Japan’s Digital Yen; Visa, Plaid, and the Opportunity for African Fintechs

With FinovateEurope less than a month away, Finovate Research has been busily putting together a variety of features looking at different issues surrounding fintech in Europe. These insights will be published in an upcoming special supplement; stay tuned for our celebration of and reflection on PSD2’s second birthday, our look at venture capital’s impact on the surging challenger bank movement, and more.

This week on the Finovate blog we covered the $115 million raised by French challenger bank Qonto, looked at the new banking license U.K. challenger bank Vive Bank just scored from the Bank of England, and reported on Nigeria-based mobile money operator Paga’s acquisition of U.S.-based Apposit.

Here is our weekly look at fintech around the world.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Brazilian SME payments solution provider C6 reaches one million customer milestone.
  • EBANX launches 10,000-consumer trial of its digital wallet, Ebanx Go.
  • BNP Paribas to foster fintech innovation at new Sao Paulo startup hub, La Fabrique.

Asia-Pacific

  • Japan may be the next country to issue a digital version of its currency.
  • Finastra to power core banking for Asia digital-only bank, Tonik.
  • Fintech News Malaysia features the top 20 fintechs in the country in 2020.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • African payments startup Flutterwave locks in $35 million in new funding; announces partnerships with Visa and WorldPay.
  • What does Visa’s acquisition of Plaid mean for African fintech startups? Tech Cabal examines the opportunities for two of Nigeria’s top fintechs.
  • International Adviser looks at how broader financial literacy may be key to a “fintech revolution” in South Africa.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • German challenger bank N26 announces 40% customer increase with five million customers now using the institution’s products and services.
  • Poland’s Autenti, which enables digital agreement signing and provides e-document workflow, seals the deal on $4.48 million in new funding.
  • Members of Sberbank’s loyalty program can now share reward points with other members.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Dubai-based robo advisory platform Sarwa picks up $8.4 million in Series A funding.
  • MoneyGram partners with Suez Canal Bank enabling its MoneyGram customers worldwide to send funds directly to bank accounts in Egypt.
  • Startupbootcamp FinTech Dubai introduces its 2020 cohort. Three of the 10 startups selected are from the MENA region.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Cardholders in India will now be required to opt in to access contactless payments.
  • Pakistan-based ride-hailing and logistics company Bykea launches Bykea Cash to enable mobile wallet top-up and utility billpay.
  • Revenue-based financing platform GetVantage goes live in India.

As Finovate goes increasingly global, so does our coverage of financial technology. Finovate Global is our weekly look at fintech innovation in developing economies in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe.

Top image designed by Freepik

Singapore’s Digital Bank License Space Race Accelerates

Is there anyone out there who is NOT trying to secure a digital banking license in Singapore?

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced last week that it has received 21 applications for digital bank licenses. A decision is expected in June, and the fortunate five who receive licenses will be able to launch their businesses by the middle of next year. Applicants have included a wide range of companies, from e-commerce and telecommunications firms, to fintechs, PSPs, and crowdfunding platforms.

Specifically, MAS is making available two different types of license: a digital full bank license and a digital wholesale bank license. There are two digital full bank licenses available, which would enable non-banks to accept deposits from retail customers. There are seven applicants for these licenses, which come with initial, temporary restrictions on deposits and capitalization.

The digital wholesale bank license will permit firms to lend to SMEs. Fourteen companies have applied for the three digital wholesale bank licenses MAS is making available. These new businesses would be required to meet the same regulations as existing wholesale banks, including capitalization of $74 million (S$100 million). Among the more well-known firms competing for these digital wholesale bank licenses are rideshare startup Grab and Ant Financial.

Also in the running for a digital wholesale bank license is Finovate alum and Best of Show winner Arival Bank. The firm announced its application earlier this week, noting that securing the license “will add tremendous value in Arival’s quest to becoming a borderless fintech bank.” The company plans to leverage its ArivalOS digital banking technology, as well as its banking-as-a-service (BaaS) platform to serve the freelancers, micro businesses, and startups that it believes remain underserved within the broader SME market worldwide.


