Every fortnight we compile a list of important news updates and events in the finance sector, covering fintech, payments, digital banking and more.
Small and medium business enterprise business banking platform Tide, has introduced optical character recognition technology that will give customers the ability to auto-match receipts to transactions and perform bulk uploads to accounting software. Other new expense functions released include the ability to edit and delete notes related to expenses, download attachments linked to transactions, and auto-upload to accountancy software.
U.K. digital bank Starling Bank announced that it has raised £30 million (more than $38.7 million USD) in a new funding round. Merian Chrysalis Investment led the round with an investment of £20 million, while existing investor JTC gave an additional £10 million. The new funds will be used to boost investment in Starling’s retail and small business (SME) bank accounts, as well as its B2B banking services, and accelerate its expansion into Europe.
Following a raised £30 million funding round, Starling Bank announced a business euro account and has gone live with a dual currency account that allows business and personal customers to spend directly in euros or British pounds from the same debit card.
UK-based fintech firm Revolut has gone live in Singapore, following a beta period which saw it sign up 30,000 customers. Revolut account holders get a multi-currency travel debit card and an account that supports the Singapore dollar and 13 other currencies. At its launch event on Wednesday, Revolut said it is working on bringing features that are available in other markets, like cryptocurrency trading and commission-free stock market trading, to Singaporean customers.
Revolut, N26, Monzo, Monese and Starling are some of the major players in the European digital challenger banking scene; we compare the different services and products offered by them in an infographic.
Apple Pay has surpassed Starbucks as the most popular mobile payment platform in America, according to industry research company eMarketer. Since its last report in 2018, Apple Pay has grown faster than analysts anticipated, now holding over 30.3 million users in the U.S. compared to Starbucks’ 25.2 million users.
The multinational ridesharing app Uber has rolled out its financial product line Uber Money, which serves both consumers and employed drivers. With the relaunch of its Barclays-backed credit card, consumers can get 5% in Uber Cash to spend on other purchases made through the firm’s ride and food delivery services, whilst employed drivers can get paid after each ride instead of weekly or by cashing out through Uber’s ‘Instant Pay’ service.
UK challenger Revolut will be launching its US card with Mastercard by the end of this year. However, the fintech will also be primarily issuing Visa-branded cards in its global expansion. Revolut will use Visa to expand in 24 new markets, for a total of 56 around the world and simultaneously partner with Mastercard for at least 50% of existing and future cards issued in Europe (Visa will have the other half), according to a statement.
Paidy, a Japanese instant credit startup, has raised $83 million in a Series C extension joined by PayPal and secured an additional $60 million in debt financing. Paidy launched its post-pay credit account for ecommerce in 2014, helping Japanese consumers make online purchases without credit cards.
A new challenger bank has arrived on the scene in Germany with the launch of mobile-only insha, which focuses on interest-free Islamic banking. Based in Germany, the bank is a digital offshoot of Istanbul-headquartered Albaraka Türk Participation Bank, and was first developed in mid-2017 for the Turkish market. The new entrant claims to be the first interest-free digital banking provider in Europe and says that new users can sign up in eight minutes. It offers savings, donations and zakat calculations.
The Libra Association has announced the 21 companies who have officially signed a charter backing the project, following its meeting in Geneva, Switzerland on 14 October. Despite PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, Booking Holdings, eBay, Stripe and Mercado Pago all pulling out at the eleventh hour, Libra said that 1,500 entities have expressed interest in joining the project – 180 of which meet its partner criteria.
With a loss of seven investors within weeks of governmental and regulatory scrutiny, we take a look at the growing criticism faced by Facebook’s cryptocurrency offering Libra across the globe.