6 Ways to Settle into a City

Moving to a new city comes with a great package; it can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time. The idea of experiencing a new culture, meeting new people and expanding your professional network is thrilling.

However, moving to a new city is similar to moving to a foreign country. From finding a place to live to navigating the local transportation system, there are many moving struggles that one has to deal with.

There are plenty of settling tips online, and here we have picked some of the best ways to get comfortable in a new city. Let us talk about six ways to settle into a new town.

1.     Take a Walking Tour

A walking tour is a great way to understand your locality that also comes with a wide range of possibilities which will lead you to all your commercial needs. As you walk around, you will discover various landmarks, streets, routes, local transportation, etc.; it will help you adjust to your new environment and create a comfortable atmosphere.

Walking tours are very informative and an excellent opportunity to meet fellow adventurers and make new friends. Not only will you get to know the city’s rich history, but you’ll also gain insight into the local culture and traditions. Knowing your local area will help you understand where to go in time of need.

2.   Join a Local Group or Club

Joining a local group or club will help you meet new people with similar interests. It can be a great way to connect with locals and deeply understand your new area. It will also help you make new professional connections if you have moved in with a business motive.

For students who moved out of their homes to student accommodation, local groups and clubs make it easy for you to get involved with the locals, and you never know; you might find someone from your hometown. These groups and clubs often help you find a great roommate to share student housing with so you can have a homely environment even when you are far from home.

3.   Explore the Local Cuisine

Exploring the local cuisine is also a great way to settle into a new city. Your new surroundings may seem foreign initially, but local food will drive you to like the recent changes you will face in a new town. As an adult or even a student who is moving to a new city, it is imperative to understand the culture and experience new things.

To create great memories, you better taste fine quality food to remember it for the rest of your life. Food is a comforting language; wherever you go, in any part of the world, food improves everything.

4.   Get to Know Your Neighbours

Being a good neighbour and having a good neighbour at the same time will improve life and ensure a healthy lifestyle in the neighbourhood. Building a solid relationship with your community is an efficient way of building and living an excellent standard lifestyle.

It is also a good way to balance your safety and well-being since your neighbours can help you in your time of need. Take time to introduce yourself and share meals with your neighbours; it will help you make your new city feel more like home.

5.   Stay Patient and Positive

Remember, your new city has a lot to offer, and it is normal to feel anxious. It is essential to stay positive and patient throughout the whole process. Ensure you are mentally prepared for all the lonely and homesick days, for it is normal to feel that way. Nevertheless, it is one way to find new friends and make great memories.

Focus on what you like about your new city and, most importantly, why you moved in the first place. It keeps you on track and your mental health in peace.

6.  Give it Time

Give yourself time to adapt to your new environment. Your unique experiences will bring opportunities for growth and positive changes in your life. Even for long-term life experiences, being patient with your surroundings and yourself is necessary.

Getting acclimated and walking at your own pace to settle is normal. To save up your mental and physical energy, try developing a tendency to seek out valuable opportunities wherever possible. Time is very delicate, but so is your mental peace. Give it time to live comfortably and welcome a lively future that awaits you.


Tips that help you comfort yourself and feel like it is okay to feel anxious need to be considered. The above pointers are a few to give you confidence and the direction you might need while moving to a new city. Hope it finds you well!

About AmberStudentAmber Student is one of the leading student accommodation platforms put in place in 2016 and has served over 80 million students globally. Amber Student is your one-stop destination for all your housing needs, fully assisted by amber experts and secure housing far from your home. Do check out our social platforms on Instagram and Facebook and stay connected!

Author’s Bio – Bobby Sinha is a storyteller; she enjoys watching Japanese indie movies and knows various ways of using a chopstick. A graduate in business, working as a writer, and someday aspiring to become a Filmmaker proves how versatile she is.

5 Most Affordable Cities to Study Abroad in 2023

Studying abroad will always be relevant as it offers young adults multiple opportunities and helps them build excellent personalities. Learning things from a global perspective and expanding your academic horizon will open doors for you on a different level.

However, financial concern often makes you think twice before pursuing your dream education. Luckily, many cities offer affordable life-changing experiences with excellent educational opportunities without burning a hole in your pocket!

This blog will ensure you can pursue your dream education in the following cities, giving you exposure and world-class experience. Read on!

1.    Prague, Czech Republic

The City of a Hundred Spires, Prague

The City of a Hundred Spires, Prague, is a beautiful, culturally rich destination affordable for international students. Prague has both public and private universities that offer international students high-quality education with various programs starting from Agriculture, Art, Medicine, cultural science, Law, Business, etc.

The city boasts prestigious universities and a vibrant cultural scene to enrich your academic journey.

European intellectual privilege is something every student yearns for, and Prague is a perfect city filled with a rich history one should experience while living in student housing, sharing with other international students once in a lifetime.