In other international news on the Finovate blog this week, we talked with João Pinto of Portugal’s ITSCREDIT ahead of the company’s Finovate appearance next month in Berlin. We also featured German insurtech Getsafe’s expansion to the U.K., looked at European deposit marketplace Raisin’s acquisition of U.S. fintech Choice Financial Solutions, and profiled French mobile payments app Lydia as it locks in $45 million in new funding.

Here is our weekly look at fintech around the world.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Business Maverick looks at PayU’s decision to merge its consumer lending business, LazyPay, with Indian digital credit platform, PaySense.
  • EpiFi, a Bengalaru, India-based digital banking startup founded by a pair of former Google executives, raises $13.2 million in funding.
  • Entrepreneur India features B2B digital ledger mobile app, KhataBook.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Resuelve tu Deuda, a Mexican fintech that specializes in helping consumer repair their credit, raises $24 million in funding.
  • Nasdaq.com lists online payments, banking, billpay, proptech, and lending in its feature, 5 Opportunities for Fintech Disruption in Latin America.
  • Brazilian neobank Nubank announces its first acquisition, purchasing local consulting company Plataformatec largely to access the firm’s crew of engineering and developer talent.

Asia-Pacific

  • Digital-only neobank Tonik secures banking license in Philippines ahead of planned launch.
  • Arival Bank is the latest fintech to throw its hat into the Singapore digital banking license ring.
  • CredoLab earns listing from Indonesia’s Financial Services Authority OJK) as an official provider of financial services in the country – the first fintech in Indonesia to be granted this recognition.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • EverSend founder Stone Atwine talks about trends in the African fintech industry with CNBC Africa.
  • Kenyan fintech Alternative Circle earns recognition as “One to Watch” in the first global fintex index ranking 2020 by Findexable.
  • What can we expect from South African fintech in 2020? Ventureburn examines the country’s prospects.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Euromoney takes a look at the complicated relationship between banks and fintechs in the CEE region.
  • The Paypers interviews Valeri Valtchev of the Bulgarian Fintech Association on the evolution of Bulgaria as a fintech hub.
  • Latvian fintech Jeff App locks in €150,000 to help improve financial inclusion for borrowers in Southeast Asia.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Salaam African Bank in Djibouti selects core banking technology from Oracle FSS.
  • A partnership between crypto exchange Huobi and Dubai-based real estate firm fäm Properties will enable investors to pay in a digital assets such as Bitcoin, Ether, and XRP.
  • Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) introduces its Instant Credit Card service via its mobile app.

As Finovate goes increasingly global, so does our coverage of financial technology. Finovate Global is our weekly look at fintech innovation in developing economies in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe.

Top image designed by Freepik

2020: A Breakout Year for Fintech in Emerging Markets?

Will 2020 be the year of emerging markets fintech? From major investments in fintechs in Latin America and Africa to the challenger banking “space race” in Singapore, 2020 could turn out to be a breakout year for fintech in many growing economies around the world.

And while attention is deservedly shifting to exciting news in fintech in countries like Mexico, Brazil, and Nigeria, it is also worth considering which regions might have interesting fintech developments which, while flying under the radar now, could end up dominating international fintech headlines by mid-year.

With this in mind, we turn to Europe in general and the Central and Eastern Europe region in specific. Here’s a look at our conversation with Krzysztof Pulkiewicz, founder and CEO of the Belgian-based and “proudly developed in Poland” fintech innovator banqUP. We talked with Pulkiewicz on the latest developments with his company, as well as his outlook on open banking and the differences between business inside and outside the CEE.

This week on Finovate.com we also featured news about American Express and China, looked at the new partnership between Ripple and Thailand’s biggest bank, and reported on a nine-figure investment in a Latin American real estate marketplace.

