Impact of Fragmented Identity on KYC

KYC (Know Your Customer) is arguably the most crucial part of validating a customer’s identity while establishing a new financial relationship. Largely dictated by overarching FATF guidelines worldwide, KYC practices may vary by country based on unique identification sources and the maturity of digital infrastructure to automate operationally heavy processes. Nevertheless, the common objectives of KYC are to:

  • Establish the identity of a customer and confirm that an applicant is indeed who they claim to be
  • Assess money laundering risks associated with the customer
  • Evaluate the nature of a customer’s financial dealings to determine their legitimacy

KYC violations could prove costly for an organization. Apart from the financial losses caused by identity theft and reputational damage, such violations attract hefty regulatory penalties.

Effectively addressing KYC requires the correlation of PII data gathered from disparate sources based on a common key—the customer’s phone number.

Challenges Posed by Fragmented Identity Data

Fragmentation of identity attributes across various identity data sources—both government and private—is the most significant barrier to foolproof KYC. Additionally, most legislative data sources store static and potentially stale data, resulting in false outcomes of KYC assessment. Due to the possibility of stale and inconsistent data across sources, organizations force customers into cumbersome authentication and verification practices. In the absence of a reliable single identity source in most countries, organizations face the difficult task of connecting to multiple sources. 

Apart from creating massive operational overheads, this scenario also creates a negative customer experience.

While organizations that are not heavily regulated may adopt simpler KYC practices validating against single static data sources (known as 1+1 identity verification), those that have pronounced regulatory oversight (such as financial services and healthcare) require stronger identity validation against multiple authenticated, in-country data sources carrying a diverse set of identity attributes (known as 2+2 identity verification). In order to fulfill a 2+2 request, the company will have to check a minimum of 2 different identity sources.

With the accelerated migration to digital—specifically mobile—that has been observed in the past few years, the phone number has become a primary identification key for most public and private services. The phone number is also a key identity attribute in several legislated data sources. While legacy identity verification methods rely on traditional identifiers, modern methods call for using the phone number as a unique identifier due to its omnipresent nature and the richness of intelligence it provides by potentially connecting to a diverse set of data sources. With appropriate orchestration, this enhanced possibility also helps improve the accuracy of 2+2 verification methods. In addition, the correlation of phone number to PII data such as name, address, date of birth, and email address ensures phone number ownership, a critical first step to preventing identity takeover in the KYC compliance process. 

Prove’s Identity Verify™ and eIDV products support phone number ownership verification and electronic identity verification for KYC, respectively, leveraging verified data sources. Designed to be consumed as simple APIs, Identity Verify matches the phone number to name, address, date of birth, and email address. In contrast, eIDV matches input PII data (not necessarily with a phone number) with the data stored in a verified database. eIDV provides the additional configurability to invoke a 2+2 verification depending on the scenario. Additionally, with the built-in capability to connect to multiple data sources, Identity Verify and eIDV APIs serve as a single gateway for identity verification, thereby simplifying the KYC process and making it highly secure and efficient.

Several countries are now actively working towards rationalizing identity sources, streamlining verification methods, and implementing digital identity frameworks to break the barriers of trust between transacting parties. However, privacy and protection of consumer data are valid concerns. By employing a zero-knowledge framework, Prove can answer clients’ questions of whether their customers are who they say they are with either a Y/N answer and a score without having to pass additional and unnecessary attributes that could compromise clients’ commitment to consumer data privacy.

This article is a synopsis of a full-length article originally published by Prove.

Funding wrap: Fintech investors eye gains in open banking, RPA tools

Open banking fintechs and robotic process automation (RPA) firms continue to draw investor interest. This week’s funding rounds saw venture capital pouring into banking-as-a-service platforms and startups that aim to bring API-based data sharing to corporate treasury departments. Here are the highlights: FinLync Corporate treasury-focused fintech FinLync raised $16 million in its second funding round […]

American Express Joins Tink in European Open Banking Partnership

In a bid to improve the onboarding process for new card members, Tink and American Express have entered a European open banking partnership.

Recognising the increased interest from their customers to be able to instantly verify their identity, income, and account information in a more seamless manner, American Express has begun integrating Tink’s open banking technology into their application and risk analysis processes. This tech partnership will ultimately eliminate the need for their customers to manually enter their details or send additional documentation to American Express; in turn saving time and improving the customer experience.

The partnership will see Tink’s open banking services utilised by American Express customers across the world, including in France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, Norway, Finland, and Belgium.

As Tink continues its European expansion, the open banking platform has also recently entered a channel partnership for open banking technology with the payments technology provider Tribe; aiding the platform as they process an estimated 1.5 million payment transactions per month.

“Our partnership with Tink will help make it easier and faster for future customers to apply for our American Express products digitally,” comments Fredrik Sauter, Head of Growing Markets at American Express. “Open banking technology not only speeds up the digital application process but also helps us make better decisions. When looking for an open banking partner, Tink was a clear choice for us, due to its position as the leading European open banking platform.”

Daniel Kjellén, co-founder and CEO, TinkDaniel Kjellén, co-founder and CEO, Tink
Daniel Kjellén, co-founder and CEO, Tink

Daniel Kjellén, co-founder and CEO of Tink, added “We are proud to announce this partnership with American Express, one of the world’s leading payment companies with more than 100 million cards in operation worldwide. Tink’s account verification, income verification and risk analysis technology will streamline the onboarding process for American Express customers, as we work together to create the future of financial services. This sets the standard for how larger brands are using open banking technology to convert analogue processes to digital, enhancing the customer experience.”

  • 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.

