Drive Revenue and Enhance Customer Service Using Identity Tokenization

Did you know that phone numbers work as a primary customer identifier for 70%* of Fortune 100 companies?

Phone numbers have gradually phased out traditional identifiers such as national identification numbers and emerged as a new way to identify individuals and small businesses. From mobile banking to virtually all digital native services, phone numbers are now a primary attribute connecting PII data, user profiles, and access devices. However, 50%* of identity records in these companies carry either stale phone numbers or, worse, no phone numbers at all. Inaccurate identity data severely hampers customer service experience for consumer-facing enterprises like banks and digital natives. Enterprises need to not only cleanse their identity verification sources but also keep them continuously updated.

Identity tokenization can enhance digital servicing by improving customer service while ensuring data privacy.

A Microsoft survey states that 72% of customers expect customer service agents to know their contact and product information and service history right from the moment they start engaging with a brand. Here’s why this task becomes a challenge for organizations:

Poor-Quality Identity Data: Customer-related incomplete and stale personal information leads to data quality issues. Customers may provide insufficient information if the onboarding process is unsatisfactory. As phone numbers and addresses may change during the customer lifecycle, organizations must update such changes to prevent stale identity data.

Fragmented Identity Data: Fragmented identity data across umpteen applications and a lack of coherence in architecture and integration between customer touchpoints and identity sources adversely impact customer service.

Stale Data Increases Exposure to Fraud: Data from the FCC shows that over 35 million phone numbers in the US are disconnected and reassigned to a new subscriber every year. Reassigned numbers expose the original owners to a high level of fraud since privacy-sensitive services such as banking and instant messaging are connected to phone numbers.

Poor customer experience, higher operational costs, high risk of fraud, and loss of revenue are the direct consequences of bad customer identity data.

Tokenizing Identity to Beat Customer Service Challenges

Identity tokenization beats challenges arising out of fragmented and poor-quality customer data. It enables a single point of reference to recognize and authenticate customer identities across multiple parts of a customer journey.

Tokenizing identity requires creating a reliable repository of identity tokens that contain the contact information and personal details of customers. Missing or stale contact information and identity data are added or updated, creating a clean database of PII records. An automated process regularly updates the token registry and records changes to personal information, including phone numbers, fetched from multiple verified sources. Customer service applications and service automation tools across business lines in an enterprise can integrate with this registry that houses true identity data.

Here’s how tokenizing identity can benefit organizations:

Improved Customer Experience: A single source of true identity ensures an omnichannel experience for consumers in customer service interactions. Call centers can reduce average handle time and digital banking channels can greenlight more customers. With a higher level of confidence in contact data, organizations can streamline periodic customer communication. Companies can be more confident about their targeted offers reaching the intended audience.

Accelerated Revenue Generation: The accuracy of personal and contact information that a tokenized registry provides can improve cross-selling and upselling to existing customers by accelerating the origination process in digital channels. Delightful customer experiences, higher engagement, and clear communication can prevent attrition, thereby improving customer lifetime value (CLTV). Research done by SiriusDecisions shows that companies with “high data quality management” generated 66% more revenue than companies with insufficient data quality strategies.

Clean, tokenized identity data significantly reduces the risk of identity fraud. Higher confidence levels can help enterprises improve pass rates, thereby plugging revenue leakage.

OPEX Savings: A single repository of identity tokens for all business lines and operating channels can enable organizations to consolidate their identity authentication application landscape and reduce operating costs. It also helps rationalize the identity and authentication architecture and standardize customer service operating models, both delivering higher efficiency gains. Moreover, better pass rates for assisted service channels like the call center can be translated to lower personnel costs.

*Source: Prove proprietary research based on public data available from Fortune 100 companies and Prove proprietary data.

This article is a synopsis of a blog published by Prove.

Marble Columns and Consumer Trust: How Banks Can Outflank Fintechs

Banks are facing a lot of pressure to compete with fintechs and neobanks on price-critical services. In light of this, banks should stop trying to compete with their digital contemporaries in games they cannot win – they’ll never be as agile. Instead, banks have a rare opportunity to overtake fintechs and dominate in a new industry, non-governmental identity attestation, by using one of their oldest and most valuable assets: trust.

Astyanax Kanakakis is the CEO and Co-founder of norbloc, a regulated data networks company focusing on revolutionising the currently antiquated KYC processes with blockchain. Here he shares his thoughts on banks and consumer trust.

Astyanax Kanakakis, CEO and Co-founder of norbloc

From their inception, banks have succeeded and failed based on the trust of their customers. Earning this is not easy, and a robust reputation can take decades or even centuries to build. Trustworthiness drives everything a bank does; as a form of currency, it was originally based on building branches with as much marble as was architecturally feasible; in modern times it is demonstrated by advertising attractive solvency ratios and capitalisation levels.

In line with this, financial institutions offer two types of services. The first type is trust-critical, such as underwriting of debt or equity issuance. Savings accounts and trade financing (LoCs) are also trust-based. The second category is price-critical services, which include foreign exchange and lending.

Today, so-called ‘traditional’ banks face enormous pressure on price-critical services from fintechs and neo banks. These smaller, more agile institutions enjoy lower operating costs due to modern IT architecture and a lack of physical premises, and in many cases, lower regulatory provisions.

Despite competition on price-critical services, trust-critical services have shown remarkable resilience and stickiness for the traditional banking sector. Banks are capitalising on those, but they have an opportunity to outflank the fintech upstarts by expanding into a new area: physical and legal identity attestation.

Identity Attestation

An ‘identity’, in this context, is a set of attributes that collectively, adequately, and uniquely describe their owner. Once a party has confirmed the identity of an individual or organisation, they can be said to attest to it. The role of attestation – vouching for a person’s identity – has historically fallen to government institutions. The government is widely trusted, and it has a vested interest in controlling identities for tax collection purposes.

However, in today’s fast-moving and increasingly decentralised world, identities have begun to develop outside the bounds of state authorities. While libertarian thinkers may attribute this to political ideology, the reality is that it is a function of necessity and market demand. The limiting factor of non-state attestation is the lack of gravitas: I could probably use my LinkedIn profile to attest to my identity at a conference, for example, but not for anything with a legal significance.

This is where banks provide the missing piece of the puzzle for distributed, non-governmental identity attestation. They are trusted institutions that already have experience performing attestation-related functions through the legally regulated ‘know-your-customer’ process, which is designed to prevent financial crime. Yet banks have not capitalised on this function in monetary, reputational, or societal terms. It’s time to change that.

The solution

There are two ways that banks could attest identities: individually or collectively.

Independently attesting to the identity of their customers is of limited use for banks, as the lack of a unified format for the information makes sharing difficult. More importantly, individual attestation could produce multiple identities for the same entity, especially if one institution has made a mistake in its review process.

The second option, collective attestation, is clearly superior. This concept involves institutions working in concert to attest to the identities of their customers. Given the distribution of responsibility, they can also offer customers a direct view of their identity data and how it is used and distributed across the ecosystem. Any change in a person’s data is propagated to all parties with access to the data, ensuring that no institution is working from old information.

A distributed solution takes longer to set up, as it demands inter-institution alignment on identity contents and attestation procedures, but after this initial investment, it will begin to pay significant dividends. With version control and agreement upon a common format for identity, the customer experience would be markedly improved, as would regulatory compliance and process speed. There is even the potential to financialise the process by charging a fee to validate identity, creating significant monetisation opportunities for banks.

This solution is in essence a distributed KYC network, and it has long been the holy grail of the compliance sector. However, until recently, such a system has not been technologically feasible. Norbloc has changed that and brought the solution to market in the form of our FIDES platform.

Distributed KYC is now a reality. FIDES is currently functioning in the UAE, with 11 institutions using it. One-third of the 300,000 customer corporate identities they handle are already on board and shared across the participating institutions.

