Kuwait Issues Guidelines for Digital Banks; QR Codes Versus Cash in Argentina

Kuwait Issues Guidelines for Digital Banks; QR Codes Versus Cash in Argentina

According to a report from Medici, nearly 168 million people in the MENA region (Middle East and Northern Africa) do not have a bank account. In this environment, opportunities for both traditional financial institutions and new entrants are numerous. In some instances, financial services companies have launched their own digital banking portals in order to reach out beyond their current customer bases. In other cases, these firms have teamed up with challenger banks and innovative fintechs to help bridge the gap between the banked and the unbanked.

One of the challenges to reaching more potential customers in the MENA region has been regulatory, which makes this week’s news from the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) all the more notable. The CBK issued a set of guidelines for digital banks as part of a campaign to improve financial stability, encourage innovation, and help the country respond to its economic needs.

In drawing up its guidelines, the CBK relied on a study of the regulatory approaches taken by 25 central banks and 40 digital bank business models. The CBK noted that there were three main models for digital banking: as a unit within a traditional bank, a partnership between a bank and a digitally-based institution in which the bank manages core banking operations while the partnering institution manages customer relations and other operations, and as a standalone digital bank.

“The guidelines come in five parts covering the definition of digital banks, their legal framework, and licensed activities, as well as phases and procedures for establishment of digital banks,” CBK Governor Dr. Mohammad Y. Al-Hashel said. The new guidelines pave the way for interested parties to apply from now until June 30th. Initial approvals, according to the CBK governor, will be made by the end of the year.

For more on the digital banking landscape in the Middle East, with a particular focus on neobanks, check out this overview from Medici.


Speaking of central banks, the head of Argentina’s central bank, Miguel Ángel Pesce, recently gave an interview with the Buenos Aires Times. The main focus of the conversation was a preliminary agreement with the International Monetary Fund to deal with the country’s $44.5 billion debt to the organization. The agreement, which includes a pledge to reduce the country’s fiscal deficit as well as other measures, comes after a two-year negotiation process and still requires the approval of both Argentina’s congress as well as the IMF board of directors.

Yet it was Pesce’s separate conversation with Buenos Aires reporter Jorge Fontevecchia – published this week – that may be of greater interest to followers of international fintech. In that interview, Pesce explained some of the more controversial policies of Argentina’s central bank toward fintechs, including deposit insurance requirements for payment service companies. Pesce defended the practice as a way of “making more independent the assets of companies lending out the assets deposited in them” and of assuring that companies that serve as financial intermediaries are regulated as such. Pesce acknowledged that while this policy has engendered “some resentment in the short term,” it is necessary to ensure a “solid system” that banking services customers can rely upon.

In terms of innovation, Pesce spoke positively about the launch and adoption of interoperable QR codes, which were made mandatory in Argentina for all electronic invoices starting in late December 2020. He noted that interoperable QR codes could do to physical cash what electronic checks have done to paper checks (“a very important step in this direction”). And while he offered no timetable on the transition, “it’s going to end up happening,” Pesce insisted.

Read the full interview at Buenos Aires Times


FinovateEurope 2022 is right around the corner. If you are an innovative fintech company with new technology to show, then there’s no better time than now and no better forum than FinovateEurope. To learn more about how to demo your latest innovation at FinovateEurope 2022 in London, March 22-23, visit our FinovateEurope hub today!


Here is our look at fintech innovation around the world.

Latin America and the Caribbean

Asia-Pacific

Sub-Saharan Africa

Central and Eastern Europe

Middle East and Northern Africa

Central and Southern Asia


Photo by Shahbaz Hussain Shah from Pexels

Women in Fintech: Creating Shared and Seamless Experiences with Mithu Bhargava of NCR

Women in Fintech: Creating Shared and Seamless Experiences with Mithu Bhargava of NCR

How are fintechs helping financial institutions make successful digital transformations? What is required in order for financial institutions to maximize the opportunities available from increasingly ubiquitous enabling technologies to better engage and serve their customers and members? What lessons can we draw from those banks, credit unions, and other financial services providers that have prioritized digital transformation over the past several months?

