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

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

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

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

Ronald Lam, Founder & CEO at Credit Hero

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

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

Vladimir Pintea, Head of Open Banking Gateway at Salt Edge

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

Sofi to Acquire Galileo Financial Technologies

Small business revenue set to decline by nearly 60% in April
  • 37% of small businesses will run out of cash  in under six weeks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

Fintech Lenders Incentivised To Help SMEs Navigate Stimulus Packages

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

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

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

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

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

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

New readers can see 3 free articles before getting the Daily Fintech paywall. After that you will need to become a member for just US$143 a year (= $0.39 per day) and get all our fresh content and our archives and participate in our forum.

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

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

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

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

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

SBA loan platforms could be fintech’s ‘big moment’

A handful of fintech providers are bringing SBA Paycheck Protection Program loan platforms to market, a move that could be the industry’s moment to shine. “The real opportunity here is going to be the administration of loans,” said CB Insights senior research analyst Arieh Levi. “If the fintech players can prove that they’re better at …Read More

Start Your Free Week Trial Today!

Subscribe now to start your free trial and continue reading. Just $5 per week after.*

Keep Reading

*Option to choose between monthly and annual billing.

Already subscribed? Log in below.

The Importance of Financial Literacy During Uncertain Economic Times

What does it mean to be financially literate? Is it more important to be able to balance a checkbook or to understand the power of compound interest? Does a financially literate person pay down student debt or consumer debt first? And does a truly financially literate person even take on debt in the first place?

A growing number of fintechs – many of them Finovate alums you’ll meet below – have devised innovative ways to help young people in particular, become better earners, savers, spenders, and investors. The majority of these innovations leverage rewards and gamification to make the educational medicine go down easier. These strategies use everything from gift cards to actual cash to encourage users to successfully complete lessons on personal finance or watch videos on common sense money management.

As companies, these fintechs partner with financial institutions – community banks and credit unions in particular – to help make their financial literacy offerings available to their customers and members. In some instances, companies have successfully partnered with educational institutions which have used their solutions as part of their financial education curricula.

April is financial literacy month. And as the coronavirus-induced economic slowdown – and potential recession – has everyone reconsidering the stability of their financial circumstances, now seems like an especially good time to be reminded of the importance of a solid – contemporary – financial education.

As recently as last fall, Finovate audiences were ranking financial literacy among the top of fintech’s most important themes. Zogo Finance, a Durham, North Carolina-based fintech that made its Finovate debut at FinovateFall, took home a Best of Show award for its Teen Financial Literacy app. Zogo’s solution pays users cash rewards – in the form of gift cards from leading brands – for successfully completing lessons on topics such as budgeting, credit, and investing.

The platform’s more than 300 educational modules were designed by educators at Duke University and ensure that users meet national standards for financial literacy. Zogo has teamed up with more than 11 community banks and credit unions in 12 states since its inception in 2018. The company began this year announcing a new partnership with fellow Finovate alum Bankjoy.

EVERFI, a Washington, D.C.-based company founded ten years before Zogo Finance, is another recent Finovate alum that has made a commitment to promoting financial literacy. The company powers community-oriented financial education for more than 850 financial institutions and 3,500+ partners in all 50 states of the U.S., as well as in Canada and Puerto Rico.

EVERFI, which offers workplace training and other educational programs as well as financial literacy, demonstrated its Achieve solution at FinovateSpring last year. The financial wellness technology enables financial institutions to offer personalized financial education to customers, employees, as well as to small business and corporate banking clients. From savings for college to navigating the homebuying process, EVERFI’s Achieve platform offers financial education that is as relevant as it is comprehensive.

