Taulia Taps Mastercard to Launch Virtual Cards

Taulia Taps Mastercard to Launch Virtual Cards
  • Taulia is launching a virtual payment card solution for its users.
  • The company is partnering with Mastercard for the new offering, which will be integrated across major ERP solutions.
  • Degussa Bank and HSBC are piloting the launch.

Supply chain finance company Taulia is creating another payment option for its users this month. The California-based company is launching a virtual payment card in partnership with Mastercard and has integrated the new tool across major ERP solutions.

Taulia clients will be able to generate virtual cards through Mastercard upon request, which will save time and enable businesses to offer a better customer experience to their employees. In turn, the business itself will have more options to pay suppliers and control employee spending. Even suppliers will benefit, as they will see improved cash flow and better payments visibility.

The virtual payment card solution offers a unique, “bring your own bank” feature that allows Taulia clients to deploy virtual cards and extend the benefits already offered by their existing banks. This convenience comes thanks to Mastercard’s virtual card platform, which connects to more than 80 banks across the globe. Degussa Bank and HSBC are piloting Taulia’s launch.

“We’re pleased to be embracing innovation through our partnerships with Taulia and Mastercard, which will now provide our clients with an integrated virtual card payment solution within the Taulia platform,” said HSBC Global Head of Commercial Cards Product Management Arati Kurien. “Embedding HSBC’s financial services into the systems that our clients use day to day is a key focus for us.”

Taulia was founded in 2009 to help companies make use of cash tied up in their payables, receivables, and inventory. Taulia maintains a network of 3+ million businesses to fuel its clients with more working capital, support their suppliers with early payment, and help them build sustainable supply chains. Taulia processes more than $500 billion each year for its clients, which include Airbus, AstraZeneca, and Nissan.

In the coming years, we’re likely to see more of this embedded approach to supply chain financing. Fintechs will likely explore integrating supply chain financing tools into existing business solutions, as Taulia is doing within ERP solutions. We can also expect the inverse, as well, as fintechs embed other financial services, such as insurance, directly into existing supply chain platforms.

Taulia was acquired by SAP in 2022 for an undisclosed amount. Cedric Bru is CEO.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov

Finovate Global MENA: Tabby Raises $200 Million, Finastra Powers Innovation in Qatar, Kuwait Promotes Financial Wellness for Teens

Finovate Global MENA: Tabby Raises $200 Million, Finastra Powers Innovation in Qatar, Kuwait Promotes Financial Wellness for Teens

Tabby, a Buy Now, Pay Later platform based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, has secured $200 million in Series D funding. The round was led by Wellington Management. The investment gives the company a valuation of $1.5 billion, making Tabby MENA’s latest fintech unicorn. With participation from Bluepool Capital and existing investors STV, Mubadala Investment Capital, Arbor Ventures, and PayPal Ventures, the investment comes ahead of Tabby’s planned IPO in Saudi Arabia.

“Tabby set out with a purpose to reshape financial services – one that’s fair and responsible – and with this investment we can advance our mission across Saudi Arabia and the UAE,” Tabby CEO and co-founder Hosam Arab said. “We’re very happy to have Wellington Management lead this round given their deep expertise in financial services.”

Buy Now, Pay Later services are an interesting development especially in markets where access to credit and financing products is limited. Tabby reports 10 million users and more than 30,000 brands on its platform. These brands include to of the largest retail groups in the MENA region. Managing more than $6 billion in annualized transaction volume, Tabby notes growth in its presence in physical stores, now representing more than 20% of the company’s total volume.

Meanwhile, some 600 kilometers to the east, Qatar-based CQUR Bank has forged a partnership with digital banking solutions provider Finastra. CQUR Bank will implement a pair of Finastra’s solutions – Trade Innovation and Corporate Channels – to power its new online banking portal.

Trade Innovation is an end-to-end solution for frictionless trade and supply chain financing. Corporate Channels is a digital banking platform that gives CQUR Bank a single portal to unify a variety of services for corporate clients. These services include trade, cash, supply chain finance, lending, and treasury operations.

“Corporate customers are increasingly demanding faster, digital, and connected services from their bank that truly elevate how they manage their finances and pursue new avenues for growth,” Finastra Managing Director, MENAT Lending, Kamal El Khoury explained. “By delivering new services and improving the end-to-end customer experience, the bank can future-proof its business while continuing to enhance economic growth through trade and sustainable development.”

Formed out of a merger between Misys and D+H in 2017, Finastra is headquartered in the U.K. The company has more than 8,000 financial institutions, including 45 of the world’s top 50 banks, using its software solutions and services. Simon Paris is CEO.

This week, Kuwait Finance House (KFH) launched the first shari’a-compliant digital bank in the country. Named Tam Digital Bank, the new institution was hailed as a major milestone in KFY’s digital banking transformation efforts.

“With its modern, youthful design, user-friendly and efficient usage, along with innovative banking services backed with advanced technology, we are confident that Tam will fulfull customers’ desires and exceed their expectations,” KFH Acting Group CEO Abdulwahab lesa Al Rushood said. “At KFH, we take account of factors such as convenience, speed, quality, safety, and innovation in line with our motto ‘Easy Banking Experience’.”

In order to open a Tam account, customers must be at least 15 years old. They must also have a civil ID, and a smartphone to download the Tam app. There are no documents to present and no bank branch to visit in order to get started.

KFH Kuwait CEO Khaled Yousef AlShamlan underscored the importance of appealing to younger customers. “Through Tam, youth will receive many benefits, including opening an account, transferring student allowance(s), tracking expenses, transferring funds, in addition to rewards program, points, offers, and exceptional discounts that meet all their needs, as well as 24/7 customer service,” AlShamlan said.

