The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup sees payment service provider Mollie hire Booking.com executive Schoute. While core banking firm Thought Machine teams up with payments technology company Wise.
Global innovation platform Plug and Play has opened a new office in Seoul, Korea. Plug and Play Korea will primarily focus on corporate innovation in the areas of fintech, insurtech and health, as well as smart cities. As well as accelerating Korean startups that target the global market, it will also bring in overseas startups. Its first Korean accelerator programme is scheduled for summer 2021.
Edenred, the salary processing provider, is offering financial literacy workshops to modest-income workers in order to break down barriers to financial empowerment in the UAE. It has also unveiled a WhatsApp channel to offer tips and tutorials on finance management, fraud prevention, mobile app usage as well as money transfers.
Global e-commerce payments provider dLocal is entering three new markets in Southeast Asia – Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. dLocal will now provide payment capabilities for e-wallets, cash and international card payments, as well as chargebacks and refunds. dLocal will be also adding cash payments as well as local bank transfers in Thailand.
While, Mastercard has pledged $10million to address critical Covid-related needs in India. Delivered through the Mastercard Impact Fund, the efforts will focus on access to hospital resources, oxygen supplies, as well as support of the company’s employees across the country.
Volt, the open payments gateway, has unveiled new cash management functionality providing merchants and PSPs with visibility of open banking payments made through the UK’s Faster Payments Service and the European SEPA Credit Transfer and SEPA Instant Credit Transfer schemes. Volt Connect is available in the UK now and across Europe by the end of May 2021.
Red metal Curve cards are back. Fintech Curve has released a new batch of its 18g cards – three times as heavy as average credit cards – for existing and new customers. Curve says it will also launch enhanced features to its foreign exchange proposition in the next few weeks.
Arab Monetary Fund has launched the Index of Modern Financial Technologies in the Arab Countries (FinxAr). The annual index aims to identify the efforts of Arab countries in enabling and promoting fiintech adoption. It consists of six main indices – policies and legislation, the demand side, access to finance, financial markets infrastructure, talent development to support innovations and finally collaboration and partnerships.
Meanwhile, The Alliance for Green Commercial Banks, co-launched by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and International Finance Corporation has hosted its first roundtable. The ‘CEO Talk: Opportunities for Green Bank Transformation’ virtual roundtable attracted more than 1,100 participants. The Alliance was jointly launched in November 2020 to help banks address climate change across emerging markets.
Manchester-headquartered payments fintech Total Processing has opened an office in Dubai. Its co-founder Alex Leigh will head up operations in the region, alongside new appointments Danny Makin, who joins as regional head (MENA) and Alex Morris as head of sales (MENA). The office is located in One Central Dubai.
On the move
Payment service provider Mollie has appointed Rogier Schoute as chief product officer. He joins from Booking.com, where he led payments product development for the past two years. Schoute. who previously worked at Klarna, will lead the development of the next generation of Mollie’s payments and financial services offering.
HSBC Bank and HSBC Europe CEO Colin Bell will join the board of directors at London fintech startup Quantexa next month. He will support Quantexa’s global expansion and accelerate data-driven transformation in its core markets. In additional news, Ray O’Brien, global risk chief operating officer at HSBC, steps down from Quantexa’s board.
SumUp has announced Johannes Schaback is taking up the role of CTO on 1 May. The appointment follows the payments service provider’s recent €750million funding raise to fuel growth, global expansion and product push. Schaback also brings experience as an angel investor – has has invested in a mix of German and European companies over the last 10 years.
Meanwhile, Tradeshift appoints James Stirk as head of enterprise sales for EMEA & APAC regions. The e-invoicing and accounts payable automation company says Stirk supports its ambitious global growth strategy. He joins Tradeshift following a stint as vice president and general manager EMEA at FinancialForce.
Plenitude appoints former HSBC UK head of financial crime compliance, Allan Clare, as senior advisor. Clare will help support the financial crime, risk and compliance specialist’s growth plans and business strategy. He has previously held managing director roles at HSBC, Barclays and Nationwide Building Society.
Finally, there’s two new additions to the Cartlow leadership team. Anas Al-Khaldi is named chief operations officer, while Mahmoud Zou Al Ghina as commercial director. Both new hires are part of the UAE re-commence provider’s plans to ‘grow and scale-up’.
International payment service provider ECOMMPAY is partnering with open banking solutions provider Nuapay. A solution is integrated in ECOMMPAY’s portal through API calls to Nuapay, and webhook notifications allow ECOMMPAY to track end-to-end payment events, providing a fully managed reconciliation and payout service to merchants.
Swedish fintech Plexian and Finnish Enfuce have partnered up to drive innovation within payment and loyalty solutions. Enfuce will also handle fraud monitoring, disputes and chargebacks as well as the BIN relationship for Plexian.
UTP Group has partnered with credit card processing system Faster Processing to provide its e-commerce customers with the ability to receive fund settlement within hours. UTP Group says it is the only payment solution company to offer this service to both online merchants and physical stores.
