MENA and Open Banking: A Conversation with Mohammed Aziz of Dapi

This week for Finovate Global, we caught up with Mohammed Aziz, co-founder and CEO of Dapi, a fintech startup that offers a suite of open banking APIs to help connect customer bank accounts, initiate payments, and access data in real-time. Founded in 2019, the company currently operate in six countries in the Middle East and Africa, and is headquartered in both San Francisco, California, and the UAE.

We talked about the opportunity for open banking to fuel innovation in financial services in emerging economies, as well as the overall environment for fintech innovation in the MENA region. We also discussed the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on pre-existing trends such as digitization.

Finovate: Dapi is the third company you’ve founded, but your first fintech. What made you want to focus on the opportunities in this industry? What do you bring to fintech from your experience in other areas?

Mohammed Aziz: Dapi was the result of a problem that I personally faced when trying to build “Spendy” a hybrid between a peer to peer payment application and a personal financial management app. We were unable to build out Spendy for most emerging markets due to the lack of bank connectivity which got us super keen to build out the underlying infrastructure that would power the future of fintech in these markets.

Finovate: Tell us about Dapi. What problem does your company solve and who are your primary customers?

Aziz: Dapi’s mission is to provide the building blocks for a thriving fintech ecosystem in emerging markets around the world. Our API serves as the bridge between financial applications and banks, empowering developers to create digital wallets, budget trackers, investment applications and more. Our clients are developers working on fintech applications, businesses hoping to include financial services in their mobile and web offerings, and anyone that wants to include bank functionality within their digital offerings.

Finovate: Your business strategy relies on an embrace of open banking in the MENA region. How strong is the movement toward open banking there?

Aziz: The MENA region is a very exciting space to be operating in right now. Fintech is only beginning to develop here and the market is pretty much untapped, so we are hoping to serve as an influence towards the region embracing open banking and all the opportunities that come with that. I would also like to point out that we are able to activate and build connectivity regardless of open banking being present or not. We like to take the approach that companies like Plaid in the US or Truelayer in the UK did, whereby they were connected to banks despite frameworks and regulation being in place.

Finovate: Aside from open banking, what are some of the other exciting trends in the fintech industry in the Middle East/Abu Dhabi right now?

Aziz: There’s a general trend of growing interest for the kinds of applications that financial technology empowers, from digital wallets and peer to peer applications to investment platforms and digital banks. The market is new and rapidly evolving. 

Finovate: We talk about the Middle East and North Africa as a region. But there is a great deal of variation among countries in MENA. How does this impact your ability to market your technology in the area?

Aziz: Beyond market considerations, the regulation surrounding the use of APIs in financial applications varies greatly from country to country. This is a new and mostly unregulated space, but we have had to consider completely separate approaches to integrating our services in the UAE as opposed to KSA, for example. Culture is also another important factor, as it varies between countries and impacts the products that you would want to launch along with the go-to-market approach. 

Finovate: How has COVID-19 impacted the fintech industry in the region? Early in the crisis, we heard news from countries like Iran, but not as much since. How are businesses, especially fintech businesses, faring?

Aziz: The COVID-19 pandemic and its push towards social distancing and remote work  has actually increased interest in digitization of financial services. For example, there have been a number of announcements within the UAE that the country will be moving towards enabling more online payments and other financial services without the need to physically go to a bank.

Finovate: You participated in the Y Combinator program. What was that experience like? What advice do you have for startups with the opportunity to pursue a similar path with a top-notch accelerator?

Aziz: Y Combinator has been a phenomenal experience for us. It really put us out there on the map and helped expand our network in silicon valley. From our experience, investors and VCs in the US are not usually convinced about investing in early stage MENA startups, but YC really helps establish that credibility.  

Finovate: Tell us about your experience of setting up your business in Abu Dhabi.

Aziz: Abu Dhabi is an exciting place to work, since it is a rapidly growing and developing market, as mentioned above. Furthermore, we have received a lot of support from our involvement in ADGM and Hub71, which provided resources for us to establish and grow our operations in these beginning stages. 

Finovate: What can we expect from Dapi over the balance of 2020 and beyond?

Aziz: We are very excited to continue growing and expanding into a variety of developing markets, beyond the UAE. At the same time, we have a number of exciting partnerships in our sights for the UAE, which we hope will bring our vision of a strong fintech ecosystem in the MENA region closer to reality.


Here is our look at fintech around the world.

