriptions Platform at NewsUK said: Directly integrating Stripe Tax into our subscriptions platform will save us countless hours—time that can be better spent elsewhere.”

Ben Orenstein, co-founder of Tuple said: “As a small company, we want to spend as little time thinking about tax collection as we can legally get away with. We’re thrilled to let Stripe Tax handle the heavy lifting for us.

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

https://thefintechtimes.com/stripe-launches-stripe-tax-to-simplify-global-tax-compliance-for-businesses/

Rise, Created By Barclays on Alternative Markets for Climate Fintechs

https://thefintechtimes.com/rise-created-by-barclays-on-alternative-markets-for-climate-fintechs/

Tackling climate change is an essential component of the global sustainability agenda and one in which financial services can make an important contribution. The FinTech sector plays several important roles in helping consumers and corporates make informed, climate-related decisions.

Rise, created by Barclays, has recently published the latest edition of its Insights report, which focuses on this area of Climate fintech. In this article from Rise, they explore the developments in the corporate space and alternative markets

Plugging the data gap

Climate fintechs are helping to solve one of the main concerns with Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) information – the availability, consistency and granularity of the data that’s required to prove how companies and individuals are taking effective climate action. Data providers like Net Purpose are quantifying many of the aspects of company behaviour which, until now, have sometimes been viewed as largely subjective. YvesBlue, for example, has created a platform that merges disparate ESG data sources into a consolidated view of companies’ impact characteristics in any given investment portfolio. And Nossa Data, an alumnus of the 2021 New York Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars is simplifying the long and complex ESG reporting process for corporates.

“Fintechs have the opportunity to become the flag bearers for better ESG data.” – Katherine Wilson, VC at Illuminate Financial

Building brand engagement with peer-to-peer programmes

Loyalty peer-to-peer (P2P) programmes turn a commodity produced by customers into a currency that can be exchanged for goods, services or individual recognition. They’re a modern way that brands can engage with customers and build trust. Where technology is concerned, trust is synonymous with blockchain. In the report, we showcase how Power Ledger puts this to good use.

Using Power Ledger’s blockchain platform, Carlton United Brewery (CUB) in Australia allows customers to sign up to a deal supplying the brewery with their excess rooftop solar electricity, in exchange for beer. Participants can log in at any time and find out how much electricity they’ve produced for the brewery and how much beer they’ve accrued. And it’s not long after they’ve provided the electricity that a van pulls up outside to deliver their beer. The brand can cut through the complexities of what being sustainable means, and just start demonstrating it.

“Sustainability goals met. Brand engagement increased.” – Dr Jemma Green, Executive Chairman of Power Ledger

Enabling carbon removal with APIs

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are assisting companies with removing carbon from the atmosphere. How? In the case of Patch, developers are able to embed project metadata into their digital experiences, generate emissions estimates for certain activities, and then programmatically order carbon removal from our network of projects across the globe.

There are a number of fintech use cases, such as cryptocurrency, where carbon removal could be embedded into digital asset platforms and products through APIs. For example, Bitcoin mining has been scrutinised for its carbon footprint, but that could change.

“We imagine a world in which crypto exchanges offer their users the option to offset the carbon footprint associated with their Bitcoin purchases.” – Brennan Spellacy, CEO of Patch

Innovation in the insurance markets

The hazards presented by climate change has put pressure on the highly specialist insurance sector. New underwriting solutions and products are emerging.

Platforms like Pega and cloud solutions are driving operational efficiency, but insurtech companies really bring their prowess in designing simple customer experiences and, perhaps most importantly, analytics with cutting-edge products such as ultra-customised policies and using new streams of data from internet-enabled devices to dynamically price premiums according to observed behaviour.

Some insurtech companies are also experimenting with AI to automate the tasks of brokers and find the right mix of policies to complete an individual’s coverage. An example of what’s possible is Lemonade, the US-based insurer, disrupting the real estate insurance model with AI and behavioural economics to evolve traditional insurance.

“For the insurance sector, impact alignment makes perfect ecological and economic sense.” – Cedric Leung, Financial Institutions Group at Barclays International

Take action

You can read what these and other companies have to say about Climate fintech in the Rise Insights report, which also contains an in-depth analysis of the enablers in the market – data, policy and technology – and articles on how fintechs are influencing climate-conscious consumers and developing products and services that meet their needs.

To connect with Rise, visit our website where you can contact our Rise sites in London and New York, learn about the work that we do.

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

https://thefintechtimes.com/rise-created-by-barclays-on-alternative-markets-for-climate-fintechs/

Moonstake Partners with Uzbekistan Government-Licensed Exchange UzNEX by KOBEA Group

https://thefintechtimes.com/moonstake-partners-with-uzbekistan-government-licensed-exchange-uznex-by-kobea-group/

Moonstake has announced it has entered a partnership with Uzbekistan government-approved cryptocurrency exchange UzNEX that is operated by KOBEA Group, a technology firm focused on developing solutions for the digital economy including blockchain.