Last fall, EVERFI announced a partnership with Zelle parent Early Warning Services to provide free financial education coursework to more than 1,000 high schools and 50,000+ students. The company began this year working with the MassMutual Foundation and the Washington Wizards NBA team to host the FutureSmart Challenge – an interactive financial literacy event for middle school students. Named to Fast Company’s 2020 World’s Most Innovative Companies roster, EVERFI unveiled a new financial education website earlier this month dedicated specifically to the financial challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

Plinqit is another platform that made its Finovate debut last year and combines being an actual savings app with financial literacy features. Developed by Ann Arbor, Michigan-based HT Mobile Apps (HTMA), Plinqit leverages its Build Skills feature to pay users for engaging with its educational content. Once users sync their Plinqit account with their bank or credit union checking account and set up as many as five savings goals, Plinqit will help the user set aside a pre-determined amount of money on a customized schedule. Users can earn Plinqit cashback rewards (of approximately 1%) by reaching savings goals, referring friends and family to Plinqit, or by viewing articles and videos on personal finance and financial wellness topics.

A partnership with Arkansas-based First Community Bank ($1.5 billion in assets) put Plinqit back in the fintech headlines at the beginning of the year. The 26-branch bank teamed up with Plinqit parent company HT Mobile Apps in order to provide HTMA’s savings and financial literacy solutions to its customers. More recently, HTMA brought its financial education solutions to ChoiceOne Bank and Marquette Savings Bank.

Provo, Utah-based Banzai is another fintech oriented around financial literacy that made a major splash in its FinovateFall debut in 2018. The company picked up a Best of Show award for a demonstration of its turn-key, Community Reinvestment Act-eligible solution to enable organizations to add personal finance-based educational content – including interactive online simulations – to their websites.

Partnerships with community banks and credit unions enable Banzai to offer its financial literacy solution free of charge. The company provides three tiered courses for youth – Junior, Teen, and Plus – to ensure that the information provided and real-world scenarios are age-relevant and appropriate. Banzai’s curriculum has been used by 60,000 teachers across the U.S. and can be accessed from desktops, tablets, and mobile devices, as well.

In launching a new financial education resource for adults last fall, Banzai Coach, the company made a significant addition to its financial literacy offerings. Banzai Coach provides adult users with financial advice and instruction on how to get out of debt, how to manage basic business finances, and how to maximize their tax-advantaged investments such as retirement accounts, health savings accounts (HSA), and flexible spending accounts (FSA).

“Kids in schools love knowing that their decisions in the game actually have an impact,” Banzai’s Bryce Peterson wrote on the company’s blog announcing the availability of Banzai Coach. “As adults, we have quite the opposite concern: just about every decision we make has some kind of impact we didn’t predict or control.” profits from hospitality layoffs and interest rates

Laid-off hospitality workers can start new careers as loan officers with The digital mortgage lender plans to hire 1,000 new employees this year and is targeting hospitality workers who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 crisis.   To, hospitality workers will make good loan officers because they are calm under pressure and …Read More

Start Your Free Week Trial Today!

Subscribe now to start your free trial and continue reading. Just $5 per week after.*

Keep Reading

*Option to choose between monthly and annual billing.

Already subscribed? Log in below.

SoFi acquires Galileo for $1.2B

SoFi, a San Francisco-based lending and investment fintech, is buying Galileo Financial Technologies Inc. for $1.2 billion in cash and stock.

Galleo is one of the largest digital payments platforms and APIs in the world, powering fintechs ranging from challenger bank Chime to e-commerce delivery provider Shipt and U.K.-based remittance firm Transferwise. 

Galileo processed more than $53 billion in annualized payments in March, more than double the $26 billion in volume in September 2019. 

“SoFi has established itself as a leader in the fintech sector, providing our more than one million members a full array of financial products to help them get their money right,” Anthony Noto, CEO of SoFi said in a company release. “The response by our members to our innovation across borrowing, saving, spending and investing has motivated us to think bigger, bolder and more expansively given the insatiable consumer appetite for financial services innovation.”

Galileo will continue to operate as an independent brand under SoFi ownership. CEO Clay Wilkes said that the deal envisions offering a full suite of financial products through its enterprise class APIs. 

“We’re excited to work with SoFi to build on the services that have made Galileo the leading supplier of infrastructure services to leading financial, technology and fintech companies,” Wilkes said in the release. “With the help of SoFi, we intend to continue to grow with and support all of our existing clients and the product roadmaps that they have defined.”