Asia-Pacific

  • Singapore-based MatchMove launches cross-border remittance platform for businesses.
  • Clik, a payment aggregator and merchant acquirer based in Cambodia, raises $3.7 million in seed funding.
  • Leading Asian financial services platform GoBear teams up with UnionBank to launch lending-as-a-service solution in the Philippines; announces new Chief Financial Officer.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Fiserv inks partnership with Absa Regional Operations (ARO) to enhance credit card management and processing in nine African countries.
  • Ecobank Group unveils the finalists for its fintech challenge, now in its third year. Ten African startups from seven different countries made the cut out of an applicant pool of more than 600.
  • Salaam Gateway looks at the development of Islamic fintech in Kenya.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Onfido to streamline digital identity verification for Poland’s Alior Bank.
  • Russia’s Tinkoff Bank launches new charitable program, Cashback to Give Back.
  • Austrian regtech kompany lands $7.14 million in funding.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Salt Edge partners with Jordan Ahli Bank Cyprus, making it one of the first banking groups in Cyprus to achieve PSD2 compliance.
  • Israeli fintech Approve.com raises $5 million in seed funding for its technology that automates the procurement process.
  • Infosys Finacle to deploy its Liquidity Management platform with National Bank of Bahrain.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Uzbekistan’s People’s Bank partners with Finastra to automate its risk management business.
  • TerraPay collaborates with Bank Alfalah to enable instant money transfers to Pakistan.
  • Indian B2B fintech Signzy announces plans to hire “close to 70” employees over the next six moths in response to increased demand.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Feedzai expands partnership with PayU, enabling the company to enhance its fraud prevention capabilities in Latin America and the EMEA region.
  • TechCrunch profiles Mozper, a digital banking service based in Latin America that caters to parents and Gen Z kids.
  • MercadoLibre announces plans to launch branded credit cards in Brazil and Chile “in the near future.”

Three Fintechs Driving Financial Inclusion in Nigeria

A report earlier this year from PwC highlighted the “changing competitive landscape” for fintech and banking in Nigeria. For those looking to learn more about both the growing impact of technology in financial services in one of the major countries in Africa, as well as the challenge created by COVID-19, PwC’s review provides an comprehensive overview.

The report also concludes with nine recommendations the analysts believe would encourage continued growth in Nigeria’s fintech ecosystem. These recommendations range from making it easier to invest in fintech companies to encouraging partnerships and “strengthen(ing) the synergy between banks and FinTech players” in a mutually beneficial way.

Financial inclusion is a huge part of both the challenge of – and the opportunity for – fintech in Nigeria. The report notes that more than 30 million adult Nigerians do not have or use either formal or informal financial services products or solutions. This represents more than a third of the country’s adult population. And while the report points out that mobile money operators have been among the businesses to help bring more financial services to the underbanked, there are some fintechs that have taken up the cause of financial inclusion, as well. A trio of these companies are highlighted below:


Bankly is a cash digitization and savings platform that caters to Nigeria’s unbanked. The company provides a digital wallet that is secure, convenient, and accessible, and all users require in order to open an account is a phone number. Bankly leverages more than 2,000 agents across 29 of the country’s 36 states to scale the company’s offering.

In operation for just over a year, Bankly has already picked up recognition from the 2019 Innovating Justice Awards sponsored by the Hague Institute for the Innovation of Law. The company has also participated in the GreenHouse Capital accelerator program. Tomilola Adejana (CEO) and Fredrick Adams are co-founders.


Covr Branchless offers banks, insurance companies, and government agencies a suite of applications that enable them to leverage cloud, GPS, and mobile channels to conduct a wide variety of financial processes. Account opening, instant debit card linking, cash withdrawals, fund transfer, billpay, KYC validation and loan origination are among the operations enabled by Covr’s technology.

Covr is owned by Advancio Interactive, a Nigerian technology company focused on sustainable financial access that was founded by Olufisayo Oludare (Managing Director). Covr won Advancio first place at the Startup Istanbul Challenge in the fall of 2017, only the second Africa-based startup to do so.


FairMoney is a online micro lender that provides instant loans from N1,500 to N500,000 (approximately $4 to $1,300), with average loans of about N12,000 ($33-$35). Using the company’s Android mobile app, prospective borrowers apply for financing by answering a few questions and providing some basic financial information. The app analyzes this information – as well as the borrowers geolocation and other factors – to make a loan offer in a matter of minutes.