A pioneer in Islamic Finance and Shari’a Compliant Banking, Kuwait Finance House was founded in 1977 as the country’s first Islamic bank. KFH sits at the center of the KFH Group banking network. This network includes 430 branches, more than 790 ATMs, and 8,600 employees. KFH’s Shari’a compliant products and services cover real estate, trade finance, and investments, as well as commercial, retail, and corporate banking. In addition to Kuwait, KFH operates in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Turkey, Malaysia, and Australia.

Here is our look at fintech innovation around the world.

Middle East and Northern Africa

Central and Southern Asia

Latin America and the Caribbean


Sub-Saharan Africa

Central and Eastern Europe

Photo by Abdullah Ghatasheh

Finovate Global Philippines: Insurtech, SuperApps, and Turning Corner Shops into Banking Hubs

Finovate Global Philippines: Insurtech, SuperApps, and Turning Corner Shops into Banking Hubs

Philippines-based digital bank Tonik has entered the insurance business. The neobank announced a new strategic partnership this week with life insurance company Sun Life Grepa Financial, Inc. (Sun Life Grepa).

The partnership will enable Tonik to offer its customers Payhinga, a credit life and disability insurance product. Payhinga gives policyholders access to life and disability insurance with coverage of up to 120% of the loan amount. Further, policyholders can use a two-month payment holiday to reschedule upcoming loan payments in the event of financial difficulty.

“The partnership with Sun Life Grepa will significantly expand our suite of products, and insurance is a highly sought-after addition our customers have been requesting,” Tonik Country President Long Pineda said.

The Philippines’ first, digital-only neobank, Tonik offers loan, deposit, and payment products to consumers via its digital banking platform. The bank teamed up with FC Home Center, launching its Shop Installment Loan with the retailer in August. In June, Tonik announced that it had reached the one million customer milestone. Greg Krasnov (CEO) founded Tonik in 2020.

Speaking of digital banks based in the Philippines, UNO Digital Bank is teaming up with Collabera Digital. A digital engineering services provider, Collabera Digital will help the bank develop and integrate a mini app within superapp GCash.

Collabera Digital provided the strategy to address key issues such as AML and KYC, and built an integrated API platform. The leading superapp in the Philippines, GCash provides a wide range of financial services including money transfer, billpay, savings, investments, insurance, lending, and more. UNO Digital Bank’s integration into GCash will boost access to financial services to individuals across the socio-economic spectrum. The integration also supports the growth of the digital economy via services like mobile banking and digital wallets.

“Our partnership with GCash is significant in scaling and increasing our customer reach,” founder and CEO of UNO Digital Bank Manish Bhai said. “As a greenfield bank, built independently of a larger traditional institution, we have to be innovative in identifying opportunities to grow and expand. GCash, with their 90+ million users and active thrust towards financial inclusion, is a great partner leading to a win-win proposition for both the entities.”

UNO Digital Bank was founded in 2021 and is headquartered in Taguig, a city in the Manila metropolitan area. The institution had total assets of $29 million (PHP 1.78 billion) as of end of year 2022.

What are fintechs in the Philippines doing for small businesses? Merchant fintech platform yufin announced a series of partnerships this week designed to bring new services to Philippines-based merchants. The new additions to yufin’s partnership ecosystem include wholesaler Lots for Less, delivery firm Transportify, and streaming content company Vivamax.

Shubhrendu Khoche, President and co-founder of yufin Philippines, noted that the new partnerships will drive greater digital adoption by businesses throughout the value chain. “As the financial growth engine for small merchants, these new partnerships will create more reasons for digital payment for our small merchants, their shoppers, and suppliers,” Khoche explained.

Founded in 2021, yufin aims to raise the income of 10 million households at least by 50% in the next five years. The company’s partnership ecosystem helps turn small, corner shops into preferred banking and credit hubs for their customers. With a goal of partnering rather than competing with local banks, yufin offers assisted digital financial services that enable underserved communities to leverage technology to improve financial outcomes.

Here is our look at fintech innovation around the world.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • South Africa’s Lipa Payments secured full SDK certification for Tap to Phone from both Visa and Mastercard.
  • Kenyan fintech and mobility solutions company Data Integrated won approval to operate as a Payment Service Provider from the country’s central bank.
  • Stitch, a business payments company based in South Africa, raised $25 million in Series A funding.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • German B2B Buy Now Pay Later payments provider Mondu registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
  • Polish fintech Verestro integrated the Quicko Wallet money transfer service within the Slack application.
  • Cloover, a climate-based fintech based in Germany, raised €7 million in pre-seed funding.

Middle East and Northern Africa

Central and Southern Asia

  • Indian fintech Aurionpro acquired loan management system Omnifin for $9.8 million.
  • Pakistan-based SadaPay enabled Apple Pay invoicing for freelancers in the country.
  • Indian credit card company Slice earned the approval of the Reserve Bank of India to merge with North East Small Finance Bank.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Digital banking and payments solutions provider i2c announced a partnership with Peru’s Banco de Credito.
  • Payments platform Airwallex inked an agreement to acquire Mexico-based payment service provider MexPago.
  • Chile-based fintech Forpay launched a new feature that enables companies to directly charge bank accounts with requiring intermediaries.


  • Vietnam’s Lien Viet Post Joint Stock Commercial Bank (LPBank) teamed up with Temenos to update its core banking platform.
  • International payments provider Nium expanded its B2B travel payments offering in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • BigPay teamed up with payments platform Thredd to support its expansion into Thailand.

Photo by Meo Fernando

Finovate Global Hong Kong: A Roadmap to the Future of AI and DLT

Finovate Global Hong Kong: A Roadmap to the Future of AI and DLT

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) unveiled its Fintech Promotion Roadmap today. The goal of the document is to provide a strategic outlook for the coming year to promote fintech adoption and innovation across Hong Kong’s diverse financial services ecosystem.

The top takeaways? The Roadmap highlights three business verticals: wealthtech, insurtech, and greentech – as primary. The planning document also underscores both artificial intelligence (AI) and distributed ledger technology (DLT) as a pair of enabling, if not revolutionary, technologies that will play a major role in future innovation in financial services.

