Can I Really Manage My Finances From A Smartphone App?

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Remember when all you would hear during the ad breaks for your favourite television programme would be “there’s an app for that”.

This was a few years ago now, when apps were brand new and the likes of Apple, Google and Samsung wanted you to learn all about these mysterious new widgets that could solve your everyday problems at a cinch.

If we were initially sceptical, we certainly took to them in the end, but the trouble was, for every Tinder, Citymapper, or Uber, there were too many apps, rushed out by companies desperate not to miss out on the next big thing, or designed by Silicon Valley geek squads, that simply didn’t cut the mustard.

They were either too niche, too complex, too badly built, or simply released to act like Trojan horses, sneaking their way onto your phones and accessing your personal data to sell on to advertising companies.

It may have taken financial services institutions longer than most to come to the app party, but in fact, we should be thankful for that.

Banking and personal finance apps can now make a genuine difference to our lives, for the better. Here’s how. Read more

London & Hong Kong Financial Bodies Join Forces To Support Global Fintech Innovation

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and its Hong Kong equivalent, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) have signed a co-operation agreement that will promote information sharing between the two regions, and introduce a referral system that will make it easier for approved, UK based fintech startups to set up operations in Hong Kong, and vice versa. Read more

The Big 4 Fintech Challenger Banks Changing The Way We Think About Personal Finance

The “Big 4” Challenger Banks

London may not be the world’s biggest FinTech hub, but there is an argument that says it is the most disruptive, and especially within the retail banking space.

There are no fewer than 5 recognised “Challenger banks” in operation currently, 4 based in London, and one in Durham. All have attracted significant funding, target millennials with mobile apps, instant spending reports and clever features, yet all face different challenges and issues as they battle to uproot the “big 4” high street banks; Lloyds, HSBC, Barclays and Natwest. Let’s have a look at 5 of the so-called challengers – in no particular order. Read more

Payment Services Directive 2 Explained (& An Infographic!)

Call it bad timing, but no sooner had the European Union delivered the first Payment Service Directive (PSD), to provide a legal foundation for the introduction of SEPA, that’s the Single Euro Payments Area, which effectively created a single market for payments across the European Union, covering credit transfers, direct debits and cards, when the payments industry entered possibly its most “disruptive” period ever. Read more

6 Payments Apps That Are Great For SMEs

After trialling the product for some time over here, Square, the US based payments provider startup founded by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, has finally launched in the UK.

Square, which floated on the New York Stock Exchange in November 2015 at a valuation of around $6bn, provides independent traders with a means to take card payments using a reader- and it will retail over here in the UK at just £39.

It got us thinking about other payments apps that are valuable to startups and SMEs, and in that spirit, we present 6 of the best we could find! Read more

Property Buzz: All You Need To Know About Real Estate Tech

In the past, real estate has often been seen as a business of relationships, reliant on contacts and personal connections. While that’s still hugely important, software trends are also becoming increasingly vital to the real estate industry. In the past year alone, venture capitalist projects have raised over $1.5bn US dollars towards software that could streamline your experience in the real estate market. Here’s a quick breakdown on what’s been going on.

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The Unbanked: How Social Networks Could Succeed Where Banks Have Failed

In the developed world, sending money domestically is as simple as logging onto online banking. If you want to transfer funds in or to the developing world, however, you’ll often come up against a fairly fundamental block: the ‘unbanked’ phenomenon. But could the growing numbers of online platforms, from Gmail to Facebook, stepping up to the payment plate help societies break through the unbanked barrier? Read more

Here’s Everything You Should Know About The Right To Be Forgotten

Laws granting the ‘right to be forgotten’ might seem like they’re about isolated cases of image control. In fact, this legislation could have huge implications for storing all types of information. As debates about whether Europeans can protect their data on a worldwide basis rage on, observers are starting the wonder where the laws end.

What’s going on? Read more

Why Finance’s Future Finally Belongs To The Customer

Ever heard the saying, ‘the customer is always right’? In the financial services industry, that hasn’t always been true. But a major new report published by the World Economic Forum (WEF) suggests that consumers’ luck is about to change as fintech continues to disrupt, embed and lead the way. The report, entitled ‘The Future of Financial Services’, examines how fintech is shaping the industry, and it pits agile tech start-ups against the established banking Goliaths to see how each will adapt and how they’ll co-exist. Read more

Introducing Selfie Pay: An Unusual Use For Self-portraits

It started as a niche interest of tech-loving teens but soon grew into a social phenomenon. By the end of 2013, the Oxford Dictionaries named selfie ‘word of the year’, which wasn’t surprising given over a million selfies are taken every day. Now, the selfie has grown up and is getting a job in finance. Here’s the breakdown on how your next self-portrait could lead to a legitimate money transfer.

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Why Tech-Driven Money Transfer Startups Are Cheaper Than Their Older Rivals

The fintech industry has exploded in recent years, slowly growing into niches once dominated by big finance. In the international money transfer market high street banks and wire transfer companies like Western Union are starting to find themselves undercut and outperformed by innovative startups. But what is it that gives these fledgling companies their edge? Read more