We checked in with Mithu Bhargava, Senior Vice President and General Manager for NCR’s Global Professional Services Organization to talk about the current pace of digitization in financial services, and what financial institutions are doing to meet their customers’ growing expectations for shared, seamless experiences.


What are the most significant changes NCR has seen in the banking landscape over the past year?  

Mithu Bhargava: The pandemic served as an impetus for banks to digitally transform. While the industry has been talking about digital-first banking for years, Covid-19 firmly accelerated this transformation. At NCR, we were prepared to manage the shift; we have been evolving toward a digital-first and self-directed banking approach for years. As a result, we were able to help banks and credit unions continue to serve their customers and keep operations running even while social distancing. Moving forward, we believe digital-first banking will be the route institutions must take to survive.

Over the past year, we’ve also noticed a growing customer demand for cryptocurrency, which is why NCR recently announced that we’ve entered into a definitive agreement to acquire LibertyX, a leading cryptocurrency software provider. We plan to offer the LibertyX capabilities as part of our solutions for banks, retailers and restaurants across both physical and digital touchpoints. This will ultimately provide a complete digital currency solution for our customers.

It’s time for financial institutions to leverage flexible, modern digital technologies to navigate changing business needs and demands. At NCR, we firmly believe that digital-first banking doesn’t just mean adopting new digital banking tools, a common misconception. Rather, digital-first banking is a shift in mindset; it requires re-imagining an institution’s holistic digital strategy to evolve alongside customer expectations, digitizing all aspects of the financial journey and connecting digital and physical experiences. Financial institutions that focus on creating these shared, seamless experiences are able to differentiate their brand and expand existing customer relationships while attracting new ones. 

Obviously digital experienced a significant uptick because of the pandemic – is that here to stay? What role will branches play in the future?  

Bhargava: Yes, we believe that this trend in digital channels will not be reversed; consumers that traditionally shied away from digital (for example, older generations) have now seen how easy and convenient it is. While the branch will always remain a critical touchpoint, the pandemic has forced the traditional branch model to evolve. Branches are elevating in terms of functionality and services offered. Expect to see more banks and credit unions approach the branch from an advisory perspective, serving as a place for customers and members to go for personal financial advice and complex services—not routine transactions. 

We also anticipate the rise of digital bank branches that leverage self-directed technologies like ITMs and ATMs. Such technologies provide convenience and speed to customers while creating efficiencies for the institutions, enabling them to cost effectively extend service hours. More banks and credit unions are expanding the ITM functionality offered, incorporating more video teller capabilities to maintain the human connection. There will be a shift in how institutions manage these machines, as well; more will transfer the burden of machine maintenance and updates to a trusted partner via the cloud. Such a hosting option makes the self-directed banking channel simpler by offering a better, digital-first customer experience while reducing the total cost and onus of ownership. Branches are evolving to build profitable relationships and long-term loyalty.  

What trends should bankers watch out for here in the second half of the year?  

Bhargava: Customers expect a fast and frictionless experience at every touchpoint, and they’ve proven they’re not afraid to walk away when those expectations aren’t met. Looking forward, there will be a continued (and accelerated) convergence of digital and physical channels. What have traditionally been channel-specific experiences are being made ubiquitous across the bank through software that can connect those experiences.

Self-directed banking will also continue to take off. This approach puts the customer in the driver’s seat, allowing them to decide how they would like to engage with their bank or credit union across all channels and touchpoints. The need for a customer to ever have to work in silos is eliminated, creating a seamless, connected experience. Self-directed banking empowers the customer with flexibility and choice and those banks who embrace the shift will be well positioned for success heading into 2022 and beyond.  

Everyone talks about digital transformation, but many still struggle to get it right. What are some key tips and strategies to make it work?  

