Every fortnight Penser compiles a list of important updates and news events in the fintech, payments & banking sectors across the globe.

New customer data legislation paves way for open banking in Australia

Australia’s new Consumer Data Right legislation formally introduced Open Banking in the country, allowing consumers the freedom to share their account data with third party providers.

We’ve covered Australia’s foray into Open Banking here.

Portugal banks back Open API platform

Following in Australia’s footsteps, Portugal is the next country to introduce Open Banking after local payments processor Sibs launched an API platform that brings together 24 financial institutions. In a move to meet the PSD2 directive, the Sibs API Market gives third party providers (TPPs) access to 95% of bank accounts in Portugal, covering account information, payment initiation, and availability of funds.

Fintech firm Revolut launches a Robinhood-style stock trading service

Digital banking alternative Revolut has launched its own commission-free stock trading platform, allowing Revolut Metal holders up to 100 free trades per month on 500 US-listed companies on the NYSE & NASDAQ. The fintech plans to roll out this platform out to its Premium and Standard customers in the future.

To read more about how other fintech firms & digital banks have integrated investments & trading into their services, check out our post here.

Sweden’s Klarna becomes the biggest fintech firm in Europe

Klarna, the Swedish payments company with a “shop now, pay later” model, has become the largest private fintech firm in Europe after a fresh round of investor funding increased its value to $5.5bn (£4.5bn).The increased valuation comes after the startup raised $460m (£378m) from investors led by Silicon Valley-based Dragoneer, alongside others including BlackRock and Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

DBS Bank India ties up with Social Alpha to incubate social entrepreneurs

DBS Bank India has partnered with tech business incubator Social Alpha to mentor three ventures over the next eighteen months. This includes Even Cargo, which has trained and employed women as delivery personnel for e-commerce firms; Trust Circle, a mental healthcare start-up that utilises mobile AI technology to improve emotional resiliency; and Incredible Devices, a medical device start-up company aimed at making safe and affordable healthcare solutions.

RBI allows fintech companies, financial institutions to set up regulatory sandbox

The Reserve Bank of India has now permitted startups, banks and financial institutions to set up regulatory sandbox (RS) for live testing of innovative products in areas like retail payments, digital KYC and wealth management.

New Zealand legalises salaries paid in cryptocurrencies

From 1st September 2019, New Zealand’s tax authority will allow salaries and wages that are regular, fixed amounts to be paid in digital currencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple making it the first country to use cryptocurrency as a form of mainstream payment.

Neobank Joust Raises $2.6M To Bank Freelancer Wages

Joust Labs, a US neobanking startup targeting freelancers and gig economy workers, closed a $2.6 million seed funding round led by PTB Ventures.

China’s Central Bank nears release of own digital currency

Mu Changchun, deputy director of the central bank’s payments department, said that The People’s Bank of China is “almost ready” to launch its own digital currency. The People’s Bank set up a research team to investigate a digital currency back in 2014. The currency will rely on a two-tier system meaning that both the central bank and commercial financial institutions can issue it.

Penser has explored the growth of fintech in China, read more here.

Tandem to offer crowd-designed mortgages

UK Challenger bank Tandem has announced that it plans to offer competitive mortgages to first-time buyers and “property ladder hopefuls” based on a range of financial data points. Tandem said it wants consumers to be part of the design process by sharing their personal “must-haves” for a mortgage. The new mortgage product will be tested with a small group of customers by the end of 2019 before a full UK launch in 2020.