Conversational AI Innovator Clinc Inks Partnership with Visa

Financial institutions leveraging Visa APIs can now enable voice-first digital banking technology from Clinc. Courtesy of a newly-announced partnership between Visa and the conversational AI innovator, customers of participating banks and credit unions will be able conduct a wide variety of banking operations by communicating directly with their bank accounts using natural, conversational language. No special keywords, phrases, or scripted questions.

“Our goal has always remained the same – to create technology that makes people’s lives easier,” Clinc co-founder and interim co-CEO Lingjia Tang explained. “Partnering with a leader like Visa is a milestone for Clinc, and this API integration is going to offer small and mid-size banks a similar experience that some of the largest banks in the world are using.”

The collaboration will allow digital banking customers to check balances, transactions, and spending history; pay bills and transfer money; as well as perform financial management functions such as creating payment plans, checking rewards programs, and disputing transactions. Customers will also be able to conduct a wide variety of card management operations ranging from turning cards on and off, reporting and reissuing lost or stolen cards, and activating new cards – all using their natural voice in a conversational way.

“This is the kind of capability and cutting-edge AI wouldn’t be otherwise be accessible without Visa, ” Tang added.

Clinc’s partnership with Visa is the latest example of how the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based company is helping banks enhance the customer experience. Founded in 2015 and making its Best of Show-winning Finovate debut a year later at FinovateFall, Clinc teamed up with Singapore’s OCBC Bank last year, helping the bank launch its voice-enabled mobile banking assistant. The company has also partnered with Turkish bank Isbank, powering one of the most widely-deployed mobile banking voice assistants, with more than six million users.

Clinc has raised $60 million in funding. The company picked up the lion’s share of that amount last spring in a $52 million Series B round.

Tink’s $100 Million Monday; Azimo’s C-Suite Shakeup Promotes Experience and Diversity

It is hard to imagine having a better start to your week than Plaid had seven days ago when the innovative fintech (and Finovate alum) announced that it had agreed to be acquired by Visa for $5.3 billion.

But the €90 million ($100 million) raised by Swedish open banking platform Tink on Monday is nothing to sneeze at. In fact, the funding, which is the company’s largest to date, is a reminder that investment interest in (and funding for) companies dedicated to developing the infrastructure that connects consumers, banks, and the financial technologies is very much in abundance.

“Our aim is to become the preferred pan-European provider of digital banking services and to offer the technology needed for banks, fintechs, and startups to leverage the opportunities of open banking and enable them to successfully develop financial services in the future,” Tink co-founder and CEO Daniel Kjellén said in a statement.

Tink demonstrated its platform most recently at FinovateEurope 2019. For more on this year’s Finovate event in Europe kicking off next month, visit our FinovateEurope 2020 page.


Azimo, one of our earliest FinovateEurope alums, announced a pair of big changes at the top to begin the new week.

The London-based money transfer firm, founded in 2012, promoted its COO Richard Ambrose to CEO back in August, as Azimo founder Michael Kent took what TechCrunch referred to as a lateral move to become executive chairman. Today, Fintech Futures, Finovate’s sister publication, reports that the company has appointed Dora Ziambra to the post of Chief Operating Officer. Azimo also promoted its head of finance Tatiana Okhotina to the post of Chief Financial Officer.

“We’re fortunate to have the depth of talent to fill these top roles internally,” Ambrose said in a statement. “We’re lucky too that Azimo will continue to benefit from the experience and leadership of these two outstanding women.”


Here’s our weekly roundup of the latest news from our Finovate alumni:

  • Union Bank to leverage technology from FIS for core banking.
  • Italy-based CREDEM leveraging Worldline’s Payment and Liquidity Hub software CRISTAL to process Target2 payments
  • POS software Vend partners with Klarna to offer retailers more flexible payment options.
  • U.K. food retailer The Co-operative to deploy ACI Worldwide’s fraud management solution, ReD Shield.
  • A partnership between TransferGo and Currencycloud will enable the money transfer company to enter 14 new markets.
  • YellowDog forges reseller agreement with Annex Pro.
  • Bankable cozies up with Plaid to allow its bank customers to connect with their users’ bank accounts.
  • Ohpen appoints former Tesla marketing leader Corinne Aaron as new head of marketing.
  • Segmint to acquire WAND’s Product and Service Taxonomy division.
  • CuneXus celebrates 2019 success with a 40% year-over-year increase in consumer reach.
  • TransUnion expands partnership with Payfone.
  • PayPal reaches $10 billion in charitable donations processed.
  • California approves Sezzle’s lending license.
  • People’s Bank selects NYMBUS’s SmartMarketing and SmartOnboarding solutions.
  • Ayondo ends its European social trading business.