Here is our weekly look at fintech around the world.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Ziraat Participation Bank, headquartered in Sudan, to deploy the iMAL Islamic core banking system from Path Solutions.
  • Emirates NBD announces completion of the third phase of its core banking systems upgrade.
  • Abu Dhabi Investment Office leads Series A funding round for blockchain-based regtech firm, Securrency.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Netherlands-based payments company PayU acquires majority stake in Indian fintech PaySense, plans to merge company with Indian consumer lender LazyPay.
  • Royal Bank of India announces new rules to enable companies to participate in remote customer onboarding.
  • Two U.K.-based credit unions, Voyager Alliance CU and Retail CU, go live on TCS Bancs, a core banking solution from Indian technology company Tata Consultancy Services.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • IBM partners with Argentina’s Chamber of Fintech to support digital transformation projects in the country’s fintech and banking sector.
  • Central Bank of the Bahamas to launch digital version of its currency.
  • Business Insider calls Mexico “a top neobank market to watch in 2020.”

Asia-Pacific

  • What trade war? China unveils new regulations that make it easier for foreign lenders to access the Chinese market.
  • Horizons Ventures leads Series A+ round for Hong Kong-based financial data and analytics provider MioTech.
  • Lightnet, a Thailand-based blockchain company operating in the remittance market, has raised more than $31 million in new funding.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • fin24 features OkGo.live, The People’s Fund, Isiduli, and a non-profit, blockchain pilot program in its look at four South African fintechs to watch in 2020.
  • Chipper Cash, a U.S.-based fintech that offers no fee, mobile P2P services in six African countries, raises $6 million in funding.
  • Ventureburn lists 10 ways Africa’s fintech sector boomed in 2019.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Qonto, a challenger bank for SMEs launched in France two years ago, announces expansion to Germany.
  • Lithuania’s biggest postal service provider extends cooperation agreement with payment card authorization firm Ashburn International.
  • Insurance software solution provider Sapiens International acquires German-based insurtech firm, sum.cumo.

As Finovate goes increasingly global, so does our coverage of financial technology. Finovate Global is our weekly look at fintech innovation in developing economies in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe.

Top image designed by Freepik

Solaris Bank to Secure Cryptocurrencies; Brazilian Fintechs Announce New Funding

Join us next month in Berlin, Germany for FinovateEurope 2020. Our three-day fintech conference will begin on February 11 and run through February 13.

The event features both our signature, seven-minute, live technology demonstrations, as well as keynote addresses, roundtables, and case studies on many of the most critical issues in fintech. Check out our conference agenda and stay tuned for more about our speakers and demoing companies.

Here’s our weekly look at fintech around the world.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Austrian mobile payments firm Bluecode raises $13.4 million (€12 million) from European Private Venture Capitalists.
  • German fintech Solaris Bank announces plans to offer custodial services to cryptocurrency investors.
  • Ukraine’s mobile-only bank Monobank to expand to the U.K. in 2020.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • IBM brings its fraud prevention technology to Qatar International Islamic Bank.
  • PYMNTS looks at the opportunities PSD2 may offer Turkish banks.
  • Egypt-based fintech Dayra wins $15,000 grant from Y Combinator’s Startup School, the first MENA-based startup to do so.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Business Recorder interviews Syed Mohsin Ahmed, CEO of Pakistan Microfinance Network.
  • Fintech Singapore lists India’s top fintech influencers for 2020.
  • Makers India highlights five women who are driving fintech innovation in India.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Born2Invest examines the impact of mobile money on Argentina’s banking industry.
  • Brazilian fintech Cora raises $10 million in funding to help provide financial services to SMEs.
  • Rebel, a startup that helps provide credit to middle-class Brazilians, rakes in $10 million in equity funding.

Asia-Pacific

  • With closing of a 70% stake in China’s GoPay, PayPal is the first non-Chinese firm licensed to offer payment services in the country.
  • FIS’ global ecommerce platform, Worldpay, partners with Japanese issuer and acquirer JCB.
  • Who are the top contenders in Singapore’s digital banking race? Fintech Singapore reviews the field.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Micro-investing startup Trove picks up an investment from Nigerian asset management company, ARM.
  • Kontomatik’s Konstantin Rabin looks at South Africa’s position as an “unlikely fintech leader.”
  • Julaya, a startup based in Ivory Coast that specializes in digitizing financial services for small businesses, raises $550,000 in funding..

As Finovate goes increasingly global, so does our coverage of financial technology. Finovate Global is our weekly look at fintech innovation in developing economies in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe.