The deal is subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions. 

Topics: Mobile/Digital Wallet, Software, Mergers & Acquisitions, Mobile Payments, Mobile Apps

Companies: Chime, Galileo Processing

Sponsored Links:

Related Content

Latest Content

Payroll Company Paylocity Acquires Video Platform Provider

HR and payroll software solutions provider Paylocity made an acquisition today that will bring the company into the COVID-19 era. The Chicago, Illinois-based company announced it has purchased video platform provider VidGrid for an undisclosed amount.

Paylocity made the purchase to reinforce its services with VidGrid’s peer-to-peer learning courses. The company expects that adding workplace video communication tools will boost employee collaboration, engagement, and retention.

“We believe video will play a critical role in transforming workplace communication,” said Paylocity CEO Steve Beauchamp.

Today’s acquisition stems from Paylocity’s previous partnership with VidGrid that powered Paylocity’s learning management system (LMS), a tool that enables clients to learn from interactive videos featuring subject matter experts. “As part of our product expansion, we introduced our Learning Management System and worked with VidGrid to provide learning opportunities that the modern workforce expects,” Beauchamp said. “VidGrid’s approach aligns with our culture of caring deeply for our clients and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome their talented and innovative team to Paylocity.”

The acquisition– Paylocity’s first– comes at a time when traditionally in-person consultations and services have been pushed to online channels in order to comply with social distancing requirements. Secure video communications channels have proven to be invaluable during the COVID-19 era. Many experts are predicting consumers’ habits to pursue services online instead of in-person to continue even after it is once again deemed safe to gather in person.

Founded in 1997, Paylocity has more than 3,300 employees, more than 60% of whom work remotely (this was, of course, before everyone was required to do so). The company has more than 20,000 clients and 2,200 partners. Paylocity is publicly traded on NASDAQ under the ticker PCTY with a market capitalization of $4.71 billion.

SoFi acquires Galileo for $1.2B to broaden reach

In a year of major fintech acquisitions, SoFi today announced a $1.2 billion deal to acquire Galileo, a financial services API and payments platform that powers big names like Chime and Robinhood.  “Together with Galileo, we will partner to build on our companies’ strengths to drive even greater financial technology innovation, making those products and …Read More

Start Your Free Week Trial Today!

Subscribe now to start your free trial and continue reading. Just $5 per week after.*

Keep Reading

*Option to choose between monthly and annual billing.

Already subscribed? Log in below.

Kabbage Collaborates with Facebook to Back Retailers During the COVID Crisis

One of the most immediate impacts of the worldwide effort to combat the COVID-19 virus is social distancing. And however effective social distancing is in limiting the ability of the coronavirus to spread, it is equally effective in crushing the revenues of businesses large and small.

To help small businesses in the retail sector cope with this challenge, small business cash flow solution provider Kabbage has partnered with Facebook. Together, the two companies will help merchants continue to generate revenue at a time when their customers – for sound reasons based on public health – are largely staying away.

Via the partnership, small businesses can sign up on a new website sponsored by Kabbage: This will enable them to sell online gift certificates through Kabbage’s KabbagePayments portal and automatically list them on Facebook. These offers will be visible to Facebook users through their Facebook mobile app; Facebook users can then purchase gift certificates from the website.

The integration makes it easy for small businesses to sell online gift certificates and place them where they are most likely to be seen by consumers increasingly resorting to online shopping in lieu of traveling to brick and mortar stores. It’s also a way for consumers to support their favorite retailers.

“Now with the powerful reach of Facebook, small business owners have greater opportunity to share gift certificate offers to the community that rely upon them,” Kabbage CEO Rob Frohwein said. “Small businesses are the most impacted in this crisis and this is one way Kabbage is applying its technology and resources to save them.”

The initiative with Facebook is only a small part of Kabbage’s participation in the effort to help SMEs survive the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. The company is one of many helping facilitate relief funding to SMEs via the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The PPP provides funding up to 2.5x average monthly payroll, and the SBA forgives the portion of the loan that is used for critical business operations such as payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities if all employees are kept on staff. Kabbage reports that it has received more than 37,000 applications for the PPP, totaling more than $3.5 million.