Alumni Features and Profiles

Three Key Lessons We Learned from Plaid – Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that Visa is acquiring Plaid for a deal that’s worth $5.3 billion. The fact that they were so widely used at such an early stage is a testament to the quality of their code, but there are also a few key lessons to take away from their success.

ITSCREDIT’s Joao Pinto on the Digital Lending Opportunity –  ITSCREDIT is a spinoff from ITSECTOR and is a fairly new player in the digital lending space. In this interview, Pinto talks to us about the digital lending opportunity, how his company fits into the current state of this fintech subsector, and what we can expect to see next.

Kasasa Enhances its Take-Back Loan – Community bank marketing expert Kasasa announced a partnership with Carleton today in which Kasasa will integrate Carleton’s insurance and debt protection calculations into its Kasasa Loan.

Our latest FinovateEurope Sneak Peeks Are Up! Meet Dorsum, CASHOFF, Tensorflight, Trulioo, W.UP, Horizn, Glia, and BLECKWEN.

Plinqit Brings Rewards-Powered Financial Literacy to First Community Bank – One day in the distant future, children will be educated in basic financial literacy as readily as they are taught algebra. Until then, solutions like Plinqit from HT Mobile Apps will be valuable tools for credit unions and community banks looking for novel ways to engage and educate their members and customers.

Credit, Data, and Cryptocurrencies: Graychain Rebrands as Credmark – The company that is bringing credit data clarity to the cryptocurrency industry is entering 2020 with a new name.

Tradeshift Lands $240 Million as it Inches Toward Profitability – The San Francisco-based company will use the investment to boost expansion efforts and gear toward a “direct path to profitability in the near future.”

Fintech, Financial Services, and the Case for 5G – Calling 5G “something banks aren’t even thinking about,” Celent SVP Dan Latimore said, “we believe the effects of 5G are going to be subtle and profound over time.”

Backbase-as-a-Service Helps Banks Leverage the Cloud to Innovate and Scale – The solution makes the company’s broad portfolio of digital banking offerings available to FIs looking to accelerate their ability to develop and offer new technologies to customers.

Also on Finovate.com

Visa to Acquire Plaid in $5.3 Billion Deal – “Today marks an important milestone for our company and for fintech,” company co-founder and CEO Zach Perret wrote on the Plaid blog earlier today. “What started with two founders building in a cramped conference room has become an incredible network that enables millions of consumers to interact with over 2,500 digital finance products.”

Not Another 2020 Trends Prediction Post (Seriously, It’s Not!) – We’re taking a look at the trends you can expect to see on stage next month at FinovateEurope. To keep things simple this year, we assessed the themes at a very high level and broke them down into three categories: the big, the little, and the trends in-between.

Singapore’s Digital Banking License Space Race Accelerates – Is there anyone out there who is NOT trying to secure a digital banking license in Singapore? The Monetary Authority of Singapore announced last week that has received 21 applications for digital bank licenses

MogoSpend Offers Credit, Cashback, and Help Reducing Your Carbon Footprint – The new digital spending account from Canadian fintech Mogo does more than help Canadians get control of their finances. The solution also offers cardholders generous cashback rewards and a way to make a positive impact on the environment by reducing their carbon footprint.

Getsafe Expands its Insurtech to the U.K. – If your insurance company is offering you drone insurance, you know it’s not your grandmother’s insurance agency. Germany-based insurtech Getsafe does just that– and the company announced today it is expanding its home contents insurance offering (though, sadly, not its drone insurance offering) to users in the U.K.