Banks should stop trying to compete with their digital contemporaries in games they cannot win – they’ll never be as agile. Instead, banks have a chance to overtake fintechs and dominate a new non-governmental identity attestation industry by using one of their most valuable and oldest assets: trust.

  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

DivideBuy: How Fintech Innovation Has Transformed Interest-Free Credit

Interest-free payments have taken the UK economy by storm. As the use of credit cards begins to whither, and as the interest-free credit sector measures out its expanding £10 billion worth, the transfer of goods and services has never seemed so seamless. 

James Bradley, Director of Sales and Business Development, DivideBuyJames Bradley, Director of Sales and Business Development, DivideBuy
James Bradley, Director of Sales and Business Development, DivideBuy

James Bradley is Director of Sales and Business Development at leading LendTech, DivideBuy, which offers integrated interest-free lending solutions for retailers. In this article, he explores how the interest-free instalment credit model has been reinvented for the digital age and is opening up a new world of opportunities for merchants:

Thanks to fintech, new generations of consumers are taking advantage of the flexibility, affordability and convenience of interest-free payment, and merchants are reaping financial and operational benefits.

The arrival of fintech players and their innovative approaches to traditional forms of financing has revolutionised instalment payments, which were considered to be a rather “unsexy” form of finance until recently. The use of data analysis, automated Know Your Customer (KYC) and credit scoring processes have enabled fintechs to solve several pain points for merchants and to open up new growth opportunities.

The latest statistics show that just in the UK alone, the interest-free credit sector’s value is worth nearly £10 billion – and that’s just accounting for only 5% of all eCommerce in the UK. Even though this sector is in a nascent growth stage, these figures should be enough to whet the appetite for any merchant. The sector is set to grow by a staggering 175% to be worth £26.8 billion by 2024. 

Usage of interest-free instalment credit products almost quadrupled during 2020 and is now at £2.7 billion in the UK. People were already flocking to eCommerce even before pandemic-driven lockdowns drove up online sales even further, and over five million people have used interest-free credit since the pandemic began, a rise of 9% from 2019.

Although credit cards continue to be a popular way of spreading out payments because of the consumer protections they offer, interest-free instalment payments are proving to be far more attractive to consumers and merchants. In fact, nearly a quarter of consumers (23%) are using interest-free payment solutions to help meet their financial and budgeting needs. This usage of interest-free credit solutions is also not restricted to just the younger generation of shoppers that it’s associated with.

The shift in consumer behaviour caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, specifically the move toward eCommerce as the main customer channel, has resulted in members of all age groups taking advantage of the financial freedom that interest-free credit can provide. Additionally, the increased usage of digital commerce platforms has led many consumers to research how they’re spending their money online, resulting in the most well-informed group of digital consumers ever seen. 

Why Interest-Free Credit Appeals to so Many Consumers

What makes interest free credit payment so appealing is that it solves several pressure points in merchant conversion rates, credit risk and customer financing, including lack of fee transparency, credit risk and consumer wariness of credit cards with high APRs. 

By offering affordable equal payments through integrated technology platforms, merchants can speed up and streamline the approval and customer application process. The use of smart risk and credit scoring algorithms can instantly determine risk for both the merchant and the customer. In some cases, customers can be approved for interest-free instalments at the moment they buy at the merchant’s in-store point of sale or online checkout. And the beauty is that even if there are any affordability issues, the merchant is protected. 

Many solutions offer the customer a choice in how they want to pay in full, such as full payment after 30 days, a number of interest-free instalments over a set period of time, or for customers willing to spread the cost over a longer timeframe, they have the flexibility to choose a repayment period to suit their finances and basket size. 

For merchants, there are countless benefits to working with an innovative credit provider, such as receiving payment for goods or services sold as soon as the order has been placed or delivered. All the while the customer retains the ability to spread the purchase in a clear, affordable way – and one that explicitly indicates exactly how much they need to repay and when. Giving customers the choice over how and when they pay, without racking up interest or hidden fees, empowers customers to feel in control of their finances.

Perhaps most importantly for the modern consumer, some of the latest platforms are trending toward using ‘soft-search’ protocols for credit checks. Short-term credit facilities have long been associated with lowering a consumer’s credit score. The ability to apply and be approved based on a non-recorded ‘soft-search’ is a critical tool for convincing consumers that the new wave of flexible finance options are not just accessible, but also safe to use for those looking to retain a good credit score. It’s undeniable that interest-free credit options are disrupting consumer buying, both in the bricks-and-mortar and online spaces, and marks yet another revolutionary advance made by fintech players. 

For eCommerce merchants, by integrating interest-free credit options seamlessly into their online payment page, they can give customers a frictionless payment experience that will encourage repeat custom. One of the most common reasons for cart abandonment is price – by spreading the cost interest-free, merchants can increase average basket sizes through increased cross-sell opportunities.

Consumer Education Is Key To Sustainable Success

It’s clear that the sector is going to take a much larger share of online and in-store retail payments over the next few years, and merchants are at risk of losing out on a lucrative revenue stream.

This surge in usage is not without its challenges, however, particularly with regulators paying close attention to sector standards. Younger consumers, in particular, may not have the money management experience of their elders and may be more likely to miss payments. In February 2021, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority announced it would introduce new rules for the interest-free credit sector, to head off fears about growing debt levels.

But responsible lenders recognise that their success is only sustainable if they are transparent with their customers. It’s vital that providers educate their customers about responsible money management, debt advice and affordability.

  • Tyler is a Fintech Junior Journalist with specific interests in Online Banking and emerging AI technologies. He began his career writing with a plethora of national and international publications.

Aligned With UEFA’s EURO 2020 Championship, Yapily Announces Its Euros Open Banking League

Yapily, the Open Banking infrastructure provider, have aligned their new data release with the Euros Championship kick-off. The data reveals the UK, Ireland and Germany outscore the opposition in their adoption of Open Banking in the EU Open Banking league table.

The league table – based on data compiled in 2021 by Yapily through its EU-wide Open Banking API infrastructure and monitoring tools – reveals that while parts of the EU are making positive strides to drive Open Banking adoption and are on track to evolve into Open Finance, others are far behind and missing their scoring opportunity.

Each country has been ranked based on levels of supervision and enforcement by the member state, the presence of Open Banking from a technical standard, regulator interpretation, API standards and bank readiness, and overall product score. Yapily has also shared regulatory insight on where and how each country can positively improve their overall score and ranking.

Listed below are some notable countries making unique strides in the Open Banking Space according to Yapily’s league table:

UK (1st place)

– The UK comes out on top as the leading adopter of Open Banking, with it’s clear functionality and widespread mandating of interesting features, such as Bulk Payments and Variable Recurring Payments.

Germany (3rd place)

– Germany ranks high with its strong regulatory supervision and use of the Berlin Group’s API – the most prescriptive after UK Open Banking. However Germany has low guidance around the implementation of Open Banking and needs more support on issuing regulatory guidelines around user journeys and customer authentication.

Italy (joint 7th place)

– Italy has low supervision of Open Banking standards and a premature regulatory response. It does however use the Berlin Group standard, so its API implementation is good, but with some bespoke flows. We could see Italy move up the rankings fast by expanding their single domestic payments and going international.

Denmark (joint 7th place)

– Denmark has good regulatory supervision with some guidance provided around implementation, but with no Open Banking regulator, they can’t currently centralise technical standards. However, with a strong appetite for Open Banking, we expect Denmark will roll out a governing body in the next few years.

Portugal (8th place)

– Open Banking is currently one of the regulator’s priorities and the industry has positively supported this development. While it’s heading in the right direction, it’s not quite there yet with its adoption.

Iceland (11th place), Greece (12th place), and Hungary (13th place)

– Languishing at the bottom of the league table, Iceland, Greece, and Hungary don’t currently see Open Banking as a regulatory priority. To support the development of an Open Banking ecosystem, these countries should focus on opening up their markets to fintechs for disruption. Consumers need to get used to modern technologies. So, regulators need to concentrate on lowering barriers to entry.

