Global Fintech and the COVID-19 Crisis

The fight against the coronavirus pandemic has captured the attention of people all over the world. From medical professionals on the front lines of caring for the sick to small businesses making hard decisions about how to keep their workforces intact during lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, everyone has been touched by the current crisis.

Earlier this week, we took a look at how fintechs and financial services firms are rising to the challenge of the COVID-19 outbreak. Looking at three different areas – safety, digitalization, and service – we saw how companies in countries ranging from Russia and India to the U.K. and the U.S. are lending their insights, talents, and generosity to the cause.

Companies like London-based Aire, a Finovate alum that is offering lenders three months of free access to its credit insight service, are an example of what is happening across the fintech space. “We’re seeing an unprecedented level of change in the market for consumers right now,” company founder and CEO Aneesh Varma said. “Lenders are understandably stretched and struggling to build accurate pictures of their customers in real-time.”

CoinDCX Cashes In: Two weeks ago we interviewed Neeraj Khandelwal, co-founder of Indian cryptocurrency trading platform CoinDCX, on cryptocurrencies and cashlessness. This week, we learned that the company has raised $3 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Polychain Capital, Bain Capital Ventures, and HDR Group. The capital will help the company launch new products, boost R&D efforts and marketing, and build the CoinDCX team.

“As the country’s largest exchange, we are in a position to drive national crypto adoption forward responsibly,” CEO and co-founder Sumit Gupta said. “This successful investment round will go a long way in funding our vision of accelerating India’s growth into a $5 trillion economy.”


Here is our weekly look at fintech around the world.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Kenya-based telecom Safaricom to waive fees for its M-Pesa mobile money service to help customers avoid cash during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Somalia’s MyBank to deploy Sharia-compliant, core banking technology from Path Solutions.
  • Ghana goes live with its Universal Quick Response (QR) Code and Proxy Pay system.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • SME Finance, a factoring services provider for businesses in the Baltics and Poland, picks up 10 million euro investment from new partner, Citadele Bank of Latvia.
  • Berlin, Germany-based, digital business bank Penta raises 18.5 million euros in new funding.
  • The COVID crisis has authorities in Russia decontaminating cash and urging citizens to use digital payments.
  • Erste Bank Hungary deploys mobile security technology from OneSpan.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • DriveWealth announces its first MENA region partnership: a collaboration with UAE-based wealth management firm, Wealthface.
  • Al Ansari Exchange taps Pelican for financial crime compliance.
  • Emirates’ World Investments commits to investment of $255 million in Australian challenger bank Xinja.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Mobile payments company HUMBL forges new partnership with Digital India Payments.
  • Singapore-based anti-fraud solutions provider Advance.AI opens offices in Bengaluru and Delhi.
  • Indian alt lender Vivriti Capital secures $50 million in Series B funding.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Mexican SME lender Creditjusto raises $100 million in debt financing from Credit Suisse Group.
  • Brazilian fintech Creditas announces plans to boost staff by 500 by the end of the year.
  • Wirecard teams up with Mexico’s Banca Afirme as the German digital payments solutions provider extends further into the Mexican market.

Asia-Pacific

  • TransferWise teams up with Alipay to enable fund transfers to China.
  • Bank of China launches its AI-based FX trading signal app via Eikon.
  • Thai remittance company DeeMoney goes live on RippleNet.

Top image designed by Freepik

TransferWise Teams Up with Alipay to Enable Fund Transfers to China

Photo by Tom Fisk from Pexels

A collaboration between TransferWise and Chinese payments and lifestyle services platform Alipay will enable TransferWise’s more than seven million users to instantly send yuan to Alipay users. All that senders require is the recipient’s name and their Alipay ID to have funds from 17 different currencies converted to Chinese yuan and transferred to the account linked to the recipient’s Alipay profile.

“Our newest partnership with Alipay has been one of the most requested features from our users since our expansion to Asia,” TransferWise CEO and co-founder Kristo Käärmann said. “Alipay functions as the primary payment method for more than a billion people in China and we are excited to be bringing instant international transfers to the fingertips of Alipay’s users.”

Käärmann added that working with Alipay helps TransferWise move closer to fulfilling its Money without Borders mission, “and is a continuation of our vision of making cross border payments, instant, convenient, transparent, and eventually free.”

Transferees will also benefit from being able to send money based on the real exchange rate. Eligible currencies are GBP, EUR, BGN, CZK, DKK, HUF, NOK, PLN, RON, SEK, USD, CAD, AUD, HRK, HKD, SGD, and JPY. Up to five transfers to Alipay per month are permitted, with per transaction caps of 31,000 CNY, and an annual limit of 500,000 CNY. TransferWise is celebrating the new offering by giving fee-free, first transfers for the first 100 new customers – as well as a bonus payment of 10 yuan to the recipient on their first remittance from Alipay received. The promotion extends until April 8.