Top image designed by Freepik

Investors Flock to Mexican Neobanks; Ant Financial, Ali Baba Ink Pact with ICBC

The challenger bank revolution is alive and well in Mexico. This week, three upstart financial institutions in the Latin American country were the recipients of a combined $20+ million in funding. The investments are a testament to the way local entrepreneurs are seizing the opportunity to provide banking services to a growing number of previously underbanked people in Mexico.

For some observers, Mexican banks have long been ripe for disruption. A 2017 feature in The Financial Times cited a Gallup poll in which more than three in four customers in Mexico were “indifferent to, or unhappy with their bank.” The same article noted that challenger banks and other fintechs could take as much as 30% of the Mexican banking market in the next ten years due to inefficiencies in the current banking system. Incumbents have also been criticized for a lack of outreach to the underbanked, to younger potential customers, and to the digitally savvy.

Check out Thiago Paiva’s in-depth look at the Mexican neobank market – and how some incumbents are fighting back – published at TechCrunch this fall. Paiva is product manager at Oyster, a challenger bank for Latin American SMEs.

Here’s our weekly look at fintech around the world.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Trulioo goes live with its GlobalGateway in Nigeria and Ghana.
  • Disrupt-Africa looks at the expansion and fundraising plans of South African payments startup Airbuy.
  • Kenyan insurtech firm Turaco closes $2.1 million seed funding round.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Wefox, an insurtech based in Berlin, Germany, locks in $110 million extension to its Series B round.
  • Based in Latvia and founded in Russia, Robocash announces plans to raise $5 million in funding over the next six month to support expansion to SE Asia.
  • An AML startup founded by former workers at TransferWise and Skype, Estonia’s Salv has raised $2 million in seed funding.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • National Bank of Fujairah, based in the UAE, readies for the launch of its new SME banking platform.
  • Oman’s Bank Muscat introduces $100 million fintech investment program.
  • UAE fintech FlexxPay locks in an investment from Wamda.

Central and Southern Asia

  • ZestMoney, an Indian fintech specializing in providing credit assessment and financing for the underbanked, raises $14 million as part of an extended Series B round featuring participation by Goldman Sachs.
  • Delhi, India-based SME lender LivFin secures in $5 million in growth funding.
  • What can Central Asian companies learn from Southeast Asia when it comes to building a fintech industry?

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Mexican neobank Albo adds $17 million to its Series A, taking the round’s total to more than $26 million.
  • Flink, a Mexico-based challenger bank, receives seed funding from Spanish fintech Latina.
  • Challenger bank Fondeadora reels in $2.5 million in funding.

Asia-Pacific

  • Ant Financial and Alibaba ink strategic payments partnership with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC).
  • Hong Kong’s WeLab picks up $156 million to fund its digital bank launch in 2020.
  • ZA Bank pilots internet-only banking services in Hong Kong, the first FI to do so in the city.

As Finovate goes increasingly global, so does our coverage of financial technology. Finovate Global is our weekly look at fintech innovation in developing economies in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe.

Top image designed by Freepik

SoftBank Showers Latin American Fintechs with Millions in New Capital

SoftBank Backs Latin America

Last week, the international fintech buzz was all about the booming investment in African startups. As you can see in our sub-Saharan Africa section below, that buzz continues as analysts wonder how African fintechs can best leverage their good financial fortunes of late.

But this week, it’s all about Latin America as fintechs from Mexico to Argentina lock in triple digit investments. What’s especially interesting is that two of the week’s biggest beneficiaries – Konfio and Uala – have the same participating benefactor in SoftBank.

The investment in Argentina’s Uala was the first time the Japanese-based firm had funded a company from Argentina, but not SoftBank’s first funding in the region. The firm invested $1 billion in Colombian delivery app Rappi in April of this year. SoftBank has a deeper history investing in Mexican startups, having funded payments startup Clip and used car buying platform Kavak. SoftBank is also especially active in Brazil; the firm led a $140 million round for the country’s e-commerce solution provider VTEX in November.

FinovateEurope Goes to Berlin!

It’s not too early to start thinking and planning for 2020 – especially with our first conference right around the corner in February.