Open Banking usage has increased significantly since the start of the pandemic. In the UK alone, the OBIE reports that over 3 million consumers now use Open Banking-enabled products and services to improve their financial wellbeing, and more and more countries are harnessing the power of Open Banking to enable better and fairer financial services.

But while the market has a rough idea of who is winning the metaphorical league and who is missing the net, no-one really knows what the actual picture looks like across Europe. Or what this means for the future of Open Banking adoption. Yapily’s EU Open Banking league table provides this comprehensive overview of the market.

Andria Evripidou, Policy Lead at Yapily comments on the data, “The league table demonstrates the positive impact Open Banking adoption has across markets and highlights that the ecosystem as a whole, is on the right path to offering fairer financial services for everyone.

“While some countries have a bigger presence, over the next few years, we will start to see standardised technical requirements that map customer journeys across all countries and better educate industries on Open Banking, as well as the direction of the ecosystem.

“Ultimately, all countries are working towards a common goal – to evolve with Open Finance – and at Yapily, we’re excited to watch the rest of Europe dive forward with this innovation.”

  • Francis is a junior journalist with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

Bitcoin fans had a dream about Institutional money that turned out to be a nightmare

Many Bitcoin fans dreamt that Legacy Finance Institutions would lead the way to mainstream adoption of Bitcoin.

This dream was the narrative that drove the last Bitcoin bull market. Now that we maybe in a Bitcoin bear market, that dream has turned out to be a nightmare.

Daily Fintech subscribers were told HOW this crypto-in a-suit bull market would end. If I could have told you precisely WHEN it would end Daily Fintech would be charging subscribers $143 per second not per day. In hindsight it is obvious that the day Coinbase went public and joined the Fintech 50 Index would mark the end of the bull market (to kaching sounds as Institutions sold COIN and BTC to retail investors).

I think there will be another Bitcoin bull market – I am a long term bull. I do NOT know when it will start. I do know that the narrative of the next Bitcoin bull market will be opposite of the previous bull market:

Bull market 1 in 2013. Cypherpunks, Anarchists & Libertarians (more interested in “sticking it to the man”than making money) created the early traction that got Bitcoin from an obscure message board to the possibility of game-changing innovation. The dramatic price rises brought in Retail Speculators hoping for a quick buck to recover from the 2008 depression)

Bull market 2 in 2017. Retail Speculators. Sticking  it to the man was not high on the agenda. This brought in new capital and excited the Legacy Finance Institutions who drove the next bull market.

Bull market 3 in late 2020/early 2021. Institutions & Governments aka “the man”. This was when the Cyperpunks, Anarchists & Libertarians were thrown into the dustbin of history and the speculators are told to grow up and trust in the products sold by Legacy Finance.

The crypto-in a-suit bull market ended because Legacy Finance Institutions exist at the pleasure of Governments, so when regulators take action against Bitcoin the Institutions are vulnerable to pressure. A few whales could trigger a bear market, knowing that Governments acting would deepen the price decline.

The narrative of the next bull market will be the opposite of the recently ended crypto-in a-suit bull market. The Cypherpunks, Anarchists & Libertarians from 2013 will cheer from the sidelines but the Bull Market 4 narrative will be “First the Rest then the West” about billions of people interested in Bitcoin to help them “put food on the table”.

Daily Fintech articulated this “First the Rest then the West” Path To Mainstream Adoption 2 years ago. We are seeing signs of this in countries such as Venezuela and El Salvador.

This use case, with billions of people in countries with failing Fiat currencies, will build Bitcoin’s second leg – a currency for everyday spending.

These billions of users at the Bottom of the Pyramid constitutes an unserved market excluded from the modern consumer economy of  about $5 trillion in Purchasing Power Parity terms.

The advent of fast, low cost micropayments via offchain technology such Lightning Network also make it much easier to profitably serve the Bottom of the Pyramid. Credit Cards obviously don’t work in that market and physical cash has hidden costs (theft, time, handling etc).

Nightmares (and bear markets) do end. This too shall pass.

Daily Fintech’s original insight is made available to you for US$143 a year (which equates to $2.75 per week). $2.75 buys you a coffee (maybe), or the cost of a week’s subscription to the global Fintech blog – caffeine for the mind that could be worth $ millions.

UK News Round-Up: The Latest Stories 16/06

Each week The Fintech Times takes a lot at some of the top stories in UK fintech. This week, Ransomware is the biggest online threat to people in the UK, consumers accept cryptocurrency as the future of finance and London is the best city to start and grow a business.

Ransomware is the biggest online threat to people in the UK

US Organisations Hit by Ransomware Forced To Pay 171% Increased Ransom in 2020

US Organisations Hit by Ransomware Forced To Pay 171% Increased Ransom in 2020

The head of GCHQ’s cybersecurity arm is to warn Ransomware represents the biggest threat to online security for most people and businesses in the UK. Ransomware incidents have soared over the past two years globally as criminal gangs operating from countries such as Russia and other former Soviet states, which turn a blind eye to their activities, generate tens of millions of dollars by extorting money from companies.

Charlie Smith, consulting solutions engineer at Barracuda Networks, said: “Ransomware is, without doubt, the biggest security threat facing individuals and businesses and has been for some time. We’ve already seen numerous incidents of ransomware attacks on councils, schools, hospitals and other areas of critical national infrastructure and this trend is likely to continue indefinity. The devastation caused by these attacks can be catastrophic, especially when critical data is hijacked and frozen, leaving organisations paralysed.

“The truth is that many organisations are woefully unprepared for such an attack, with the majority having no backup and recovery process in place or the right security protection to defend themselves. Key to this effort includes regular scanning of email and web apps for suspicious content, robust firewall protection and backup solutions to restore important files in the event of such an attack.

“Ransomware poses a huge threat to UK PLC and the sooner we all wake up and recognise it, the better.”

Consumers accept cryptocurrency as the future of finance

Coinbase, the global cryptocurrency exchange platform, has found that one in three Brits (31%) were either likely or very likely to consider applying for a cryptocurrency debit card, with those who had prior investment knowledge more inclined to do so. In fact, investors considered themselves more than double as likely to apply for a cryptocurrency debit card than non-investors did (61% vs 25%).

Commenting on these findings, Marcus Hughes, Managing Director for Europe at Coinbase said: “Our findings show that the attitudes of British consumers towards cryptocurrency have significantly evolved to become more accepting of this highlighting that whilst some barriers to utilisation remain, cryptocurrency as mainstream finance is far closer than we previously expected.

“Females and millennials, who have traditionally been less engaged with investing, have expressed an acute interest in cryptocurrency adoption recently. This demonstrates the power of the crypto economy when it comes to democratising the wider financial playing field, which we believe can only be a positive outcome. With 2% of the UK population [1.2m] currently unbanked, a cryptocurrency debit card has the potential to be a catalyst for getting Brits better in tune with their assets and finances.”

Nude wants to make saving for a first home fairer, easier and faster

Nude is a new finance app that’s specifically designed to help people reach a major life goal — buying their first home. Their aim is to make it easier for aspiring homeowners to build their deposit, so they can buy their home sooner.

On top of many other features, what makes Nude unique is that it’s the first finance app in the UK that uses time as a motivator. In the app, Nude helps customers set how much they’ll need for a deposit and within seconds Nude then shows how long it could take to get there. No need for spreadsheets and calculators. They can then track their progress with the in-app countdown and see how the money they put aside impacts the time it’ll take them to buy a home.

Crawford Taylor CEO and Co-founder of Nude commented: “There’s a lot of noise out there telling people how difficult it is to buy a home. We all know it’s not easy but this constant sense of doom is enough to make anyone feel discouraged. With Nude, we want to cut through that noise and instead, give people support, tools and encouragement to show them they can do it. Saving for your first home should be a fun and exciting time. My daughter, who has never saved before, told me she gets a kick of serotonin when she gets a push notification from Nude about her Lifetime ISA bonus arriving. I want more people to feel that.”

