Future Banking: Creating an ‘Incumbent Challenger’

Finovate talks with Ronit Ghose, global head of banks research and co-head of the fintech theme group at Citi about the future of challenger banks and why some shouldn’t be calling themselves a “fintech” at all.

Finovate: How would you define the different types of challenger bank that exist today, and what are the key differentiating factors between them?

Ronit Ghose: Challenger banks are designed around the digital revolution and are able to leverage data insights via advanced technology stacks. I’d say there are three types of challenger banks that have emerged:

  • The first are standalone challenger banks, which are primarily Fintech companies leveraging technology and data to streamline retail banking by offering better convenience and pricing.
  • The second are incumbent-led challenger banks, started within legacy banks through investment in technology and by creating new digital-only banks.
  • Finally, we’re seeing BigTech-led challenger banks who can use their vast networks to acquire customers quickly as they branch out into financial services.

Finovate: Interesting! So, we’ve seen many incumbent banks attempt to set up their own challenger banks – how successful has this been, what lessons should others learn, and how can banks make their back end look more like a digitally-native company’s?

Ghose: Over the past five years or so, especially since 2016 through 2017, incumbent banks have moved from ignoring or mocking the new entrants to engaging with them and giving them the best testimonial possible: They have begun copying them by setting up their own new businesses. While the results have been mixed, the success or failure of incumbents in this field could be characterized using three factors: markets, technology and operating model or culture.

So in most cases, incumbent banks launch a challenger bank in a market where they are already active; albeit they use their new proposition to better target a specific segment, such as millennials or digitally-savvy customers. With regards to technology, in the past 12 to 18 months incumbent banks appear to be moving to consider more disruptive technology and business model approaches, and to attempt to actually build new brands or businesses “like a startup”. If you aren’t doing new tech, then stop calling yourself challenger or fintech. ‎

Finally, we have to consider bank employee incentives, training, and formation are the human capital equivalent of a fixed income instrument. By contrast, fintech founders work and their employees are growth equity to the bank employees’ fixed coupon bond. In the language of financial instruments, can banks become convertibles not just bonds? ‎

Finovate: Moving away from challenger banks to other new market entrants, to what extent do incumbent banks fear big technology companies over fintechs?

Ghose: The emergence of BigTech has led to heightened competition in the financial services sector. I think the challenge BigTech poses for incumbent and standalone challenger banks is daunting, given the absence of any cost drag from legacy information technology (IT) systems and underused branch networks (common problems for banks) and their natural advantage in customer acquisition owing to their high user engagement models.

One of the most prominent of these is in Korea, where popular social messaging app Kakao Talk launched a digital-only bank in 2017, acquiring two million customers in a short span of just two weeks from launch date. Similarly in China, challenger banks such as WeBank, backed by Tencent, respectively, have seen strong user growth following their launch in 2015.

The experiences of Korea and China are successful examples of internet companies venturing into banking. There are many lessons to be learned from this. Firstly, incumbent banks should not be overly complacent with their existing customer base – the speed of customer acquisition could be much faster through digital channels than the traditional distribution channels. Secondly, internet giants have a clear edge in certain areas of banking, especially around payments and mobile money. Finally, there are opportunities to cross-sell and scale to other products.

Finovate: So there’s potential for a lot of change and upheaval then. What will the bank of the future be characterized by?

Ghose: Legacy banks often have data that is stuck in multiple silos supported by core banking technology that was literally built in the era of black and white television. Manual intervention is high, which slows down operating speed, reduces flexibility, increases costs, and ultimately degrades efficiency and experience. Creating an incumbent challenger sounds like an oxymoron, but as legacy banks recognize the threat that new entrants into banking are posing to revenue and customers, they need to reinvent themselves and reimagine banking. This involves legacy banks partnering with technology companies to create effective joint ventures as well as moving into more disruptive technology and business models to transform themselves into digital competitors. By creating their own Bank X, we believe some legacy banks can transform themselves from slow moving caterpillars to agile butterflies.

banqUP, PSD2, and the Future of Open Banking in Europe

With Finovate making its debut on the European continent just over a month from now, we thought it was a good time to catch up with one of the major fintech innovators in the region, banqUP.

The company, headquartered in Belgium and “proudly developed in Poland,” demonstrated its small business banking platform at FinovateEurope 2017. We reached out to company CEO and founder Krzysztof Pulkiewicz to talk about banqUP’s latest accomplishments in open banking, as well as what the landscape for fintech innovation is like inside and outside the CEE region.