After six years of basing our annual European fintech conference in London, Finovate is crossing the channel and setting up our stage in Berlin, Germany next year. Our new FinovateEurope location will also feature a new event format designed to ensure attendees maximize their time at the conference. Take a look at our developing agenda to see what we have in store February 11th through the 13th.

Here’s our weekly look at fintech around the world.

Asia-Pacific

  • Singapore’s FinAccel, maker of Kredivo, raises $90 million in round led by Asia Growth Fund and Square Peg.
  • Maybank Group, the fourth largest bank by assets in Southeast Asia, goes livewith Avaloq’s banking suite.
  • South Korea announces plans to launch opening banking system before year’s end.
  • Vymo brings AI-powered sales coaching to insurance giant Sompo.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Can Africa’s fintech startups learn from the experience of M-Pesa? TechCrunch considers the opportunities now available thanks to recent positive funding trends.
  • A partnership between Smartstream and Union Systems will help African FIs digitize their post-trade environments.
  • QuartzAfrica takes a look at the “niche ecosystems” that are developing amid Africa’s rapidly expanding fintech industry.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Berlin, Germany-based SME digital banking platform Penta teams up with SumUp.
  • First Investment Bank (Fibank) goes live with the first, PSD2-compliant, open banking platform in Bulgaria.
  • Tinkoff GDRs will be included in MOEX Russia indices next month.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Sudan’s Nile Bank is the latest FI to choose Oracle’s Flexcube core banking solution.
  • Temenos teams up with Egyptian National Post Organization.
  • Dubai Financial Services Authority inks fintech pact with Luxembourg’s Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier.

Central and Southern Asia

  • DriveWealth helps Indian investors access U.S. stocks via new partnership.
  • Indian banking technology provider TCS Financial Solutions migrates three credit unions to a cloud-version of its TCS Bancs system.
  • Paysend introduces worldwide money transfers to Uzbekistan.
  • Sri Lanka’s central bank examines the possibility of applying blockchain technology to streamline KYC processes for FIs.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Uala, a money management app from Argentina, raises $150 million in Series C round led by Tencent and SoftBank.
  • Mexican SME credit assessment specialist Konfio closes $100 million investment from SoftBank.
  • MercadoLibre picks up $125 million loan from Goldman Sachs.

As Finovate goes increasingly global, so does our coverage of financial technology. Finovate Global is our weekly look at fintech innovation in developing economies in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe.

Top image designed by Freepik

Nigerian Fintechs Near $400m Week; Ant Financial Eyes License in Singapore

The nearly-$400 million poured into fintech companies in Nigeria alone this week is being remarked upon as a testament to the growing investor interest in sub-Saharan Africa. The three recipients of the new capital in recent days are OPay ($120 million), Interswitch ($200 million), and PalmPay ($40 million). The investors include Sequoia Capital China and SoftBank Ventures Asia, as well as China’s Transsion and Visa.

For comparison, African fintechs raised $357 million in all of 2018, according to a 2019 report from the GSM Association, The Mobile Economy, Sub-Saharan Africa. Quoted in the Financial Times on the week’s funding news, Guaranty Trust Bank chief executive Segun Agbaje credited the payments industry for the surge in investment, calling the growth in the sector “probably like no other on the continent.”

Finovate made its African debut last year in Cape Town, South Africa. For an in-depth look at recent trends in African fintech, check out Jonathan Gregson’s “Africa’s Fintech Makeover.”

China’s impact on international fintech is also evident in the news that Ant Financial is considering applying for a virtual banking license in Singapore. Successfully securing such a license would enable Ant Financial to compete against Chinese incumbents like DBS Group Holdings and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. Ant Financial secured a license to operate a digital wallet in Hong Kong last year.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Brazil’s digital bank Neon raises $94 million in round led by General Atlantic and Brazil Banco Votorantim.
  • Biz Latin Hub’s Craig Dempsey makes the case for Mexico as the fintech sector to watch in 2020.
  • Mexican non-bank wallet service Todito Cash inks partnerships with four financial payment solutions companies.

