Why a Focus on CX is More Important Now than Ever

The past couple of years in financial services have brought a lot of discussions about the client experience. In fact, that was the topic of my interview last fall with Martin Lange, Director of Client Experience Strategy at BNY Mellon. Is the sudden focus on customer experience all hype?

“Any of us who have been in client experience for a long time would say it’s been around for awhile,” Lange said, adding, “But the industry is looking for new ways of differentiation. And new ways of differentiation– as we’ve learned from other industries– is the client experience.”

Differentiation

So why is a focus on customer experience more important now than last year, last month (or even last week)? It comes down to differentiation.

Last year we wrote about fintechs vying for customer deposits and mindshare by boosting interest rates on savings accounts up around the 3% mark. With the Federal Reserve cutting rates to near-zero, that strategy will be increasingly difficult to follow through with.

Recognizing that this is a difficult time for everyone, banks can offer consumers two simple things that may be hard to come by to improve the customer experience (and no, it’s not toilet paper).

The first is kindness. When customer service representatives have a kind and friendly disposition over the phone it can bring customers a bright spot, especially if they are in isolation from other human beings. Kind words in email and social media correspondence are also easy ways to retain consumer attention.

Financial services companies can also differentiate themselves with compassion. Waiving certain fees, especially when they are small, can be an easy way to only maintain a customer when they are struggling. Even better, banks can follow in the footsteps of Goldman Sachs, GMC, Ford, and other financial institutions by waiving payments for a month without charging interest. When the economy improves clients will remember which firms stood by them during hard times.

Challenges

When it comes to challenges in creating a stand-out client experience, Lange noted two hurdles. The first is attribution. Firms need to know that a spike in sales or client acquisition is attributed to certain actions or events, such as an improved user interface, and was not driven by other changes such as pricing or an altered service structure.

“The other challenge is a culture challenge,” said Lange. He explained that instead of structuring operations around process improvements, where employees fall into the habit of looking for the next thing to fix, firms need to be proactive and design an experience first and allow the design to follow that experience.

Leading with a design idea, Lange said, “can be emotional, and it’s based on empathy. It’s not based on Excel spreadsheets, which the industry is very used to… there are human beings that are interacting and we want to design for human beings.”

Check out the full interview with Lange below:

Square to Launch Bank for Small Businesses

Digital payments company Square announced it will launch its small business bank next year. Square’s application for the bank, Square Financial Services, has been conditionally approved for a bank charter.

Square Financial Services will operate as an independent subsidiary of Square. The new bank’s primary objectives will be to offer small business loans for Square Capital’s commercial lending business, and to offer deposit products.

“We appreciate the FDIC’s thoughtful approach to our application, and their recognition that Square Capital is uniquely positioned to build a bridge between the financial system and the underserved,” said Jacqueline Reses, Square Capital Lead and Executive Chairwoman of the board of directors for Square Financial Services. “We’re now focused on the work ahead to buildout Square Financial Services and open our bank to small business customers.”

In preparation for the launch of the new bank, Square has begun the hiring process to staff its new bank headquarters, which will be located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Square Financial Services CEO Lewis Goodwin and CFO Brandon Soto have been charged to lead the bank’s executive team.

This comes just one month after P2P lending company Lending Club announced plans to purchase Radius Bank. The move offers Lending Club users a full suite of banking tools. Square also follows in the footsteps of Varo Money, which received approval for deposit insurance from the FDIC in February.

Six Banks Giving their Branches a Shot of Espresso

When digital banking makes bank branches less necessary, should banks keep their branches simple and cater to those that are less technologically savvy or should they transform their branches into high tech havens with kiosks and robots? As it turns out, a handful of banks are trying something in between.

Six banks across the globe are piloting coffee shop branches. These locations not only serve as a way for folks to buy a coffee and a snack, they are also co-working spaces, meeting rooms for non-profits, a place to gain education about personal financial management and, of course, a location where customers and prospective customers can conduct banking activity and apply for a loan.

Check out each bank’s different approach:

Capital One

Capital One was the pioneer in the bank-coffee shop branch model, launching its flagship location in 2017. The bank now has 31 Capital One Cafes and has replaced its bank tellers with “ambassadors” to make banking more friendly and approachable. These locations also offer free, one-on-one money coaching sessions (that don’t apply any sales pressure) for members and non-members alike.

