June 11, 2017

The FinTech banking technology week in numbers


June 92017

€25 million…Irish FinTech, Plynk, has closed a €25 million Series A fundraising round, led by Swiss Privee. The venture, which has come up with a money messaging app, will use the cash to expand across Europe (the app is only currently available in Ireland) and then worldwide, add GBP to the platform, and hire more staff to work on the core product and to build more features.

Plynk was founded in 2015 by Charles Dowd and Clive Foley and its app was launched in January. Linked to their Facebook accounts, Plynk users can send money instantly as a message to a single contact or in group chats, with no fees.

Last year, Plynk raised €725,000 in seed funding from Bank of Ireland’s Startup and Emerging Sectors Equity Fund, as well as private equity group Delta Partners, Enterprise Ireland and the National Digital Research Centre.

50…Challenger banks, Monzo, N26 and Atom, are among those who have made it onto the FinTech50 2017 list. “When we founded the 50 back in 2012, it was a guide to a then emerging landscape. Now, it’s a guide to quality in a very crowded one,” notes FinTech City, the company behind the list. “This year’s FinTech 50 companies can feel very very pleased with themselves. They were selected from over 1,500 FinTechs across Europe by some of the biggest names in the sector, which is no small achievement.”

Other firms in the mix include Mambu, Fenergo, solarisBank, Revolut and PayKey.

Further info here.

3,000…US consumers are paying more bills from mobile devices and making more person-to-person payments, and they are also venturing into digital wallets, according to Fiserv research involving 3,000-plus people. “Consumers are living more digital lives, and that is being reflected in the way they pay,” says Mark Ernst, Chief Operating Officer, Fiserv. “Bill payments and person-to-person payments from mobile devices are making their way toward the mainstream, while digital wallets are showing slow but steady growth reminiscent of the early days of online banking.”

The percentage of consumers using mobile bill pay was up from late 2015 to late 2016, growing from 22 to 28%. Among mobile banking users, 41% used the service to pay bills in the past 30 days. Bill payment was a notable factor in mobile banking use, with 53% of mobile banking users citing the ability to pay bills anywhere and anytime, 46% the ability to quickly pay bills at the last minute, and 31% the ability to receive mobile alerts when bills are due as reasons they use mobile banking.

The share of consumers using P2P payments via a financial organisation in the past 30 days increased by more than one-third from 2015 to 2016, growing from 14 to 19%. Over the past year, sharing household expenses was the most common use of the service (9%), followed by repaying a loan or debt to a friend or family member (7%) and rent (6%). Security concerns are a lower barrier to adoption than in the past, with the percent of nonusers of P2P payments saying they have not tried the service due to concerns about security declining from 29% in 2015 to 21% in 2016.

Digital wallet adoption is growing at a slow but steady rate, with 13% of consumers indicating they have used a digital wallet in the last 30 days, up from 11% in 2015 and 8% in 2014, according to a prior Fiserv survey. 15% of consumers said they had used a digital wallet in the past year. Younger consumers are also more interested in faster payments, with 93% of Millennials and 85% of Gen Xers saying that it is at least somewhat important that the payments they make are delivered in real-time, compared to 76% of the overall population.

0…UK digital-only challenger, Atom Bank, has delayed plans to launch a current account until at least 2018. Chief Executive, Mark Mullen, has put this down to forthcoming Competition and Markets Authority Open Banking standards that make the market too “ambiguous and uncertain”.  In addition, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) recently launched a review of current accounts, which will not deliver initial findings until next year.

Atom Bank, which was founded by Mullen, former CEO of first direct and Anthony Thomson, who created Metro Bank, officially opened to all customers last year. It had previously been in “invitation only” mode, with its iPhone and Android app available to customers who had expressed interest and been given a registration code.

Earlier this year, it struck a deal with Will.i.am whereby the rapper, producer and judge on TV talent show The Voice UK would act as a consultant and board adviser. He “will provide the Durham-based bank with an external perspective on culture, philanthropy and technology,” it said. No financial details were given on the partnership, although reports suggest it could be worth up to £4 million for the entertainer.

$140 million…US WealthTech venture, Addepar, has closed a $140 million Series D funding round, co-led by Valor Equity Partners, 8VC and QuantRes founder Harald McPike. The company, which helps wealth management firms get a more comprehensive view of their clients’ assets, will use the new capital to boost R&D, and expand its product, platform and tech-enabled services.

Addepar says that it has gone from $300 billion to over $650 billion assets on its platform in less than 18 months. “The company’s extraordinary growth speaks for itself,” says Joe Lonsdale, co-founder of Addepar and Palantir Technologies and partner at 8VC. “Addepar is now poised to become the universal operating system to power global finance. It has already connected much of the financial services ecosystem as the leading platform for the highest calibre of asset owners and advisers, capturing and aggregating data from numerous sources and helping to apply it in the most intuitive and impactful ways.”

“Addepar’s open platform will catalyse the next generation of innovation in the financial services industry,” comments McPike. “I believe that open platforms will precipitate a wave of data-driven customer centric services that will be transformative.”

Four…Australian banks, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac, are to implement Swift’s Global Payments Innovation (gpi). There are now over 70 banks around the globe either live or planning to go live with the initiative.

Bill Doran, Head of Oceania at Swift, says: “Swift gpi is the biggest overhaul of the cross-border payments system since the Swift cooperative was first established in the 1970’s to replace the Telex. In an increasingly connected world, banks’ customers are demanding faster, more transparent and traceable payment services to support their personal and business needs. Phase 1 of Swift gpi will already deliver a much improved customer experience, but it is just the first step in a multi-year programme of continuous improvement.”

Nigel Dobson, General Manager Wholesale Digital at ANZ, says: “As Australia’s leading Institutional and most international bank, we’re delighted to be a contributor to the Swift gpi community, supporting its agenda to transform the global payments experience for our customers. We are excited to be participating in the activation of the first stage of payments innovation and look forward to making further compelling contributions and improvements to our customers’ cross-border 

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