Insurance Is Here: Look At Insurtechs That Promise To Transform The Industry

https://thefintechtimes.com/insurance-is-here/

A good reason to get to grips with the insurance industry a bit more intensively in preparation, which has so far only been marginal in my blog. So it is a good thing that in this area of ​​the big and increasingly colorful financial world is doing a lot in terms of change. Here is a short first look at the happenings.

Quotation, form filling, and analysis by the insurer. These are the three steps a person needs to go through to get insurance – and usually the reasons why over 80% of the second and third world countries population have no insurance at all.

This is because, as traditional companies impose a lot of bureaucracy and make it difficult for consumers to understand insurance. These steps end up taking a long time to complete – which increases the value of plans and creates many headaches for contractors.

This is why many people view the insurance market with ‘bad eyes’ and choose not to have insurance. For them, it is easier and more comfortable to take risks than to undergo so much bureaucracy.

But in recent times, this market is undergoing a major revolution. Thanks to Insurtechs, many people are saying goodbye to all this paperwork and benefiting from the simple, fast and cheap insurance (life, travel, auto, residential, as well as property damage liability insurance among many others).

The power of Insurtechs

The insurance industry has remained the same for over 100 years.

By offering a service that is essential to people’s lives, insurance companies did not care much about the technological evolution. Their managers felt that even as these developments occurred, the hiring of services would not be affected.

This idea made sense until the time Insurtechs began to hit the market. Their great promise is to reduce bureaucracy in all processes, from finding the ideal insurance to renewing it through new technologies.

And since they came into the market, Insurtechs have caught the attention of consumers. After all, who doesn’t want to:

  • Get rid of the bureaucracy imposed by traditional insurers?
  • Get rid of piles of paper to read, (try) understand and sign?
  • Hire plans over the Internet from desktops, tablets and smartphones?
  • Get insurance and start benefiting from them in no time?

Who most felt the impact generated by Insurtechs was certainly the traditional companies. According to PWC, 3 out of 4 insurers believe part of their business is at risk of disruption because of these startups.

But after all, who is being affected by the Insurtechs?

Consumers

With Insurtechs, consumers can get insurance simply, quickly and cheaply over the Internet. They do not have to read numerous papers, spend hours talking to the insurer’s staff, and wait weeks to get their policy.

The traditional companies

Insurtechs are offering traditional insurers the opportunity to meet consumer needs, reduce costs, and improve their processes. That’s why many are already investing, acquiring, and or partnering with these startups.

The insurance market and the economy

Because they are cutting red tape on the insurance industry, Insurtechs are attracting more consumers. They are also encouraging more startups to enter the market. This helps the industry become increasingly innovative and technological and grow, which also benefits the economy as a whole.

The investors

Many Insurtechs are attracting the attention of national and international investment funds. This is because their growth rate is very attractive. And anyone investing in them now will surely reap good rewards in the future.

Blockchain as a crucial disruptor

Special mention has been made of Blockchain technology, which has both the potential to disrupt the insurance industry dramatically. Also, opportunities to increase efficiency and reduce costs, not to mention the ability to create entirely new services, value-added, and business models. 

With Blockchain technology, the central intermediary (bank, insurance, notary, etc.) can be replaced entirely. The secure, comprehensible and trusting exchange of all forms of values ​​is decentralized and p2p. In this respect, Blockchain can be described as the Internet of Value, which is also an essential requirement of the Internet of Things.

According to a 2014 study, Blockchain technology alone will enable numerous breakthrough innovations in private insurance:

  • It will dramatically change the way personal information is archived and distributed. Personal data or identity management systems are used and used flexibly by consumers themselves.
  • Insurance products can be adapted to personal and local situations. Completely new p2p insurance products will emerge. Global scaling is extremely simplified.
  • Processes are increasingly automated and even triggered by systems. Once a testament has been created in a blockchain, it is automatically converted at the time of death. Temporary insurance is possible over very short periods of time and can be secured via the blockchain. The number of potential disputes will be drastically reduced.
  • People will be able to use their own pooling systems. Collaborative models are possible in the form of mini insurers or other mutual protection.

At the moment, it is not clear what effects Blockchain will have on the world, but many experts regard the technology as more disruptive than the Internet itself.

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An Omni-Channel Vision to Create Vital Competitive Edge

https://thefintechtimes.com/an-omni-channel-vision/

By Matthew Hughes, Operational Performance Director for Business Transformation Services, Atos UK and Ireland.