Working with Alipay represents a significant opportunity for TransferWise. Alipay serves more than one billion consumers around the globe, and China itself is believed to be one of the biggest remittance destinations in the world, with Chinese ex-pats abroad expected to send more than $66 billion (£54 billion) back home to China according to a 2019 report from the Migration Data Portal.

“We are committed to working with partners such as TransferWise, using innovative technologies to help global consumers gain access to inclusive financial services,” Alipay Head of Global Remittances Ma Zhiguo said, “creating greater value for society and bringing equal opportunities to the world.”

The announcement comes in the wake of TransferWise’s introducing global money transfers to six mobile wallet platforms in Indonesia (GoPay, Ovo, and Dana), the Philippines (PayMaya), and Bangladesh (bKash).

Founded in 2011 and based in London, U.K., TransferWise has been a Finovate alum since their FinovateEurope demo in 2013. The company has raised more than $772 million in funding, and has earned a valuation of $3.5 billion as of its May 2019, $292 million secondary share sale.

Finovate Alumni News

Around the web

  • Zenus Bank to deploy onboarding authentication technology from Fortress Identity.
  • Paystand to provide an end-to-end payments platform for customers of Japanese payment card issuer and acquirer, JCB.
  • Blackhawk Network introduces new SVP of Global Commerce, Brett Narlinger.
  • Ovum highlights Quadient and its leadership role in providing customer journey mapping in its report, Customer Journey Management’s Path to Optimization.
  • Forbes Senior Contributor Ron Shevlin gives TransferWise an “Honorable Mention” among the Winners in his review of the Winners and Losers in Fintech this year.

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.

TransferWise Inks International Payments Deal with EQ Bank

EQ Bank, the digital subsidiary of Canada’s Equitable Bank, has signed a partnership agreement with TransferWise which will see the latter underpin EQ Bank’s international payments, reports Alex Hamilton of Fintech Futures, Finovate’s sister publication.

EQ Bank has integrated TransferWise’s API directly into their infrastructure. EQ Bank customers will be able to send money from their Savings Plus account at “the real exchange rate,” paying a “small, transparent TransferWise charge.”

Kristo Käärmann, CEO and co-founder of TransferWise, said that Canadian consumers stand to lose a “staggering” $330 per person to hidden fees when exchanging currencies.

“This needs to stop,” he said. “We ultimately want to ensure that everyone has access to fast, cheap, and transparent international money exchange. We’re thrilled to have found a like-minded partner in EQ Bank.”

EQ Bank recently completed the move of its Temenos core banking system into the cloud. The digital bank utilizes Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, using software hosted by HP.

“From hidden mark-ups in the exchange rate, to paying multiple fees and lengthy delays, for too long Canadians haven’t been getting the best value for their dollar when sending money abroad,” said Andrew Moor, president and CEO of Equitable Bank.

“At EQ Bank we continually seek ways to remove unnecessary complexities and fees from outdated banking structures to put more money back in the hands of our customers. As TransferWise shares these important values, they are the perfect partner to help us achieve our goal.”

Transferwise, which most recently demoed at FinovateEurope 2013, was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in London. The company has raised more than $770 million.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • ti&m and aixigo Partner to Digitize Wealth Management.
  • TransferWise Inks International Payments Deal with EQ Bank.
  • Coinbase’s New Partnership Helps Give Back with Crypto.

Around the web

  • ThetaRay Names Edward Sander as Chief Product Officer.
  • Frontier Communications deploys Neustar Certified Caller STIR/SHAKEN technology across its IP network to digitally certify phone calls.
  • Citi and PayPal expand partnership for institutional clients.
  • Worldline and CashSentinel partner to provide a payment solution to comply with Swiss and European online marketplaces.
  • Alaska USA Federal Credit Union selects MX to power mobile banking platform.
  • Minna Technologies deepens partnership with OP Financial Group.
  • Chetu continues European expansion, opens new UK office.

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

  • Finovate Alums Raise More Than Three Billion in 2019; $676 Million in Q4.
  • Sensibill Pilots SME Receipt Management Technology with Metro Bank.

Around the web

  • Mastercard partners with CleverCards and Appreciate Group for launch of digital gift card in the U.K.
  • TransferWise for Banks launches in Canada with EQ Bank as first partner.
  • CREALOGIX appoints Oliver Weber as new CEO as of January 2020.
  • Card issuing platform Marqeta and cloud banking services provider Mambu announce new collaboration.
  • Klarna to open tech hub in Berlin, Germany.
  • Splitit forges new strategic partnerships with Malaysian payment solution provider iPay88 and global payments company BlueSnap.

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

  • Move Your Business to the United States podcast features Aire CEO Aneesh Varma.
  • SumUp partners with donation software company to help charities to go contactless for Christmas.
  • TransferWise partners with Visa to enable real-time transfers to debit cards.

