Nigeria and The Upcoming Nigeria Fintech Week

As fintech innovation continues to evolve, in particular before and during COVID-19, can the world rely on fintech to bail it out of the looming global financial and economic crisis?

The second edition of Nigeria Fintech Week (NFW) 2020 will be from the 5-10th October 2020

The second edition of Nigeria Fintech Week (NFW) 2020 will be from the 5-10th October 2020

The second edition of Nigeria Fintech Week (NFW) 2020 will be from the 5-10th October 2020

Not new to crisis, Fintech emerged as an organised sector from 2008 global financial meltdown and has become key enablers of innovation and disruption in the financial sector. With the evolving global economic disruption, the Nigeria Fintech Week (NFW) 2020 aims to discover, launch and bring to limelight the new fintech solutions that can be leveraged in key important but neglected sectors such as health, agriculture, education, ecommerce, logistics amongst others. The 2nd edition of Nigeria Fintech Week (NFW) 2020 and the 5th in the series of National Fintech Conferences in Nigeria would unearth the paradigm shift in innovation and the new waves of digital and financial disruptions and solutions to rescue economies of the developing countries, according to their website.

Nigeria is an emerging player in the fintech space in Africa. In terms of population Nigeria by far is the largest country in the African continent, which according to the World Bank is over two-hundred million inhabitants. Nigeria’s largest city and financial hub is Lagos at over twenty million people.

From a previous article by The FinTech Times, Lagos is home to the nation’s largest financial institutions such as First Bank of Nigeria (FBN), Access Bank, Ecobank, Zenith Bank and First City Monument Bank (FCMB) as well as international banks such as Citibank. Nigeria has a relatively young population who are digital natives. The World Bank’s Global Findex report in 2017 stated that 40% of Nigerian adults had a bank account in 2017, 6% had an online account, while more than two-thirds of adults had a mobile phone. It presents an opportunity for fintech to grow in this market.

In terms of the continent as a whole, growing Africa’s fintech ecosystem is important, as it not only will bring new innovations, but, also foster home-grown talent and intellectual property. For instance, by several estimates, is home to the largest share of the world’s unbanked and underbanked population. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that Africa’s informal economy is one of the world’s largest, which gives fintech startups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) the opportunity to tap into this large pool of unbanked and underbanked citizens. Africa surpassed $1 billion USD in VC to startups in 2018, where fintech was the focus of much of the capital and deal-flow.

NFW 2019 had over 600 attendees, 85 speakers, 25 exhibitors and 28 sessions – with thought leaders from Nigeria, the rest of Africa and beyond.

Due to COVID-19, as what has happened with the rest of the world, NFW 2020 will be completely virtual. Held from the 5th-10th of October, the event’s mission hasn’t changed, which is We are on a mission to foster support for the growth of the Nigerian Fintech Landscape and the World at large.

To register for the event visit the official Nigeria Fintech Week website.

  • Richie Santosdiaz, Contributing Reporter for Middle East and Africa

Germany card payments to exceed cash

By the end of 2020, there will be more payments made in Germany through card payments than cash according, to white paper released by global market research company Euromonitor International. This is a first in history this has happened for the German consumer payment market..

According to the white paper total card payment transaction value in Germany is projected to surge by 28%, while cash transactions will drop by 34%, 2019-2025.

Increasing trust in security measures and assurances from issuers and merchants, consumers are more confident in using card payments than cash. Additionally, improved convenience in using card payments without a PIN or signature have become more popular.

German consumers are set to become heavy payment card users by 2040, with an increase in their mobile device usage for payments.

“As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, German consumers showed an abrupt shift in payment behaviors, increasingly using card payments over physical cash for hygiene reasons. A growing number of them also started to use the contactless card function and smartphones for mobile payments for the first time,” Ratna Sita, head of DACH research at Euromonitor International said.

Six Flags Georgia converting to cashless payments

Officials at Six Flags Over Georgia amusement park will begin accepting cashless transactions throughout the park beginning with the park’s reopening Friday, Sept. 18, for the annual Hallowfest celebration which will continue until Nov. 1.

According to park officials, park guests that use card and mobile payments will find the payment process to be safer and faster. Six Flags Over Georgia will accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and debit transactions throughout the entire park.

“We are always looking for ways to enhance the park experience for our guests, and now can offer them a convenient and safer way to shop,” park president Dale Kaetzel said in a statement. “Earlier this year, Six Flags White Water introduced the same technology with great success.”

Six Flags White Water is a sister park to Six Flags Over Georgia and is located in Marietta.

Prior to their visit, guests are encouraged to visit the park’s website to purchase parking, admission tickets, season passes, memberships and other add-on items in advance. Once inside the park, guests with cash can convert it to a Visa prepaid debit card at one of the multiple kiosks located throughout the park.

Commercial Bank of Kuwait Partners With Thales Digital Solutions to Boost Mobile Payments

Thales globally has over 83,000 employees in 68 countries, generated sales of €19 billion ($22.47 billion USD) in 2019 (on a pro forma basis including Gemalto over 12 months). With its Middle East and Africa (MEA) presence, Thales is supplying Commercial Bank of Kuwait (CBK) with its Gemalto Trusted Services Hub (TSH) that offers CBK customers the freedom and convenience of secure contactless payments, on their smartphones. A tokenisation process allows the secure digitalisation of debit and credit cards on Android handsets, protecting users’ personal data against fraudsters.

To get access to this service, CBK customers just have to download CBK mobile banking application on their Android smartphones and register their payment cards securely in the mobile application. In just few seconds the payment cards are set at disposal in the app, in their digital versions, ready to be selected and used for purchases. The app, which also integrates Thales Gemalto SDK (Software Development Kit), can then be used as a mobile wallet to make swift and straightforward payments at contactless points of sales.

Thales solution is a cloud-based, turnkey service that facilitates seamless and secure tokenisation. The physical card’s details are converted into a digital token that can be embedded easily into devices such as smartphones and wearables. Moreover, the level of protection of the encrypted token prevents fraudsters to get access to users’ sensitive data, which ensures the highest standards of fraud protection.