The best thing about studying in Prague is that the cost of living is significantly lower than in many other European cities, making it an ideal choice for budget-conscious students.

2.   Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Kuala Lumpar

Education in Malaysia is highly equipped with modern technology for teaching and learning that helps you value the quality of education more. Known for its diverse population and stunning architecture, Kuala Lumpur offers an affordable yet high-quality education system.

With a low cost of living and competitive tuition fees, studying in Malaysia’s capital city provides an excellent opportunity for international students.

Compared to big Western cities, Kaula Lampar’s student accommodation is affordable, making living much easier in a foreign country. The city also offers a mix of traditional and modern attractions, ensuring a well-rounded experience beyond the classroom.

3.   Berlin, Germany

Although Germany might not initially come to mind as an affordable study destination, Berlin stands out for its comparatively lower living costs. These public universities in Germany offer cost-free education and great scholarships to international students. It provides many programs for international students in every educational field possible.

Berlin’s rich history, vibrant arts scene, and diverse student community make it an attractive choice for those seeking a well-rounded education abroad.

Speaking of diversity, students from all over choose to study in Germany, where you can build a great sense of technology and multilingual skills by learning to speak/write in German.

4.  Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital city, combines an enchanting mix of South American charm, rich cultural heritage, and relatively low living costs. Suppose you are someone who has a keen interest in sports.

In that case, especially football, try exploring the cities of Argentina while studying there so that you can research and analyse your claim, making it less lonely in a foreign country.

The city offers affordability without compromising the quality of education, making it an excellent choice for those looking to immerse themselves in Latin American culture. With renowned universities, lively arts, and nightlife, Buenos Aires offers a unique and budget-friendly study-abroad experience.

5.   Budapest, Hungary

The capital of Hungary, Budapest, is renowned for its rich history, grand architecture, and vibrant nightlife. It is also one of the most affordable cities in Europe for international students.

With several renowned universities offering a variety of study programs in English, Budapest provides an excellent opportunity to gain a high-quality education without straining your wallet.

The city’s stunning scenery and unique culture make it an unforgettable destination for studying abroad. While at it, you can explore other countries or towns near Hungary during breaks and make great memories of your study abroad diary.

It is always great to have an international experience because it eventually levels you up compared to other candidates.


It is always great to have an international experience because it eventually levels you up compared to other candidates.

Studying abroad in a budget-friendly plan is actually a conscious decision where you learn financial and managerial skills. You become more highlighted with cultural exposure.

About AmberStudent – amber Student is one of the leading student accommodation platforms put in place in 2016 and has served over 80 million students globally. Amber Student is your one-stop destination for all your housing needs, fully assisted by amber experts and secure housing far from your home. Do check out our social platforms on Instagram and Facebook and stay connected!

Author’s Bio – Bobby Sinha is a storyteller; she enjoys watching Japanese indie movies and knows various ways of using a chopstick. A graduate in business, working as a writer, and someday aspiring to become a Filmmaker proves how versatile she is.

Personetics Scores $85 Million in Growth Funding

Courtesy of an investment from Thoma Bravo, personalization and customer-engagement solution provider for financial services companies Personetics has raised $85 million in growth funding. Updated valuation information was not disclosed.

Calling data-driven personalization and customer engagement “the battleground for financial institutions” worldwide, Personetics CEO and co-founder David Sosna said that banks and financial services providers are rightly moving toward a more proactive relationship with their customers. “Personetics provides financial institutions with the most comprehensive engagement platform on the market, enabling agility and differentiation with an agile delivery for quick business impact,” Sosna said.

Personetics’ technology boosts customer engagement by analyzing financial data in real-time, learning financial behaviors, anticipating needs, and then acting on the user’s behalf. The company’s enriched data, actionable insights, financial advice, and automated wellness solutions can be used by retail banks, small businesses, wealth management firms and others to increase digital customer engagement by as much as 35%, account and balance growth of 20%, and realize gains of 17% in the adoption of personalized recommendations and advice.

Making its Finovate debut in 2016 at FinovateEurope in London, Personetics raised more than $160 million in funding last year from investors including Viola Ventures, Lightspeed Ventures, Sequoia Capital, Nyca Partners, and Warburg Pincus. In the fall of 2021, the company announced a partnership with Europe-based financial services group KBC to increase customer engagement on the firm’s mobile app. Last spring, Personetics unveiled its patented, automated cash-flow based savings solutionPay Yourself First – which has been integrated into U.S. Bank’s mobile app. Note that U.S. Bank won Best Customer Experience at the Finovate awards in 2019 for its mobile banking technology.

“Personetics’ PYF intelligent algorithms take the guesswork out of setting money aside for saving or investing and acts on behalf of customers,” Personetics President for Americas Jody Bhagat said. “It’s another example of how Personetics is helping financial institutions deliver hyper-personalized solutions for their customers, and bringing to reality its vision of Self-Driving Finance.”