Critically, the Roadmap shows the eagerness of the HKMA to take a proactive, hands-on approach to fintech adoption and innovation in Hong Kong. To this end, the HKMA has announced a range of initiatives it plans to adopt over the next 12 months. These efforts include a fintech knowledge hub; sponsored events, roundtable discussions, and dialogues to foster collaboration; as well as seminars and training sessions to provide cross-sectoral information exchange and the opportunity for continuous learning. The HKMA will also facilitate educational content creation, including use-case videos and research reports, to help broaden understanding of the opportunities of fintech adoption.

HKMA Deputy Chief Executive Arthur Yuen called the Roadmap “a beacon for the entire financial services industry.” He added, “We’re looking beyond banking, casting a wide net to encompass sectors like insurance, wealth management, and capital market activities. Through synergies with our financial regulators and continuous engagement with stakeholders, our vision is a resilient, inclusive fintech ecosystem for Hong Kong.”

Yuen said that the underpinning philosophy of the Roadmap is “collaboration”.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority is the region’s central banking institution. Founded in 1993, the HKMA is the product of the merger between two agencies – the Office of the Exchange Fund and the Office of the Commissioner of Banking. A key enabler of innovation in fintech and financial services in the region, the HKMA developed and launched a Faster Payments System in 2018 and began offering virtual banking licenses in 2019. Eddie Yue Wai-man was appointed Chief Executive in that year; he is the third CEO in the HKMA’s 30-year history.

In more good news for the region, Hong Kong has a new fintech unicorn. Micro Connect, a fintech that facilitates institutional investments in Chinese micro- and small businesses, raised $458 million in funding earlier this month. The Series C round gives the startup $578 million in total capital raised, and a brand new valuation of $1.7 billion.

Micro Connect’s statement did not list the investors involved in the funding. However, according to Forbes Asia, Baillie Gifford – a Scottish investment company – as well as returning investors Sequoia China, Lenovo Capital, Vectr Fintech, and Dara Holdings, were among those who participated.

Micro Connect will use the capital to enhance the market structure of its Micro Connect Financial Asset Exchange (MCEX) platform. MCEX leverages blockchain technology to enable small businesses to access financing in return for an agreed-upon percentage of the business’s daily revenue over a specified period of time. The scheme helps growing businesses secure the capital they need without having to take on additional debt. MCEX is scheduled to go live in August.

Micro Connect has facilitated investment in more than 2,400 stores and 169 brands across China. Charles Li (Chairman) and Gary Zhang (CEO) founded the company in 2021.

Finovate has brought its international fintech conference to Hong Kong three times: in 2016, 2017, and 2018. Here are some of the local companies that demoed their technology live on stage at FinovateAsia in Hong Kong.

  • AApay Technology
  • Chekk
  • Peakford Electronics
  • Proximiti
  • Velotrade

That said, Finovate has been hosting fintech conferences for audiences in the region since 2012. Here are a few more Hong Kong-based Finovate alums that demoed at our FinovateAsia events in Singapore and online.

  • Advanced Merchant Payments
  • Matchi.Biz
  • Mobexo
  • Modtris

Here is our look at fintech innovation around the world.

Middle East and Northern Africa

Central and Southern Asia

Latin America and the Caribbean


Sub-Saharan Africa

Central and Eastern Europe

Photo by Nitin Sharma

Finovate Global Colombia: Innovations in Payments Security and the Blockchain

Finovate Global Colombia: Innovations in Payments Security and the Blockchain

This week’s edition of Finovate Global looks at recent fintech news from Colombia.

The largest Spanish-speaking country in South America, Colombia is located in the northwest corner of the continent. With a population of more than 52 million, Colombia has the third largest economy in South America and the fourth largest in Latin America. More than 11 million people live in the country’s capital city of Bogota.

Earlier this year, the Colombian government indicated its support for open banking and open finance. Specifically, the government included the establishment of an open banking scheme as part of its National Development Plan. The fact that the current government endorsed an initiative that began with the previous administration was seen as an especially constructive sign for the future of open banking and open finance in Colombia.

One way to keep up with fintech news from Colombia is via Colombia Fintech. With information in both Spanish and English, Colombia Fintech is an association of fintech companies based in Colombia. The association provides news on Colombian fintechs, updates on relevant developments on the government and regulatory front, as well as opportunities for networking. Colombia Fintech counts more than 240 members in its community. The association was formed in 2016.

As for recent Colombian fintech news, Bogota-based payments and data security company Intexus announced a partnership with security software company Entrust this week. Intexus will use Entrust’s digital card and instant issuance technology to support its card-as-a-service solution. The partnership is designed to enable banks and credit unions in Latin America to benefit from a unified payment card program.

“We have long been in the digital era and today’s consumers are accustomed to having resources at their fingertips instantaneously,” Intexus CEO David Rojas said. “Our partnership with Entrust allows us to simplify payment enablement for our bank and credit union customers throughout Latin America so they can focus on building relationships with their cardholders and members.”

Intexus serves clients in eight Latin American countries and issues more than 100,000 cards a month. The company was founded in 1997. Entrust provides solutions to help businesses offer trusted experiences for identity, payments, and data. Founded in 1969, the company has been a Finovate alum since 2015 when it presented its technology as part of our developers conference, FinDEVr SiliconValley.

Speaking of partnerships between Finovate alums and Colombian financial interests, we also learned this week that Ripple has entered into a new collaboration with the country’s central bank. As reported in CoinDesk, Banco de la República will test the effectiveness of Ripple’s CBDC platform to enhance Colombia’s high-value payments system. The pilot is being conducted in partnership with the country’s Ministry for the Information and Communications Technologies (MinTIC). Spanish blockchain company Peersyst Technology is also participating.