According to AbdulAziz Essa Malak, AGM – Card Center at CBK, “CBK is committed to offering its customers the most innovative and exciting banking services possible. The introduction of contactless mobile payment represents the latest stage on this journey, and also reflects our confidence in Thales to help us deliver most advanced and recent digital payment innovations.”

The launch of mobile payments further extends and strengthens the partnership between CBK and Thales. The bank, which is one of Kuwait’s largest financial institutions, already relies on Thales for their EMV contactless cards, and Instant Issuance solution for immediate cards personalisation and printing.

According to Nassir Ghrous, Senior Vice President, Banking and Payment Services for Africa, Middle East and Eurasia region at Thales, “Our contribution to CBK success is set on unrivalled security expertise and experience in mobile payment deployments for worldwide issuers and wallets providers. As we work ever-more closely with CBK, our objective is to offer new digital experiences to Kuwait’s young, demanding and tech-savvy consumers.”

The Commercial Bank of Kuwait is one of the largest financial institutions in Kuwait with a strong and growing corporate and retail banking franchise providing innovative financial and investment solutions to its ever growing customer base, according to its website.

  • Richie Santosdiaz, Contributing Reporter for Middle East and Africa

New House, New Job or Trip: Majority Of The Dutch People Did Not See Major Plans Go Ahead Because Of COVID-19
  • Dutch consumers in top three European countries who lost the most money due to cancelled plans

  • 38% spend the money saved on other plans

Now that we are six months further on since the beginning of the corona crisis, its impact is becoming increasingly clear. N26, Europe’s leading mobile bank, conducted consumer research into what exactly the impact of the pandemic was on the savings objectives of the Dutch. The research shows that the majority of the Dutch were unable to continue with their major plans for 2020. This also has an impact on finances: as a result, 38% of Dutch consumers decided to spend their saved money on other future plans.

Plans cancelled or postponed
The measures taken as a result of corona have had a major impact on the personal plans of the Dutch for 2020. For more than half (57%) of the Dutch, an important life event or purchase did not take place. The most common cancelled plans were travel abroad, a new job and the purchase of a new car. In addition, some indicated that they would like to pay off a debt this year, or move to a new house.

Money must flow: 4 out of 10 spends saved money on something else

Three-quarters (73%) of the Dutch had already saved money for plans in 2020 that eventually could not go ahead. The average amount set aside was €2489.80. Although most (62%) simply postponed their plans and still save that amount for the same purpose, 38% indicate that they will now spend their savings on something else after being forced to cancel their plans. They prefer to do this on jobs at home, a new car or on a vacation (all 22%).

N26 also saw this change in savings goals among their users: “Since the beginning of the corona crisis, we saw a high level of activity in the Spaces feature, an in-app feature that allows people to easily categorize their money for different purposes. What is particularly striking is that many people reorganized their plans by redistributing their budgets to fit their current situation,” says Jeremie Rosselli, General Manager France & Benelux at N26. “Since March this year, we have seen our Dutch customers creating more and more Spaces in their N26 accounts to better manage their money, and putting an average of 38% more savings aside in Spaces than before the lockdown”.

Lost costs

Not everyone had the option to keep their savings or spend them on something else. Nearly four in ten (38%) Dutch people say they lost money because plans didn’t go ahead and they couldn’t get their money back. On average it is an amount of €707.29 that they do not see back. The Netherlands is in the top 3 of consumers who have lost the most money. Germans were hit hardest and lost an average of € 995.06 for cancelled plans, followed by Belgium (€ 750.27) and the Netherlands (€ 707.29).

*Online survey of Sapio among 1002 respondents, July – August 2020

  • Editorial Director of the The Fintech Times

Three Reasons Women In Crypto Need To Be Celebrated

By Lottie Wells and Jenny Kong

It’s no secret that there’s a smaller percentage of women than men working in the fintech fields. According to the National Science Foundation, women represent only 30% of the entire workforce. There are plenty of articles and campaigns around empowering the female voice, and yet unfortunately, this is replicated in the crypto space as well. Nevertheless, women across the world are joining forces to try to change this, proving time and again why women in this sector need to be heralded – now more than ever. As females working in the roles of PR, Events & Communications Manager and Head of Social Media at leading payments platform, Wirex, the topic of ‘women in crypto’ is close to home for us, and so here are 3 main reasons why we should celebrate these women:

1. There aren’t very many of us

When you think of ‘blockchain’ or ‘crypto’, the usual Spiel is that this is a man’s world, and women wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) go near this industry, reflective of the gender disparity in much of tech. According to a 2018 survey by Longhash, analysing 100 blockchain startups, only 14.7% of employees were female, and out of this, only 7.1% held executive positions.

In some ways, this was deliberately ushered in with exclusive crypto circles and conferences that only men were a part of – boys clubs. Coindesk reported that one crypto conference in the US was once held at a strip club. With situations, and statistics like this, it’s unsurprising that a lot of this is reinforced by perception – many women feel they aren’t welcome in this space, and very rarely do we hear the voices and success stories of that 14.7%. Celebrating these voices will give others the confidence they need to make the move into crypto!

You’ll often find that women in tech are some of the most passionate people in the world – they genuinely care about what they do and advancing the world of tech and crypto. It could be argued that this marginalisation means they’re fighting to be where they are for something they love, and making sure that everyone knows about it, unapologetically.

Although there are not that many of us, there is some good news to come out of this. Some key figures in crypto such as MinTeo, Managing Investment Partner at ConsenSys Investments, as well as Dr. Ruth Wandhöfer, a former Global Managing Director at Citi, are becoming spearheads in the sector to show that women are revered in senior, influential positions in the fintech and crypto spaces.

We’re proud to say that at Wirex, around 50% of our Marketing team is female, one of the biggest motivations for starting our campaign, and our very own Amy Barker holds the role for Global Head of People, and regularly advocates for female execs in the industry. This is not to say that our work here is done at Wirex. It’s far from over!