Through this collaboration, the two will focus on developing blockchain community programmes as well as relevant research, training, events, and conferences to increase awareness in the banking and finance industries. Moonstake will also work with UzNEX to provide blockchain consulting service including staking technology to financial institutions in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, which in return will serve to assist Moonstake in better penetrating these high-potential markets.

Moonstake launched its staking business in 2020 with the aim to create the largest staking network in Asia. Since then, we have developed the most user-friendly Web Wallet and Mobile Wallet (iOS/Android) with support for over 2000 cryptocurrencies. After a full-scale operation launched in August 2020, Moonstake’s total staking assets have grown rapidly to reach $1 Billion, allowing Moonstake to become one of the top 10 staking providers globally. Currently, Moonstake supports 12 high-demand staking coins: Cosmos, IRIS, Ontology, Harmony, Tezos, Cardano, Qtum, Polkadot, Quras, Centrality, Orbs, and IOST.

UzNEX is the first Uzbekistan government-licensed digital asset trading platform operated by KOBEA Group who has been an instrumental figure in the country’s development of the digital economy. The exchange, officially launched on March 2020, has its opening event on January 2020 at an international blockchain conference in Tashkent. The event gathered numerous representatives of crypto companies from South Korea, Japan, and Singapore, as well as officials from Uzbekistan’s ministries and government agencies. According to its global compliance strategy, Uznex fully meets the recommendations of the Financial Actions Task Force (FATF) as well as the relevant laws and regulations of the Republic of Uzbekistan. It is cooperating with local Uzbekistan banks to meet the regulations of domestic cryptocurrency exchanges to have real-name verified accounts on their service platform, securing its stability as a government-approved crypto exchange.

Overseas leading cryptocurrency companies have been paying close attention to the successive pro-cryptocurrency policies in Uzbekistan. Here, the National Agency of Project Management (NAPM) under the President of Uzbekistan is directly involved in the management of the cryptocurrency market and cryptocurrency exchange with the aim to incorporate cryptocurrency into the institutional system. On 30th April, the NAPM announced a decree that lifted this restriction, allowing its citizens to trade in cryptocurrency. Thanks to the decree, UzNEX, which had temporarily held its operation because of the local influence of Covid-19, officially reopened its services on 1 June, 2021.

In line with this, KOBEA Group announced that a massive renewal of UzNex is underway, and that the collaboration with Moonstake aims to attract more users with the platform’s world-class staking service. Staking of the cryptocurrency means fixing a certain amount of cryptocurrency you own as a stake to obtain a certain amount of profit during the deposit period, regardless of the fluctuations in the cryptocurrency price.

Mitsuru Tezuka, Founder at Moonstake, says: “Uzbekistan is a rapidly developing country when it comes to adoption of cryptocurrency and distributed ledger technology, with the government taking active part in the development as well as regulation of digital asset services. UzNEX is the first and only licensed crypto exchange in Uzbekistan, operated by the renowned KOBEA Group that has been doing incredible work with developing the digital economy in the country. As a world-leading staking provider, we’re happy to join hands with them and accelerate the growth of cryptocurrency and staking in the region together.”

Chang Yong Lee, Chairman of KOBEA Group and UzNEX says: “Uzbekistan is now one of the youngest and fastest growing countries in the world, where major reforms in the field of the digital economy are being introduced. This country has enormous potential, and may soon lead the global digital economy. We’re happy to partner with Moonstake, one of the top 10 largest staking providers globally, to accelerate the awareness and development of the digital economy, including cryptocurrency and staking, in Uzbekistan.”

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

https://thefintechtimes.com/moonstake-partners-with-uzbekistan-government-licensed-exchange-uznex-by-kobea-group/

MineralTree Improve Its Software With Integrated Analytics and Interactive Visualisation Tool

https://thefintechtimes.com/mineraltree-improve-its-software-with-integrated-analytics-and-interactive-visualisation-tool/

MineralTree, an Accounts Payable (AP) and payments automation solution provider, has announced the addition of a new integrated analytics and interactive visualisation tool to its software platform. The offering unlocks valuable insights into AP workflows, payments optimisation, cash flow, and security. The new capability is available immediately to all MineralTree Invoice-to-Pay users.

Finance leaders increasingly require real-time visibility and control over their processes to ensure timely decisions that are aligned with business priorities. In fact, a 2020 survey conducted by Grant Thornton found that 78% of CFOs are looking for quick access to the right data to support their decision making. This need exists due to the challenges of aggregating data from multiple systems and then presenting it in a way that facilitates immediate understanding and action.