The goal of the project is to demonstrate the platform’s ability to improve the speed and reduce costs for large scale, wholesale payments, RTGS systems and similar operations, Joe Vollono, a director of CBDC business development at Ripple indicated. The project is scheduled to continue through the end of the year, and is being conducted in a controlled environment without compromising public resources.

As noted in The Paypers coverage of the announcement, Ripple previously partnered with Colombia last year to put land titles on the blockchain as part of a land redistribution program. Peersyst Technology was also a part of this initiative to permanently store and authenticate property titles on Ripple’s public blockchain.

Founded in 2012, Ripple made its Finovate debut as OpenCoin at FinovateSpring the following year. Rebranded as Ripple in 2015, the company has since grown into an innovative payment protocol and exchange network. Use cases of the company’s technology range from cross-border payments to crypto liquidity to CBDCs. Ripple’s customers include Novatti, Modulr, and Siam Commercial Bank. Chris Larsen is CEO.

Here is our look at fintech innovation around the world.

Central and Southern Asia

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Ripple announced a collaboration with the Central Bank of Colombia
  • Citi Treasury and Trade Solutions teamed up with Brazil-based banking and payments software company Pismo.
  • Security software company Entrust partnered with Colombia’s Intexus to enhance payments for banks in Latin America.


Sub-Saharan Africa

Central and Eastern Europe

  • PKO Bank Polski unveiled a new system of valued-added services (VAS).
  • Austrian fintech Vipaso (Vienna Payment Solutions) teamed up with Visa to launch a new app, ViennaPay.
  • France’s Market Pay agreed to acquire Poland-based payments technology company Novelpay.

Middle East and Northern Africa

Photo by Santiago Boada

Finovate Global France: Automating Payments, Extending Loans, and Collaborating on Crypto

Finovate Global France: Automating Payments, Extending Loans, and Collaborating on Crypto

This week’s edition of Finovate Global takes a look at recent fintech developments involving companies headquartered in France.

First up is news that European Buy Now, Pay Later firm Alma has partnered with BNP Paribas and new Finovate alum Numeral to automate payments.

“As part of our goal to create the most fluid and seamless experience for both merchants and customers, paying our 11,000 and growing merchants reliably and efficiently is critical,” Alma COO and co-founder Guillaume Desloges said. “Numeral enables us to scale with confidence and focus on our core business.”

Alma Finance and Strategy Senior Manager Simon Shohet explained that the integration of Numeral into both its systems as well as BNP Paribas’ systems, audit trails, and approval rules will enable automation of the process of managing “thousands of daily payments at scale.” Shohet added, “Thanks to Numeral, we can focus on the most critical incidents and rapidly solve merchant’s issues.”

Alma plans to eventually use Numeral’s platform to become a SEPA participant via BNP Paribas. This would enable Alma to issue IBANs in its own name, a strategic advantage for the firm.

Numeral made its Finovate debut at FinovateEurope in London earlier this year. At the conference, the Paris-based company showed how financial institutions can leverage Numeral’s platform to automatically send, receive, and reconcile SEPA payments. The platform also enables financial institutions to manage payment errors via SEPA R transactions. The company is on track to process €5B in 2023.

Also this week, we learned that Revolut will begin offering customer credit products in France at the end of the month. The company announced that consumer loans will be available to Revolut’s more than two million French users starting on May 30th.

Revolut currently offers lending products in other European markets. These markets include Ireland, Lithuania, and Romania. Mortgage products are not part of the current package. But Revolut VP of Growth Antoine Le Nel said that these products are in the pipeline.

Thanks to Revolut’s embrace of open banking, prospective borrowers will be able to apply for loans without having to deal with hardcopy paperwork. Instead, applicants will get virtual “instant feedback” on their loan requests. Loans come with zero opening fees and are available from as low as €1,000 to as high as €50,000. Terms range from three months to 84 months and interest rates range from a low of 3.9% to 21.12%.

France has earned a reputation for being friendly to the cryptocurrency industry. This week’s news of a partnership between Canada’s Advanced Payment Solutions (APS), Cyprus’ Armenotech, and France’s Tempo France is another modest testament to this.

Back in at the beginning of the year, Armenotech and payments company Tempo Finance teamed up to develop an ecosystem supported by the Stellar blockchain. This week, we learn that London-based Advanced Payment Solutions has joined the pact.

APS CEO Serik Igbayev highlighted the importance of giving businesses the ability to work with traditional and digital assets. And in a statement, Igbayev praised the partnership with Armenotech for playing a key role in making this happen. “Clients increasingly demonstrate a demand for services that would enable them to operate both traditional and digital assets, combining various payment methods,” Igbayev said. “We have successfully been using state-of-the-art Armenotech solutions to meet this demand.” These solutions included tools that facilitate the conversion between fiat and digital assets, as well as products for fraud protection, security, KYC, and ALM.

Tempo France is serving as the corporate payment operator for the alliance. Founded in 2008 and headquartered in Paris, Tempo France provides a fast and secure bridge between cash and cryptocurrencies. The company offers online, offline, and digitally backed remittances to nearly 100 countries with more than 300 physical agent locations. Alla Zhedik is CEO.

Here is our look at fintech innovation around the world.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Central and Eastern Europe

Middle East and Northern Africa

Central and Southern Asia

Latin America and the Caribbean


Photo by Chait Goli

Finovate Global Estonia: Partnerships, Fundraising, and the Fight Against Financial Crime

Finovate Global Estonia: Partnerships, Fundraising, and the Fight Against Financial Crime

In this week’s edition of Finovate Global, we take a look at a handful of developments in Estonia’s fintech industry. With a population of more than 1.3 million, Estonia has the Baltic Sea to the west, the Gulf of Finland to its north, Latvia on its southern border, and the Russian Federation on its eastern flank. The Northern European nation achieved its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 following the “Singing Revolution” between 1988 and 1990. Estonia is considered a high-income economy per the World Bank, and has been referred to as a “Baltic Tiger” due to the country’s rapid growth.