“The smallest businesses in America are always the hardest hit, the most vulnerable, and the most in need when a crisis strikes, and together with our bank partner, we are working tirelessly to support them,” Frohwein said.

Founded in 2009 and headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Kabbage has been a Finovate alum since 2010 when the company debuted its Kabbage Loan at FinovateSpring.

Citi expands COVID-19-related waivers, deferrals

Citi expands COVID-19-related waivers, deferrals

Citi is launching a program to expand its COVID-19 assistance to retail customers and small businesses, beyond initial fee waivers announced in early March. 

The bank will provide an expanded number of fee waivers and forbearance programs for customers, according to a press release.

“As COVID-19’s impact to customers, small businesses and industries grows across the country, we are expanding our assistance measures to support our customers and reassure them that we are here to help should they need it,” said Anand Selva, CEO of Citi’s U.S. Consumer Bank, in the release. “We stand with our customers at this difficult time and will continue to do our part to support the individuals and communities impacted.”

The additional assistance includes :

  • Fee waivers on safe deposit boxes and non-Citi ATM fees. Waivers on monthly service fees and early withdrawal from CDs are being extended until May 8.
  • Waivers on late fees and minimum payment deferrals on credit cards for next two months. The accounts will be reported as current to credit agencies unless the account was previously delinquent. 
  • Fee waivers on remote deposit capture and monthly service charges and waivers for early CD withdrawal will be extended for small business customers.
  • Customers may also be eligible for waivers on mortgages, student loans and credit cards as well.

Topics: Coronavirus / COVID-19

Companies: Citi

Sponsored Links:

Related Content

Latest Content

Basler Insurance Germany Launches Free Child-Cover, Built By KASKO in Four Days
  • German COVID-19 lockdown measures have left 13.6 million children who would be at school at home with their families 

  • Basler Insurance Germany, in its second project with London-headquartered InsurTech as a Service startup KASKO, has added cover for these children to existing home insurance customers in Germany

  • Basler Group has 2m policyholders, that with children, could benefit from the new extended cover

  • KASKO has built and launched over 60 products for more than 20 insurers in eight countries since founding in 2015. 

KASKO, the London InsurTech company changing the way Insurance incumbents and startups scale faster bringing new products and customer journeys to market in a fraction of the time previously needed, has announced its latest partner product launch for Basler Insurance Germany. The German insurance company’s latest product is a free addition for existing policyholders to cover children now at home through the day.
Basler’s Christoph Willi, a member of the executive board, approached KASKO on Thursday as it required the startup’s agile approach and proven track record to provide its customers with the needed cover in a time of huge change for people and their ways of living and working. In four working days, KASKO built the new offering which launched today for 2m current Basler customers. All current customers with children can sign up to add cover for any accidents or injuries sustained by the now study-and-play-from-home children aged 0-18 in Germany.
Nikolaus Suehr, Co-Founder and CEO of KASKO commented, “It is great to be able to help our partner go the extra mile, we believe in the extra service they are providing for so many people at difficult times, they came to us on Thursday afternoon, and we were able to deliver a smooth go-live without missing a step on Wednesday (less than a week). Modern technology aside, the key ingredient here was the willingness by Basler to make rapid decisions that usually would have taken weeks, not hours.”
With the holdups of legacy IT for insurers, designing, building, testing and deploying new insurance products, or digitising previously on-paper offerings is a process that would take around 18 months. In a climate in which everyone’s lifestyles and working environments changed in a fortnight, insurers, like all other industries and service providers, have to adapt to look after and retain their customers. Basler recognised a need for its customers and an opportunity to help those that need it, the customers that have switched overnight from going to the office to working at home and caring for children that legally cannot leave the house or go to school.
Christoph Willi, member of the executive board Basler Insurance Germany added that “With the current global pandemic altering the lives of billions around the world, we had two things to do at Basler. One was to ensure the safe and efficient transition of our colleagues and families to a new way of doing things. The second was to adapt quickly and to provide more for our customers with a potential gap in cover for their children in a time of change and difficulty we all share a role in. Government legislation and international efforts to combat this situation have meant that millions of children have stopped going to school or out to play, we were all children and many of us have children, and accidents happen. We approached KASKO last week to see what was possible, and in less than a week, we can provide the cover that people and their families across Germany need.” 
The offering from Basler will be available to current customers for free until the 15th of May 2020.

