Square looks to replicate Cash App success with SMBs

https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/biz-lines/payments/square-looks-to-replicate-cash-app-success-with-smbs/
http://bankinnovation.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/money-2696219_1920-548x309.jpg?#

Share Square is looking to replicate the success it has seen with consumers through its Cash App for small businesses. In response to a question during Square’s second-quarter earnings call about creating a digital wallet tying together Square’s varied financial products, Square CEO Jack Dorsey said, “It’s a great idea.” “All these tools connected in …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.

https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/biz-lines/payments/square-looks-to-replicate-cash-app-success-with-smbs/

Agora launches digital banking solutions for teens, SMBs 

https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/biz-lines/retail/agora-launches-digital-banking-solutions-for-teens-smbs/
http://bankinnovation.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/money-3630935_960_720-548x309.png?#

Atlanta-based Agora Services announced today it is launching white-label products designed to help banks reach small businesses and teens. The startup’s technology enables community banks and credit unions to launch digital banking solutions “within a month” according to the company.

“It is very important for community financial institutions to be able to compete with their main new competitors — challenger banks and national banks — and have access to the same technology that can be deployed in weeks not years,” said Arcady Lapiro, founder and CEO of Agora Services, in a statement. “By having access to these solutions for teens and SMBs, banks and credit unions can expand their digital offerings to provide services way beyond what their core may offer.” 

Agora’s white-label solutions targeting SMBs and teens are launching as a host of direct-to-consumer fintechs target those same customer segments. Digital banking startups NorthOne, Azlo and Novo, for example, are all aimed at small business clients, while Greenlight Financial and Wallit are designed to give young consumers financial health skills. 

The 2-year-old Agora is branding the two solutions, which don’t require any core integration, as Agora Junior and Agora SMB. With Agora Junior, parents can create accounts for their children, top them off and freeze cards. Teens can make sub-accounts and group funds, and the account comes with both virtual and plastic cards. Agora SMB, meanwhile, offers unlimited physical and virtual cards for employees, and the account offers receipt management for tax purposes. 

See also: Too small to fail: Can small banks do what the giants can’t with digital offshoots? 

Quickly launching digital brands is becoming a priority for banking technology providers. FIS, Jack Henry and Temenos all offer solutions that help banks stand up digital brands in 90 days. Startups like Agora must contend with these established core providers as they launch digital banking solutions.

“[Institutions] want to leverage the scale of core providers, their implementation experience and financial stability,” David Albertazzi, research director at Aite Group, previously told Bank Innovation. “Oftentimes, emerging fintech vendors do not offer all of those.”

Bank Innovation Build, which takes place Sept. 9-10 as a virtual experience, is a must-attend industry event for professionals overseeing financial technologies, product experiences and services. Register here.

https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/biz-lines/retail/agora-launches-digital-banking-solutions-for-teens-smbs/

PayJunction payment processing APIs help developers adhere to COVID-19 mandates

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/payjunction-payment-processing-apis-help-developers-adhere-to-covid-19-mandates/
http://nmgprod.s3.amazonaws.com/media/files/ca/ab/caabe54aca52baf53009c8439e322171/cover_image_1596737283.jpg.760x400_q85_crop_upscale.jpg?#

PayJunction, a developer of payment processing technology, is launching developer APIs to further enable its cloud-controlled and contactless payment solution.

Officially launched in 2020, PayJunction’s ZeroTouch Terminal eliminates the need for retailers to touch the same device as consumers, according to a press release. The terminal is customer-facing and is controlled by a REST API so it can be positioned outside of a sneeze guard, to maintain social distance between staff and customers. In addition, signatures can be disabled via the API eliminating any physical contact and receipts can be delivered electronically. The REST API also ensures no exchange of sensitive data occurs.

Leveraging the PayJunction API, developers can create secure, EMV certified, cloud-based solutions that offer NFC support.

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/payjunction-payment-processing-apis-help-developers-adhere-to-covid-19-mandates/

Women in Fintech with Lena McDearmid on Humanizing AI for Better Lending

https://finovate.com/women-in-fintech-with-lena-mcdearmid-on-humanizing-ai-for-better-lending/
http://finovate-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/pexels-pixabay-531321-scaled.jpg?#

As part of our #WomeninFintech series, Finovate speaks to inspiring women about their career in financial services and technology, their unique insights into the challenges and solutions for the industry today, and their advice for the next generation of women leaders just starting out. Today, we join Lena McDearmid, COO at Artis Technologies, a provider of embedded financial services platforms for digital, point-of-need lending and payments. Lena helped launch the startup earlier this year with a mission to refine the consumer lending experience by merging the art of technology with the science of finance to create the best consumer experience possible.

What led you to fintech and specifically down a path toward acquiring the expertise you have now?

Lena McDearmid: It started with my mother responding to an ad in the paper looking for someone to manage short-term loans from retail locations. Here I, unfortunately, learned about the negative side of lending, but also how to build programs to help get people out of destructive cycles. This inspired me to move to Atlanta where I joined an online mortgage startup company.

However, in 2008, I could see a coming shift away from the trending jumbo hybrid real-estate loans into more stable and traditional loan types. With that foresight, I moved into conventional lending where I would diversify my underwriting experience with mortgage refinances, auto loans, personal credit cards as well as debt consolidation. I learned the importance of empathizing with customers’ needs and offering more customized products based on their unique loan usage.

From there, I went to a company that focused exclusively on underwriting auto loans, where I had my first realization of a “culture-first” experience proving that employees who are happy and positively impacted by their work culture are better able to focus on the customer’s experience. I believe completely that a customer’s experience is the most important part of business.

After my time there, I was then recruited to build out the credit department at GreenSky where, for the first time, I had direct contact with technology and could see what tech could do for my operations. I spent eight years going from credit operations, to project management, and finally to technical product ownership, before leaving to start Artis.

The journey of my career is one of constant learning and growth. I am a builder of companies, products, teams, and experience. Had I not had the good fortune to walk down so many different paths, there is no way that I would be here today having the confidence knowing that at Artis, we are building a company and products that are ultimately helping the consumer with more accessible financing, the most important part of business.

Where do you see the future of the fintech heading in the next 12 months?

McDearmid: Continually increasing reliance on big data and the ability to incorporate alternative data for better decision making, especially when it comes to credit. Stronger reliance on user experience and customizations per user. 

How can the financial services industry humanize AI and gain the trust of its customers? How is Artis Technologies helping?

McDearmid: It starts with the data scientists and the data. We have to know, throughout the design process, that there are humans analyzing this data. We also have to know what data elements are sensitive and understand how biases can get into the models so that we can design bias-free models and analytics. Finally, we must study the outputs and analyze their impacts on humans to ensure there are no adverse effects.

What does being one of the company’s women co-founders mean to you? And how does this set the example for other women looking to break into the field?

McDearmid: It means a great deal; most of the women in my family were entrepreneurs and as a co-founder, I now feel as if I am in their company. I imagine that the more women see other women as co-founders and leaders, this will encourage them to strive for these roles, as the women in my family inspired me. Each light on a path makes the path a little brighter and easier to follow.

How are you tackling the challenges and redefining the role of women at Artis?

McDearmid: One of the reasons I co-founded Artis was because I saw an opportunity to overcome the typical challenges women face in being heard and seen as leaders. Because Artis is a startup, it’s given me the opportunity to help define, not redefine, the importance of women and diversity at our company from the beginning. All of which are supported by my other like-minded male co-founders.