For more and more financial services customers, the time that really matters is right now. People want easy access to their personal finances where, when and how it suits them; and this is changing the relationships between financial institutions and their customers forever.

Self-service benefits

It’s well known that today’s consumers want to be able to use a combination of different channels to manage their savings and investments, from online banking and apps, to face-to-face meetings and phone calls. The retail banking sector has been leading the charge, and the last five years has seen an evolution from mobile banking to ‘smart mobility’, which uses contextual data for better targeting of relevant and timely services to customers. This enables banks not only to deliver conventional mobile banking, but also act as service brokers within a retail ecosystem, improving their own service to customers while opening up new sales opportunities. It also fosters a self-service approach that combines convenience with cost-efficiency; customers can access services around the clock that can be delivered at comparatively low costs.

People want easy access to their personal finances where, when and how it suits them

For the life and pensions sector, the challenge now is how to maximise the benefits of this kind of self-service approach – speed, efficiency and reduced cost-to-serve – while increasing customer satisfaction and developing new business opportunities. The solution to meet all these challenges simultaneously is to implement a comprehensive omnichannel strategy.

Single dynamic customer experiences

An omni-channel strategy enables a company to deliver one consistent customer experience all the way through each transaction while maintaining a full picture of the customer and their interactions at all times. It makes it possible, dynamically and in real-time, to gather knowledge from customers across all channels, while delivering precisely targeted fulfilment to customers at every stage. Customers no longer feel that different channels, such as online and telephone, are different departments – or even, in some cases, different organisations. They don’t waste time or feel frustrated by having to re-explain their need or go back to square one with every transaction.

As far as the technology goes, an omni-channel strategy can be implemented through an omni-channel portal and one single customer experience platform, with the ability for customers to switch between different modes throughout a transaction. This technology performs three key functions:

  • It provides an integrated way of gathering customer data, insights and priorities, which can be collected within a single knowledge repository;
  • It means that intelligence, generated by analysing large volumes of customer information, can be applied at every point of contact with customers, ensuring that sales and service agents understand customer profiles, preferences and context at every contact point, and;
  • It enables customers to interact with their life and pensions company in exactly the way that suits them best.

Virtuous circle

An omni-channel strategy is key to delivering customer experiences that are at once highly efficient to deliver (being largely based on customer self-service), very convenient (fitting into the customer’s preferences), always accurate (as the most up-to-date information is available at each contact point), and satisfying (by constantly learning from each contact, enabling a more proactive approach to service delivery).

With an omni-channel portal driving a consistent and seamless experience across all channels and platforms, customers’ satisfaction levels increase because the company is easier to do business with. It also drives competitive advantage by giving companies insights into their customers’ needs and preferences that can be used to adapt their business model, thereby further raising satisfaction levels and loyalty. Only a truly omni-channel strategy can achieve this, creating a virtuous circle that improves both efficiency and satisfaction at the same time.

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Tax Compliance Innovator Avalara Partners with Billing Automation Platform Ordway

https://finovate.com/tax-compliance-innovator-avalara-partners-with-billing-automation-platform-ordway/

Avalara announced this week that billing and revenue automation platform Ordway is the latest company to join its Certified Partner program. Ordway customers will now be able to choose Avalara’s AvaTax to ensure accurate, real-time calculation of all applicable taxes, fees, and surcharges for every billed item.

“We’re excited to partner with Avalara to provide our customers with an option to automatically calculate sales tax,” Ordway founder and CEO Sameer Gulati said. “Our out-of-the-box tax calculations work for many of our customers, but for those that desire the additional power of AvaTax, our integration makes effortless tax calculation and collection possible.”

The integration will lower the amount of manual work typically involved in determining and collecting state and local taxes by providing sales and use tax calculations within existing business apps at the time of checkout or billing. Avalara’s systems keeps track of the most current tax rules and rates, covering more than 12,000 U.S. sales and use tax jurisdictions. The cloud-based, SaaS technology features 700+ prebuilt integrations into ERP, ecommerce, and other systems, as well as an advanced API.

“Ordway understands the needs of its customers, and their billing revenue automation platform reduces accounts receivable complexity for their customers along many fronts,” SVP of Business Development for Avalara Greg Chapman said. “We understand that digitization of business processes is not an option it is essential. We are proud to offer more accurate and efficient tax compliance solutions to our shared customers.”

In addition to the benefits of the AvaTax integration, Ordway customers who also use Ava CertCapture will also be able to seamlessly link to exception certificates collected and maintained within Avalara’s system.