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 Experian Credit Solution Brings Enhanced Predictive Performance
  • Finovate Global: Visa’s Minority Stake in Interswitch Creates Africa’s Latest Fintech Unicorn

Around the web

  • Avaloq completes acquisition of Derivative Partners.
  • TransferWise to offer $150,000 in prize money to Singaporean bank customers to help them defray the cost of hidden fees charged by their banks.
  • DefenseStorm completes (SOC)2 Type II Audit examination for its security data platform.

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

  • Financial Identity as a Service Innovator Juvo Teams Up with DOCOMO Digital
  • SheerID Lands $64 Million for Segmented Identity Verification

Around the web

  • HackerOne awards $3,500 in bounties to a pair of researchers who discovered vulnerabilities on its own platform.
  • AlphaPoint adds support for margin trading to its platform.
  • Bank of Georgia goes live with a new smart personal financial management (PFM) solution, mBank, developed by Strands.
  • Installment payment solution Splitit announces a new partnership with chiliPAD sleep system maker, Chilli.
  • Tradeshift integrates with fraud protection specialist SiS-id to reduce payments fraud.
  • Xero launches Pay with TransferWise, a new domestic bill payment solution to help U.K. customers pay and manage bills.
  • Pendo Systems teams with WSN to help customers navigate digital transformation.

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.

TransferWise Teams Up with GoCardless to Launch Global Network for Bank Debits

GoCardless has teamed up with TransferWise to launch the first global network for collecting recurring payments via bank debit, reports Jane Connolly of Fintech Futures (Finovate’s sister publication).

Customers of recurring payments fintech GoCardless will be able to collect subscriptions, invoices and installments in over 30 countries, without having to open a new bank account in every relevant country or pay large foreign currency receiving fees.

The new network enables customers to collect payments via multiple bank debit schemes around the world through the GoCardless API, dashboard or partner integrations. The partnership claims that a direct integration to the TransferWise API will provide low cost, convenient and transparent pricing.

“Businesses today have global ambitions, but an antiquated, fragmented and opaque payment system is holding them back,” said Hiroki Takeuchi, CEO and co-founder of GoCardless.

“Our new network represents a major milestone in our mission to fix this broken system. Companies of all sizes can now tap into the only global network for recurring payments, built on the tried and trusted method of bank debit, with real exchange rates powered by TransferWise. This will take the pain out of getting paid and enable every business to operate in a way that’s truly borderless.”

Taavet Hinrikus, chairman and co-founder of TransferWise, added: “Together, we’re setting the new standard for business banking, using new technology to offer cheaper, faster, more transparent services that truly meet the needs of today’s businesses.”

Rolling out in phases from mid-November, the network will allow businesses to receive payments at the real exchange rate in GBP, USD, EUR, SEK, DKK, CAD, AUD and NZD.

TransferWise demonstrated its platform at FinovateEurope 2013. Founded in 2010 and headquartered in London, U.K., the company has raised more than $772 million in funding from investors including Vitruvian Partners and Lone Pine Capital. The firm’s competitors include fellow Finovate alums Revolut and Currencycloud.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Finovate Alums Earn Spots on Deloitte’s 2019 Technology Fast 500
  • TransferWise Teams Up with GoCardless to Launch Global Network for Bank Debits
  • Finovate Global: Saudi Arabia Bets Big on Fintech; Sberbank Unveils Russian Supercomputer

Around the web

  • Worldline and Bitcoin Suisse partner to enable use of cryptocurrencies at the point of sale.
  • Ripple’s RippleNet tops 300 customers.
  • Tink hires Stripe’s former head of EMEA banking as its new Country Manager for the U.K. and Ireland.
  • DemystData makes Equifax data assets available on its marketplace in expansion of current partnership.
  • Fenergo earns recognition from Chartis Research in its RiskTech 100 2020 report as a category leader for Client Lifestyle Management and Know Your Customer.
  • RISQ Intelligent Software International and Compliy win finalist spots in the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s Global FinTech Hackcelerator.
  • Sensibill named a “Company to Watch” in Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 Awards.

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

  • Avaloq Seeks Exit: M&A or IPO?
  • eToro’s Latest Acquisition Boosts its Crypto Presence
  • IBM and Bank of America Partner on Public Cloud for Financial Services

Around the web

  • DefenseStorm names Chief Revenue Officer Steve Soukup as its new President.
  • NICE Actimize introduces its new Federated Learning capability that offers higher fraud detection via Collective Intelligence.
  • Fiserv inks global agreement with German grocery industry leader ALDI.
  • GoCardless to use TransferWise’s API, TransferWise for Business product, and provide TransferWise’s FX rates to its customers.
  • PayKey forms SBI PayKey Asia, a joint venture with SBI Holdings that will support the sales and market launch of PayKey across the region.
  • ThetaRay taps Moran Goldwein as SVP for Human Resources.
  • Infinex to integrate Jemstep’s Advisor Pro to deliver digital advice to Infinex’s client firms.

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.