News > FinTech

Coming soon to a gas station near you: A car (or smartphone) that pays for your next refill
FinTech
<p>No more fumbling for your wallet or your smartphone.</p> <p>In a new deal inked between FIS and SAP, your car's computer system will be able to pay for your next trip to the gas station.</p> <p>Mobile payments are hot -- but not nearly as widespread as everyone dreams. Acccording to one study, in 2013 only 1% of gas station customers used their mobile phone to pay to fell 'er up.</p> <p>Could this be the tipping point? Perhaps. Think of all those gas stations from coast to coast and spending a tad less time on a cold, rainy night at the gas pump. Sounds pretty compelling.</p> <p>Oh, and if you insist, you can use your smartphone rather than the car to pay.<br /> Photo: loubeat</p>
An innovative course for China
FinTech
<p>The Fifth Plenum of the Communist Party concluded last week with several major decisions. The world's media was hooked by the change to the one-child policy, but there was also another important statement of intent.</p> <p>“Innovation will play a critical role in growth strategy over the next five years,” notes Zhiwei Zhang, Deutsche Bank Chief Economist for China.</p> <p>“The [Plenum] press release specifically mentioned "internet +" and "national big data strategy" which we believe will get government support.”</p> <p>Zhang points out that President Xi also emphasized the role of innovation in a government meeting on August 18, 2014.</p> <p>Xi argued that innovation could be promoted by: identifying the right areas to spend resources; strengthening incentives to attract talent; developing institutions to promote innovation; and cementing international collaboration.</p> <p>“The focus on innovation likely reflects that the leaders recognize investment driven growth model is not sustainable, hence the search for productivity growth is critical for the next five years,” says Zhang.<br /> Photo: xdxd_vs_xdxd</p>
Star-backed UK crowdfunding platform to launch in US
FinTech
<p>U.S. investors will soon have another option for easily buying small amounts of stocks.</p> <p>Seedrs, a U.K. crowdfunding platform, will launch in the U.S. in the coming weeks, with a full, official launch due in early 2016, reports Business Insider. The online platform has star power: It's backed by fund manager Neil Woodford and venture capital firm Lord Rothschild and boasts tennis star Andy Murray as an advisor. Seedrs enables individuals to buy stocks in startups for as little as 10 pounds. Startups can join the platform with a funding goal, and agree to sell a certain number of shares to meet that.</p> <p>Seedsr has been eager to break into the U.S., and bought a similar California-based platform called Junction Investments in 2014. Before Friday, Seedrs was prohibited from a U.S. expansion by the JOBS Act. The act previously prevented non-accredited investors, or those with a net worth of less than $1 million or an income of less than $200,000 for the last two years, from investing in equity crowdfunding platforms.<br /> Photo: adifansnet </p>
Wear your payment on your sleeve, literally
FinTech
<p>Swiping will soon be a thing of the past.</p> <p>MasterCard and fashion designer Adam Selman teamed up for the latest in wearables- clothes that hold mobile payment devices. A dress, gloves, jewelry, or sunglasses can all be embedded with discrete minichips, reports The New York Times. The idea, debuted at the Money 20/20 conference on Monday, links to the Bluetooth app in a phone to contain credit card information. Just wave the chip-holding accessory for payment and go.</p> <p>"We wanted to use things that were already a part of life," says Sherri Haymond, group head of digital channels for MasterCard. "Fashion and jewelry are a big part of that."</p> <p>But how great is it that consumers can pay with almost anything? Credit cards have already broken the tangible connection between spending and cash, and merely using sunglasses or a coat sleeve could take that disassociation a step further. We may need to think this one through.<br /> Photo: LWYang</p>
Knowing the difference between 'fintech' and 'techfin'
FinTech
<p>When we say the word fintech, are we all really talking about the same thing? A portmanteau of “finance” and “technology”, fintech has become a trendy buzzword for the finance industry, but can all financial technology really be described as fintech? Some say no.</p> <p>The issue comes down to disruption. There is a difference between a company that offers a technology solution to established financial institutions and a startup that is uses technology to find entirely new ways of handling money. James McKeogh — a partner at KPMG who is leading the firm's fintech initiative in China — say this is the difference between techfin and fintech. At the first Cyberport NexChange Fintech O-2-O Meetup in September he told NexChange:<br /> "We are seeing an awful lot of techfin in Asia at the moment where existing financial capability is being optimized through technology, but I'm really keen on the area where we are seeing new products some out."<br /> Not everyone uses the terms fintech and techfin, but similar distinctions have been made. Earlier this year FSClub blogger Chris Skinner noted the difference between traditional fintech and emergent fintech. Like techfin, the first group includes 'facilitators’, larger incumbent technology firms  supporting the financial services sector, while the second group are the ‘disruptors’ with small innovative firms disintermediating incumbent financial services.</p> <p>Often these traditional — techfin — players will offer partial stack solutions: taking new technologies and then selling or licensing them to big banks. Most of the real disruptors however are the full stack startups offering the end-to-end solutions that cut out existing players. We have seen this in other sectors such as with Uber and taxis, Netflix and cable, or AirBnB and hotels. This, some argue, is real fintech, and banks are terrified of it.<br /> Photo: Caleb Roenigk<br /> &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
Bolstering cyber security
FinTech