2. Crypto is growing

Let’s be honest, 5 or 10 years ago, did you even know what crypto or blockchain was? For the average person, probably not. But now, crypto is becoming pretty mainstream as people recognise the benefits of it as an alternative to traditional currency. Technological advancements are making it easier and safer than ever to utilise. We recently conducted a survey asking how many of our customers that didn’t own crypto, actually knew what the word crypto meant, and in fact, 83.1% of people had heard the term, showing that the world of blockchain is no secret anymore!

Cryptocurrency adoption rates in themselves have sky-rocketed in recent years – it’s estimated that over 40 million people globally already use crypto, with a 240% increase in the number of blockchain wallet users over the past 3 years. In fact, a move away from physical cash during the COVID pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital currencies.

With rising use of crypto, there is a parallel increase in demand for employees working to push that space forward. The best part is that it can transcend geographical boundaries. The beauty of crypto is that everything is digital, meaning that anyone with an internet connection, anywhere, can, in theory, get involved in using and/or working in crypto.

Female employees, step forward because you’re needed more than ever to be a part of an industry that’s changing the way we think about money. As a key financial decision-maker, we need to play an active role in influencing the way money works. We need to show the world that we’re here, and we’re here to stay.

3. We need to attract the new generation of talent

Last year, Gen Z became the largest generation, making up 32% of the entire global population. While they’re still teens and young adults now, they’re rapidly becoming more financially literate. But where do they go to learn? Instagram, YouTube, Tiktok – any social media platform where they can absorb through bite-sized content and share with their peers (I feel so old writing this!). With social media and the Internet playing an important role in young people’s lives, it’s vital that women in the space are made an example of because of the influence that they have in their field. The best way to do this is by celebrating other women, investing in them further, and encouraging them to get involved themselves.

There’s a tonne of groups out there already showcasing these women, look at the Women in Fintech Network, European Women Payments Network, or the Crypto Curry Club for example! This strong and active network of women in the community is creating a force to be reckoned with, and with many individuals taking an active stance in encouraging other women, they are becoming influencers in their own right. Using the power of their voice, speaking at internationally-renowned conferences and their huge social media followings, they’re celebrating their own achievements, and that of their peers and colleagues, to demonstrate why women are as capable, and if not more passionate, than men working in crypto.

There are some bigger female names in the field that are frequently recognised for the influence they have, and importance they have in shaping the space, but there are also many lesser known ones who need to be awarded. That’s why we’ve created the ‘Rising Women in Crypto Power List’, as we believe it will give everyone the chance to be recognised for some of these incredible achievements.

To find out more information about our campaign, and to nominate another female in crypto, or yourself, that you think deserves to be celebrated, enter here.

WIREX Women crypto

WIREX Women crypto

Why 3D imaging holds key to a touchless future

As the world continues to adapt to a new way of life, businesses will need contactless technology to remain competitive. 3D cameras can help pave the way to a asfer future.

There’s no question that life is being permanently altered by COVID-19. At many businesses, one of the most visible changes is the way customers will interact when it comes to payments and kiosks.

Consumer insistence on contactless technology is on the rise. At supermarkets, big box retailers, airports, hospitals and restaurants of every shape, size and category, people are demanding a contact-free experience.

A May 2020 CapGemini Research Institute study on contactless customer experience found that 84% of U.S. consumers expect to increase their use of touchless technologies during the COVID-19 crisis to avoid interactions that require physical contact. Fifty-five percent of those consumers expect to use touchless technologies even after the crisis ends.

With concern about viral transmission at an all-time high, patrons would prefer to not touch any common surface. But how can touchscreen kiosks be expected to go touchless?

3D imaging technology, to a large degree, will solve the touchless challenge. From facial recognition to contactless ordering and payments, small and inexpensive 3D cameras will allow kiosks to thrive, both today and in the post-COVID-19 world.

Worldwide acceptance

Facial recognition is a common customer verification method around the planet — and it’s becoming increasingly popular in the U.S. In the same CapGemini study, 52% of consumers said they prefer facial recognition for authentication at retail stores, banks, airports and offices during the COVID-19 crisis.

3D facial recognition technology accurately verifies individuals in a fraction of a second. It supports customer demands for speed and precision, especially in urban and/or quick-serve settings where people want fast service. It also eliminates the contact required for PINs or even fingerprint matching.

Contactless ordering is enabled by eye-gaze tracking or “air pointing”; using these methods, customers can place orders as quickly as with a touchscreen. Eye-gaze tracking only requires a sustained and directional look, while air pointing is accomplished with hand gestures. Learning curves are small to non-existent.

Payments are perhaps the most popular use of all. With a 3D camera there is no need to open a wallet or even reach for a smartphone. Once the person’s identity is verified, pointing/tracking enables the customer to complete their purchase using a credit or debit account.

How customers benefit

Contactless 3D technology not only inhibits viral spread, but also improves the customer experience. It supports faster ordering (customers can quickly repeat a favorite or past order, for example) and enhances loyalty through verification-based offers, coupons and promotions, as well as personal preferences learned through past transactions. Moreover, 3D can improve loss prevention; fraud, theft and underage purchases can often be blocked through verification.

Practical and secure

As small as an AA battery, 3D cameras are no more expensive than a good 2D camera. The supporting software delivers financial-grade security through an encrypted mathematical model that verifies people by a complex digital string — not by personal identity.

Facial recognition is spoof-proof and incredibly reliable. It accurately verifies customers despite changes in facial hair, makeup, hair styles or colors, or headwear. The technology models the exact geometry of facial contours without being impacted by lighting or even the need for a color camera.

Already common throughout Asia, consumers are comfortable with facial “logins,” not only because they’re so fast and accurate, but also because people don’t need their smartphones (nor do they have to download an app) to complete a purchase.

With little cost or effort, vendors can upgrade kiosks with 3D technology to create a touchless experience. Installers can also retrofit employee timeclocks with 3D to accommodate facial recognition. In addition to eliminating ghosting, the solution helps employees feel better about checking in for work because they realize their company, through contactless means, is protecting them.