Why is it important to have multiple voices in the room, and hold each other accountable throughout the journey?

McDearmid: Diversity leads to quality. The ability to draw on multiple perspectives and experiences enriches discussions and solutions. And, without accountability, there can be no real growth, honesty, or radical transparency. Through accountability, we hold ourselves to our standards and continue our growth — regardless of gender.

What advice would you give to women starting out in fintech now?

McDearmid: Find a mentor and advocate. Believe in yourself and be assertive while learning as much as you can about all aspects of the business and industry.

https://finovate.com/women-in-fintech-with-lena-mcdearmid-on-humanizing-ai-for-better-lending/

Paystand’s Zero Card streamlines corporate expenses

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/paystands-zero-card-streamlines-corporate-expenses/
http://nmgprod.s3.amazonaws.com/media/files/e3/44/e344f1ec87112ab8c60b8678b3c2ebda/cover_image_1596726577.png.760x400_q85_crop_upscale.png?#

Paystand is debuting its Zero Card, a touchless, prepaid B2B corporate expense card for mid-market businesses.

Employees can use the card to securely make purchases online and over the phone and it works the same way as a physical card except it requires no credit checks and businesses can issue or deactivate the 16-digit card numbers. The card can be created in bulk if necessary, according to a press release.

The Zero Card disburses funds and streamline invoice processing, expense reporting, and payment execution. The card also allows businesses to manage, track, and control company spending in real-time, and leverages the company’s zero-fee payment network to eliminate the cost of transaction fees. To reduce the risk of fraud, the card has fraud prevention controls that manage spend by category, team and merchant code.

“The Zero Card combines the consumer-like experience of peer-to-peer payments with the speed and security of Paystand’s no-fee payment network,” Jeremy Almond, Paystand CEO, said in the release. “We completely re-engineered the corporate card so businesses can move away from reactive spend management tactics to a place where they have visibility of spend before it happens.”

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/paystands-zero-card-streamlines-corporate-expenses/

KIC names Antony Harris to head European operations

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/kic-names-antony-harris-to-head-european-operations/
http://nmgprod.s3.amazonaws.com/media/files/51/3d/513d6ecfd7e9643e38a3fd08e7e10d67/cover_image_1596672242.png.760x400_q85_crop_upscale.png?#

KIC names Antony Harris to head European operationsLogo provided.

Antony Harris

KIC, a provider of technology cleaning solutions, has appointed Antony Harris as head of European operations, according to a press release.

KIC technology cleaning products are designed to clear dirt, debris, oils and other contaminants from transactional equipment such as vending machines, kiosks, ATMs, gas pumps, self-checkouts, cash handling equipment, check scanners, printers and point-of-sale equipment.

More than 50 device manufacturers, such as Diebold Nixdorf, NCR, Epson and Panini have approved cleaning tools and cleaning agents designed specifically for their application.

Harris brings over 19 years of experience within the payments industry, having formerly worked for CPI. Harris will reside in Barcelona, Spain, and his background includes several years of business development in Brazil as well as account management and sales leadership in Europe.

Photo: LinkedIn.

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/kic-names-antony-harris-to-head-european-operations/

Behind the Idea: Reducer

https://thefintechtimes.com/behind-the-idea-reducer/
http://thefintechtimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Joe-Gallard-CEO-150x300.jpg?#

Since March, the outbreak of coronavirus has put immense pressure on businesses’ cash flow. Consumers shifted their habits towards bulk buying, low-contact commerce, and crowd avoidance, leaving many businesses without the revenue to cover their core costs. For some businesses, the solution was to take out loans using government support or use private lending from their banks. For just over 51,000 businesses in March alone, their doors had to close for good. 

Reducer has supported businesses by offering them a route to get their cash balance back on track. By integrating with a business’ Xero or QuickBooks account, the Reducer app is able to pinpoint areas of overspending, source tailored quotes from hundreds of suppliers, and generate a dynamic cost savings report filled with recommended deals. Reducer then handles each deal a business takes, so they can focus their efforts on rebuilding their business. 

Prior to Co-founding Reducer, CEO Joe Gallard had enjoyed roles as Financial Director at carwow and Financial Controller at Gousto. Joe is known for his part in bringing the most comprehensive cloud-integrated cost management tool to the UK market. 

What has been the traditional Reducer response to financial technology innovations nationally? 

Operating in the competitive world of cloud accounting technology, we’re always keeping an eye out for ways we can grow as a company and find novel solutions to our clients’ problems. When we see other companies in the Fintech space creating exciting things, it simply reminds us that we also need to bridge the gap between our clients’ needs and an innovative solution before either someone else does, or their problem becomes incurable. 

We’re lucky that the very nature of Reducer is centred around innovation; from entering this market until now, there’s no other company capable of doing what we do. In just a few clicks, our clients have access to a plethora of information, all drawn from their cloud accounts. 

How has this changed over the past few years? 

While our own attitude hasn’t changed, we’ve certainly seen changes happening around us. In the last few years, there’s been a surge in accountants and their clients migrating to the digital landscape. The benefits of cloud accounting are being fully realised and as a result, more and more products are appearing on the market. 

The competition is very healthy, as it’s encouraging apps to think on their feet and reimagine the ways that we can help businesses. 

Is there anything that has created a culture of change inside the company? 

At the core of each of our hiring processes is a search for individuals who are highly-driven and able to use their initiative. A team that boasts both confidence and autonomy is able to collaborate without fear of being shut down. That’s what makes our conversations so vibrant and full of ideas. We’re constantly finding new ways of doing business and supporting our clients, and the positive environment we’ve created has a direct impact on our output. 

What Fintech ideas have been implemented? 

At their essence, successful fintechs have created a revolution in the consumer experience, whether that’s by making it easier to open a bank account, buy bitcoin, or invest in startups. Our goal is to bring that wholesale change in experience to the world of business cost-management. 

Our product development is targeted at making it as simple as possible for businesses to find, choose and make savings. We’ve already decreased the effort it takes a business to compare prices down to a couple of clicks. 

What benefits have these brought?

The innovation of the app (of which much of the credit goes to Co-Founder Stuart Kemp and his talented dev team) eradicates the lengthy process of manually collating each spend area and comparing costs from hundreds of suppliers. 

This means on average we find businesses savings of over £2,000 in yearly savings and have saved businesses over £1m. 

On top of reducing their business costs, our clients are free to spend their time on growing their business rather than fretting about their bills. 

Do you see any other industry challenges on the horizon?

The industry will continue to see the repercussions of the coronavirus lockdown for some time. As businesses look to recover, there’ll be great demand for ways to ease loan repayments and get back into the groove of paying staff following a reliance on the government’s job retention and furlough scheme. 

Can these challenges be aided by Fintech? 

Fintech certainly can and will play a huge part in helping businesses to recover in these coming months. As businesses and their financial advisors turn their attention to managing cash flow, fintech and its wealth of easy-to-use tools will offer an easier route towards a successful rebuild. 

We’ve certainly seen an influx of interest now that businesses and accountants see the urgency in reducing their business costs. 

Final thoughts? 

The sooner that businesses yet to embrace Fintech do so, the sooner they’ll be kicking themselves for taking so long to transition. 