Asia-Pacific

  • Ant Financial may be one the hunt for a Singaporean virtual banking license, reports Bloomberg, following the online finance titan’s recent scoring of a license to operate a digital wallet in Hong Kong.
  • InstaReM rebrands as Nium, announces cross border payments partnership with Cambodian banking group, PhillipBank.
  • Indonesia’s biggest banking group, Bank Mandiri will use the Avaloq’s Banking Suite to run its wealth management division, which has $14 billion in assets under management.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Nigeria’s OPay raises $120 million in new funding. The investment adds to the $50 million the mobile payments service raised in June.
  • Asilimia, a Kenya-based fintech that helps SMEs access more efficient mobile payment solutions, secures $350,000 in funding.
  • South African digital commerce fintech Vectra wins Seedstars Cape Town competition.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Revolut reaches 250,000 users in Hungary and reports an 8x gain in monthly transaction volume since the beginning of the year.
  • Latvia-based, P2P lending platform TWINO surpasses €1 billion euros in originated loans.
  • Tradeshift moves Bucharest team to larger office in Tower Center, announces plans to hire more staff next year.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • A partnership between BPC and WeNet will bring a new instant payments system to Yemen.
  • ZagTrader wins full certification for its market making technology from Bourse Kuwait.
  • In partnership with the Dubai Financial Services Authority, Wethaq pilots Sukuk issuance on its securities market infrastructure.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Perfios, a fintech software company based in Bengaluru, raises $50 million from Warburg Pincus and Bessemer Venture Partners.
  • Pakistan’s Askari Bank selects Finastra’s trade finance solution.
  • CredoLabNeener Analytics, and Vymo win finalist spots in the India FinTech Forum’s IFTA 2019 awards.

Visa’s Minority Stake in Interswitch Creates Africa’s Latest Fintech Unicorn

As Finovate goes increasingly global, so does our coverage of financial technology. Finovate Global is our weekly look at fintech innovation in developing economies in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe.

FinovateMiddleEast returns to Dubai next week, November 20 and 21. Learn about our Day One and Day Two agendas, our demoing companies, and then visit our FinovateMiddleEast registration page and pick up your ticket today.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Yes Bank launches India’s largest banking developer platform.
  • Pakistan-based digital lending platform Finja closes $3 million convertible note funding round.
  • India’s National Stock Exchange launches an open trading API sandbox.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Mastercard partners with Mexico’s weex wallet to offer physical debit cards.
  • Colombian fintech Simetrik inks agreement to serve as payment gateway for Mercado Pago transactions.
  • Brazilian lender Banco Inter unveils new e-commerce app.

Asia-Pacific

  • MoneyGram and Wing partner to launch new mobile wallet in Cambodia.
  • Bank of International Settlements (BIS) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) agree to locate the BIS Innovation Hub Centre in Singapore.
  • New Hong Kong license in hand, Tencent announces plans to build a blockchain-based digital bank.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Visa acquires minority stake in Nigerian digital payments company Interswitch Group, an investment that takes the African firm’s valuation to $1 billion.
  • South African P2P insurance provider Pineapple wins $1.5 million (R22.5 million) in taking home top prize in the Connecticut Innovations VentureClash 2019 competition.
  • Kenya institutes data protection law to support investment in its technology sector.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Billon, a Polish-British blockchain company, joins initiative with Raiffeisen Bank International to digitize the euro.
  • Trusted identities innovator OneSpan partners with Poland’s Bank Millennium.
  • Visa teams up with Georgian challenger bank Space.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • A new interest-free, credit service, Postpay, goes live in Dubai.
  • Executive Magazine looks at the fintech industry in Lebanon and the role of regulation in stimulating growth.
  • Tunisia announces the digitization of its national currency, the dinar, making the first country to convert a portion of its money supply to digital form.

Top image designed by Freepik

Saudi Arabia Bets Big on Fintech; Sberbank Unveils Russian Supercomputer

As Finovate goes increasingly global, so does our coverage of financial technology. Finovate Global is our weekly look at fintech innovation in developing economies in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe.

Fresh off a successful return to Singapore for FinovateAsia, we are happy to announce that FinovateMiddleEast will be back in Dubai later this month, November 20 and 21. For more information about our upcoming fintech conference in the UAE, visit our FinovateMiddleEast page today.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Saudi Arabia’s Riyad Bank invests $26.7 million in new fintech startup investment program.
  • BankDhofar signs partnership agreement with Oman-based fintech TelyPay.
  • Central Bank of UAE considers new fintech office to help drive innovation in financial services.