But what makes the company especially interesting is the fact that it is working to launch a challenger bank. FairMoney raised $11 million in Series A funding last fall for this purpose and plans to expand its offerings to include current and savings accounts.


Here is our weekly look at fintech around the world.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) encourages government to incentivize the use of QR code transactions and promotes the adoption of open, interoperable standards.
  • Amazon to offer car and motorcycle insurance in India courtesy of partnership with Acko General Insurance.
  • National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) facilitates recurring payments with its new UPI AutoPay feature.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Brazil’s Central Bank reverses course to authorize payments system involving WhatsApp.
  • Payscout teams up with Brazilian fintech Rede Celer to grow its payments business in the country.
  • Partnership between FacePhi and Naranja X will help bring biometric recognition technology to digital onboarding processes for firms in Argentina.

Asia-Pacific

  • Finovate: Ant Group’s Double IPO Listing Shuns U.S. Exchanges.
  • Trulioo brings its GlobalGateway identity verification technology to customers in Vietnam.
  • Crowdfund Insider takes a look at the impact of COVID-19 on fintech lending platforms in Indonesia.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Telco Orange and bancassurance company NSIA team up to launch Orange Bank Africa to serve underbanked communities in Abidjan and Cote d’Ivoire.
  • Vodacom partners with Ant Financial Services Group to bring Alipay services to South Africa.
  • Uganda-based digital cross-border money transfer startup Eversend raises $1 million via an oversubscribed Seeders crowdfunding campaign.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Germany’s Scalable Capital lands $460 million valuation with new $58 million funding round.
  • Russian bank Tinkoff unveils new functionalities for its financial and lifestyle services voice assistant Oleg.
  • EstateGuru, a P2P lending platform based in Estonia, launches a new payment service in partnership with Lemonway.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Oman’s BankDhofar extends partnership with Diebold Nixdorf to improve the customer experience of its ATM network. Bank Nizwa, also based in Oman, announced an extension of its digital payments partnership with Mastercard.
  • Turkey-based online payments platform Mobilexpress secures $2 million in Series A funding.
  • Spotii, an e-commerce technology provider based in the UAE, unveils new deferred payment option.

Photo by Tope A. Asokere from Pexels

Tinkoff Launches Super App, Integrating Finance, Leisure, and Lifestyle

Neither a bird, nor a plane … the latest offering from Russian digital bank Tinkoff is its new “super app” – launched his week – which offers functionality to support and enhance the users’ personal financial, leisure, and lifestyle needs.

“The Tinkoff app has evolved into more than a traditional mobile bank, and the latest changes are the culmination of this transformation,” said Tinkoff SVP Arten Yakanov. “The super-app is both our own version of the App Store, with its own mini-app, and the first WeChat-like app in the Russian or any other European financial market, featuring products and services from our partners.”

The app is currently in beta, and will be available “shortly” in version 5.0 for iOS, with an Android version to follow. The technology currently features Tinkoff digital banking and lifestyle services (movies, concerts, restaurants, travel, commerce, sporting events, etc.), and integration with the complete Tinkoff ecosystem of investment, business banking, and insurance services. Users of the app will also benefit from end-to-end integration with Oleg, Tinkoff’s voice assistant.

In a statement, Tinkoff signaled a number of features to be added to the super app, including more retail experiences, food and flower delivery, car sharing, as well as fitness and wellness services. The bank said it has agreements with a number of industry partners to offer customers discounts and cashback via the app.

“Unlike other Russian ecosystems, we decided to blaze a trail of our own,” Yamanov added. “Instead of scooping up businesses, we opted for a win-win solution, attracting the market’s best partners who share Tinkoff’s qualities and values.” Yamanov said one goal would be to expand these partnerships, working with businesses “from Instagram bloggers to Russia’s largest B2C companies.”

Named one of the world’s leading digital banks, Tinkoff demonstrated Stories for Mobile Banking at FinovateEurope 2018. Headquartered in Moscow, Russia, and founded in 2008, the digital bank has more than seven million customers and has been listed on the London Stock Exchange since 2013.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Capture-as-a-Service Specialist Ephesoft Partners with Malaysia’s Alliance Bank
  • Tinkoff Launches Super App, Integrating Finance, Leisure, and Lifestyle

Around the web

  • Trulioo brings its identity verification service to Nigeria and Ghana.
  • ID.me introduces new solution to help businesses to comply with California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
  • Greece’s Pancreta Bank partners with Finastra to enhance regulatory compliance.
  • ThetaRay taps Edward Sander as its new Chief Product Officer.