Best of all, it’s easy for businesses to acquire 3D camera technology through CARES funds. Whether for a large, nationwide chain or a single small business, 3D technology is practical and affordable.

As the world continues to change, businesses will need contactless technology to remain competitive. 3D cameras help keep customers safe and healthy; they assure patrons that the organization cares about their wellbeing. They also provide more data, support more capabilities and ensure a higher level of security with negligible investment.

COVID-19 may forever change the way people live, work and shop — but with 3D imaging, we can keep up with our new reality

This Week in Fintech ending 18 September 2020

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

To continue receiving This Week in Fintech, you can either become a paying Member for $143 per year (and receive all our content in addition to this weekly summary) by clicking here.  If you just want to receive This Week in Fintech for free, you will need to fill in this form

Your Editor is Bernard Lunn. He is also the CEO of Daily Fintech and author of The Blockchain Economy and occasional opinion columnist.


Ilias Hatzis our Greece-based crypto entrepreneur (Founder & CEO at Mercato Blockchain Corporation AG and Weekly Columnist at Daily Fintech) @iliashatzis wrote Switzerland Is Calling

Switzerland’s crypto friendly ways have made it the best place in the world to launch a cryptocurrency startup. More than 1,000 crypto startups have made Switzerland their home. The leading crypto projects, like Ethereum, Bitmain, Shapeshift, Tezos, DFinity, Cardano and many others are based in Zug.

Crypto Valley is probably the most crypto-friendly jurisdiction in the world. In 2018, Johann Schneider-Ammann, Switzerland’s Minister of Economy, said that within 5 years, Switzerland should become the world’s first “crypto-nation”.

A few days ago, Switzerland made it even easier to to use cryptocurrencies and decentralized finance. The Swiss Senate has overwhelmingly approved legislation opening the door to cryptocurrencies and decentralized finance (DeFi) enabling companies to create digital shares, as well as a range of other tradable assets.

Editor note: Switzerland has strong commitment to democracy, privacy and strong currency so could do CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency ) the right way.

Bernard Lunn, CEO of Daily Fintech and author of The Blockchain Economy wrote: If Revolut can learn from Automattic they can give both HSBC and Facebook Libra a run for their money.

Revolut looks like the Neobank that is pulling away from the pack.

This has led to predictable anti Revolut backlash focussed on 5 concerns.

Editor note: Superb support is key to serious disruption in the real world and it is hard to do that well without enabling a superb work from home work culture.


Tuesday Efi Pylarinou @efipm our Swiss-based Fintech Adviser,  founder of Efi Pylarinou Advisory and a Fintech/Blockchain influencer – No.3 influencer in the finance sector by Refinitiv Global Social Media 2019 wrote Insights from the holdings of thematic Blockchain ETFs

Mirror mirror on the wall, which public companies of them all, will be first in reporting 10+% revenues from Blockchain?

 Will it be payment Fintechs or conventional exchanges, or software tech companies or e-commerce companies?

Editor note: Efi offers a practical and nuanced look at a hot subject in the asset  management business.

Wednesday Alan Scott Managing Director EMEA at 24 Exchange @Alan_SmartMoney wrote Stablecoin News for the week ending Wednesday 16  September.

This weekly snapshot is the news that matters in the Stablecoin market.



Rintu Patnaik, an Insurtech expert based in India, wrote: The Ecosystem Rush – Why Its Such A Rage Part 2

The future of several service industries may be headed towards ecosystems. Or so, a McKinsey study would make one believe. As per their research, as many as 12 large ecosystems yielding 30% of global revenues could become a reality in the next 5 years.

In Part 1 of this article, examples of ecosystems in insurance were presented along with few compelling reasons for heightened industry-wide interest to initiate or join ecosystems. In this concluding part, pathways to ecosystems with enabling and inhibiting factors are discussed.

Editor note: Whether you are an incumbent or upstart this two-parter is required reading for anybody trying to figure out  how to create value in the massive Insurtech market.

Christian Dreyer @x3er, our Swiss based CFA who focusses on how XBRL changes our world wrote XBRL News:filing quality scores, COVID-19 requirements and ESG standards.

Editor note: This weekly snapshot is the news that matters in the XBRL market.


Friday Howard Tolman, a well-known banker, technologist and entrepreneur in London. wrote: Alt Lending for week ending 18 September 2020

Editor note: This weekly snapshot is the news that matters in the Alt Lending market.


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.

Alt Lending for week ending 18 September 2020

1. ECB has its hands tied as the euro soars ever higher

Why this matters. So the easing of fed policy announced at Jackson Hole is already causing concern within the ECB as the Euro continues its inexorable rise. The ECB have now confirmed that there will be no more stimulus is the touch paper for the latest appreciation which is inappropriate to say the least. The principal concern is that once the immediate increases in economic activity within the Euro zone the so called “v” shaped recovery have evaporated then the going will get extremely tough for any number of euro zone countries trying to rescue their already savaged economies from the impact of COVID 19. The ECB’s concern is that all will be left is a shrunken economy and mass unemployment and they have made their concerns clear through the ECB’s chief economist Philip Lane who last week attempted somewhat clumsily to talk down the Euro by stating that the Euro-Dollar exchange rate does matter. Uncontroversial in normal times but it upset the policy makers in Berlin. Of course nobody knows at this point the amount of structural damage which has been done to the zones economy but it is almost certain that bankruptcies will be everywhere and the current level of stimulus provided by the ECB is clearly not sufficient and doesn’t even kick in until next year. That the exchange rate is clearly not appropriate for some of the weaker economies is not necessarily contested but the drift of policy into negative rates is impacting on the stronger economies as well. The German Landesbanken that largely supports the huge Mittelstand are complaining that negative rates of interest are destroying their business models. Indeed for a continent that has so many banks with huge non performing loan portfolios and has many countries in deflationary territory it could be catastrophic.