Banking Circle Becomes Latest P27 Member; Consolidating Fragmented Nordics Payments Ecosystem

Underlining its ongoing commitment to cultivating an efficient global payments infrastructure, the financial infrastructure provider Banking Circle has joined the P27 Nordic payments initiative as a front-runner bank in creating bulk-clearing for the Danish Krone.

The P27 initiative has been acknowledged as a vital avenue to addressing the disparate clearing systems currently operating across the Nordic region. Banking Circle views its membership of the scheme as a crucial catalyst towards removing the excess cost and time currently experienced in domestic and cross-border payments to and from the Nordic region.

Banking Circle holds an important role in the initiative, as a key driving force in the creation of clearing for the Danish Krone.

“At Banking Circle we have a vision to offer a global financial infrastructure to Payments businesses and Banks serving the e-commerce marketplace that is simple, fast and low cost. We are already heavily committed to achieving this goal having secured our Banking Licence in 2019 and with sustained investment in integrating a vast network of local clearing and payments schemes,” comments Anders la Cour, the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Banking Circle.

“Our membership of P27 means we are tackling another region in the global economy,” Anders continues. “Banking Circle is already an active member of the Nordic community and a member of the Nordic Payments Council. Joining P27 was, therefore, the next natural step for us. As part of this initiative, we will be able to provide our Bank and Payments business partners with the ability to offer their customers faster, easier and lower cost payments to and from the region.”

P27 – which gained its numerative title from the 27 million people it serves across the Nordic region – is an initiative formed between several leading banks that together share a common goal in creating the world’s first digital platform.

The platform allows businesses and consumers to process real-time, domestic, and cross-border payments. Like Banking Circle, P27 strongly subscribes to the belief that payments should be faster and cheaper; and that collaboration is the most efficient way in which this can be achieved.

Martin Georgzén, Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Business Execution of P27 added “P27 is an extension of the Nordic tradition of technological innovation and cooperation seen across industries including banking. We are connecting our collective resources, competence, and ambition to create a platform that really will transform payments for everyone in the region. By aligning our standards with this of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), P27 will bring further harmonisation to the overall European payments landscape.”

Martin continues “In joining the P27 partnership, Banking Circle is demonstrating its commitment to supporting new development in the payment space that is for the good of the region as a whole. Banking Circle shares our vision for better payments provision, and we look forward to working together on the journey towards making cross-border payments as easy as sending a text message.”

Banking Circle currently delivers access to 12 local clearing schemes through a combination of direct clearing and partner banks. In 2020 it processed 6% of European B2C e-commerce payments and €155 billion of payments volume.

  • 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.

This Week in Fintech ending 14 May 2021

This week our experts brought you the following insights based on their experience as investors, entrepreneurs & executives.

Monday Ilias Hatzis our Greece-based crypto entrepreneur (Founder & CEO at  Kryptonio a “keyless” non-custodial bitcoin and cryptocurrency wallet, that lets users manage bitcoin and crypto, without private keys or passwords and Weekly Columnist at Daily Fintech) @iliashatzis wrote Is bitcoin Revolut’s path to profitability?

Neobanks and digital wallet providers like Revolut, Paypal, Robinhood and Square are already offering cryptocurrencies on their platforms. Millions of potential bitcoin buyers get access to crypto markets via PayPal, Robinhood, Square’s Cash App and Revolut. Bitcoin meteoric rise has spiked their cryptocurrency trading volumes and the number of new customers on their platforms. To illustrate this, Square’s CashApp traded $1.8 billion worth of cryptocurrencies in the fourth quarter of 2020 alone. Robinhood cryptocurrency service has added 6 million funded accounts in the first two months of 2021 only, when its total customer count was 13 million users a year ago. Revolut has never been profitable, at least not on an annual basis, but it’s always seen positive months when bitcoin’s price skyrocketed. Since November 2020, it’s been profitable every month.

Editor note:Revolut is becoming a full service bank and catering to crypto demand is one thing that full service banks do. Look out for Coinbase to get a lot of competition.


Tuesday Bernard Lunn, CEO of Daily Fintech and author of The Blockchain Economy wrote: DeFi Part 2 Investor Beware says Eeyore

At a decentralised conference entitled The Pooh Corner Debate on DeFi, Eeyore kicked off (having won the coin toss) by pointing out 7 points that investors considering DeFi should think about:

Editor note: If you thought Eeyore was being too negative, tune in next week  for DeFi Part 3. If it is broke then fix it says Tigger.

Wednesday Alan Scott Managing Director EMEA at 24 Exchange @Alan_SmartMoney wrote his weekly roundup of Stablecoin news.

Note, this week The Economist featured Govcoins on their cover. Daily Fintech subscribers have been shared of this curve for a while.



Rintu Patnaik, an Insurtech expert based in India, wrote: In a Tumultuous Year for Auto Insurance, Customers Seek Better Value

Latest customer survey findings on auto insurance trends during the last year show largely similar after-effects in most world regions. In the US, a JD Power 2021 Insurance Shopping Study revealed that the pandemic caused a 55% decrease in number of miles driven, inducing auto insurance customers to shop around for more personalized and cheaper policies. In UK, the Car Insurance Price Index in association with Willis Towers Watson revealed that comprehensive car insurance premiums fell by 14% since the first quarter of 2020, the biggest annual drop since 2014.

Editor note: this is how innovation is supposed to work, digital claims mean lower costs which means lower prices/policies.

Christian Dreyer @x3er, the Swiss based CFA who focusses on how XBRL changes our world wrote his weekly roundup of XBRL news.


Friday Howard Tolman, a well-known banker, technologist and entrepreneur in London, wrote: his weekly roundup of Alt Lending news.