  • Gina is a FinTech journalist (BA, MA) who works across broadcast and print. She has written for most national newspapers and started her career in BBC local radio.

https://thefintechtimes.com/behind-the-idea-reducer/

BankMobile enters merger agreement with Megalith Financial Acquisition

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/bankmobile-enters-merger-agreement-with-megalith-financial-acquisition/

BankMobile Technologies, a subsidiary of Customers Bank and a digital banking platform provider, has entered a merger agreement with Megalith Financial Acquisition Corp. As part of the deal, the combined companies will operate as BM Technologies Inc., according to a press release.

All BMT loans and deposits will remain with Customers Bank, while BM Technologies will focus on bringing banks and business partners closer together through its digital banking platform.

“There has been rapid growth of digital banking platforms, or neobanks, as many customers search for less burdensome access to banking services,” A.J. Dunklau, CEO of MFAC, said in the release. “We believe that BankMobile’s approach to collaborate with distribution partners and partner banks, positions it well to continue to grow as an increasing number of non-banks are looking to offer financial services to their existing customers. Accordingly, we believe that the opportunity to bring BankMobile to the public markets as a stand-alone company is highly attractive.”

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/bankmobile-enters-merger-agreement-with-megalith-financial-acquisition/

YOLT Enters Beta After Changing Consumer Priorities Prompts Substantial Update

https://thefintechtimes.com/yolt-enters-beta-after-changing-consumer-priorities-prompts-substantial-update/
//?#

Yolt, the award-winning smart money app, has today announced that it is heading into a beta period, testing a new evolution of its app focused on smart spending and savings growth, in recognition of the shift in financial priorities brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to a recent Yolt survey, despite the majority of respondents (61%) claiming to have had positive intentions to save money during the Covid-19 crisis, in reality only 35% have actually managed to increase their savings habits. Almost three quarters (72%) plan to keep a close eye on their spending over the next six months, and over half plan to set strict budgets for themselves.

Launched three years ago, award-winning app Yolt has been on a mission to empower everyone to be smart with their money by harnessing the power of Open Banking and giving its 1.5 million users one clear view of their finances. Yolt users can connect their accounts from the likes of American Express, HSBC, Monzo and Barclays in one central place, being able to easily track their spending, set budgets and identify where they could cut back.

Now, in light of the new financial landscape brought on by the pandemic and subsequent shift in consumers’ financial priorities, Yolt will be evolving its current proposition and entering beta to test a series of new and free features, geared towards helping users spend smart and grow their savings during these uncertain times.

The new iteration of the app will build on the already existing features which include account aggregation via APIs, enabling users to see their multiple accounts and manage their budgets, in one central place. On top of this, in app partners such as MoneySuperMarket, Raisin and Wealthify enable Yolt users to switch and save on household bills, find competitive interest rates and find suitable investment opportunities.

Pauline van Brakel, Chief Product Officer, Yolt, comments: “The Covid-19 pandemic has dramatically changed our relationship with money. With this new financial landscape that is taking shape, spending smart and saving money has never been more important. Our research shows that consumers are aware of this, but that they are still struggling to save despite their good intentions.

“We want to make smart spending and growing savings achievable for everyone, whatever their financial situation, helping people to reach their personal life goals in ways that are effortless and tailored to them, whether that’s freeing up money for a safety net, stashing some cash for Christmas or saving for that house deposit a few years down the road.

“The pandemic has just reinforced our brand mission to empower Yolt users to be smart with their money. But we also recognise that the crisis has created many additional financial pressures for consumers. Therefore, we believe this new landscape and the changing needs of consumers, calls for an evolved app. We are committed to helping people find a new way of balancing spending and saving, during these increasingly challenging times.”

Yolt’s beta phase will be available for UK iOS users first, with more details on the new features to be revealed in the coming weeks.

  • Gina is a FinTech journalist (BA, MA) who works across broadcast and print. She has written for most national newspapers and started her career in BBC local radio.

https://thefintechtimes.com/yolt-enters-beta-after-changing-consumer-priorities-prompts-substantial-update/

Clearbank and Tide Join Forces to Apply for Grants and Strengthen Challenge to High Street Banks

https://thefintechtimes.com/clearbank-and-tide-join-forces-to-apply-for-grants-and-strengthen-challenge-to-high-street-banks/
//?#

ClearBank and Tide, the UK’s leading business banking platform have announced that they are working together again to help UK SMEs turn recovery from the coronavirus crisis into a growth opportunity. In collaboration with Tide, ClearBank has applied for two grants from Pool E of the Capability and Innovation Fund, worth £25m and £35m, that form part of the £775 million RBS Alternative Remedies Package.

The funding will be used to provide financial support and products to help SMEs address the challenges they will face in the post-coronavirus and post-Brexit economic environment and to seize on the opportunities that arise. The bid blends ClearBank’s world-class payments infrastructure and Tide’s unrivalled digital banking platform with the aim of offering a genuine alternative to the high street banks.

The application to the Banking Competition Remedies will provide help to SMEs in the current challenging environment and help them to capitalise on the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda. The application will support SMEs in meeting the accelerated demand for digital services and enable them to become more environmentally sustainable. The application is also intended to address issues in the Open Banking agenda and to help it work as intended. ClearBank and Tide recognise that the available funding can make a real impact in helping SMEs emerge stronger from the crisis. In the current environment, the bid for Pool E of the Capabilities and Innovation Fund will build upon the market share gains ClearBank and Tide have delivered over the last 18 months.

The bid will increase efforts to tackle barriers to competition in business banking and give SMEs the tools to turn crisis into opportunity. These include:

  • Leveraging Open Banking to remove friction:
  • Open Banking will be used as it was intended, allowing businesses to use an existing third-party business current account on the Tide platform; both to make payments but also to use the rich set of tools available (e.g. invoicing, expense management). There will be no need for the existing current account to be moved to Tide, removing friction and leveraging Open Banking. SMEs will be able to move their business to the platform without moving their business current accounts.
  • Improving funding opportunities with unparalleled access to debt and equity. he proposal acknowledges the fact that funding for SMEs needs to be addressed by matching their diverse needs with a broad range of options rather than more of the same balance sheet lending. Building on Pool A deliverables, ClearBank and Tide will partner with additional third-party lenders, make ‘beyond Open Banking’ data available through a Tide Lending API and build out proprietary lending with an overdraft product. For more complex lending, ClearBank and Tide will launch managed networks, for equity solutions and access to Angel and VC investors.
  • Help SMEs become more digital, supporting digital payments and business development: ClearBank and Tide will introduce request to pay (e.g. via embedded invoices), confirmation of payee and digital cheques. For B2B members Tide will help them grow their business by creating and curating a digital member directory with public profiles to advertise services and by building a managed services network for accountants and payroll providers.

The following would be delivered in addition, with the £35m grant:

  • Post-Brexit assistance by providing payment functionality to support SME imports and exports:
  • ClearBank and Tide will upgrade business current accounts with SWIFT IBANs for international payments and members will be able to open international currency accounts in 19 currencies. Deeply integrated into the Tide platform, businesses will save time and money, allowing many more SMEs to engage in international trade.
  • Preparing for a more sustainable future: As contributors to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Fair Business Banking’s Bankers For NetZero initiative ClearBank and Tide will introduce functionality that will allow business owners to understand their carbon footprint, help them to reduce it, and allow them to purchase carbon credits as offsets.

