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South Africa fintech Spot Money launches open banking platform

Following the 2020 acquisition of the Virgin Money South Africa business by a leading South African private equity firm, in partnership with the local executive management team, Spot Money has launched the country’s first Open Banking offering

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January 28, 2021

Following the 2020 acquisition of the Virgin Money South Africa business by a leading South African private equity firm, in partnership with the local executive management team, Spot Money has launched the country’s first Open Banking offering

Central to the rebrand of the company is the launch of the latest version of the Spot app. Andre Hugo, who continues at the helm of the Spot Money business as CEO, said the app was a significantly revised offering which would introduce Spot’s entry into Open Banking, and heralds the beginning of a fundamentally different business strategy as the company drives fintech forward in South Africa.

“There is more to the future of financial services than making current products and services digital. Spot Money will introduce South Africans to a true Open Banking marketplace. As a fintech, our aim is to service the full spectrum of a consumer’s financial needs in a single customercentric platform, giving them the choice to transact seamlessly and review tailor-made financial offers based on their unique needs.”

Andre Hugo, Spot Money business CEO

Hugo said an Open Banking marketplace would bring a new dimension to enabling consumers to manage and control their money. “An Open Banking marketplace gives consumers more choice when it comes to managing their money. It’s a marketplace where highly personalised financial services such as loans and insurance are coupled with lifestyle services, rewards, and a wide range of value-added services,” he said.

While Spot is bank neutral and will partner with a range of financial services providers, it is anchored by the banking industry and functions in association with Bidvest Bank. The new Spot app has been developed using Mastercard’s technology, allowing Spot to issue physical and virtual Mastercard prepaid debit cards. Users can then transact at any retail location that accepts Mastercard.

The Spot app provides an intuitive mobile transactional account with no monthly account fees. The app will also enable direct contactless mobile phone payments, aligned with the world’s growing adoption of contactless transactions. Customers will be able to order, within the app, a physical Spot prepaid debit card which is tap-to-pay enabled for contactless payments.

“We are committed to leveraging our innovative product and platform suite to accelerate the fintech space in South Africa. Our strategy across the MEA region has been to drive innovation through partnerships and we are excited to partner with Spot on the first Open Banking powered offering that provides a superior customer experience with safety and security at its core. As a technology partner of choice, Mastercard continues to develop market-leading solutions to drive digital transformation.”

Amnah Ajmal, Executive Vice President for Market Development MEA at Mastercard

Spot also features Mastercard’s Scan to Pay functionality, which enables users to scan any Masterpass-enabled QR code in South Africa for the purchasing of goods and services. Spot is the only app that gives customers the ability to Scan to Pay all of the major QR code payment types – Masterpass, SnapScan, wiCode and Zapper.

“We are very excited to partner with Spot Money in a move that will further accelerate innovation in South Africa, and give consumers more choice in how they pay and manage their money.”

Mark Elliott, Division President of Mastercard, Southern Africa

The Spot Money management team will continue to steer the fintech as a leading local innovator. “The way in which traditional banks and financial technology companies interact with one another is changing dramatically as Open Banking becomes the norm. We are poised to develop Spot Money as a major part of this evolution in South Africa,” said Hugo.

Share via:While Spot is bank neutral and will partner with a range of financial services providers, it is anchored by the banking industry and functions in association with Bidvest Bank. The new Spot app has been developed using Mastercard’s technology, allowing Spot to issue physical and virtual Mastercard prepaid debit cards. Users can then transact at any retail location that accepts Mastercard.

Source: https://www.techafricanews.com/2021/01/28/south-africa-fintech-spot-money-launches-open-banking-platform/

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Fintech, Suits Me, Undergoes Major Digital Rebrand After Year of Growth

Suits Me, have transformed their brand identity with a brand-new logo and website. This new facelift represents the continual growth

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July 24, 2021July 24, 2021013

Alternative banking solution, Suits Me, have transformed their brand identity with a brand-new logo and website. This new facelift represents the continual growth that the six-year-old fintech has experienced in the last year, and signifies a fresher, better, and faster user experience available to all account holders.

