Finovate Global: Fintech News from Around the World

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.

Asia-Pacific

  • Chinese fintech solutions provider Pintec files $70 million IPO.
  • Shwe Rural and Urban Development Bank in Myanmar partners with JMR Infotech to better scale its online services.
  • Hong Kong banks team up to launch blockchain-based trade finance platform.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • The Fintech Association of Nigeria celebrates its first anniversary.
  • Disrupt Africa looks at a pair of investments in Nigerian fintechs: CowryWise and Bitcoin Africa.
  • SophiaTX and South Africa’s ArkTree announce new strategic alliance to expand the global reach of blockchain technology

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Hungarian bank MKB, the fourth largest commercial bank in the country, deploys Oracle Flexcube to streamline operations.
  • Open banking platform innovator Token announces that its technology has been implemented by Sberbank in Slovenia.
  • Israel-based cashless payments solution and management platform Nayax opens office in Lithuania.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Jihad Azour, Director of IMF Middle East and Central Asia, delivers a speech at the Arab Economic Forum in Lebanon: Promoting the Inclusive Growth Agenda in the Arab Region.
  • Saudi Arabia grants its first set of fintech licenses to a pair of Saudi crowdfunding platforms, Manafa Capital and Scopeer.
  • Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) notes a strong start in 2018 with the number of active registered companies climbing by 8%.

Central and South Asia

  • Study from JP Morgan looks at the untapped opportunities in the Indian fintech space.
  • FSS introduces FSS eFinclusiv, a financial inclusion solution geared toward serving the underbanked in India.
  • Russia’s National Settlement Depository to connect Kyrgyzstan’s Bank of Asia to SWIFT.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • El Cronista interviews Rafael Hernandez, senior partner of fintech at Village Capital, on business opportunities in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In Spanish.
  • Brazilian online broker Toro Investmentos begins operation this week.
  • Bank of Asia goes live as the first digital bank in the British Virgin Islands.

Top image designed by Freepik

Sberbank in Slovenia Partners with Open Banking Platform Provider Token

By partnering with Token.io, the open banking platform provider based in San Francisco, California, Sberbank in Slovenia is signaling more than just its compliance with PSD2. Instead Slovenia’s seventh largest bank seeks to move beyond PSD2 compliance and toward a full embrace of open banking.

“Our choice to work with Token reflects our commitment to shaping a new era of banking and payments,” Aleš Zajc, Deputy CEO in charge of retail banking for Sberbank in Slovenia, said. Zajc added that the technology would enable the bank to provide customers with a better, safer experience. “With Token’s frictionless authentication programmed into each transaction,” Zajc said, “we will be able to increase payment speed and convenience without ever compromising on security.”

Token enables banks to issue and redeem payment and account data authorizations as programmable smart tokens. Smart tokens are unique to the transactions they represent, and because account information is never transmitted beyond the bank, the technology helps minimize security risks. Not only does this make Token’s technology an ideal deployment for banks looking to meet PSD2 requirements, smart tokens can also serve as the basis for faster, more secure online transactions for customers.

“Token offers the industry’s simplest and most secure transaction-based open banking API, which will provide Sberbank Slovenia quicker data aggregation and direct payments driven by Smart Token technology,” Token CEO and founder Steve Kirsch explained. “Crucially, our cloud-based platform will give Sberbank both flexibility and scalability when creating and handling transactions.”

Token’s news comes one month after the company announced that it would facilitate direct payments for cross border payments platform and fellow Finovate alum, Caxton. Also last month, the company completed the first Payment Initiation Service Provider (PISP) to complete an end-to-end payment via a public bank API. In May, Token was granted FCA authorization for open banking payment and information services, and partnered with Paymentworld Europe to enable direct payments for the Malta-based electronic money institution.

Founded in 2015, Token demonstrated its technology at FinovateEurope 2017. With $18.5 million in funding, the company includes EQT Ventures, OP Financial Group, Octopus Ventures, and Plug and Play among its investors. Check out our conversation on open banking and PSD2 with Token’s VP of Marketing, Marten Nelson, from earlier this year.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Sberbank in Slovenia Partners with Open Banking Platform Provider Token.
  • Equifax Acquires DataX to Promote Financial Inclusion.