Bhargava: I have three thoughts on this. First, too often, we see bankers jump on emerging technology trends versus really evaluating their current gaps and needs. The first key to digital transformation is to focus on your bank’s overall approach; don’t just pick a technology but pick a specific problem area to focus on. Those that leverage rationalization to determine which processes are ready to be digitized right now and which need to be reimagined entirely before digitizing will be best positioned to navigate digital transformation. Digitizing a flawed process typically just makes a cumbersome process faster.

Second, once your bank has the right mindset for digital transformation, it’s time to focus on the people. Engaging the right leadership team with the relevant skillsets will be a huge asset. Digital transformation should be something that’s embraced organization-wide, not just at the leadership level. Make sure to secure buy-in from stakeholders across the institution. In addition to leveraging appropriate people from within the organization, most banks and credit unions find significant value in partnering with technology providers where appropriate to extend reach and come to market better and faster.

Setting goals and clearly defining a realistic digital transformation roadmap from the onset will allow the institution to evaluate progress. Technology should be used to help effectively monitor and measure performance against goals to help keep everyone on track. User feedback should also be evaluated throughout when applicable, not just at the very end. Finally, it’s important to remember to keep it simple. Complexity on the institution’s end can result in friction for customers.

The competitive landscape continues to intensify and grow more complicated – how can community and regional FIs protect their market share?  

Bhargava: The embrace of digital-first banking quickly and completely will position banks and credit unions for success. Why? Digital-first banking creates new and exciting opportunities for traditional institutions who now find themselves up against a slew of emerging fintech companies adept at swiftly closing the widening gaps between yesterday’s and tomorrow’s consumer banking needs. And the world has changed. We will never be the same as we were before March 2020, at least when it comes to how consumers interact and connect with their service providers.

Personalization will also be critical moving forward. Those that continue to leverage marketing campaigns to the masses will quickly turn off customers. Instead, outreach should be intentional and tailored. Institutions have a wealth of data available to them, and it’s time to use it for insights to guide customers in making the smartest financial decisions.

Digital-first banking is all about merging digital and physical experiences to meet customers’ timely financial needs and making it simple to serve the customer across all channels and touchpoints—without breaking the back office. Those that can do this while leveraging their data to personalize engagements will be well equipped to protect their market share and relevance.


Photo by Vraj Shah from Pexels

NCR Acquires Terafina to Expand Digital Banking Platform

NCR Acquires Terafina to Expand Digital Banking Platform

Two weeks after announcing its purchase of Cardtronics, fintech hardware giant NCR is acquiring Terafina, a company known for its digital account opening and onboarding tools.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

NCR will tap Terafina’s expertise to expand NCR’s sales and marketing capabilities in its Digital First Banking Platform. The offering, which can be tailored to fit institutions ranging in size from large banks to community banks and credit unions, provides an API-led approach to digital banking that can be hosted or deployed on-premise to help banks lower costs and speed up their innovation cycle.

Last year increased the urgency for financial services companies of all kinds to improve their digital customer experiences. Founded in 2014, Terafina suits this need. The company offers a software-as-a-service solution that offers digital onboarding tools and helps banks and credit unions synchronize their branch, call center, and digital operations to provide a consistent user experience across channels.

At FinovateSpring 2019, Terafina Founder and CEO Meheriar Hasan showcased the company’s digital sales platform that helps banks address the needs of their small business clients.

“Digital Banking is a key aspect of the NCR-as-a-Service strategy we laid out at Investor Day in December,” said NCR CEO Michael D. Hayford. “Terafina has been a partner of ours and is already up and running, integrated with our Digital Banking platform. We know this adds value for our clients by making digital account sales, marketing and onboarding easier, so they can provide a superior experience for customers.”

Today’s deal marks NCR’s 29th acquisition since it was founded in 1884. NCR’s purchase of Terafina fits with the company’s strategy to purchase early stage companies to boost its product capabilities and enhance its leadership.

