Tandem Bank ditches popular tool, Tide to introduce payroll service, and Revolut Plus launches

INTERVIEW

Launched in September 2019, Kard raised a € 6 million seed round from Founders Future and business angels, including several global Fintech experts. “We had 250.000 people on the waitlist before the launch with our refer a friend and get 1€ system,” said Scott Gordon. Link here.

REPORT

An interesting report from NMD+ that provides a summary of the findings of the benchmarking of a selection of UK banks' social media activity in October 2020.

The banks reviewed were Starling Bank, Revolut, Monzo Bank, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, NatWest, Barclays UK, Nationwide Building Society, first direct, Halifax, Tesco Bank and Santander UK.

Read more here.

NOW, ON TO THE SUMMARY OF LAST WEEK'S DIGITAL BANKING SPACE 

NEWS HIGHLIGHTS:

Without a shadow of a doubt, the battle for Open Banking supremacy is going to be one of the defining FinTech stories of 2021. This nascent industry has roared into life over the past 24 months, with multi-million-pound funding rounds and multi-billion-dollar acquisitions alike. Link here.

INDUSTRY HIGHLIGHTS:

In Luxembourg, more than a third of the residents used their smartphones regularly to check their account balance in 2018, which represents a 20% year-on-year increase. The shift toward digital tools is remarkable and presents a real challenge for traditional retail banks. Link here.

Angel Investors Syndicate. Join now! Link here.

UNITED KINGDOM

Tandem Bank ditches popular tool, Tide to introduce payroll service, and Revolut Plus launches.

Tandem Bank is scrapping one of its most popular savings account features – the Autosavings tool – from next month as it continues to focus on its mission to become ‘the green bank’. The bank introduced Autosavings in March 2019 to help people build better savings habits. Link here.

Tide, the UK’s leading business financial platform, announced it will roll-out the first payroll service available within a banking service in early 2021. Tide Payroll will allow SMEs to conduct their payroll from within their Tide account with a simple, all-in-one payroll service that will allow users to get set up, run payroll and pay employees through Tide. Link here.

Revolut, which was the first UK banking app to launch a range of premium accounts - complete with luxurious metal cards - has now launched a new cheaper option called Revolut Plus priced at £2.99 per month.  Link here.

Also, Revolut announced it listed four new cryptocurrencies to customers from the European Economic Area. According to an official blog post, the neobank listed EOS (EOS), omg network (OMG), 0x (ZRX) and tezos (XTZ). Link here.

Wahed Inc, a U.S.-based Islamic-finance fintech startup backed by Saudi Aramco, will acquire Niyah Ltd, a British company that runs a digital banking app designed for the Muslim community, the companies said on Thursday. Link here.

Form3, the leading cloud-native payment technology provider has secured a partnership with and investment from global payment technology leader Mastercard. Together, Form3 and Mastercard will help banks and financial institutions around the world connect with domestic and international payment platforms more seamlessly, reliably and securely. Link here.

Pockit, the inclusive FinTech company focused on customers who are excluded and underserved by high street banks, announces today that it has formed a new partnership with TransferWise, the global technology company that is building the best way to move money around the world. Link here.

Tide announced the launch of a virtual office address service, in partnership with Hoxton Mix, a leading virtual office address provider. While the pandemic has been disastrous for many individuals and businesses, there has been a spike in entrepreneurialism in the UK, with the third quarter of 2020 (July – September) seeing a 30% increase compared to the same period in 2019. Link here.

Currencycloud, an embedded cross-border solutions platform, has announced plans to invest £1.5 million on measures to embrace remote-first working across its business as it envisages life after the pandemic. The policy marks a mindset shift, with remote work being assumed as the default going forward. Link here.

Cleo, the London-founded “financial assistant” that takes the form of an app and chatbot and now counts the U.S. as its largest market, has raised $44 million in Series B funding. Leading the round, which I understand actually closed earlier this year, is EQT Ventures. Also participating are existing investors Balderton Capital, LocalGlobe and SBI. Link here.

Challenger marhba is preparing to unleash its interest-free digital banking for Muslims in the UK and eventually Europe. The neobank is based in Leeds, in the north of England, and was founded by Abdulqafar Aden. Link here.