Around the web

  • Wirecard and Mastercard collaborate to make contactless payments using wearable technology more accessible.
  • Roostify expands leadership ranks with new Chief Customer Officer, new VP of Sales, and new General Counsel.
  • VyStar Credit Union ($7.6 billion in assets) to upgrade core banking solution with technology from FIS.
  • Hyperwallet to provide mass payment distribution for content processing platform, Wordapp.com.
  • Premier America Credit Union ($2.5 billion in assets) to deploy core processing technology from Jack Henry & Associates.
  • Santander integrates nCino’s Bank Operating System.
  • Carte Wealth Management to launch advisor engagement platform powered by DigitalReach from BlueRush.
  • TechCrunch reports: Coinbase Reportedly Gets Approval from US regulators to Start Listing Tokenized Securities.
  • Ephesoft releases new Swagger/OpenAPI-web services for Ephesoft Transact.

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

  • iProov Wins Contract with U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  • iSignthis Unveils B2B Transactional Banking Service, Partnership with Gobbill.
  • LendStreet Raises Additional $117 Million for Debt Restructuring.
  • DarcMatter Partners with Crypto Fund #Hashed.

Around the web

  • Trulioo’s AML/KYC identity verification now covers Romania.
  • MicroStrategy wins 2018 NetworkWorld Asia Information Management Award.
  • Token completes PISP open banking transaction.
  • Actiance and Smarsh update executive leadership team in wake of merger.
  • Investor Junkie takes 401(k) roboadvisor Blooom for a test drive.

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.

Token Facilitates Direct Payments for Caxton FX

Cross-border payments platform Caxton is piloting a new direct payments solution for clients of its multi-currency prepaid MasterCard. The new capabilities come courtesy of a partnership with open banking champion Token.

The integration allows Caxton clients to use the Caxton mobile app to load their prepaid cards directly from their bank account. By leveraging Token’s open banking expertise, Caxton is able to remove friction, lower costs, and benefit from instant money movement.

The company facilitates this direct connection by forgoing debit card rails and instead routing customer payment information using a Smart Token, which transmits only a representation of cardholder data and not the data itself. Token is integrated with Caxton’s existing infrastructure to offer the company direct access to their clients’ banks, given their permission.

In the press release, Marten Nelson, co-founder and CMO of Token said, “Our partnership with Caxton reinforces our commitment to all players in the digital ecosystem; we exist to help them lower costs and deliver an amazing, market-differentiating experience to their customers, through a rich, yet simple integration.”

Caxton has 750,000 private and business customers who processed 7.3 million transactions last year using its multi-currency cards and international bank transfer services. The company plans to begin the rollout of the new service in the third quarter of this year.

Founded in 2003, Caxton leverages the blockchain to help users send cross-border money transfers with less friction and at a lower cost than with traditional banks. At FinovateEurope 2017, the company demoed its Firebird Payment Engine, a private blockchain ledger that facilitates payments without the need for an API. Last June, Caxton debuted multi-currency accounts for SMEs.

Headquartered in California, Token offers banks, payment service providers, developers, and merchants access to the benefits of open banking. The company helps organizations securely connect to their customers’ bank account information in a secure and compliant manner using its Smart Token technology. The company showcased its PSD2 compliant solution at FinovateEurope 2017 in London. Last month, the FCA granted Token authorization for open banking payment and information services.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Gusto Launching its Own Yelp for Accountants.
  • Fintonic Bolsters Platform’s Loan Options with BBVA Partnership.

Around the web

  • Multiple-time Best of Show winner Ondot Systems launches its digital card services platform.
  • Thomson Reuters and ICAP announce five-year extension of their partnership.
  • TransferWise lands its first big European bank customer with new agreement with France’s BPCE Group.
  • NY Times features Unison’s approach to shared equity home ownership investment
  • Taulia has record $4.5bn First Quarter.
  • Cardlytics refinances credit facilities with Square 1 Bank.
  • Ripple to give $50 million to universities including Princeton, MIT, and UCL for blockchain research.
  • Foothills Credit Union selects Digital Onboarding for new member onboarding technology.

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

Around the web

  • InComm launches health plan-sponsored first years wellness card to support babies’ well being.
  • Payworks introduces P2PE component services for payment providers.
  • Coinone Transfer joins Ripple’s RippleNet to enhance cross-border payments.
  • Navigant and Ayasdi collaborate to deploy machine intelligence to effectively and efficiently detect and deter financial crime.
  • INV Fintech collaborates with the Open Bank Project to offer sandbox APIs.
  • Lendio announces franchise in Broomfield, Colorado.
  • Token granted FCA authorization for open banking payment and information services.

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

  • New Investment Helps Power Canadian Expansion for Financial Data Platform Quovo.