Capital One has partnered with Peets Coffee and offers Capital One cardholders 50% off coffee beverages.

Each cafe offers free wifi and power outlets, comfortable seating, and private community rooms that are free for nonprofit, alumni, and student group meetings and events.

Chase

Photo credit: Bankrate.com

Chase opened its first coffee shop branch in December of 2019. The bank teamed up with Joe Coffee for the pilot of a full service coffee shop in downtown Manhattan.

In some respects, calling Chase’s new branch a coffee shop is a bit of a longshot. It looks like the majority of bank branches I’ve walked into. Chase doesn’t even offer any differentiation on the home page of the branch.

That said, the new location has a more modern look, offers a kid’s play area, and is dog friendly. Another differentiating factor is that the branch has only one teller window and it is located in the very back of the branch.

Tangerine

Scotiabank subsidiary Tangerine has built its image around the cafe concept. As the bank’s website states, “People who know Tangerine know we’re not a typical bank. Typical banks have typical bank branches. We don’t. We have Cafés located in some of the busiest Canadian communities.”

Tangerine’s cafes have a laid back, modern atmosphere. Each location has free wifi as well as coffee and treats for sale (all proceeds go to charity).

Unlike other bank cafes, Tangerine does not offer any teller services since it is a fully digital bank. The bank offers ATMs for cash deposits and withdrawals and employs representatives (called cafe associates) for client acquisition, to upsell products, and to answer client questions.

CaxiaBank

In 2016, CaxiaBank launched imaginBank, a mobile-only bank aimed to serve millennial customers. A year later the bank opened a single physical location, ImaginCafe, to appeal to its user base.

ImaginCafe isn’t quite a bank branch, however. It’s not a place where members can deposit cash or speak with bank representatives. Instead, as CaxiaBank CMO Xavier Mas explained, the cafe is “a place where the ‘imaginBank’ brand is rendered tangible thanks to a blend of innovation, immediacy, the combination of the online and offline environments, interaction with users, and the interests of young people.”

As with many bank-cafes, this location serves as a coworking space and has private meeting rooms and spaces available to rent for meetings and events. It also has an art exhibition space, a fashion showcase room, a modern theatre, a multimedia laboratory, and a gaming area. ImaginCafe hosts multiple events each month including art expos, music discussions, shows, gaming events, and concerts.

Umpqua

Photo credit: Tearsheet

Umpqua bank calls its branch locations “stores” and incorporates retail and hotel-like amenities into the locations to make them more welcoming.

EVP of Umpqua Bank Brian Read explained that factors contributing to the uniqueness of the stores include free Umpqua-branded coffee, a dog-friendly environment, and community spaces that host yoga classes and non-profit meetings.

Santander

Work Café

Santander has eight Work Cafes across the globe. These locations look like traditional coffee houses and aim to make visiting a bank something that consumers want to do, not an obligation.

As with many other banks’ concept branches, Santander’s locations offer spaces where events, conferences, and classes are hosted. These cafes are also geared toward offering entrepreneurs a co-working space and offers advertising opportunities for small businesses.

These concept branches have been successful for the Spain-based bank, which reports that anywhere from 2x to 4x more accounts are opened at Work Cafes than at its traditional branches. Additionally, at the bank’s Spain location the number of customers is increasing by 11% per year and new loan production has been boosted by 73%.

Fiserv Buys Bypass Mobile for CX Improvements

Financial services firm Fiserv made its 32nd acquisition today. The Wisconsin-based company purchased Bypass Mobile, a company that specializes in software and POS systems. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition is expected to help Fiserv support its clients in creating a seamless customer experience across physical and digital channels. By integrating with Fiserv’s universal commerce platform, Bypass will offer businesses a single point of contact. As a result, businesses will benefit from increased operational efficiency, enhanced security, and a more complete picture of customer interaction.

“Adding Bypass to our portfolio will make it easier for our clients to realize their digital transformation strategy, delivering interactions their customers are demanding,” said Fiserv Senior Group President of Global Business Solutions Devin McGranahan. “With this combination, we will improve the omni-commerce experience for businesses and their customers, making it easier and more efficient to pay for goods and services.”

