Hiro creates home insurance that rewards you for owning smart home devices


Multi-award-winning London tech start-up Hero Labs has announced the launch of Hiro – an insurance challenger brand that rewards customers with insurance discounts for having invested in smart technology that protects their homes.

Policyholders can score a discount of up to 25% using smart devices they already own, and purchase more technology from a discounted in-app marketplace to further protect their home. By installing devices like cameras, video doorbells and smart leak detectors, homeowners and renters can prevent some of the most common causes of damage to their home environment, and benefit from cheaper insurance premiums at the same time.

Hiro will use machine learning to settle claims in seconds and automate simple tasks, creating a customer experience that is closer to modern on-demand services than a traditional paper-bound insurer. It’s the latest offering in a suite of home protection products from Hero Labs, who recently claimed a prestigious Red Dot: Product Design 2020 award for its smart water monitor and automatic shut off solution, Sonic that protects an entire building from water leaks.

“Not a lot of people know this, but insurance was originally about working together to stop bad things from happening,” comments Hero Labs CEO and serial entrepreneur Krystian Zajac. “The first professional fire service was a home insurance company. They would literally come to your house and help you put the fire out.”

Hiro aims to blend the concept of insurers and customers collaborating to protect the things that matter – with modern smart home technology and cutting-edge machine learning methodologies. The service is expected to launch later in 2020, with a waiting list already open at gethiro.com.

Consumers can download the Hiro app for iOS and Android to get an estimate of how much they could save based on current smart devices installed.


The HKMA and the banking sector join forces to help Hong Kong’s economy overcome the outbreak of COVID-19


The HKMA together with the major banks and HKMC Insurance Limited (HKMCI) met representatives from the commercial sector (including Members of the Legislative Council) today to exchange views on the effectiveness of banks’ measures to support SMEs and discuss future follow up work in this regard.

At the meeting, the HKMA reported that, since the establishment of the Banking Sector SME Lending Coordination Mechanism in October 2019, the banking industry has introduced several rounds of measures to help corporate and retail customers.  Nearly 9,000 applications from SMEs involving principal repayment holidays, loan extensions and relief loans have been approved thus far, involving over HK$57 billion.  This has helped reduce the cash-flow pressure on customers and lessen the impact of the outbreak on the local economy.

As the outbreak continues, the HKMA and the HKMCI put forward today another round of five initiatives to further support SMEs in addressing cash-flow pressure:

  1. The HKMA will introduce a series of measures aimed at increasing the banking sector’s liquidity so that banks will have ample liquidity to support local economic activities. These include obtaining US dollars through repo transactions with the U.S. Federal Reserve for lending to local banks, clarifying aspects of the HKMA’s Liquidity Facilities Framework to make it easier to use by banks, and further explaining HKMA’s supervisory expectations on liquidity regulatory requirements so as to encourage banks to deploy their liquidity buffers more flexibly to support lending and other business activities.  For details, please refer to the circular issued today.1
  2. The current level of regulatory reserves2 will be reduced by half to release a total of HK$200 billion of lending capacity, providing banks with more room on their balance sheets to cater for future financing needs.
  3. The HKMA has asked banks to consider arrangements to automatically offer extensions of loan tenor or principal repayment holidays to qualified SMEs without requiring them to make an application. Borrowers just need to indicate whether they will accept the offer or not.
  4. Preparatory work by HKMCI and banks for the special 100% Loan Guarantee under the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme announced in the Budget has entered an advanced stage. The date for banks to receive applications from qualified SMEs will be announced shortly.
  5. Banks said that they will allow SME customers in the import-export and manufacturing sectors facing cash-flow pressure due to delays in shipments to further extend the repayment period of trade financing facilities. They will also consider allowing more customers to apply to convert trade financing lines into temporary overdraft facilities so that customers can manage their cash flow more flexibly.

Since the beginning of the outbreak, the banking industry has responded positively to HKMA’s call to introduce various measures to help relieve customers’ cash-flow pressure.  The key points are:

  1. Using the Banking Sector SME Lending Coordination Mechanism, the HKMA has clarified various regulatory requirements, allowing banks to more effectively support SMEs.
  2. The banking industry has introduced measures to help SME and retail customers, including principal repayment holidays for SME loans and residential mortgages, extension of loan tenors for SME borrowers, conversion of trade financing lines into temporary overdraft facilities and special loans to customers engaging in sectors affected by the outbreak.
  3. The measures have worked as intended. As at the end of March, nearly 9,000 applications have been approved by 16 banks active in SME financing, amounting to over HK$57 billion.  As for personal customers, banks have approved 2,800 principal repayment holidays for residential mortgages and emergency loans, amounting to over HK$8 billion.
  4. Amongst the approved SME cases, around HK$32 billion relate to the granting of principal repayment holidays and over HK$20 billion to extension of loan tenors.
  5. Sectors such as transportation, import and export, retail and tourism that are hard hit by the outbreak have benefited most from these measures. Nearly 7,800 applications from SMEs engaging in these sectors have been approved with total loans exceeding HK$40 billion.