To continue receiving ‘This Week in Fintech’, the weekly recap of our articles, you will need to fill this form to give us consent to send this to you. Please note that Daily Fintech requires your organizational email address (e.g. corporate, educational or government) and your LinkedIn URL. This information is required for subscribers who want ‘This Week in Fintech’ for free. If you prefer to not provide this information, you can still receive all our content by becoming a paying member.

Amsterdam: The Heartbeat of European Fintech

Fintech hubs around Europe have been constantly developing and expanding, with one of the largest and most successful of these being in Amsterdam. It is home to several unicorns and a thriving payments sector. Following the pandemic, companies like Ayden have been able to capitalise on the evergrowing cashless economy and e-commerce shopping boom as it is now valued at £6.1billion.

Don Ginsel, chairman of Holland Fintech, the fintech hub, said the Netherlands is the country with the fewest cash payments in the world: one company looking to expand into the financially aware country is Storm2, as it launches its third global hub. Storm2 work in global Fintech recruitment, connecting organisations with the talent to drive their mission. Launched in 2019 with the highest institutional backing in recruitment history from Puffin Point Investments, the company have gone through three stages of investment funding. 

Here, Angela Ward, Storm2’s European VP, discusses the current key challenges and opportunities that Fintech’s in Amsterdam have:

Angela Ward, Storm2's European VPAngela Ward, Storm2's European VP
Angela Ward, Storm2’s European VP

Amsterdam is one of the most prominent European fintech hubs, home to several unicorns and a thriving payments sector. The city has the winning combination of a strong financial sector, successful tech ecosystem and vibrant startup scene. Entrepreneurial spirit runs through the city like the canals and high adoption of new tech makes it the ideal base for fintech businesses.

Home to the world’s first central bank and stock exchange, Amsterdam is no stranger to pioneering financial innovation; Dutch banks were amongst the first to introduce mobile and online banking. Today, the city is home to a rich ecosystem of over 500 fintech companies, supporting over 20,000 jobs and ranks #4 in Europe’s best startup hubs. Post-Brexit, the Dutch capital is quickly becoming a prominent financial hub connecting all of Europe and ranks 3rd for VC funding in Europe.

The Impact Of Covid-19 On The European Jobs Market

The last year has been devastating to so many industries but fintech was born out of disruption and has innovation in its DNA. It’s thought that up to seven million jobs will have been lost due to covid-19 across Europe but, the fintech sector has remained strong. Startups and established fintechs alike were quick and agile in their adoption of remote working, and the tech-first approach to business meant that they were able to bounce back from the initial shockwaves of the pandemic and come back stronger.

The Dutch startup ecosystem has been a huge job growth engine over 2020, surpassing most individual sectors. In Q1 2021 Amsterdam saw over €250million in startup funding. As businesses and revenue continue to bounce back, we’re likely to see a big uptick in hiring levels with growth for some businesses exceeding pre-pandemic levels.

The Number One Problem For FinTechs Today

Fintech companies are a big contributor to a growing labour market in the Netherlands, and across Europe. The number of companies in the city is expanding, and the funding for already established startups is only increasing. This leads to businesses expanding and requiring talent.

According to EY’s 2019 Dutch fintech census, most of the fintechs in the country have relatively few employees. At the time of the report, it was found that “no fewer than 85% of fintech companies want to increase the number of employees.” Although the pandemic may have shifted priorities short-term, the need for talent to maintain growth will not have shifted.

Amsterdam is an attractive city for international emigration not least due to its high fluency of English which allows people from all over the world to integrate with ease. A 30% tax advantage for highly skilled migrants, outstanding physical and digital connectivity to the wider continent, and a modern, productive, flexible and internationally oriented workforce, combine to make one very attractive package for fintech-specialist talent.

Still, attracting and retaining the best thought-leaders in fintech is the number one issue for this sector worldwide, and can be a costly problem should a business get the process wrong. EY found that attraction and retention is a key issue for the fintechs in the 2019 census, with 53% indicating that it is “not easy to find personnel with the right skills.”

The Opportunities For FinTechs in Amsterdam

With relatively few Digital Banks in the area, there is a huge opportunity to provide innovative, homegrown banking services to the Dutch market. As well as new startups, there’s an opportunity for scaling global businesses to expand their international reach and create a base in this connected city.

Historically, the payments sector has had a strong presence in Amsterdam and across Europe, with unicorns Adyen and Mollie flying the Dutch flag for tech innovation in the region. As the pandemic supercharges the need for digital payments solutions, Amsterdam will see further growth in this area. Payments businesses and banks have a high focus on KYC and compliance currently, and so too the RegTech market will continue to blossom. AMLOs, Chief Risk Officers and Head of Compliance will become necessary hires for emerging fintechs as an increased focus on technology to identify suspicious transactions, or automatically generating reports becomes a priority.

Other services, like InsurTech, are not as common in the Netherlands compared to the rest of the world perhaps, due to the consolidation of the insurance sector, but with fintechs continuing to diversify the products and offerings, there will likely be an increase in requirements for experienced Product Leads and Development teams.

The Future Of FinTech In Amsterdam

As we look to the future, Amsterdam has already positioned itself as a forerunner for European fintech. The city is the world capital for green finance, embracing sustainable practices and pioneering future-thinking trends that will guide the global finance world. The country sits in the top-12 of the diversity index and, although there is still plenty of work to do in that area, is making headway to championing a diverse and dynamic fintech ecosystem.