Specifically, Bypass will enable secure Fiserv clients to accept payments in a secure environment across multiple devices. “In combination with Fiserv, we will help businesses accept payments efficiently while continuing to meet customer expectations by providing a variety of payment options,” explained Bypass CEO Brandon Lloyd.

Fiserv was founded in 1984. While the company’s most recent purchase was Merchant Pro Express earlier this month, its most notorious one in recent memory was the acquisition of First Data in January of last year. That deal closed for $22 billion.

Digital Banking Startup One Raises $17 Million in Series A

Are middle class banking customers a silent majority that can be successfully marketed to as a cohort of their own?

That’s the wager of former PayPal and Intuit CEO Bill Harris, whose digital bank for middle class Americans, One, has just raised $17 million in funding. The capital infusion brings the San Francisco, California-based firm’s total capital to $26 million.

“Middle-class American families are being left out, and we built One specifically for them,” Harris said. “One will combine the technology and convenience of challenger banks with a full-suite of products that traditional banks offer.”

The Series A round featured participation by Foundation Capital, Core Innovation Capital, and Obvious Ventures. Harris initiated the round last year in partnership with One CEO Brian Hamilton, formerly the CEO of Azlo. The digital bank is in private beta now and is slated for a launch this summer. One will offer competitive rates for savers, and combine debit and credit into a single account with one card.

“The current financial system breaks up the money people earn into silos, making it hard for busy families to stay on top of their banking and credit accounts,” Hamilton explained. “Most people have a balance in their checking account that earns nothing and outstanding debt on their credit card that costs too much.”

One accountholders earn 3% APY on their balances when saved via One’s Auto-Save feature (1% APY on other saved balances), and can borrow at a monthly rate that is as low as 1%. No interest is charged on funds repaid within the borrowing month, and accountholders can increase their credit limit by setting up direct deposit.

One also supports shared “pockets” for saving, spending, and borrowing, to make it easier to share funds with family members, roommates, team members, and others. The digital bank charges no overdraft or cash advance fees, does not require a minimum balance, and provides access to more than 55,000 ATMs.

“One is designed to maximize a family’s hard-earned paycheck by unifying saving, spending, and borrowing into one account,” Hamilton said. “When this money is being managed from one place, people save more, are charged less, and gain control.”

How to Spy on Your Neighbor’s Financial Status

Status is something we’ve become accustomed to in the social media era. On Facebook, we update our status to let our friends know how fun our vacation was. On Instagram we brag about our financial status, on Twitter we show off our social status, and on LinkedIn we boast about our professional status.

Comparisons

There’s one fintech in particular that understands this. Aptly named Status, the New York-based company helps users compare themselves with others– though not via pictures, memes, or self-aggrandizing updates. Status takes a user’s financial snapshot by aggregating all of their accounts and anonymously compares a range of metrics with the national average and different groups, including others with similar demographics, people in the user’s geographical location, those that are in the user’s income range, and of the same age.

What exactly are they comparing? Users can analyze their spending, income, debt, assets, net worth, and credit score and compare each figure against those of different groups. Specifically, users can see how much others in their geographical area spend on groceries, how their credit score compares to the national average, how their net worth compares with others in their same age group, how much folks in their same income range spend on housing, etc.

Business model

Because users are motivated to share as much financial data as they can to see how they compare with their peers, Status has excellent insight into which products and services will be most enticing. If Status sees a consumer has a lot of liquid cash, they might show them an ad for a high-interest savings account. Or maybe the user’s vehicle is 15 years old– in that case Status may show them new vehicle financing offers.

Some of Status’ partners include Airbnb, AllState, Liberty Mutual, Betterment, VSP, and Haven Life. Status makes money when it makes a successful referral. This is a common model with B2C fintechs who want to offer their services for free to end consumers.

Personal experience

I have to admit, I’ve enjoyed the comparison capabilities more than I thought I would. My competitive side loves comparing every aspect of my financial standing with others. However, I found it more difficult than I expected to aggregate my entire financial life to gain an accurate comparison. I linked my everyday accounts but there are multiple investment accounts and crypto holdings still outstanding. Additionally, I never found a good way to account for my investment property.

As for the referrals, I was impressed. The offers listed were much more relevant than the offers my bank (which keeps trying to get me to refinance a vehicle loan that I don’t have) usually presents.