A specialist in bringing tax compliance automation to businesses, Avalara presented “The Wacky World of Sales Tax” at our developers conference, FinDEVr Silicon Valley in 2015. The company’s senior manager for developer relations showed how the Avalara’s APIs help businesses navigate the complicated world of transactional sales taxes.

More recently, Avalara announced the acquisition of Portway International, a Canada-based firm that provides Harmonized System classifications and outsourced customs brokerage services. Earlier this month, the company reported second quarter revenue growth of 43% over the previous year, and more than 10,000 “core customers.”

“We continue to believe that the automation of transaction tax compliance will be adopted over an extended period,” Avalara founder and CEO Scott McFarlane said in a statement, “as customers upgrade systems, expand their businesses both domestically and internationally, and respond to changing government rules, such as the recent legislative responses to the Supreme Court’s Wayfair decision.” The Wayfair decision refers to the 2018 ruling that states can collect sales tax from internet retailers.

Avalara began the year with a bang. In January, the company acquired the “operational assets” of a firm called Compli that helps alcoholic beverage makers comply with regulations with regard to alcohol production, distribution, and sale. A month later, Avalara was back in the acquisition business with a purchase of Seattle-based AI technology company Indix. Also that month, Avalara announced a trio of major executive hires: appointing Amit Mathradas as president and Chief Operating Officer, Sanjay Parthasarathy as Chief Product Officer, and Ross Tennenbaum as EVP of Strategic Initiatives.

Founded in 2004, Avalara trades as AVLR on the New York Stock Exchange following its 2018 IPO. The company has a market capitalization of $6 billion.

https://finovate.com/tax-compliance-innovator-avalara-partners-with-billing-automation-platform-ordway/

Indian Fintechs Get Funded; Finastra, Avaloq Bring New Leadership to APAC

https://finovate.com/indian-fintechs-get-funded-finastra-avaloq-bring-new-leadership-to-apac/

Join us in October as our annual Asia-Pacific fintech conference returns to Singapore! FinovateAsia is one of the best ways for fintech startups and innovative industry veterans from the region and around the world to showcase their latest technologies before an audience of C-level decision-makers, venture capitalists, all-star analysts, and more.

For information on how to participate in FinovateAsia as a demoing company, partner, or sponsor, send us an e-mail and we’ll tell you everything you need to know.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • A partnership between R3 and Dubai’s platform-as-a-service company Wethaq will help digitize Islamic capital markets.
  • Working capital solution provider Demica goes live with supply chain finance technology from Saudi British Bank.
  • National Bank of Bahrain unveils new bulk cash deposit machines with secured with a biometric scan.

Central and Southern Asia

  • BharatPe, a digital payments company based in New Delhi, raises $50 million in new funding.
  • Tech Mahindra teams up with Adjoint to launch blockchain-based enterprise financial management and insurance services.
  • Bangalore-based fintech CRED announces $120 million funding round.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Mexican online lender Credijusto announces $42 million investment from Goldman Sachs and Point72 Ventures.
  • Brazilian online personal loan platform REBEL raises $42.2 million via financial loan securitization.
  • Forbes interviews Nubank founder and CEO David Vélez.

Asia-Pacific

  • Finastra taps Wissam Khoury as new head of its Asia Pacific (APAC) team.
  • Flywire partners with Vietnam Prosperity Bank to simplify international tuition payments  for Vietnamese students.
  • Avaloq appoints Imad Abou Haidar as its new Head of Asia.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • South Africa’s Nomanini inks $4 million deal with Standard Bank.
  • Brink News looks at the “game-changing” potential of fintech in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • SME financing solution provider Nvoicia takes top honors at Seedstars Ghana competition.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Tremend Software Consulting announces strategic partnership with Mastercard Romania.
  • CIO of AXA Poland Oliver Schemberg talks about the “people-led strategy” behind the success of its digital transformation.
  • SumUp opens new office in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Top image designed by Freepik

https://finovate.com/indian-fintechs-get-funded-finastra-avaloq-bring-new-leadership-to-apac/

Fitbit launches Versa 2, which includes Fitbit Pay, Amazon Alexa and Spotify

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/fitbit-launches-versa-2-which-includes-fitbit-pay-amazon-alexa-and-spotify/

Fitbit launches Versa 2, which includes Fitbit Pay, Amazon Alexa and Spotify

Fitbit Versa 2 offers Fitbit Pay, Amazon Alexa and Spotify streaming music.

Fitbit has launched the Fitbit Versa 2, a next generation enhancement of its Versa smartwatch line, which now includes Amazon Alexa voice command technology, a Spotify streaming music app and Fitbit Pay built into all new models of the device. 