In addition, the HKMA has made adjustments to regulatory requirements in a timely way to allow banks more flexibility to provide credit and support the local economy:

  1. The HKMA has lowered the Countercyclical Capital Buffer (CCyB) ratio twice by a total of 1.5 percentage point since October last year, releasing around HK$700-800 billion of lending capacity, enabling banks to provide more credit.
  2. Despite the deteriorating economic environment, total loans granted by the banking sector increased by HK$192 billion during the five months from end-September 2019 to end-February 2020. Overall credit line granted by banks to SMEs in the fourth quarter of last year also grew by HK$6.9 billion, indicating that lowering the CCyB ratio had a positive impact on banks’ ability to support their customers.
  3. The HKMA issued a guideline to banks in March this year, deferring the implementation of the various requirements under the Basel III framework so that banks can focus on addressing the challenges brought about by the coronavirus outbreak.

The HKMA will work closely with the banking industry to actively implement the above measures through the Banking Sector SME Lending Coordination Mechanism and other channels so as to help our society to ride out these difficult times.

Hong Kong Monetary Authority


EMQ Expands into North America with a New Canadian Gateway


The global financial settlement network registers with Canada’s FINTRAC as a Money Service Business to provide superior cross-border solutions in the region

EMQ, a global financial settlement network, announced its latest gateway expansion in Canada to bolster its presence across North America. The company is also registered with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) as a Money Service Business (MSB). This will enable EMQ to provide consumers and businesses in Canada with a faster, transparent, and more consistent cross-border payments experience.

“Canada is among one of the leading remittance sending markets in the world. This year, digital remittances in the country make up a value of over US$1.4 billion and is expected to reach US$2 billion in 20231. To support the rapidly growing demands for cross-border settlements, customers will require a network infrastructure that can facilitate faster, secure and real-time payments,said Max Liu, co-founder and CEO of EMQ.With our new Money Service Business registration, we can now connect EMQ’s global network to Canada and provide increased access and value-added services to the financial sector.”

Powered by EMQ’s global financial settlement network, customers in Canada will be able to make and receive payments quickly and transparently from over 80 key global markets. This will further enhance digital international payment offerings across North America.

As a network infrastructure provider that connects the whole payments ecosystem, our goal is to enable everyone to send money anywhere in the world and to any end point in a fully compliant and transparent manner. Our expansion to Canada marks another major milestone in our journey to fulfill this promise,” Liu added.

The latest development comes on the heels of a recent series of expansion initiatives to bolster EMQ’s network infrastructure globally, which currently spans across Asia Pacific, Africa, Canada, Europe and the United Kingdom. EMQ is also licensed in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Indonesia and was accepted into Taiwan’s Regulatory Sandbox by the Financial Supervisory Commission in Taiwan.


TFT Webinar Review: Can Fintechs save the UK economy by funding small businesses?

In this 45-minute webinar, CEOs from leading fintech companies shared their perspectives on how they could help small businesses stricken by the coronavirus lockdown.


To help small businesses in the UK get better access to coronavirus loans, The Fintech Times brought together an expert panel for a compelling webinar on 8 April 2020.

The webinar covered the hot topic in the business world – the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), which was set up by the UK government to provide financial support to smaller businesses (SMEs) across the UK that are losing revenue, and seeing their cashflow disrupted, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Concerns around the CBILS have focused on how the banking sector, plagued with legacy technologies, appeared ill-prepared to deal with the deluge of requests triggered by the scheme, and that the wider fintech lending market had been excluded.

This online session was hosted by Mark Walker, Editorial Director at The Fintech Times, with a panel that featured:

Points raised in the webinar discussion, hosted on Zoom, included the key ways these fintech leaders believed the CBILS should be improved:

  • The scheme is modelled on a previous guarantee scheme [scheme] that was for larger lending and should be made more suitable for small levels of lending.
  • Current lenders are relying on cumbersome, non-digital processes [such as call centres where people are displaced] to try and process loans which is reducing effectiveness and leading to huge backlogs.
  • The CBILS is holding back many lenders from making positive lending decisions because of the residual risk exposure that they have.
  • Smaller businesses are seriously struggling to find access to finance and those that are in dire need of finance aren’t able to get commercial solutions.
  • 20% of businesses are expected to run out of cash in April, yet 70% of funding requests from businesses that have been turned down by banks are for less than £15,000.
  • There is too much miscommunication and misunderstanding of what is available under the CBILS.
  • Only a quarter of the accredited lenders in the scheme will have the liquidity and lending capabilities to make loans.
  • The CBILS has excluded the alternative lenders to the detriment of the economy and there should be a fast-track approval system for fintech lenders, especially those that can help at scale.