Railsbank, the leading global Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) platform, will announce the launch of two revolutionary new products, the Houston platform and OpenRailz API, at this week’s Singapore FinTech Festival. Over the past four years, in preparation for launching the Houston platform and OpenRailz API, Railsbank has deconstructed financial products into core digital components. Link here.

Meniga has partnered with Swedbank, a leading bank in the home markets of Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, to launch new services to increase customer engagement. The new digital banking solution, now live within all of Swedbank’s markets in Sweden, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, is the first product to stem from Meniga’s partnership with Swedbank. Link here.

UK-based fintech, Pockit, is raising its first ever crowdfunding on Crowdcube. The company has applied to Future Fund (the UK government scheme delivered by the British Business Bank) for funding, to match the amount raised through Crowdcube. This amount is reflected on the progress bar to indicate the total round size. Link here.

Money management app Yolt now lets its debit card-holding customers pay via Apple Pay. The new integration will enable Yolt’s users to pay with their iPhones and Apple Watches, instead of using their physical cards or cash. By enabling Apple Pay, Yolt is one step closer to being a one-stop-shop for all of its customers’ needs and making its app more accessible. Link here.

EUROPE

Solarisbank becomes first bank in Germany to fully migrate to the cloud, and Contis joins forces with Mastercard in Europe.

International payments startup Airwallex is taking steps to link its corporate customers to the U.K.’s Faster Payments scheme. The Australian company said it is partnering with with U.K.-based RailsBank, an open banking platform that facilitates connectivity into the U.K. and the EU’s SEPA zones. Link here.

Solarisbank AG, Europe’s leading Banking-as-a-Service platform, today announced that it has successfully migrated all of its core banking systems, digital products, and databases to AWS, making it the first bank in Germany to fully migrate to the cloud. Link here.

Leading European payments fintech Contis announced its partnership with Mastercard as a principal issuing member. Through this partnership, Contis delivers a comprehensive end-to-end Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) platform including direct access to both of the world’s leading global payments networks, accepted by millions of merchants worldwide. Link here.

Challenger bank Lunar and esports team Astralis break the barriers of what to get from your bank. Lunar users can get an Astralis branded debit card, get closer to the players and the team, get insider tips from the stars and access to exclusive content and news. Ahead of the official launch more than 6,000 are on the waitlist. Link here.

Woli Fintech, an Athens-based start-up, founded itself back in May to create a digital banking offering for families. It aims to launch in the first quarter of 2021, co-founder Vasilis Zoupas tells FinTech Futures. The prepaid card and mobile app will allow parents to automate digital payments of pocket money or pay their children instantly. Link here.

Danish-based challenger bank Lunar launches a “pay later” credit making it possible to split all transactions in installments retroactively or postpone an expense up to 30 days in the Lunar app. It includes all payments in your financial life – from ecommerce to grocery shopping and utility bills. Link here.

Banca Generali, an Italian private bank, has bought a $14 million stake in Conio, a Milanese fintech which offers consumers a Bitcoin wallet. The deal will see Conio’s services offered to Banca Generali’s customers sometime next year. Link here.

UNITED STATES

Paxos raises $142m, Galileo welcomes Tomo, and Coinbase files for public listing.

Paxos, a blockchain infrastructure platform with a host of blue-chip clients, has closed a $142m Series C round of funding. Declaration Partners, the investment firm backed by the family office of David M.  Link here.

Galileo Financial Technologies announced that its powering the new FinTech startup TomoCredit, offering the only credit card that doesn’t require a credit score or credit history. TomoCredit founder and CEO Kristy Kim built TomoCredit out of her personal frustrations as a young immigrant entrepreneur. Link here.

DoorDash and Payfare Inc. announced the launch of the DasherDirect platform, a banking solution for DoorDash delivery drivers (Dashers) offering a Business Prepaid Visa Card and mobile banking app.  Link here.

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has filed a draft registration document with the Securities and Exchange Commission over a public listing. Coinbase's submission comes as bitcoin hits a record high amid surging interest from institutional investors. Link here.

Fintech LendUp is creating a so-called challenger bank in partnership with Sutton Bank to help improve the finances of the “economically vulnerable.” Oakland, California-based LendUp will establish Ahead Financials as a subsidiary, with LendUp CEO Anu Shultes holding the same role at the new company. Link here.