Finovate: The most recent news from banqUP is the news of your AIS license from the Polish Financial Supervision Authority. What does this license enable and how important was this development to your company?

Krzysztof Pulkiewicz: It allows us to broaden our reach and gain new clients. We have been working with a number of banks but now, with our newly gained license, we have the possibility to work both with banks and other entities that can gain access to the opportunities provided by open banking thanks to our solutions.

Finovate: You also recently announced that the company will focus fully on its B2B2C open banking platform. Can you tell us a little bit about the thinking behind this decision?

Pulkiewicz: For banqUP, the main reasons of moving from an idea of a fintech bank to a platform integrating banking APIs were challenges related to the acquisition of customers, especially on mature digital banking markets like Poland. There were also several limitations like opening accounts in polish zloty. On the other hand, we were already closely working with banks interested in our technology. We have seen that a number of our partners were interested in our open banking solutions. We have been working in a sort of a schizophrenic environment – both working with banks and building our own bank as well.

Multibanking was a core element of banqUP fintech bank from day one, and we have decided to focus on this aspect of the platform. We knew that sticking to what we are really good at – technology and data analytics – will be working for us. And it proved true.

banqUp’s platform adds new functionality such as analytics and data enrichment in addition to data aggregation.

Finovate: In line with this, the company has decided to launch a TPP-as-a-Service business line. Why do this and how large are the opportunities there?

Pulkiewicz: This is something we have been thinking about since we have started considering open banking. Multibanking solutions are the beginning of the open banking ecosystem, but we are sure that what the future brings, are the new ideas and products that will come from PSD2. There are many companies that do not consider getting their TPP licenses, as it is not a core of their business.  However, they are willing to use the information provided by the banking system, and our solution is created for such partners.

The number of inquiries we are getting from prospective partners is really astonishing – and these are both new companies and major players from different industries. 

Finovate: You mentioned in an email that you plan to open the next generation of your platform to the public early next year. Can you give us a preview of what’s new and what to expect – as well as any update on the timeline?

Pulkiewicz: Our main focus is on what we call “open banking building blocks.” We are extending our platform with best-in-class API and SDK that will offer effective integration capabilities for developers. On the functional level, we are adding new functionalities on top of data aggregation (analytics, data quality management, and data enrichment) as well as provide and expand on all the components that can support different businesses in connecting to the open-banking world (consent lifecycle management, data streaming, combining PSD2 APIs with other data sources). We know that data aggregation and payment initiation is just a starting point and we are positioning our platform as a one-stop shop for open banking.

The team from banqUP during their live demonstration at FinovateEurope 2017.

Finovate: BanqUp operates in both CEE and non-CEE Europe – Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Bulgaria on the one hand, Belgium and Ireland on the other. Are there categorical differences between working with financial institutions in Central Europe compared to Western Europe? Are attitudes toward open banking the same or different?

Pulkiewicz: The ecosystems differ, but the main distinction we see is not between Central and Western Europe, but between individual countries. Ireland’s ecosystem, for example, is very open. It is not only a reaction to the British banking regulations that have been the basis for PSD2 and had an effect on Ireland, but also the number of fintech companies from the U.K. and Ireland that had quickly started working with banks as they have opened. Poland’s banks have been working on many innovative banking tech projects, and banks have implemented many solutions of their own, making their ecosystems quite closed. When you look at Hungary, it was very fast with opening its own data – with eight out of 10 of the biggest banks in the country providing their API access in March of 2019, well before the final implementation of PSD2 in June. The central bank of the country has also created a fintech cooperation strategy. The differences here do not come from geographical divisions, but from the local ecosystems.

Finovate: In addition to the platform enhancements expected in 2020, are there any other announcements you can preview? New partners, new investors, new markets?

Pulkiewicz: We are definitely planning to expand to new markets – mostly focusing on the CEE region. We have a number of really promising talks with new, large partners, but we cannot really disclose any names at this moment. When it comes to investors – we have been very proud we have managed to come to this moment without any external support, but we are now also looking for strategic partnerships and alliances.

Banks Shift to Automation in 2020

The financial services industry is ripe for Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Business Process Management (BPM) technologies. Organizations in this field have many tasks that can be– and even should be– automated.

Many banks already have successful implementations of these technologies in place. But with the dawn of a new decade, what’s next? We posed the question to AI Foundry’s Director of Product Management, Arvind Jagannath, who helped us uncover the future of RPA and BPM.