The panel also discussed how fintechs would be able to help:

  • Fintechs can collaborate and knowledge share to protect businesses and put sensible digital solutions in place that deliver speedier access to funding, using existing digital technology to cover traditionally offline processes.
  • Fintech aggregators and their partners have the experience of dealing with small businesses and can have a significant role to play in distributing funds to SMEs quickly.
  • The fintech community should be involved in future discussions with the government and banks about lending to small businesses.
  • The fintech community will be transparent and ensure businesses are treated fairly.
Watch the full recorded webinar below, please share with the #fintechsaveuk


Whose perspective is it? Insurance remains not what it seems at first view



It’s beginning to wear on the insurance industry.  COVID-19?  Kind of.  Moreover it’s the unexpected ripple effects of the outbreak on how lives are led, how insurance intersects life, how perspectives color how insurance news is celebrated or questioned.  We’ve discussed much of COVID-19’s current effects on business and how the future of insurance will need to adapt.  Let’s take this week to see insurance happenings through different lenses, or from a reverse of the Insurance Elephant- from differing perspectives as per sight-impaired gents in the image.

image- MA Devine

Patrick Kelahan is a CX, engineering & insurance consultant, working with Insurers, Attorneys & Owners in his day job. He also serves the insurance and Fintech world as the ‘Insurance Elephant’.

  • COVID-19 cannot be overstated as being a health danger/terror. People have minimal control over exposures, and no control over the extent of symptoms if infected.  Similar thought process applies in business livelihoods of employees and SMEs – there’s little control for an individual over business operations, closures, availability of customers, and recovery funds.  Social distance helps in one aspect, but could be business fatal for the other.
  • Reductions in driving due to implementation of working from home protocols and staying at home is resulting in renewal of discussions for mileage-based auto cover. While that’s being considered carriers in the US announce premium rebates (Allstate, Liberty Mutual/Safeco, American Family, and now Progressive) and/or premium credits for renewals (GEICO).  Overall the rebates/credits are estimated to total $3.5 billion;  contrast that with the findings of  The Consumer Federation of America estimating US carriers are benefiting in additional profits in the amount of $2 Bn per month.  Carriers need to ensure this does not become a PR issue like business interruption cover has.  The upside?  Fewer auto accidents.
  • Government financial recovery programs have been announced in most countries, building optimism for the citizenry and businesses. Problem with government programs for disasters like pandemics is it’s easier to ramp up politicians/ rhetoric than it is to implement and produce the programs’ results.  Example- US Small Business Administration has an effective economic injury loan program, in essence a working capital backstop.  Plenty of funding has been planned but few loans processed to date.  Scaling up and staffing has been a significant challenge.

The time is nigh for the SBA to hand off disaster financial response to fintechs and InsurTechs– the vetting process for disaster loans is just right to digitize, from app to approval to funds distribution.  Just need to change some of the Code of Federal Regulation.

  • AXA’s CEO, Thomas Buberl, has suggested formation of a government/insurer risk pooling scheme to hedge future pandemic responses by insurers. Other similar schemes exist for property damage; need to ensure more than just cost hedging is planned (see Ten C’s Project  and broadening the spectrum of change).
  • Lloyd’s offered a parametric hotel product last fall that would provide payments to hoteliers when occupancy rates fell beyond an agreed index. Few chose to participate; all now have regrets post-COVID.  Whether there was sufficient capacity to take care of all potential interested parties will not be known.  My drumbeat – parametric will become the cover of the coming decade.
  • Worker injuries will be reduced due to business closures and work from home status (hmmm- what if an employee gets injured during mandated work from home sessions?), but potential high severity COVID-19 claims will be prompted for WC due to exposures during work. It’s not just state regulators in the U.S. who see the virus as a potential occupational disease, the Social Security Organization in Malaysia has deemed the disease as such, India has guidance to employers that WC applies if an employee contracts the disease (and has advised salary compensation applies for quarantine ordered staff).  The Province of Ontario, Canada has also followed suit for WC guidance for essential workers .
  • A promising entry into risk financing is the principle of Insurance Linked Securities (ILS), or capital vehicles used to hedge risk, provide coupon return, and widen the source of risk funding into the huge capital pool. Who wouldn’t want to obtain a return on bond investment that is greater than Treasuries,  and certainly better than potential negative rates?  Well seems the reinsurance world has some early grumblings that ILS are muddying the water and softening the rei market.  The remarks in the market that ILS have a destabilizing effect can be read through as injecting some competition and perhaps scraping some cream off the glass of whole rei milk. Thanks to AM Best and Steve Evans of Artemis.Bm for that commentary.