Overall, I think I’ll be back. As with all PFM platforms, it is difficult to get a clear picture since transaction categories are often muddled. However, it is still a nice way to not only view my own financial standing, but also compare it with my neighbors.

Microsoft-backed Digital Asset Company Bakkt Raises $300 Million

With the support of PayU and Microsoft’s venture capital division M12, digital assets startup Bakkt has picked up a whopping $300 million in Series B funding. The round, which closed last Friday, also featured participation from Boston Consulting Group, Goldfinch Partners, CMT Digital, Pantera Capital, and Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), Bakkt’s parent company.

“Bakkt launched two years ago with the vision of building trust in and unlocking the value of digital assets for institutions and consumers alike,” company CEO Mike Blandina wrote in a blog post earlier this week. He pointed to the company’s launch last year of its end-to-end regulated market for bitcoin, as well as its institutional bitcoin custody offering, as examples of how the Atlanta, Georgia-based startup has been “focused on delivering that vision.”

These examples will soon also include a new app, slated for a summer launch, that will enable users to maximize the value of a widening variety of digital assets – from loyalty and rewards points to cryptocurrencies.

“Bakkt gives users control over their digital assets,” Blandina wrote. “Whether it’s miles from your favorite airline, loyalty points from the local grocery store, or bitcoin you’ve purchased, the Bakkt app enables you to aggregate all of these assets into a single digital wallet.”

The funding takes the company’s total capital to more than $482 million, and adds to its more than $1 billion valuation. Proceeds from the Series B will be used to help fund parent company ICE’s acquisition of loyalty solutions provider Bridge2 Solutions. Bakkt will leverage Bridge2 Solutions’ partnership network, and its Loyalty Pay offering, to help build and launch products of its own.

Powering more than 4,500 loyalty and incentive programs, including programs for seven out of the top ten financial institutions and two of the largest U.S. airlines, Bakkt was founded in 2018.

TransferWise Teams Up with Alipay to Enable Fund Transfers to China

Photo by Tom Fisk from Pexels

A collaboration between TransferWise and Chinese payments and lifestyle services platform Alipay will enable TransferWise’s more than seven million users to instantly send yuan to Alipay users. All that senders require is the recipient’s name and their Alipay ID to have funds from 17 different currencies converted to Chinese yuan and transferred to the account linked to the recipient’s Alipay profile.

“Our newest partnership with Alipay has been one of the most requested features from our users since our expansion to Asia,” TransferWise CEO and co-founder Kristo Käärmann said. “Alipay functions as the primary payment method for more than a billion people in China and we are excited to be bringing instant international transfers to the fingertips of Alipay’s users.”

Käärmann added that working with Alipay helps TransferWise move closer to fulfilling its Money without Borders mission, “and is a continuation of our vision of making cross border payments, instant, convenient, transparent, and eventually free.”

Transferees will also benefit from being able to send money based on the real exchange rate. Eligible currencies are GBP, EUR, BGN, CZK, DKK, HUF, NOK, PLN, RON, SEK, USD, CAD, AUD, HRK, HKD, SGD, and JPY. Up to five transfers to Alipay per month are permitted, with per transaction caps of 31,000 CNY, and an annual limit of 500,000 CNY. TransferWise is celebrating the new offering by giving fee-free, first transfers for the first 100 new customers – as well as a bonus payment of 10 yuan to the recipient on their first remittance from Alipay received. The promotion extends until April 8.

Working with Alipay represents a significant opportunity for TransferWise. Alipay serves more than one billion consumers around the globe, and China itself is believed to be one of the biggest remittance destinations in the world, with Chinese ex-pats abroad expected to send more than $66 billion (£54 billion) back home to China according to a 2019 report from the Migration Data Portal.

“We are committed to working with partners such as TransferWise, using innovative technologies to help global consumers gain access to inclusive financial services,” Alipay Head of Global Remittances Ma Zhiguo said, “creating greater value for society and bringing equal opportunities to the world.”

The announcement comes in the wake of TransferWise’s introducing global money transfers to six mobile wallet platforms in Indonesia (GoPay, Ovo, and Dana), the Philippines (PayMaya), and Bangladesh (bKash).

Founded in 2011 and based in London, U.K., TransferWise has been a Finovate alum since their FinovateEurope demo in 2013. The company has raised more than $772 million in funding, and has earned a valuation of $3.5 billion as of its May 2019, $292 million secondary share sale.