First up is news on the regtech front. Estonian startup Salv announced that it recently secured a $4.3 million (€4 million) seed round extension. The funding was led by New York-based ffVC and featured participation from Germany’s G+D Ventures, as well as existing investors. Salv’s signature offering, Salv Bridge, is a real-time collaborative crime-fighting platform that leverages the power of its network to reduce non-compliance and combat financial crime. The company said that the funding will help accelerate development of its technology, as well as support Salv’s expansion into other markets, starting with Poland.

“The digitalization of the financial industry has resulted in an avalanche of financial crime, and the numbers are only projected to grow,” Salv CEO Taavi Tamkivi said. “Salv Bridge is proven to be effective against money laundering, sanctions, and fraud.”

The new funding takes Salv’s total capital raised to $8.2 million. Headquartered in Estonia’s capital city of Tallinn, Salv was founded in 2018. The company wrapped up 2022 with a pair of new partnership announcements – teaming up with Estonian-based banking platform Tuum and collaborating with greentech innovator Single.Earth.

Speaking of partnerships, Estonia-based identity verification and AML services provider Veriff announced a partnership with digital asset company Baanx. Veriff will provide identity verification services to the firm, enabling Baanx to confirm user identity during the onboarding process. Veriff’s technology can verify more than 11,200 government-issued identification documents from more than 190 countries and in 47 different languages.

“Cryptocurrencies are disrupting the world of finance, and the crypto industry has evolved dramatically over the past few years,” Veriff COO Indrek Heinloo said. “However, transactions between users are generally anonymous and instantaneous, providing more opportunities for fraudsters and criminals looking to evade conventional anti-money laundering controls. And right now, fraud rates for crypto transactions are at an all-time high.” Heinloo added, “it has never been more important for online banking platforms that offer crypto services to be several steps ahead of these bad actors.”

Veriff was founded in 2015 and is based in Tallinn. The company has raised more than $192 million in funding from investors including Tiger Global Management and Alkeon Capital, who led the company’s Series C round in January of 2022. Also this month, Veriff announced the appointment of Javier Ortega as the firm’s new Chief Revenue Officer.

In recent years, Finovate has showcased a handful of Estonian fintechs. Among the Finovate alums that call Estonia their home are: Bankish, which demoed its technology at FinovateEurope 2020; Modularbank, which made its Finovate debut at FinovateEurope 2019; and Crypterium, which demoed its technology at FinovateFall 2018. At FinovateEurope 2023 next month, we will feature our latest Finovate alum from Estonia: call center performance management software provider, Ender Turing. Learn more about our upcoming fintech conference, FinovateEurope, March 14 through 15 in London, at our FinovateEurope hub.

Here is our look at fintech innovation around the world.


Sub-Saharan Africa

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Tech.eu profiled Germany-based connectivity platform, Team Viewer, and its new partnership with global consumer goods company Henkel.
  • Lithuanian regtech firm AMLYZE teamed up with fraud prevention company Ondato.
  • Turkey-based fintech Papara reached 15 million users, ranking the firm among Europe’s largest neobanks.

Middle East and Northern Africa

Central and Southern Asia

Latin America and the Caribbean

Photo by Marlene Leppänen

upSWOT Forges Open Banking Partnership with Mastercard

upSWOT Forges Open Banking Partnership with Mastercard
  • Mastercard and upSWOT announced an open banking partnership this week.
  • The collaboration will enable upSWOT’s small business customers to access actionable insights and more readily secure financing.
  • upSWOT made its Finovate debut in 2020 and returned to the Finovate stage in 2022 for FinovateFall.

A collaboration between Mastercard and North Carolina-based fintech upSWOT will help banks better serve their small business clients by providing them with actionable insights and easier access to capital. Courtesy of Mastercard’s open banking platform and services delivered via its subsidiary Finicity, the partnership will bring open banking capabilities to upSWOT’s platform. This will enable SMEs on upSWOT’s platform to connect owner-permissioned financial data to 200 API-enabled apps, providing services such as accounting, payroll, e-commerce, CRM, and more.

“SMBs have long been accepted as the engines of economic growth and development but at times are underserved,” upSWOT CEO Dmitry Norenko said. “We believe that fintech innovation can dramatically reshape the success of SMBs.”

In a statement, upSWOT and Mastercard said that they will promote the new joint offering to their customers and to U.S. banks. The new features of the combined solution include:

  • Credit Boost: Enables businesses to share data with credit bureaus to potentially increase credit scores
  • Insights: Analyzes multiple data streams to suggest actions businesses can take to improve operations and profitability
  • Cash Flow Forecasts: Provides visibility into expected cash flows using sensitivity analysis and modeling

Bank reconciliation, cash management, business valuation, funding access, and ecommerce performance are also part of the new solution’s feature set.

“We are excited to partner with upSWOT to make it easier for financial institutions to offer their small business customers the ability to benefit from their financial data to make decisions, demonstrate their ability to manage a loan, and run their businesses more efficiently,” Mastercard EVP of U.S. Open Banking Andy Sheehan said.

Founded in 2019 and headquartered in Charlotte, upSWOT made its Finovate debut at our all-digital conference in 2020. The company returned to the Finovate stage last September for FinovateFall. Since then, the company has announced partnerships with Standard Chartered (SC) to launch a pilot project in Singapore and with fellow Finovate alum Cion Digital to bring embedded finance tools to more SMEs.

upSWOT has raised more than $5 million in funding from investors including Common Ocean Ventures.

Photo by Joe Caltiere

Finovate Global Canada: Clik2pay Partners with Inovatec; BMO Offers Installments; RBC Buys HSBC’s Canadian Business

Finovate Global Canada: Clik2pay Partners with Inovatec; BMO Offers Installments; RBC Buys HSBC’s Canadian Business

There are many countries whose fintech innovations are often overlooked. And Canada, America’s legendarily kinder, gentler neighbor to the north, is among them.