As is typical- insurance doings are strongly influenced by perspective, and little is as it first seems. Stay safe and well.

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Banks retool customer service in the scramble for PPP loans 


Banks are feeling the pressure of small businesses nationwide applying for Paycheck Protection Program loans. With the launch of the Small Business Administration’s program Friday, bankers are engineering the best ways to handle the customer service inquiries flooding banks’ digital channels.    “We dove headfirst into this,” said Becky Buhr, vice president of finance and retail …Read More

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Will COVID-19 burst fintech’s funding bubble? 


Fintechs will likely have a tough time securing funding as the coronavirus pandemic continues to shake up the U.S. economy, prompting investors to tighten purse strings. Fintech funding has been on a downward trajectory for several months, but startups and others in the sector should brace for an even rockier quarter as coronavirus delivers its blows in both the short and long term, according to industry analysts. …Read More

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3 Ways to Avoid Occupy Wall Street 2.0


In a COVID-19 world, the rich may not necessarily be getting richer, but it has become clear that the virus is taking a toll on lower income populations. And with this, the global pandemic is shining a light on income disparity.

Do you remember the last movement to highlight income inequality?Occupy Wall Street. The movement started in September 2011 as groups assembled at major financial districts and banks to make their voices heard about income distribution, bank reform, student loan forgiveness, and capitalism in general. Nearly 200 protestors camped out in Zuccotti Park in New York’s financial district, ultimately costing the city $17 million.

So with the income inequality fresh on consumers’ minds, here are a few ideas on how banks and fintechs can be their ally instead of their perceived enemy.

Be flexible

While you don’t need to bend over backwards, offering some flexibility is key. And even though offering flexibility on payment plans can be essential, it’s not all consumers are looking for. Your call center, for example, is likely overloaded right now. Instead of having callers wait on hold, can you direct them to a chatbot or make an option for them to request a call back from an agent at a certain time?

Straying from traditional operations and bending some rules (in a compliant manner, of course!) can make a huge difference to a stressed-out consumer that is just looking for someone to understand their situation.

Be generous

You don’t have to forgive a customer’s mortgage payment for them to like you. Peer-to-peer payment company Venmo is doing a great job at engaging with its customers during this time. The company is depositing $20 into consumers’ accounts in exchange for their generosity toward healthcare workers or others in need.

Select an idea that works for your organization’s image. You can give away gift cards to Netflix or offer free gift cards to local restaurants for take away meals. The giveaways can be in under $10 and done at random or as a daily or weekly online drawing. For something more simple, you could host a larger cash giveaway with only one or two winners.

Show unity

Play a role in your community, even if it’s not an in-person effort. Advertise in the local paper that your staff is volunteering to drop off groceries for elderly citizens, display uplifting sayings to encourage passersby, or even place rolls of toilet paper on front steps of houses in nearby neighborhoods. If toilet paper isn’t your style, mail coloring sheets and simple art supplies to customers with small children. For smaller banks, publish the phone number of a representative who can help customers sort through financial issues.

Small actions can have big outcomes during a crisis like this. During a time when people are “looking for helpers” as Mr. Roger’s instructed, banks have a great opportunity to be the helpers in their community.


SoFi Inks Agreement to Acquire Galileo Financial Technologies


In a cash and stock deal valued at $1.2 billion, online lender and personal finance innovator SoFi has agreed to acquire financial services API and payments platform, Galileo Financial Technologies.

Galileo enables companies to build innovative consumer and B2B fintech services via its suite of open APIs. The company’s technology powers a variety of functions including:

  • account set-up
  • funding
  • direct deposit
  • ACH transfer
  • IVR
  • early paycheck deposit
  • billpay
  • transaction notifications
  • check balance
  • point of sale authorizations

Galileo processed $53+ billion in annualized payment volume in March of this year, more than doubling its September 2019 tally of $26 billion. Notably, SoFi and Galileo are already quite familiar with each other; SoFi’s Sofi Money solution is currently integrated with Galileo’s payments platform and leverages a number of the platform’s account and events functionalities.

Together, the two companies will further combine their efforts to create value for customers of both firms, who will benefit from a feature set that enables them to participate in the transition from “physical-only to a multi-channel digital and physical platform.”