Businesses face tipping point as Covid-19 and Brexit fuel concerns over barriers to international commerce

Bottomline, a provider of financial technology that makes business payments simple, smart and secure, has revealed that almost half of business across Great Britain (47%) that intend to stop processing outbound international payments are doing so due to the difficulty in tracking them, while 40% plan to stop as they find it difficult to pay international suppliers on time. These issues are acutely felt by small businesses, who are more hesitant than their enterprise counterparts to start making international payments (38% vs 10%).

“To benefit trade and economic growth, more must be done to highlight the opportunity of using modern digital payment tools that can simplify cross-border payments and streamline operations. It’s perfectly reasonable that all businesses should pay international invoices, overseas staff or transfer funds, with the same degree of security, ease and control as making a local payment,” said Paul Fannon, Managing Director, Global Business Solutions at Bottomline.

The average investor could have made more than £8k buying and selling bitcoin this year

The Ability To Buy, Sell and Hold Bitcoin via Ones Bank Account Enabled by FIS

The Ability To Buy, Sell and Hold Bitcoin via Ones Bank Account Enabled by FIS

New research has revealed that if someone followed the British public’s interest when buying and selling bitcoin this year, they would have made a 27% profit – equivalent to £8,602.37 profit on one bitcoin, or £272.80 for someone who originally invested £1,000.

The analysis by money transfer experts RationalFX calculated what return someone could expect if they invested in the cryptocurrency when internet searches for “buy bitcoin” were at their highest, and then sold it when searches spiked for “sell bitcoin”.

Based on daily Google search trends for this year, searches for “buy bitcoin” compared to “sell bitcoin” were at their highest on Monday 8th February, when the price of one Bitcoin closed at $44,716.69 (£31,534.21). Then on Wednesday 10th March, searches for “sell bitcoin” were at their highest compared to “buy bitcoin”, when the cryptocurrency closed at $56,915.17 (£40,136.58).

Therefore someone who chose to invest on the first date and sell on the second date would have made 27% profit. That equates to $12,198.49 (£8,602.37) profit for one full bitcoin, or £272.80 if someone had invested £1,000.

London is one of the leading global cities to start and grow a business the e-commerce tool that helps entrepreneurs set up their own online business – has released an analysis that shows the leading cities to start and grow a business venture worldwide. After reviewing a list of over 200 global metropolises, Oberlo shortlisted the top 75 global cities based on factors relating to innovation, economic strength and entrepreneurial spirit. This ranking was based on an index that combines different data points and sources from third parties:

It found that London ranks the highest for overall entrepreneurial success overall in the study, with
New York and San Francisco placing second and third.

“London’s reputation for building globally successful start-ups means it is no surprise it ranks number one in the study, particularly in the tech/digital realms. The city boasts a plethora of venture capitalists, incubators, accelerators, networking opportunities and entrepreneurial events both online and under normal circumstances”, comments Audrey Liberge. “Despite Brexit and the pandemic, it remains the top city in its geographical region for entrepreneurs to found a world-renowned business. It will be interesting to conduct the study again in a few years’ time to see if the financial instability of the period will have an impact on the resilience of its entrepreneurial ecosystem

Student Loans Company staffers complete 20,000 cybercrime training courses


CybersecurityThe Student Loans Company (SLC) has spent over £76,800 on cybersecurity training for its staffers over the two most recent financial years (FY 19/20, FY 20/21), according to official figures.

The data obtained and analysed using the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act by Griffin Law shows that nearly 20,000 specialist courses were completed in areas such as phishing, password protection, bribery, corruption, and privacy standards. The data shows that 9,334 cyber courses were completed in FY 19/20 with 10,142 completed in FY 20/21. The SLC has just over 3,300 staff, meaning many participants attended multiple courses.

Security expert Chris Ross, SVP,  Barracuda Networks, comments: “It is encouraging to see the SLC making a proactive effort to equip and train its employees with the latest cybersecurity skills, especially given the high volume of financial data it is tasked with managing. This effort must be supported by the necessary cyber protection systems to identify and quarantine malicious attacks before they reach the inbox of employees as well as having the right backup systems in place in the event of a ransomware attack.”

  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

Mobey Forum Report Reveals ‘Privacy Blind Spot’ in Digital Banking Industry

In today’s data-driven world, the banking industry relies too heavily on legacy data privacy-enhancing technologies. This reliance, together with the restrictions on financial data usage imposed by regulation, is inhibiting data-driven innovation across the industry. These are just some of the strategic insights conveyed in a new research report launched today by Mobey Forum’s AI & Data Privacy Expert Group.

The new report entitled ‘The Digital Banking Blindspot: Emerging Privacy Enhancing Technologies’, explores how a new breed of emerging privacy enhancing technologies (PETs) can be used to mitigate risk and enable business innovation. It also argues that a ‘privacy blind-spot’ is becoming increasingly critical in today’s financial services climate, where organisations are constantly challenged to balance innovation without compromising how sensitive data is stored or shared.

“Banks face many obstacles when taking a data-driven approach to innovation,” says Amir Tabakovic, CEO and founder,, and AI & Data Privacy Expert Group Co-chair. “Widely adopted legacy privacy technologies are now failing and increasing privacy-related risks. This can quickly become a complex topic, with issues being impacted by legal, business and technology factors. Understanding the underlying problems can be difficult and, thanks to rapidly changing privacy landscape, many legacy solutions can no longer be applied to today’s challenges. The net result is the stalling of both internal innovation and the creation of multi-stakeholder ecosystem use-cases. This is the current blind spot.”

The report highlights a new breed of emerging PETs that create potential for financial service organisations to both significantly reduce existing privacy risks and allow the implementation of privacy-by-design principles. “Emerging PETs are bringing forward new approaches to fill the void and clear the path to innovation. The speed at which banks can adopt these new approaches will determine their capacity to get ahead of the game in data-driven innovation,” adds Tabakovic.

The Report stresses that if the industry can adopt a strategic approach to PETs, its key institutions may finally escape the privacy vs value creation dilemma, in which privacy protection occurs at the expense of innovation (and vice versa).

Ville Sointu, Head of Emerging Technologies, Nordea and AI & Data Privacy Expert Group Co-chair, comments: “The digital banking industry is walking a fine-line between consumer protection and collaborative innovation. Across the board, financial institutions must find a way to create new value out of data without compromising privacy. A new approach is required, one that enables emerging privacy enhancing technologies to solve some of the key challenges in this space, such as how to process anonymous and encrypted data without losing value, even when no details about private data is shared.”

Elina Mattila, Executive Director of Mobey Forum, commented, “Mobey Forum exists to enable precisely these kinds of problems to be shared, analysed and, ultimately, overcome in a commercially neutral setting. Our goal is to empower banks and financial institutions to better shape the future of digital financial services. AI and data privacy are currently pivotal issues within banks. If they are to successfully develop their own AI-driven processes, products and services, it is vital that they adopt a strategic approach to overcoming today’s regulatory challenges.”

Mobey Forum’s AI and Data Privacy Expert Group was formed in March 2020 to address how banks and other financial institutions can strike the balance between data privacy, security and innovation in the age of Artificial Intelligence (AI). This report is the first in a two-part series. The second part is anticipated later in 2021 and will take a deeper dive into the different PETs, their variable stages of maturity, and their potential to solve some of the most urgent privacy risks that banks face today.

  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

ICT Spring 2021 Physical Edition to Reconnect to Business

On September 14th and 15th, more than 100 international experts will participate in a new edition of ICT Spring, the renowned tech summit. The event, organised since 2010, will take place at the European Convention Center Luxembourg, at the very heart of Europe. ICT Spring will therefore be the first largest in-person event of the year. The organisers are announcing the various topics that will be discussed during the different summits, as well as the first experts who will share their knowledge and best practices, during what promises to be an exceptional edition.