Around the web

  • HTC Global Services joins Quadient Partner Advantage Program.
  • Token Granted FCA Authorisation For Open Banking Payment & Information Services.
  • Erste Bank Hungary Readies for Immediate Payments and Open Banking Era with ACI Worldwide.
  • NICE’s Cognitive Robotic Automation Platform allows Amazon Lex’s conversational chatbot to fulfill more customer requests in real-time.
  • Salt Edge supports Account Information Services flows authorized under PSD2 Third Party Providers.
  • Sensibill powers receipt management for Quontic Bank.
  • Digital Onboarding to enhance Belmont Savings Bank’s customer engagement by increasing new checking account activation rates.

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.

Take Your Head Out the PSD2 Sand

PSD2

Marten Nelson Token

With the PSD2 compliance deadline having just passed, in this series we speak to some of the relevant firms both in and out of the U.K. about what this means for them and how the industry should move forward. In this installment, we chat to Marten Nelson, VP Marketing at Token. Nelson demoed Token’s PsD2 compliant solution at FinovateEurope 2017 in London.

Finovate: According to Strategy&, 68% of bankers are worried PSD2 will cause them to lose control of the client interface. What’s your advice to these banks?

Nelson: Take your head out of the sand!

Banks need to recognize that their customers’ expectations have changed and it is this, not PSD2, that is the main driver for their loss of control. Banks’ customers have grown accustomed to a new kind of digitized customer experience. One that gives them power to choose and options to choose from. New value. Ultra-convenience. Security. The changing dynamics of the customer have given rise to PSD2, which is now forcing the banks to respond.

I understand banks’ reluctance. Banks are powerful, protective and risk averse. Change is risky. Until now, customers of banks have been loyal. Why would this change? And who would want to throw open their systems to third parties, so they can build apps and services that might pull their customers away?

The hard truth, however, is this: if banks do not respond, their customers will be pulled away anyway. And faster than they might think.

The real risk to banks lies in non-participation. Banks that seek to control or limit the interface through which they engage with other banks, service providers or customers, will fail.

Finovate: Will PSD2’s enhanced security requirements increase friction for end consumers?

Nelson: Perhaps in the short term, while the new model of open banking establishes, but the main point is that consumers will have so many more secure options for financial products and services that any teething problems will ultimately pale into insignificance.

The level of friction in the end-user experience will also depend on how smoothly banks’ APIs integrate, together with which security measures they choose to implement to enable transaction authorisations.

Joining forces behind a common open banking platform – one that is easy, secure, interoperable, low cost and developer friendly, will enable banks to deliver the variety and freedom of services that their customers demand. Currently, TokenOS is the only solution that provides one interface to access all banks in the EU for both payments and data.

Finovate: How do you suggest banks and fintechs communicate about PSD2 to consumers who are scared to share their data because of privacy issues?

Nelson: Consumers do not (and will not) care about PSD2. They will care about what it enables, i.e. being able to access new products and services securely and linking them to their bank account. So, banks and fintechs should not communicate using industry jargon, they should talk in terms of new opportunities, services, facilities and benefits. Everything leads back to how they can meet the customer’s new expectations.

From a security perspective, consumers will want to be reassured that their data is safe.

Finovate: The benefits of PSD2 to fintechs are obvious. How can banks make sure they’re benefitting, as well?

Nelson: Banks that support new apps and services arising from PSD2 will benefit from their kudos, and retain customers and attract new ones as a direct result.

The key for banks lies in their support for developers. A truly open ecosystem will run on one or two APIs and support maximum third party integration.

Competitive forces prevent any bank from establishing its own API as the de-facto choice for all.

Those that try will not recruit enough developers to deliver the depth and variety of third-party services that will meet customer demand and enable them to differentiate in the market.

A single API ecosystem will attract the most developers. More developers means more innovation and more exciting and attractive financial apps and services.

History speaks (again): If there were as many operating systems as there are personal computers or smartphone manufacturers, it would be cost prohibitive for developers to build apps. That’s why there are two platforms each for PCs and mobile devices, because that is the maximum number the developer market can sustain.

The Future of FinTech Regulation_Finovate Europe

Finovate: Should banks be worried that, by opening their APIs to third parties, they risk increased security vulnerabilities?

Nelson: Banks that are working with trusted software providers shouldn’t be. The key here is in adopting an open banking platform that delivers a secure ecosystem and a developer-centric approach. Uniquely, Token combines tokenization and cryptography to make transactions virtually impossible to hack, since the data transmitted between the transacting parties is meaningless to everyone else.

We also use programmable money and an open API. As a result, developers can connect securely to banks to initiate payments or access information. The programmable money element then provides support for a sea of other use cases that can benefit the bank. Since money and information always are combined, reconciling payments, for example, is a breeze. Also, payments are instant between banks on the Token network.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Klarna to Power Invoice and Credit-Based Payments for Worldpay Clients.
  • Prevoty Raises $13 Million in Series B.

