Digital payments alone could become a $100 trillion industry, according to PwC. And that’s just one component of the global Fintech industry. This channel tackles the lenders and buyers, the obstacles and achievements, and the trends and trend makers leading the ongoing technological evolution in global finance.
Digital challenger bank Revolut has commenced the rollout of a BNPL offering in Ireland this week. It will compete with established BNPL players in the country such as Swedish fintech Klarna and Humm, owned by Australia’s Flexi-Fi. However, Revolut’s product comes with fees and a credit limit must be approved prior.
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Zilch set a solid growth trajectory in the UK, amassing over two million customers within 18 months of launch in the UK, and winning a valuation of over $2 billion in a Series C funding round that raised $400 million in debt and equity from investors including Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS). Zilch has now entered the US, and is partnering with Experian, the credit reporting agency.
Yash Joshi, CTO, (left) and Roshan Patel, CEO, (right) founded Walnut in 2020 to make healthcare more affordable for patients by breaking up large medical bills into small, monthly payments without fees or interest. The startup fintech announced its $110 million Series A led by Gradient Ventures with strong participation from new and existing investors including Newark Ventures, Afore Capital, 2048 Ventures, CityRock Ventures, AngelList, Weekend Fund, Company Ventures, Banana Capital, Goodwater Capital, and Muse Capital. Founders and executives from Teachable, Clearbit, and Afterpay also participated.
A survey in April by the Office for National Statistics in Great Britain showed that about four in 10 British households are finding it difficult to pay for gas and electricity and a similar proportion are buying less food. The survey reflected the impact of the change in the energy bill cap set by the UK regulator and the deepening cost of living crisis in the country. Furthermore, consumer groups are warning that households’ finances are stretched enough for them to resort to buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) schemes to pay energy bills.
Alternative investment asset manager AXS Investments launched the AXS 2X Innovation ETF (NASDAQ: TARK), a 2X leveraged product focused on companies involved in transformational industries, such as fintech, autonomous vehicles, genomics and next-gen internet.
Canadian fintech Neo Financial has raised US$145 million dollars in its latest funding and attained unicorn status after achieving a valuation of over $1 billion. The new financing round was led by Valar Ventures and saw participation from Tribe Capital, Altos Ventures, Blank Ventures, Gaingels, Maple VC, and Knollwood Advisory.
Maersk (CPH: MAERSK-B), the shipping and logistics giant founded in 1905, has a logistics network across 130 countries and moves many billions of dollars worth of shipments around the world annually. The company recognized earlier than peers that it needed to transform its operations to keep up with the rising trade volumes. A critical area was international payments.
Xepelin, a Latin American fintech for B2B payments and financial services focused on SMBs, has closed on a $111 million Series B round led by Avenir and Kaszek with participation from PayPal Ventures, Wellington, DST Global, Battery Ventures, MSA Novo, Endeavor Catalyst, FJ Labs, Picus, Amarena, Gunderson, Carlos Garcia, Cathay-Seaya Latam, Gilgamesh, among others.
Truist Financial Corporation (NYSE: TFC) has acquired Long Game, a mobile savings gamification app that change how users engage with their bank by using prize-linked savings and casual gaming to motivate smart financial behavior, driving account growth and client retention. The result of a 2019 merger between BB&T and SunTrust, Truist is the sixth-largest bank in the US and has $488 billion of assets. Long Game, founded in 2015, is fintech startup with a team of 12 persons.
A gambling block helps customers keep in check their own urge to splurge on gambling sites. Gambling blocks were first launched by challenger bank Monzo in 2018, but applied only to card payments. Klarna announced April 28 that it had now enabled banks to extend voluntary gambling blocks to open banking-driven payments powered by its subsidiary, SOFORT. SOFORT is one of Klarna’s direct bank-to-bank payment methods, used by 75,000 merchants across Europe, including some online gambling and gaming sites.
