Penser compiles the important updates and headlines from the finance sector covering fintech, payments, digital banking, cryptocurrency, ecommerce, and more in this fortnightly news roundup.

Tandem Bank launches AI push

Tandem Bank has a new core member of the team: it’s a cloud-powered analytics machine using artificial intelligence dubbed Ada. Named after Ada Lovelace, a 19th century pioneer in computing theory, and daughter of Lord Byron. It will run 24×7 in the background of all app functions, helping customers control credit and boost savings. Ada can predict cashflow, spending patterns and forecast balances at the end of the month or year.

Microsoft joins forces with Plaid to make Excel a fintech app

Microsoft has partnered with San Francisco-based fintech startup Plaid to develop a new software app called Money in Excel. The collaboration will allow people to automatically import their bank and credit card account data into the personal finance tool. The Money in Excel app will let users manage, track and analyse their money and keep track of their spending habits, all within the space of the Excel spreadsheet application.

Brex buys three San Francisco startups to complement its product line

Fintech unicorn Brex has acquired three startups to improve its security, core technology and e-commerce products. Neji, Compose Labs and Landria, all startups based in San Francisco, will join the Brex portfolio. Blockchain startup Neji will help Brex improve its security, privacy and risk posture as Brex continues to develop its products. Compose Labs, a company that powers video experiences, will bolster Brex’s e-commerce product, which was introduced last year. Landria organizes internal knowledge databases for companies, and will help improve Brex’s core technology infrastructure.

Singapore fintech startup MatchMove joins digital bank race

Singapore financial-technology firm MatchMove has teamed up with homegrown finance company Singapura Finance Ltd. and two others to apply for a digital banking license in the city-state. The MatchMove-led consortium is the latest group to announce it’s submitted an application for a digital full banking license to the Monetary Authority of Singapore. That sets the firm against heavyweights including Sea Ltd., which is backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd., and the Grab Holdings Inc.-Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. consortium.

Payments unicorn Square gets limited bank charter for merchant lending

The U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Board (FDIC) gave the payments startup conditional approval for a bank charter to launch Square Financial Services, an Industrial Loan Company. Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, the bank also received approval from the Utah Department of Financial institutions for the charter. The bank’s primary business will be deposit products and small business loans for its commercial lending business.

Fiserv to enhance omni-commerce experience with acquisition of Bypass Mobile

The acquisition of Bypass will help power the next generation of omni-commerce capabilities from Fiserv, enabling enterprise businesses to deliver a seamless customer experience that spans physical and digital channels. Bypass provides robust back office management tools and rich insights engines for sports and entertainment venues, food service management providers and national restaurant chains. The acquisition builds on an existing strategic relationship through which Bypass software is integrated into Fiserv technology.

Tink, the Stockholm-based open banking startup, acquires Eurobits

Swedish startup Tink, one of Europe’s leading open banking platforms, has acquired Madrid-based Eurobits, a leading provider of account aggregation services, powering over 50 banks and fintechs such as BBVA, Santander, Sabadell and Fintonic. The acquisition will strengthen Tink’s bank connectivity coverage, grow its team by 54 people, boost its market position in Southern Europe and Latin America, and will mean it now covers 17 markets.

ICICI Bank launches WhatsApp services to ease banking during lockdown

ICICI Bank has launched WhatsApp banking services to help its customers fulfil an array of banking requirements from homes during the ongoing coronavirus lockdown. The service enables customers to access a host of banking services within a few clicks. Currently, the services available include checking account balance, information of the last three transactions, credit card limit, blocking and unblocking credit/debit cards anytime, details on pre-approved loans, track deliverables such as debit/credit cards, and nearby offers available for ICICI Bank customers.