Finovate: What are some key developments in RPA and BPM we can look forward to in 2020?

Arvind Jagannath: RPA will play a key role in automating processes in legacy systems. It will have a lot of momentum in industries like retail and finance that are trying to achieve digital transformation because it can automate repetitive processes in their legacy applications.

Most companies view this kind of automation as a key to integrating new technologies and improving their business process. RPA will evolve into a gateway for adopting higher-level, modern technologies.

Finovate: Tell us about that evolution.

Jagannath: Finance, retail and online shopping all have processes that can be easily automated, such as data entry, button clicks, task routing, etc. For these processes, RPA can provide substantial savings in time and cost. Now, imagine you can amplify these gains by using cognitive technologies such as voice recognition, OCR, and AI…this can be a game-changer for many companies.

For example, voice recognition is now increasingly used to provide a more “conversational” flow for gathering initial caller information, just as a support person would do. All of this information can be used to drive the back-end processes that are automated by RPA, such as creating a support ticket and routing it to the right department.

In mortgages, document recognition technologies can quickly scan data from uploaded borrower documents and immediately provide feedback on the validity of the document or ask for additional information. This creates a powerful, real-time feedback loop that can cut days and possibly weeks out of the loan origination process.

Finovate: What does this mean for fintech’s strong partnership ecosystem?

Jagannath: Process automation tools are becoming more sophisticated, and traditional system integrators are taking notice. Large firms like IBM and SAP are realizing they need to partner with or acquire smaller, specialized RPA companies. So now there is an opportunity for collaborating and partnering to create a “smart” RPA eco-system.

A “smart” RPA eco-system combines process automation and AI to orchestrate the appropriate handoffs of tasks between humans and systems to automate processes across a value network.

For example, imagine automating the processing of a homeowner’s property insurance claim where the adjuster pulls data from many disparate systems to make a determination. In a smart RPA eco-system, robots can easily interweave with the adjuster to perform many tasks such as manual registering of the claim, scheduling the next available adjuster, tracking completion of the damage assessment, and proposing an equitable determination.

Finovate: What advice can you offer financial services companies looking to get started with RPA and BPA?

Jagannath: You first need to figure out how to automate your processes, and then start using cognitive technologies to get all the benefits out of RPA and higher-level cognitive AI. RPA becomes a gateway to adopting AI. So, RPA is helping build the ramp for AI to get adopted.

AI Foundry most recently appeared on the Finovate stage last year at FinovateFall. The company demonstrated its Agile Mortgages solution, which brings key efficiencies to the loan origination process.

Women in FinTech: “The Ability to Serve Customers in the Best Manner Possible is Where I Draw Energy.”

As part of our #WomeninFinTech series, we sat down with Kristin Marcuccilli, executive vice president and chief operating officer at STAR Financial Bank.

We talked about her transition from the world of college football to the world of banking and finance, what technology she thinks will lead the way, and why it is important to work with like-minded individuals to drive a business forward.

Finovate: How did you start your career?

Kristin Marcuccilli: STAR Financial Bank is a privately-owned family bank that’s been around for more than 75 years; in fact, my grandfather’s name is the “T” (Thomas) in STAR. Despite this family history, I didn’t always aspire to become a banker. I earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and pre-medicine from the University of Notre Dame, and my student work in football operations and player development ultimately led me to my first job in the Notre Dame Football office for three years.  It wasn’t until later that I decided to pursue a master’s degree in business administration and management from Indiana University.

While working toward my master’s degree, I asked my dad about potential opportunities with the bank – though I still was unsure if this was the right path, I became more curious as I progressed in my studies and job experiences. When an opportunity to join the bank arose, I had to follow the same process as anyone else. Our bank has strict rules about family employees: we must work somewhere else for five years first; new positions won’t be created just for family members; and we must pursue an MBA or banking certification to even be considered for a senior management role.

In 2008, I joined the bank as a project manager, and haven’t looked back since. Over the past 11 years, I have worked my way up to chief operating officer, and I now help oversee our technology partnerships, project management efforts, bank operations and strategic direction. During my time at the bank, I’ve helped establish a strategic vision, oversaw a website redesign, helped implement 55 Interactive Teller Machines and have enhanced our digital banking strategy.

Finovate: What sparked your interest in fintech?