NCR is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, and counts 36,000 employees across the globe. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker NCR and has a market capitalization of $4.81 billion.



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NCR Acquires Cardtronics in $2.5 Billion Deal

NCR Acquires Cardtronics in $2.5 Billion Deal

Cardtronics found itself at the center of a bidding war this past month, with NCR Corporation submitting the winning bid this week.

This comes after investment firms Apollo Global Management and Hudson Executive Capital initially agreed to buy the ATM operator last month. NCR agreed to a $2.5 billion deal, agreeing to purchase Cardtronics for $39 a share. This beat the bid from Apollo and Hudson, which totaled $2.3 billion at $35 per share. NCR was required to pay a termination fee of $32.6 million.

Cardronics CEO Edward H. West said that the deal is “a testament to the strength and value of Cardtronics, our talented team and customer base, and the complementary nature of our two businesses.”

NCR anticipates that Cardtronics’ Allpoint ATM network will complement its own payments platform and that combined they will connect retail and banking customers.

“This transaction accelerates the NCR-as-a-Service strategy we laid out at Investor Day in December, further shifts NCR’s revenue mix to software, services and recurring revenue, and adds value for our customers,” said NCR President and CEO Michael D. Hayford. “We have had a long-standing relationship with Cardtronics and its outstanding team… Simply put, we are better together.”

The deal, which has been approved by both companies’ Boards of Directors but is still subject to regulatory approvals and closing conditions, is expected to close in mid-2021. Once the deal is finalized, Cardtronics will become a privately held company.


Photo by Eduardo Soares on Unsplash

Adapting to Make Payments from 6 Feet Away

Adapting to Make Payments from 6 Feet Away

NCR has been in the finance industry since 1884, so it’s seen a lot of changes in how consumers make payments and interact with their bank.

Adam Crighton

A lot of those changes have taken place in the past six months as the coronavirus has driven massive changes in consumer habits.

To get a sense of what the industry looks like from a company that makes not only software services but also self-service kiosks, point-of-sale terminals, ATMs, barcode scanners, and more, we consulted Adam Crighton, Senior Vice President & General Manager at NCR Digital-First Self-Service Banking.

What changes in demand for contactless banking have you seen since the coronavirus hit?

Adam Crighton: Obviously at a time when bankers and tellers are unable to service customers face-to-face, digital experiences really have become a lifeline for many people. People are using digital banking to conduct transactions from home, they are connecting with tellers and branch staff through live digital chat sessions, and self-service capabilities like Interactive Teller Machines (ITMs).

With that heightened need for customers and businesses to connect remotely, some financial institutions may be feeling they have fallen behind in terms of digital delivery and digital transformation. The pandemic has not created this level of demand, but it is fair to say it has certainly accelerated it. We do see that many customers that prior to banking were not using digital banking are now much more inclined to try a digital app or self-service kiosk.

How has NCR adapted (or accelerated the scale of) its products and services to suit these new needs?

Crighton: From an NCR perspective our mission is to help our customers keep commerce running whether it’s banking, retail, or restaurants and to really stay connected with their customer base. Many of our customers that have invested in our digital banking solutions and ITMs over the last several years have told us that it has really been their go-to in terms of leveraging these technology platforms to compensate for things like branch closures, and generally more limited access to branches based on restrictions around the world.

Keeping their staff and customers safe is obviously something very top-of-mind at the moment while still trying to provide a high level of service that is convenient, intuitive, easy-to-use, and accessible on an extended basis. The digital and self-service channel has always been safe and trusted channel from a customer and client perspective, and I think that the situation and circumstances around the pandemic have actually strengthened and reinforced the strategic value of how it can help our customers support their customers.

Additionally, we have introduced innovative new offerings. Take, for example, our Anti-Microbial Coating Service for self-checkout machines, ATMs, point-of-sale machines including restaurant kiosks – which significantly limits the ability for viruses to live on surfaces, reducing the possibility of transmission through touch.