2. How Flexible Payment Options Are Helping Small Businesses Drive Customer Engagement

Why this matters: Back to the future. The re emergence of instalment credit. What caught my eye about this story in Payments is that it seems to be like a relic from a bygone age. Time to pay has always been a feature of the consumer credit space. Back in the 1950’s and 60’s buying a capital item such as a three piece suite or a television was more or less impossible without credit and many families used to buy everyday items like clothing from catalogues the principal feature of which was payment by instalments usually weekly over a fairly short period. With the advent of Credit cards this method of finance became a rarity but it is now making a comeback and the article specifically mentions fashion houses as being one of the principal beneficiaries. To me it might just point to a subtle shift in the consumer space where punters are taking the risk in getting into debt a lot more seriously and are therefore deferring payments wherever they can. As for Alt lenders building portfolios this is something to keep an eye on. E commerce sales during the pandemic rose very sharply. Money was a lot tighter just after the war. Time to pay on everyday items might just be the beginning of a trend where every penny is valuable. Those interested should take a look at Fintech Afterpay.

3. Deloitte plans to Break out its Auditing business.

Why this matters: Deloitte being one of the big 4 accounting and consultancy companies in the UK have been told by financial regulators to do this as they feel that the connection between the boring and less profitable accounting and auditing function of their activities might just have an impact on the much more juicy consultancy activities and might therefore lead to them turning a blind eye to some of the more obvious weaknesses shown in audited financial statements. They can point to a whole series of recent embarrassing failures  including Carillon, Patiserrie Valerie and BHS. Being of a certain age I have also not forgotten Equity Funding Corporation and Enron, which of course, sealed Arthur Andersens fate. What has this got to do with Alt Lending. My take on this is  as follows.  Since QE started and hard hitting regulation bit in 2008 banks have gradually withdrawn from what used to be their traditional lending markets and left a huge gap in the market which has largely been filled by consultants and at the lower end Alt Lenders. The only difference is that the banks had skilled lending experts who knew how to put together structured finance deals at both the top of the market and the much unloved smaller but still substantial end of the business. That expertise is still there but is not deployed. Consultancies are very expensive, do not take risks but banks and lenders do. How are the smaller leveraged deals ever going to get done? Nobody is benefitting from this except the very rich.

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.

IBF Net to Create Relationship-Based Transactions (RBT) Ecosystem on Blockchain

IBF Net (L) Ltd has embarked on a blockchain-based initiative to create a Relationship-Based Transactions (RBT) ecosystem under Digital IBF Lab, its newly created flagship.

Explaining the nature of Relationship Based Transactions (RBTs), the concept note prepared by IBF Net asserts that RBTs take place in all sectors of the economy – philanthropy, not-for-profit and for-profit – that are necessitated by recurring nature of client needs. RBTs through repeated interaction among the actors induces trust, commitment, loyalty and a long-term relationship between them.

At the same time, existing platforms that facilitate Islamic charity payments – zakat, sadaqah, cash waqf – usually provide for a one-time cash flow from the donor to the beneficiary. “Given that the donors motivated by a specific cause may like to observe the impact of their donation or see the project cross specific milestones in terms of output and outcome, there is need for an enhanced framework that permits multiple micro payments efficiently under a single precommitment”, says Mohammed Alim, CEO, IBF Net. “In addition to providing for the above framework, use of blockchain technology is expected to bring in its numerous other benefits, e.g. enhanced transparency, reduced cost of intermediation and an enhanced donor base (crypto-donors). From the standpoint of the agent (charity), the new framework should mitigate donor attrition risk. The notion of “feel the impact as you give” is expected to induce relationship-based donation and a longer-term bondage between the actors (donor, beneficiary and intermediary)”, according to Mohammed Naquib who heads the new initiative.

IBF Net will be developing of a unique product “RecurPay” on Tezos platform that will facilitate recurring and automated micro-payments and that brings the assurance of the Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) platform to the area of micro charity for zakat, sadaqa, and cash-waqf with recurring and automated payments. Since available evidence suggests a renewed focus on the Islamic social finance sector, the project should open doors of trust, transparency, assurance, and security for its multiple stakeholders – the NGOs, charity organisations, and relevant government bodies across the globe.

The project, in its next phase is expected to shift its focus from philanthropy and benevolence to trade and commerce. Platforms that currently facilitate electronic trading in halal businesses usually accommodate traditional sale transactions in halal commodities and services with or without deferred payment facility. According to Dr Mohammed Obaidullah, who has extensively published on the subject, Shariah provides much greater flexibility with respect to the transaction related variables – price, quality and quantity of object of sale, terms of payment and delivery etc. – than what is commonly understood. IBF Net looks forward to developing the idea of relationship-based and recurring exchange transactions on a blockchain-based platform as part of its RBT ecosystem initiative.

  • Editorial Director of the The Fintech Times

Navy Fed, USAA win top CX rankings from Forrester

Share Military-focused financial institutions continue to gain high marks for customer experience. Navy Federal Credit Union and USAA took the top spots for multichannel and direct banking, respectively, in Forrester’s US Banking Customer Experience Index report for 2020, which was released earlier this month. “Our research shows that CX leaders grow revenue faster, drive higher …Read More

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FinovateFall Digital 2020 Best of Show Winners Announced

Digitally or in-person, the live fintech demos continue to be one of the most popular and worthwhile features of our fintech conferences. This year was no different. FinovateFall Digital featured fewer demoing companies than in years past to better accommodate our COVID-induced, all-digital format. But, as always, the quality of demos was absolutely on point.

With that, let’s take a look at the companies that our attendees have awarded with Best of Show trophies at this year’s event.

Finzly with its BankOS open banking platform that helps banks innovate at speed by transitioning away from legacy technology.

Horizn for its ability to help financial institutions accelerate digital adoption with customers and employees.

Lendsmart for its AI-driven technology that solves for the lack of automation, transparency, and communication in the lending process.

Monit for its finance application that gives small business leaders the insights and personalized guidance they need to manage their businesses successfully.

Q2 for its online digital marketplace that makes collaboration between fintechs and financial institutions easier and more efficient.