This Week in Fintech: TFT Bi-Weekly News Roundup 29/10

This Thursday 29 October’s Fintech Times
Bi-Weekly News Roundup takes a look at the latest global fintech
stories. We hear how Funding Options is teaming up with Cooper
Parry, Ossama Soliman is making a move to TrueLayer and
Zopa has launched its first ever credit card.

Partnerships and collaborations

Business finance platform Funding
has hooked up with accountancy firm Cooper
to provide financial solutions for scaleups and
SMEs. Cooper Parry will utilise Funding Options’ platform to
source debt-based products for clients in need of working capital
with the aim or ‘removing bureaucracy and delay from securing
vital funds’.

The partnership with Funding Options was a no-brainer for us. It
gives the CP Futures team the ability to connect companies to debt
finance quickly and efficiently through the UK’s leading funding

Brompton Bikes and GoCardlessBrompton chooses GoCardless
to streamline the payments of its bikes on subscription service

ABAKA, the digital saving and retirement
enterprise SaaS solutions provider, has joined forces with
Intel in order to innovate and develop an
artificial intelligence platform. ABAKA is now a member of the
Intel AI Builders programme – an enterprise ecosystem of
independent software vendors, system integrators, original
equipment manufacturers and enterprise end users.

French SaaS firm Agicap is working with
financial API platform Salt Edge to digitalise
cash flow management for SMEs. Following the partnership, SMEs can
monitor cash flows on all bank accounts, in a single dashboard.

Meanwhile, Asia-focused investment group PAG
has chosen Broadridge as a cloud-based portfolio
management technology provider. The Broadridge Sentry portfolio
management solution will help PAG’s private debt team integrate
middle- and back-office operations into a single system.

GoCardless is supporting
Brompton, the folding bike company, with its new
subscription service. Brompton Bike Hire enables customers to avoid
the upfront expense of purchasing a bike outright with monthly
payments powered by GoCardless.

Finally, United Arab Bank and
Mastercard announce strategic partnership to
accelerate payments innovation in the UAE. Mastercard is now the
preferred and exclusive partner for credit, debit and commercial
cards issued by UAB.

Industry news and announcements

Bahrain FinTech Bay is launching a virtual
acceleration programme, ‘Build for Bahrain’. Shortlisted teams
will receive incubation at BFB, as well as mentorship by industry
experts. The programme is a partnership with the US State
Department’s Middle East Partnership Initiative.

Africa Fintech Summit is going virtual this yearAfrica Fintech Summit is
going virtual this year

Jack Dorsey will deliver the closing keynote at
this year’s Africa Fintech Summit. The fifth
annual Summit is being held virtually on 9, 10, and 12 November.
Dorsey’s keynote will revolve around the concepts of
decentralised finance and opportunities it creates for financial

Meanwhile, FOODICS is introducing a $100million
micro loan fund to support SMEs in Saudi Arabia. The micro loans
are Shariah-compliant and focused on helping restaurants expand
faster. In order to launch the fund, FOODICS has partnered with SME
financing provider Maalem Finance.

Dubai brokerage firm Déjà Vu Real Estate has
signedYegertek to implement a ‘comprehensive
digital transformation’. The collaboration will look to develop
technologies that leverage data to unlock profitability, and
revolutionise the user experience of the real estate sales

And, payment solutions provider Checkprint has
extended its contract with Metro Bank for cheque
services for a further six years. The contract enables Metro Bank
to continue to instantly issue chequebooks to all new account
holders, within minutes of them entering the store.

New products and services Zopa unveils new credit cardZopa has launched its
first ever credit card

OpenPayd, the API-led banking-as-a-service
provider, has launched an FX-as-a-service product. InstantFX will
provide clients with real-time trading, plus the ability to pay out
USD via SWIFT, ACH, and Wire. It also offers a range of payment
corridors, including access to UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Mexico.

Zopa has unveiled its first credit card in
order to ‘help customers stay in control of their money’.
The card includes a ‘Safety Net’ feature that lets customers
set aside part of their credit limit for unexpected expenses. Zopa
already offers savings accounts and personal loans in addition to
peer-to-peer investing.

Mastercard and PayPal now
offer Instant Transfer in nine European markets. By using
Mastercard Send, PayPal customers can now cash out their balances
to Mastercard cards in real time. The service is now available in
Bulgaria, Bosnia, Germany, Italy, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain
and UK following successful launches in the US and Singapore.

Industry movers Ossama Soliman joins TrueLayer as chief product officerOssama Soliman joins
TrueLayer as chief product officer

Ossama Soliman, the former general manager of
business lending at Amazon has joined TrueLayer as
its chief product officer. “Getting to help democratise access to
finance through TrueLayer’s open banking platform is incredibly
exciting,” Soliman says.

