10 Fintech startups of March

1 April 2017

March turned out to be quite a productive month for the fintech industry with the new solutions and services launched and old players expanding their presence. As Apple achieved a final victory over four big banks in Australia, Alibaba shifted into the blockchain plain and Facebook entered the crowdfunding services market, many other new startups and projects emerged on stage, and in our another review we present brief summary of 10 new fintech projects launched this March.

Chinese cryptocurrency

Chinese cryptocurrencyChinese government through its central bank People’s Bank of China is working over the creation of the national cryptocurrency based on the distributed ledger technology. Chinese authorities have been conducting research into the possibility of using the national digital currency platform for three years already with the research team established for this purpose under advisory guidance of Deloitte.

While fintech market today offers a host of options to make digital payments, online and mobile payment systems are still intermediary organizations while cryptocurrency allows users to make payments directly. The launch of the national cryptocurrency will significantly reduce the issue of paper legal tender in China, while also cutting the costs, providing more data on every transaction to the regulatory bodies and, hence, enabling them to make more accurate forecasts.

Aadhaar Pay

Aadhaar PayMumbai-headquartered banking company IDFC Bank in March became the first Indian bank to launch a payment system with biometric transaction authorization known as Aadhaar Pay. According to the bank’s statement it plans to have as many as 50,000-75,000 merchants join its new payment platform within the following two years with the ultimate target number of merchants scheduled to reach 1,000,000 over the three years.

The new service expands financial inclusion to underserved customers having no or little access to mobile phones. Aadhaar Pay requires a merchant to have a smartphone with biometric device costing about Rs 2,500 and users to have their bank account linked to Aadhaar and record their thumb print as the password for transactions authorization.

Technical Advisory Group by ISO

Technical Advisory Group by ISOIn early March the International Organization for Standardization unveiled the fintech Technical Advisory Group (TAG), a global committee that will be focused on advancing the new technologies and informational standards in the financial industry. The new committee will be liaising with financial institutions, regulators, supply chains and fintech startups. It will be an advisory board for fintech industry, assisting public bodies and providing training for the purpose of consistent standardization of fintech activity.

According to the statement from the ISO the members in the committee board are selected based on their expertise in the fintech area and include Stephan Wolf, Co-Chair, CEO of the Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation; Nick Cliff, Co-Chair Head of emerging technology, APCA and Di Giammarino, Secretary, CEO JWG-IT Group.

Gift Card JV of First Data and FLEETCOR

Gift Card JV of First Data and FLEETCORThe beginning of March saw another announcement made jointly by First Data and FLEETCOR Technologies. The two companies signed an agreement to form the joint-venture combining gift offerings of both companies to help their clients enhance customer experience by providing added value through various gifting and incentive programs.

In the joint statement the companies explained that the new business will involve the current gift card operations of First Data (Transaction Wireless and Gyft) and prepaid card business and gift card program management assets of FLEETCOR (Stored Value Solutions).The joint venture will combine the revenue of both companies making up in total 362 million US dollars as of data for 2016. Share of First Data will account for 57.5%, and that of FLEETCOR will be 42.5% in the joint business.

Credit Sense

Credit SenseAn American provider of financial technologies to banking institutions Fiserv announced in March the introduction of its product Credit Sense to banks which may integrate this solution into their digital banking platforms. Credit Sense allows customers to trace their current credit score and financial institutions to base their further offering on this figure.

Fiserv reported in the official press release that Credit Sense informs customers and financial providers of a credit score, while also providing daily credit monitoring, analysis of the factors affecting the score and free tutorial materials in finances. Credit Sense when integrated into mobile or online banking solution displays the customer’s credit score next to their account information. Thereby companies may personalize their products for the customers based on the credit score. The solution will be available across multiple online and mobile banking services.

Alibaba blockchain project

AlibabaAlibaba blockchain project has partnered with with international consulting and audit firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), nutritional supplement maker Blackmores and Australian national post operator AusPost over the introduction of the new blockchain-based pilot project aimed at developing secure system of food quality control to ensure prevention of counterfeit food products delivered to customers.

Alibaba reported that the objective of the project is to establish a “Food Trust Framework” for the purpose of enhancing the integrity and traceability on its global supply network selecting Australia as the stage for its pilot testing. Alibaba thinks blockchain establishes improved transparency between customers and sellers because shipment is traced in real time with greater security and lower risks of counterfeiting.

U.S. Bank mobile payment

U.S. BankU.S. Bank mobile payment introduced new functionality on its U.S. Bank Corporate Travel Card for corporate clients allowing them to make mobile transactions through Apple Pay, Android Pay or Samsung Pay platforms. Commercial cardholders travelling with the card can make secure and convenient payments on the go at any location where there is a compatible device.

U.S. Bank becomes the first in the country to provide a mobile payment offering for Visa corporate card clients. The new offering features high level of security as during the transaction no information is stored on the device and with the retailer due to the enhanced tokenization technology, which thereby reduces the risks of potential data breach and fraud.

Oil trade blockchain platform

Oil trade blockchain platformThis week announcement was made by Natixis, IBM and Trafigura about their partnership to create a distributed ledger platform for selling crude oil in the United States. The partners have designed a dedicated solution based on Linux Foundation open source Hyperledger Fabric. This blockchain platform is aimed at converting many paperwork operations into the digital format, increasing transparency, security and productivity.

According to the official statement made by the companies, the goal of the new solution is to replace paper-based manual operations with blockchain process, where all participants share the same ledger updated in real time that cannot be modified, tampered or forged as all alterations and additions are registered as a new record in the ledger. All parties to the transaction can view the ledger at the same time and share all documents reducing the time previously required for sending information by mail, fax or courier.

Coinxmart

CoinxmartLondon-based company Smart Banking Exchange (SBXbank) this week also announced the launch of the cryptocurrency marketplace in Indonesia called Coinxmart that will be processing transactions made in cryptocurrency of SBXbank known as SBXCoin. While cryptocurrency in Indonesia is still in its nascence and remains unregulated by authorities, Indonesian rupiah is one of the most traded currency for bitcoin globally, according to the statement of Suasti Atmastuti Astaman, business development manager for Indonesian bitcoin exchange Bitcoin.co.id.

According to the spokesperson for SBXbank, ASEAN operations, Coinxmart is scheduled to launch in Indonesia in May along with mobile applications for iOS and Android devices. At the moment the company is holding negotiations with the OJK, Indonesian Financial Services Authority, over the issue of security featuring cryptocurrency transactions with an aim to convince the regulator that fintech services are safe for consumers.

Facebook crowdfunding

FacebookFacebook crowdfunding this week announced addition of its own money collection functionality to the available features on its website. Users will now be able to collect money for specific causes by creating personal fundraising pages in the social media network. Categories across which Facebook users will be able to raise funds include: Education, Medical treatment, Care of pets, Personal emergency, Funeral and losses.

Facebook will allow users to create a dedicated page similar to the Facebook Group displaying Donate button and the amount contributed at the given moment. The service will cost 6.9% plus thirty cents that will go for processing the transaction, verifying the identity and protecting users against fraud. Apart from personal crowdfunding pages, Facebook will also be providing fundraising option to celebrities, public figures, brands, businesses and entities, adding the Donate button to their live streams, thus, allowing them to collect money for the non-profit organizations they support.

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