“SoFi has established itself as a leader in the fintech sector, providing our more than one million members a full array of financial products to help them get their money right,” SoFi CEO Anthony Noto said. He credited SoFi’s members for motivating the company to continue innovating, and for encouraging “bigger, bolder, and more expansive” thinking. “Together with Galileo, we will partner to build on our companies’ strengths to drive even greater financial technology innovation, making those products and services available to both current and future partners.”

Galileo will operate as an independent subsidiary of SoFi, post-acquisition, with Galileo CEO Clay Wilkes remaining on board to continue leading the company. Praising SoFi’s suite of solutions for borrowing, saving, spending, and investing, Wilkes said, “these are products that many of our leading fintech clients are asking for. Distributing products through our enterprise class API is the vision behind this combination. I think it’s very powerful.”

SoFi made its Finovate debut in 2017, partnering with Quovo to present How Quovo and SoFi Perfected Bank Authentication at our developers conference, FinDEVr Silicon Valley. The company, based in San Francisco, California and founded in 2011, has raised $2.5 billion in funding, earning a valuation of $4.3 billion as of May of last year.


Sila, a Startup Founded by Shamir Karkal to Rethink ACH, Raises $7.7 Million


Blockchain-based payments company Sila announced today it has pulled in $7.7 million in Seed funding. The round was led by Madrona Venture Group and Oregon Venture Fund with contributions from Mucker Capital, 99 Tartans, Taavet Hinrikus, and Jerry Neumann.

Sila was co-founded in 2018 by Shamir Karkal, one of the entrepreneurs who co-founded Simple in 2009 and was responsible for integrating the challenger bank’s system into BBVA after it was acquired by the mega bank in 2014 for $117 million. Karkal now serves as Sila CEO.

The company will use today’s funds to accelerate growth, introduce new product features, and acquire more customers. As part of today’s deal, Madrona Venture’s Hope Cochran and Oregon Venture’s Rick Holt will join Sila’s board of directors.

The Portland, Oregon-based company has a single API that offers what it’s termed Infrastructure-as-a-Service. Overall, Sila helps companies authenticate consumers via a partnership with Alloy, connect with consumer bank accounts via a partnership with Plaid, and move money. All three of these capabilities come together to enable companies to create their own in-app, white-labeled digital wallet. Sila’s customers range from startups to established businesses working in finance, insurance, real estate, and blockchain.

To power the funds transfers, Sila is using SILA, its own ERC token that is pegged to the U.S. penny. Since the money is held in Evolve Bank and Trust, a traditional bank, all funds are FDIC insured.

“The global financial system is broken,” said Karkal. “(It) doesn’t serve consumers, small businesses, or the innovators trying to reach them. It is too expensive, inefficient, tightly regulated, and difficult to integrate into fintech applications.” Sila is addressing these challenges in multiple ways, one of which is its price point. The company’s pricing ranges from $0 per month plus fees for startups, to just under $10k per month plus fees for enterprises.

As for what’s next, Sila is currently working on adding support for card payments, business ID verification, and international payments. The company, however, has yet to disclose timing on these projects.


Funding Options has called on the Government


Funding Options has called on the government to allow more agile lenders and B2B marketplaces to support UK independent businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The government’s £330 billion coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBILS), which provides SMEs experiencing revenue loss and cash flow disruption with access to loans, is currently limited to around 40 ‘accredited lenders’.

According to the latest figures, just 1,000 businesses, out of six million British SMEs, have been granted loans up to £145million as a part of the CBILS.

Yet Funding Options, the UK-based business finance marketplace, says it has seen huge demands from SMEs looking to borrow since the outbreak of coronavirus and is concerned that the wider fintech lending market don’t have access don’t have access to the CBILS fund.

Funding Options’ chief marketing officer, David Keene, told The Fintech Times: “More than 10,000 businesses have requested loans in March worth more than a billion pounds. That’s a huge number of businesses looking to get some kind of lending to tide them through the current climate.”

“All of the big banks with all of their resources have only managed to lend £145million and are lending to the businesses that don’t need lending. Meanwhile, the genuine businesses that need lending are being blocked out because they’ve been hit by Coronavirus.”

“The scheme is supposed to be focused on how we help businesses impacted by Covid-19, but it is just not functioning properly right now. The market for lending is frozen and the idea of marketplaces have literally been put into the deep freeze. Small businesses are just not getting the amount of lending that they want.”

Funding Options wants the government to provide access to alternative finance providers, B2B (business-to-business] marketplaces and other fintech organisations to complement the crop of big high street banks who are agile and able to work quicker.