AI fintech Axyon AI has appointed Giovanni
Beliossi as a business advisor. Beliossi will
focus on Axyon AI’s offering for the hedge fund industry, sharing
‘unique insight into the challenges managers are facing

While Temenos has hired Joaquin De
Valenzuela Muley
to lead its digital banking SaaS product,
Infinity. The former Salesforce executive joins Tenemos as senior
vice president and business line director. He will also be tasked
with building strong customer relationships.

Adam Kelly will become the new managing
director for British Business Investments next
month, following the retirement of Peter Garnham.
Kelly joined the British Business Bank in 2013 as a senior manager
in the Investment Programme, which became part of the BBI
subsidiary when it launched in 2014.

Communications surveillance provider VoxSmart
has made a brace of appointments in order to launch a new Markets
division. Andrew Stone joins from pricing and
analytics start-up NEX Data. While Lloyd Jensen
joins from BGC Partners. The new Markets division will ‘influence
and improve’ the customer experience and market fit for
VoxSmart’s product suite.

VoxsmartsVoxSmart forms new
‘Markets’ division to strengthen product development

Finally, global financial technology infrastructure platform
Nium is expanding into Africa with two new
executive appointments. Dana Nino is now senior
vice president for global growth, customer success and
partnerships, while Clara Wanjiku Odero is vice
president, partnerships and growth. The move into Africa is part of
Nium’s broader mission to drive business productivity and cost
efficiency using fintech.



The post This
Week in Fintech: TFT Bi-Weekly News Roundup 29/10
first on The Fintech

STACS Partners With EFG Bank to Develop Blockchain Platform

Hashstacs Pte Ltd (also known as “STACS”), a Singapore FinTech company focusing on Blockchain technology solutions for financial institutions, has announced its partnership with EFG Bank (EFG) to co-develop a Blockchain platform that will enhance and simplify the processes of structured products.

“Project Nathan — Smart Structured Products”, aims at using new Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) to automate and manage the entire lifecycle of a structured product. The platform comprises the underlying STACS Blockchain and smart contracts, and a business application with an intuitive user interface.

The Nathan platform was awarded the Monetary Authority of Singapore (“MAS”)’s Financial Sector Technology and Innovation (FSTI) Proof of Concept (POC) grant on 2 March 2020. The FSTI POC grant provides funding support for experimentation, development and dissemination of nascent innovative technologies in the financial services sector.

Ivan Ferraroni, Head of Global Markets Asia of EFG said, “Participating in this MAS funded initiative was an exciting experience for EFG and our team members. This is in line with our efforts to change the speed and scope of digitalisation in our business. Working with STACS has been very smooth and seamless, and we certainly managed to learn from each other. The project is innovative, demonstrates significant efficiency gains and can be extended to other asset classes in the future.”

Project Nathan is currently in its first phase, where STACS worked with EFG to remodel the workflows involved in a structured product transaction, facilitated the internal efficiencies between various EFG departments involved in structured product transactions, as well as looked at the usage of smart contracts to automate aspects of trade inception and trade servicing.

Benjamin Soh, Managing Director of STACS, said: “Tapping on the success of Phase 1 of Project Nathan, we are now able to proceed with further phases of commercialisation for the Nathan Platform, and look towards further rollout of our digitalisation initiatives towards the wider industry.”

With recent trends of blockchain adoption in the capital markets, STACS serves as a complete solutions partner. By co-developing a Blockchain project with EFG, STACS has provided a model for market participants, providing them a solution for industry pain-points highlighted by the participants. STACS also provides a full suite of platforms covering different services in various live projects with multiple stock exchanges and commercial banks in both the EU and Asia.

“Project Nathan demonstrates the commitment of STACS as an innovative fintech development company to help financial institutions like EFG Bank to embrace digitalisation and seek new opportunities. This is an exciting time in the FinTech world as we see a growing number of institutions looking at Blockchain, and EFG has taken the lead to adopt this innovative approach to structured products. Adoption of new technologies by financial institutions will enable them to reap the benefits of reducing costs and improve efficiencies,” added Soh.

Social Inflation Risk To Directors and Officers

The speed at which the coronavirus has spread around the world illustrates the effectiveness of globalisation. In just a few months, one virus in China has infected 2.2 million people and reached over 180 countries. It isn’t just viruses that travel at this speed. Globalisation and greater global connectivity have allowed social trends to travel from backwater to high-rise within hours, and therein lies one of the major risks facing today’s Directors and Officers.

The spread of social inflation

Trust in corporates and politicians has been undermined by the perfect storm of financial crisis, political scandal and poor corporate practice, among other themes. This social trend may have started small, but globalisation has allowed it to reach every corner of the globe. We’re now seeing an exponential rise in litigation action against corporates and their Directors and Officers, supported by the tailwind of increased third-party litigation funding. The trend is known as social inflation: an increased rise in claims as the same social trends are repeated throughout the world, and it’s something a Director or Officer can insure against.

