Welcome to The Fintech Fix, where we cover the biggest stories of the financial week! Whether it’s the next groundbreaking advancement in Blockchain technology, a new partnership about to trigger an economic revolution or an upcoming startup generating a huge following.
Hot Topics – Kicking off this week’s roundup is the release our very own edition of ‘Buckaroos 2022’, where we celebrate the very best North American (mostly) characters in Fintech, from Barb MacLean’s inspirational rise to the top as VP of Integration & Analytics at Celero Solutions to Twitter royalty in the form of Ghela Boskovich. A career in Fintech can be consuming, emotional and require lots of guts to excel in. We commend these individuals for creating their own path that others can aspire to tread down in the future too.
The fintech supergiant Revolut Business are launching Payroll for SMEs in the UK, a new feature which will make paying employees a much simpler experience. Payroll calculates an employee’s salary, taxes, pay runs, National Insurance and pension contributions and can be initiated in just a few clicks via the Revolut Business app. Payroll is also synced with HMRC daily, meaning that its smart systems automatically update employee details, including tax codes or student loans, which minimises any inefficient dialogue between Revolut Business customers and HMRC. James Gibson, Head of Revolut Business, said “Knowing SMEs can waste between 1-3 days each month on manual review and reconciliation, we’re thrilled to launch Payroll and provide UK Business customers with a handy, all-in-one solution that seamlessly integrates Payroll into their Revolut Business accounts.”
As time goes on, social media becomes more than a messaging service. This is no clearer than in Nigeria, where Twitter has a ‘Tips’ feature which allows users to send and receive money through the platform. This is a wonderful act of furthering financial inclusion and has been strengthened after Paga was recently added as a payment provider for the ‘Tips’ feature. According to Tayo Oviosu, Founder and Group CEO of Paga, this project expands the pathways via which people in Africa can be paid, simplifies payments for individuals and business, and promotes meaningful economic participation.
It created big headlines for its usefulness in 2021, but BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later) has come under scrutiny by Divido in a comprehensive evaluation by Neha Mittal. There are increasing fears that BNPL is starting to become overcrowded. ‘‘The biggest problem with the amount of BNPL choices now provided at the point of sale is that there seems to be little information on how they differ.” A ‘Which?’ study actually exposed how there’s little detail provided on credit checks, late fees or even how the basic repayment structure works. With no consistency within the customer journey too, it’s clear that standardisation, regulation and providing the optimum amount of choice to customers is key to protecting the $2.5 trillion (and growing) market!
Charity is a backbone of our society and Toucan have taken flight to offer a modern solution to donors wanting to make a difference instantly. How? Via the Toucan app, users can build a portfolio of up to 3 charities and split a single monthly contribution between them. They can switch these charities or choose to invest in them long term. We’re all witnessing the energy bills spiking up and other costs rising far too quickly. Toucan importantly allows users to help who they can, when they can, without being tied into regular donations on a monthly basis. Chief Operations Officer, John Barrett, powerfully noted that the importance of this, for it also “gives a platform to smaller charities who have such a massive impact in our communities.”
HPS Group has created its new Business Innovation Unit, looking to identify opportunities in the payments industry and then develop/offer solutions adapted around PowerCARD technology. The unit, headed by Managing Director Garry Ceaplen, will also look to transfer these activities at maturity to other Group entities to bring their development to an industrial scale and pinpoint areas for external growth to accelerate the launch of new activities within HPS Group.
U.S. Bank announced a new solution which brings EWA (Earned Wage Access) to U.S Bank clients. Employees at organisations that use the prepaid U.S. Bank Focus Card for payroll disbursements can access a portion of their earned wages on-demand through an immediate direct deposit to their U.S. Bank Focus Card. The collaboration includes other payment options including an instant deposit into an employee’s checking account via Real-Time Payments (RTP). The solution will also provide access to other financial wellness services, including savings and bill management tools. “The future of payments is one where companies may soon say goodbye to the traditional, biweekly payroll,” said Shailesh Kotwal, Vice Chair, U.S. Bank Payment Services. “Employers recognise that providing employees on-demand access to earned wages improves employee satisfaction and recruiting efforts. We’re proud to be on the leading edge, developing a solution that helps our business clients provide additional convenient options for their employee payroll.”
Big Partnerships To Watch – In recent times there has been a wave of physical and mental wellness products and services that have entered the internet to quell the uncertain times we operate in. In this wellness industry, Mindbody is the leading experience technology platform and their partnership with WisePOS will enhance their current payment solutions. By enabling studios to meet their customers where they are – both in person and online – Mindbody can help studios boost their sales while also tracking their success. The partnership will streamline operations which connect transactions with the studio owner’s software from start to finish, offer flexible payment options using any credit/debit cards, Apple Pay or other contactless payments, as well as provide the ability to take advantage of ‘Card Present’ rates vs. ‘Card Not Present.’
Digital healthcare adoption has accelerated as a result of the pandemic. In fact, nearly 50% of people in Asia are already using digital health and remote services, this will only continue to rise too. With that in mind, AIA Group Limited, in partnership with Discovery Group Limited, have announced they are establishing a new pan-Asian Health InsurTech business called ‘Amplify Health.’ The vision for Amplify Health is to be a leading digital health technology.
Our last partnership of this week’s roundup is between InPost Group and Vinted, Europe’s largest online consumer-to-consumer marketplace dedicated to second-hand fashion. There has definitely been greater focus on increasing sustainability in the fashion industry, as shown by Klarna’s recent partnership with Good On You too. However, this partnership will leverage InPost’s extensive cross-border network of 35,000 out-of-home delivery sites, offering Vinted members an economical, convenient option that lets them receive their purchases at a time that suits them, rather than waiting at home to receive parcels. This will also reduce CO2 emissions and be provided under the InPost brand in the UK, Poland, Italy, Mondial Relay in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.
Funding – Just the one fundraising story to report today! TransferGo, a global leading money transfer firm with over 3.5 million customers across 160 markets, announced the sale of secondary shares, valued at €6million. This comes off the back of the company’s Series C fundraise in September 2021, where they netted in a whopping $50M. Commenting on the sale, Daumantas Dvilinskas, founder and CEO of TransferGo said: “With this transaction, we’re delighted to make significant returns for these crucial stakeholders, while strengthening our position as we look to continue our path of rapid expansion and payment innovation.”
Transfer News – In our transfer column today, we announce that Padman Ramankutty, has joined the Board of Directors of Finboot, the tech company that is building trust through blockchain. He is also engaged with Supply Chain Ventures, which announced an investment in Finboot in 2021. The strategic backing from Supply Chain Ventures follows Finboot’s successful $3.6 million fundraise also announced last year, which was led by the Development Bank of Wales, energy company Repsol and New Look Founder, Tom Singh. “Finboot offers innovative middleware for companies grappling with how to manage increasingly complex supply chains. As Finboot continues its global expansion, I look forward to driving customers toward the go-to standard of enterprise solutions powered by blockchain,” said Padman Ramnkutty.