Al Ansari Exchange Taps Pelican for Financial Crime Compliance

UAE-based foreign exchange platform Al Ansari has partnered with financial crime compliance company Pelican. Under the deal, Al Ansari will leverage Pelican’s PelicanSecure, a set of AI-based sanctions screening, anti-money laundering tools, and transaction monitoring solution.

Al Ansari selected PelicanSecure for its compliance accuracy, auditability, processing capacity, and AI-based risk classification approach. Company CEO Mohammad Bitar also noted that, because AI is a core part of Al Ansari’s strategy, Pelican’s use of the enabling technology was a factor in the partnership.

“We selected Pelican as we are convinced they can support us enhancing our anti-money laundering and sanctions compliance frameworks to make them more robust through the use of innovative technology, said Bitar. “This is the start of a long-term partnership with Pelican and we look forward to working closely to streamline our operations around sanction screening, transaction monitoring and AML, both now and in the future.”

Pelican is headquartered in the U.K. and was founded in 1993. Among the company’s clients are ADCB, Standard Chartered Bank, Al Mulla Exchange, Wells Fargo, State Bank of India, and Bank of Barbado.

Al Ansari opened its first branch in 1966 and has since expanded to 190 branches. The company has 2,500 employees that help facilitate 80,000 transfers each day for 2.5 million customers every month. Last year, Al Ansari transferred $11.3 billion (AED 40.5 billion) via its network.

Octopus Ventures’ Nick Sando on Fintech Valuations and Building a Great VC Team

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

One of the best ways to take the temperature of an industry is by talking to those helping fund it. Our conversation at FinovateEurope last month with Nick Sando, a member of the Future of Money team at Octopus Ventures, was a great opportunity to find out what venture capital is focusing on in 2020.

Octopus Ventures is one of the largest VCs in Europe and invests primarily in seed and Series A investments, two to five million. The firm has three principal focus areas: the Future of Health (health and wellness investments), DeepTech (industry 4.0) and fintech (or “Future of Money” of which Sando is a part), including payments, insurtech, credit, lending, and blockchain. “We’re pretty agnostic across the space,” Sando said.

Sando arrived at Octopus Ventures in 2018, after a career in which he founded companies like SaaS beauty and wellness platform Mojo and retail platform SnagTag. He notes that the benefit of co-founding two businesses what that it provided him with a “crash course in company building.” Sando added, “we had successes, failures, raised funding, and exited, all in a short space of time.” He has earned a double major in Finance and Economics from the University of Miami School of Business.

Asked where he and his fellow panelist on our All-Star Venture Capital panel believe the smart money is headed this year, Sando replied with a smile, “Well, there is always the theme ‘Is there correction coming?’ And there a lot of people who think that there is. So the smart money is probably the money that’s still there at the end of it!”

Here are some of the top takeaways from my conversation with Nick Sando this year at FinovateEurope in Berlin.

On valuations in fintech companies and the IPO v.s. acquisition debate

Sando: Investors (should) … look at businesses which are trading at multiples which, if they went public, they would be receiving the same multiples. In fintech, some of them are getting too large to be acquired. So going public is route to go down. I look at some of the challenger banks, for example. Who’s going to acquire them? They are so big now! I think the IPO route should be back on.

On the role of venture capital in helping startups become better businesses

Sando: Having such a large fund gives us the benefit of being able to invest into certain roles across the board. The most commonly helpful role that we can provide outside of money is generally hiring. We have various people, and a whole hiring function in Octopus – and that’s not for our internal hiring, its for our help our portfolio companies hire.

In fintech, these companies are global companies with big ambitions, so traveling for example, from Europe to the States is on nearly all of these company’s roadmaps. Therefore we have set up an office, for example, in the States which is purely just to help those companies make these transitions.

So I think, given there are so many fintech investors in the market, as a fintech founder, I’d ask myself, “I should really be getting a little bit more than cash, these days!” Because they deserve it.

On what makes for a successful and creative venture capital team

Sando: A VC team should be made up of very different thinkers. If you have a VC team with all the same way of thinking, you might as well just have one of those people. What a team needs, therefore, is whatever it lacks.

We generally lean toward people who are intensely curious, have a different opinion than ours, see the world differently – maybe they grew up somewhere else, maybe they were a founder themselves – I think over half our team (are founders) … I think that’s what makes really great investment teams as a whole, when people can argue and talk and debate different ways of thinking.