This year, ICT Spring will be organised in the frame of the “Digital ICT Week”, powered by the Chamber of Commerce Luxembourg, and is labelled as the main event of the week, as well as the first largest in-person event of the year to take place in Luxembourg. It will notably allow the audience to participate in matchmaking and targeted networking sessions, through the use of the Swapcard application. As usual, ICT Spring will consist in an exhibition area and startups’ village and insightful summits to tackle trendy topics. Conferences will be broadcasted live from Luxembourg and will gather as many speakers as possible within the country, depending on health restrictions. Therefore, experts are welcomed to take part in ICT Spring both physically and digitally.

Fintech Summit

The combination of finance and technology has been discussed over the past decade, with Fintechs becoming key players and new trendsetters in the financial services industry. The first session, entitled “The Advent of a Cashless Society”, will focus on a myth that is about to become a reality: organisations are welcoming this new era and need to adapt their processes, by notably combining security, trust and transparency. Experts will then focus on “FundTech & Tokenization”: how will tokenization change the business and what are the latest technologies available for the funds industry to improve the customer experience?

On the second day, they will explore the “Digital Banking over the World” topic. As banks struggle to improve customer experiences, the quest for personalised digital interactions continues. Finally, the summit will end with a session called “Fintech to favour Financial Inclusion”, as, nowadays, financial data-driven intelligence facilitates inclusive finance.

Digital Summit

More than ever, digital plays an important role in our daily lives, whether it is on the professional side with the use of innovative tools or on the personal one with new apps and services. The first session, focusing on how to “Reconcile Tech & Education”, will feature experts who will share their knowledge around the latest tech trends with a whiff of education and gender diversity. Then, experts will focus on “Digital Supply Chain”, in order to understand the biggest challenges of the supply chain and logistics sector. What are the impacts of digital and data management? How does it improve the value chain? How the e-commerce can enable a fast and easy access to goods?

The day after, professionals will discuss “Digital Society” and how to shape the society of tomorrow through digital technology: building smarter cities, improving access to e-government, managing brands in a data-driven economy, etc. The session will end with a focus on “Digital Health”, with the use of new solutions to improve the healthcare industry and solutions linked to longevity.

Space Forum

Organised in parallel of ICT Spring since 2016, the Space Forum conference discusses the impact of space tech on Earth business such as mobility, IoT, connectivity, security, etc. The first morning session will be entitled “Powering Sustainable & Resilient Space Developments” and will focus on international cooperation and how science will contribute to build up a resilient ecosystem fueled with rapid technological developments. “Space Revival: Strengthening the Hi-Tech Ecosystem in Europe” will then be discussed: what are the new challenges that the space industry needs to take up? What is the position of Europe within the international framework: its assets and weaknesses? Can Europe be a key player? Finally, experts will share their “Views on the Most Promising Companies of the New Space” and will dive into the startup’s ecosystem of the Space industry while sharing the latest innovations of the market.

European Security Forum

A well-known side event of ICT Spring, European Security Forum will gather cybersecurity professionals to discuss the latest trends in a field that is evolving at a faster pace than ever, with the number of (sophisticated) cyberattacks constantly growing. The first session, “Data Security: everyone’s business” will focus on the crisis and how cybersecurity concerns have grown exponentially, with the creation of innovative tools. “AI threats and opportunities” will then be on the agenda as it has become essential to ensure the security of AI systems, and so will the “The era of Zero Trust”, with the recognition that “trust can be considered a vulnerability”. The topic “Post-quantum cryptography” will end the European Security Forum. 

Mastermind Summit

This new summit aims at giving participants a view on “Strategic Acceleration EU and International Programs”, as well as funding available for startups. The session will consist in speeches to provide assistance to startups and to help them develop their networks and businesses. Experts will relate success stories, define the art of pitching, etc. Moreover, panel discussions with VCs will be organised, with professionals presenting the biggest trends they are currently following in the fields of Fintech, Deeptech, New Space, and more. This second session will be entitled “Startups Verticals”.

With the participation of Priscila Chaves (Tech Ethicist & Impact Entrepreneur) Sam Scimemi (Senior Assistant in the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, Former ISS Director, NASA), Jason Maude (Chief Technology Advocate, Starling Bank), Joakim Sjöblom (Co-founder and CEO, Minna Technologies), Tomas Martinkenas (Director of Privacy and Security, Vinted), Cheryl Miller Van Dÿck (Founding Director, Digital Leadership Institute), Morgan Wirtz (CEO & Co-founder, Upy) and Elia Montanari (Head of Management and Control, ESA).

Local experts Marc Hansen (Luxembourg Minister Delegate for Digitalisation), Jean-Jacques Dordain (Advisor,, Avanti Sharma (Pre-Teen Technology Specialist, Workshop4Me) and Carl-Friedrich zu Knyphausen (Director Logistics Development, Zalando) have also confirmed their participation to this year’s edition of ICT Spring.

For more information, click here.

  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

Diebold Nixdorf: Bringing the Retail Revolution to the Banking Sector

The difference between retail “traditional” banking and its digital counterpart has, until recently, provided two quite different experiences for the customer. But as the world grows further apart, the way in which we access and handle money has become of increasing importance.

Matt Phillips, Vice President and Head of Financial Services UK & Ireland, Diebold NixdorfMatt Phillips, Vice President and Head of Financial Services UK & Ireland, Diebold Nixdorf
Matt Phillips, Vice President and Head of Financial Services UK & Ireland, Diebold Nixdorf

Matt Phillips, the Vice President and Head of Financial Services UK and Ireland at the financial technology provider Diebold Nixdorf, discusses this transition to digital, and how technology is being harnessed to meet the changing demands of the public throughout his guest-written piece here: 

Retailers have long been learning about how we spend our money and how to make us spend more. They are using different communications channels to nudge us, whether it is an in-app discount code, tailored purchase suggestions, or the provision of home delivery services. Retail recognises that convenient communication results in increased customer interaction and ultimately sales. Convenience, multiple touchpoints, and a seamless experience are all traits of the retail industry that find a very natural home in the world of banking. Bringing these experiences to a new sector is not without challenges, but the opportunity is there for those who get it right. An opportunity to create the loyal customers many retailers have nurtured for years.

Customer Expectations

Customer expectations push companies to innovate and, at a minimum, keep pace with and learn from the best practices. Today’s banking industry is feeling the pressure to keep pace with the innovation the retail industry is delivering when it comes to customer experience. Where once the goal was to provide banking services on digital platforms, the focus is now on creating the best user experience for individual customers and their personal banking needs – stitching the digital and high street experiences together. 

Despite the increase of digital banking use during Covid lockdowns, our research tells us that when seeking their own banking experience, the same proportion of UK consumers will continue using traditional banking services such as a cash point (33%) or in-branch (20%). There are also customers who prefer to use digital banking services with 63% using online banking in the last year and 43% using apps.

The data highlights that UK consumers continue to use multiple channels to access their banking services and that, at this moment, UK consumers are still keen to have a range of options when it comes to accessing banking services. 

The Opportunity Is Now 

As consumer behaviour continues to evolve quickly – particularly following the pandemic – now is the time for banks to seize an opportunity to reimagine how technology and in-branch experiences can truly work together. By amalgamating and innovating, to take advantage of a time of change.

But, where does a bank start when looking to embrace multi-channel integration? ‘Platformification’  will ensure that the customer journey is satisfyingly fluid as individual customers move between different channels in lots of different ways. A single platform will capture data we can continually learn and adapt from. The retail industry has led the way and provides inspiration for how this works in practice.  

For customers, having familiar touchpoints that enable them to use their preferred channel, when they want it, will drive success. For example, if a customer had started a mortgage application online, why could there not be nudges or an adviser who could help them complete that process the next time they were in branch? A fully integrated service is about knowing your customer and being able to add value to their financial life in a smooth and unintrusive way.