Marcuccilli:My interest in fintech stems from the reason I choose to work in community banking – it’s a relationship business, and our team’s involvement in creative thinking that will ultimately help change and influence the way people and businesses interact with their bank is an ever-present and ever-evolving challenge. A passion for fintech calls for an entrepreneurial spirit and the ability to embrace failure and change nearly every day. For me, that’s an exciting challenge.

Finovate: What technologies have you seen lately that have excited you?

Marcuccilli: New technology seems to appear overnight. Years from now, we expect that real-time payments will be the norm – no more waiting for money to move overnight or over the course of several days via check. The application of biometrics and advanced analytics for enhanced security will continue to expand and evolve, and artificial intelligence will support personalized customer experience through digital channels. Electronic delivery of documents, signatures and account opening will also likely be dominating a once paper-intensive banking environment. Self-service kiosks will also have advanced to replace much of the standard transaction activity both as in-branch and as standalone options. All of this excites me, as the ability to serve our customers in the best manner possible is where I draw energy.

Finovate: Why is it important for banks to embrace new tech? How is Star Financial Bank doing this?

Marcuccilli: In our rapidly changing industry, banks that are slow to adapt risk falling behind and losing critical business. Bankers have a significant advantage when it comes to building valuable relationships and supporting their local communities, but they must also add modern technology to remain nimble and relevant.

At STAR, we place a strong emphasis on maintaining our community focus while optimizing delivery channels and meeting customers where they are on their financial journey. We take a collaborative approach when evaluating and implementing new technology, starting at the top with our CEO who encourages the team to embrace change.

I am proud to be part of a powerhouse team, working alongside innovators and leaders who dedicate significant time and effort toward studying technology and client behavior to best meet our community’s needs. We have a group of smart, data-driven individuals who ensure our technology and services align with our business and customer demands.

Finovate: Where do you think the future of fintech is heading?

Marcuccilli: Delivery channel optimization (to ensure convenient and engaging customer experience), security threats and payments are all rapidly evolving and will continue to be a major focus in the fintech space. To effectively address these trends, there will be a growing demand and emphasis on the selection of third-party partnerships.  Finding the right technology partner – both a technical and cultural fit – will be important in facilitating the best experience for customers.

Finovate: Why is the #WomeininTech movement important?

Marcuccilli: There is a general lack of female representation in financial services, especially when it comes to the technology side of the house.  As industry professionals, we can help influence this by supporting and encouraging women to join and contribute to the field. Series like these are a powerful way to highlight how women are innovating and making a difference in their local communities through financial services and technology.

Finovate: What piece of advice would you give women starting out their career in finance/ fintech?

Marcuccilli: My advice is to be open to different possibilities within the financial services and fintech space as there are no shortage of opportunities. It’s important to surround yourself with strategic and smart individuals who help build up the team, supporting professional goals and development. I’d also encourage women to become involved in their local communities. Learning and growing from individuals outside of your organization can also be key to professional success. When we commit to staying attuned to business and industry trends and recent developments, we’re able to better support an ecosystem of entrepreneurship and growth in our local communities.

Finovate: And what piece of advice do you have for other banks to attract and retain more star female talent?

Marcuccilli: At STAR, we prioritize collaboration and innovation, and that’s been very attractive to top talent. Showing potential employees that the bank cares about exploring new ideas from all levels of the institution, not just from management or the C-suite, can be a powerful differentiator. Institutions that break down silos, encourage cross department collaboration and transparency, and embrace change will find more success in attracting and retaining star female talent.

Celent Shines Spotlight on AI in Financial Services

From banking chatbots to speculations on superintelligence, the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on financial services is one of the hottest topics in fintech. Our Summit Day sessions on AI at FinovateSpring earlier this year were consistently among our best attended sessions.

To continue this conversation, we exchanged emails with Alenka Grealish, Senior Analyst, Corporate Banking, Celent. Grealish’s recent report, AI in the UI: Adoption, Use Cases, and Business Cases, represents Celent’s latest investigation into the issues surrounding the rise and role of AI in financial services.

Finovate: In setting up this conversation, I noted that Celent referred to this as part of an inaugural initiative. Why is now the time to turn the spotlight on this technology and its impact on financial services?

Alenka Grealish: We observed the beginning of a shift from all experimentation to gradual implementation amongst vanguard banks. It was common to have nine proofs of concept to one pilot at the vanguard banks. We’re now seeing more pilots and a few moving into production.

Finovate: What are we talking about when we talk about AI? How broad is this technology?