‘The Digital Currency Revolution’

A new report from the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation (CSFI) by David Birch

PDF here

Like others, the CSFI is going virtual for the duration of the coronavirus lockdown; But we have a couple of reports ready to go – and the current unpleasantness shouldn’t affect their relevance.

The first is a paper by David GW Birch – co-founder of Consult Hyperion (one of the UK’s leading fintech consultancies), a visiting professor at the University of Surrey and a prolific author, most recently of Before Babylon, Beyond Bitcoin (a polymathic excursion through the history of currencies). He is (and has been for a long time) a committed advocate for the abolition of cash, and for a transition to digital currencies – whether they be state-issued fiat currencies or competing private currencies. In this report, he looks at what the Bank of England is saying and what the PBoC is doing – and he concludes that we risk being left behind.

That said, he gives great credit to the former Governor of the BoE, Mark Carney, who (he feels) was well ahead of the curve – at least as far as central bankers were concerned. As he puts it:

‘When people such as Mark Carney start talking about synthetic hegemonic currencies, we must conclude that something is afoot. I think that people underestimate the impact of digital currency – and look at innovation by Facebook when they should be looking at the People’s Bank of China.’

(The innovation by Facebook is, obviously, Libra – or, as Dave calls it, ‘Facebucks’.)

This paper sets out what a digital currency is (and how it differs from cryptocurrency), explains why there is a focus on digital currency right now, and explores the implications of the launch of digital currencies – whether by Bitcoin entrepreneurs or by the Fed. It ends with a call for a co-ordinated strategic response based on innovative policies on digital money, digital identity and digital diligence.

Tomorrow morning the CSFI will publish a video debate with Dave Birch that addresses many of the topics covered in this report. Keep an eye on our Twitter, Youtube, and Instagram pages for more information.

For more information, please contact:

Demand for real-time payments rises amid COVID-19 pressure

The demand for real-time payments has taken on a new urgency in recent weeks. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed enormous pressure on consumers and small businesses struggling to generate income as public health concerns force travel, retail shopping and billions of dollars in business activity to a halt. 

The need to access immediate funds has forced businesses and individuals to leverage various means of moving funds across town and across borders to provide the basic necessities of every day living and business continuity. 

“In the U.S. particularly we are seeing a heightened interest in the speed of money movement,” Bridget Hall, principal product manager, real-time payments at ACI Worldwide, told Mobile Payments Today via email.

She sid that in early April, bill payments were a major concern by many consumers and small businesses and there were also pending issues with disbursement payments, including social security, government assistance and other financial aid. The urgency created by the pandemic means that reducing the amount of time need to convert a paper check into available funds is critical for many.

“This need to move money quickly and accurately is not a new concept, but the number of people who can relate to this need is definitely going to increase with the impacts of COVID-19,” she said.

A report issued last week by ACI shows that real-time payments were expected to surge over the next few years, with more than half a trillion transactions and a compound annual growth rate of 23% between 2019 and 2024. 

India is expected to lead that growth going from 15.3 billion transactions in 2019 to 52.8 billion by 2024, with strong growth in countries like Malaysia, Finland and Belgium. The U.S. is expected to see CAGR of 42% from 734 million transactions in 2019 to 4.2 billion transactions by 2024.

Officials at Zelle, a P2P money transfer service, is already seeing a shift in payments due to the impact of COVID-19 on consumer demand.