Watch the full, six-minute interview on Finovate TV.

UnderPinned and Banked Partner to Accelerate Payments to Freelancers

Faster payments for freelance workers? That’s the goal of the new partnership between freelance career platform UnderPinned and payments platform Banked. The two companies are now offering a commission-free service that reduces the amount of time it takes to process a freelancer’s invoice from more than three minutes to less than 30 seconds.

The service works via UnderPinned’s Virtual Office platform, which leverages open banking to retrieve data from invoices and automatically generate bank transfers that can be readily authorized by any U.K. banking provider.

“The number of people choosing freelance work has grown rapidly in recent years, but the infrastructure that supports this type of employment has failed to keep pace with the trend,” said Albert Azis-Clauson, UnderPinned founder and CEO. He highlighted payments as a major pain point. “The traditional process of paying an invoice for a freelancer is extremely clunky and time-consuming,” he said, “and that’s (why) we’ve decided to launch this new service.”

UnderPinned’s Virtual Office provides freelancers and gig economy workers with resources they need to make their jobs easier. The cloud-based hub helps freelancers manage portfolios and projects, invoices, contracts, and more. The Virtual Office also features educational tools and support resources to give freelancers additional assistance with things like finding work spaces to securing insurance. Founded in 2018, and launching its technology earlier this year, UnderPinned already has more than 2,200 users on its platform. The company, which is headquartered in London’s Bethnal Green, is in the final few weeks of its crowdfunding campaign, having raised 93% of its £500,000 ($614,000) target.

In working with Banked, UnderPinned has partnered with a firm that, since its founding in 2017 and launch early last year, has been dedicated to improving the payments process. Banked offers an API platform that fully leverages open banking by connecting to banks to enable payments and authentication of user information with their third party solutions. Based in London, the company includes account top-ups for e-money, trading, and gaming businesses, and payment linking for charities, marketplaces, and crowdfunding platforms among the use cases for its technology.

“We started Banked because we wanted to build a platform that allowed businesses and consumers to do more with their financial lives,” Banked CEO and founder Brad Goodall said. “Our new partnership with Underpinned delivers on this, helping freelancers and businesses save a huge amount of time and ultimately money. It provides a new way of paying invoices that will transform the freelancer experience.”

Kreditech Rebrands as Monedo; Onfido Teams Up with SecureKey Technologies

German online lender Kreditech announced a rebrand this week. Now known as Monedo, the company has completed a major C-suite overhaul – including a new Chairman, CEO, CFO, and CTO, and is gearing up for an expansion into the near-prime lending markets of India, Russia, Poland, and Spain.

“The name change marks the next stage in the fundamental transformation we have been undergoing, as the company moves from a start-up to a scale-up fintech,” Monedo CEO David Chan explained. “Throughout 2019 we have been focused on successfully transitioning the company back to growth by focusing on improving operational efficiency, risk, and cost management capabilities, and strengthening our products and services.”

Chan credited this emphasis – along with the financial support of the company’s investors – for making the company “perfectly positioned” to reach its growth goals.

Monedo says that it plans to reach €1 billion in revenue by 2025, propelled both by growth in current markets as well as expansion into new ones. Founded in 2012, the company has been a Finovate alum since 2014.


A new partnership between two Finovate alums – SecureKey Technologies and Onfido – will combine AI-enabled, physical identity document proofing with real-time authentication and verification.

“Our partnership demonstrates positive market movement towards a more secure digital future for consumers,” SecureKey Technologies CEO Greg Wolfond said. “At SecureKey, we believe strong, privacy-based digital identity requires the collaboration of multiple players and are pleased to continue our track record of developing market-leading digital identity services and offerings alongside like-minded organizations.”

Toronto, Ontario-based SecureKey is a Finovate alum since its FinovateFall debut in 2010. Ondot, which is headquartered in Santa Clara, California, first demoed at Finovate 2014 and most recently presented its latest technology at FinovateSpring in 2018.

The collaboration will enable users to scan physical ID documents and have additional personal information verified in real-time from trusted sources such as financial institutions, credit bureaus, and government agencies. The companies said that this combination of credential and login document validation is key to both expanding digital capabilities worldwide as well as making identity verification a more secure and safe process for consumers.