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.

SoftBank Showers Latin American Fintechs with Millions in New Capital

SoftBank Backs Latin America

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

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

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

FinovateEurope Goes to Berlin!

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

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

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

Asia-Pacific

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

Sub-Saharan Africa

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

Central and Eastern Europe

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

Middle East and Northern Africa

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

Central and Southern Asia

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

Latin America and the Caribbean

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

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

Top image designed by Freepik

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • FIS Integrates with IBM to Help Clients Counter Fraud.

Around the web

  • Blackhawk Network unveils new line of gift cards.
  • Tinkoff GDRs will be included in MOEX Russia indices next month.
  • Finantix opens new office in Sydney, Australia.

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

  • Backbase and Payveris sign digital banking partnership.

Around the web

  • Xero and GoCardless partner to solve late payments in the U.S. and Canada.
  • The Charlotte Observer lists Jack Henry on Top Workplaces list for fifth consecutive year.
  • Lendio’s online bookkeeping software, Sunrise, partners with WePay.
  • Xero now integrates with BP Plus Fuel Card in Australia and the BP Fuelcard in New Zealand.
  • Flywire provides Bank of America clients enhanced access to cross-border payments and receipts.
  • Tinkoff begins trading on Moscow Exchange.
  • Jumio launches Jumio Go, a real-time, automated identity verification solution powered by AI.

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.

Mexican Fintech Minu Makes History; India’s Namaste Credit Becomes a Neobank

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

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

Central and Southern Asia

  • Indian online lending marketplace Namaste Credit becomes neobank for micro, small, and medium sized businesses (MSMEs).
  • Forbes profiles social entrepreneur and co-founder of Pakistan’s Tez Financial Services, Nauren Hyat.
  • India-based digital-only neobank YeLo picks up seed funding from Matrix Partners India, Omidyar Network India, Flourish, and Better Capital.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • In one of the largest seed rounds in Mexico to date, a company called minu that provides Mexican workers with instant, 24/7 access to earned wages Mexican workers, has raised $6.5 million.
  • Wayra Peru, the open innovation hub of Telefonica, and Peruvian investment group, The Board, to invest in Colombian fintech, IMIX.
  • Ecuadorian-Colombian digital payments platform Kushki Pagos acquires Chilean fintech QVO.

Asia-Pacific

  • Financial Services Authority for Indonesia (OJK) introduces online registry to spur fintech development.
  • Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) adjusts credit risk management guidelines to accommodate use of big data analysis.
  • Indonesian digital credit platform, Kredivo, secures $20 million line of credit.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Chipper Cash, a San Francisco, California-based cross-border payment startup with offices in Ghana and Kenya, begins operations in Nigeria.
  • South Africa’s AlphaCode invests $1.5 million in a trio of local fintechs: Bright On Capital, Zande Africa, and Livestock Wealth.
  • Nigerian fintech Carbon to expand to Kenya.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Ukraine-based Chatbots.Studio teams up with Yozobi. See Chatbots.Studio live on stage at FinovateFall this month!
  • Russia’s Tinkoff goes live with its social network for investors, Pulse.
  • Eligma, a blockchain and AI technology company based in Slovenia, announces €4 million investment from Pangea Blockchain Fund and Bitcoin.com.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) partners with KPMG to launch the Abu Dhabi Fintech Awards.
  • Egyptian peer lending and savings platform MoneyFellows raises $1 million in new funding.
  • Dubai earns #7 spot in round up of the world’s “top fintech locations of the future” according to Gulf News.

Top image designed by Freepik

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Mambu and nCino Co-Create Banking Solution for B-North.
  • Kabbage Acquires Radius, Adding Insights of Millions of SMEs to its Platform.

Around the web

  • Paysend reaches one million customer mark for its card-to-card money transfer service, Global Transfers.
  • Tinkoff goes live with Pulse, a free social network for investors.

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

  • Switzerland’s CREALOGIX Gets SaaSy.
  • King Klarna: New Investment Boosts Valuation to $5.5 Billion.
  • LendingClub Unveils Select Plus for Sophisticated Investors.