What types of systems did you have in place before the virus hit that helped you remain agile to pivot or accelerate operations to serve the increased demand for contactless banking?

Crighton: NCR is uniquely positioned to help our customers continue to deliver great service to their customers in the new environment that we are all operating in. We are migrating at different paces in different countries and geographies out of the pandemic slowly but surely and encouragingly, and we need to be thoughtful about which consumer behavior expectations will remain with us going forward and how can we provide value add and assist our customers in how they evolve the branch ecosystem going forward.

Self-service historically has been very much focused on the consumers for obvious reasons, and the pandemic from a work environment point of view has considerations and implications for all of us. So one aspect of the environment that the pandemic has created is the opportunity to collaborate with our customers and consider how the branch ecosystem evolves from the perspective of the branch staff and what we can do from a self-service technology and software point of view. We can evolve our operations in a way that adds value and helps staff to be more efficient going forward and realign their focus potentially, but most importantly, support a very safe working environment.

Specifically looking at in-person payments, what do you think the landscape will look like a couple of years from now after the dust has settled with the coronavirus?

Crighton: NCR is helping retailers minimize the amount of time spent touching things in the store via touchless tech that helps customers go through self-checkout without touching anything, by scanning and paying on their mobile device in the store, and physical distancing tech, which helps store clerks clear transactions on mobile device while staying six feet apart from the customer.

NCR is helping restaurant customers shift to a digital-first mindset and stay operational enabling the restaurant for takeout, with contactless solutions, curbside ordering and pick-up, mobile payments — from the way food is served to how we pay the check.

How about in-person banking needs such as ATMs and teller services? What will these services look like?

Crighton: From our perspective we feel strongly that banks, financial institutions and credit unions should really shift their focus to a digital-first mindset. Not a digital-only mindset, but certainly a digital-first mindset.

Obviously at a time when bankers and tellers are unable to service customers face-to-face, digital experiences really have become a lifeline for many people. People are using digital banking to conduct transactions from home, they are connecting with tellers and branch staff through live digital chat sessions, and self-service capabilities like ITMs. Certainly we believe many of these behaviors will continue into the future.


Photo by Morning Brew on Unsplash

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Currencycloud’s Currencycloud Spark Powers Multi-Currency Accounts.
  • The Tightly-Knit Mortgagetech Sector Gets Even Tighter as Ellie Mae Acquires Capsilon.

Around the web

  • Tradeshift teams with Genpact to help clients enhance accounts payable and procurement processes.
  • OurCrowd to join the Millennium Alternative Investment Networkto increase VC opportunities in the U.S.
  • Finextra talks to Nutmeg about expanding the human side of its roboadvisory.
  • Dwolla unveils The Integration Partner Program for more seamless technical integrations between Dwolla, its partners, and their clients.
  • Finantix appoints Christine Ciriani as Chief Commercial Officer.
  • NCR teams with Brightwell to supply ATMs and managed services for Brightwell’s largest cruise line clients.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Blend Integrates with Mortgage Credit Specialist Avantus.

Around the web

  • Recognise Financial Services to deploy nCino’s Bank Operating System.
  • NCR announces plans to acquire Midwest POS Solutions.
  • Courtesy of a new partnership with Personetics, Metro Bank launches its Business Insights solution for business customers.
  • Revolut teams up with Bottomline, enabling real-time payment services to its retail and business customers in the U.K.
  • As part of a new initiative, open banking specialist NDGIT to bring its PSD2 Compliance APIs to Switzerland.
  • 3E Software’s Teslar Software adds Pendleton Community Bank to list of clients.
  • Overbond, FI.SPAN, and Finn.AI among 12 Canadian fintech startups chosen for U.K. trade mission.
  • CardFlight’s SwipeSimple terminal available on PAX A80.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

New Partnership Brings NCR’s D3 Digital Banking to NYMBUS

New Partnership Brings NCR’s D3 Digital Banking to NYMBUS

NYMBUS, makers of the SmartCore private cloud-based core processing platform, announced today that it has licensed the D3 Digital Banking platform from fellow Finovate alum NCR. The license will enable the two companies to help financial institutions rapidly deploy branded digital products and solutions for their business and consumer customers.