“At Onfido, our mission is to create a more open world, where identity is the key to access,” company CEO Husayn Kassai said. “SecureKey clearly shares this same drive to build a more secure landscape where customers can have privacy, security, and consent all in one easy-to-use process,.”


Here is our weekly look at the latest news from our Finovate alums.

  • MX CEO Ryan Caldwell named Utah CEO of the Year.
  • Metro Bank to partner with Ezbob to launch small business lending platform.
  • Mambu forges partnership with Australian unsecured credit lender Nimble.
  • Minneapolis Star Tribune spotlights local fintech, ClickSWITCH.
  • BankMobile teams up with Billshark and bartleby to add functionality to its BankMobile Vibe platform for college students.
  • SME lender OnDeck announces its first ever NASCAR sponsorship.
  • Envestnet announces plans to expand operations in Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • Wipro to work with SAP Concur to co-develop solutions for retail and fashion.
  • Baker Hill NextGen to power loan origination and risk management for BankSouth lending portfolio.
  • Backbase partners with core-as-a-service platform Finxact to help banks with digital transformation.
  • DXC Technology collaborates with Tradeshift to help enterprises automate procure-to-pay processes.
  • International Banker profiles Poland’s digital banking leader mBank.
  • Nomis Solutions announces Nomis nSight, a tool to optimally price deposits and mortgages in real time.
  • Zopa celebrates 15 years. Happy birthday Zopa!
  • Signifyd launches its Commerce Protection Platform to maximize e-commerce conversion, automate customer experience, and eliminate fraud and customer abuse.
  • Zenoo selects ID R&D for its passive facial liveness digital onboarding solution.
  • Strands revamps its developer portal.
  • Zafin welcomes Venkataraman Balasubramanian as executive vice president and chief technology officer.
  • Neener Analytics partners with Visa to foster financial inclusion via its 1-click financial risk decisioning.
  • Fintech Breakthrough Awards name CUneXus Best Consumer Lending Company.
  • Jack Henry & Associates integrates BusinessManager into the SilverLake System core platform to streamline accounts receivable (A/R) financing.
  • Five Degrees adds Meniga to its open banking.
  • Salt Edge working with PwC to help businesses implement open banking technology.
  • Transportation Alliance Bank brings on Insuritas to design, launch, and manage a digital insurance agency.
  • Revolut launches Revolut Perks, a rewards and discount feature for U.K. customers.
  • Finantix acquires data science company InCube for an undisclosed amount.
  • Forte Payments launches new billpay solution.

Finovate Alumni Features and Profiles

Eigen Technologies Hauls in $42 Million to Bring NLP Tech to Financial Services – The funding comes from ING Ventures and is part of a “broader strategic partnership” that blends Eigen’s NLP technology with ING’s experience in applying machine learning to financial services.

Revolut Users Can Now Diversify with Gold – Digital alternative banking company Revolut announced this week it is helping users diversify their portfolios even further by enabling in-app purchases of gold.

Mastercard and Samsung Make Going Digital More Accessible – “This partnership with Mastercard is our way of making that future available to everyone by helping to close the digital divide, especially in emerging economies and countries,” explained KC Choi, executive vice president of Global Mobile B2B at Samsung.

Airwallex Integrates with Xero to Help SMEs Reconcile Cross-Border Payments – Small and medium-sized businesses working with Australian cross-border payments company Airwallex will be getting some help with their books. The company has announced a new partnership with New Zealand-based, cloud accounting company Xero.

Credit Sesame Launches Digital Bank Account – Financial health platform Credit Sesame announced this week it has launched Sesame Cash, a debit card aimed to help consumers reach financial stability while optimizing credit.

Marqeta Partners with Klarna and Doordash for Australia Launch – The company announced today that its arrival in the Asia-Pacific market will also help support fellow Finovate alum Klarna and customer Doordash as they expand in the country.

Enveil and the Challenge of Securing Data In Use – When it comes to defending your data, Enveil’s speciality is helping prevent you from losing it while you’re using it.

SpyCloud Integrates with ThreatConnect to Help Stop Account Takeover Attacks – A new partnership between intelligence-driven security operations platform ThreatConnect and account takeover prevention solution provider SpyCloud will help individuals take action during the critical time between credential exposure and account breach.