Making Integration a Reality

So far, I have spoken of a goal, an experience that the banking industry should be moving towards. In reality, it is already starting to happen. The Diebold Nixdorf team has recently worked alongside TSB and Paysafe to launch a trial that enables customers to complete banking services such as deposits up to £450 in different community settings such as local shops or supermarkets. The trial has very literally bought the worlds of retail and banking closer together. The partnership has created a network of deposit-taking locations that can be the final point in an integrated banking journey. Allowing customers to use banking services in the most convenient way for them and providing a new way to ensure access to cash across the UK.

Benefits for the Bank and Customer Are Wide

As ever, customer loyalty and retention is of utmost importance within the industry. The competitive landscape of banks driving technology change to provide the best-integrated service will push the industry forward, ensuring customers are getting the best and most convenient services available to them.

Additionally, banks will be able to understand their customers more through increased information and data, leading to a continued positive cycle of being able to provide a more personalised service through leveraging the data.

Taking inspiration from the retail industry will continue to drive evolution in banking, with the aim of providing a simplified and convenient service for customers, while enabling the bank to even better meet customers needs and wants.

  • Tyler is a Fintech Junior Journalist with specific interests in Online Banking and emerging AI technologies. He began his career writing with a plethora of national and international publications.

Pynk Enable Retail Investor Wallet in the UK via Its App, Placeholder

A new retail investor wallet has been announced in the UK by Pynk, the startup helping people invest better together. The company’s Thesis Portfolio will be available by their app, Placeholder.

Retail investors will be able to deposit money with Pynk and access a 0% Fee Fully Managed Portfolio. This is the world’s first People Powered Investment Portfolio, that utilises investment insights garnered from Pynk’s Crowd Wisdom system. Investors can access fee-free investing up to £20,000 as well as supplement their investment earnings by making market forecasts and predictions that earn them additional monetary rewards.

Pynk’s first investment product, the Thesis Portfolio is a diversified “go-anywhere” portfolio made up of multiple investment theses including electric vehicles, renewable energy, efficient food supply, emerging markets, global warming solutions, the move towards virtual working, eGaming and more.

With their Wisdom IN Crowds approach, Pynk is tapping into a global financial trend that sees retail investors working together to beat wall street at their own game. Through collective action, investors have been able to reap up the financial benefits of wealth management and have driven up the price of stocks including GameStop, which recently increased in value by over 700%.

“We’ve long understood the power of Crowd Wisdom and to see it play out so explicitly in the markets is an interesting dynamic. The ‘genie is out of the bottle’ and we are likely to see this behaviour repeat itself throughout 2021 and beyond, as everyday investors take back the advantage from institutions by working together and ‘doing it ourselves’. But there isn’t a platform to do that in a responsible manner and too many inexperienced investors are getting hurt in the process; that’s where the collaboration between Pynk and Placeholder comes in.” said Seth Ward, co-founder and CEO at Pynk.

A surge in savings, market volatility, lockdown boredom and financial interest during the pandemic has rapidly accelerated the number of individuals to trading platforms, as it’s estimated the number of UK investors in the UK grew 15% in 2020 to 6.5 million. In what is a concern to regulators, over 75% of retail investors lose money, highlighting the urgent need for financial literacy in the UK.

Pynk’s mission is to empower people everywhere to join forces and create a more sustainable financial future for all. Pynk does this by providing all with easy access to institutional-grade investment knowledge, technology & financial opportunities, such as Placeholder’s Thesis Portfolio.

Users access all the system has to offer by making predictions and forecasts in a risk free, gamified app. Pynk aggregates the data, uses various statistical and AI techniques, to help find the Wisdom IN Crowds – enabling a more equitable investment model for everyone.

Pynk harnesses the stock prediction and forecast data from it’s community of over 50,000 financial enthusiasts from across 190 countries. It’s AI ‘Rose’ analyses the data and identifies who to listen to and, at any point in time, for any given asset – making the Pynk Investment Committee better equipped to understand future price action across asset classes.

“COVID-19 has fuelled an appetite for trading and investing, as amateur investors flocked to DIY wealth management platforms in 2020. Whilst DIY trading is entertaining and can be rewarding, too often the risk of losing your money is extremely high and the perils are becoming increasingly apparent.” said Mark Borwick, Chief Investment Officer at Pynk.

“The Pynk Thesis Portfolio covers multiple investment themes and is diversified by design, lowering risk. And in these heady markets, we will hold above average cash – ready to capitalise on opportunities as they present themselves. Investment works best when we all work together, which is why at Pynk we are building a new investment model, combining AI and Crowd Wisdom techniques so we can find the Wisdom IN Crowds.”

Notable supporters of Pynk include Founders Institute, Natwest Accelerator and 365.fintech VC. To date Pynk has raised $2million.

  • Francis is a junior journalist with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

Stablecoin News for the week ending Wednesday 16th June.

Don’t mention the war! 

Here is our pick of the 3 most important Stablecoin news stories during the week.

This week it has all been about Basel.  I mean the lovely Alpine Swiss City of Basel, where the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) is based, not Basil Fawlty!

First, The Bank of International Settlements (BIS) which is based in Basel and the Bank of England (BOE) announced the launch of the BIS Innovation Hub London Centre today. BIS now has 4 Innovation Hubs across different locations.

According to the announcement, BIS is planning to increase the global reach of its Innovation Hub. Earlier this year, the financial giant signed a memorandum of understanding with the Federal Reserve System (New York) for a strategic partnership.

The bank mentioned that its Innovation Hub’s work program is currently focusing on 6 important areas including CBDCs, green finance, open finance, regtech, financial markets infrastructures, and cybersecurity.

BIS and BOE Launch the Innovation Hub London Centre

Then the BIS released an update to its’ survey of 50 central banks in the first quarter of 2021, this paper explores initial thinking on the cross-border use of CBDCs. While most central banks have yet to take a firm decision on issuing a CBDC, the survey responses show a tentative inclination towards allowing use of a future CBDC by tourists and other non-residents domestically. They have a cautious approach to allowing use of a CBDC beyond their own jurisdiction. Concerns about the economic and monetary implications of cross-border CBDC use and about private sector global stablecoins are taken seriously. At the wholesale level, 28% of surveyed central banks are considering options to make CBDCs interoperable by forming multi-CBDC arrangements. This involves arrangements that enhance compatibility, interlink or even integrate multiple CBDCs into a single payments system. Finally, almost 14% of respondents are considering an active role for the central bank in FX conversion.

CBDCs beyond borders: results from a survey of central banks

The Guardian has stepped forward and made the positive case for CBDC’s and also reasons why the current Commercial, Private Banking and Payments processing sector should have their privileges removed.

The UK economy could be transformed by a central bank digital currency | Josh Ryan-Collins | The Guardian

And finally, returning to the current Banking infrastructure the BIS has opened a path to Banks holding Crypto assets with it’s latest consultation paper for the prudential treatment of banks’ cryptoasset exposures.  The proposals split cryptoassets into two broad groups: those eligible for treatment under the existing Basel Framework with some modifications; and others, such as bitcoin, are subject to a new conservative prudential treatment.

Basel Committee consults on prudential treatment of cryptoasset exposures

Prudential treatment of cryptoasset exposures


So, in summary the BIS is a hive of activity coordinating with other Central Banks, exploring with the Fintech industry various use cases and working on advice to Banks on how to treat this thing called Crypto!   But what has this got to do with war?  The BIS was established after the first World War to enable war reparations from Germany, which of course we later decided was a historic mistake.  So in discussing CBDC’s it’s probably better to follow Basil Fawlty’s advice.    


Alan Scott is an expert in the FX market and has been working in the domain of stablecoins for many years.  

We have a self imposed constraint of 3 news stories per week because we serve busy senior Fintech leaders who just want succinct and important information.

For context on stablecoins please read this introductory interview with Alan “How stablecoins will change our world” and read articles tagged stablecoin in our archives. 


New readers can read 3 free articles.  To  become a member with full access to all that Daily Fintech offers,  the cost is just US$143 a year (= $0.39 per day or $2.75 per week). For less than one cup of coffee you get a week full of caffeine for the mind.