Raisin’s New Acquisition Gives Company Access to the U.S. Market – European deposit marketplace Raisin announced today it acquired New York-based Choice Financial Solutions. 

French Fintech Lydia Locks in $45 Million – TechCrunch reported this morning that French mobile payment app Lydia has raised $45 million (€40 million) in a round led by Tencent.

Visa’s Tap to Phone Brings Contactless Payments to mPOS – With Visa’s Tap to Phone app arriving pre-installed on the new, enterprise grade smartphone from Samsung, a broad range of merchants will have access to yet another way to accept payments from customers. 

INTL FCStone Acquires International Bank Transfer Firm – Headquartered in Germany, GIROXX offers international bank transfers and currency hedging. INTL FCStone plans to leverage this technology to expand its current client base to small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Visa to Acquire Plaid in $5.3 Billion Deal

Updated 1/14/2020: The first big fintech acquisition of the year just crossed the headlines: Visa has agreed to acquire innovative fintech Plaid for a reported $5.3 billion in “total purchase consideration.”

“Today marks an important milestone for our company and for fintech,” company co-founder and CEO Zach Perret wrote on the Plaid blog earlier today. “What started with two founders building in a cramped conference room has become an incredible network that enables millions of consumers to interact with over 2,500 digital finance products.”

Plaid’s technology connects digital consumers with thousands of apps and services ranging from Transferwise and Betterment to Chime, Acorns, and popular payment app, Venmo. The company estimates that one in four individuals with a U.S. bank account have used Plaid to connect with thousands of developers across 11,000+ financial institutions.

Visa said the acquisition will bolster the company’s capacity to serve and reputation with fintech developers – especially when it comes to providing them with enhanced payment functionality and related value-added services. Visa also believes the acquisition will help open new business opportunities both in the U.S. and around the world.

“We are extremely excited about our acquisition of Plaid and how it enhances the growth trajectory of our business,” Visa CEO and chairman Al Kelly said. “Plaid is a leader in the fast growing fintech world with best-in-class capabilities and talent. The acquisition, combined with our many fintech efforts already underway, will position Visa to deliver even more value for developers, financial institutions, and consumers.”

Visa participated in Plaid’s Series C round in 2018, which was led by Index Ventures and Kleiner Perkins. The company raised $250 million in that funding raising effort. Plaid began the year with an acquisition of its own, purchasing account aggregation and data analytics technology provider Quovo in January of 2019. The value of that deal was not disclosed; Bloomberg reported that the sticker price for Quovo could have been as high as $200 million. Quovo, incidentally, is also a FinDEVr alum, participating in our New York developers conference in 2017.

Plaid demonstrated its technology at FinDEVrSiliconValley in 2014, demonstrating how its API for Financial Infrastructure enabled developers to leverage data quickly, efficiently, and securely power fintech applications. Headquartered in San Francisco, California and founded in 2012, Plaid had raised $310 million in funding previous to today’s announcement.

The ripples from the acquisition news are reverberating throughout the fintech community. And while some are worried about the ability of the innovative startup from San Francisco continue to drive change in the industry, others are busy heralding the news as a victory for fintech and incumbent financial services firms, alike.

Indeed, the acquisition of Plaid by Visa has put other fintechs involved in financial data on notice that they too may hear an inquiring knock on their proverbial doors. One observer on Twitter asked “Will $MA pick up Finicity now?” As of this writing, neither company has deigned to comment.

Visa’s Tap to Phone Brings Contactless Payments to mPOS

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo from Pexels

With Visa’s Tap to Phone app arriving pre-installed on the new, enterprise grade smartphone from Samsung, a broad range of merchants will have access to yet another way to accept payments from customers. The solution works with any Android smartphone and enables everyone from microbusiness owners to retail sales professionals to make on-the-spot transactions with customers without relying additional hardware.

Visa’s Tap to Phone technology enables consumers to make payments in seconds by tapping their contactless payment card – or smartphone or smartwatch – against the vendor’s Tap-to-Phone enabled smartphone. And because it is built on an EMV chip transaction, Tap to Phone is able to generate the same dynamic security for transactions as a traditional terminal does, ensuring both parties that the transaction is secure.