“The Treasury has gone The treasury has gone straight to the highstreet banks to help small businesses despite, having this amazing resource in the UK of phenomenally strong agile fintechs, marketplaces and alternative lenders,” says Keene. “UK fintechs are able to move fast but are largely cut out of the situation right now. We should be leveraging that ecosystem.”

“That would be our call out to the government, look, let’s be agile about this and let’s preserve those businesses out there so that when the lights come back on again, they’re all alive and healthy and can start to trade again. Let’s not let them go to the wall.”

“Borrowers should be able to go and have a look at what lenders are on the market and what’s available out there. Similar to how private healthcare has stepped in to help the NHS, the private sector fintechs should be allowed to help those businesses that are critically ill right now.”

In an open letter to the Treasury,Funding Options has called for it to ‘disseminate funds faster, develop better solutions faster and use Open Banking technology to enable the fast, secure and accurate processing of loans’.



Morgan Stanley leads $34M round for Austrailian neobank 86 400


Australian neobank startup 86 400 has announced a $34 million Series A fundraising round led by Morgan Stanley. 

The round includes funding from an Australian superannuation fund, other fund managers, high net worth individuals and family offices. The company did not name any of the other investors, according to a press release.

“We’re bringing products to market faster than any other bank in Australia, digital or otherwise,” Robert Bell, CEO of 86 400, said in the release. “The funding announced today means we can keep our foot firmly on the accelerator, continuing to build out both sides of the ledger and help even more Australians take control of their money.”

The neobank, which launched in September 2019, has developed seven different account products and said it is the only digital bank to offer home loans and shared accounts, which is in a pilot phase. 

The company, which launched in September 2019, says it has 170,000 accounts and expects to reach 500,000 accounts in the next 12 months. The neobank expects to have $2 billion on the mortgage book by the end of 2021.

Topics: Region: APAC, Mobile Banking, Venture Capital

Companies: Morgan Stanley

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Crypto prepaid card lets users withdraw $2500 daily


Crypto prepaid card lets users withdraw $2500 daily

Embily, a crypto company, has released a prepaid card that gives customers the ability to use the card anywhere that Mastercard is accepted.

Card users can withdraw up to $2500 daily from an ATM, and all funds are fully insured, according to an article in Cointelegraph.com

What makes the card even more appealing is the ability to fully customize the design to reflect their personality or make a statement. The card is available worldwide and can be topped with three types of cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Ether and Tether, with more community coins expected to be added in the future.

The card can be loaded with up to $13,000 in a single transaction and the maximum balance is limitless. Embily’s card can be accessed in real time and users  can easily get a transaction history to view how funds were spent. The company has also developed two apps, one iOS and one Android, to be used with the card which will be available soon from the App store and Google Play.

Topics: Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency

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ACI Worldwide automates bill deferral option


ACI Worldwide has launched an automated service , Delay My Payment, which lets consumers automatically request delays through its ACI Speedpay solution amid the massive economic slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The service operates within the mobile wallet feature moBills, which automates the bill payment feature where customers can request deferred payments based on predetermined criteria, according to a press release.

“This pandemic has put consumers and billers in an incredibly difficult and stressful situation — with consumers challenged to make payments and billers challenged to address consumer needs in a timely manner,” Sanjay Gupta, executive vice president at ACI Worldwide, said in the release. “Biller call centers are not equipped to handle the growing number of calls — many of which have increased by the thousands overnight — causing added frustration for consumers.”

Topics: Bill Payment, Mobile/Digital Wallet, Coronavirus / COVID-19, Mobile Payments

Companies: ACI Worldwide

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Credit Hero gets a digital boost in lending with Salt Edge solution


Credit Hero, an online lender from Hong Kong, teamed up with Salt Edge, a leader in offering open banking solutions, to access borrowers’ bank data at digital speed and eliminate the traditional paper chase.

Hong Kong is a leading global financial hub. As recently the macroeconomic environment has changed, the lending market is experiencing a so-called digital seismic shift. Escalating uncertainties kickstart the demand for credit products which provide fast access to consumption-oriented liquidity.

Credit Hero uses artificial intelligence and data science to provide tech-savvy lending solutions. The company employs optical character and facial recognition for risk assessment and machine learning for automated underwriting. AI technologies run bank data aggregated from 9 major HK banks to reduce the lending process time from days to 6 minutes. Equipped with Salt Edge tools, Credit Hero improved the bad debt rate by enhancing credit risk analysis.

Ronald Lam, Founder & CEO at Credit Hero

The collaboration with Salt Edge granted us access to real-time financial data to automatically verify the applicant’s identity, account number, income sources, and balance. We are not only looking to achieve more operational efficiency but also to deliver a more intelligent risk management and enhance the customer experience.