Charles McManus, Group CEO of ClearBank, said: “riving competition in business banking is now more important than ever, helping businesses survive this period of uncertainty and thrive in the long-term. By securing additional funding from Pool E, we’ll be able to harness the agility and efficiency we have shown so far in our on-target Pool A delivery and have even more of an impact, accelerating the provision of services to SME businesses.

“Unlike traditional banks, our platform-based approach provides not only choice for SMEs but also rich opportunities for product partners. We have the capability to deliver deep integrations with third parties quickly and at scale and by committing to integrate with at least 25 SME partners, there will be significant opportunities for innovative SMEs to provide curated, value-add solutions. We believe these partnerships, combined with a number of powerful new tools, will further enable us to offer a truly compelling alternative to the high street banks.”

Oliver Prill, CEO of Tide, said:”Competition and choice in the business banking space is more important than ever and needs to be addressed urgently. Switching accounts has been made unnecessarily sticky, with old barriers remaining and the Government’s response to the coronavirus crisis reinforcing them. For example, repayments under the critical Bounce Back Loan Scheme will link millions of SMEs to the big five for many years. ClearBank’s world-class payments infrastructure combined with Tide’s unrivalled business banking platform mean that we can develop innovative ways to get around this, particularly by using Open Banking in the way it was intended.

“As well as removing friction, we need to continue to provide powerful attractors as an incentive for SMEs to switch to Tide. Crisis recovery can turn threats into opportunities. We have identified the key areas in which SMEs are threatened and have world-class solutions that will allow them to get back on their feet and come out stronger. We are delighted to be continuing to work with ClearBank, who share Tide’s values and ambition to support small businesses at this very difficult time. ClearBank and Tide are fully on track to deliver on our Pool A commitments and see Pool E as a crucial opportunity to push those commitments even further to have an even greater impact on the market.

“We are ready to get started immediately, have a laser focus on the small business market, state of the art technology and a strong base position with almost 4% market share.”

  • Gina is a FinTech journalist (BA, MA) who works across broadcast and print. She has written for most national newspapers and started her career in BBC local radio.

https://thefintechtimes.com/clearbank-and-tide-join-forces-to-apply-for-grants-and-strengthen-challenge-to-high-street-banks/

XBRL: real-time reporting, extensible lists and rulesets

https://dailyfintech.com/2020/08/06/xbrl-5/
http://i2.wp.com/dailyfintech.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/XBRL.001.jpeg?fit=1024,768&ssl=1#

Here is our pick of the 3 most important XBRL news stories this week.

1 Opportunities and challenges of real-time financial reporting

This article reviews the implementation of real-time reporting by state and municipal governmental units as a model for analyzing these emerging technologies.

We have been advocating real-time financial reporting for a long time already, not least – and counter-intuitively – as a remedy for financial markets’ short-term obsession with quarterly results. Current reporting is already dated when published. Real-time reporting would enable analysts to look at real business cycles rather than artificial (quarterly) reporting cycles. You may have guessed we’re not talking states & munis here …

2 FASB offers guide to XBRL extensible lists

The Financial Accounting Standards Board has released a new guide to a feature of Extensible Business Reporting Language known as extensible lists

Extensions (the bit of that’s responsible for the X in XBRL) are tricky: They provide the issuer with flexibility over and above the standard terminology provided by the taxonomy, BUT … they provide the issuer with flexibility. These lists are useful to tie extended disclosures back to reported items.

3 XBRL US DQC public exposure of 13th ruleset for US GAAP filers

The XBRL US Data Quality Committee (DQC) has published its 13th Ruleset for a 45-day public review and comment period, which closes on September 17, 2020. The DQC has also approved and published its 12th Ruleset. DQC rules aid US GAAP and IFRS issuers in preparing consistent, error-free financials, by providing automated checks that test an XBRL-formatted financial statement prior to SEC submission

The beauty of XBRL is that issuers can capture most mistakes and inconsistencies in their reports thanks to the semantic logic that is part of the reporting format. DQC provides sterling public service to keep those features up to date with latest developments.

—————————————————————

Christian Dreyer CFA is well known in Swiss Fintech circles as an expert in XBRL and financial reporting for investors.

 We have a self-imposed constraint of 3 news stories each week because we serve busy senior leaders in Fintech who need just enough information to get on with their job.

 For context on XBRL please read this introduction to our XBRL Week in 2016 and read articles tagged XBRL 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 USD 143 a year (= USD 0.39 per day or USD 2.75 per week). For less than one cup of coffee you get a week full of caffeine for the mind.

https://dailyfintech.com/2020/08/06/xbrl-5/

Artificial Intelligence and the Motor Industry: The 300,000 Lease Rates AI Must Calculate Each Day

https://thefintechtimes.com/artificial-intelligence-and-the-motor-industry-the-300000-lease-rates-ai-must-calculate-each-day/
//?#

Poland is fast becoming a worldwide innovation hub for AI solutions that are being applied to the car rental market. This innovation brings with it many changes to the marketplace, including job creation and upskilling in information technology. Visitors to the Carsmile online platform illicit over 300,000 hire purchase calculations a day. If brokers were to make those same calculations in lieu of an intelligent algorithm, the start-up would have to employ a minimum of 2000 people simply to perform this function. 

On any given day, the carsmile.pl online platform calculates for its users the hire purchase/lease rate 300,000 times according to average figures taken from June 2020. After choosing a given vehicle, the user sees a list of different variants of that particular model with a corresponding pricing structure.

Intelligent algorithm

The user only sees the monthly rate, so a single monetary amount. However, in order to reach this figure a great many variables are processed by the algorithm. Included in these are the purchase price of a vehicle, servicing and tyre costs, finance rates, the length of the purchase/lease agreement and the initial deposit amount. The system must also calculate the anticipated depreciation of the vehicle over the length of time that the agreement is in place for.

According to the market analysis firm Global Market Insights, investment into AI in the automotive industry will reach $12 billion rising from the $10 billion currently invested on an annual basis. Artificial Intelligence in the automotive industry is however mainly perceived as applying to autonomous driving and infotainment systems for cars. Its potential uses though are much wider in scope. AI can not only increase the safety and comfort of driving but also change the landscape of vehicle ownership.

Michal Mazur, CEO AI Clearing Corp. says: For me, it’s amazing that Poland is becoming a centre of excellence for AI solutions – not only in designing them, but also in putting them into practice. However au fait we are with artificial intelligence supporting or replacing the driver of a vehicle, its use in the sales of new cars demonstrates innovation on a global scale. For customers, this is awesome news – as they can quickly and effectively compare many more possible alternatives.”

Artificial Intelligence does the hard work

What would calculating 300,000 rental agreements a day look like? Michal Knitter, Vice President of Carsmile, a former financial advisor and by education a mathematician estimates the engagement needed. He said, “Well, if there was a person doing the computations, and that person was exceptionally experienced and particularly focused on their work, whilst simultaneously knowing the operating systems well and, if they had a calculator at their disposal, working out the monthly rates after inputting the data parameters, they perhaps might be able to calculate one offer in around two minutes.”

Following this hypothesis, a motivated and experienced employee could hypothetically make 30 calculations in the space of one hour and 210 such calculations in one working day (assuming that they worked unceasingly for 7 hours). This is of course not taking into account the arduous and monotonous nature of such work.