Repeated failure

The economic instability and anti-corporate sentiment that followed the 2008 global financial crisis gave rise to societal unrest. Those that lost their livelihoods and homes wanted answers and they didn’t trust the mainstream politicians to provide them. Society began to look to the politicians who broke the mould and suddenly support had risen for populist parties across the globe. As society looked for answers in a new political landscape, they also became less enamoured by the corporate machine that powered the wheels that drove the financial crisis in the first place.

This dissatisfaction with corporate culture and the political mainstream has coincided with a rise in social empowerment and third-party litigation funding, giving this anti-corporate sentiment serious financial and crowd backing. Third-party litigation funding is now a significant industry in itself and one which is reshaping litigation around the world. In 2019, the management of Burford Capital (one of the leading litigation funders) felt the might of the crowd as it was targeted by Muddy Waters, the infamous short seller, resulting in a 50% drop in their share price. There is serious weight to the threat of social inflation, no one is immune.

Implications and actions

This trend has now reached every corner of the corporate landscape and with it, a significant rise in the potential for litigation. In many jurisdictions around the world, if the decisions made by directors and officers of corporations lead to adverse outcomes for the company or its stakeholders, those individuals can now be held personally liable. The personal consequences are more acute if Directors and/or Officers can be shown to have acted in an imprudent or unprofessional manner. As such, Directors and Officers must be more vigilant than ever to follow best practice and ensure good corporate governance is at the heart of their business.

This is a challenge at the best of times, but under remote working and times of crisis this will be even more difficult, with lines of communication and protocol inevitably overlooked or sidestepped in the need to respond. This causes immediate risk.

Directors and Officers that are doing all they can to promote best practice, act with necessary and appropriate due diligence, and operate with corporate social responsibility at the core of their organisations culture will be less likely to fall foul to such forces. Boards can go further to protect Directors and Officers by taking out Directors and Officers insurance to offer indemnity against many of the issues they face.

In light of this rising trend, buyers of Directors and Officers insurance should seriously consider the adequacy of their limits of indemnity and review their wider insurance position.

About Elmore Insurance Brokers
Elmore Insurance Brokers Limited advises its clients to actively manage risk to manage down premiums. Insurance is a partnership between businesses and insurers. This partnership can be significantly enhanced by focused engagement to understand and implement information security risk management best practice, which includes cyber insurance. Written by Simon Gilbert, Founder & Managing Director, Elmore Insurance Brokers Limited,

Frost & Sullivan forecast shows online car sales to reach 6 million by 2025

Frost & Sullivan forecast shows online car sales to reach 6 million by 2025

Online retail is rapidly disrupting dealerships as a preferred method of selling cars, with direct online sales expected to surpass 11 million by 2020 and reach 6 million by 2025, according to a report from Frost & Sullivan. 

Online sales reached in 618,000 in 2018, which was double the figure in 2017. The firm says that original equipment manufacturers are able to keep prices low, while quickly introducing the cars to market by selling directly.

“The popularity of the e-commerce model among the younger audience and the success of Tesla’s online retail strategy is likely to encourage other automakers to explore online retail beyond just pilots,” Isaac Abraham, senior consultant, automotive retail and business strategy, said in a release from Frost & Sullivan. “With the emergence of novel purchase models such as vehicle subscription and short-term leases, the dealership of the future is expected to become more experience centric.”

He said that Alibaba is expected to take the lead in China, selling through various partnerships. Hyundai is expected to launch its own in-house program in the U.K., Canada and Singapore. Meanwhile, a firm called Polestar is expected to launch a program in North America through its Volvo dealership network. 

Cover image courtesy of Frost & Sullivan.

Topics: Online Purchasing, Retail, Technology Providers, Trends / Statistics

Sponsored Links:

Related Content

Latest Content

Grab to invest $500M in Vietnam to boost payments, mobility, last-mile delivery

Grab to invest $500M in Vietnam to boost payments, mobility, last-mile delivery

Grab plans to spend $500 million to boost its food delivery, payments and ride-sharing busineses.

Grab Holdings, the Southeast Asian ride sharing, food delivery and payments app, is investing $500 million over a five-year period in Vietnam, part of a massive plan to grow the country’s digital economy and increase the level of financial inclusion among workers.

The funding will be used to expand Grab’s transport, food and payments business in Vietnam, and explore new opportunities in fintech, mobility solutions and the logistics industry. 

Grab, which has operated in the country since 2014, has grown into the leading super app in Vietnam. Grab Food has 300,000 daily orders and Grab drivers have earned more than $1 billion, while its payments partner, called Moca, has grown into one of the nation’s largest mobile payment apps. 

“We will use the investment to roll out new services in the country, such as ticketing, groceries and multi-modal solutions, and scale our transport and food business and increase the adoption of cashless payments via our partner Moca,” a spokesman told Mobile Payments Today via email. “Our investment in new mobility solutions, fintech and logistics, would either involve investing in startups holding those core competencies or investing in the development of promising solutions and services for the country.”