“Combining NCR’s D3 digital banking platform with NYMBUS’s core banking platform allows us to better serve progressive financial institutions, and corporations with well-known brands seeking to address the needs of digital-savvy customers in high-growth market segments,” NYMBUS President David Mitchell said.

NCR acquired D3 Banking – also a Finovate alum – over the summer for an undisclosed sum. At the time, company president and CEO Michael D. Hayford said the purchase would help NCR grow its digital banking offerings into new markets, especially the enterprise market as a solution provider for big FIs. “D3 has a well-earned reputation for innovation and product excellence,” Hayford said in July. “(The company) delivers one of the most advanced digital platforms for large banks,”

“Financial institutions are introducing digital bank brands to meet the needs of Gen Z and Millennials, address new market segments, and drive deposit growth,” NCR D3 Digital Banking General Manager and former D3 Banking CEO Mark Vipond explained. “Combining our platforms allows financial institutions to rapidly go to market with digital banking offerings, quickly accelerate growth, and meet the needs of their customers.”

D3 Banking demonstrated its technology at FinovateFall 2015. Headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, the company raised more than $33 million in equity funding prior to being purchased. More than three million users have deployed D3 Banking’s technology since the company’s inception in 1997 – including Zions Bancorporation, which announced a partnership with D3 in April.

Based in Duluth, Georgia and founded in 1884, NCR demonstrated its VR Collaboration for ATMs technology at FinovateSpring 2017. The demo used a fully immersive virtual reality experience to show what an ATM looks like from the inside. In addition to its purchase of D3 Banking, NCR has spent 2019 teaming up with fellow Finovate alum Bluefin and Powertranz to support POS card processing for quick service restaurants in the Caribbean. The company alsopartnered iwith Santander U.K. to enhance customer service at the 600-branch bank. The company began the year launching its EMV-integrated Equinox Luxe devices for NCR Connected Payments, providing a secure payment path for retailers.

Fresh of its most recent Finovate appearance last month at FinovateFall where it demonstrated its SmartLaunch financial services platform, NYMBUS was founded in 2015 and is headquartered in Miami Beach, Florida. The company has forged a host of partnerships this year, teaming up with Centier Bank in September, Pacific National Bank in May, and both Moxy Bank and Inspire Federal Credit Union in the spring. With $33.4 million in funding, NYMBUS includes Home Credit Group and Vensure Enterprises among its investors.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Expensify Combines Spending Controls and Expense Tracking with New Corporate Card.
  • New Partnership Brings NCR’s D3 Digital Banking to NYMBUS.

Around the web

  • NYMBUS licenses NCR’s D3 Digital Banking platform as part of strategic partnership.
  • Kantox partners with Citi’s Commercial Banks to provide the bank’s customers in the U.S. with enhanced FX payments connectivity.
  • Featurespace collaborates with Latin American credit bureau Círculo de Crédito to help fight application fraud in Mexico.
  • Black Star News interviews CollegeBacker’s James Ryan on the “national emergency” of student debt.
  • Financial education technology innovator EVERFI acquires U.K.-based EdComs.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

NCR Acquires D3 Banking Technology

NCR Acquires D3 Banking Technology

As seems to be the trend this year, D3 Banking Technology has found itself a buyer–and it’s a big one. The digital banking services company announced this week it has been acquired by ATM giant NCR for an undisclosed amount.

Georgia-based NCR, which owns 27% of the global ATM market, anticipates that adding D3’s digital banking expertise will help it move its own digital banking services into new markets. Most notably, NCR plans to expand from cloud-based tools for community financial institutions into on-premise solutions for large banks.