Changes in skill sets 

Dr. Magda Drzewiecka-Sarosiek owner of consultancy MotoKariera, says: “There are understandable anxieties about AI impacting on employment in the sector. It should be judged however that it will not cause a reduction in employment, but rather allow for new work placements in lieu of those that will be eliminated as a result of computerised systems. With this, over the next few years, the expectations of qualifications required for given roles, at the very least car sales positions, will change significantly.”

“What will become valued are the communication skills of individuals (not only those entailing face to face contact, but also through information technology), flexibility, the openness of experience, skills not so much in working with a computer, but multiple IT platforms including tablets and mobile phone technology. *-What is interesting and worth noting, is that the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need and existence of such platforms and communications systems, if not in forced circumstances.”

Five people instead of 2000

If a benchmark of 210 calculations is needed a day then 300,000 such computations would require almost one and a half thousand very experienced employees, focused on this one task (exactly 1429 people). Adding in to the mix customers who decide to utilise the platform over a weekend, to complete the requisite calculations would require at least 2000 employees working continuously with zero holidays. For comparison, Carsmile’s algorithm requires a sum total of five individuals. What’s more, the algorithm can perform millions of such calculations without additional employee infrastructure.

300 calculations a day – the details

Users of the carsmile.pl platform, having chosen a given model of vehicle and having picked out the parameters of the agreement, instantly see the cost of the contract. If the user changes a parameter, the cost is instantly adjusted. For example, if three variants of a model are available on the Carsmile platform, the algorithm instantly generates three quotes. If the user changes one parameter, let’s say the length of the agreement, the algorithm will create three new quotations. Thus, for that one individual, six transactions costs will be calculated. Other variables that can be considered include: the profile of the user (company or individual), the type of agreement (hire purchase or lease), the initial deposit and additional packages that can be utilised (for example roadside assistance and insurance).

  • Gina is a FinTech journalist (BA, MA) who works across broadcast and print. She has written for most national newspapers and started her career in BBC local radio.

https://thefintechtimes.com/artificial-intelligence-and-the-motor-industry-the-300000-lease-rates-ai-must-calculate-each-day/

GoBear appoints new Chief Financial Officer Kent Huang

https://thefintechtimes.com/gobear-appoints-new-chief-financial-officer-kent-huang/
//?#

GoBear, Asia’s leading financial services and data platform has announced the appointment of Kent Huang, as Chief Financial Officer, effective 24 August. With over two decades of finance experience across the Asia Pacific region, Kent joins GoBear from Singapore-based peer-to-peer lending platform, Funding Societies.

During his career, Kent has worked across a diverse range of industries including e-commerce, fintech, healthcare, and Software as a Service (SaaS). He has held senior finance positions at companies such as GE, PayPal and Intuit and most recently served as Group Head of Finance for APAC at Funding Societies.

Reporting directly to GoBear CEO, Adrian Chng, Kent will be based in Singapore and will be a key member of GoBear’s Executive Management team. He will be responsible for GoBear’s financial, legal and regulatory activities and helping accelerate the business’ next phase of growth. Kent will replace outgoing GoBear CFO, Frank Stevenaar.

“Following our recent funding round, GoBear is accelerating the expansion of our financial services platform across three growth pillars: an online financial supermarket, digital insurance brokerage, and digital lending, all built on a strong foundation of alternative data. With this rapid expansion, it’s crucial that we have on board a strong senior team and Kent brings with him a hands-on approach to building and scaling businesses by developing strategic initiatives that deliver measurable results across an organisation. We’re looking forward to tapping in to his expertise,” commented Adrian Chng, CEO of GoBear.

“I’m driven by a personal goal to make a positive impact on society and help others achieve their financial aspirations. The prospect of contributing to GoBear’s mission of improving people’s financial health is close to my heart and I’m very excited to get started,” added Kent Huang.

In line with the team’s vision for its next stage of growth, GoBear also strengthened its senior management by welcoming Valeriy Gasratov as Chief Information Technology Officer, Jinnee Lim as Chief Strategy Officer in March, and Mike Singh from AsiaKredit as Chief Lending Officer in May.

  • Gina is a FinTech journalist (BA, MA) who works across broadcast and print. She has written for most national newspapers and started her career in BBC local radio.

https://thefintechtimes.com/gobear-appoints-new-chief-financial-officer-kent-huang/

Startupbootcamp Continues to Support the Middle East and Africa Tech Ecosystem

https://thefintechtimes.com/startupbootcamp-continues-to-support-the-middle-east-and-africa-tech-ecosystem/
http://thefintechtimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/DIFC_Gate-Building.jpg?#

Founded in 2010 in Copenhagen, Denmark, Startupbootcamp supports early-stage tech founders to rapidly scale their companies by providing direct access to an international network of the most relevant mentors, partners, and investors in their industry. They do this via their industry-focused programmes.

Startupbootcamp is part of Rainmaking, one of the world’s leading corporate innovation and venture development firms with 12 offices globally, including major tech hubs such as London, Copenhagen, Dubai, Singapore and New York.

In terms of the Middle East and Africa (MEA), Startupbootcamp has a strong presence. It was recently announced that Dubai, specifically Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), would be the regional headquarters for Startupbootcamp. According to a recent press release, the establishment of the new regional offices for Startupbootcamp further cements the long-standing partnership between the accelerator launched by Rainmaking in the Middle East and the DIFC. Startupbootcamp FinTech Dubai was launched in 2018 in partnership with DIFC, VISA, Mashreq and HSBC and to date has successfully graduated 20 FinTech start-ups in the fields of payments, lending and Islamic digital banking.

Dubai International Financial Centre is the new regional hub for Startupbootcamp

Dubai International Financial Centre is the new regional hub for Startupbootcamp

Dubai International Financial Centre, or commonly known as DIFC, is the new regional headquarters for Startupbootcamp IMAGE SOURCE PROVIDED

Commenting on the announcement of Dubai being selected, the CEO of DIFC Authority Arif Amiri said, “Our strategic partnership with Startupbootcamp strengthens our commitment to shaping the future of finance and supporting Dubai’s position as the leading global financial hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region through developing successful and innovative FinTech start-ups in the DIFC.”

Further commenting was Lars Buch, the CEO Rainmaking MENA & Russia, who said, “We decided to move Rainmaking MENA’s headquarter in DIFC to give new impulse to our common commitment to drive innovation in the UAE and support the growth of promising tech companies from different industries.” Clearly it is not only a huge win for Dubai, amongst its other accolades and confirming its global hub status, but also for the tech community as a whole in the region.

Besides the recent HQ announcement, Startupbootcamp Dubai is accepting applicants for its current programme, which is in partnership with Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Visa, and Mashreq Bank. The programme in Dubai will accelerate a total of 40 startups across 4 cohorts to support Dubai in its bid to become a world leader in financial services innovation and technology. The program is open to startups from the MENA region as well as from around the world. The following are the Fast Track application deadlines for the Fast Tracks to pitch live, according to its website: Lebanon (August 5), Jordan (August 12), and the UAE (August 19). To note, Dubai has another programme called Startupbootcamp Smart City Dubai where it supports innovative companies in the IoT & Connectivity, Urban Automation & Mobility, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, Open City Data, Sustainable Cities & Living, Smart Government, and Smart Retail industry.