As employees shift away from traditional ways of working post covid-19, Amsterdam is an obvious choice for not only homegrown talent, but also skilled fintech professionals looking for new opportunities. Amsterdam is fostering the type of innovation that is changing the way the world sees money, and for the modern fintech fan, the city is a very exciting place to be right now.

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

Raisin Invest Launch New ESG Product Line With More Than 30 Sustainable EFTs

The pan-European savings marketplace Raisin has added a new hybrid-robo “ETF Configurator” to its investment platform in the German market. The Configurator allows investors to create individualised portfolios according to their own investment strategies but with the cost-efficiency and digital experience of a robo advisor.

At the same time, Raisin Invest has launched a new ESG (“environmental, social, governance”) product line with more than 30 sustainable ETFs and bonds to choose from, or a pre-set starting ESG portfolio. The Berlin-based Raisin has been active since 2018 with its Raisin Invest ETF platform in Germany, now managing more than €950million as one of the market’s biggest robo advisors.

Hybrid-robo: Investors can design their own long-term asset accumulation

Raisin’s ETF Configurator is aimed at investors with a medium to long-term investment horizon who want to determine the building blocks of their portfolio themselves. The Configurator allows investors to choose from around 200 ETFs and index funds from major asset managers such as Amundi, DEKA, iShares, Lyxor, UBS, Vanguard and X-trackers. They can then deploy individual investment strategies involving different asset classes, countries, regions, and sectors.

Investing starts from a minimum of €500 or, within a Raisin Invest savings plan, from €50 per month. The portfolio management is automated, rendering the total costs of the ETF Configurator just 0.43% annually, plus fund costs, and including the configuration of individual ETF portfolios, payouts, changes to the portfolio composition, regular rebalancing with different intervals to choose from, and the integrated savings plan.

Raisin Invest ESG funds are more than green

Developed by Raisin’s investment experts, the pre-configured ESG starting portfolio provides exposure to around 600 individual securities and is broadly and globally diversified, with a clearly defined sustainability profile. The broad concept of sustainability in the ESG criteria for financial products takes into account not only environmental impact but also factors such as working conditions and tax transparency, as well as other indicators of good governance.

“Many of the sustainable investment options are overpriced and thus underperform. Raisin enables a broadly diversified and, above all, cost-effective investment so investors don’t have to compromise on return opportunities. Since we take care of otherwise expensive and time-consuming processes such as trading and rebalancing through automation, the individual ETF portfolio can be significantly more economical than implementing it with a house bank or broker,” explains Kim Felix Fomm, Chief Investment Officer at Raisin.

“With the Raisin Invest ETF Configurator, our customers can precisely implement personal preferences like sustainability while building wealth according to their own investment styles.”

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

The FinovateSpring eMagazine

It’s hard to believe that we’ve now done a full calendar year of digital events! FinovateSpring was our fifth completely digital event, and while we’re excited about the return to in-person events later this year, it’s already clear that things aren’t going to return to the same “normal” that existed in 2019.

This same pattern holds for the larger banking ecosystem as well. It’s clear that we are entering a new, substantially more digital era in finance and banking. Customer behavior has changed forever (and so have customer expectations), and it’s not going to change back.

Over the past year, the industry has (understandably) been focused on dealing with immediate challenges, but now it’s time to start looking at fintech more broadly again. We’re a long way from a new status quo, and things are going to keep moving quickly. It’s up to all of us to decide if we’re willing to move quickly too.

Download our latest eMagazine from FinovateSpring, to get access to:

  • Insight from our resident analysts on the top trends from the event and beyond
  • Thought leadership from Headline Sponsor, InterSystems
  • The Best of Show demos videos
  • Expert opinion on machine learning, tapping into the female financial market and much more…

In collaboration with

Alt lending Week ended 14th May 2021

Companies to borrow £ 7 billion less this year as UK economy rebounds

New figures out from Leading accountants Ernst and Young suggest that companies will be borrowing less this year as the UK economy bounces back strongly. While this is not too surprising,  the Bank of England says that the UK has not seen such a bounce back in modern times. In the small print there is a suggestion that the rise in property prices might well be temporary and due to stimulus through the stamp duty holiday and pent up demand. This sector will undoubtedly slow during 2022 as reality hit home. In addition the suggestion is that interest rates will remain near to rock bottom during the next couple of years. This does not bode well for profitability in the medium term.

Malaysia’s 1MDB sues Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan and Coutts

The Malaysian Government has obviously not given up on trying to pin at least some of the blame for the 2015 1 Malaysian Development Berhad scandal on the global banking system. Last Friday they filed some 22 suits against banks and individuals involved in the scandal including Deutsche, JP Morgan and a subsidiary of Coutts with the aim of recovering some $ 23 billion. Years after Goldmans owned up to helping Greece cook the books during the Eurozone crisis these corruptions keep bubbling up to the surface. Of course given the sums of money involved the citizens of the countries who have been cheated would hope that the world’s premier banking outfits would try and act properly. Of course these are only allegations at this point but it seems to me that the more the worlds authorities try to regulate the bigger the scandals become. Personally I do not think that regulation is the answer. Integrity is lacking within some of these big financial institutions and making individuals take responsibility for their actions might be a good place to start. At the moment it looks like hiding the truth is more important.

Provident withdraws from Doorstep lending after 140 years.

The Bradford based lender has decided to throw in the towel on its doorstep lending business after posting a hefty loss citing regulatory changes and a change in client habits. Fair enough but when an outfit like this decided to pull out there is literally nothing left to take its place. Those punters who are not IT literate or cannot qualify for slightly more sophisticated forms of finance and there are still quite a lot of them still have a requirement but the 21st century has left them behind. They are then left to the loan sharks who are unregulated and take few prisoners. As is usual in situations like this it does not look like the social implications are important at all. Nevertheless it is a shame that our political masters don’t seem to provide any assistance to those who need it most.