This week’s edition of Finovate Global takes a look at recent fintech headlines emanating from the Great White North this week. The news ranges from big new fundings to new product launches to deal-making in Canada’s banking industry.

Clik2pay, a payment service provider based in Toronto, Ontario, has teamed up with lending process automation expert Inovatec. The partnership will enables Inovatec’s clients to use Clik2pay’s direct-from-account payment platform to request payments from customers. The functionality leverages Interac’s e-Transfer money transfer solution to ensure safe and secure fund movement.

“Clik2pay is always looking for ways to make the payments process simpler,” Clik2pay Chief Commercial Officer David Robinson said. “Allowing borrowers to make payment directly from their bank account in real-time through an email or text makes paying incredibly easy for the customer and allows for more efficient collections and payment reconciliation by lenders.”

The collaboration will give lenders the ability to use email to collect payments directly from customer bank accounts – and have those payments reconciled automatically on Inovatec’s platform. The process supports agent-assisted collections, as well, enabling lenders to textc customers payment links and secure real-time notification of successful payments “before the borrower hangs up the phone” the company noted in a statement.

Clik2pay is the first Canadian company to provide real-time, direct-from-account payments for businesses at almost all FIs in the country. Founded in 2019, Clik2pay relaunched its Clik2pay mobile app for small businesses last month. The new app features an enhanced user experience, including improved, simplified onboarding. Mike Bradley is founder and CEO.

Canadian banks have made fintech headlines this week, as well. Bank of Montreal (BMO), for example, announced the launch of its new credit card installment offering. Currently available to BMO’s Canadian retail credit card customers via their online banking platform, the new plan – called PaySmart – enables customers to convert eligible credit card purchases of more than $100 into smaller monthly payments.

Customers will be able to choose between three, six, or 12 equal monthly payments. No interest is charged and BMO will access a monthly fee of up to 0.9%. Because purchases are within the customer’s existing credit limits, no additional credit check or approval is required.

BMO’s latest offering is part of a suite of solutions designed to help its customers better manage cash flow and finances. These solutions include the bank’s Pre-Authorized Payments Manager, Same Day Grace feature, and BMO CashTrack.

In other Canadian banking news, Royal Bank of Canada announced that it has purchased U.K.-based HSBC’s Canadian business for $10 billion (£8.4 billion; C$13.5 billion). The move comes as HSBC seeks to bolster its business in Asia – especially China. The company has more than 130 branches and 780,000 customers as part of HSBC Canada. And while HSBC has also expressed plans to abandon its retail banking operations in the U.S. and France, it is the company’s Canadian division that has turned a profit -whereas both its businesses in the U.S. and France have not.

The acquisition is the biggest by RBC under the tenure of CEO Dave McKay, who has also tried to calm concerns about potential layoffs by noting that RBC is considered one of the best workplaces in the country. McKay also pointed to the fact that RBC has nearly 6,000 open positions and referred to the acquisition as a “talent acquisition opportunity” for RBC. HSBC Canada has $134 billion in assets and 4,200 full-time employees.

“HSBC Canada offers the opportunity to add a complementary business and client base in the market we know best and where we can deliver strong returns and client value given our financial strength and award-winning service,” McKay said in a statement.

Earlier this week we shared news that Toronto-based FinovateFall 2019 alum Buckzy Payments had secured $14.5 million in Series A funding. The company offers real-time, cross border payments services, as well as banking-as-a-service capabilities, via its embedded finance platform. The company has more than 140 bank, neobank, and fintech customers since going live with its platform in 2020. This week’s funding takes Buckzy’s total equity capital to more than $23 million. The round was led by Mistral Venture Partners and Uncorrelated Ventures.

“This round of financing is a validation of Buckzy’s vision to create an intelligent and automated international payment system,” Buckzy CEO Abdul Naushad said. “We’re on a mission to build the plumbing for real-time money movement globally, the same way high-speed internet fundamentally shifted the communications industry.”

Here is our look at fintech innovation around the world.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Brazil’s Nubank announced that it will offer savings accounts and debit cards in Mexico via its digital banking arm, Nu México.
  • Chilean based alternative credit scoring fintech Destácame raised $10 million in funding.
  • Brazilian fund Latitud released its The LatAmTech Report 2022 this week highlighting trends for B2C fintech in Latin America.


  • Finastra launched a new Center of Excellence (COE) at MRANTI Technology Park in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
  • Cambodia’s ABA Bank leveraged technology from Compass Plus Technologies to introduce instant card issuance kiosks.
  • Financial crime compliance company Napier announced its entry to the Japanese market via its financial crime risk management platform, Napier Continuum.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • ThetaRay and Ghanian mobile financial services company Zeepay partnered to help fight financial crime in remittance transactions.
  • TechCrunch profiled South African payments company Revio.
  • Kenyan payment service provider Cellulant launched its expansion to South Africa..

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Hamburg Commercial Bank announced that it has implemented and is now live on the nCino Bank Operating System.
  • ING Germany partnered with Viafintech to launch new cash service offering.
  • Estonia-based payment tracking company Transferlink announced a partnership with open banking platform Nordigen.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • UAE-based expense management platform Qashio secured $10 million in seed funding.
  • Jingle Pay, a financial super app based in the UAE, announced a strategic agreement with Mastercard.
  • Israel-based workplace intelligence platform Shield raised $20 million in Series B funding.

Central and Southern Asia

  • KreditBee, a fintech platform based in India, raised $80 million in Series D funding.
  • Mumbai-based youth banking startup Galgal Money secured $1 million in funding.
  • M bank in Mongolia is the latest customer – and first Mongolian client – of Singapore-based B2B SaaS fintech finbots.ai

Photo by Andre Furtado

Finovate Global VC Edition: Quona Capital Backs Financial Inclusion in Emerging Markets with New Fund

Finovate Global VC Edition: Quona Capital Backs Financial Inclusion in Emerging Markets with New Fund

Good news for fintech startups in developing markets! Quona Capital recently announced that it has closed its latest fintech fund, its third, at $332 million. The venture capital firm, which specializes in emerging markets, noted that the amount raised topped its target of $250 million. The new fund, Fund III, will be focused on companies that are developing technologies that expand access to financial services for consumers and businesses in regions ranging from Latin America and India to Southeast Asia, MENA, and Africa.