The watch is also packed with several new health and fitness features, including Sleep Score and smart wake, as well as other features to measure heart rate and enhancements to measure oxygen levels during sleep. 

“At Fitbit we believe that health belongs to everyone and that people should not be priced out of having access to devices and features that can help them improve their health,” James Park, co-founder and CEO of Fitbit, said in a company release. 

The Fitbit Pay technology will allow users to make secure payments without a mobile phone and without the need to pull out a credit or debit card. The smartwatch also works in four major public transit systems that use tap-to-pay, including the New York City OMNY pilot, TransLink in Vancouver, Transport for London and Taiwan iPass. 

Versa 2 is currently available for presale at Fitbit.com and select online retailers at $199.95, in black with a carbon case. The watch will be available in retail stores starting Sept. 15, including Walmart, Amazon, Best Buy, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Target and Verizon. 

Cover image courtesy of Fitbit.


 


Topics: Contactless / NFC, Handsets / Devices, In-App Payments, Mobile Apps, Mobile/Digital Wallet


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Weekly wrap: Challengers court US customers as PNC launches in-house startup

https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/biz-lines/payments/weekly-wrap-challengers-court-us-customers-as-pnc-launches-in-house-startup-numo/

Welcome to the latest episode of our weekly wrap video series, for the week ending August 30, 2019. In this episode, Suman Bhattacharyya, deputy editor of Bank Innovation, discusses the following news developments: How challenger banks based outside of the U.S. are marketing to U.S. customers; PNC Bank’s approach to innovation through the launch of …Read More

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https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/biz-lines/payments/weekly-wrap-challengers-court-us-customers-as-pnc-launches-in-house-startup-numo/

eGain Solve Suite

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6 Killer Applications for Artificial Intelligence in the Customer Engagement Contact Center

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/whitepapers/6-killer-applications-for-artificial-intelligence-in-the-customer-engagement-contact-center/

6 Killer Applications for Artificial Intelligence in the Customer Engagement Contact CenterPublication Type:
White Paper

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If Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the overall business is a red-hot topic in C-suites, AI for customer engagement and contact center customer service is white hot. No wonder professionals, who had removed AI from their resumes, are scrambling to add it back in! This white paper covers specific areas in this domain that offer the biggest potential for transformational ROI, and a fast, zero-risk way to innovate with AI.

eGain is #1 digital customer engagement software with complete suite for a multichannel world with apps like live chat software, email, knowledge software.

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https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/whitepapers/6-killer-applications-for-artificial-intelligence-in-the-customer-engagement-contact-center/

Bell Aliant trusts eGain

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/whitepapers/bell-aliant-trusts-egain/

Bell Aliant trusts eGainPublication Type:
Case Study

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The largest publicly traded company in Atlantic Canada and the third largest fullservice telecom business in all of Canada, Bell Aliant’s offerings include local and long distance telephone, wireless, Internet, eCommerce, interactive multimedia, data, and managed network services. It serves more than two million consumers and over 80,000 enterprises.

eGain is #1 digital customer engagement software with complete suite for a multichannel world with apps like live chat software, email, knowledge software.

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https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/whitepapers/bell-aliant-trusts-egain/

Designing and Delivering Customer Journeys: 10 Steps to Delight

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LBBW and equensWorldline Extend Their Long-Standing Partnership in SEPA Payments Until 2025

https://thefintechtimes.com/lbbw-and-equensworldline/

equensWorldline, a subsidiary of Worldline, announces the early renewal of its service agreement by Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (LBBW). Under the agreement, equensWorldline will provide SEPA payment services for LBBW and process more than 1 billion transactions per year.

With around 10,000 employees and total assets of EUR 241 billion in 2018, LBBW is one of Germany’s largest banks, serving private clients as well as corporate customers of all sizes in addition to providing its services to the public sector. For such a broad-based bank, a reliable partnership in the area of payments technology is the guarantee to ensure the smooth operation of services.

equensWorldline has been providing LBBW with a broad range of services for 12 years; these range from processing SEPA credit transfer to SEPA direct debit, SEPA card clearing, and XML checks. equensWorldline also acts as a technical service provider and as central clearing house for various national payment transaction formats. 

equensWorldline will continue to process well over 1 billion SEPA transactions annually on its high-performance platform for LBBW

Reliable partnership ensures growth

In order to support its growth ambitions, LBBW has decided, ahead of schedule, to extend its cooperation with equensWorldline until 2025. In addition to proven stability and performance, the constantly evolving regulatory aspects are just as important as the highest security requirements in accordance with the various ISO and PCI standards. Going forward, equensWorldline will continue to process well over 1 billion SEPA transactions annually on its high-performance platform for LBBW – and this figure is expected to rise sharply.