Howard Tolman is a well-known banker, technologist and entrepreneur in London,

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

For context on Alt Lending please read the Interview with Howard Tolman about the future of Alt Lending and read articles tagged Alt Lending in our archives.

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

Queens Speech Reveals New Online Safety Bill to Safeguard Children on the Internet

The recent Queens Speech announced the governments new Online Safety Bill designed to protect users online, particularly focused on keeping children safe.

The Queen said: “My government will lead the way in ensuring internet safety for all, especially for children whilst harnessing the benefits of a free, open and secure internet.”

The legislation has been two years in the making and covers a range of content including instances where children might fall victim including grooming, hate speech and posts relating to suicide and eating disorders. The bill also includes provisions to tackle online scams such as the increasingly emerging romance fraud and fake investment opportunities.

Martin Wilson, Head of Remote Payments at Dojo, said: “Scammers are getting more creative with their deceit. With the rise in e-commerce accelerated by the global pandemic, seasoned fraudsters are seizing the opportunity to exploit the vulnerable and less-tech savvy. For the many people adopting new technologies such as online banking and shopping for the first time during COVID-19, these frauds are incredibly convincing and traumatic.

“Over the last month, SMS and email phishing scams have risen by a large amount with recent Google search volumes for online scams increasing by up to 633% with scammers asking potential victims to complete an immediate action to prevent fines or to receive packages.

“It is clear that online platforms need support from the government to help them prevent fraudulent and fake content on their sites so that their users are better protected. Now as the Online Safety Bill is being drafted it would be practical to implement the inclusion of scam fraud.”

While some are pleased with the bill’s announcement, as scamming activity has seen a significant increase, there are some people that are concerned that plans will lead to censorship and concerns over freedom of speech, as well as others believing that the bill does not go far enough as it contains no plans to protect people from scam and fraudulent ads.

Martin Lewis, founder of, said: “The government has stumbled at the first fence by not including scams in the Online Safety Bill.

“We live in a world where the policing of scams is dangerously underfunded, leaving criminals to get away with fraud with impunity. This was a chance to at least deny them the ‘oxygen of publicity’ by making big tech responsible for the scammers’ adverts it is paid to publish.

“By not doing so the government has failed to protect millions, in the midst of a pandemic, from one of the most damaging online harms to their financial and mental health.”

How to spot a phishing email

Dojo has outlined five top tips for people receiving fake phishing SMS and emails:

1. Check the sender’s email address – Often scammers will use a suspicious email address that includes words that don’t relate to the company they impersonate or lots of numbers.

2. Check for poor spelling and grammar, or mistakes to the company’s name – Although some fraudulent emails and SMS are highly sophisticated, many of them can be poorly worded and there are some tell-tale signs they’re not legitimate.

3. Don’t rush to action their demands – Whether it’s clicking a suspicious link or providing your personal data, you should take some time to review the SMS and email, and research it’s legitimacy before taking any actions.

4. Never send sensitive data via emails, or online links from emails or SMS – If you do suspect you’ve been sent a phishing email, do not click on it and try not to open the email at all – especially if you’re using your work email. Scammers often leave malicious links within the email that once clicked allow them to enter your computer’s system.

5. Contact the company implicated – Whether you’re unsure, or you’re totally convinced that you’ve received a scam SMS or email pretending to be a company, reach out to that company to inform them and see further information. They will be able to let you know within an instant if the communication you received was legitimate.

  • 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.

Saudi Central Bank Publish Its 14th Annual Report on the Saudi Insurance Market

The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) has issued the 14th annual report on the Saudi Insurance Market. The report highlights the performance of the insurance sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2020 and the sector’s contribution to the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP).

As mentioned in the report, the insurance sector witnessed a growth of circa 2.3% in 2020, with total written premiums reaching SR 38,78 billion. Energy and Accident & Liability insurance classes showed a notable increase in written premiums. The penetration ratio of the sector increased from 1.3% in 2019 to 1.5% in 2020. In terms of the underwriting performance, the overall loss ratio positively improved to reach 77.5%. The net profit (after zakat & tax) for the sector increased by 61.1% compared to the previous year’s corresponding figure, thereby improving the return-on-assets and return-on-equity ratios.

The report noted also that the overall Saudisation ratio increased from 74% in 2019 to 75% in 2020. These positive results came despite the difficult times the sector faced during the Covid-19 pandemic, in which the insurance sector continues to perform effectively by maintaining the safety of clients and facilitating their insurance trading. In addition, its initiative related to extending –in force- motor insurance for individuals for two months free of charge and automatically.

The report also highlights major regulatory and other developments during the year, including the issuance of new Actuarial Work Regulations, the rules governing the activities of insurance aggregators, and standard Policy for Inherent Defects Insurance and Rules for Comprehensive Insurance of Motor Vehicles Financially Leased to Individuals, in addition, the constant progress in IFRS17 implementation journey, as well as the ongoing merger and acquisition in the sector.

The above developments are positive signs of the insurance sector and are consistent with SAMA’s efforts to make the insurance sector larger and a major contributor to the economy while also ensuring policyholder protection and fair pricing of products.

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

Increased Support for India as BharatPe Deploys Vaccination Reward Scheme

BharatPe, a prominent merchant-focussed fintech based in India, announces the rollout of its campaign to further strengthen the Indian government’s vaccination drive against Covid-19.