Full Steam Ahead for the First Banking-as-a-Service Platform To Operate via a Full Banking License

An experienced team of international and Filipino bankers has launched the Philippines-based banking-as-a-service platform Netbank. The platform will offer low-cost, high-quality banking services on a white-labelled basis to fintech and other financial services companies, allowing them to accelerate their growth. 

Gus Poston, Co-Founder, NetbankGus Poston, Co-Founder, Netbank
Gus Poston, Co-Founder, Netbank

“Our mission is to provide the full banking services and infrastructure, so fintech can launch fast, safely, and at low cost”, comments Netbank Co-Founder, Gus Poston. “The fintech industry in the Philippines should be huge. Filipinos have complex financial lives, with many taking loans and making payments. Most of these transactions happen in the informal sector as banks do not serve Filipinos well; bank penetration levels and electronic transactions are low compared to comparable countries like Thailand or Vietnam.”

“At the same time,” Gus continues, “Filipinos are tech and social media savvy. This should be a perfect environment for fintech, yet the industry is developing slowly compared to countries like Indonesia. This is because it is just hard to run a fintech in the Philippines – it takes a long time to get access to payments, to open accounts, to launch an app. This is the problem that Netbank will solve.” 

As a fully regulated bank, Netbank is already utilising its rural banking license; having booked loans originated by 3 alternative lenders. And the platform currently sits on the infrastructure needed to provide a full range of banking services, using AWS to run its core banking system. It’s now adding a range of best-in-class tools in compliance, fraud management, API services to accompany its existing capabilities.

Netbank is expected to launch its API platform within the next month. “Netbank will soon be able to ‘Make Payments’, ‘Open Accounts’, ‘Issue Loans’, and ‘Issue Cards’, all through APIs”, describes Dave dela Paz, Co-Founder, and Head of Netbank Virtual. “We can also provide a range of technology tools, such as a white-labelled app and customer interfaces.” 

“Netbank is rapidly building its tools,” added Jaymar Mendoza, Co-Founder, and Head of Operations and Infrastructure. “We are already members of PesoNet and Instapay, we have built connections to cash agents, we look forward to expanding our card offering fast. The support of the BSP has been critical as we built out our services; the BSP has been active in promoting innovation.”

“We pride ourselves in solving problems and being fast”, explains Gus. “We are working with a team who will launch a Neo-Bank for OFWs in less than 2 months for a budget of $20,000. That has to be the fastest and cheapest in the world. At the same time, we are ready to work with the largest and most demanding fintech in the world – our systems are bullet-proof and totally scalable.” 

The founding team has deep experience in the banking industry in the Philippines. Jaymar is a former CEO of a bank, Dave is a well-known leader in API-based banking, and Gus has run a bank-focused private equity fund in the Philippines, as well as professional experience with Barclays and Booz Allen

Netbank has a strong social mission at its heart. “Too often the financial services companies that the poor use and trust are hampered by poor technology and higher costs. We can accelerate the digital transformation of these companies to lower their costs and broaden their banking services.”

Netbank is the first banking-as-a-service platform in Southeast Asia. It provides banking services, on a fully white-labelled basis; allowing Filipino fintechs to grow quickly whilst also reducing their costs; thus accelerating financial inclusion and innovation. It provides simple, creative, low-cost solutions so that fintechs can open accounts, offer loans and manage payments.  

  • Tyler is a Fintech Junior Journalist with specific interests in Online Banking and emerging AI technologies. He began his career writing with a plethora of national and international publications.

10 ways commercial lenders automate with bots

In pursuit of greater efficiency and cost savings, banks are finding identifying new processes to automate with robot process automation (RPA) bots in the commercial lending space. Commercial lending platform vendor AFS surveyed its banking clients about how they’re using RPA, which provided fodder for a Thursday webinar on the topic. Brenda Alek and Bill […]

Issue #317

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FinovateAsia: Digital Disruption, Embedded Finance, and the Customer Experience

If you are looking to get up to speed on the innovations in fintech taking place in the Asia-Pacific region, then our all-digital fintech conference, FinovateAsia, is your ticket. For two days next week, June 22 and June 23, our guest speakers and distinguished panelists will share their insights and experiences as innovators, entrepreneurs, and analysts in one of the fastest-growing, technologically-creative areas of the world.

We’ve already introduced you to our keynote speakers. Here’s a look at the roundtables and panel discussions that will be available to attendees over the course of the conference. Learn more about FinovateAsia Digital at our FinovateAsia hub and pick up your ticket today!

Digital disruption and customer experience

Examine how customer demands have changed in the current environment. Discover how to build successful partnerships and distribution channels with customers in mind. Read more.

  • Sheila Paul, Chief Marketing Officer, Home Credit Philippines
  • Mikko Hietanen, COO, CreamQuark
  • Shawn Lau, VP, Partnerships Solutions, SwissRe
  • Justin Yiu, Head of Innovation, Solaria Labs East (Asia), Liberty Mutual Insurance
  • Gerald Marion, Chief Customer & Strategy Officer, BUPA ANZ
  • Moderated by Marc-Antoine Hager, Sales Director, APAC, CleverTap

Embedded finance and the future of finance

Learn how to harness the power of data and digitization to build new models of finance across verticals. See how to empower customers through better offerings, and how to integrate services into customers’ every day lives. Read more.

  • Victor Alexiev, Director, APAC Head for Citi Ventures, Programs & Strategic Partnerships, ICG, Citi
  • Sonal Kapoor, Director, Flipkart
  • Moderated by Yannick Even, Head of Digital & Smart Analytics APAC, SwissRe

The evolving payment landscape in Asia: Blurring of lines between payment systems

Examine the emerging challenges and opportunities in the payments space. Discuss how the payments industry can foster collaboration to serve consumers and businesses better. Read more.

  • Daniel Webber, Founder / CEO, FXC Intelligence
  • Laetitia Moncarz, Head of Corporates & FI and Business Innovation, SWIFT Asia Pacific
  • Kevin Popermhem, Cross Border Product Manager, ITMX
  • Moderated by Nicholas Soo, Regional Head of Payments, Global Liquidity & Cash Management, HSBC

Change management: Bringing your people on your digitization journey

Learn how implementing cultural change can future-proof your business and attract and retain the right, forward-looking, tech-talented people. Read more.

  • Faraaz Ali, Group Head, Digital Ecosystems, API and Open Banking, DBS
  • Susan Ong, Chief Information Officer, Home Credit Philippines
  • Oscar Ramos, Partner & Managing Director, Chinaccelerator
  • Deepak Oram, Head of Marketing Technology & Automation, HDFC Bank
  • Moderated by John Gist, Head of Fidelity Labs, Fidelity

Overcoming challenges and fostering successful partnerships across new ecosystems

Explore the convergence between financial services, insurance, wealth, and health, and the disruptors working across ecosystems. Learn how you can fit into this emerging ecosystem model and expand into new markets. Read more.

  • Deepak Sharma, Chief Digital Officer, Kotah Mahindra Bank
  • Manish Gurbuxani, Regional Head of Business Development and New Markets, Prudential
  • Alpesh Doshi, Managing Partner, Redcliffe Capital
  • Moderated by Yi Mien Koh, Chief Partnership Officer, Asian Markets, AXA Asia

SME lending in a post-COVID-19 world

Learn how credit and financing options favored by consumers have changed in response to the pandemic. Examine ways to determine the unique credit needs of different customer types and how to build new products to accommodate them. Read more.

  • Nikhilesh Goel, Co-founder and COO, Validus Capital
  • Brian Yeoh, Head of Data Governance and Strategy, Financial Services Regulatory Authority
  • Moderated by Zhi-Ying Barry, Senior Analyst, Forrester

Acceleration of digital banking: Innovating in response to COVID-19

Investigate how banks and other financial institutions embraced digital transformation trends that preceded the pandemic. Discuss what challenges and opportunities are likely to arise in a post-COVID environment. Read more.