BEYOND DUBAI – THE REST OF MEA

Amongst the MEA presence of Startupbootcamp, here are some other interesting news and developments in the region. First, Startupbootcamp FinTech Cairo is, according to its website, open applications to its programme on September 1st. A ‘first of its kind’ fintech programme that will be six-months long, the Cairo programme will support up to ten innovative early-stage FinTech startups in Egypt, with a targeted focus of financial inclusion. The accelerator brings a unique focus in Egypt and helps develop the ecosystem and drives the next generation of technology startups to success.

Another one in Africa is Startupbootcamp AfriTech, a leading accelerator focused on high-growth startups in blockchain, connected devices, payment solutions, capital markets and asset management, integrated supply chain, e-commerce, retailtech, insurtech, alternative financing, identity management, digital connectivity, data and behavioural analytics and enabling technologies. Ten companies from across the world get three-months of support. The accelerator is anchored by leading corporate sponsors Old Mutual, RCS, BNP Paribas, Nedbank and PwC that will support and grow the program and selected startups. Global sponsor being Amazon Web Services.

Finally, there is Qatar SportsTech, which focuses on the sportstech industry. According to its website, Qatar SportsTech is initiated by Qatar Development Bank, powered by Startupbootcamp and supported by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, Qatar Financial Centre, Aspire Zone Foundation, beIN Media Group and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

From its humble beginnings in Copenhagen to being a leading and important part in the fintech and wider ecosystem for many startups and innovations, Startupbootcamp clearly has been active not just in Dubai but in the wider Middle East and Africa region

  • Richie Santosdiaz, Contributing Reporter for Middle East and Africa

https://thefintechtimes.com/startupbootcamp-continues-to-support-the-middle-east-and-africa-tech-ecosystem/

Become a captive and be freed- an alternative to traditional risk management

https://dailyfintech.com/2020/08/06/become-a-captive-and-be-freed-an-alternative-to-traditional-risk-management/
http://dailyfintech.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/captive-insurance.jpg?#

captive-insurance

Knowing there are risks that are challenging to underwrite or expensive to share with a carrier does not have to limit a firm’s or groups options for risk management, nor does a prospective firm need to engage a top-heavy syndicate where 40% of premium dollars result in expense costs.  For those firms with stout hearts, clever advisers and an urge to have closer management of risk there are captive insurance schemes.  And there just might be tax savings, too. 

Patrick Kelahan is a CX, engineering & insurance consultant, working with Insurers, Attorneys & Owners in his day job. He also serves the insurance and Fintech world as the ‘Insurance Elephant’.  image source

The less than ideal outcomes of claims related to Covid-19 and systemic risk has caused consideration of alternative risk financing to become mainstream fashionable, and in some aspects required for continuity of lines of business.  Few reading this article need to be reminded that traditional indemnity insurance has been found to not be a viable option for systemic risk like a viral outbreak is.  Systemic risk flies in the face of the law of large numbers (other than large numbers of firms suffered similar losses at the same time) in that ssystemic risk is not differentiated by geography, industry sector, size of firm, etc., anathema to prudent underwriting.

The default ‘insurer’ for a systemic risk event becomes government, not an ideal circumstance for any economy.  Companies looking for options where a respective insured can exact tighter administration of coverage, can pare down expenses, and can leverage insurance investment in terms of tax-benefited expense and claim payments are looking to captive arrangements, but certainly need to tread carefully.

“Captives are not for the faint of heart; they require an ongoing commitment to risk management and mitigation.”  Hale Stewart, JD

Captives have been in the US market since the early 1950’s when Frederic Reiss, “father of captive insurance,” coined the phrase from his client’s operation of mines which produced output solely for the client’s use.  (Wikipedia – “Captive Insurance” )

Captive insurance plans are self-retained risk where the insured becomes the insurance company, or associated with a closely held insurance company, providing risk coverage for the parent group.  The greatest difference between strictly self-retained risk and a captive- captive plans are forms of an insurance company, provide tax-benefited handling of costs, allow use of insurance premiums/reserves as basis for other financial transactions, allows ceding of risk to reinsurance companies, and provides the insured greater control over how claims are handled.  Not financial snake oil by any means as captives need to be licensed, and are regulated within the operating jurisdiction to ensure adequate capital is in place to pay claims and meet minimum surplus requirements.  Most captives insurers are domiciled within jurisdictions that have become expert in hosting such arrangements, including interesting spots like Guernsey, British Virgin Islands, Vermont, Malta, Gibraltar, Singapore, among several others.  The legal forms of captives run a full gamut- MGAs, reinsurers, industry captives (collectives of like firms), association captives (formed by trade associations or single members, owned by the parts of the whole), agency captives where agents or brokers form captives to address unique customer needs, and so on.

What all captives must consider in the US- the formation and operation of the captive cannot stray far from the stated use of the vehicle- risk management.  Many smaller captives formed as Section 831(b) P&C captives were designed to transfer unlikely risks which then allowed the captive to accept premiums, seldom or never have claims to pay, and the premium funds would transfer back to the forming company on a tax-free basis.  The US Internal Revenue Service of course has upset that party and has taken action against many of these micro-captives as tax issues.

Europe has a long history with captives of similar nature as the US, and many firms have used the formation of captive insurers as a means to manage risk, have a hedge against volatile commercial insurance rates, have closer management of claim costs, and have entrée to the reinsurance markets.  Of late and with the advent of Solvency II regulation captives have encountered unequal burden in meeting the bureaucratic requirements of Solvency II.  The irony is- Solvency II changes were promulgated to ensure that carriers maintained sufficient capital/reserves to protect the carrier’s customers in terms of claim payments.  If one considers that a captive lives to serve its sponsor company alone the very purpose of Solvency II becomes moot.  European captives are now jumping through admin hoops to convince regulators that the captive is operating in its parent’s best interest.

While this article is not a deep dive into the potential benefits of captive forms of insurance companies, one can see that firms with substantial insurance premium portfolios are candidates for captive formation, as the parent firm can craft its insurance to address coverage gaps the commercial market has.  Business interruption cover is an ideal example of a benefit a captive could hold for a parent company, if the numbers work properly.  A million dollar policy with a $100K premium that covers BI losses, with risk ceded to a reinsurer clearly provides immediate financial benefit to the parent company from tax favored handling of the premium payment.  If the captive is designed to address the needs of a pool of like firms, has reinsurance and is well-managed then there is an option for pandemic BI cover.  It’s not the big picture answer, but it sure can be for the right group of insureds.  Any high-risk, high premium exposure, e.g., malpractice insurance or environmental cover may be a good basis to form a captive.  There are MGAs like Elite Risk (Jeff Kleid) who with a captive managing firm are creating systemic business interruption options for companies where BI or event cancellation cover is almost always a probable maximum loss circumstance.

Conversations with captive insurance legal experts like Matthew Queen find that new applications of captives are being brought to the market every day.  As Matthew recently stated,

“In the modern Covid-19 environment, rolling outbreaks and unforeseen business interruptions are now a part of life. Captives can and should be used in conjunction with other risk mitigation measures to minimize exposure to this risk. A cell captive, for example, could provide tax-deductible financing for a large deductible commercial business interruption policy for a business of virtually any size. The trick is to find creative managers that can manage the risk distribution issues.”