Under its corporate social responsibility initiative, the fintech has launched ‘BharatPe Cares’, a first-of-its-kind programme aimed at generating increased awareness around the importance of vaccine adoption amongst the company’s 6 million-strong merchant partners; urging them to get vaccinated without delay.

This move comes in tandem with similar initiatives launched by those within the provision of India’s financial services to combat the country’s devastating Covid-19 blow; Mastercard has just pledged $10 million in aid to support the situation.

As India’s largest current vaccination Cashback programme, BharatPe merchants will be gifted with Rs300 instant cashback direct to their selected bank account, simply by scanning their vaccination certificate through the BharatPe employee app.

To accompany the uptake of this latest initiative, the company has also announced the launch of a Covid-19 Vaccine Tracker, via its app, to facilitate the publishing of relevant and key information regarding the Covid-19 vaccination. By using this Vaccine Tracker, the merchants can view details about their local Covid-19 vaccination centre. And when an appointment slot becomes available at their selected centre, BharatPe employees can expect to receive a notification through the platform.

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

Sharing details about the campaign, Ashneer Grover, Co-Founder and CEO, BharatPe comments “The shopkeepers in India have played a significant part during Covid by ensuring availability of essentials. It’s time now for them to start working towards unlocking. BharatPe is incentivising all shopkeepers to get vaccinated at the earliest so that they stay safe as business picks up and footfalls at shops increase. It’s time to get back to business.”

The fintech is committed to making financial inclusion a reality for small merchants and kirana store owners in the country. The overarching vision of the company is to transform itself into a digital bank and empower those within the country’s 50 million-strong SME community by launching a range of financial products, specifically designed to address their needs and empower their businesses.

  • 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.

Vista Bank Puts Digital Payment Strategy on the Radar With Latest Selection of Payments Technology

The Vista Bank Group has selected the paytech provider Radar Payments, a branch of BPC, to support the progression of its global payment activities.

Vista has formed an ambitious agenda to challenge the status quo and deliver a superior experience to retail customers, large enterprises, and MSMEs across West Africa and the wider region.

In response to its digital-first strategy, Vista has selected Radar Payments as its preferred partner to drive digital payment adoption in the region. Radar Payments will centralise payment operations at Vista’s tech hub located in Senegal, supervising Vista Bank’s activities in Guinea, Gambia, Burkina Faso, and Sierra Leone while leaving room for further banks to join its network. It is part of the bank’s growth agenda to expand to Burkina-Faso, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, and Mali.

The group has already been expanding rapidly through a series of successive strategic acquisitions that include First International Bank (FIB) in Gambia, followed by BNP Paribas’ SubsidiariesLa Banque Internationale pour le Commerce et l’Industrie de la Guinée (BICIGUI) in Guinea and La Banque Internationale pour le Commerce l’Industrie et l’Agriculture du Burkina (BICIAB) in Burkina Faso. As a result, Vista Bank has become the primary bank in Guinea by assets and network coverage.

The agreement will see Vista Bank running on BPC’s flagship payment suite, SmartVista to manage card issuance and lifecycle management, payment switching, ATM and Point-Of-Sales management as well as providing digital channels such as mobile banking and e-wallet; personalised to both retail and corporate clients. The bank is planning to accelerate the issuance of UnionPay International (UPI) branded cards including prepaid, debit, and premium cards, in addition to the acquisition in ATM, Point-of-Sales, Contactless, QR payment, and E-Commerce.

This announcement comes at a time where AfCFTA – the pan-African free trade agreement – has become a reality. Since 1st January 2021, AfCFTA has set new business standards for 41 countries and 1.2 billion people to help accelerate economic growth across the continent. The free trade programme promises a change in trading rules, with reduced import-export taxes making commerce more affordable for players in the region. It also means that the volume of transactions will sharply increase and banks in the continent will have to gear up for a pan-African service.

“With AfCFTA, banks have to think pan-Africa first, and realise that we need to step up the game in terms of ease of payment, a critical component to every banking and business experience,” comments Simon Tiemtoré, Group Chairman at Vista Bank. “As a challenger bank, Vista Bank is taking bold decisions when it comes to its technology stack, forming alliances with the best partners in their own fields. By selecting Radar Payments, the paytech by BPC, we have chosen a leader with a solid reputation in delivering superior global payments processing.”

Evgenia Loginova, CEO of Radar Payments, added “We are proud to join Vista Bank on their journey to transform the way people bank, pay and get paid while making financial services more accessible to them. This partnership was born from our shared vision to successfully solve real-life payment problems with a high-end, globally proven digital solution that focuses on end customers. Together, with the help of cutting-edge digital payment solutions, we will provide easy, instant and secure movement of money, thereby transforming Vista Bank into a trailblazing player within the continent. “

  • 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.

Fintech Rho rolls out corporate card alongside BaaS offering

Fintech Rho Technologies today announced the roll out of its bank-issued corporate card coupled with its banking-as-a-service offering, which operates as a financial management platform on top of banking services provided by $691 million Evolve Bank and Trust. While banking as a service has been a growing trend during the past year, banking fintechs have […]

Listen: OakNorth CIO shares automation trends in commercial lending

Commercial banks have been automating aspects of the lending and decisioning process, primarily at the lower end of the commercial lending spectrum, but hesitate to automate for loans more than $1 million. This means commercial banks have kept automations focused on loans of less than $1 million, explains Sean Hunter in this podcast discussion with […]

W.UP Launches Money Stories to Win Consumers’ Divided Attention

Customer-focused banking tools provider W.UP revealed its latest development today. The Hungary-based company is launching Money Stories.