Central and Southern Asia

  • A new B2B fintech program for Indian fintechs, FT Slingshot, launched at Hong Kong FinTech Week.
  • Mumbai, India’s financial capital, is seeking to establish itself as the countr’s fintech hub, as well.
  • Eight Indian fintechs, including Paytm and OlaMoney, earn spots in the KPMG and H2 Ventures Fintech 100 list.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Mexican cryptoexchange Bitrus introduces new e-wallet geared toward unbanked population.
  • Creditas, a Brazilian digital consumer lending platform, opens new offices in Valencia, Spain.
  • Born2Invest looks at the growth of the fintech sector in Argentina.

Asia-Pacific

  • Tandem Bank, a challenger bank based in the U.K., announces plans for an expansion to Hong Kong.
  • Vietnam’s TPBank forges agreement with Ripple’s RippleNet.
  • International visitors to China have access to a new prepaid card service run by Alipay and supported by Bank of Shanghai.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • South African fintech iKhokha offers a blunt assessment of the country’s struggle to attract the talent necessary to grow its fintech industry.
  • The U.K. announces plans to deepen fintech partnership with Nigeria and other Africa nations.
  • Andrew Takyi-Appiah, CEO of Ghana-based Zeepay, talks about the business of remittances and its recent partnership with Moneygram.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Romanian fintech Beez goes live in the U.K.
  • Fiserv inks global agreement with German grocery industry leader ALDI.
  • Sberbank introduces Russia’s fastest supercomputer, the Christofari.

Top image designed by Freepik

Stripe Goes Live in Mexico; Revolut in Singapore; Lidya in Poland

As Finovate goes increasingly global, so does our coverage of financial technology. Finovate Global: Fintech News from Around the World is our weekly look at fintech innovation in developing economies in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe.

Fresh off a successful return to Singapore for FinovateAsia, we are happy to announce that FinovateMiddleEast will be back in Dubai next month, November 20 and 21. For more information about our upcoming fintech conference in the UAE, visit our FinovateMiddleEast page today.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Berlin-based, pan-European digital debt marketplace, CrossLend, picks up €34 million in round led by Santander.
  • Bank of Lithuania names IBM and Tieto as finalists in its LBChain technology initiative.
  • Islamic, mobile-only, challenger bank insha goes live in Berlin, Germany.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Partnership with Diebold Nixdorf helps Lebanese Bankmed become first bank in country to introduce cash recycling.
  • Bloomberg Intelligence recognizes the UAE as the world’s top Islamic fintech hub, with Bahrain as a rising challenger.
  • MAGNiTT and ADGM launch new publication focusing on fintech and venture capital funding in the MENA region.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Pakistan’s JS Bank launches chat banking via WhatsApp.
  • Western Union enables real-time payments and money transfers to India.
  • Paytm president Madhur Deora encourages Indian fintechs to appreciate the differences between Indian and Chinese markets “and adapt accordingly.”

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Stripe makes its Mexico debut.
  • Brazilian fintech Nubank reaches 15 million customer mark.
  • Posnet, a First Data/Fiserv company, helps Argentine consumers make purchases using digital wallets and QR codes.

Asia-Pacific

  • Revolut launches in Singapore after successful 30,000 customer beta.
  • CIMB Bank Singapore completes first structured trade finance transaction on blockchain.
  • In partnership with Compass Plus, Mongolia’s largest bank, Trade and Development Bank (TDB) introduces the nation’s first instant card issuance project.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Nigerian digital SME lender Lidya expands to Poland and the Czech Republic.
  • Fintech Futures features Absa’s Thabo Makoko on the challenges and opportunities in the African payment industry.
  • Ghana government makes plans for a cashless future.

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PayPal Goes to China; Dubai Named Top Ten Global Financial Center

Join us next week as our annual Asia-Pacific fintech conference returns to Singapore! FinovateAsia is one of the best ways for fintech startups and innovative industry veterans from the region and around the world to showcase their latest technologies before an audience of C-level decision-makers, venture capitalists, all-star analysts, and more.

