As our recent conversation featuring Boss Insights founder and CEO Keren Moynihan, reminds us, the fintechs (and “TechFins”) of the Great White North are engaged in some of the most forward-looking innovation on the continent.
This week brings an above average volume of news from Canada’s ambitious real-time payments industry. For one, the Vancouver Bullion & Currency Exchange (VBCE) announced a partnership with EMQ to bring “near real-time” cross-border payments to businesses and consumers across Canada. A PSP as well as a foreign currency exchange, VBCE hopes that its partnership with the global financial settlement network will give its customers the ability to move money faster and more efficiently. The firm also anticipates being able to use EMQ’s network to bring new services to market and scale existing ones.
“The speed and reach of EMQ’s global network allows us to pilot new services in one market and scale them rapidly across others to meet the evolving customer needs,” VBCE VP of Business Development Kevin Ma said. “This is especially important for our business with a diverse product portfolio.”
Elsewhere on the Canadian real-time payments beat, Payments Canada announced a collaboration with debit network Interac to support real-time payments in the country. Interac will serve as the exchange solution provider for Real-Time Rail, the real-time payments systems operated by Payments Canada and regulated by the Bank of Canada. RTR, scheduled to go live in 2022, will enable Canadians to initiate payments and receive funds in seconds.
Payments Canada President and CEO Tracey Black said that RTR will be the “foundation for faster, data-rich payments” and will serve as a “platform for innovation.” Black also praised Interac as a “well-suited partner” with the requisite infrastructure and connectivity to support “the rapid adoption of real-time payments in Canada.”
Last, some developments on the Canadian neobank front. Toronto, Ontario-based challenger bank KOHO added a no-fee savings account to its offerings this week. KOHO Save gives account holders 1.2% interest on their entire balance. There are no teaser rates and no minimum balance is required to acquire an account, which is available on the KOHO app.
“We’re excited to add KOHO Save to our product line as a simple and valuable money earning tool for Canadians,” KOHO CEO and founder Daniel Eberhard said. “We’ve been able to build a savings tool that doesn’t follow the same restrictions of most other savings products on the market. People just want to access their money freely and earn a great interest rate. We think Save is a wonderful step in that direction.”
KOHO also offers a savings and checking account and gives users a minimum of 0.5% (up to 10%) cash back on all purchases. KOHO Premium account holders get an additional 2% cash back on three major spending categories. The company, founded in 2014 and headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, has raised $57.5 million in funding from investors including Drive Capital and Portag3 Ventures.
Here is our look at fintech innovation around the world.
Central and Southern Asia
- India’s largest bank, SBI, teams up with JP Morgan to access the company’s blockchain technology to power cross-border transactions.
- FirstPay, a Nepal-based payment system operator, partners with Hong Kong based digital banking solution provider Wallyt to bring digital payment services to merchants in Nepal.
- National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) teams up with SBI Payments to launch RuPay SoftPoS.
Latin America and the Caribbean
- Payment hardware security module company MYHSM teamed up with leading Mexican ATM service provider RedBlu.
- Brazilian mobile payments company RecargaPay locks in $70 million in Series C funding.
- Minu, a Mexican fintech that provides salary-on-demand to more than 100 large public and private enterprises, announces $14 million Series A round.
- MyMy and Sukaniaga, a pair of fintech companies based in Malaysia, collaborate to launch a new Shariah-compliant digital banking consortium.
- Indonesian digital payments infrastructure company Xendit scored $64.6 million in Series B funding.
- Free Malaysia Today profiles Malaysian digital payments platform Payfo.
- Nigerian Stock Exchange introduced its new e-filing portal, X-Filing, this week.
- South African mortgagetech Mortgage Market secured $650,000 (R10 million) in funding in a round led by IDF Capital.
- ImaliPay, a Nigerian fintech that supports financial inclusion of gig economy workers in Africa, announced pre-seed funding.
Central and Eastern Europe
- ING is saying “Auf wiedersehen” to Austrian retail banking market following announcement last week that it is exiting the Czech market.
- Lithuanian payments company kevin. launched new solution that converts customer payments to account-to-account payments at checkout.
- Fidor Solutions collaborates with SIA to bring instant payments to Germany.
Middle East and Northern Africa
- Israel-based Rewire, a cross-border digital banking firm that serves migrant workers, announced $20 million Series B round led by Finovate alum OurCrowd.
- ProgressSoft introduces its new digital banking platform in the MENA region.
- Identiq, an identity validation network based in Israel, secures $47 million in Series A funding.