  • Sam Tanskul, Managing Director Krungsri Finnovate & Head of Innovation, Krungsri Bank
  • Xue Kai Pang, CEO, Tokocrypto
  • Medhy Soudhi, Head of FinTech & StartupXcharge, DBS
  • Moderated by Lapman Lee, Professor of Practice (FinTech & Innovation), HK Polytechnic University

Leveraging emerging technologies and digitization to reimagine a hybrid customer experience

Discover how to identify customer pain points more efficiently and find the right balance between digital self-service and the human touch. Learn how to harness AI and machine learning to exceed customer expectations. Read more.

  • Andy Chun, Regional Director, Technology Innovation, Prudential
  • Shawn Low, Co-founder and Head of Operations,
  • Tomasz Kurczyk, Chief Digital and Transformation Officer, AXA
  • Moderated by Frank Yazdi, Head of Priority Client Services, Asia Pacific, HSBC

Photo by mentatdgt from Pexels

Citizens Bank finalizes document automation in commercial underwriting

Citizens Bank recently finished work on automating parts of its commercial bank underwriting. Vinay Jha, chief data officer at the $176 billion Citizens Bank, said the completed project allows for the importing of data from the financial statements of its commercial borrowers, some of which are in paper form. While the process was “highly manual,” […]

Stripe Launches New Online Identity Verification Tool

Stripe has announced the launch of Stripe Identity, a simple way for internet businesses to securely verify the identities of users from over 30 countries.

As more economic activity happens online, the need for internet businesses to establish and maintain high levels of trust increases commensurately. Online businesses frequently need to verify the identities of their users to comply with age requirements or “Know Your Customer” (KYC) laws—and to increase trust and safety by reducing fraud, preventing account takeovers, and stopping bad actors.

Stripe Identity makes identity verification as effortless for a business as payment acceptance. Identity is built on the same infrastructure that powers Stripe’s own global onboarding compliance and risk management, meaning that the verification tooling Stripe originally built for itself is now available to Stripe’s users as well. Stripe Identity is the first self-serve tool of its kind, allowing any online business to begin verifying the identities of their users in just a few minutes, with no code required.

Early users of Stripe Identity include:

  • Discord, which embedded identity verification as a feature to ensure that everyone in their community is trustwothy.
  • Peerspace, which added identity verification to their checks when onboarding users or merchants to reduce fraud.
  • Shippo, whose fraud and risk teams augmented their own risk signals by asking high-risk users to verify their identity (without adding friction for good users).
  • Security teams at a range of companies, using Stripe Identity to help prevent account takeovers.

“Verifications serve as a critical tool in any marketplace that’s powered by trust, especially for a platform like Peerspace that connects people to unique spaces for important meetings or milestone life events,” said Matt Bendett, VP of Operations at Peerspace. “The integration between Stripe Connect and Stripe Identity has allowed us to reduce fraud and give our users peace of mind, all while staying in a single, consistent experience that’s powered by Stripe.”

How it works

Stripe Identity is a simple and programmable way to verify identities online. A low-code integration option allows businesses to start verifying identities in minutes, with a verification flow fully hosted by Stripe. Alternatively, without any code at all, fraud and risk teams can generate verification links to assess suspicious transactions or high-risk users.

The information collected is encrypted and sent directly to Stripe, so an individual business doesn’t have to worry about managing sensitive, personal information on its own servers. (This is similar to Stripe’s hosted payments pages, which send payment information like credit card numbers directly to Stripe for secure processing.) This means businesses can now verify identities more quickly, more easily, and more securely—but take on less effort and risk themselves.

To prove their identity, users take a photo of their government ID and a live selfie, which Stripe’s advanced machine learning then matches to the ID. Businesses can also request that users key in additional information to be checked against third-party records.

The entire verification process for an individual user can be completed in as little as 15 seconds.

“Businesses have been asking us for an easy and fast way to verify identities online. Stripe Identity offers them just that,” said Rob Daly, Head of Engineering for Stripe Identity. “Now, any internet business—from a five-person startup to a multinational enterprise—can begin securely verifying the identities of their users in a matter of minutes, not weeks or months.”

  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

B9 Raises Pre-Seed Funding to Help New American Workers Get Paid

A pre-seed funding round of $1.7 million will help U.S. fintech startup B9 build its financial app that helps immigrant workers secure interest-free payroll advances.

“Immigrant communities and other marginalized groups are invisible to traditional banks,” B9 CEO Sergei Terentyev said. “They are hardworking people who deserve a full service banking option that fits the way they earn and spend.” Terentyev called the response to B9 “overwhelming” and said that “hundreds of thousands” of interested users have joined the company’s waiting list.

“In our view, access to banking services that allow families to share resources, build credit and plan for the future is an equality issue, and the early response we’ve seen demonstrates the magnitude of the demand,” Terentyev added.

B9 offers 0% APR pay advances of up to 15 days, as well as a free virtual Visa debit card, and access to both U.S. and international money transfers. The San Francisco, California-based company charges a monthly subscription fee of $4.99.

B9 will use the funding to add to its team, as well as make technology investments. The company hopes to have 100,000 customers by the end of the year with its focus on consumers who are not only underserved by traditional banks, but are also often preyed upon by predatory lenders. In addition to its early wage access feature, B9 expects to offer additional services such as merchant discounts and access to insurance.

In their funding announcement, the company underscored the size of the non-U.S. born population – more than 40 million – as well as the fact that the lion’s share of U.S. population growth – up to 80% – will come from the growth of the first- and second-generation immigrant population.

B9’s services are set up with this in mind. In addition to offering a low, monthly subscription rate, applicants only require a U.S. mailing address, social security number, or ITIN, as well as a government-issued ID from either a U.S. source or from the applicant’s country of origin. Multiple language customer service is available.

FinTech Funding – May 2021: WealthTech, InsurTech, and Lending Topped the Charts

We cover more than 60+ sub-segments in FinTech – but we do not stop there; we also cover topics beyond FinTech, such as InsurTech, RegTech, PropTech, WealthTech, BankTech, AgriTech, and the enabling technologies enabling innovation such as AI, Blockchain, etc.

Kuwait Finance House Bahrain Announce Partnership to Enhance Compliance Operations

The global API banking solutions provider, Codebase Technologies (CBT), has been selected by Kuwait Finance House Bahrain (KFHB), a pioneer in the global Shari’a banking space, to expand the bank’s digital market leadership with a streamlined regulatory reporting platform to enhance transparency and automate backend compliance operations.

As banking and financial technologies have evolved in parallel with central bank regulations, internal processes and protocols within these institutions have struggled to keep pace. Leveraging the technological advancements achieved through its partnership with CBT, KFH sought the banking solutions provider’s expertise in establishing an automated, flexible platform for regulatory reporting.

KFH’s new regulatory reporting capabilities are enabled by Digibanc RegReporting, a fully automated, end-to-end regulatory reporting platform that seamlessly integrates with multiple data sources and streamlines backend processing. The implementation will enable KFH to flexibly and rapidly respond to an ever-evolving regulatory environment while ensuring compliance and consistent, precise reporting.

Yousif Alhammadi, Executive Manager, Head of Financial Control and Administration at Kuwait Finance House Bahrain, said: “Technology’s expanding role in banking and finance will only continue to push institutions to widen their technological footprint. Partnering with the right technology enabler is where the advantage lies for institutions. Codebase Technologies consistently helps us evolve ahead of the market, empowering us with solutions and innovations that optimise our operations and keep customers coming back.

Raheel Iqbal, Managing Partner and Global Product Head at Codebase Technologies, said: “The efficacy of what Codebase Technologies is capable of is clearly exemplified in how KFH Bahrain has defined itself as a leader in GCC digital banking landscape. We’re proud to be Kuwait Finance House Bahrain’s technology partner of choice to help it achieve its digital ambitions because they enable us to deliver on our mission of demystifying digital financial services, and reshaping the possibilities for the industry.”

  • Francis is a junior journalist with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.