Visa notes that its Tap to Phone technology is currently being piloted in more than nine markets, including in Canada, the U.K, Ukraine, Turkey, Costa Rica, and Malaysia. Additional pilots are scheduled for Poland, Australia and a few other countries “over the next several months.”

Samsung has selected its Galaxy XCover Pro enterprise smartphone to be integrated with Visa’s Tap to Phone technology. The company expects the combination to be valuable in a variety of verticals both within and beyond ecommerce, such as logistics and healthcare.

“The Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro is a robust retail POS platform for a true retail digital transformation,” Visa’s Head of Seller Solutions Mary Kay Bowman said. “Its applications for businesses such as healthcare, airlines, and restaurants are a great example of how Visa together with Samsung can democratize access to payment experiences that consumers increasingly expect, no matter where they are.”

Samsung has demonstrated its technology on the Finovate stage, teaming up with Fiserv to provide biometric authentication for the payment giant’s Commercial Center: Security solution at FinovateFall 2018. Visa participated in our developers conference, FinDEVr Silicon Valley in 2014, discussing “The Future of Commerce” and introducing its API-less, Visa Checkout integration solution.

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.

Visa’s Minority Stake in Interswitch Creates Africa’s Latest Fintech Unicorn

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.

FinovateMiddleEast returns to Dubai next week, November 20 and 21. Learn about our Day One and Day Two agendas, our demoing companies, and then visit our FinovateMiddleEast registration page and pick up your ticket today.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Yes Bank launches India’s largest banking developer platform.
  • Pakistan-based digital lending platform Finja closes $3 million convertible note funding round.
  • India’s National Stock Exchange launches an open trading API sandbox.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Mastercard partners with Mexico’s weex wallet to offer physical debit cards.
  • Colombian fintech Simetrik inks agreement to serve as payment gateway for Mercado Pago transactions.
  • Brazilian lender Banco Inter unveils new e-commerce app.

Asia-Pacific

  • MoneyGram and Wing partner to launch new mobile wallet in Cambodia.
  • Bank of International Settlements (BIS) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) agree to locate the BIS Innovation Hub Centre in Singapore.
  • New Hong Kong license in hand, Tencent announces plans to build a blockchain-based digital bank.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Visa acquires minority stake in Nigerian digital payments company Interswitch Group, an investment that takes the African firm’s valuation to $1 billion.
  • South African P2P insurance provider Pineapple wins $1.5 million (R22.5 million) in taking home top prize in the Connecticut Innovations VentureClash 2019 competition.
  • Kenya institutes data protection law to support investment in its technology sector.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Billon, a Polish-British blockchain company, joins initiative with Raiffeisen Bank International to digitize the euro.
  • Trusted identities innovator OneSpan partners with Poland’s Bank Millennium.
  • Visa teams up with Georgian challenger bank Space.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • A new interest-free, credit service, Postpay, goes live in Dubai.
  • Executive Magazine looks at the fintech industry in Lebanon and the role of regulation in stimulating growth.
  • Tunisia announces the digitization of its national currency, the dinar, making the first country to convert a portion of its money supply to digital form.

Top image designed by Freepik

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

Around the web

  • Sezzle announces its availability via Visa’s CyberSource payment management platform.
  • Klarna to open its latest House of Klarna pop-up store in Manchester next month.
  • German online lender Kreditech looks to expand operations in India in the wake of $22 million equity fundraising.

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

  • Ephesoft forges partnership with RPA leader Automation Anywhere.
  • Visa launches its Visa Partner Portal to give fintechs greater access to its payments technologies and solutions.
  • Feedzai announces availability of its AI-powered Case Manager solution.
  • Collaboration between Q2 and Socure brings digital identity verification and fraud protection to Q2 Open’s CorePro cloud-based core processor.

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

  • Xignite to Power WealthSimple’s New Stock Trading App.
  • Kony Secures $37 Million in Financing from BMO.
  • Sezzle Raises $30 Million in IPO.
  • Vymo Reels in $18 Million for its Intelligent Sales Assistant.