As part of the announcement, Grab said it will partner with Sovico Group, a Vietnamese conglomerate, to invest in logistics and mobility in order to grow first and last-mile delivery in Vietnam.

The announcement comes one month after Grab announced a similar $2 billion investment in Indonesia using funding from SoftBank. 

Cover photo: Courtesy of Grab


Topics: Financial News, In-App Payments, Mobile Apps, Mobile/Digital Wallet, Region: APAC, Restaurants, Venture Capital

Companies: Grab

Sponsored Links:

Related Content

Latest Content

Gemini crypto exchange led by Winklevoss names Damato as CSO

Gemini Trust Co., a cryptocurrency exchange led by the Winklevoss brothers, has named David Damato, the former chief security officer at Tanium, as its new CSO. 

While at Tanium, Damato was in charge of building and managing a team that handled security for major Fortune 500 companies, banks and government agencies around the world. He previously was a member of the leadership team at Mandiant, a cybersecurity firm that was later acquired by Fireeeye. 

“Security is the bedrock of our culture and Dave adds to that legacy,” Tyler Winklevoss, CEO of Gemini, said in a company release. “His depth of security knowledge and experience defending global networks will be invaluable as we continue to build the market’s most secure cryptocurrency offering.”

Geminii in June announced that it would open an engineering center in Chicago

Image courtesy of Tanium

Topics: Bitcoin, Security

Sponsored Links:

Related Content

Latest Content

Groupon Select membership launches with special discounts and perks for insiders

Groupon Select membership launches with special discounts and perks for insiders

Groupon announced the launch of Groupon Select, a membership program that gives special customer discounts and insider perks to members, for a price of $4.99 per month. 

The company said the Groupon Select program is designed to boost user engagement and increase purchase rates on a range of purchases, with special discounts of up to an additional 25% off local activities, restaurants and spas. The program provides lower discounts on other purchase categories, including 10% off trips and events. Member discounts are applied automatically and don’t need promotion codes added during checkout. 

“Groupon Select is the best way to experience Groupon today and discover even more value on local services, experiences and goods,” Rich Williams, Groupon CEO, said in a company release. 

Groupon is offering a 50% discount off a single item for existing and new Select members. 

Cover image courtesy of Groupon.

Topics: Loyalty Programs, Mobile Apps, Mobile Payments, Retail

Sponsored Links:

Related Content

Latest Content

Why the insurance industry has fallen behind on the digital highway

Why the insurance industry has fallen behind on the digital highway

By Christian Wiens, founder and CEO, Getsafe

Insurance by smartphone — younger customers today in particular want digital solutions. Insurtechs have recognized this customer need and the established insurance companies are following suit. The industry is on the verge of upheaval. The technological potential is massive, and so are the challenges.

Digitalization has reached the insurance industry later than in other sectors. The pressure is coming particularly from the customers themselves: They expect a consistently digital insurance experience, starting with the conclusion of the contract, through consulting, to the reporting and settlement of claims.

The established insurance companies are aware of these customer expectations, but consistent implementation is still missing. Most processes are still paper-based; contractual changes must be made in writing; many employees spend most of their working time on trivial copy-paste tasks. This is time-consuming and ties up resources. Repetetive work processes are also more prone to errors, as employees become tired and less able to concentrate over time.

At the same time, the potential for the use of new technologies is enormous: many customer enquiries, damage reports or data analyses could theoretically be standardized and automated – ideal prerequisites for using intelligent machines.

According to several studies by strategic consultancies, the consistent automation of manual processes and the use of new technologies could increase premium income by almost 25 percent and simultaneously reduce costs by almost 30 percent. According to experts, the greatest savings are possible in claims settlement and acquisition costs.

For most established insurers, meeting changing customer expectations and fully exploiting the potential of digitisation is a mammoth task. They are not lacking in willpower, but the hurdles are great.

On the one hand, life, health and property & casualty insurance sectors are often separated into independent legal entities, which often work with different IT systems. On the other hand, cost and competitive pressures in recent years have led to smaller insurance companies being bought up by the “big ones” without integrating the IT infrastructure. The result is a patchwork of incompatible hardware and software in which customer data cannot be exchanged within a group or across multiple departments or divisions. Under these circumstances, it is difficult to realize a digital customer experience.

In addition, most insurers work with brokers who, in turn, know their customers’ lives much better than the insurers themselves. The motor insurer knows what kind of car the customer owns, the liability insurer at least knows the family circumstances, the household contents insurer can draw conclusions about the income and assets of the customer. But even full insurers do not have an infrastructure that allows them to bundle customer data over the entire contract term and all interfaces. In particular, the question of where customers come from remains unanswered despite cooperation with brokers.