Credit Hero applicants can now avoid the headache of bringing in paper bank statements – the required data is aggregated from banks and digitally transferred directly into the lending platform. Receiving all the transactions categorized, Credit Hero can instantly analyze borrowers’ financial spending habits and provide fairest rates of interest.

Vladimir Pintea, Head of Open Banking Gateway at Salt Edge

With modern world craving speed and digitalization, Credit Hero embraced current market rules and delivers better experiences. Salt Edge shares their goal to reinvent the traditional financial services by means of technology for the benefit of society.


Sofi to Acquire Galileo Financial Technologies



Small business revenue set to decline by nearly 60% in April 

  • 37% of small businesses will run out of cash  in under six weeks

  • 69% of businesses in leisure and hospitality expect their revenue to totally disappear

  • Collective small business revenue set to decline by 57% by  end of April

  • Government support needs to get into SME hands as soon as possible

 Tide, the UK’s leading business banking platform, has released new research today revealing the health of the UK’s small business community just weeks into the COVID-19 crisis.

Tide surveyed over 1,000 small business leaders (with between 0 and 49 employees) to understand the financial health of their businesses. Three in four (75%) businesses say they have been negatively affected by COVID-19 so far, and this looks set to worsen throughout April.

When asked about their expectations for their business’ revenue, 80% projected that their revenue will decline in April 2020, compared to April 2019. Over one in three (36%) expect their revenue to decline by more than 90%.

The industries expected to be worst hit are leisure and hospitality, with 64% expecting to see their revenue decline by 100%, followed by retail, with 38% expecting their revenue to totally disappear. Businesses in IT and Telecoms expect to be least impacted, with just under a quarter (23%) saying they don’t  expect to see any  decline in their revenue compared to April 2019.

If these expectations come to pass, Tide has calculated* that collective small business revenue (including businesses affected positively and negatively by COVID-19) will decline by around 57% over  the course of April 2020. This  builds on a 20% decline already observed on the Tide platform in the last seven days of March.

Considering small businesses contribute around £1.5 trillion per annum (37%) to UK private sector turnover, this is a worrying statistic. This decline would lead to a 21%  reduction in UK private sector turnover in April from small businesses alone (seasonally unadjusted). And this will add to declines in mid- and large sized business turnover.

Oliver Prill, Tide  CEO said: “As a banking platform dedicated to supporting small businesses, Tide is extremely concerned about the  health of the SME community at this time. From the conversations we have had with our 150,000 SME members we knew the situation was very tough, but this data has relieved just how tough it is, and how much harder it is likely to get for small businesses to weather this storm.

 “The government’s support for small businesses is highly welcome and needed, and it has the potential to make a huge difference in helping SMEs survive. There now needs to be a focus from the government, and other organisations involved in delivering financial support, to do everything possible to get the money into small businesses’ hands as soon as possible.”

Additionally, the research reveals that 37% of small businesses have cash reserves that will last them six weeks or less without government support. And 19% only have cash reserves that will last up to three weeks.

Time is of the essence to distribute government support quickly and efficiently.


Minutes not hours: Funding Options uses Open Banking to reduce business loan decision times


Open Banking will allow businesses to be pre-approved for
loans, reduce application times, and reduce fraud risk

 Funding Options
, the marketplace for business finance, is now
using Open Banking to make it quicker and easier for businesses to
access finance. Businesses applying for finance will see their
application time reduced from days and hours, to just minutes as
they will no longer need to source original bank statements. Around
20 lenders have agreed to consume the Open Banking data as part of
their analysis for credit decisions. These include Just Cash Flow,
YouLend, Liberis,
, Newable, and White Oak UK.  
To date, around
200 UK finance providers
are enrolled in the UK’s Open
Banking scheme, meaning the potential for expansion is huge. There
is an opportunity for the industry to come together and unlock
data, which can streamline access to finance and extend the choice
of providers for SMEs, allowing for fast and secure access to
funding. In the current health crisis, this will be of the utmost
Last week, the Chancellor overhauled the Government’s

Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) after
claims that many businesses were being denied the government backed
loans, and that it was taking too long to deliver the funds. Open
banking can help deliver funds more quickly to businesses whose
cash flow and revenue have been disrupted. 


By partnering with AccountScore for Open Banking and driving a
strategy of API connectivity with our lender partners, Funding
Options can minimise the amount of work applicants and lenders need
to do to approve a credit application. For applicants, they will no
longer need to send documentation to lenders. Instead, thanks to
open banking APIs, Funding Options can immediately make their
transaction history available to lenders, in a safe and secure
manner. As all the data is standardised, it’s easy to share with
multiple lenders.