Around the web

  • Deal sealed: Fiserv completes acquisition of First Data.
  • Visa announces strategic partnership with SME banking service Open.
  • eToro enables retail customers to invest in drone technology via its latest portfolio.
  • iGTB to enhance trade finance operations for two Raiffeisen banks, Niederosterreich-Wien and Landesbank Steiermark.
  • CREALOGIX to power new consumer digital investment platform from MeDirect Group.
  • JP Morgan Chase ends loan origination partnership with OnDeck.
  • ThetaRay brings on Idan Keret as Chief Customer Success Officer.
  • GreenDot offers customers 3% cash back on online and in-app purchases and a savings account paying 3% APY.
  • Fintech Finance interviews Olga Feldmeier, Smart Valor CEO.
  • Redrock Biometrics secures a perfect score in Level 1 Presentation Attack Detection confirmation testing by iBeta.
  • SpyCloud expands into Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

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.

Visa Acquires Germany’s POS Payment Gateway Payworks

Visa will create a fully white-labelled omnichannel payment management platform for merchants and acquirers after acquiring Payworks, reports Jane Connolly of Fintech Futures (Finovate’s sister publication).

The news follows a 2018 strategic partnership and investment Visa made in Payworks, a Munich-based provider of next-generation payment gateway software for point of sale (POS).

Visa will integrate its CyberSource digital payment management platform with Payworks’ cloud-based software for in-store payment processing, allowing merchants and acquirers to accept face-to-face transactions across multiple POS terminal types.

The platform will provide a unified payment experience for in-store, in-app and online purchases.

“For the past two years, we have partnered closely with Payworks to deliver cutting-edge integrated commerce solutions for CyberSource’s clients worldwide,” said Carleigh Jaques, SVP, global head of digital merchant products at Visa. “As these solutions become mainstream, aligning more closely with Payworks and combining our businesses is a natural extension of our relationship.”

Christian Deger, CEO and co-founder of Payworks, added: “Integrated commerce is an accelerating opportunity for Payworks and its clients. By combining our POS technology with CyberSource’s digital commerce capabilities, we can bring our joint solution to merchants and acquirers across the globe at an accelerated pace. We are excited about joining the Visa family and integrating our capabilities to deliver innovative, differentiated integrated-commerce solutions.”

Research has shown that creating an omnichannel fulfilment strategy is among the top priorities for 94% of retailers.

Payworks demonstrated its platform at FinovateEurope 2014. Headquartered in Munich and founded in 2012, the company began this year with the launch of the first Android-based smart terminal, which was added to its portfolio of pre-certified payment terminals on its Pulse gateway.

This April, the company extended its partnership with worldwide POS software provider Lightspeed. In May, Payworks inked a deal with Hubtel to give merchants in Ghana and Kenya broader access to Payworks’ all-in-one, Android-based smart terminals.

Visa and PayPal’s New Deal

Just one day shy of Canada day, Visa and PayPal inked a deal to enable Canadian consumers to instantly access funds via Instant Transfer, a tool PayPal launched in the U.S. earlier this year.

While the U.S. service is powered via a partnership with JPMorgan Chase, PayPal’s Instant Transfer in Canada is powered by Visa’s push payments system, Visa Direct. The Canadian rollout of the new tool uses Visa debit card rails to move money from a customer’s PayPal account to their bank account in real time.

President of PayPal Canada Paul Parisi said that the company is focused on creating efficiencies for customers. “Instant Transfer is just one more way we are giving control and flexibility to our customers, allowing them to send and spend their money on their own terms,” he added.

The launch of Instant Transfer is expected to offer gig economy workers faster access to their earnings, which often are paid via PayPal or Venmo. The tool will also help PayPal compete with Zelle, a bank-owned P2P money transfer tool (and PayPal competitor) which relies on ACH to move funds, a process which often takes three days to complete.

PayPal charges the same for its Instant Transfer service as it does for its debit card transfer. Users pay one percent of the transaction up to $10.

PayPal was founded in 1998 and has a market capitalization of $138 billion. The company showcased its Instant Account Creation feature at FinovateFall 2012. 

Visa demoed at FinovateSpring 2010 and also showcased at our developers conference in 2014. The company has 39 APIs that offer developers tools for commercial payments, data and analytics, identity an security, offers and benefits, payments, and more.