Each fortnight we compile a list of important news updates across fintech, payments, digital banking and more in the finance industry.
In the last couple of weeks, Facebook has witnessed several of its investors withdrawing from the Libra association. The list includes PayPal, MasterCard, Visa, Stripe, eBay, Mercado Pago, and Booking Holdings so far. The cryptocurrency project has also faced immense amounts of both governmental and regulatory backlash.
British-based digital payments and banking group Revolut is trying to raise $1.5bn (£1.2bn) from investors as part of a quest to become one of the world’s most highly-prized fintech companies. Revolut has hired investment bank JP Morgan to orchestrate both a $500m (£395m) equity-raise and the issuance of a $1bn (£790m) convertible loan in the coming months.
NatWest is the first UK bank to introduce a biometric fingerprint credit card, starting its three-month national pilot today with 150 customers in partnership with Mastercard and digital security provider Gemalto, a Thales company. The cards will enable customers to make contactless payments using fingerprint verification. Transactions of up to £100 will be allowed through this method, a significant increase on the current £30 contactless limit.
Digital bank for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) Tide has bagged a new investment from Strategic Business Innovator (SBI), a subsidiary of Tokyo-based SBI Holdings. According to The Telegraph, the investment amounted to £44 million, valuing the fintech at £200 million.
The latest to accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment, UNICEF has set up a cryptocurrency fund, enabling it to receive, hold and disburse donations in ether and bitcoin. Under the fund’s structure, contributions will be held in the cryptocurrency they are made in and granted out in the same form.
Nubank currently claims to have 15 million customers, representing a 25% increase since August. Founder and CEO, David Vélez, says that 10 million of Nubank’s clients are holders of its credit card. Nubank – which provides a free-of-charge credit card along with bank accounts, small business services and individual credit – aims to offer interest rates at 30% to 40% below the normal market rate for Brazilian banks.
India’s largest mobile payments group Paytm is seeking to raise $2bn from investors including Ant Financial and SoftBank to better compete with rivals Amazon and Walmart. This will push the company’s valuation to $15 billion according to sources close to the company.
UK’s Metro Bank has announced three fintech and SME partnerships, following £120 million funding it secured from the Capability and Innovation Fund in February this year. As well as using its own investment, the bank says it wants the money to inject “much needed competition into the small business banking market”.
Challenger bank Starling has partnered with digital insurance platform Nimbla to offer its 65,000 small business customers the ability to protect themselves from financial losses caused by bankrupt clients. Starling business customers can shelter themselves from risk quickly and easily by purchasing insurance cover for either single of multiple invoices after signing up for a free Nimbla account directly in the Starling Marketplace.
Among the leading challenger banks in Europe, Starling is one of the only banks to offer a financial marketplace. Check out our infographic comparing five major digital-only banks (N26, Revolut, Starling, Monzo, and Monese) to know more.
DNB, Norway’s largest financial services group with combined assets of more than NOK 1.9 trillion (US $207.4 trillion), has launched the new version of its mobile banking app on Nordic API Gateway. “With access to every bank in Norway, DNB can now digitally tap into the large portion of Norwegians who bank with more than one financial institution,” says Nordic API Gateway’s CEO and founder, Rune Mai.