PPS has teamed up with Finnish accounting company Talenom to bolster its IBAN offering. Through the partnership, Talenom will integrate financial services into its self-service Accounting Alex, including both physical and virtual Mastercard payment cards. Plus, a Finnish IBAN provided by PPS for all accounts, SEPA payments and electronic bank account statements.
Barko Financial Services (BFS), a microfinance institution in South Africa, has gone live on Temenos software-as-a-service. Using Temenos’s solutions, BFS can originate loans for customers via mobile in 4.5 minutes. Temenos says the end-to-end platform modernisation will help BFS elevate customers’ experience and grow its business sustainably.
Meanwhile, Broadridge has integrated FundApps‘ automated compliance solution into portfolio and order management capabilities. FundApps’ compliance-as-a-service solution automates compliance monitoring and reporting. They say the strategic partnership allows firms to spend less time on operational and compliance issues and more time on managing assets.
ChargeAfter will add Quadpay and Zip’s buy now, pay later installments to its portfolio of consumer financing lenders and options for online and in-store shopping. Through a partnership, ChargeAfter will enable merchants to offer Quadpay’s and Zip’s ‘pay in 4’ installments product using its one step financing application.
Osu, an invoicing and payment-app for the self-employed, has joined forces with open banking infrastructure provider Yapily. The partnership will see Osu provide the self-employed with a way to receive payments without fees or settlement delays. Osu also has plans to increase its customer base to 10,000 active users by the end of 2021.
Thought Machine, the cloud native core banking technology company, has teamed up with international payments technology company Wise. The two companies have combined their technologies and built an integration layer that reduces the developer effort needed for financial institutions to plug into Wise’s API by up to 60 per cent.
Visa and Airbnb have joined forces to enable hosts to access their earnings more quickly. Using Visa Direct, hosts will have an option to move money from Airbnb to a bank account associated with a Visa debit card.
First Bank has hailed its work with Linedata after adopting its cloud-based capabilities using Linedata Capitalstream. Since the initial integration of Linedata Capitalstream in 2016, the partnership between Linedata and First Bank has supported the bank’s business lending segment in implementing automation, digitising processes, as well as offering a greater level of support to clients.
Fintech firm PayBy has announced a new partnership with NT.Payments to expand its footprint in the UAE. PayBy top-ups and repayments can now also be done using cash at NT.Payments kiosks. PayBy customers can also repay credit bills, purchase goods and services.
Meanwhile, Central Bank of Kenya and E4Impact Foundation have agreed to support Kenyan fintech startups and enterprises. This will be through access to customised capacity building, linkages to investors, markets and ecosystem partners. The MoU will leverage on programmes run by the two organisations.
JCB and GB Prime Pay announce partnership to expand online merchant network in Thailand. GBP online merchants across the country will now offer JCB acceptance. They say the partnership responds to further expanding and meeting the growing demand of online business.
B2B global payments fintech Currencycloud is partnering with Alviere, the embedded finance platform provider. The Currencycloud multi-currency e-wallet Spark solution has now been incorporated into Alviere’s Hive API solution. Alviere can offeer its large corporate clients the ability to embed financial services into their businesses.
Meanwhile, Visa has teamed up with MEA payment provider Pyypl to promote financial inclusion in emerging markets. The strategic collaboration will provide Pyypl with access to Visa’s international network and expertise in payment solutions.
Finastra has announced BANK OF AFRICA has selected Conpend’s TRADE AI app from its open innovation platform, FusionFabric.cloud. Conpend’s app is designed to reduce risk and speed up trade finance transactions. It digitises trade finance processes using optical character recognition, NLP and progressive machine learning.
Kinetic and payments platform Vyne have partnered to help students pay rent directly from their account in three clicks. The partnership will use open banking to move money in real time between bank accounts. Kinetic Software works with 80 per cent of universities in the UK and also manages 425,000 student bedrooms worldwide.
Research and insights
New research by Australian Ethical reveals that climate change and environmental factors are the top driver of investment decisions by ESG investors. According to a survey of 2,854 Australian investors and 321 financial advisers, 78 per cent of ESG investors intend to invest based on environmental factors in the next 12 months.
Funding and investments
Fintech banking startup Step has raised $100million in Series C funding. Led by General Catalyst, the round also attracted NBA All-Star Stephen Curry, actor Jared Leto and Dreamers VC, the fund founded by Will Smith. The bank for teens will use the new funding to improve product infrastructure, add new features and for recruitment.
Akeyless, the secrets management company, has secured a $14million Series A round of financing. Led by Team8 with participation from Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP). The firm will use the funding to accelerate product development and growth of the world’s first SaaS-based unified vault.
Finally, payment fintech Tribal Credit has closed a combined Series A and debt round of $34.3million. The investment was led by QED Investors and Partners for Growth. Additionally, existing investors BECO Capital, Global Ventures, OTG Ventures and Endure Capital took part – joined by new investors Endeavor Catalyst.