Working in partnership with brand consultants, oser, Suits Me created a new concept which better reflected their audience within the financial sector. In addition to this, Suits Me wanted to incorporate their company values into the new design, which can be seen within the vibrant ‘swooshes’ that appear within the logo and website.

Read More: Minna Technologies Joins Visa Fintech Partner Connect to Bring Subscription Management Solution to Visa’s Clients and Partners

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Kim Roberts, Marketing and Communications Director, explained more about the graphic design elements that better reflect Suits Me’s identity: “With a pop of energy and colour, the dynamic swoosh is created from elements of the new logo. It encapsulates how Suits Me is by your side to weave around your financial obligations, and support you in achieving your financial aspirations, regardless of whoever you are, and whatever your situation and lifestyle.

At the heart of Suits Me’s rebranding strategy, they wanted to provide their account holders with a great user experience. One way they’ve done this is by replacing their traditional blue colour scheme with bright, gradient colours against a fresh white background that better reflects their unique and diverse customer base.

Read More: Novae Financing: The First Black Owned FinTech Company to Offer Buy Now Pay Later Services to Small Businesses Nationwide

Suits Me’s new tagline, “the account for everyone”, represents the fintech’s mission to break down the restrictive barriers that exclude people from mainstream financial products. This frequently leads to people getting trapped by the ‘banking poverty premium’, blocking their access to the best deals, credit products and often results in paying hundreds of pounds more a year on basic goods and services.

Matthew Sanders, CEO, spoke about the impact the rebranding will have on their 150,000+ account holders. He said: “Our customers are at the heart of what we do, and we strive to give them the best experience when it comes to navigating the world of personal finance. The rebrand is just the start of even more amazing benefits we want to give our account holders, with no additional costs attached. Some of the benefits already on offer include an exclusive cashback reward programme to help our account holders to save money, plus a multilingual customer care team so anybody can feel comfortable speaking to us in their preferred language.”

Read More: Upgrade Card Becomes First Generally Available US Credit Card to Offer Bitcoin Rewards

Source: https://globalfintechseries.com/news/fintech-suits-me-undergoes-major-digital-rebrand-after-year-of-growth/

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The future of fintech in a post-Covid world

The UK’s fintech industry has experienced phenomenal growth in recent years, with London described in some parts as a ‘superhub’ of activity.

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The UK’s fintech industry has experienced phenomenal growth in recent years, with London described in some parts as a ‘superhub’ of activity.

It is estimated that the country’s fintech businesses grow much faster than counterpart SMEs and add as much as £3 billion to the economy in GVA.

Like many businesses, fintechs have a varied experience of the Covid pandemic and as the end appears on the horizon, attentions are now turning to what the future of fintech looks like in the UK.

This was the topic of discussion at a recent virtual roundtable of fintech entrepreneurs hosted by the Great British Entrepreneur Awards and haysmactinyre.

Accelerated trends

What immediately became clear as the discussion began is that the panel believes fintech will continue on the path it was following prior to the pandemic, but it is likely to find itself further down that path that it perhaps expected to be.

Joe Gallard, of connected purchasing platform Reducer, explained: “It’s more of an acceleration of the trends that were taking place already, rather than new trends being born out of the pandemic.

“If you look at the example of banking, we were already seeing the decline of in-person and in-branch banking to online and open banking. They’re not dead yet, but the pandemic [with non-essential journeys restricted] effectively forced more people to adopt online and open banking, and these new bits of technology.”

It was a point supported by Philip Belamant of buy now, pay later platform Zilch. “We’ve all probably explored more than we ever had before during the pandemic. We might have downloaded that app or tried that thing we always wanted to try because we had more time to do it.

“The pandemic has definitely accelerated the adoption or at least the propensity for people to try.”

When you look at financial management and payments, Philip said this was another area that has accelerated a trend. People were already spending more time managing their money and how they pay for things, but lower incomes through redundancy or furlough sped this up.

He added: “We saw a huge adoption of our business throughout Covid because people wanted a different way to manage their cashflow.”