Thanks to all the companies that participated in FinovateFall Digital! And thank you, our FinovateFall Digital attendees, for making your voices heard and for being part of a very special event this year. We look forward to seeing many of you in a few months for FinovateWest!

Notes on methodology:
1. Only audience members NOT associated with demoing companies were eligible to vote. Finovate employees did not vote.
2. Attendees were encouraged to note their favorites during each day. At the end of the last demo, they chose their five favorites.
3. The exact written instructions given to attendees: “Please rate (the companies) on the basis of demo quality and potential impact of the innovation demoed.”
4. The five companies appearing on the highest percentage of submitted ballots were named “Best of Show.”
5. Go here for a list of previous Best of Show winners through 2014. Best of Show winners from our 2015 through 2020 conferences are below:
FinovateEurope 2015
FinovateSpring 2015
FinovateFall 2015
FinovateEurope 2016
FinovateSpring 2016
FinovateFall 2016
FinovateAsia 2016
FinovateEurope 2017
FinovateSpring 2017
FinovateFall 2017
FinovateAsia 2017
FinovateMiddleEast 2018
FinovateEurope 2018
FinovateSpring 2018
FinovateFall 2018
FinovateAsia 2018
FinovateAfrica 2018
FinovateEurope 2019
FinovateSpring 2019
FinovateFall 2019
FinovateAsia 2019
FinovateMiddleEast 2019

FinovateEurope 2020

FinovateFall Digital Day 4: Open Finance, Black Swans, and the Return of SME Banking

We opened Day Four of FinovateFall Digital with a panel looking at the future of innovation in a post-COVID world. Among the highlights of the conversation was a discussion of the challenge in distinguishing between permanent and temporary shifts in customer behavior as a result of the pandemic. Our Deep Dive also discussed the positives, negatives, and uncertainties about the rise of platforms as players on the fintech scene. Lastly, the group emphasized how the rise of borderlessness creates new challenges and opportunities for companies looking for both new customers and new markets.

Our second panel on Day Four looked at the phenomenon of Open Banking. Here our panelists considered open banking as a subset of open finance, and noted that while open banking began in many ways as a regulatory initiative, progress increasingly has been driven by consumer behavior. This last point was especially relevant for fans of open banking in the United States, where any effort to encourage cooperation between banks and third party financial services and fintech providers is more likely to come about via customer demand rather than by legislation from Washington.

Day Four also marked the beginning of our Discussion Days content which offered a variety of special, themed tracks covering topics in banking, financial crime, payments and digitization, wealthtech, and futuretech. With an eye toward how technology is shaping innovation in these areas, our Discussion Days tracks looked at the rise of banking-as-a-service, the role of biometrics and identity in an increasingly digitized society, and the latest applications of cutting edge technologies like conversational AI and natural language processing in fintech and financial services.

The fourth day of FinovateFall Digital also featured our Best of Show awards. Our attendees selected five companies – Finzly, Horizn, Lendsmart, Monit, and Q2 – to receive Finovate’s highest honor. Read more about our FinovateFall Digital Best of Show winners in our announcement post.

And, of course, we started the day with our Meet in the Cafe interactive morning hangout – sponsored by Google Cloud. This morning featured a number of interesting insights and observations from cafe visitors including the idea of data itself as being as important as any enabling technology like AI or the blockchain when it comes to fintech. Those gathered also discussed the idea of the pandemic as a Black Swan event that has helped smaller financial institutions, such as credit unions, get back in the business banking game.

Sound interesting? Join us tomorrow morning at 9:30am Eastern for our final installment at Meet at the Cafe!

Apple would have to share payment tech under rules mulled by EU

The European Union is considering new rules that would likely require Apple Inc. to give competitors access to payments technology inside its iPhones.

The new laws would prevent mobile device manufacturers from limiting access to near-field communication technology embedded in smartphones and other devices such as smartwatches, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg.

NFC technology handles wireless signals that allow users to pay via their devices at store terminals, rather than a credit or debit card. While the report did not mention Apple by name, at present iPhone and Apple Watch users can only make NFC payments using Apple Pay. Banks and other competitors have complained they want the same functionality for their own iPhone apps and that Apple won’t give them access to the chip.

The report is set to be unveiled next week by the European Commission as part of a package of policy proposals. It includes a footnote to a competition case launched by the European Commission’s antitrust arm in June, which is seeking to assess whether the iPhone giant unfairly blocks other providers from using the tap-and-go functionality on its smartphones.

“In parallel with its ongoing and future competition enforcement, the Commission will examine whether it is appropriate to propose legislation aimed at securing a right of access under fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory conditions, to technical infrastructures considered necessary to support the provision of payment services,” the EU says in the document.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for the commission declined to comment.

Since launching NFC in the iPhone in 2014, Apple has limited the chip to its own Apple Pay service. The company has previously said it restricts access as part of a system that encrypts users’ card information. Letting competing mobile payments apps access the NFC chip decoupled from Apple’s added layer of security could increase the risk of fraud and other security breaches, it has argued.

The EU in the document said any legislation would take “due account of the potential security and other risks that such access could pose,” adding it would spell out criteria determining to whom and under what conditions access rights should be granted.

Any EU legislation would follow German rules earlier this year that require operators of digital money infrastructure to open up access to competitors for a reasonable fee.

The European Commission is examining how to tighten regulation of technology companies that offer financial services.

New fintech companies have contributed to breaking up the value chains for a given financial service, making it difficult for supervisors to monitor risks, the commission says in another document. The commission is seeking advice from European supervisory authorities and will decide on the necessary legislative changes by mid-2022.

“The European framework is currently fragmented and often not fit for the digital age,” said Markus Ferber, a German member of the European Parliament. The new rules are overdue, he said, adding that fintech firms shouldn’t get a free pass when it comes to financial stability and investor protection.