“D3 has a well-earned reputation for innovation and product excellence and delivers one of the most advanced digital platforms for large banks,” said Michael D. Hayford, president and CEO of NCR. “NCR’s Digital First Banking solutions help financial institutions connect with consumers whenever, wherever, and this acquisition helps NCR provide banks of all sizes with an exceptional digital experience.”

D3 CEO Mark Vipond called NCR “a great fit” for D3 and said that the timing of the deal is right. “This transaction enables us to capitalize on new market opportunities and bring top-tier capabilities to our mutual and future clients,” he added.

For NCR, the purchase comes at an interesting time. The $3.7 billion company put itself up for sale in May of this year. And, according to the New York post, two firms have bid on NCR but have recently left the negotiating table. A deal has yet to be finalized.

Since it was founded in 1997, D3 Banking has raised $35 million. The Nebraska-based company debuted its small business banking capabilities at FinovateFall 2015.

NCR, which is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “NCR,” has roots dating back to 1884, when the company was founded as the National Cash Register Company. NCR most recently demoed its VR collaboration for ATMs at FinovateSpring 2017.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Ninth Wave Lands New Investment.

Around the web

  • Lendio moves headquarters from South Jordan to Lehi, Utah.
  • Revolut launches charitable giving feature.
  • Backbase is named a leader in the Forrester Wave for Digital Banking Engagement Platforms for the third year in a row.
  • InComm becomes exclusive distributor of Amex prepaid cards in Canada.
  • Tradeshift launches Tradeshift Go 2.0, a payments product offering that increases visibility into employee spending.
  • Gusto partners with Accelo to sync time-off requests from Gusto to Accelo’s real-time scheduling and resource management module.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

PayPal in Argentina; Temenos Backs African Challenger Bank

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.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • PayPal invests $750 million in Argentina-based e-commerce company MercadoLibre.
  • First Data to acquire Brazilian electronic funds transfer (EFT) solution provider Software Express.
  • NCR, Bluefin, and Powertranz team up to support POS card processing for Caribbean quick serve restaurants.
  • BlueRush deploys its Individeo platform with a large Colombian bank courtesy of a partnership with Bee Concept.
  • The Wall Street Journal looks at how global FIs are gaining interest in the Latin American alternative lending market.

Asia-Pacific

  • Experian launches Singapore-based incubator, Experian X Labs.
  • South Korean crypto company Kakao raises $90 million via private coin offering.
  • Thai Stock Exchange to launch a digital asset exchange next year.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Front office and core banking technology from Temenos to drive digital revamp for African challenger bank, Vista Bank.
  • Financial Software and Systems takes 46% stake in South Africa’s Ecentric Payment Systems.
  • South Africa’s second largest retail bank, Capitec, extends its partnership with ACI Worldwide.
  • ThreatMetrix teams up with Blue Turtle Technologies to help market its fraud prevention solution to customers in Africa.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Tinkoff Bank reports 2018 highlights including launch of new mortgage app, a joint P2P money transfer offering with Sberbank, and more than 2.7 million new active credit customers.
  • iSignthis Inks Banking and Payments Deal with Ibanera.
  • Bulgaria-based Software Group scores €18 million loan from Europe Investment Bank.
  • EU Startups features lending platform Inlock its look at 10 Hungarian startups to look out for in 2019.
  • Bulgaria’s Municipal Bank to deploy new core and payments solutions from Oracle.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) launches $10 million fund for fintech startups in the MENA region.
  • Commercial Bank of Qatar joins R3.
  • Credit scoring solution provider Creditinfo opens regional hub in Muscat following new strategic partnership with the Central Bank of Oman.

Central and South Asia

  • ArthaYantra wins Fintech of the Year (India) at The Asset Triple A Digital Awards.
  • Africa’s Naspers plans to spend $1 billion on investments in Indian fintechs.
  • Standard Chartered’s SC Ventures division to launch digital platform for Indian SMEs.

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