The new embeddable tool enables banks to offer their customers bite-sized snapshots of their financial lives. These easily consumable bits of content combine data analytics with digital storytelling to make it even easier for banks to help users to understand their financial standing in a fast-paced way.

The new tool takes the concept from millennial-friendly mobile apps such as Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Each of these social media platforms are notorious for enabling users to quickly publish and view life updates and ideas, share new songs, and even exchange gossip. The micro-content requires little attention from viewers, who are easily distracted and prone to multi-tasking.

Similarly, Money Stories leverages transactional and behavioral analytics to show users daily highlights, weekly and monthly forecasts, and yearly summaries. Overall, these updates take the form of unusually large transactions, double charges, sharp balance drops, recurring transitions, top spending categories, changes in spending or credit card usage, and more. In addition to showing users their historical data, Money Stories can also help users plan for the future by showing options to pay off credit card debt, avoid overdrafts, and more.

All of the graphics appear on a single screen for seven-to-ten seconds, so the user does not need to scroll or set aside much time in their day to understand the analyses.

W.UP is keeping the integration easy for banks. “When all is said and done, the only decision for banks to make remains what product and service offers to slide into the story stream to boost targeting accuracy, conversion, and customer satisfaction levels,” said W.UP Head of Product Gellért Vinnai.

Founded in 2014, W.UP takes PFM to a personalized level by leveraging AI and real-time data. These product offerings have obviously struck a chord in the banking crowd; the company has won Best of Show awards at FinovateEurope 2018, 2019, and most recently for its demo in 2020.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Lili Locks in $55 Million to Bring Banking to Gig Economy Workers

In a round led by Group 11, banking app Lili has secured $55 million in Series B funding. The capital will help the New York-based fintech grow its product range over the next few months. This will include the addition of new features for invoice and payment management and a new loans product.

“We’ve created the tools you need to spend more time building your venture and less time on things that historically your employer would handle: sorting expenses, managing financials, and filing taxes,” Lili CEO and co-founder Lilac Bar David explained.

The Series B took the two-year old company’s total capital to $80 million. Also participating in the investment were Target Global and AltaIR.

Having doubled its account base over the past six months and currently boasting 200,000 users, Lili offers real-time expense management, tax preparation, and no-fee accounts designed for freelancers and gig economy workers. Lili also provides direct deposit and a Visa business debit card with free ATM withdrawals at more than 32,000 locations.

Named to the Forbes Next 1000 list for 2021, Bar David co-founded Lili having spent three years as CEO of Israeli challenger bank, Pepper. Along with current Lili CTO and co-founder Liran Zelkha, Bar David’s goal was to build a solution for workers in the freelance economy that combined banking and business management services into a single platform. She estimated that Lili has saved its users 60 hours on administrative tasks and $1,700 a year in fees, costs, and tax savings.

The 60 million freelancers in the U.S. – more than a third of the workforce – often struggle to secure timely payment for services rendered, accurately meet tax obligations, and manage their overall financial work/life balance. With the expectation that this relatively young cohort will only grow in size over time, investors like Group 11 see Lili as well-positioned to take advantage of this evolution in the “future of work.”

“Lilac and Liran’s forward-looking vision is changing how modern workers manage their finances, while saving them valuable time and money,” Group 11 founding partner Dovi Frances said during the company’s seed funding round announcement just under a year ago. “Lili is redefining banking for freelancers and we’re thrilled to be partnering with the team.”

Photo by Pietro Jeng from Pexels

US Organisations Hit by Ransomware Forced To Pay 171% Increased Ransom in 2020

Data presented by the Atlas VPN team shows that 45% of organisations hit by ransomware in 2020 are based in the US. Enterprises all over the world are being kept hostage by ransomware, and many are being forced to pay criminals because the expense of downtime and loss of reputation if the consumer data goes public outweighs the ransom.

Researchers from Palo Alto Networks analysed data that was gathered by two of their branches — global threat intelligence team (Unit 42) and incident response team (The Crypsis Group).

The data was collected from publicly available websites as well as those on the dark web. The dataset included 337 victims from 56 different industries in five regions and 39 countries.

Surprisingly, out of 337 ransomware victims last year, 151 (45%), were operating in the US.

US organisations are extremely profitable for hackers. They reach a wider market than most other countries, which often means that they have more resources. Moreover, having more employees, contractors and using more services creates a broader attack surface for hackers to exploit.

On a similar note, 39 (12%) of businesses in Canada got trapped by ransomware and were forced to pay up. Third on the list is Germany, where 26 (8%) organisations suffered from a ransomware attack.

Fourth is the United Kingdom, and fifth is France, where 17 (5%) and 16 (5%) businesses respectively have been a victim of a ransomware attack.

Ransomware is a lucrative market. The average ransom paid by organisations in the United States, Canada, and Europe rose by 171% from $115,123 in 2019 to $312,493 in 2020.

Double extortion on the rise

Several ransomware families have demonstrated their ability to exfiltrate data and use double extortion tactics, including NetWalker, RagnarLocker, DoppelPaymer, and several others.

Instead of only encrypting data on the victim’s computer, hackers also export files to their own computers in order to further compel the victim to pay the ransom. In case the ransom is not paid, criminals threaten to publish the data on leak sites and forums that are operating on the dark web.

By far the most effective ransomware family is NetWalker, which was used in 33% of attacks last year.

Interestingly, the FBI has already taken the matter into their own hands and took down the site on the dark web that was providing NetWalker ransomware for sale as a service.

During the FBI’s investigation, a Canadian national – Sébastien Vchon-Desjardins of Gatineau was charged in the Middle District of Florida. He is alleged to have obtained over $27.6million as a result of the offences charged in the indictment.