Hale Stewart and I have had numerous discussions regarding captives, and as a long-standing expert in the field Hale expresses caution among the self-retention exuberance.  Hale’s suggestion that a ‘gatekeeper’ premium amount of $100K is a good measure of a parent’s enthusiasm and ability to reasonably support a captive is good advice.  The options remain for SMEs who individually may not have those resources, however in combination with similar firms may take advantage of the many collective forms a captive can take.

There are organizations that exist such as VCIA (Vermont Captive Insurance Association) that can be great resources for better understanding of benefits and uses of captives (their conference August 11-14,) and other individuals including colleague and alternative risk financing expert, Dr Marcus Schmalbach of RyskEx, another regular captives discussion partner.  Marcus is taking alternative risk financing to other levels and vehicles through his latest venture.

Captives- freeing risk management from traditional insurance bindings (pun intended).

You get three free articles on Daily Fintech; after that you will need to become a member for just US $143 per year ($0.39 per day) and get all our fresh content and archives and participate in our forum.

https://dailyfintech.com/2020/08/06/become-a-captive-and-be-freed-an-alternative-to-traditional-risk-management/

Assessing the Future Sandbox for Nigeria’s Fintech Ecosystem

https://thefintechtimes.com/assessing-the-future-sandbox-for-nigerias-fintech-ecosystem/
http://thefintechtimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/iStock-1153881717.jpg?#

In terms of population Nigeria by far is the largest country in the African continent, which according to the World Bank is over two-hundred million inhabitants. Nigeria’s largest city and financial hub is Lagos, which within that population, houses according to the National Population Commission of Nigeria at over twenty million people.

Given its size and influence in the African continent, a recent analysis by the Fintech Times puts the largest city in the country as one of four emerging fintech hubs in the entire African continent – alongside Nairobi, Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Lagos is the largest city and financial hub of Nigeria

Lagos is the largest city and financial hub of Nigeria

Lagos, Nigeria: Tinubu Square on Lagos Island – surrounded by high-rise buildings, park and fountain in the middle.

According to their website, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is working towards setting up a Regulatory Sandbox that will offer a ‘safe space’ in which start-ups and other businesses can test innovative products, services, business models and delivery mechanisms relating to the capital market in a live environment without immediately satisfying all the necessary regulatory requirements.

OBJECTIVES OF THE REGULATORY SANDBOX OPERATION IN NIGERIA

Note this is pending on final approval and announcement of the committee members deciding upon this matter.

  1. To increase the potential for innovative business models that advance financial inclusion;
  2. To reduce time-to-market for innovative products, services, and business models;
  3. To increase competition, widen consumers’ choice and lower costs;
  4. To ensure appropriate consumer protection safeguards in innovative products;
  5. To clearly define the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders and the operations of the Sandbox for the Nigerian Payments System industry;
  6. To ensure adequate provisions in regulations to create an enabling environment for innovation without compromising on safety for consumers and the overall payments system; and
  7. To provide an avenue for regulatory engagement with Fintech firms in the payment space, while contributing to economic growth.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA (CBN) IN THE SANDBOX OPERATION

The Central Bank of Nigeria shall be responsible for:

  1. Issuance of the Regulatory Framework for Sandbox Operations;
  2. Admitting all eligible participants into the Sandbox process;
  3. Issuance of a Letter of Approval (LoA) for entry into the sandbox;
  4. Issuance of an Approval-in-Principle (AIP) in order to deploy its digital solution to the market, subject to the Innovator being able to meet CBN’s licensing requirements;
  5. Ensuring that the objectives of the Sandbox are fully achieved;
  6. Conducting oversight on Sandbox participants’ operations and systems; vii. Monitoring other stakeholders to ensure compliance;
  7. Issuing circulars to regulated institutions on the operations of the Sandbox;
  8. Reviewing this framework for the operations of the Sandbox from time to time;
  9. Apply appropriate sanctions for non-compliance where needed;
  10. The Director, Payments System Management Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria shall review cases referred to it before issuance of an operating license or a formal clearance to an entity/participant for the purpose of delisting from the Sandbox.

For more information visit their website to express your interest here.

  • Richie Santosdiaz, Contributing Reporter for Middle East and Africa

https://thefintechtimes.com/assessing-the-future-sandbox-for-nigerias-fintech-ecosystem/

CB Insights: Fintech funding rebounds in Q2

https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/biz-lines/payments/cb-insights-fintech-funding-rebounds-in-q2/
http://bankinnovation.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/growing-assets-548x309.png?#

Share Fintech funding rebounded in the second quarter, after suffering a dip due to the pandemic, according to “The State of Fintech Q2’20″ report by CB Insights. Funding increased 17% quarter-over-quarter to $9.3 billion from $7.9 billion in the first quarter, and the second quarter saw multiple fintech companies filing to go public, including nCino …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.

https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/biz-lines/payments/cb-insights-fintech-funding-rebounds-in-q2/

Splitit Raises Millions Amid Buy Now Pay Later Fever

https://finovate.com/splitit-raises-millions-amid-buy-now-pay-later-fever/
http://finovate-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/pexels-artem-beliaikin-1051747.jpg?#

If there are any lingering doubts about the power (and popularity) of the Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) movement, installment payments platform Splitit has 71.5 million reasons to cast those doubts aside.

The New York-based company, which made its Finovate debut as PayItSimple in 2014, announced that it has raised $71.5 million in a private placement and share purchase plan (SPP). With institutional investors such as Woodson Capital Management, the company plans to use the capital to “accelerate sales and marketing, plus (make) further investments in product and technology” according to a statement. Splitit boasts more than 1,000 ecommerce merchants using its technology, and 300,000+ shoppers with an average order value of $893.

Splitit’s fundraising comes as the company reports record Q2 growth, including processing more than $65 million in merchant sales volume, and growth of 1.76x quarter over quarter and 2.6x year over year. In discussing the company’s success, CEO Brad Paterson credited a new willingness on the part of consumers to “maximize their existing credit to preserve cash flow” while at the same time not incurring additional new debt.

Paterson also noted that while the COVID-19 crisis has helped move digital transformation in ecommerce toward the top of the agenda, it was important for those involved in payments to make it easier for merchants to accommodate their customer’s cash management requirements.

As such, it’s hard not wonder if, once again, crisis is responsible for accelerating innovation. After all, one of the initial innovations in retail, the layaway program, emerged during the Great Depression as a way to maintain at least a minimal level of consumption of non-essential goods during a severe economic retraction. By enabling customers to pay for items in small increments over time and then receive those items once they had been fully paid for, the growing retail economy was able to survive an extended period of historically low demand.

The buy now pay later phenomenon is layaway in reverse, allowing customers to gain the benefits of the purchase immediately and moderating the impact of the cost by paying for that purchase over time. But the goal – to accelerate consumer activity and expand the ability of people to spend – remains the same. The only difference is that layaway tended to disappear once credit cards became ubiquitous, while buy now pay later appears to be rising at a time when we are realizing that affordable consumer financing might not be as ubiquitous as we thought.

For Finovate fans, Klarna has been the pioneer in the Buy Now Pay Later space, with fellow alums like Sezzle also earning recognition for its interest-free buy now pay later option. Founded in 2005 and 2016, respectively, both companies are reminders of how fintechs have been providing consumers with alternative financing options well before the coronavirus hit.