Insurtechs, on the other hand, have two decisive advantages here: they build their insurance solutions without any inherited burdens, so to speak “on a greenfield site”. Obsolete IT infrastructure, sceptical employees who act according to the motto “We’ve always done it this way” —  a foreign word in startups. Agility is the order of the day here, and while established insurers need months — if not years — to introduce new software, Insurtechs spurn reflection in favour of implementation. The (partially blind) activism of the “boys” may cause head shaking among established insurers – but it is also clear that their speed is an important strength.

Companies such as Lemonade in the USA, Bought By Many in Great Britain and Getsafe in Germany are working intensively on platforms with which they can record and analyse customer data in a structured manner. Not only do they lay the foundation for feeding self-learning algorithms with classified training data, they also manage to make the insurance experience simple, transparent and digital.

Figuratively speaking, a manoeuvrable and partly D.I.Y. sailing ship is competing against a giant steamship. The steamship has an experienced crew, well-rehearsed processes and a venerable captain who has proven his skills over many years — but the sailboat sets the pace and the course. The steamer can better withstand a storm on the high seas, but as long as the sea remains calm, it will reach its destination much later than the manoeuvrable sailboat, despite its much greater power. And: Due to its more precise data, the sailboat may not even run into the danger of a storm.

It will remain exciting to see who wins the race in the future: the steamship or the sailboat. The way data and technology is handled will be decisive. Only those who make their internal processes more efficient and at the same time meet the needs of their customers will be able to assert themselves in the markets of the future.

Cover photo: iStock











Topics: Bill Payment, Mobile Payments

Sponsored Links:

Related Content

Latest Content

Finix raises $17.5 million led by Bain to expand payments infrastructure platform

Finix Payments Inc. announced that it raised $17.5 million in Series A funding led by Bain Capital Ventures along with Insight Venture Partners, Aspect Ventures and Visa. 

The San Francisco-based payments infrastructure platform plans to use the funding to accelerate product development and sales. 

“Payments technology has reached an exciting tipping point, ” Richie Serna, founder and CEO at Finix, said in a company release, noting that Lyft, Airbnb and Mindbody have high valuations in part due to their own payments stacks. 

“Our mission is to provide the foundation for the next generation of multi-billion dollar payments businesses by empowering them to become payments facilitators in months, not years.”

Finix claims that it can help businesses become payments facilitators in as little as two months, at a fraction of the average cost of $3 million to $5 million that it costs to build a system from scratch. 

Topics: Mobile Payments

Sponsored Links:

Related Content

Latest Content

FitPay, CPI Card Group enter deal for integrated contactless payment device

CPI Card Group Inc. said it entered an agreement with FitPay to combine its Adaptives embedded contactless technology with FitPay’s contactless payment device, called Flip. 

Flip allows consumers to make purchases at millions of retail locations that accept contactless payments. Flip is linked to FitPay’s digital wallet, which allows consumers to store and manage funds from traditional bank accounts, bitcoin wallets and other payment sources. 

“Along with the shift to contactless payments, we’re also seeing an evolution in consumers’ relationships with their wallets,” Jack Jania, vice president of product management and innovation at CPI Card Group, said in a company release. “People went from paying with cash to mostly paying with cards.”


Topics: Contactless / NFC, Mobile Apps, Mobile/Digital Wallet

Sponsored Links:

Related Content

Latest Content

CurrencyCloud Raises New Capital in Series E

Currencycloud is believed to have raised around $40 million (£32 million) in the first part of a Series E funding round, Jane Connolly writes in Fintech Futures (Finovate’s sister publication).

TechCrunch reported that the London-based company, which provides an API and service for cross-border payments, plans to follow tranche one with more funding in the next two or three months.

According to TechCrunch’s sources, Goldman Sachs is rumored to be taking part, along with other possible investors GV and Santander. Currencycloud has declined to comment.

Currencycloud undertook a Series A round in 2011. The company operates across Europe, the U.S. and Canada, and includes Visa, Starling Bank, Standard Bank South Africa, Travelex and Klarna among its clients.

With offices in Amsterdam and New York, Currencycloud demonstrated its technology most recently at FinovateSpring 2018.

Facebook announces 32 job openings for blockchain

The social media giant Facebook has listed 32 job openings related to blockchain technology. The listings include programmers, financial accountants, data scientists and technology communications, according to the postings.

Facebook recently announced itsLibra cryptocurrency, which users will store on a wallet called Calibra. The job listings range from researchers to engineers to legal experts.

Congress hasrecently requested that Facebook halt development on Calibra and Libra until representatives have time to examine the products. This is due to previous privacy breaches alleged misuse by the social media company.

Topics: Bitcoin, Mobile/Digital Wallet, Regulatory Issues, Social Media

Sponsored Links:

Related Content

Latest Content

OPAL IS Launches Replatforming Guidance for Banks and Insurers

Fintech solutions developer OPAL IS, part of OPAL Group, has launched guidance for banks and insurers to replatform more efficiently. Based on the group’s 35 years of experience, OPAL IS has highlighted three key themes of which financial providers need to be aware before embarking on a replatforming in order to make it fast, cost effective and secure.