MineralTree Analytics provides comprehensive, real-time visibility into every aspect of the AP process, including vendors, purchase orders, invoices, and payments. Building upon MineralTree’s seamless integration with customers’ financial systems, the new offering consolidates data from multiple workflows to provide rich visualisations of best-practice KPIs. Users can visually explore and interact with the data to gain a deeper understanding of their AP performance and make more informed business decisions.

“The visual dashboards in MineralTree Analytics are extremely useful when trying to get a quick glimpse into invoices versus payments at different stages of the AP process,” said Uma Ganijee, Accounts Payable Supervisor at Seismic and MineralTree user.

The real-time dashboards in MineralTree Analytics enable users to track metrics such as invoice aging, discounts, rebates earned, and payment mix. As a result, accounting managers spend less time seeking data and processing reports, and more time analysing the impact of AP on their business. At the same time, finance leaders are able to leverage that visibility to optimise working capital and align their AP activities with strategic priorities and industry best practices.

“Businesses are already using MineralTree to gain valuable time savings and cost efficiencies from not having to perform tedious manual tasks in the invoice-to-pay process,” said Elle Kowal, Chief Product Officer at MineralTree. “By embedding real-time analytics into the platform, we are enhancing our customers’ visibility and control over their AP processes, and providing valuable, actionable insights.”

Kowal further went on to say “Accounts Payable is a critical component of key business value drivers including cash flow and supplier relationships. In order to maximise that value, finance leaders need visibility into AP metrics and KPIs in order to make timely, data-driven decisions, but aggregating and organising the data in a usable way is a huge challenge. Either there is too much data to work with, the data sits in different systems and is difficult to match up, or they just don’t have the right tools to analyse it. Our new Analytics capability makes all that data more accessible enabling finance teams to gain data-driven insights, unlock new value and shape the strategy for their businesses.”

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

https://thefintechtimes.com/mineraltree-improve-its-software-with-integrated-analytics-and-interactive-visualisation-tool/

Exibex Organises the 2nd Annual Edition of Finnovex Southern Africa

https://thefintechtimes.com/exibex-organises-the-2nd-annual-edition-of-finnovex-southern-africa/

Exibex 2nd annual Finnovex Southern Africa, and the 7th Edition from the Finnovex Global Series, is to take place on 27-28 July 2021. The Summit will examine how technology is changing the delivery of banking and financial services.

As it is imperative to invest in a digital future and develop new technological solutions in data, advanced analytics, digital and new delivery platform. It is also important that fintechs and banks collaborate to support businesses and aid people to remain safe, healthy, productive, and connected in the face of COVID-19 and beyond. 

This year’s edition is themed “Adapting Reinvention to Rapidly Changed World”. The Summit will host CXOs, Senior Vice Presidents, Vice Presidents, Directors, and Heads of departments from Banking and FI industry involved in: Mobile Banking; Digital Transformation; Digital Banking; Blockchain; Cyber & Cloud Security; Islamic Banking; Fintech; Strategy & Operations; Retail Banking; R&D Innovation; Risk & compliance Management; Product Development; Cryptocurrency; Customer Experience; IT; Big Data Analytics; Open Banking (API) and Innovation.

Attendees should anticipate:

  • 25+ Trail Blazer Speakers
  • 250+ Delegates
  • 4+ Panel Discussions
  • 8+ Networking Hours
  • 10+ Keynote Sessions

Attendees will be able to:

  • Meet new, creative and inspired people, and form strategies you need to grow. Network, Share ideas and learn new strategies with over 250 of the sharpest minds in banking and financial services.
  • Learn how to evaluate, deploy, use, and customise the financial technologies to improve business processes
  • Hear first-hand from customers on the challenges they face across the entire value chain of financial processes
  • Take away lessons learned, valuable case studies and key insights from peers to apply within your operations
  • Meet with Fintech solution management, development, support and consulting experts
  • Fully evaluate and understand how the comprehensive suite of applications can optimise your business process
  • Visit the showcase centres and demos to better understand the latest solutions in the market that can help your business

Finnovex is dedicated to examining the Future of Financial Services on how disruptive innovations are reshaping the way they are structured, provisioned and consumed.

The Finnovex Global series, which is organised by Exibex, examines the Future of Financial Services and how disruptive innovations are reshaping the way they are structured, provisioned and consumed. The Finnovex series of Summits highlights thought leadership on cutting-edge issues with long-term implications to the industry and lays foundation for multi-stakeholder dialogues that explore the potential of these innovations to transform the financial ecosystem as well as the risks and opportunities that could emerge from shifts in the way financial services are designed, delivered and used in the future.

For more information, visit – https://finnovex.com/

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

https://thefintechtimes.com/exibex-organises-the-2nd-annual-edition-of-finnovex-southern-africa/