That said, it is clear that COVID-19 has stimulated interest in Buy Now Pay Later options. The Business of Finance reported earlier this week that BNPL had become “fashion’s go-to during the pandemic.” Also this week, American Express announced that it would extend its buy now pay later service to more of its cards. The Wall Street Journal featured Australian Buy Now Pay Later specialist Afterpay at the beginning of this month in the wake of the firm’s announcement that it had signed up more than 1.6 million U.S. users since the onset of the coronavirus in March. And Shopify announced this month that merchants on its platform would have access to BNPL financing from installment payment company Affirm. Affirm looks like it is ready to maximize the Buy Now Pay Later moment with an initial public offering, according to reporting in the Wall Street Journal.

Even the big banks are getting into the Buy Now Pay Later game. Goldman Sachs has introduced a new, installment payment feature called MarcusPay – in partnership with JetBlue Airways – as part of a bigger “build-out” of its Marcus by Goldman Sachs digital banking platform. This week, Citi partnered with Amazon to launch its own BNPL offering Citi Flex Plan.


Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels

https://finovate.com/splitit-raises-millions-amid-buy-now-pay-later-fever/

Bnext Adds $13 Million to Series A Round

https://finovate.com/bnext-adds-13-million-to-series-a-round/
http://finovate-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/gaelle-marcel-gIj7RJPAkJA-unsplash-scaled.jpg?#

Place another notch in the belt of the challenger banking crowd.
This week banking alternative Bnext
extended
its Series A round by $13.08 million (€11 million),
adding to the $26.7 million (€22.5 million) the bank brought in
last October.

Bnext’s Series A round now stands at $39.2 million (€33
million) and its total funding is now in excess of $47 million
(€40 million). Existing investors DN Capital, Redalpine,
Speedinvest, Founders Future, Enern, Digital Horizons, Kreos
Capital, and Cometa contributed to this week’s follow-on
round.

Bnext will use the funds to further its growth in its home
territory of Spain, as well as build its presence in Latin America
by focusing on its expansion into Mexico. The bank initially
launched in Mexico at the beginning of this year and now has 60,000
users in the region.

“At Bnext we have always had a clear objective: to be a
banking alternative that allows our users to end the bad
experiences of traditional banks,” said Bnext CEO Guillermo
Vicandi. “Since its launch, our growth has been constant both in
services and products and in users, and we are proud to have the
support of the best investors to design and execute a strategy that
allows us to achieve our objective. Our position to change the
banking sector in the Spanish-speaking world is unbeatable and we
have a duty to take advantage of it.”

The challenger bank has amassed 400,000 clients since it
launched in 2018 and currently processes $119 million (€100
million) per month in transactions. Last month Bnext launched its
Premium account and added to its Rewards program.

Photo by
Gaelle Marcel
on
Unsplash

The post Bnext
Adds $13 Million to Series A Round
appeared first on Finovate.

https://finovate.com/bnext-adds-13-million-to-series-a-round/

Diginex Announces Public Launch of EQUOS.io, to Become First Digital Asset Exchange in US

https://thefintechtimes.com/diginex-announces-public-launch-of-equos-io-to-become-first-digital-asset-exchange-in-us/
//?#

The public launch of EQUOS.io will deliver a next
generation digital asset exchange to a global

audience, with institutional-grade infrastructure and high
performance at its core, built on the foundations of equity and
transparency.

Diginex have announced the public launch of its digital asset
exchange EQUOS.io, built to institutional-grade specifications and
designed to improve the experience of trading digital assets for
all market participants. The launch of the exchange is another
important milestone for Diginex in advance of the planned business
combination with 8i Enterprises Acquisition Corp, the NASDAQ-listed
special purpose acquisition company (Nasdaq: JFK), which, upon
expected completion in the third quarter of 2020, will offer
investors the opportunity to participate in the growth of this
emerging asset class via the public markets.

The EQUOS.io platform will feature a fully functioning digital
asset exchange, offering cryptocurrency spot trading initially,
with perpetual swaps, dated futures, options and other derivatives
products to follow, and will provide interoperability with
Diginex’s over-the-counter trading desk, Diginex Access, a
front-to-back integrated trading platform, and Digivault, the
group’s pioneering hot and cold custodian.

EQUOS.io offers innovative products and significant improvements
in transparency. The platform was designed from the outset to
deliver high security standards for users with critical
infrastructure such as segregation of duties, high performance with
low latency, reliable connectivity and platform stability through
volatile markets. Furthermore, EQUOS.io’s spot exchange is
operating under an exemption to the Singapore Payment Services Act
and will provide a fair and transparent platform for users. These
represent key points of differentiation compared to other major
exchanges operating today. As such, EQUOS.io is primed to become
the trading venue of choice for professional and institutional
investors and traders.

In the future, we plan to expand the EQUOS.io platform to
provide a clear and easy to use interface for retail investors,
reimagining and redesigning trading services that to date have
disadvantaged investors on many of the incumbent platforms. In
addition, we plan to add, managed account features that we believe
will improve capital efficiency and collateralisation processes,
and risk products that can substantially grow what is a nascent
derivative market.

“This is a pivotal moment for us to launch EQUOS.io ahead of
our transaction with 8i Enterprises Acquisition Corp. We are proud
to deliver EQUOS.io, an exchange for virtual currencies and digital
assets that challenges everything we have witnessed in the early
growth of this industry. Our industry analysis has allowed us to
understand the friction points for institutions to trade digital
assets and address many of those with new and improved solutions
around portfolio management. I am truly excited by the impact that
EQUOS.io will have on many aspects of how the industry operates
today and how it will also expedite its future growth,” said
Richard Byworth, CEO at
Diginex.

Neil Sheppard, COO of Financial Services at
Diginex, added: “Today’s announcement
represents a critical milestone for Diginex as we progress towards
our goal of facilitating the maturation of the digital asset class.
EQUOS.io is designed to provide a single secure integrated trading
venue that meets the needs of professional traders, with features
such as segregation of sub-accounts and seamless USD/USDC
integration at launch. We have a comprehensive roadmap of products
and services aimed at both institutional and retail traders that
will continue to differentiate the EQUOS.io platform as they roll
out.”

The launch of EQUOS.io has been achieved thanks to support
received from Endava (UK) Limited, our development partner, who
have been instrumental in the build and deployment of various
foundational components of the EQUOS.io platform.

Today’s announcement is a key milestone in advance of the
acquisition of Diginex by the 8i Enterprises Acquisition Corp
expected to occur in the third quarter of 2020, which includes
Diginex group-wide businesses of EQUOS.io, digital asset trading
technology platform Diginex Access, digital asset custody provider
Digivault and the investment management business Bletchley Park
Asset Management.

“Our planned listing on Nasdaq is further testament to our
commitment to compliance, regulation and transparency, all of which
are core principles of Diginex and are reflected in products such
as EQUOS.io, which provides a fair and equitable platform for all
participants,” added Richard Byworth.

Alongside the public launch of EQUOS.io, Diginex has also filed
an application for a Major Payment Institution license to the
Singapore regulator, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, in line
with Singapore’s progressive digital asset regulation, the
Payment Services Act 2019. Diginex already operates in Singapore
under a temporary exemption from licensing under the Act.

The post
Diginex Announces Public Launch of EQUOS.io, to Become First
Digital Asset Exchange in US
appeared first on The Fintech Times.

https://thefintechtimes.com/diginex-announces-public-launch-of-equos-io-to-become-first-digital-asset-exchange-in-us/