“Since our earliest days, Quona has been dedicated to expanding the frontiers of financial inclusion – investing with conviction in markets and technology-enabled models improving access and quality of financial services for the masses,” Quona co-founding managing partner Monica Brand Engel said in a statement. “Our prior fund performance, robust pipeline of inclusive fintechs, and growing LP interest in our offerings are ringing endorsements of our view on the prospects of impact-oriented venture investing in emerging markets.”

With aggregate capital of more than $745 million, Fund II is the firm’s third fund since Quona Capital was launched in 2015. Those contributing to the fund as investors include global asset managers, insurance companies, both investment and commercial banks, endowments, foundations, family offices, and more. And while many of the investors in Fund III have invested in Quona Capital funds previously, the new fund did receive capital from 20 new investors, as well.

According to Quona Capital, the startups in its portfolio have served nearly nine million small and medium-sized businesses and over 30 million retail customers. Quona Capital startups have raised nearly $4 billion in capital and generated more than $800 million in revenues. Among these firms are India-based consumer lending company ZestMoney, Southeast Asia-based fintech marketplace ula, and long-time international remittance firm and long-time Finovate alum Azimo – which was acquired by Papaya Global earlier this year.

Here is our look at fintech innovation around the world.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Indian neobank ZikZuk acquired tax e-filing platform TaxSpanner.
  • National Bank of Pakistan turned to Finastra to enhance its trade finance operations.
  • Lentra, a fintech based in India, secured $60 million in Series B funding for its loans-as-a-service business for banks.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • AstroPay introduced its Mastercard prepaid card in Brazil.
  • Mexico-based B2B payments company Mendel raised $60 million in new funding.
  • Brazil’s Agrolend, which provides credit to the country’s farmers, secured $27 million in Series B funding.


  • Ant Group introduced its Buy Now, Pay later offering in Hong Kong.
  • Vietnam-based Sacombank partnered with Temenos to enhance digital banking.
  • Philippines-based neobank Tonik unveiled its all-digital lending products, Flex Loan and Big Loan.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Nigerian fintech Paga unveiled its Visa-branded card this week.
  • Pan-African paytech Cellulant secured a Payment Systems Operator license from the National Bank of Uganda
  • Samsung South Africa launched its digital wallet, Samsung Wallet.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Polish fintech Ramp locked in $70 million in Series B funding to build payment rails for cryptocurrency investors.
  • Co-investment platform for European startups SeedBlink secured licensing from the Romanian Financial Supervisory Authority (ASF).
  • Genome, an Electronic Money Institution based in Lithuania, partnered with Entrust to simplify digital payments.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • UAE-based Wio Bank went live with Mambu’s cloud-native banking platform.
  • Pyppl, a financial services platform based in the UAE, raised $20 million in Series B funding.
  • Saudi Arabia’s central bank presented its open banking framework.

Photo by Ricky Gálvez

JP Morgan and Mastercard Leverage Open Banking to Launch Pay-by-Bank Tool

JP Morgan and Mastercard Leverage Open Banking to Launch Pay-by-Bank Tool
  • J.P. Morgan Payments and Mastercard partnered to launch Pay-by-Bank, an ACH payment tool that leverages open banking.
  • Billers who offer consumers an option to a pay via ACH can integrate Pay-by-Bank into their existing payments page.
  • Pay-by-Bank is currently in a pilot phase with a small number of U.S. billers, but will be rolled out to more billers in 2023.

Today’s news proves you can indeed teach an old dog new tricks. ACH, a technology that is 50+ years old, is getting a makeover with open banking.

J.P. Morgan Payments and Mastercard have joined forces this week to launch Pay-by-Bank, an ACH payment tool that leverages open banking and consumer-permissioned data to make it easy for users to pay bills directly from their bank accounts.

“We realized years ago that the way people think about money and commerce is changing,” said Mastercard North America Executive Vice President Chiro Aikat. “They want to pay and get paid how they choose, where they choose and when they choose. We’re excited by this new partnership with J.P. Morgan Chase, and our opportunity to empower people with enhanced payment experiences.”

Billers who offer customers an option to pay using ACH can integrate Pay-by-Bank into their existing payments page. Customers who opt to use the new technology will be prompted to find their bank, complete the bank’s account login process, and share their bank account information with JP Morgan Chase.

Pay-by-Bank makes for a better user experience. Consumers will no longer need to type in their routing and account number each time they go to pay a bill. As for the billers, they will not be faced with the liability of storing consumers’ account information.

“Billers and consumers both get greater payment choice,” said Aikat, “but the partnership also propels payments innovation on two fronts — in the ease of the user experience and in the security of data sharing.”

J.P. Morgan Payments Head of Payments and Commerce Solutions Max Neukirchen echoed this sentiment. “The technology behind Pay-by-Bank reduces the likelihood of unauthorized transactions and frees our clients from the need to retain — and the responsibility to securely maintain — consumer banking information,” Neukirchen said.

As an additional benefit to consumers, Pay-by-Bank leverages machine learning to estimate the optimal time to initiate the payment based on the consumer’s historical transaction behavior and risk patterns. This helps reduce the risk of non-sufficient funds for the consumer and helps ensure the merchant receives the payment on time.

Pay-by-Bank is still in a pilot phase with a small number of U.S. billers and merchants, but J.P. Morgan Payments and Mastercard anticipate they will expand the program next year. 

