Bye Bye Banks?

By James Haycock | Curating the latest articles about disruption in Financial Services. Expect articles on new entrants, technology and consumer behaviours as well as innovations from the established players.

Millennial lender Upstart just raised $32.5 million to license its tech to other companies

Upstart, a nearly five-year-old online lending company that prides itself on quickly identifying people who are less likely to default on money leant them, has raised $32.5 million in fresh funding that brings its total funding to date to around $85 million. Partly, the company plans to use the …

Startups

Root Insurance launches a new car insurance company

Alexander Timm has been working in the insurance industry since he was 14. While that’s strange enough, what’s even weirder is that Timm really loves the work.<p>He’s so enamored of the business that he’s founded his own insurance company, Root Insurance, to remake the process of applying for — and …

Insurance

MasterCard users will soon be able to manage their accounts over Facebook Messenger

MasterCard account holders will soon be able to check on their accounts, track their spending, review past purchases and more right in Facebook Messenger. That’s right – MasterCard is the latest company to embrace Facebook’s chatbot platform as a new means of interacting with its customers in an …

Facebook

Verse banks $8.3M Series A to accelerate its p2p payments play in Europe

Another player in the packed p2p payments space is announcing an $8.3 million Series A funding round today. SF and Barcelona based Verse is gunning to be the Venmo of Europe — given Venmo hasn’t yet shown an inclination to expand its mobile social payments app outside the US.<p>The Series A is led by …

Startups

N26 announces a premium Black card with Allianz travel insurance

What’s missing from N26? The company has been slowly but surely building a new bank account from the ground up. This time, the company is trying to recreate the insurance product that you typically get with a Visa Premier or MasterCard Gold. So N26 is launching the N26 Black card.<p>The startup has …

Insurance

Lending Club zooms into car refinancings in turnaround effort

Many Americans learned through Lending Club that they can refinance their credit card debt online; now, the lending marketplace is hoping they’ll start refinancing their automotive loans using its platform, too.<p>Indeed, though automotive lending is a massive market, car refinance is far smaller …

FinTech

What’s On Your Phone? Probably Not Your Wallet

Mastercard is just the latest financial behemoth to jump into the mobile wallet game, but it’s not clear if anyone is winning in this space.<p>At a grandiose event atop the World Trade Center, Mastercard unveiled new technology that will enable partnered banks and retailers to send and accept money …

Android Pay

Money transfer company TransferWise raises further $26M at a $1.1B valuation

After months of rumours, TransferWise, the London-headquartered money transfer startup and fintech darling, has confirmed that it has raised a further round of funding.<p>Described as ‘top-up funding’, the $26 million round was led by investment management firm Baillie Gifford, with participation from …

Startups

Lending Club drifts from founding vision

A very Wall Street fuss is rattling an industry that was meant to be the antithesis of Wall Street

Tencent's Qkey Promotes Its Secure Payment Authentication

Chinese Internet company Tencent launched its smart bracelet product named Qkey with a feature that grants the user payment authentication …

Security

E-susu aims to close the gap between community loan groups and traditional banking services

An interesting hack presented on stage today at TechCrunch Disrupt New York 2016 is a platform for non-traditional banking services. Called e-susu, the app is designed for people who are involved with informal loan groups to help them better manage the process of lending money within a family or …

Banking

PayPal Credit expands to the UK with an interest-free option for purchases over £150

After separating from eBay, PayPal has been on a march to grow both its international business and transactions beyond basic e-commerce. Today it is taking a step to do both, with the U.K. launch of PayPal Credit — a service that lets consumers use their PayPal accounts to spread out online …

FinTech

Barclays finally launches Apple Pay for UK customers

Barclays and Barclaycard customers can finally use Apple Pay on their iOS devices, the company has announced.<p>Almost a year after Apple Pay's July …

Apple Pay

Goldman Sachs-backed CompareAsiaGroup gets new CEO ahead of its second round of funding

CompareAsiaGroup, a consumer finance startup backed by Goldman Sachs, has appointed Sam Allen as its new chief executive officer. Allen previously worked at KKR, where he was a director on the private equity investment firm’s portfolio operations team.<p>The company runs sites in eight Asian countries …

Startups

Social payments startup Circle rolls into Europe

It may have started as a Bitcoin wallet but veteran entrepreneur Jeremy Allaire’s fintech startup Circle has since shifted focus to social payments, launching an app in Q4 last year that lets users send U.S. dollars to settle IOUs between each other, with its pitch being it makes payments as easy …

FinTech

Barclays partners with Goldman-backed bitcoin payments app

Barclays is linking up with Circle Internet Financial, a US mobile payment start-up backed by Goldman Sachs that uses bitcoin to transfer central …

Bitcoin

HSBC to offer investment advice to savers with smaller sums

HSBC is launching a new investment advice service for customers with at least £15,000 in savings, in a move aimed at plugging Britain’s huge advice …

Financial Planning

Atom is the first of the new UK challenger banks out the gate — sort of

Atom Bank, which is backed by Spanish banking giant BBVA, has become the first of the four so-called UK ‘challenger’ banks out the gate — sort of.<p>Having secured a much-coveted banking license late last year, the mobile-first bank has made its iOS app available to users who pre-registered their …

Banking

Branch.co raises $9.2 million to bring financial services where banks don’t go

San Francisco-based Branch International, or Branch.co, raised $9.2 million to bring digital financial services to mobile phone users in Sub-Saharan Africa. Andreessen Horowitz led the Series A round.<p>Branch’s free-to-download Android app is a kind of “branchless bank for the next generation,” says …

Banking

Start-ups Bring New Solutions to Cash

<b>The Hidden Lives of America’s Poor and Middle Class</b> This series explores how current programs and policies for helping families escape poverty, build …

FinTech

The Death of Bank Products has been greatly under-exaggerated

This is an excerpt from my new book <i>Augmented: Life in the Smart Lane</i><p>Since 2005 I’ve been predicting the decline of branch banking. For almost 10 …

Banking

A Bitcoin-Style Currency for Central Banks

The Bank of England asked researchers to invent a digital currency with a more centralized design.<p>The digital currency Bitcoin was designed to be …

Bitcoin

Olive branches, rubrics and the state of faster payments in the U.S.

The nation relies on systemically important market infrastructures. As you may have guessed, these engines of economy are designed to resist change.<p>That’s not a bad thing. A certain amount of insulation protects us from the whims of fads and provides the cornerstones of the economy, like banking, …

Banking

Xero TaxTouch is Tinder for the Gig Economy's Taxes

Today, cloud-accounting platform <b>Xero</b> announced a mobile app called Xero TaxTouch that will benefit the 18.5 million U.S. freelance workers.<p><i>Xero</i> …

Accounting

Prosper Marketplace relaunches its BillGuard app under the Prosper brand

Prosper Marketplace, the marketplace lender focused on refinancing and credit rehabilitation, has re-launched its BillGuard app (acquired last September) under its own brand as Prosper Daily.<p>With the rebranding, the former BillGuard becomes Prosper’s first mobile app and is the company’s first …

Financial Services

UK’s Atom Bank makes first acquisition, Grasp, to hone its youth-focused user experience

A day after Finnish online bank Holvi got acquired by BBVA, here comes yet more consolidation in Europe’s fintech landscape. Today, Atom Bank — a still stealth, online-only startup, coincidentally also backed by BBVA — announced its first acquisition: Grasp, a design and development house based out …

Banking