“Given the state of the world today and recommendations from health authorities to stay inside, we are seeing a decrease in social-related transactions and an increase in consumers leveraging Zelle in paying back neighbors for groceries and sending money to loved ones in need,” according to a spokesperson for Early Warning, the parent company of Zelle. “In addition, our financial institution partners are encouraging customers to leverage their online and mobile banking features, which include sending and receiving money through Zelle.”

European pressure

Nick Maynard, lead analyst at Juniper research told Mobile Payments Today, that he wasn’t sure if demand for real-time payments has changed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. He said that overall B2B payments have likely declined due to reduced business activity in recent weeks. However he added that supplier payments have likely been impacted as some will face a slowdown in payments, others will not be paid at all and some will see an increase in movement. 

He noted that Morrisons, a U.K. supermarket chain committed to 48-hour faster payments in order to help smaller suppliers during the crisis. Morrisons said the move would help out local food suppliers and farmers impacted by the outbreak. 

Central bank settlement

Just within the last few days, Sweden’s central bank — Sveriges Riksbank — joined the European Central Bank’s instant settlement program called the TARGET Instant Payment Settlement, which allows settlement of electronic payments in Swedish krona. 

“In crisis times, this agreement is a good example of strong cooperation between central banks in Europe,” ECB President Christine Lagarde said in a release from the agency. “Our real-time settlement platform is a pivotal contribution to Europe’s endeavors to satisfy citizens’ increasing demand for faster, cheaper and convenient payment services without compromising on security.”

A spokesperson for the ECB said that 30 countries participated in the instant settlement program, which allows 3,800 institutions to indirectly participate in the real-time payments system. 

Sweden is considered one of the leading proponents of real-time payments, with an average of 1.5 million instant payment transactions per day. 

A spokesman for Sveriges Riksbank said the country had previously announced plans to join the bank back in 2018 and was not immediately motivated by the COVID-19 outbreak. The country’s RIX-INST service is expected to be online by the spring of 2022. 

Cover image: iStock

Pay By Text
Pay By TextPublication Type:

Published / Updated:

Increase your rate of response by allowing customers to send payments via text

Pay by text allows your business to send payment reminders, accept payments and send receipts to your customer’s mobile devices.


Simplify How You Bill and Collect Payments. Any Method, Anytime, Anywhere
Fully integrated payment capture and processing solution that improves payment collections.

Visit Company Showcase »

Creating Consumer Centric and Compliant Payment Solutions in the Text Channel
Creating Consumer Centric and Compliant Payment Solutions in the Text ChannelPublication Type:
White Paper

Published / Updated:

Consumer behavior has shifted significantly. Consumers are increasingly conducting much of their activities digitally and on mobile devices. In a recent CFPB survey, over the last 3 years, the use of mobile devices to conduct financial transactions have more than doubled. 60% of consumers use their mobile device to accomplish financial transactions. This trend will continue to increase, as consumers under the age of 25 use their mobile device for over 80% of financial transactions.

Ultimately, consumers value choice, convenience and control over their communications preferences. The mobile device meets this need and text messaging gives the consumer the ultimate control over when and how to communicate. Consumers user their mobile phone to accomplish more text messages than phone calls. With this shift in consumer behavior, it is important to understand the intricacies with communicating in a consumer centric and compliant manner within this text channel.


Simplify How You Bill and Collect Payments. Any Method, Anytime, Anywhere
Fully integrated payment capture and processing solution that improves payment collections.

Visit Company Showcase »

Maintain Business Continuity with Digital Payment SolutionsFor
Maintain Business Continuity with Digital Payment SolutionsForPublication Type:
White Paper

Published / Updated:

Does your business have an effective business continuity plan to deal with a crisis?

The COVID-19 Crisis has highlighted the importance of having an effective business continuity plan, and payments collection is a critical capability that must be evaluated within this plan. A payment business continuity kit can provide solutions that mitigate risks while preparing your business for the future. The payment business continuity kit is composed of solutions that are driven through self-service or e-commerce channels, PCI-compliant and secure, and accessible to your customers.



Simplify How You Bill and Collect Payments. Any Method, Anytime, Anywhere
Fully integrated payment capture and processing solution that improves payment collections.

Visit Company Showcase »