After a lot of research, Virgin Money’s (ASX: VUK) digital bank has launched an innovative Lock Saver feature, the first of its kind in Australia, designed to help savers reach their goals sooner. The research found that 70% of Australian households saved towards a medium to long-term goal in the past six months, but disappointingly, less than a third stayed within their budget or spending allowance. Lock Saver is a digital solution to this problem.
Taxfix, a Berlin-based startup that aims to take the pain out of tax filing, has raised a $220 million Series D round that valued it at over $1 billion. Teachers’ Venture Growth (TVG), part of the $242B Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board (Ontario Teachers’), led the round. Existing investors Index Ventures, Valar Ventures, Creandum, and Redalpine also participated.
WhatsApp, which enjoys a user base of half a billion in India, is planning to offer cashback rewards on its peer-to-peer payments service in a bid to close the gap with rivals such as Google Pay. Insiders privy to information told Reuters that the app will offer up to 33 Indian rupees ($0.40) for transfers users make on its payments service, which allows contacts to send each other funds from within the messenger app.
Global payments platform Adyen (AMS: ADYEN) provides end-to-end payments capabilities, data-driven insights, and financial products in a single global solution. It announced today that it is now processing payments for Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) Japan.
Mastercard (NYSE: MA) is taking aim at digital fraud in online shopping by enhancing its Digital Transaction Insights solution with next-generation authentication and real-time decisioning intelligence capabilities. Microsoft’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection’s proprietary risk assessment, which leverages adaptive AI to assist in real-time fraud detection by identifying risky behaviors across purchase, account and in-store activities, has been integrated with Mastercard’s Digital Transaction Insights.
Stripe said in a blog post today that it had been exploring crypto-currency based platforms to facilitate payouts to creators, freelancers, sellers, and solopreneurs across the world. The “open-access global financial rails” offered by cryptocurrencies was highly attractive to Stripe given that the Connect service could not still reach many countries due to hetereogenous local payment systems. In a pilot, Stripe is testing crypto payouts for Connect via a select group of creators on Twitter (NYSE: TWTR), its first partner.
Global card issuing platform Marqeta (NASDAQ: MQ) has announced RiskControl, a suite of products designed to provide comprehensive, end-to-end risk management to the company’s card issuing customers. Klarna, Yonder and Branch are Marqeta customers that have already commenced using RiskControl and its components – KYC, Real-Time Decisioning, 3D Secure, and Disputes.
Brex, a startup focusing on startups, has acquired Pry Financials, a financial planning platform that replaces Excel for founders, helping them plan and manage budgets, create hiring plans, build financial models, predict cash runway, and more, for $90 million.
Ziglu, a U.K.-based electronic money institution and cryptoasset firm, allows customers to buy and sell eleven cryptocurrencies, pay using a debit card, and remit money abroad without fees. Robinhood (NASDAQ: HOOD), itself a major cryptocurrency-friendly stock trading app, has acquired Ziglu for an undisclosed sum with the objective of expanding its crypto business internationally, particularly UK and Europe.
Crypto platform Gemini, which was founded by the Winklevoss twins, has launched the Gemini Credit Card. It’s the first instant crypto rewards credit card that provides a seamless way for consumers to acquire up to 3%+ back from 60+ cryptocurrencies supported on Gemini’s platform. Issued by WebBank, the new card features Mastercard as the exclusive card network.
Cross River Bank, a technology infrastructure provider that offers embedded financial solutions, will partner with Revolut to set up the first U.S.-based consumer personal loans for Revolut customers using Cross River’s technology infrastructure.
Philippine fintech leader Voyager Innovations turned unicorn at a valuation of nearly $1.4 billion after it raised $210 million. The round was led by new investor SIG Venture Capital, the Asian venture capital arm of SIG. Other new investors included Singapore-based global investor EDBI and investment holding company First Pacific Company Ltd.
News from around FinTech.
Discover’s all-new checking account comes with cash-back rewards. The Discover Checking Account Discover (NYSE: DFS) has launched a new, benefits-packed Cashback Debit account with user-friendly features, such as early access to paychecks up to two days in advance and a mobile-first banking experience. According to Discover Research, 90% of consumers say having no fees is…