Looking at businesses rather than consumers, Francesca Tricarico of Future Cloud Accounting, suggested the pandemic has pushed a large number of businesses to shift to digital processes ahead of their Making Tax Digital compliance dates.

“A lot of businesses are wanting that information more up-to-date more than ever before,” she said. “They’ve almost panicked and rushed to get on platforms like Xero or QuickBooks. We actually had to stop taking on new clients at one point.

“Covid given a kick up the backside to a lot of smaller businesses to be more digital focused, and be more forward thinking with what’s happening in the future.”

Global opportunities

Although the pandemic has created an unprecedented number of challenges for vast numbers of businesses, there has also been opportunity, particularly for fintech businesses – a “silver lining” as Henry White of Finance Unlocked, described it.

“We saw that particularly with our investment round,” he began. “In 2019 we raised pre-seed investment which involved a lot of flights to the US over a six-month period, which was exhausting. Last year we raised a £2 million seed round in two weeks because we were having back-to-back video calls. Of our 15 new investors, we’ve only met one face-to-face but we still feel like we’ve built a connection with them.”

Henry added: “It’s taken something like Covid to show us that there’s a better way to do it. And I think we’ll be able to accelerate and scale quicker.”

Maria Phillips of BridgeRegTech, who lives in Yorkshire, has also been able to take advantage of the pandemic to embark on global growth. She said: “Before the pandemic, I was taking four flights a week and I had an office in London.

“Over the pandemic my entire customer base has shifted. I’ve only got one client in the UK now, everyone else is in the US, Australia or in the Asia Pacific. I’ve got a phenomenal opportunity to reach these businesses without getting on several flights a week and grow the business.”

Maria also believes the UK’s fintech industry can take advantage of the pandemic to address the “huge” issue of skill shortage.

“There’s a massive skill shortage in UK fintech, and we’re seeing educators trying to pivot and service that market,” she said.

“I teach on three separate further and higher education courses around fintech and regtech. These colleges and universities know that something is happening in the space and they want to be part of it.”

It has long been understood that a mobile, remote workforce enables a business to attract talent from all over the world. With hybrid and even entirely remote working being the method of choice for many businesses as we leave the pandemic behind, this presents an opportunity for the fintech industry to close the skills gap, hiring the best talent regardless of where they are in the world.

Government focus and the crypto catch-up

For all the talk of opportunity and accelerating the trend that already existed, not all the panellists shared the optimism of their peers.

Alex Batlin of Trustology, which aims to accelerate the adoption of cryptocurrency, accused the government of and major institutions of ‘downgrading’ their efforts and support of the fintech space.

“I think in the last few years, there’s been a real downgrading of focus from both the government and UK banks when it comes to investing in fintech,” he started.

Under David Cameron, the UK government really pushed fintech support and investment, but “there’s been absolute de-focus in it” in recent years, Alex argued.

“Especially when you look at crypto – when was the last time you heard of a British bank adopting cryptocurrency? The UK banks are falling behind.

“I don’t see the government strategy – I’m not seeing the effort to figure out the new opportunities.”

A complicated and often contentious area, Maria said she could spend hours discussing the regulation surrounding cryptocurrency and why banks aren’t adopting it as quickly as others around the world.

Maria works with a number of major banks and financial institutions on their regtech compliance, and she acknowledged that the majority of investment in regtech has gone towards cyber security and financial crime. However, she did explain that many of the British banks are in the process of adopting some sort of cryptocurrency product or transaction platform, or at least have the intention to.

Philip remains bullish about the UK’s fintech market, despite the challenges of the pandemic and has an optimistic view of the future post-Covid.

“Talking to our partners, there is a huge amount of investment flowing into the UK into fintech,” he said.

“That may not be into crypto or alternative payment, but I think the general fintech market in the UK is strong and London remains the global leader in fintech.”

Philip also argued that support from regulators in the UK is something you don’t see in other countries.

