By Alex Vergé, Reporter at The Fintech Times.
In October 2018, the first Fintech Power 50 list will be announced. Those chosen will benefit from comprehensive online coverage, bespoke event distribution, networking opportunities and being featured in a print and digital publication, distributed to a global network of 98,000 key decision managers.
Below are five fintech companies out of the 300+ nominees that The Fintech Times believes have displayed the leadership and innovation required to make the list.
Founded in 2014 in Poland, BitBay is a trading platform where you can buy and sell Bitcoins and other digital currencies like Etherum or Lisk. In September 2017, the third version of the system was launched – BitBay 3.0. The new system provided major upgrades in terms of design, speed and overall user experience.
Over time, the BitBay team and community has consistently grown and now counts 200+ employees and 800,000+ active users.
On July 19, the Daily Hodl reported that BitBay was launching a fiat currency exchange service with 0% commission. Users can convert any amount of, say, EUR to USD and make a transaction, and therefore have the ability to trade using currencies with the best trading-pair value against Bitcoin. Also reported was that BitBay is moving its operations from Poland to Malta, a more crypto-business friendly environment.
A subsidiary of the Otto Group, Germany’s largest e-commerce retailer, collectAI was founded in 2016. It uses AI technology to improve receivables management and to make decision-making processes as fast, efficient and automated as possible. The technology of collectAI is able to cover receivables management processes from top to bottom, and also offers a broad range of digital communication channels and payment methods.
At Money 20/20, it was announced collectAI has partnered with Hanseatic Bank. The latter reported that collectAI’s approach had improved Hanseatic Bank’s collection rate by 24% during the first six months of the partnership. It added that it also reduced the bank’s expenses for receivables management by a staggering 88.6%.
Unlike a typical bank, Monzo has no physical branch, instead the whole service can be accessed via an app. With its trademark coral card, Monzo has quickly made a name for itself. Some of its key features include user-friendly ways of managing your finances, like the ability to set monthly spending targets, easily view your spending and receive instant notifications if you’re spending too fast.
Since it was launched in 2015, Monzo has amassed over 600,000 customers and has led the way in showing where the future of banking lies. Although the company has been able to raise significant amounts, it recorded a pre-tax annual loss of £7.9M for the financial year ending in February. Its CEO, Tom Blomfield, is realistic about the future and knows open banking won’t take the place of traditional institutions overnight. He does however believe that ‘the concept behind it [open banking] has the potential to revolutionise retail finance totally.’
Like Monzo, Revolut is part of a new breed of banks who are challenging the traditional high-street banking services. At present, Revolut offers two possible types of account: standard, which is free, and premium, which you can get for a sum of £6.99 per month. The latter offers a host of additional services, including free overseas medical insurance and exclusive 24/7 priority support. However, the standard account still provides you with the attractive principal features of a Revolut account, namely a free UK and Euro IBAN account, interbank FX rates and free bank transfers in 26 currencies.
Revolut says that so far it has saved an astronomical £560 million in fees for its customers. As word of mouth marketing gathers pace, Revolut is set to keep growing and further disrupt the banking industry.
Starling Bank is a third example of a mobile-only bank to have made a name for itself in the last few years. Its CEO, Anne Boden – voted third most innovative CEO in 2017 by Banking Innovation – has kept her company moving forward. In 2017 alone, Starling built APIs to include support for devices like Google Home, integrated Apple and Android Pay, announced a push for B2B payments and opened a “marketplace” for third-party fintechs to weld seamlessly into the app for better customer experiences. Whilst Starling offers many of the features of Monzo and Revolut, including the ability to send money globally in many different currencies, it also pays a small amount of interests on balances.
Just last week Starling released its latest innovation: a debit card that is printed vertically. ‘Normal’ cards are printed horizontally because of the way old sales machines worked and because the details could be embossed onto a sales voucher. Starling believes their new card can provide customers with tighter security, since the details are on the underside of the card, and therefore make it harder for others to see. Commentators have rightly labelled this move somewhat of a gimmick, but it is nonetheless reflective of Starling’s push for innovation and, for that matter, that of the whole ‘new’ banking sector.
Make sure to check out The Fintech Power 50 – Five Companies To Watch: Part 1.