Grealish: Broad. What defines AI has expanded in the commercial world. The narrow Turing Test no longer applies. The current goal of AI developers is not to replicate humans, but rather complement them and build applications that team with them. A great example is found in anti-money laundering.

The broad definition includes rules-based and learning-based models. A useful way to categorize AI capabilities is: natural language processing and understanding, natural language generation (data-to-text), speech (speech-to-text and vice versa), vision, and data insights (machine learning driven analytics that generate, for example, cash flow forecasts for customers and next best action for bankers).

Finovate: Has AI become a catch-all for a variety of technologies, some of which are AI and some of which are not? And is that an issue for AI adoption going forward?

Grealish: AI has certainly become a buzz word and its definition stretched by tech vendors. Semantics aside…Critical to successful AI adoption is not to seek a problem for AI to solve but rather the reverse:  determine the key problems you’re trying to solve (e.g., high false positives in AML) and/or goals you’re trying to achieve (e.g., personalize customer-banker interactions). Then, (the next step is to) examine the potential means to solve/achieve. The means could be a combination of rules-based and learning-based AI or established tech (e.g., OCR) combined with AI.

Finovate: What were the top two or three high-level takeaways from your research?

Grealish: I was struck by the percentage of banks $10+ billion in size which had implemented front-office AI. I had expected less than 10%.

Finovate: Your report notes a difference in AI adoption between retail and commercial banks, calling the former an “early adopter” and the latter “vanguard.” What distinguishes the two?

Grealish: The vanguard phase is when a small number of entities, less than 5%, moves into production. The technology is not mature but works sufficiently well for low risk use cases. These entities tend to have nimble organizations and little to no legacy baggage. The early adopter phase typically occurs when the vanguard banks are successful and appear to be gaining a competitive edge and inspire the next wave of adopters to take action. The early adopters are innovators but are likely juggling multiple priorities and hence cannot always be in the vanguard.

Finovate: One of the areas you highlight is the use of AI-enabled technologies for employees and workers. What sort of use cases – especially those relevant to financial services – are you seeing here?

Grealish: In terms of employee enablement, I’m excited by what I see.  AI is proving helpful in basic “tell me” support, such as, “do we offer this type of product?” and “where is this feature located in our online portal?” It is also progressing in higher level support, such as data insights on sales trends and next best action suggestions.

Finovate: You note “relative complexity” as a main hurdle to broader adoption of AI. How are financial services companies navigating this challenge (hiring talent, partnerships, etc.)?

Grealish: AI is not a standalone technology but rather is woven into current processes and platforms and/or drives new processes and platforms. Hence, success begins at the top of the house, banks with a transformation, data-driven leadership team view AI as one component of a broader digital strategy.

Next, successful banks have a business model comprising four key elements: a collaborative multidisciplinary organizational dynamic, an enterprise-wide AI initiatives team, strong data and model governance, and regulatory engagement and compliance playbook. At the operating model level, these banks have basic automation expertise and are incorporating AI to solve the hard stuff, such as analysis of unstructured data.

At the foundation, these banks are migrating to a modern data and tech infrastructure that supports a digital-first strategy.

Finovate: You note that the primary business goal for most businesses using AI-enabled technologies is cost savings, but that customer engagement “is increasingly a goal.” What are some of the more interesting use cases for AI-enabled technologies in customer engagement?

Grealish: We’re in the very early days of customer engagement, that is, brief, basic “tell me” conversations. These “tell me” conversations are taking off thanks to Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant, which are driving consumers’ comfort level engaging with machines. The outlook over the next 5 years is promising. “Do it for me” type interactions will become common. For example, a small business will simply ask the online virtual assistant to choose the optimal payment type based on its criteria. Further on the horizon are “Alert and advise me” type interactions. For example, a mid-market company has an FX exposure and is alerted with action options to hedge the exposure.

From the Tech Side: Interview with Checkbook.io CTO PJ Gupta

CheckbookIMG1

Ever wonder what’s on the other side of some of the fintech we showcase on the Finovate blog? That’s the entire premise of our FinDEVr conference series. To get an idea of what I’m talking about, check out this interview from PJ Gupta, CTO and founder of Checkbook.io.

We recently interviewed Gupta, who founded Checkbook.io in 2014, about the company’s digital check platform. You can try out a digital check at checkbook.io/?type=finovate

Finovate: Where did you start your career and how did you gain experience needed to found Checkbook?