FinovateAsia runs from October 14 through October 15, with an additional Summit Day on October 16. Visit our registration page and pick up your ticket today.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Finovate alums Hydrogen, Sedicii, Strands, and Wealth Migrate earn finalist spots in the South African Reserve Bank’s Fintech Demo Day.
  • Carbon CEO Chijioke Dozie offers Five Lessons Global Banks Can Learn from African Fintechs.
  • Business Tech highlights 12 of the hottest fintechs in South Africa according to the country’s biggest banks.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Alior Bank’s Alior Kantor to deploy Efigence’s EFI4 Digital Banking Platform.
  • Deloitte Romania and FintechOS partner to offer banks digital transformation and automation solutions.
  • Sberbank unveils new “Apply for Mortgage” feature on its Sberbank Online mobile app.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Dubai earns top ten ranking in the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI).
  • Boubyan Bank of Kuwait and Zain Telecom team up to launch a digital Islamic bank.
  • Saudi Capital Market Authority (CMA) authorizes financial technology experimental permits enabling three companies to build an equity crowdfunding platform.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Khatabook, an Indian fintech that helps SMEs track and record businesses transactions, raises $25 million.
  • Varanium Capital launches $28 million venture fund focused on Indian fintech.
  • Indian fintechs await regulatory guidelines for deployment of Video KYC technology.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • OurCrowd to open its 13th global office in São Paulo, Brazil.
  • Colombian small business lender Sempli raises $8 million in Series A funding.
  • EBANX will process payments for Uber in Brazil and other countries in Latin America.

Asia-Pacific

  • PayPal’s Move into China is a Big Deal.
  • Fintech in Asia: From Payments and Lending to the Challenge of Financial Inclusion.
  • InComm partners with Mizuho Bank to expand J-Coin Pay in Japan.

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Kreditech Looks to India for Expansion; Mexico’s Klar Scores $57.5 Million in Funding

Join us in October as our annual Asia-Pacific fintech conference returns to Singapore! FinovateAsia is one of the best ways for fintech startups and innovative industry veterans from the region and around the world to showcase their latest technologies before an audience of C-level decision-makers, venture capitalists, all-star analysts, and more.

For information on how to participate in FinovateAsia as a demoing company, partner, or sponsor, send us an e-mail and we’ll tell you everything you need to know.

Asia-Pacific

  • Singapore’s United Overseas Bank (UOB) partners with proptech innovator SoReal to launch SME property valuation solution.
  • Bank of China and IBM announces plans to collaborate on digital transformation, customer experience enhancement, and other innovations in financial services.
  • North Korea announces plans to develop its own cryptocurrency.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • United Bank of Africa (UBA) inks deal with U.S.-based fintech Ovamba Solutions.
  • FairMoney picks up nearly $11 million in funding to help build a new digital bank in Nigeria.
  • Angolan e-commerce platform Roque Online wins Seedstars Luanda pitch contest.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Bulgaria’s third largest bank by assets, Fibank, teams up with Mastercard and Garmin to launch new pay watch.
  • Commerzbank announces plans to sell Polish subsidiary mBank.
  • Warsaw, Poland’s The First News profiles Neontri (formerly Braintri).
  • National Bank of Romania unveils new fintech innovation hub.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • The first digital business bank in the UAE, E20, goes live after 18 months in development.
  • Fintech Abu Dhabi announces strategic partnership with UAE Banks Federation.
  • Turkey’s Takasbank introduces blockchain-based, gold-trading platform.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Courtesy of a partnership with Amazon and Financial Software and Systems, United Bank of India launches voice-powered banking.
  • Sri Lanka’s Sampath Bank introduces new virtual teller machines in the country’s capital city of Colombo.
  • German online lender Kreditech looks to expand operations in India in the wake of $22 million equity fundraising.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Mexican alternative credit and debit services provider Klar raises $57.5 million in funding.
  • Mastercard brings its Tap on Phone payment acceptance solution to Costa Rica.
  • Brazilian fintech Creditas looks to lure away British technology talent disenchanted by Brexit.

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