This Week in Fintech (7/30)

This Week in Fintech (7/30)

Hello Fintech Friends,

In the last couple weeks, we rolled the newsletter out to two new regions: Europe and Asia.

Now, we’re thinking about where to go next. We would love your input: Which regions should have their own edition of This Week in Fintech?

Please enjoy another week of fintech and banking news below.


💬 Quote of the Week

“My toe dip into the club? A pool party held by a digital-only organization that would be happy, someday, to replace your bank.”
  • Robert Hackett, Fortune (Source)

📖 Read of the Week

This week, in FICO Score’s Hold on the Credit Market Is Slipping, the Wall Street Journal profiles the rise of alternative underwriting methods and credit scoring. This time, it’s not only fintechs: banks are rushing to leverage the wealth of online data available on consumers and businesses to lend more affordably. Regulators are pushing to diminish reliance on FICO in order to expand access to capital. But we won’t really know until a correction whether this is a new sustainable paradigm in real-time, deep data usage or another cyclical over-leveraging of the American economy.

📊 Stat of the Week

Most American consumers have now exited the loan payment assistance they received early in the pandemic. (Source)


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🏦 Financial Services & Banking

🚀 Product Launches

Swift, the banking cooperative payment protocol, launched Swift Go to allow customers to send near real-time low-value payments directly from bank accounts.

Visa launched a buy-now-pay-later API.

📰 Other News

Goldman Sachs created a blockchain and DeFi ETF and… it doesn’t look like it contains any blockchain or DeFi?

Mastercard opened up Start Path, a new accelerator program for cryptocurrency companies. Mastercard and Lloyds Bank are working on a payment service that will let customers of any website make payments directly from their bank accounts, without entering their credentials. Visa and Barclaycard partnered on an automatic cashback program.

ANZ Bank is spinning out its venture and incubator business as a standalone business called ANZi. Banco Santander’s merchant payments fintech, PagoNxt, is expanding into Europe under the name Getnet.

Estonia’s Eesti Pank is researching a digital euro with the European Central Bank. Who else is working on CBDCs? India and Nigeria are both moving ahead, Ghana is making one, and France is sending one to Tunisia.

Royal Bank of Canada plans to hire 300 workers at its Calgary Innovation Hub.

UK supermarket bank Tesco will close down all its customers’ checking accounts due to low usage.

Swiss exchange SIX’s profits slipped on low trading. Commerzbank will have to write off €200 million after a deal with HSBC fell through. HSBC was accused of forex fraud.


💻 Fintech

🚀 Product Launches

Egyptian fintech Khazna, which provides earned wage access, bill payment, and online purchases, launched its own card.

Embedded payroll and HR platform Puzzl launched its new gross-to-net calculation engine.

Propel, an app to help low-income consumers navigate their benefits, launched a new app to help SNAP users manage their finances.

Biller, a buy-now-pay-later service for B2B purchases, launched in Europe.

Sequin launched their credit-building debit card for women.

The Khazna superapp.

📰 Other News

The Chinese government is leaning heavily on fintechs Ant Financial and Tencent to help it develop its central bank digital currency - even at risk to those fintechs’ core payment networks. Alipay+, Alipay’s cross-border payments and marketing solution, partnered with Nuvei to connect their merchants to over 1.2bn e-wallet users in Asia.

Afterpay plans to launch a consumer banking app in October. Meanwhile, TikTok banned buy-now-pay-later ads.

Marqeta will power the virtual card that sits under Google Pay’s stored value balances.

Neobank HM Bradley moved to invite-only.

Robinhood is testing a new feature to protect crypto traders from volatility. Ripple, meanwhile, is opening a fiat-crypto corridor between Japan and the Philippines.

Wise publicly debuted its full future product roadmap.

Current partnered with The Bancorp on its neobank. Green Dot partnered with Finicity to give users open banking data access. Open banking platform Aiia partnered with Danish pension fund Velliv to give customers instant pension fund access.

South African mobile money provider Minit Money will participate in the government’s regulatory sandbox. Money transfer app Spoko plans to expand in Africa and Asia. Mobile network Cellulant received approval in Tanzania to become a payment solution service provider.

PayPal released earnings and missed guidance.

Shopify merchants can now sell their NFTs. Amazon may vaguely be doing somecrypto stuff. Fast won’t charge fees for charitable donations.


🇪🇺 Europe

  • Revolut is launching “Stays”, a travel booking feature to compete with Booking.com and Expedia.
  • Visa is acquiring the UK’s Currencycloud, a cross-border FX exchange platform for businesses. The deal values Currencycloud at £700m.
  • Wise reported its Q1 financial year results (which is actually Q2 2021, as Wise fiscal year ends in March), with revenue +43% yoy to £123.5m.

🌏 Asia

  • SEBI, India’s securities regulator, issued a guideline calling for an industry effort to jointly develop a common platform to serve existing and future mutual fund investors.
  • Credit on UPI is witnessing regulatory hurdles.
  • Pagarbook, a SME payroll digitisation fintech, laid off its entire sales and marketing staff owing to product failures and low sign ups.
  • 5 Indian Banks (SBI, Axis, ICICI, Indian and IDBI Bank) formed and invested in IBBIC, a distributed ledger technology startup.

📜 Policy

In collaboration with Ben White.

  • The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal cited tax enforcement of cryptocurrencies as a means to pay for the $550 billion package.
  • The Senate Banking Committee held a hearing on systemic risks of crypto, highlighting crypto as an increasingly partisan issue, with Ds skeptical and Rs cautiously supportive.
  • The Financial Technology Association announced seasoned public affairs exec Penny Lee as their first executive director. Lee penned an announcement of her own.
  • HM Treasury published a consultation on the UK’s AML/CFT regulations, proposing to exclude open banking groups that don’t touch funds from the rules.
  • The OCC appointed its first “Climate Change Risk Officer.”
  • Democratic Senators appear interested in cracking down on “mega-IRAs,” a Peter Thiel-favorite.
  • Senator Sherrod Brown asked the CFPB to address the risks to consumers from fintech companies that closed checking accounts.
  • Another group of Democratic Senators put forward a bill to expand the 36% military lending cap to cover all Americans.
  • India has proposed a phased roll-out of its central bank digital currency.
  • Blockchain company SETL published a white paper on the value of tokenization, calling on regulators to supervise blockchain-based tokens on par with traditional assets.
  • The US Department of Justice is exploring a criminal probe into stablecoin company Tether.
  • UK’s Coalition for a Digital Economy issued a report calling on a 5-part framework for supervising the Buy Now, Pay Later ecosystem.
  • The European Commission is expanding AML oversight to the crypto ecosystem.
  • The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority mandated an open banking approach to “sweeping” funds.
  • The Bank of International Settlements published a blueprint for global real time payment connectivity.

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