5 Tales from the Crypto: Pillow Raises $18 Million; BlueSnap and BitPay; Coinbase and Google

5 Tales from the Crypto: Pillow Raises $18 Million; BlueSnap and BitPay; Coinbase and Google

Cryptocurrency Investment Platform Pillow Raises $18 Million

In a round co-led by Accel and Quona Capital, crypto investment platform Pillow has secured $18 million in Series A funding. Also participating in the round were Elevation Capital and Jump Capital.

Singapore-based Pillow enables individuals to save and invest in a variety of major cryptocurrencies. The company will use the capital to power expansion of its cryptocurrency savings and investment services into emerging markets in Africa and Southeast Asia. Pillow already operates in Nigeria, Ghana, and Vietnam. This week’s funding adds to the $3 million in seed capital Pillow secured earlier this year.

Founded in 2021, Pillow has more than 75,000 users in more than 60 countries on its app. Among the cryptocurrencies available are: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Solana, Polygon, and Axie Infinity, as well as USD-backed stablecoins, USDC and USDT. Pillow plans to support more than 20 different digital assets over the next few months. The company offers returns of more than 10% on its stablecoins and approximately 6% on Bitcoin and Ethereum. Pillow earns its money by investing user funds in DeFi protocols on blockchain networks.

BlueSnap and BitPay Team Up for Crypto Acceptance and Payout

Payment orchestration platform BlueSnap announced a new partnership this week. The company is teaming up with cryptocurrency payments company BitPay to enable businesses to accept and make payouts in as many as 15 different cryptocurrencies – as well as seven fiat currencies. The currencies available include leading digital assets such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, and Dogecoin. Five stablecoins pegged to the U.S. dollar and one stablecoin pegged to the Euro will also be supported.

Courtesy of the partnership, customers will be able to accept cryptocurrencies and be paid out in fiat currencies including the U.S. dollar, the Euro, the British pound, and the Mexican peso, as well as the Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand dollars.

BlueSnap and BitPay noted in a statement that a growing number of retailers are accepting cryptocurrencies as payment, and that consumers were becoming increasingly “crypto curious.”

“By working with one of the most well-respected crypto companies in the industry, we’ll be able to make the new payment experience as frictionless as possible,” BlueSnap Managing Director for Europe Nihkhita Hyett said. “We look forward to making a real impact in this new space – through developing technologies like blockchain and cryptocurrency – as we foster greater innovation in payments, and further our growth across Europe.”

WSJ: NYDIG Lays Off a Third of its Workforce

According to reporting in the Wall Street Journal, institutional cryptocurrency custody firm NYDIG has laid off more than 100 of its workers, an amount believed to be approximately a third of the New York-based crypto firm’s total workforce. The layoffs took place over a number of weeks per the Journal’s sources, and come almost a year after NYDIG raised $1 billion in funding at a valuation of more than $7 billion. NYDIG mentioned using the capital to “further expand its world-class team across the globe” – though this was noted toward the end of the company’s funding announcement. Using the capital to “develop NYDIG’s institutional-grade Bitcoin platform” was noted in paragraph two.

More recently, NYDIG was in the headlines for the C-suite shuffle in October that had CEO Robert Gutmann and President Yan Zhao stepping down and returning to NYDIG’s parent company Stone Ridge Holdings. Gutmann and Zhao co-founded Stone Ridge, along with Ross Stevens, in 2012.

There has been no comment on the lay off report from NYDIG at this time.

Mastercard Teams Up with Blockchain Platform Paxos

Our last edition of 5 Tales highlighted Mastercard’s new Crypto Secure solution that helps card issuers assess the risk profile of crypto exchanges and other providers.

This week we share more news of Mastercard and its business in the crypto space. The company has announced a partnership with blockchain infrastructure platform Paxos that will enable financial institutions to offer secure cryptocurrency trading capabilities to their customers. Mastercard’s Crypto Source program will give its financial institution partners access to a suite of services that will enable them to buy, hold, and sell select crypto assets.

The suite of services provides technology and partnership support to enable FIs to buy, sell, and hold select digital assets; security management, including AML, transaction monitoring, and KYB; crypto spend and cash out capabilities; and crypto program management, including go-to-market optimization.

“What we are announcing today is a connected approach to services that will help bring the next billion users safely and securely into the crypto ecosystem,” Mastercard President, Cyber & Intelligence, Ajay Bhalla said.

Mastercard demoed its technology at FinovateFall 2017. More recently, the company demoed in partnership with Strands at FinovateSpring 2019.

Coinbase Expands in Europe – And Adds a Friend in Google

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has had more than its fair share of less than pleasant news over the past few days. Today we read headlines about the company experiencing the largest outflow of Bitcoin since June. This follows reports of hundreds of Coinbase users in the Republic of Georgia who allegedly profited from a pricing glitch – and what Coinbase may have to do to get the money back.

Meanwhile, the San Francisco-based company continues to grow, expanding its operations in Australia earlier this month with a pair of new features. PayID will enable Australians to top up their Coinbase accounts directly with Australian dollars. Retail Advanced Trading will give local clients access to low volume-based pricing and trading tools with one unified balance.

And earlier this week, Coinbase introduced the man who will lead the company’s expansion in Europe: former Solarisbank Chief Operating Officer Daniel Seifert. The appointment comes as Coinbase gains momentum in the region, earning regulatory approval to offer its services to customers in Italy in July and the Netherlands in September. Coinbase VP of International and Business Development Nana Murusegan has called international expansion an “existential priority.”

But the biggest news of the week for the company is the announcement that Google has partnered with Coinbase to allow select customers pay for cloud services via cryptocurrencies starting early next year. The capability will be made possible thanks to an integration with Coinbase Commerce, which supports 10 cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, and Litecoin. Coinbase will earn a fraction of each transaction processed, according to the company’s VP of Business Development Jim Migdal.

Coinbase made its Finovate debut in 2014. More than 100 million individuals and companies use Coinbase’s technology to buy, sell, and hold cryptocurrencies.

Photo by Pixabay