Around the web

  • Israel’s third largest bank Mizrahi-Tefahot to deploy core banking technology from Temenos.
  • Experian reports surging interest in Open Banking, with the number of API requests made in the U.K. growing by more than 2x since February.
  • Russia’s Tinkoff Bank to sell the speech recognition technology behind its Oleg chatbot to corporate customers.
  • LeapXpert earns spot in 2019 FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific.
  • Mortgage Cadence enhances data verification, fraud prevention and compliance with integration of DataVerify to its Enterprise Lending Center.
  • AT&T launches new bug bounty program in partnership with HackerOne.
  • Jumio takes gold in the Security Software category of the 2019 IT World Awards.
  • Lendio tops $1.5 billion in small business loans financed.
  • Ondot introduces Transaction Intelligence to make it easier for consumers to recognize purchases.

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.

Fintechs Merge and Rebrand in Vietnam; Tinkoff Launches New Voice Assistant Oleg

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

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Cross-border digital payments company PPRO acquires Latin American payments provider allpago.
  • Executives from financial cooperatives in Latin America meet with Denver, Colorado-area credit union leaders as part of immersion program sponsored by the World Council of Credit Unions’ Pasantia Tecnica.
  • Brazilian government and bank and insurance regulators agree to establish a regulatory sandbox to support fintech and insurtech development.

Asia-Pacific

  • Vietnam-based payments firms Vimo Technology and Vietnam MPOS Technology merge to become NextPay.
  • Learn more about Vietnam’s fintech ecosystem in this Fintech Startup Vietnam Map.
  • Indonesian fintech provider Achiko announces plans for direct listing on the SIX Swiss Exchange.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • African Development Bank launches £100 million fintech fund focused on growing financial inclusion.
  • Ventureburn takes a look at the Nigerian fintech startup scene.
  • African payment service provider (PSP), DPO Group, introduces Africa’s first B2B prepaid, virtual and physical payment card: the DumaCard.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • “Hi Oleg!” Russia’s Tinkoff launches new voice assistant for its banking app.
  • Fintech Futures features Poland’s Braintri in a discussion of how fintechs are leveraging real-time data to help banks improve the customer experience.
  • Are regulations in Hungary an obstacle to fintech innovation? BNE Intellinews considers the case of Hungarian payments company Barion.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • S&P Global Ratings gives Gulf Cooperation Council countries the edge over their neighbors in the Middle East and Africa when it comes to the fintech adoption rates.
  • PayU acquires Turkish fintech Iyzico for $165 million.
  • Citi launches its MENA 2019 Challenge.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Indian challenger bank, Payzello, goes live.
  • Tez, a digital, non-bank microfinance startup based in Pakistan, took home $100,000 in prize money after winning the FinTech Challenge at the inaugural Visa Everywhere Initiative for Women.
  • Inc42 looks at the how India’s current fintech boom is contributing to financial inclusion.

Top image designed by Freepik

Hi Oleg! Russia’s Tinkoff Launches Virtual Assistant

Tinkoff introduced Оleg, a voice assistant created in Russia for finance and lifestyle-related tasks, with the mission to help users navigate within the Tinkoff ecosystem, reports Henry Vilar of Fintech Futures (Finovate’s sister publication).

Surprisingly, Oleg is man, aged somewhere “between 25 and 40 years of age,” and seems to have a lot of personality, according to the bank.

According to the bank, Oleg, which can be accessed through the bank’s app, is able to recognize and interpret different user commands, ask follow-up questions, solve problems and speak on a variety of topics.

The AI can complete tasks such as transfer money to accounts at Tinkoff Bank and Sberbank, make restaurant reservations, book beauty salon appointments, buy cinema tickets with a cashback offer, search for discounts on products and services, converse on various topics, manage financial products (debit and credit cards), and more admin tasks, with many more to come.

Oleg will also be able to identify a user’s voice using biometric data and carry out commands that currently require authorisation within the Tinkoff app.

To start a conversation in the mobile app, one has to say “Hi Oleg” or “Listen Oleg” in Russian. You can ask Oleg a question, like “What’s on tonight” or ask him to perform a task, such as transfer funds. Oleg will be able to converse about various things, including himself.

Oleg can also say “Enough” or “Speak with a representative” if they feel Oleg isn’t resolving their problem successfully.

Tinkoff demonstrated Stories for its mobile banking app at FinovateEurope 2018. Headquartered in Moscow, Russia, and founded in 2006, the digital-only, branchless bank serves more than seven million customers, employs more than 20,000 people, and operates nine research and development hubs across Russia.