PJ: My most recent corporate role was Chief Network Architect at VISA, where I was responsible for the VISA USA commercial and corporate network. From the outside, the VISA network works seamlessly; however, on the inside, the payments ecosystem is very inefficient, both from a business as well as technology perspective. Things move slowly at large established bureaucracies—while fundamental changes always come from the outside—so I decided to leave my cushy job to venture out on my own.

Finovate: What has been the most important technological development in your field in the past few years, and how has it impacted/influenced your work at Checkbook?

PJ: There have been quite a few, but I would say that the two key tech developments for our work at Checkbook are:
Access to bank APIs which allow us to verify bank account credentials and balances in real-time
Ability to use front-end technologies (i.e., tokenization) to seamlessly complete a payment transaction without payment information having to be shared with the merchant’s web servers.

RecipientValidatesAccount

Finovate: What is the most difficult aspect of Checkbook from a compliance standpoint and how do you simplify it for developers and merchant clients?

PJ: Our API has tokenization built into it, so that whether accepting a payment or making one, the user’s sensitive payment information is not shared with the merchant. This allows the merchant to bypass compliance altogether. Furthermore, we are audited and maintain compliance on our side thus reducing the compliance burden for our developers/merchants.

Finovate: Tell us about your favorite integration of Checkbook’s API.

PJ: We have numerous integrations of our API, so it’s hard to give you just one example. Here are a handful of my favorites:

A) We have an Accounts Receivable plug-in available for Shopping Cart platforms, and other private-label applications. Below, you’ll see a screenshot of one of our corporate customers who uses our APIs to receive payment from their shopping cart (in this case they use WooCommerce/Word Press).CHeckbookIMG3
B) Cleanly, which is the ‘Uber’ of dry cleaning, is another one of our clients that uses our Direct API. Cleanly uses it to support both accounts receivable and accounts payable to their contractors/workers. Here is a testimonial from them:

“Checkbook has been a huge help for us in providing a scalable solution for sending out payments with an elegant look, easy integration, and one-click payments. It is by far the most cost-effective and easiest way to get payments taken care of, whether you’re reimbursing customers or paying vendors. We’re happy we made the switch.”
– Alex Prober, VP Engineering

C) Another client, Suretrader.com, was able to easily integrate our iframe for accounts receivable using less than 10 lines of code.

D) We are integrated with Quickbooks, which allows business customers to send digital checks through their QB account with the click of a button. Check out the integration video.

E) We also support accounts payable with SalesForce’s Accounting Seed, where our UI/UX is especially user-centric. Furthermore, we have been able to work closely with their product team to make further enhancements (like invoice reconciliation). Check out the integration video.

Finovate: How do you respond to people who claim that checks are dead?

PJ: Completely agree. Paper checks are dead. They are inefficient, slow, and very costly; however, there is no alternative available. ACH has multiple issues namely: payee/payor bank account verification, 3-day settlement delay and not all DDA accounts are ACH enabled. Using our digital checks obviates all of the above problems while also offering a modern user experience that people expect nowadays.

CheckbookIMG4

Finovate: What are some upcoming initiatives from Checkbook that we can look forward to over the next few months?

PJ: Think of seamless integrations with major accounting packages. If you’re a user of one of these packages, your bank account will already be verified so you’ll be able to send a digital check with a single click, and the recipient will get it delivered instantly by email. And the next step would be going international!

Finovate: Aside from the major players, what company do you admire for its approach to technology?

PJ: I like the upstarts. Privacy.com is a very early stage startup that has a cute business model and simple problem to solve. It has a browser plugin which allows the user to pay using a disposable credit card number and they, in turn, withdraw money from the user’s account. The business model is interesting because they share the interchange with the issuer. I don’t know how successful it’ll be, but it’s good to see startups coming up with completely new ways to solve persistent problems.

Finovate: What do developers love most about Checkbook’s API?

PJ: To describe this in two words: simplicity and versatility, illustrated by our flexibility in doing the following:

1. Using Checkbook.io for A/P and/or A/R

2. Sending one check or a million with the click of a button

3. Using Checkbook.io’s APIs for shopping cart integration

4. Using Checkbook.io infrastructure as a private-label solution for your payroll needs

5. Sending digital checks through your existing accounting software platform like Quickbooks (integration video) and AccountingSeed (integration video)

For more information on Checkbook, visit the company’s Facebook page, follow them on Twitter, and watch PJ Gupta’s FinDEVr Silicon Valley presentation, API for Digital Checks.

For more developer content, check out FinDEVr Silicon Valley this 18/19 October 2016 in Santa Clara.