“If you look at the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) and its Sandbox program, as a business you can engage the regulator and come up with meaningful ways to build new products. You go to other major fintech hubs around the world and just don’t see that sort of thing.”

Joe admitted that regulation surrounding the crypto world may be behind other countries, but he stressed that the UK fintech market is excelling in other areas.

He explained: “If you look at open banking in the UK, a lot of these platforms are actually doing what a lot of cryptocurrencies said they were going to do – you can make free payments without a bank card straight into someone’s accounts, and merchant fees that used to be 3% have come down and are almost zero.

“In terms of value to the UK economy, that’s billions and billions of pounds back in the pockets of small businesses, which is an amazing financial innovation.

“It’s miles ahead of what’s going on in other countries, and it’s a reason to be cheerful and optimistic about the future of fintech in the UK.”

Maturing industry

There is no doubt that Covid-19 has accelerated the adoption of technology, and the wider acceptance of more disruptive fintech products. This has created another boost for fintechs in the UK whilst naturally raises further concerns as to whether the regulatory environment will be able to keep pace with the change. The main concern for the future of fintech in the UK might be linked to the potential impact of Brexit, and the movement of the financial services industry to mainland Europe. In this roundtable, the majority were excited about seeing how the acceleration seen in the last 18 months will help the industry mature and continue to grow in the future.

What immediately became clear as the discussion began is that the panel believes fintech will continue on the path it was following prior to the pandemic, but it is likely to find itself further down that path that it perhaps expected to be.

Source: https://www.freshbusinessthinking.com/banking-finance-and-grants/the-future-of-fintech-in-a-post-covid-world/48129.article

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Fintech Focus For July 2, 2021

Quote To Start The Day: “I refuse to accept other people’s ideas of happiness for me. As if there’s a one size fits all standard for …

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Quote To Start The Day: “I refuse to accept other people’s ideas of happiness for me. As if there’s a one size fits all standard for happiness.”

Source: Kanye West

One Big Thing In Fintech: Six fintechs — PayPal, Square, Varo, Affirm, LendingClub and Oportun — asked the [CFPB] in a letter Tuesday to give more guidance on how it will apply the theory of disparate impact when artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and alternative credit data are used to make lending decisions.

Source: Banking Dive

Other Key Fintech Developments:

  • OurBanc adds MX for bank tech.
  • Spotlight turns to M&A for SPACs.
  • Tiger Global to back fintech Yap.
  • Mintable raises $13M in funding.
  • Karat raises for creator finances.
  • Northern Trust digitizes servicing.
  • TP ICAP, Liquidnet: Growth deal.
  • Calaxy secures $7.5M in funding.
  • Robinhood details a crypto surge.
  • Swarm launches regulated DeFi.
  • The Top 250 Fintech Companies.
  • BNP signed FIS tech agreement.
  • Codat adds $40M funding round.
  • Covario added METACO custody.
  • Carro fintech arm eyes financing.
  • SoftBank funds Mercado Bitcoin.
  • Apollo is staking Motive Partners.
  • Mastercard, FDIC eye inclusion.
  • Charlie adds DirectPay to toolkit.
  • dxFeed, Small Exch. add product.
  • Rapyd is acquiring Valitor fintech.
  • Bison Trails has added networks.

Watch Out For This: The basis trade, where crypto investors … profit from discrepancies between spot and future prices, had become a reliable double-digit annual return generator until it was upended in May. The dramatic sell-off saw a number of leveraged positions, mostly held by retail investors, flushed out.

Source: Bloomberg

Interesting Reads:

  • Tenant eviction deadline looming.
  • Stock markets need short sellers.
  • Pandemic pushes housing stress.
  • Ford Bronco factory to shut down.
  • Analysis: Innovation cycle history.
  • A California town is without water.

Market Moving Headline: “The delta variant should not have significant repercussions for the pandemic situation in developed markets (e.g. Europe and North America, which have [made] strong progress in vaccinations) due to the level of population immunity.”

Source: JPMorgan

© 2021 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

Source: https://www.benzinga.com/fintech/21/07/21820751/fintech-focus-for-july-2-2021

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