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UK Fintech News Round-up: The Latest Stories 26/01

Each week we take a look at the latest news from the UK fintech scene. This week, half of Brits want urgent help managing their cash and challenger card Keebo announces their beta launch

EVERYTHING raises €2M to Re-Invent Premium Bonds in the UK

EVERYTHING, a UK based fintech company on a mission to build the next social finance experience for Gen Z & young millennials, announced that they have raised €2m from a group of high profile angel investors and entrepreneurs. 

EVERYTHING, which is free to join and use, will be launching a debit Mastercard in the UK that will be targeting Gen-Zs and young millennials, where users can win instant cash rewards every time they tap, spend or save money. It is an evolution of the UK’s most popular savings method, Premium Bonds, with a social twist. To increase the chance of winning, people can also invite their friends and family to their own “SQUADS” and have a chance to win every time they tap or save too.

“Premium Bonds are the UK’s biggest and probably most loved savings product. Premium Bonds haven’t evolved for decades but remain popular across age groups, often gifted across generations. We want to reinvent Premium Bonds to make them more accessible for younger generations and inject the excitement of winning into everyday finances like spending and saving without the risk of losing,” said Michael Wilkinson, co-founder and COO at EVERYTHING.

New poll finds Half of Brits want urgent help managing their cash

Nearly half of UK adults (44%) want urgent help in managing their own money, according to a new opinion poll highlighting the dire state of the personal finances of millions of people, commissioned by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), and credit management company Lowell. They said that if they were better taught how to manage their household budgets and bills they would be in much better shape financially.

Problems are particularly acute among young people with two thirds (68%) saying a lack of money management skills is a key factor in driving them into debt.

The CSJ and Lowell are joining forces to reduce levels of financial illiteracy and improve the support for people on low incomes facing a rapidly changing financial market and cost of living crisis. They have launched the Financial Education Initiative: a research and policy programme that will gather data about the changing financial landscape, examine levels of financial literacy, review the current financial education offer and make recommendations on where action can be taken.

Modulr granted Dutch EMI licence in mission to enable next-generation payments for European businesses

Storm2: Amsterdam - The Heartbeat of European Fintech

UK payments platform for digital businesses, Modulr is now licensed as an Electronic Money Institution by De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), marking a major milestone for the platform’s local European ambitions.

The fintech will offer the full spectrum of payment services across the European Economic Area (EEA), bringing fast, reliable and embeddable payment solutions to European businesses, to enable them to overcome inefficiencies and friction in existing payment processes as well as building payment products and experiences into their technology platforms.

Marca Wosoba, General Manager of Modulr Netherlands, comments, “This is a huge milestone in making global embedded payments delivered – not by banks but – by API as default a reality.

“With our Dutch licence we can give European businesses a real competitive advantage with smooth payment flows at either end of the rail and a proven real-time payments engine that can significantly scale. We’re looking forward to welcoming talented individuals as we grow our Dutch and broader European teams throughout 2022.”

Keebo announces their beta launch to bring financial inclusion to credit invisibles

corporate cardsKeebo, the new challenger credit card that helps people unlock the power of credit, has announced its beta launch with Mastercard. With a focus on tackling financial exclusion, Keebo is the UK’s first credit card company to use open banking data to improve access to credit by understanding a customer’s broader financial behaviour, including spending habits, income frequency, and savings.

The beta launch will allow people to download the app and apply for the new credit card. Those who are interested in signing up will be able to get started on the Keebo website.

Michael Vanaselja, CEO and Co-founder comments “We are thrilled to be launching the Keebo beta with Mastercard! With a large number of rejected applications made by people with limited or no UK credit histories, we share the goal to open up credit and bring financial inclusion to those who have experienced unfair difficulty with the current model such as freelancers and content creators through the use of our new underwriting technology. We look forward to using Mastercard’s partner program and expanding our service to more users in 2022.”

Gen Z’s seeking Financial Ombudsman support for loans and credit cards rises by 200% in five years

Student FinanceThe number of 16-24-year-olds contacting the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) for help with loans, credit cards and debt services has increased by more than 200%1 over the last five years, new figures show.

2,858 enquiries were made to the FOS last year about loans from Gen Z’s, up from only 947 in 2016/17 – a 213% increase. The figures were obtained by London-based financial app W1TTY via a Freedom of Information request.

Complaints about credit services including credit cards rose by 210% during the same period, increasing 42% year-on-year on average. Meanwhile, the number of young people seeking help for debt services, including current accounts, increased a further 205%.

Ammar Kutait, CEO and Founder of W1TTY, a smart finance app aimed at Gen Z’s, said: “This upward trend in young people seeking FOS support is worrying and reflects the rise in young people turning to loans, credit cards and other credit facilities to support their finances.

“It is important young people have access to the tools and advice to make the right choices when it comes to managing their finances. Providing financial education on how to spend and invest sensibly is key if we’re to avoid Gen Z’s becoming a generation of debt.”

Information Commissioner’s Office issue over £2.2 million in penalties for regulation breaches

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) issued £2.2 million in fines for privacy regulation breaches in 2020-21, whilst also pushing to improve regulations for businesses with a number of new initiatives.

The data, analysed by the Parliament Street think tank, was uncovered in the Government’s recently published Better Regulation Annual Report  2020-21 which detailed the fines and penalties for the reporting period alongside actions taken to assist businesses.

The Information Commissioner’s Office fines totalled £2.2 million for various breaches, the largest of which being £2.1 million of penalties for privacy and electronic communications breaches.

The ICO issued £98,800 worth of fines to non-public sector organisations for not registering with the ICO, and a further £25,000 for “other” data protection breaches.

Monese Launches New Credit Builder

Monese is expanding its offering with the launch of a new Credit Builder service for its customers in the UK. Having opened a waitlist in 2021, Credit Builder is now available and being used by selected customers in an early access programme ahead of being made generally available to UK customers over the coming months.

Monese’s Credit Builder will enable customers to build their credit history and improve their reputation with the three main UK credit agencies and lenders. With a better credit history, customers will be also able to access better value borrowing deals.

Garrett Cassidy, VP Credit at Monese, said: “Customer feedback has made it clear that access to credit is a persistent and real challenge in the UK. After the pandemic hit, we asked our customers what features they needed the most from an account. Access to credit always came out on top. The problem is that many of them are locked out of credit because they are credit invisible, so we can say with some confidence that our customers need Monese’s Credit Builder.”

Author

  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

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