Moving forward, RagnarLocker was used in 26 attacks and DoppelPaymer in 25, both of them being double extortion ransomware families.

NeFilm (24), DarkSide (24), Revil (23), Avaddon (23), and Clop (22) are five other malicious software types that criminals chose quite often in 2020.

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

Indian InsurTechs Redefining Claims Management

We cover more than 60+ sub-segments in FinTech – but we do not stop there; we also cover topics beyond FinTech, such as InsurTech, RegTech, PropTech, WealthTech, BankTech, AgriTech, and the enabling technologies enabling innovation such as AI, Blockchain, etc.

Behind the Idea: Pricefx

Before COVID-19, many companies attempted various stages of ambitious digital transformation programs. In the last year, we were thrust into this new world and it taught us that digital adoption is the only way forward.

Priorities have shifted and tech leaders realised that cloud-based SaaS solutions are critical in innovation and agility, giving them the flexibility to change with the times and be ready for any threat that may come at them. Companies that already had a flexible pricing solution in place were far better at adapting their strategy quickly and survive. Out of the more than 30 customers signed last year, a good amount either accelerated their projects or decided to move ahead from zero because of the need to rapidly adjust and control pricing in response to the pandemic.

Marcin Cichon, the CEO and co-founder of Pricefx

With a proven track record of growing startups in Europe, Marcin Cichon, the CEO and co-founder of Pricefx, knew the pricing industry needed a transformation to match the evolving needs of businesses. Based on his decades of experience in the software business, Marcin made the move to fundamentally shift the business relationship with pricing technologies. He changed the cloud-based pricing software market when the industry’s on-premise alternatives bogged down customers with years-long implementation timelines tied with multi-million dollar price tags. Even during the difficulties in 2020, Pricefx grew its year-over-year subscription revenue by 44%, and, with Marcin’s leadership, raised $65M series C, with a total of $130M raised in total.

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

2020 was the year that we saw technology innovations come to life, especially when they were initially put on the backburner. Because of the shock of the pandemic’s unpredictability, everyone has been living with the mantra that the one thing we should be certain of is uncertainty. Pricefx was built on this mindset from its inception in 2013. The market has shown us how volatile it can perform. In response, technology innovations and digital transformation initiatives are front and centre.

 Pricefx has always held its premise that no matter the market condition, it is fast, flexible and can move with the times. Some of the largest organisations and industries – nationally and worldwide – have shown us that they’re more transparent, giving market leaders an open path to multi-channel approaches to their goods available at any time. Marketplaces, API-based integrations with third-party websites are giving companies the chance to drive traffic and better compete with the competition. Pricing solutions equipped with price optimisation and AI functionality allow these companies to capitalise on reaching customers directly with the right offers at the right time.

How has this changed over the past few years?

Prior to 2020, there were many market changes that caused a volatile increase in a number of factors, from cost shifts, supply chain disruptions, and variations in demand, which uncovered the need for dynamic pricing.

Businesses needed to respond rapidly to changes in prices to ensure their competitive stead in the market. Algorithmic optimisation is critical in setting up pricing guidelines and Pricefx allows customers to test any modifications to pricing strategies, no matter how large or small, before going live into market. Pricefx doubled down on AI in pricing when we acquired Brennus Analytics in 2020 to further our expertise and deepen our bench of talent. It was a strategic move to allow us to continue to keep going with the fast-moving business climate of today.

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

The stuffy corporate culture was never what we subscribed to at Pricefx. That means we had a work remote workforce before it pushed companies everywhere to that model during the pandemic and we also work alongside our values, which just so happened to be f-words. We’re a fast, flexible and friendly cloud solution that has been serving the needs of our customers and partners from day one. Pricefx’s model – pricing in the cloud – shifted the industry to prepare it for the needs of an environment like we are in today, and for the future.

What fintech ideas have been implemented?

We’re implementing a strategic project this year to single-source all data within the company, in order to create a universal data lake for our business management purposes. We are also continuing to use our own products to configure orders, quote pricing to customers, and evaluate our own customer data. We figure we sell these capabilities to our customers, we should use them too.

What benefits have these brought?

We see the same areas for improvement our customers see, and we get some of the same benefits, streamlined processes, and flexible adaptation from situation to situation. Of course our ROI is a bit shifted, since our cost of development is significantly more than a customer would pay.

Do you see any other industry challenges on the horizon?

There are several big changes facing the B2B world and SaaS software as well. B2B in general is going to continue to see the adoption of digital B2C buying behaviours become requirements. Executives like to order things with one click from their phones at home, they want the same ease and confidence at work so B2C digital buying experiences will continue to shape the B2B world, and will require a much faster and more responsive approach to pricing than B2B enterprise is typically used to.

SaaS for B2B needs to continually look at how we can remove friction and speed time to value – the entire expectation of SaaS for B2B will continue to be around simple, instant access and utility, and instant value creation. Not all SaaS B2B providers are aiming there, but we believe this will be the future we need to build for today.

Can these challenges be aided by fintech?

Yes, fintech can help. In our case, we’re working on making our products accessible through self-service sign-up and self-service data loading and integration capabilities. And we’re continuing to look at how to integrate workflows, payments gateways and contract negotiation and settlement tools along these lines. We recently launched Velo, which is the industry’s first large deal negotiation tools set, enabling Value Estimation within the CPQ, and integrated to deal planning workflows in line with analytics and CPQ approvals.

Final thoughts…

As business leaders absorb the lasting implications from 2020, we believe capabilities for price management and optimisation will become even more central to top executives looking at how to recover quickly and build back better.

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