—Natalia Drozdiak (Bloomberg)

Alexander Weber (Bloomberg)

With assistance from Silla Brush (Bloomberg)

LoanDepot considering IPO at up to $15 billion valuation

Mortgage lender LoanDepot is taking steps toward rebooting plans for an initial public offering, about five years after scrapping one at the last minute, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The company could be worth $12 billion to $15 billion in an IPO, said one of the people, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public.

The company has held discussions with potential underwriters for an IPO that could come as soon as soon as the fourth quarter, the people said. No final decision has been made and its plans could change.

“We continue to evaluate capital options and are excited about our industry position,” Chief Executive Officer Anthony Hsieh said in an interview.

LoanDepot pulled its IPO plans in 2015, hours before it was set to price. The move came as rival LendingClub Corp.’s shares were slumping and there were indications that LoanDepot was poised to sell shares below its target price.

The company, backed by Parthenon Capital Partners, had sought a market value of $2.4 billion to $2.6 billion at the time.

Mortgage Industry

Lenders have been racing to make new mortgages during the pandemic, prompted by homeowners taking advantage of record-low interest rates and unprecedented purchases by the Federal Reserve. The Mortgage Bankers Association forecasts $3 trillion in new mortgages this year, a roughly 37% increase from 2019. The demand for credit has swamped lenders, enabling them to charge relatively higher prices, fattening their bottom lines.

Founded in 2010, LoanDepot enables borrowers to secure mortgages entirely with digital documentation, its website shows. The company has funded over $212 billion in loans, which it says ranks it as the second-largest retail non-bank lender, behind Dan Gilbert’s Rocket Cos.

Rocket, the parent of Quicken Loans, has gained about 26% since going public in August.

”We are the Lyft to their Uber,” Hsieh said. “The momentum for non-bank lending is here to stay. We’re here to fuel the American dream.”

—Gillian Tan (Bloomberg)

—Crystal Tse (Bloomberg)

With assistance from Shahien Nasiripour (Bloomberg)

Fintech Unicorn Payoneer Announces New Global Payment Programme, Partnering With Ten Banks in Ten Countries

Digital payment platform Payoneer has announced Payoneer for Banks; a new programme which helps financial institutions provide businesses of all sizes with a seamless way to make or receive cross-border payments. The programme already includes partnerships with ten banks and eWallets in ten countries, with many more in the works.

As the digitisation of cross-border payments continues, traditional banks are having to accelerate the delivery of the future of banking, which will primarily be conducted online – the stark reality is that banks must now adapt or get left behind. With this programme, Payoneer provides innovative tools for banks and makes it easier than ever for businesses to transact across borders.

Payoneer’s bank partners include challenger and incumbent banks and eWallets, in both emerging and developed markets, that share an interest in serving digital entrepreneurs. Already in the program are ANNA Money in the UK, Bank Asia in Bangladesh, BSB Bank in Belarus, EasyPay in Armenia, GCash, the leading mobile wallet in the Philippines, eZ Cash in Sri Lanka, Faysal Bank and JazzCash in Pakistan, Kuda Bank in Nigeria, Privatbank and Monobank in Ukraine, and Prex in Argentina.

Michael Rogalskiy, co-founder of Monobank noted, “We focus on creating a bank that customers would love, and that drives a lot of our decisions. It was extremely easy to work with Payoneer, because we have the same shared values and the same ideas around money transfers. Our integration allows our customers to have a better user experience, lower fees, and faster access to their international earnings. It’s a relationship that brings value for us, for Payoneer, and for our shared customers.”

Payoneer for Banks shares the fintechs global capabilities with traditional financial institutions and eWallets via simple API integrations. These capabilities include secure, low-cost international payments in real-time and access to Payoneer’s ecosystem of leading global marketplaces, all available to customers from within the banking platform they already use.

“We are excited to launch Payoneer for Banks and continue growing our partnerships with financial institutions all over the world,” said Eyal Moldovan, General Manager, SMBs. “By integrating with our APIs, banks can offer a seamless cross-border payments experience to their customers with low investment, which offers the potential for additional revenues, enriched offerings for customers and a competitive advantage.”

Several key forces are driving Payoneer’s new programme for banking partners around the world include:

  • Traditionally, international payments have been expensive, slow and unreliable, with difficulties handling different currencies. Even banks that have an international footprint operate through a system of partner and corresponding banks, which add fees, delays, and challenges in tracking cross-border payment activity.
  • In today’s shifting environment, business customers are more global and digitally-focused, and increasingly demand seamless and transparent payment options across borders.
  • The banking environment has changed with new regulations making banks become more open, while elsewhere, competition increases with the emergence of a new breed of digital banks.

Inside look: How banks are reinventing the branch

Share As the threat of a second COVID-19 wave draws closer, the balancing act between digital convenience and human interaction within the banking world has been amplified. Financial institutions across the country are faced with the question of how to optimize branch networks during a time when people are encouraged to socially distance, and the …Read More

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Fintech News Issue #283

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Global Fintech Rapyd Launches Card Acquiring Capabilities in Major European Expansion

Rapyd, a global fintech service company, announced a major expansion of its European platform to support its rising eCommerce growth, adding end-to-end card acquiring to its industry-leading payments capabilities.

As a result of this the company now offers the most comprehensive full stack payment acceptance capabilities in Europe, including card acceptance, and has enabled customers in over 100 countries to be able to pay with cards, bank transfers, e-wallets and cash through a single provider and contract.

The acceleration towards digital payments continues to develop; as consumers turn to online commerce due to the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses move with them to online and further expand into new geographies.

By adding fully integrated online card acquiring capabilities and offering the industry’s largest number of APMs, the Rapyd platform offers the easiest way for European businesses to expand globally online. This also gives merchants the ability to extend their existing point-of-sale (POS) systems to deliver an integrated omni-channel commerce experience as business models change and consumer shopping preferences evolve.

Sarel Tal, Rapyd Vice President and General Manager for Europe, Middle East, and Africa, said “European merchants are at a crossroads and need to fully embrace digital commerce to thrive as consumer shopping and payment preferences are changing rapidly. Compensating for the loss of in-store business, merchants need to quickly expand into global markets to pursue cross-border sales opportunities, significantly improve conversion rates and reduce cart abandonment. Rapyd solves the complexity of payments and can even eliminate the number of payment providers merchants must work with as they implement global expansion plans.”