CANADA

Neo Financial, the newest Canadian challenger bank startup looking to shake up the financial sector, has announced $50 million CAD and launched its savings account product nationally this week. The raise is comprised of a $25 million Series A equity round that was led by Peter Thiel-backed firm Valar Ventures, and a $25 million debt facility provided by ATB Financial.  Link here.

LATAM

Four months after graduating from Y Combinator, Mozper (YC S20) has launched in Mexico and raised a $3.55 million seed round to develop an app and debit card program designed for children and parents in Latin America. Link here.

AUSTRALIA

Regional Australia Bank announced it has completed integration and deployment of Biza.io’s Consumer Data Right (CDR) solution in a mere three months, enabling participation in information sharing with the Big Four banks through the new open banking system which went live on July 1. Link here.

Gallantree, a Brisbane-based FinTech trying to bring private banking and stockbroking to more than just the 1%, has partnered with digital currency exchange Elbaite. The start-up already offers businesses property development funding, debt financing, and fund management. Link here.

Australian neobank Xinja has pulled the plug on its banking operations, blaming a tough capital raising environment in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic. Launched in May 2017, Xinja was the first independent Australian neobank with products in the market: bank accounts, its high interest savings account ‘Stash’ and the recently added share trading account Dabble. Link here.

ASIA

Backbase, a Global Engagement Banking software provider, has been selected by DigiBankASIA to offer its full-stack digital engagement banking platform solution for UNObank. Together with ecosystem partners Mambu and Amazon Web Services (AWS), Backbase is powering UNObank to deliver a full spectrum of digital financial services for its initial launch in the Philippines. Link here.

London-based fintech unicorn Revolut is planning to launch commission-free stock trading in Singapore, possibly in the next year, as it ramps up expansion in Asia. The feature will let users invest in stocks commission-free, up to a certain limit. Link here.

Razer Fintech, the fintech arm of Razer, announced today (Dec 17) its partnership with Singapore startup Rely to offer buy now pay later (BNPL) services to regional merchants registered under its Razer Merchant Services (RMS). Through this partnership, RMS’ merchants will now be able to provide interest-free BNPL services for its customers. Link here.

AFRICA

Umba, a digital bank for emerging markets and aiming first at Africa, has secured a $2 million seed funding round from new investors including Lachy Groom, ex-Head of Issuing at Stripe; Ludlow Ventures; Frontline Ventures and Act Venture Capital. Link here.

Mastercard is joining forces with South Africa's Nedbank to deliver free business and financial literacy training to 9000 micro-enterprises via text messages. Nearly two thirds of informal micro-enterprises say they are not performing well thanks to the Covd-19 lockdown, according to an Ipsos survey. Link here.

MIDDLE EAST

The State Bank of Pakistan has granted SadaPay approval to officially begin pilot operations. Until now, they had been testing our app and debit card internally with friends and family under our “in-principle” approval, which was awarded to us by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) earlier this year. Link here.

sync., the first digital smart open banking app, has been awarded a license from the Qatar Financial Centre Authority, marking its expansion into the Middle East. It is the only European Fintech currently expanding into Qatar.  The new license, following the recent award of its UK e-Money and Open Banking Licenses, will allow sync. to advance on its mission to “Make Qatar Cashless” by offering the sync. app to consumers in Qatar. Link here.

MOVERS AND SHAKERS:

The Swedish neobank, Northmill Bank, which has the vision of improving people's financial life, has recruited Tobias Palmborg as new Chief Technology Officer, CTO. Most recently, Tobias comes from a role as CTO at the online gambling provider NetEnt. Link here.

Farah Experiences is looking for an ETL & Database Developer. Based in Abu Dhabi - UAE, Farah thrives on seeing happy guests, colleagues and partners. They believe that each individual that they meet is important, and that they can make a positive difference to their lives. Their purpose is to create happiness…one smile at a time. Interested in learning more, read the full job description here.

Douugh has hired Tom Mayes, co-creator of the BeemIt payments app and most recently Design Lead – Loyalty and Fintech – Native Apps at Woolworths. Founder and CEO Andy Taylor said the hire was a great testament to Douugh’s ambitious mission. Link here.

This ends my weekly digest. Let me know if there are any questions or news/insights worth mentioning in next week's digest. Until the next!

NOTE: This article was featured in my weekly newsletter on December 20th, 2020. Do you want to be the first to read the next weekly overview? Sign up for my Weekly Digital Banking Newsletter here.
 
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