1. Keep innovation outside of the legacy system

Keep the build outside of the legacy system in a ring-fenced development area, don’t mix the two together from the start. At the very least take a hard look at the benefits of migration versus cost and risk. What is required is a step by step development over a period of time with measurable milestones, triggers and reactions to the market. This reduces complexity so the focus is on the immediate needs for new products. There is less customer disruption and lower cost and risk because there’s no change to the existing systems and no data migration initially.

We know that what financial providers want to do is to deliver client solutions digitally and at pace.

2. Understand what problem you’re trying to solve to manage risk

Look through the ‘right end of the telescope’ by being clear what problem are you trying to solve? Do you need a new platform or do you need to launch new, competitively priced, attractive products in the channels that customers want to buy them in? Understand how best to keep distribution channels happy, maintain customer service levels, all while testing, learning and retesting. If the focus is cost and risk management, for example, keep in mind that old, complex books of business with very low customer volumes are not a priority where the risks outweigh the benefits and the key problem is how to deliver new products digitally rather than worrying about migrating old books. In these situations, OPAL suggests a selective approach to replatforming.

3. Assemble a specialist team with a proven track record

In-house teams often struggle with the specialist needs of replatforming projects. Build a team that will focus on the three main drivers in developing digital platform solutions – flexibility, speed and quality of build. Building new digital platforms and replatforming existing data doesn’t have to be fraught with complexity and doomed to failure. It just needs to be fully assessed in advance and then broken down into practical and manageable sections, but doing it efficiently, on time and to budget only comes with experience.

Eoin Lyons, OPAL Group CEO, said: “The last year has seen plenty of headlines about the bad experiences of banks and insurers when building and migrating to new platforms. Despite a huge budget, some of the biggest names failed to deliver, leaving clients locked out of new systems and budgets overrunning.

We know that what financial providers want to do is to deliver client solutions digitally and at pace. However, they are not always clear how best to do that and we believe our three rules should be front of mind when embarking on a replatforming project.“

Please follow and like us:

Aurora Chain Unveils Upgradable Blockchain Network

Public blockchain Aurora Chain has published a new feature – Upgradable Block, which brings more flexibility and utility to the public chain landscape. Developers using Aurora chain will be able to enjoy the latest features that Aurora brings and reduce cases of hard forking.

Hard forking has been a prevalent issue during the blockchain industry’s short history. Bitcoin alone has more than 6 hard forks including Bitcoin Classic and Bitcoin Cash. Furthermore, the already forked Bitcoin Cash forked again last year by it’s two major mining pools, creating BCHABC and BCHSV.

While hard forks can be a good way to gain attention in social media, ultimately it lowered the utility of bitcoins and undermined its mining capability. For more up-to-date and advanced blockchains, this could potentially be catastrophic. As a result, the Aurora tech team developed a solution that can reduce this risk.

The solution requires mining agents or agent candidates to vote for upgrading the blockchain within a 14 day limit. When votes for an upgrade exceeds the total number of voting agents and agent candidates, this upgrade passes and a block height will be chosen for implementing the new upgrade.

An upgrade should include URL of the version released on Github, the version code, description of the update and md5 information of the new upgrade.

When the upgrading program on the network receives an upgrading request, it will automatically retrieve the new release and proceed to verify this version. Once the verification is successful, the test network will be activated.

“This is a major step for us, we’ve been aware of the scalability issues that the industry is facing.”

Users can try this new version on the test network. If any problems or glitches occur before the implementation of the release, the agent that requested the upgrade can put the upgrade to a halt. Until the halt is revoked, the upgrade will not be carried out even if the network reaches the agreed block height.

The solution has two smart contracts and an upgrade control:

Smart contract A manages the upgrade smart contract, which is smart contract B. It can substitute the old version of the blockchain code with the new one

Smart contract B regulates the process of voting and retrieving of an upgrade. It supervises 5 major parts of the solution:

  1. Agents and Agent node candidate votings
  2. Other mining agents or agent candidates participating in the voting process
  3. The upgrade is passed when “Yes” votes exceed 2/3 of the total number of the mining agents and agent candidates
  4. The agent that requests the upgrade can halt the upgrading process in case of emergency
  5. The agent that requests the upgrade can resume the upgrading process

Upgrading control has three purposes:

  1. To oversee the whole network, supervise the initiation, processing, and pausing/abandoning the upgrade.
  2. Monitor the communication between contract A and contract b,
  3. Optimize the concurrence of Testnet and Mainnet.

Aurora chain CEO Aqua Zhao commented:

“This is a major step for us, we’ve been aware of the scalability issues that the industry is facing. Our network is already faster than most public chains, however ‘Upgradable Blockchain’ further boosts our scalability and utility.”

Please follow and like us: