Identity Verification Innovator Sumsub Secures $6 Million in New Funding

London-based identity verification platform Sumsub (which stands for “Sum & Substance”) raised $6 million in Series A funding this week. The round brings the company’s total funding to more than $7.5 million. With the additional capital, the company plans to intensify its product development initiatives, expand into new markets, and pursue its goal of more than 1,000 new SME and enterprise customers by the end of next year.

Sumsub co-founder and CEO Andrew Sever highlighted the compliance and risk management questions that global businesses face when operating in multiple jurisdictions, and pointed to his company’s technology as an answer. “We solve the issue by presenting teams with a single solution to drive customers and enhanced due diligence from one place, customizing the onboarding flow to any jurisdiction or requirement.”

Sumsub provides a single, AI-powered identity verification and compliance risk management toolkit that automates the identity verification process and boosts conversion rates to as high as 97%. The company’s technology offers accelerated ID verification, digital fraud detection, and compliance for businesses in more than 200 markets around the world such as the U.K., North America, Germany, Singapore, and Hong Kong, and has verified “tens of millions of users” since launch in 2015.

The Series A was led by MetaQuotes, a financial trading software development company. The round featured the participation of several existing investors, as well as individual investor Ilia Perekopsky, VP of Telegram messenger.

Earlier this year, Sumsub announced that it and another ID verification company Veriff, had partnered with international money transfer firm TransferGo. TransferGo Compliance Manager Milda Mačiulaitytė said Sumsub’s platform would enable TransferGo to not only deliver a “tailored money transfer experience” but also to make sure that experience provided in a compliant and secure way across all regions.


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Promises Made, Promises Kept: Challenger Jiko Buys a Bank

Almost three years ago, Jiko co-founder and CEO Stephane Lintner told TechCrunch that his company “at some point” would own its current bank partner.

Late last week, Lintner made good on that prediction. The former Goldman Sachs managing director announced that the challenger bank he founded in 2019 had completed its acquisition of $100 million asset, Mid-Central National Bank, a Minnesota-based retail bank that’s served its community for 63 years.

“The past decade of fintech and online banking innovations has exposed new customers to our industry and demonstrated that innovation in the financial sector is needed,” Lintner said. “People’s relationship to money must be fundamentally improved for everyone. One of Jiko’s primary goals is to give people what they deserve: more organic and direct returns, without intermediaries and unnecessary friction.”

Mid-Central National Bank’s three branches in Minnesota will continue to operate, post-acquisition.

What makes Jiko different from other challengers is that it invests customer deposits in liquid U.S.-government backed Treasury bills (T-bills) instead of holding them. To do this the company has developed a core infrastructure which combines payment rails with real-time, 24/7 principal trading capabilities in T-bills. Add to this the requisite banking and broker-dealer licenses, and you have a banking platform that provides customers with an investment that is also a liquid, spendable alternative to cash.

That said, the lack of FDIC insurance may give some potential investors pause. Additionally, interest rates on T-bills have plunged in recent months (the three-month T-bill is at 0.11% today compared to 1.93% just a year ago). Fintech Futures reports that Jiko accountholders earned an annualized 3.3% return last year while the service was in beta. FintechLabs’ coverage of the Jiko’s bank purchase notes that the company may be less concerned with these issues as it focuses on B2B and BaaS customers and partnerships.

Lintner has positioned his Oakland, California-based company near the front of fintechs becoming banks (witness Varo Money’s securing of a national bank charter over the summer). And courtesy of approvals from both the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Jiko is the first to do so by acquiring a nationally regulated bank. The company plans to add a cash-back debit card and tokenized bank account numbers by year’s end.


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Who’s Smiling Now? Ohpen Acquires Mortgagetech Davinci

One of my favorite sayings popularized by the current Democratic Party candidate for president is “don’t tell me your values. Show me your budget.” The implication is that, at the end of the day, talk is cheap. Show me how you actually spend your money, and I’ll learn all I need to know about what matters to you and what does not.

By that metric, the news that Dutch fintech and Finovate alum Ohpen has acquired Saas-based, crossborder mortgagetech Davinci tells us quite a bit about what what the Amsterdam-based cloud core banking engine maker thinks about the importance of expanding beyond its competencies in savings, investments, loans, and current account products.

“We are a growing company with huge ambitions,” Ohpen CEO Matthijs Aler said. “Together, we intend to lead the charge in directly challenging incumbent providers with outdated technology. Our mission is – and always has been – to set financial institutions free from legacy software. Now we can help a broader range of financial institutions deliver tangible change to meet the needs of tomorrow’s customers.”

Ohpen put the acquisition announcement in the context of its global growth strategy. This includes scaling operations in the Netherlands – where the company is a market leader – the United Kingdom, and Belgium initially, as well as expansion to other areas. Ohpen also plans to scale up its development centers in Spain and Slovakia.

The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, but the combined entity will have 350 employees and $35 million in revenue. Davinci is Ohpen’s second acquisition. The company purchased core banking system implementation consultancy FYNN Advice in the fall of 2017.

Davinci leverages machine learning and AI to enhance and accelerate digital onboarding and acceptance during the mortgage lending process. Delivering cost savings of as much as 80%, the company’s signature solution is Close, a cloud-native platform for mortgage loan origination and servicing.

Calling the acquisition, “the natural next step” for both companies, Davinci Director Alwin van Dijk said, “We are the only two players with a real focus on back and middle office innovation for new and existing propositions.” van Dijk added that the ability to offer a broader range of products will be a “market game changer.”

With $47 million (€40 million) in funding from investors including NPM Capital and Amerborgh, Ohpen began the year teaming up with pensions administrator TKP Pensioen. The partnership with the Groningen, Netherlands-based digital pension platform enabled Ohpen to enter the pension market for the first time. Aler pointed out that the integration would enable the “originally conservative industry” of pension management to have a “fully digital and futureproof pension solution at its disposal.” This spring, Ohpen partnered with another pension management firm, Ortec Finance, integrating the company’s forecasting engine with the Ohpen platform.


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The Buy Now Pay Later Revolution Rolls on as Zip Acquires QuadPay

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We talked so much about the Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) revolution in ecommerce that we are starting to sound like a broken record (someone please explain that reference to the younger millennials in the room). But the no-interest financing strategy is quickly becoming a must-offer feature for merchants, card issuers, and other players in the ecommerce ecosystem.

This week brings news that Zip Co, a digital retail financing and payments services company based in Australia, has agreed to acquire New York based Buy Now Pay Later company QuadPay in a deal valued at $269 million. One of the biggest BNPL companies in the U.S, QuadPay will enable Zip to expand its reach to five countries (Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the U.S., and the U.K.), a combined annualized revenue of $182 million (AU$250 million) and 3.5 million customers.

Aside from the company’s co-founders, Adam Ezra and Brad Lindenberg, Zip was the largest shareholder in QuadPay. Ezra and Lindenberg will join Zip’s global leadership team post-acquistion with the responsibility of scaling business in the U.S.

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Hungry for good news on the fintech funding front? Gaze no further than Latin America where a new report from KoreFusion highlights growth in smartphone ownership, ecommerce adoption, and dissatisfactioin with banks as just a few of the reasons why Latin America’s fintech boom is ust beginning.

The study, available for free from the San Francisco, California-based consultancy, is based on a study of more than 1,000 fintechs in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico. In addition to a survey of the fintech landscape – finding a concentration in the payments category with lending and B2B-based fintechs coming in second and third, respectively – the report underscores other areas – such as remittances and foreign exchange – where it believe major opportunities remain.

Read more in KoreFusion’s 2020 Latam Fintech Report.


Here is our look at fintech around the world.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • German regtech 4Stop partners with payment service provider emerchantpay.
  • ACI Worldwide announces that its technology helps power 75% of real-time payments in Hungary.
  • German P2P lender auxmoney raises $177 million (150 million euros) in growth capital.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Edenred UAE introduces mobile banking app, C3Pay.
  • Hakbah, an alternative financial savings app based in Saudi Arabia, forges a partnership with Visa.
  • Switzerland’s Additiv opens new regional headquarters in Dubai.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Google Pay launches its NFC-based contactless payment offering in India.
  • India’s Kotak Mahindra Bank introduces cardless cash withdrawals at ATMs.
  • Singapore-based fintech Atlantis goes live with neobank targeting millennials and GenZ customers in India.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Neon Pagamentos, a neobank based in Brazil, has raised $300 million in a Series C round led by General Atlantic.
  • Brazil’s Central Bank says it will rollout a central bank digital currency by 2023.
  • Nubank, a Brazilian challenger bank and the country’s second-largest credit card issuer, has secured $300 million in new funding.

Asia-Pacific

  • Vietnam-based e-payments provider NextPay announces plans to raise up to $100 million early next year via a private placement.
  • China’s UnionPay goes live with its digital bankcard.
  • Malaysia’s securities commission inks a financial technology cooperation agreement with Indonesia’s financial services regulator Otoritas Jasa Keuangan.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • South Africa-based Entersket partners with NuData Security, bringing behavioral analytics to real-time risk scoring.
  • Pan-African challenger bank Union54 announces plans for a 2021 launch.
  • The National Agency for Social & Economic Inclusion (ANIES) of Guinea selects security services company Idemia fo its welfare cash transfer program.

A Look at the Top 50 Fintech Companies in Europe

The following is a guest post from Scott Raspa, Head of Marketing, Hydrogen.


The European fintech scene has experienced tremendous growth over the last few years. One of the key drivers of this growth is open banking. This is causing financial institutions and fintechs to partner together to provide more innovative, user-friendly solutions for consumers throughout Europe.

European consumers are receptive to the idea of non-financial players offering financial products, according to EY’s Global FinTech Adoption Index 2019. The survey finds that fintech adoption throughout Europe, especially in countries such as the Netherlands, U.K., Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland, are well above the global average of 64%, and aren’t showing signs of slowing down any time soon.

Below is a list of the top 50 fintech companies in Europe, based on their valuations.

RankingCompanyFundingValuationCountry
1Adyen$266M$22BNetherlands
2NexiPublic$8.2BItaly
3Klarna$1.4B$5.5BSweden
4Checkout$380M$5.5BU.K.
5Revolut$917M$5.5BU.K.
6Transferwise$1.1B$5BU.K.
7Greensill$1.7B$3.5BU.K.
8N26$782.8M$3.5BGermany
9Oaknorth$1B$2.8BU.K.
10IZettle€273.2M$2.2BSweden
11MetroBankPublic$1.92BU.K.
12Wefox$268.5M$1.65BGermany
13Funding Circle$746.4M$1.5BU.K.
14Monzo£384.7M$1.24BU.K.
15Rapyd$170M$1.2BU.K.
16Ledger$88M$1.2BFrance
17AvaloqCHF350M$1.1BSwitzerland
18Deposit Solutions$198.9M$1.1BGermany
19Ivalua$134.4M<$1.0BFrance
20Sumup$425.6M$1.0BU.K.
21Radius Payment£150M$1.0BU.K.
22Numbrs$78.8M$1.0BSwitzerland
23Monese$80.4M$1.0BU.K.
24Worldremit$407.7M<$900MU.K.
25Ebury$123.5M>$900MU.K.
26Oodle Car Finance£160M>$850MU.K.
27Qonto$151.5M>$770MFrance
28Starling Bank£363M>$600MU.K.
29Atom Bank£429M$590MU.K.
30Raisin$206M<$550MGermany
31Tradeplus24$103.5M>$550MSwitzerland
32Kreditech$347.5M<$500MGermany
33Pleo$78.8M$500MDenmark
34Smava$188.7M$500MGermany
35Tink$205.5M>$500MSweden
36Pagantis€76.2M>$400MSpain
37Gocardless$122.3M>$400MU.K.
38Wynd$123.5M>$400MFrance
39Moneyfarm$127.3M>$400MU.K.
40Soldo$83.2M>$400MU.K.
41Ratesetter£43M$360MU.K.
42solarisBank€155.1M$360MGermany
43Bitstamp$12.4M$350MU.K.
44Tinubu Square€79.3M>$350MFrance
45Nutmeg$153.6M$318MU.K.
46Banking CircleN/A$300MDenmark
47BIMA$170.6M$300MSweden
48LendInvest$1.3B>$300MU.K.
49PayFit$101.1M>$280MFrance
50Curve$74.2M$250MU.K.

These companies have raised over $16.8B (€14.3B) in venture capital funding and are valued, collectively, at over $92B (€78B).

The U.K. fintechs are valued at nearly $40B (€34B). The Netherlands are second, all thanks to Ayden, the most valuable fintech in Europe.

The U.K. has also invested the most money, nearly $11B (€9.4B), almost 65% of the funding of these top 50 fintech companies. After the U.K., Germany and Sweden have invested the most with 12.9% ($2.1B / €1.78B) and 12.4% ($2.0B / €1.7B) of the overall funding, respectively.

Fintech Enablement in Europe

Here at Hydrogen we work with companies all over the world. Our award-winning fintech enablement platform enables organizations to quickly and easily build fintech products and components. Whether you want to offer a PFM app in France, a challenger bank in the U.K., or issue cards in Germany, Hydrogen is here to help. Hydrogen has pre-built integrations, workflows, business logic, and UI already built in and available in white labeled/no-code modules or through our robust API.

It’s free to get started, so start building with Hydrogen today!


*Note: Funding information was provided by Crunchbase.com and the Euro, Pound, and US Dollar conversions were based off of today’s conversion rate. Also, total funding amounts didn’t include public companies or companies where we couldn’t identify the funding received.


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FinovateFall Digital Features Ten Keynote Speakers in its Upcoming Autumn Event

In less than two weeks our all-digital, fintech conference, FinovateFall Digital will begin. If you haven’t registered yet for our week-long live and On Demand event – September 14 through September 18 – then there’s no better time than the present to visit our registration page and save your spot.

To whet your appetite for the latest in fintech thought leadership and technical innovation, we wanted to introduce you to ten of the industry experts who will be presenting keynote addresses during the week.


Pablos Holman – Futurist, Innovation Speaker, Inventor at the Intellectual Ventures Lab, Founder, Turing AI. LinkedIn.

There is no try but do: Raising the bar, passing the test, and innovating in a post-COVID landscape. Preview


Scott Gnau – Vice President, Data Platforms, InterSystems. LinkedIn.

“There’s a growing opportunity to lay the foundation for game-changing business data transformation that leverages both automation and analytics for sustainable success in any business climate.”

Digital Transformation’s Journey Toward Automation and Analytics. Preview


Jeremy Balkin – Head of Innovation, HSBC. LinkedIn.

“From robotics to wearables, how is technology being used to make us more human, to further financial inclusion and to allow for greater wealth creation?”

Technology and partnerships to bring people together, and the impact of COVID-19 on partnerships. Preview


Adam Dell – Head of Product, Marcus by Goldman Sachs. LinkedIn.

“What fintech trends will emerge as a result of the pandemic and how will consumer banking be changed forever?”

The Future of Finance: Predictions for a Post-Pandemic World. Preview


Sarika Sangwan – Global Head of Strategy & Marketing – Financial Services, Pinterest. LinkedIn.

“As one of the most trusted platforms, Pinterest allows FinServ partners to reach their target audience when and where it matters most.”

Rebuilding, capitalizing and maintaining customer trust in financial services. Preview


Tom Feher – Banking industry executive, U.S. financial services, Microsoft. LinkedIn.

“As the world continues to respond to COVID-19, we’re equipping our customers with the tools they need to respond, recover, and reimagine the future.”

Coming together to respond, recover, and reimagine during COVID-19. Preview


Paul Rohan – Head of Business Strategy – Finance, Google Cloud. LinkedIn.

“In the digital 21st century, customers expect their favorite brands to collaborate to provide extended and connected digital experiences.”

Open Banking is 21st Century Branch Banking. Preview


George Anderson – Founder and CEO, Ninth Wave. LinkedIn.

“Learn how leading banks are staying ahead of the surge in demand for transparent, secure, and scalable data connectivity from business, consumer, and wealth management customers.”

Open Banking: Ignore at Your Own Peril. Preview


Mike Burr – Lead Android Enterprise Security Evangelist, Google. LinkedIn.

“Discover how to debunk security myths, and learn how the latest, multi-layered security protections, encompassing software, hardware, and application levels, now leverage the power of machine learning to protect your device fleet.”

Redefining the approach to mobile security in fintech (and why it works). Preview


Oliver Hughes – CEO, Tinkoff.

“Learn about achieving profitability as a digital bank, launching new products in the time of COVID-19, and what you need to be thinking about in terms of current and future trends in fintech.”

Digital banking in a post-COVID-19 landscape: The bright future of fintech. Preview


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Fiserv Unveils New Data Aggregation Solution AllData Connect

Fiserv announced the release of its AllData Connect solution today. The technology provides a single, authorized portal to facilitate third party access to consumer financial account data. AllData Connect makes third-party data aggregation simpler and makes screen scraping unnecessary.

“Consumers want to share their financial data with third parties in a model that’s both secure and convenient,” VP of Digital Payments and Data Aggregation at Fiserv Paul Diegelman said. “This process can be difficult for financial institutions to support if screen scraping impairs online banking performance, or when login credentials are stored at unaffiliated third parties. AllData Connect gives financial institutions the ability and insight they need to confidently empower consumers to share their financial account information.”

AllData Connect works by sending consumers to a Fiserv-hosted portal to verify their identity and provide consent for data-sharing. Once the consumer is validated by Fiserv and information access granted, AllData Connect delivers the permissioned data to third party apps for the specific activity. The solution provides confirmation and capture of consumer’s consent to share their data, managed access to online banking, secure storage of account holder usernames and passwords, and insights into where consumer information is being used. AllData Connect can also help FIs reduce the volume of unidentified bulk traffic that can inhibit website performance.

The new offering is the latest data aggregation solution within Fiserv’s AllData product suite. The suite also includes solutions for data integration by API, planning and financial management, and wealth management: AllData Aggregation, AllData PFM, and AllData Advisor, respectively.


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What My First Ride in a Tesla Told Me About the Future of Innovation in Banking

I was pretty excited for my first ride in my nephew’s brand new Tesla. The car was a major upgrade from his previous vehicle: a Jeep with “character” that had both broken down and been broken into a few times too many. His visit – and the Tesla’s – also marked the first time my wife and I would have company over for dinner since the COVID-19 pandemic struck, so there was more than a little to look forward to.

And while the Greek burgers were good and the tzatziki and baklava even better, my ride in the brand new Tesla was … kinda underwhelming.

Admittedly the experience as a rider in a Tesla is not identical to the experience as a driver. But as I slowly emerged from my initial shock at the lack of ornamentation, the absence of anything even resembling a full service dashboard and began to appreciate the machine’s unnaturally silent acceleration, its “It’s-All-on-the-Tablet” functionality, and “front trunk,” it dawned on me just how dramatically Tesla had reduced the driving experience to its most essential features and then turned them up to eleven.

What does this have to do with banking?

My Tesla experience reminded me of the challenge of distilling customer experience into its most necessary aspects. This is what drives innovation in everything from PFM apps that provide account balances without requiring login to mobile brokerages that cut out the stock market’s most hated middle man – commissions. Yet what is a trifle to one customer can be a can’t-do-without attraction to another. In the same way that I found myself in my nephew’s Tesla actually missing the dials, buttons, and other dashboard gizmos that had once defined automotive technological sophistication, so will many consumers find the leanness of new digital banks, for example, and perhaps even the trend away from what might be called “the human touch” in financial services to be a less appealing customer experience rather than a more fulfilling one.

In this way, I wonder if it is helpful to think of two innovation tracks for banks and financial services. One track is the one we spend most of our time reading and thinking about in fintech circles: the digital-first if not digital-only mobile bank that caters to the young, the mobile and, ironically, to both the hyper social connected individual and the asocial consumer who believes that automated checkouts at the grocery store are the best thing since sliced bread. Here the innovations are mostly technological, leveraging AI, machine learning, Big Data, and other leading technologies to provide more data, more services, faster, with a premium on seamless, frictionless, no frills interactivity.

But there is – or at least could be – another bank. And while it is digital, as well, and provides many if not most of the same basic financial services as any other bank, this bank focuses more on responding to the personal and social worlds of its customers. This bank puts financial inclusion and wellness at the center of its mission, sponsoring and providing educational opportunities for members of the local community – including their children who are likely getting precious little financial education in school. In-person credit counseling and financial planning would also be a good fit for an institution like this, which would play a role in the private sphere of a community that is similar to the role a local library or post office plays in the public sphere. At more advanced levels, coursework and training for individuals looking for careers in financial services could be offered, as well.

Not necessarily 100% or exclusively brick and mortar, this truly community-based financial institution would provide a customer experience that would be very different from its all-digital cousin, but one that could be just as innovative by using technology to make finance and financial services easier to understand and easier to incorporate constructively in the average working and middle class person’s life.


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Entersekt and NuData Security Bring Behavioral Analytics to Real-Time Risk Scoring

A new partnership between device identity and authentication innovator Entersekt and fellow Finovate alum NuData Security will integrate the latter’s NuDetect behavioral analytics solution into Entersekt’s Secure Platform (ESP) to provide real-time, seamless identity verification.

“By combining our leading techniques, we unlock new ways to remove friction for users interacting online, on web or mobile,” Entersekt Chief Strategy Office Dewald Nolte said. “The combination is like none other on the market, in usability and security, and is another exciting leap forward in our mission to make the digital world safer and more user-friendly.”

NuDetect leverages both device-based and behavioral data to identify and distinguish legitimate users from potential fraudsters in real-time. The technology features an additional level of protection, a step-up authentication process, involving an in-app push prompt, FIDO-certified security key, or other option, which can be triggered in higher-risk circumstances. The result is a fast, secure, digital identity authentication experience that verifies legitimate users whether logging in, creating an account, or completing a transaction seamlessly.

“By adding behavioral analytics to the Entersekt Secure Platform,” NuData Security SVP Michelle Hafner said, “we provide an additional layer of protection while simultaneously reducing friction and improving the customer experience.”

The Entersekt Secure Platform helps businesses ensure rapid deployment and integration of Entersekt services such as Transakt for digital security and authentication, Connekt for digital payments enablement, and Interakt for non-app-based authentication. The platform enables banks and other large companies to better identify their customers’ specific needs, engage them effectively with smart messaging (and accurately with robust authentication), and empower them to get more done with less effort.

Headquartered in Cape Town, South Africa, and founded in 2008, Entersekt began this year working with Netcetera to help the company provide enhanced authentication technology to card issuers in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. This summer, Entersekt announced a successful technical integration with Huawei Mobile Services, and released its updated security guidance for financial institutions in light of new digital security threats with the onset of the public health crisis.


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Finzly Teams Up with Derivative Logic

A new partnership between digital banking solution provider Finzly and independent hedge advisory firm Derivative Logic will help regional banks better serve their commercial borrowers.

“We see our mission as helping community banks and credit unions better compete in the marketplace by offering services and capabilities on par with – and even exceeding – those of much larger institutions,” Finzly CEO and founder Booshan Rengachari said. “By partnering with an industry leader like Derivative Logic, our financial institution customers, and their own commercial borrowers, benefit from access to world-class hedge advisory services that are proven to positively impact their balance sheets.”

Finzly’s open, cloud-based bank operating system, BankOS, enables financial institutions to integrate and offer a wide variety of third-party services. Courtesy of this partnership with Derivative Logic, the company will enable banks to offer interest rate hedge capabilities to their commercial clients. Derivative Logic Managing Director Jim Griffin called these services “a true strategic differentiator for banks and credit unions” when it comes to attracting commercial customers.

“Through our partnership with Finzly, we help small-to-mid-size financial institutions overcome the complexity of offering these capabilities as we advise and assist our bank customers with pricing, swap documentation, compensation plans, negotiations with dealers, hedge accounting as well as assist with borrower-facing processes,” Griffin said.

Finzly’s partnership announcement is only the latest in headline-making news from the Charlotte, North Carolina-based fintech. Since its debut at FinovateFall a year ago, the company has partnered with a regional bank in California to drive the institution’s international banking services, teamed up with Arvest Bank to streamline the Arkansas-based community bank’s trade finance operations, and announced the availability of its contactless consumer digital account opening solutions.


See Finzly for yourself as the company returns to the Finovate stage for FinovateFall Digital, September 14 through 18. Visit our registration page today and save your spot for our latest all-digital fintech event.

NerdWallet Goes International with U.K. Know Your Money Acquisition

What catches your eye when it comes to fintech headlines? A big IPO? A major venture capital investment? Or a huge move on the M&A front?

For those whose eyebrows bounce highest when a major acquisition is the talk of the day, one reason why is that acquisitions often but not always signal a major recognition of value in both an individual company and in a line of business. If a venture capitalist investing in a startup is putting its money where its mouth is, then an incumbent acquiring a startup is putting its business where its mouth is, and that’s a moment worth paying attention to.

In this context, NerdWallet’s decision to acquire U.K.-based Know Your Money – announced over the weekend – is a testament to the way personal finance comparison platforms are helping consumers navigate the world of loans, mortgages, and small business banking. A financial service price comparison site in operation for fifteen years, Know Your Money helps consumers in the U.K. by providing deals on financial products and services from brands ranging from Virgin Money and Funding Circle to ANNA and Countingup.

“Recently, the volatility of the stock market, unemployment, and plunging interest rates have consumers facing financial challenges they’ve never dealt with before and searching for content and products to help them navigate their new normal,” NerdWallet CEO Tim Chen said. “Because of this, there has never been a better time to expand the reach of our financial guidance and grow our business, and there is no better place to start than the U.K.”

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. But NerdWallet’s interest in expanding to the U.K. likely comes as welcome news to a financial services community that has seen a number of fintech departures from the country in 2020. To this end, post acquisition, the Know Your Money team will become a NerdWallet subsidiary, with all of the company’s executive and workers remaining with the firm. Know Your Money is the premier financial services website in the U.K. with more than five million consumers and 1.2 million businesses using its platform.

San Francisco, California-based NerdWallet was founded in 2009 and has raised $105 million in funding from investors including Camelot Financial Capital Management and IVP. Know Your Money is the personal finance company’s second acquisition; NerdWallet purchased retirement planning firm aboutLife in 2016. NerdWallet boasts 160 million users and annual revenues of more than $150 million.


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Open Banking: What Australia’s Banks Can Learn from the U.K.

The following is a guest post from John Mason, Senior Director at Zafin.


Open Banking in Australia kicked-off in earnest in July when it became mandatory for the country’s big four banks to share product reference data (including interest rates, fees and charges, and product eligibility criteria) with accredited data recipients, typically fintech companies who provide alternative products and comparison shopping services to consumers. Also, in July, the same big four started sharing their consumer customers’ data—specifically data associated with deposit, credit, debit and transaction accounts—with alternative providers as requested by the customer.

In an effort to anticipate what lies ahead for Australian banks and consumers as the country joins the worldwide movement to give consumers greater access to products and services that can improve their financial lives via Open Banking, we decided to take a look at an island nation more than 9,000 miles away, boasting 2.5x Australia’s population but just 3% of its land mass—the U.K.

The United Kingdom embarked on its own Open Banking journey almost exactly four years back. In August 2016, the United Kingdom Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) directed its nine largest banks to provide accredited fintechs with access to previously proprietary customer data (pending customer approval, of course) down to the transaction level for current accounts.

Here is what’s happened in the U.K. that may be instructive for Australia:

  • Consumer up-take for Open Banking capabilities is sizable. As of January 2020, according to the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE), there are one million users of Open Banking services in the U.K., representing a two-fold increase in just six months’ time. Further, the ecosystem of regulated open banking service providers is expanding rapidly. As of May 2020, it stands at 249, up from 100 at year end 2018.
  • Open Banking’s impact on the payments arena is particularly notable, with 50,000 consumers turning to third party applications to make payments from their current accounts in the month of December 2019 alone.
  • Investment is strong and widespread. Tink, the open banking platform, surveyed almost 300 senior financial services executives about their Open Banking investments. Almost ¾ indicated that spend had risen year-over-year, while a third stated that their financial institution was spending €100 million or more on Open Banking initiatives, and half projected positive payback on capital invested in Open Banking in four years or less. 
  • Despite strong adoption and investment, consumer awareness of Open Banking is low—perhaps pitifully so. In a 2019 study by Crealogix, two thirds of respondents had no idea what Open Banking was, much less its potential benefits.
  • Some banks see opportunity in the transition to Open Banking, whereas others view Open Banking as just another compliance obligation. One example of a visionary is Barclays, who empowered its U.K. customers to better manage their finances with the ability to attach non-Barclays accounts to its mobile app—taking a big and bold step forward to participate in the industry’s emerging platform economy.
  • Interest in the capabilities Open Banking enables varies substantially by different generational cohorts. For example, according to Crealogix research in the U.K., GenZs and millennials are twice as likely to adopt new open-banking capabilities and applications relative to baby boomers. 
  • Many positives and much innovation notwithstanding, for the most part, Open Banking’s promise to drive positive changes for financial inclusion have not yet been realized.

Based on what we’ve observed in the U.K., here are three predictions for how we expect Open Banking to play out in Australia. 

  1. Some banks will respond with vision and vigor, delivering new experiences that resonate with their customers and create advantage in the marketplace.
  2. Other banks will view a more open financial ecosystem as a threat and put their heads in the sand, leading to short term investment savings and long-term competitive disadvantages.
  3. Investors—inside banks and outside in the broader fintech ecosystem—will bet on advancing technologies and evolving customer expectations by placing smart bets on future possibilities in the Open Banking arena.

While consumers may never know what Open Banking is, their desire to benefit from new and compelling digital banking services will ultimately lead the overall banking industry to a brighter future—in Australia and the rest of the world. As in the U.K., the advent of Open Banking in Australia will hasten progress, create opportunity and change an industry.


Photo by Catarina Sousa from Pexels