Around the web

  • Fiserv partners with Boiling Springs Savings Bank and North Shore Trust and Savings to Provide End-to-End Debit and Card Solutions.
  • Global Debt Registry joins the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance.
  • Latin America’s largest bank, Itau Unibanco chooses WealthSuite from Temenos for its international private banking operations.
  • Token pledges to connect banks, merchants, and third party providers to any EU bank for PSD2 payments and data.

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.

KPMG, H2 Ventures Unveil Fintech 100 for 2017

It’s that time of the year once again: KPMG and H2 Ventures have teamed up to introduce their Leading Global Fintech Innovators roster, the Fintech 100 for 2017. The judges for this year’s Fintech 100 included more than 20 professionals from KPMG and other organizations with expertise in IT, data analytics, capital markets, financial services, and more.

This year 11 Finovate/FinDEVr alums made the Leading 50, with another 12 alums making the Emerging 50. New entrants to the KPMG/H2 Ventures roster include SoFi and Revolut among the Leading 50. All 12 the alums on the Emerging 50 are making their first appearance. See the full list.

Some of the highlights from the 2017 Fintech 100 include the observation that five of the roster’s top 10 companies are from China, as are the top three companies on the list: Ant Financial, ZhongAn, and Qudian (Qufenqi). The U.S. has a pair of companies in the top five: Oscar and Avant, and Europe and the U.K. each have one company in the top ten: Kreditech and Atom Bank, respectively.

Speaking of Asia, the Asia-Pacific region has 30 fintech companies in the top 100. The United States has 19 companies – the most from any single country – and the U.K. and EMEA areas have 41 companies in the list. The U.K. and EMEA region are also responsible for the highest number of companies on KPMG/H2 Ventures’ Emerging 50 list with 26.

With regard to sectors within fintech, the Fintech 100 breaks down as follows:

  • 32 lending companies
  • 21 payments companies
  • 14 transaction and capital markets companies
  • 12 insurance/insurtech companies
  • 7 wealth management/wealthtech companies
  • 6 cybersecurity/regtech companies
  • 4 blockchain/digital currency companies
  • 3 data and analytics companies

Alums from the Leading 50

Alums from the Emerging Stars

Token Forges Strategic Partnership with Envestnet | Yodlee

Token and Envestnet | Yodlee are combining their respective talents in PSD2-compliant payments and financial data aggregation to give banks in the EU a new, open-banking friendly, payments and data option. The partnership will leverage Token’s open banking operating system, TokenOS, which supports PSD2 compliant payments, including bill pay, e-commerce, B2B payments and money transfers, with Envestnet | Yodlee’s Financial Data Platform and Aggregation API. Via the API, banks will get access to the bank, card, investment, loan, reward and other financial account data required to support a variety of PFM, wealth, and debt management apps and services.

Making the case for the alliance, Token CEO and founder Steve Kirsch said, “When it comes to PSD2, developers are not going to support hundreds of unique bank APIs; they will only write to one common API, maybe two. This means that banks that create their own proprietary APIs risk not being able to deliver the variety of freedom that customers expect in the digital age.” Kirsch characterized the kind of open banking platform that banks should support as “easy, secure, interoperable, low cost and developer friendly.”

Envestnet | Yodlee SVP for EMEA and Australia Jason O’Shaughnessy underscored Kirsh’s observations on the importance of open banking. “Both Token and Envestnet | Yodlee believe that open data access is critical to enabling innovative tools that can help consumers improve their financial lives.”

Founded in 2015 and headquartered in San Francisco, California, Token demonstrated its fully PSD2 compliant open banking solution at FinovateEurope 2017. The company also participated in our developer’s conference, presenting The Future of Payments Now at FinDEVr San Francisco 2015. Token was named to CB Insights’ Fintech 250 list in June, and began the year teaming up with information technology consulting and outsourcing company, VirtusaPolaris. Token has raised more than $18 million in funding, and includes EQT Ventures, Octopus Ventures, and OP Financial Group among its investors.

Acquired by Envestnet two years ago, Yodlee is a multiple-time Finovate Best of Show winner headquartered in Redwood City, California. The company took home top honors more recently for its demo of Financial Health Check financial wellness technology at FinovateFall 2017. A partnership with Home Credit India to digitize loan processing and an integration with Fannie Mae’s Desktop Underwriter Validation Service are among the company’s top headlines since the conference.

Envestnet’s technology and services are used by 16 of the 20 largest U.S. banks, 39 of the 50 largest wealth management and brokerage firms, and more than 500 of the largest Registered Investment Advisors. With a market capitalization of $2 billion, Envestnet trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “ENV.” The company is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.