For lenders, they will be able to make decisions based on the
standardised data much quicker than through the traditional
methods. It will also move the financial services industry towards
being able to pre-approve businesses for loans based on real time


Simon Cureton, CEO
at Funding Options, says:
“Open banking has the
potential to transform the business lending landscape, improving
the experience for the customer while also improving security and
response times for lenders. We’ve already seen a number of
customers using the platform and successfully receiving loans which
highlight the value and benefit from shared data. In the face of
the current health crisis, when access to finance is vital for the
survival of many businesses, reducing the time it takes to go from
application to draw down is of paramount importance.
 Cureton continues: “In time, open banking will
be adopted across the board, and we will see the true potential of
how data can be used to improve all aspects of business finance.
This will require some behavioural changes, and as an industry,
it’s up to us to lead this revolution and improve the experience
for all our customers.” 

Caryl Regnault,
Senior Product Manager at Funding Options, adds
: “Open
Banking has been around for a couple of years now and yet we’re
still to experience mass adoption. Although there are several
resources out there published from credible sources and industry
bodies such as Which, Money Saving Experts, FCA and Open Banking
Org, it can be overwhelming for individuals to understand the value
of Open Banking. This opens up uncertainty which is coupled with
concerns around data security. It’s important to recognise that
streamlining processes using the data is not compromising the
security of customer data. Regnault continues:
“At Funding Options, we have made a conscious decision to ensure
our business finance specialist teams are in contact with our
customers over the phone to avoid relying solely on email, which
could be mistaken as a phishing attempt. Our teams will talk
customers through the data usage, security measures in place and
consent of data access so they can understand the value.”

John Davies Exec Chair and Founder of Fintech Lender
Just CashFlow Plc adds
“I couldn’t agree more with the
comments made by Simon and Caryl but the time saving isn’t just
about uploading hard copies (which are easy to forge) but also the
analysis that can be done on those statements using Accountscores
dashboard which cuts hours from manually checking them and is
clearly more accurate. We applaud Simon and his team for innovating
and making it easier for Borrower and Lender alike and we look
forward to further partnering with Funding Options with the
projects they have in the pipeline.”

The post
Minutes not hours: Funding Options uses Open Banking to reduce
business loan decision times
appeared first on The Fintech Times.


Fintech Lenders Incentivised To Help SMEs Navigate Stimulus Packages


Jessica Ellerm is a thought leader specializing in Small Business and the Gig Economy and is the CEO and Co-Founder of Zuper, a neowealth disruptor in Australia

As governments unleash rapid amounts of COVID-19 stimulus money for SMEs, one thing seems to be consistent between business owners across the world; utter confusion. With policy changing rapidly, small businesses owners are finding it difficult to assess their eligibility for government assistance, not to mention private sector help. All this is framed against a backdrop of shifting lockdown laws and restrictions, and employees working from home. Not a fun time at all.

It’s an equally confusing time for fintech lenders, who are scrambling to get their heads around what companies in their book are most likely to stop making repayments, and what companies they should be lending to going forward. There is no question some businesses are booming right now, but working out what industries are experiencing ‘flash-in-the-pan’ growth verses sustainable long-term growth is like reading tea-leaves.

In the midst of all of this, is a real opportunity for lenders to do something significant for the small business community, and also protect their own book. This would be to value-add by helping SMEs quickly navigate and access the funding support from governments that they are eligible for. This would de risk the client from a lending perspective, plus truly differentiate the lender from its peers.

Government policies are hard to interpret at the best of times, and offering simple online eligibility calculators and application assistance would I’m sure be hugely welcomed by time poor business owners. Many are in a position where they need to rapidly rethink and pivot elements of their business. How can they be expected to do this, while worrying about applying for funding, or reading screeds of government fine print?

It’s far from business as usual, and lenders who want to survive are being handed the perfect opportunity, on a platter, to do something of real value for their client base, so that both can survive the crisis.

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PAYMENTS DONE PROPERLY: Contextuality holds the key to operational efficiency [WhitePaper]


Banks have focused on what they offer and not what their clients are trying to do. Consequently, clients making a payment are typically presented with esoteric choices – “Do you want to use a wire payment? BACS? CHAPS?” It’s like an airline asking its passengers what fuel they want for their flight.

But what if banks didn’t work like this? What if they took the time to understand their clients’ relationships and intentions and used that information to answer these questions themselves? The relevant invoices, some historical data and an intelligent algorithm would be enough to automate the process.

Suddenly, instead of placing barriers between a treasurer and his business, banks are removing them: “Need to make a payment? Here are your fastest, cheapest and safest options, based on your context.” Now that’s service.

To read more please follow this link and download this free whitepaper [Link]