According to a recently released Forrester 2020 Consumer Technographics Survey on digital commerce, which surveyed thousands of consumers the impact of social distancing, lockdowns, and other measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is causing a significant increase in eCommerce. Merchants who can offer online card acceptance and local payment methods are well-positioned to grow in existing markets as well as to find new areas for regional and global growth and expansion as e-commerce continues its heavy expansion.

Rapyd continues to grow its global footprint expanding its integrated fintech capabilities with launches across multiple markets globally. In the past year the company has launched full-stack payment capabilities in several of the world’s largest consumer markets including the United Kingdom, India, Brazil, Mexico and Singapore.

Spotlight MEA: Cloud Transformation in Banking Across the Middle East and Northern Africa

The banking industry and the wider financial services industry has been undergoing a digital transformation for a while. For instance, one challenge is offering a future-ready technology to help evolve via a SaaS banking platform.

Berlin-based Mambu powers digital-first banks as it helps plug in integrations for simple, streamlined and automated customer journeys, where it can configure and integrate instead of code and customise. Beyond its headquarters in Germany, Mambu has a presence in the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) region, which is undergoing its own digital transformations both from a wider economic development context and within the banking sector. Miljan Stamenkovic, the Regional Director in the Middle East & Northern Africa of Mambu, offers his insight. 

Miljan Stamenkovic, the Regional Director in the Middle East & Northern Africa of Mambu

Miljan Stamenkovic, the Regional Director in the Middle East & Northern Africa of Mambu

Miljan Stamenkovic is the Regional Director in the Middle East & Northern Africa of Mambu

Miljan has a rich history in helping banks and financial services providers implement digital solutions for their business and their customers. With over 14 years of experience in the banking, financial services, and insurance technology space, he brings an in-depth perspective in the areas of digital banking, customer experience, and omni-channel delivery.

For our global audience, can you explain what the digital and fintech landscape across the globe currently looks like?

As the digital world is gaining momentum, we see the proliferation of new digital banks and digital challengers across the globe. For the vast majority of existing and well established banks this rapid change can be perceived as an existential threat. But for some banks, whether they are startups, spinoffs and incumbents, change isn’t a threat at all. In fact they see change as a major opportunity to build new digital banking propositions.

They also take a fresh approach to it – instead of coding, they are configuring and integrating; instead of on-prem workloads, they are deploying in the elastic cloud;  instead of major and disruptive releases, they continuously improve. Essentially, we see more digital banks and fintechs alike working as a tech company, rather than a bank.

How does this alter in MENA? 

Digital challengers in MENA have a unique opportunity to operate like modern, platform-based companies.

Why is this important? This brings us to a competitive advantage that tech companies have. Their IT is typically organized around a set of platforms, run by accountable and lean digital teams. These platforms are each managed individually, can be swapped in and out, and when put together, they form the backbone of a company’s technology capability. This is why technology companies can get their products and services to market 100x faster than their industry counterparts.

This is what we call a Composable Banking approach. This approach has a big impact in two ways. It helps grow your top line revenue by rapidly acquiring new customers e.g. through account opening and personal finance, as well as your bottom line through SaaS and cloud operating models which can radically improve your cost to income ratio by applying lower capital expenditures.

How have you developed your subject matter expertise and helped to share it across in your home country? And with MENA?

Having worked as a consultant and a trusted advisor globally really broadened my horizons. By broadening my international and fintech experience, not only did I improve my ability to understand the needs of both legacy and neobanks, but I satisfied my need to absorb new ideas and stretch the boundaries of my knowledge.

This is where working with neobanks and fintech startups becomes increasingly interesting – there are no boundaries in looking at how to rethink a business model and employ cloud-based solutions and API-driven architectures to create an open banking ecosystem to drive your business. I truly believe in and enjoy working on projects where agility and speed is due to the absence of the burden of legacy technology. This is where you get the taste of what it would be like to create the next generation of financial services.

What are future trends and predictions you see happening in the region? And specifically with your company?

Local regulators, such as Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM)‘s Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) and Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) have started to provide an attractive home to fintechs, neobanks and digital banking attackers. Anglo-Gulf Trade Bank (AGTB), as the first bank in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) “born in the cloud”, has received a full digital banking license and Category 1 status from the FSRA of ADGM in 2019. Similarly, SAMA issued a new guideline for digital-only banks planning to enter the market in early 2020, as part of the kingdom’s vision to develop a digital economy in line with Vision 2030.

These and similar initiatives across the region are key enablers for rethinking and rebuilding the digital financial services business models. Innovative business models, especially when paired with progressive digital solutions, including cloud computing, API-driven architecture and machine-learning, challenge the conventional mindset with a disruptive and transformative approach to build the next generation of financial services.

Any advice or recommendations you would give to other future fintech companies and entrepreneurs based in the Middle East & Africa (MEA) region? Particularly with respect to fintech and the wider digital sector?

Launching a digital banking spinoff which can operate like a fintech or building a greenfield digital bank from scratch makes a lot of sense. There is a rapidly growing demand for new digital banking solutions to serve digital natives. While established and traditional banks take months and years to launch a new product, fintechs can design customer journeys and launch new initiatives in days and weeks. Hence, time to market, or even more importantly – time to value is key.

I would like to point out three key points in order to start generating and extracting value from your new initiative:

  1. Start small and launch just enough (e.g. basic current account, debit card, payment) to acquire early customers. The sooner you launch, the sooner you will be able to get feedback from your customers and start to improve for the next release cycle
  2. Partner with your regulator – progressive regulators in the region have reduced their initial capital requirements and provide sandbox environments (e.g. Digital Sandbox by ADGM) as an accelerator
  3. Build your composable banking architecture step by step – as you grow you will be able to swap in and out components that make sense for your business as you grow
  • Richie Santosdiaz, Contributing Reporter for Middle East and Africa