<p>Last week’s cyber attack on TalkTalk, allegedly by a couple of teenagers, highlights the threat posed by hackers to businesses worldwide. The British telecoms group said the details of up to 1.2 million customers had been left vulnerable as it rushed to limit the damage to its reputation and business, according to the Financial Times. (paywall)</p> <p>Now companies “are bracing themselves for an avalanche of cyber security regulation, as governments scramble to introduce rules forcing corporate groups to build stronger defences against catastrophic hacks,” says the FT.</p> <p>Other high-profile incidents in the US, such as the assaults on Target in 2013 and Sony Pictures last year, “are forcing global authorities to consider tougher regulations”.</p> <p>In Brussels, the European Parliament, 28 member states and the European Commission are working on a deal to create new data protection rules by December.</p> <p>Proposed measures include a fine for businesses representing up to 5% of global turnover or €100 million — whichever is bigger — for a privacy breach.</p> <p>“Such a fine would have wiped out most of TalkTalk’s £95 million ($143 million) of pre-tax profits last year,” notes the FT.</p> <p>However, the paper points out that the financial industry has already spent hundreds of millions of dollars on its cyber security teams, hiring former intelligence officials from spy agencies and recruiting young techies from hacker clubs.<br /> Photo: Charis Tsevis</p>
Record registrations for Citi Asia Pacific mobile challenge
FinTech
<p>More than 70 teams have been chosen from 1900 registrations across 376 cities for the Asia Pacific Citi Mobile Challenge (CMC). </p> <p>Participants will show working prototypes for mobile apps and interconnected devices, ranging across every area of banking and FinTech including mobile payments, investment banking, wealth management, B2B services, financial inclusion and financial literacy, authentication and savings and personal financial management.</p> <p>They will be evaluated by a group of Citi executives and technology influencers with the potential to making them marketable.</p> <p>“The Citi Mobile Challenge is fostering the development of the next generation of FinTech solutions. This region is home to a fast growing FinTech community and this strong support for the Asia leg of the challenge will help accelerate and uncover new and exciting opportunities,” said Francisco Aristeguieta, Citi’s Asia Pacific CEO, in a statement.</p> <p>CMC Asia Pacific is a next-generation accelerator that combines a virtual hackathon with an incubator and a worldwide network of FinTech experts and developers who will compete to build tech systems that are capable of running on Citi’s digital platform. </p> <p>The registration number sets a record for the CMC with demo days to be held November 3 in Bengaluru, November 6 in Singapore, November 10 in Sydney and November 12 in Hong Kong.<br /> Photo: Tao Tsai<br /> &nbsp;</p>
Simplicity wins for fintech
FinTech
<p>Easy access, clean design, mobile capabilities. Large companies are realizing that new innovations don't have to be revolutionary. Sometimes simple is best.</p> <p>At a recent awards night hosted by innovation consultant Market Gravity, large established companies from airlines to credit cards to soccer clubs competed for the best new services and products. With more than twice as many nominations as last year across more industries, Market Gravity judges awarded companies for best innovation, best new product, best new service, best new venture, and social impact. Among the nominees and winners were fintech developments, including those from credit cards and existing giants like MasterCard and Barclays.</p> <p>Sometimes genius comes in simplicity, says Iain Montgomery, senior consultant at Market Gravity. Many new innovation programs are building on existing ideas and filling tangible holes, rather than creating something completely new. Focus in fintech has become more about the user experience. Visa, for example, developed a mobile location confirmation for travelers. Customers can confirm a payment abroad through their phone, rather than have their credit card put on hold the second a suspiciously fraudulent transaction is made. "You think you know everything, but you don't," says Montgomery of companies. There are always these small, pesky problems to solve.</p> <p>Western Union, who was awarded best new service, created a "stage and pay" money transfer to make use easier for customers. Western Union teamed up with Walgreens in the U.S. to make access to Western Union through existing photo kiosks, cutting the need for separate technology.</p> <p>Bank of Montreal (BMO) was nominated for best new service for its savings builder account. The account is the first high interest savings account in Canada to add bonus interest when customers save $200 or more each month. Other nominees included more personalization and confirming identity through finger prints and facial recognition.</p> <p>Most creative award, in our opinion, goes to Pornhub for its "wankband." The promo is a "renewable source of energy, powered by Pornhub's quality content." Strap it to your forearm, create energy, and use it to charge anything with a USB.<br /> Photo: Hey Paul Studios</p>
Next robo-advisor target: ETFs
FinTech
<p>Robo-advisors are seeping into the market, and in 10 years, they could be managing the $13 trillion of U.S. unadvised assets, reports Daily Fintech. Those robo-advisors could then push the ETF assets under management from $3 trillion globally to a massive $75 trillion in 10 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
Asia's growing HNWI populace needs fintech solutions — Fintech O-2-O Meetup
FinTech
<p>As Asia's population of high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) explodes, so is the growing demand for fintech solutions to serve them, wealth management professionals told an audience at yesterday's Cyberport NexChange Fintech O-2-O Meetup.</p> <p>The event, held in Hong Kong's Cyberport Tuesday, opened with a keynote speech by Mads Faurholt-Jorgensen, founder of fintech-focused investment firm Nova Founders, which was followed by two panels.</p> <p>The first panel included Joanne Murphy, CAIA Association's Asia Pacific managing director, and Peter McMillan, head of wealth management Asia at Thomson Reuters, and featured a discussion on the growing demands of an increasingly sophisticated HNWI client base.</p> <p>"Investors are smarter," said Murphy,"and they have a need for greater accessbility."</p> <p>She added that clients want more transparancy and information regarding their investments, but pulling out the relevant information for each client can be expensive and time consuming. This is just one area where fintech innovation is needed, the panelists said.</p> <p>The second panel included Dr. Cedric Jeannot from APrivacy, and Phillip Yoon of Phinary Advisors, both managers of their respective wealth management-focused fintech startups. Both expressed similar sentiments to the first panel.</p> <p>Dr. Jeannot observed that small family offices and asset managers were also more nimble when it came to adopting fintech solutions. Yoon meanwhile added that it was important that wealth managers did not focus on innovation for innovation's sake, saying:<br /> "Innovation brings assurance. Regardless of what tools you bring, clients want assurance."<br /> &nbsp;</p>