Wolf-Rüdiger Braun, Head of Operations at LBBW, says: 

“LBBW is focused on growth, and we build on stable partnerships. In the twelve years of our cooperation, we have always been able to rely on a competent team and stable payment transaction processing at equensWorldline. With their expertise and deep understanding of our operational processes, equensWorldline allows us to focus on strategic issues and the expansion of our customer relationships. This was one of the determining factors for our decision to extend our partnership before the end of the current contract period”.

Michael Steinbach, CEO of equensWorldline, commented:

“We are very pleased about this definitive sign of LBBW’s trust and appreciation! The two companies have grown together over the course of many years of cooperation and we look forward to continuing to support LBBW with our high-performance services in the future and providing a competitive edge in a rapidly changing environment.”

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Virgin Mobile trusts eGain

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/whitepapers/virgin-mobile-trusts-egain/

Virgin Mobile trusts eGainPublication Type:
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To deliver on its customer service commitments in a sector where there is an ever-increasing complexity of product services with an ongoing focus on cost control, Virgin Mobile implemented a knowledge management solution from eGain. The result has been improved levels of service, happier customers, and cost savings of millions of pounds a year.

eGain is #1 digital customer engagement software with complete suite for a multichannel world with apps like live chat software, email, knowledge software.

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https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/whitepapers/virgin-mobile-trusts-egain/

Barclaycard partners with Touchbistro for POS in UK restaurants, pubs

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/barclaycard-partners-with-touchbistro-for-pos-in-uk-restaurants-pubs/

Barclaycard partners with Touchbistro for POS in UK restaurants, pubs

TouchBistro will offer streamlined restaurant checkout with Barclaycard cardholders.

Barclaycard, the U.K.-based credit card unit of Barclays Bank Plc, said it entered a partnership with TouchBistro to streamline payments processing in restaurants and pubs. 

Barclaycard is not integrated with Touchbistro, which offers iPad-based point-of-sale technology for restaurants and bars around the world. 

The partnership will be more efficient and reduce errors during order taking and payment at U.K. restaurants, bars and pubs, particularly when customers split a bill, according to the companies. 

“We know that getting customer experience right is vital for a restaurant to build loyalty among its clientele,” Nicole Olbe, managing director of partnerships at Barclaycard Payment Solutions, said in a company release. “Our new agreement with Touchbistro will help hospitality outlets streamline their processes, thereby driving revenue and allow waitstaff to spend more time with their customers.”

Touchbistro operates in more than 16,000 restaurants in 100 countries. Barclaycard said it processes about half the debit and credit card transactions in the U.K. and processed $327 billion in transactions worldwide in 2018. 

Cover image courtesy of Barclaycard.


Topics: Card Brands, Mobile Apps, POS, Region: EMEA, Restaurants, Transaction Processing

Companies: TouchBistro, Barclays


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Bond Financial Technologies raises $10M in seed funding to link brands with FI's

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/bond-financial-technologies-raises-10m-in-seed-funding-to-link-brands-with-fis/

Bond Financial Technologies raises $10M in seed funding to link brands with FI's

Bond co-founders CEO Roy Ng, VP technology Matt Bradley and VP data science and operations Yan Wu.

Bond Financial Technologies Inc., a New York-based fintech startup, said it raised $10 million in a seed funding round led by venture capital fund Canaan, to help brands connect with financial institutions. 

The round was backed by technology fund Coatue and several angel investors, including Sarah Friar, Steve Frieberg, Ryan Peterson and Eric Yuan. 

Bond said it is developing a machine learning-based platform to help major technology or other brands connect with financial institutions. 

“We’re at the dawn of a time when big brands will get into fintech,” Roy Ng, co-founder and CEO of Bond, told Mobile Payments Today via email. “So whether its Apple offering a credit card, Lyft offering deposit accounts and debit cards to their drivers or Square lending to their customers, brands who know their end consumer best are well positioned to offer other financial products.”

Ng said that the process of connecting those brands with banks and financial services firms is opaque, manual, expensive and slow. 

“Bond offers the first full-stack, enterprise grade technology platform that makes it easier for brands and banks alike to partner,” Ng said. “Some of these brands will also be fintech companies, but the need goes far beyond fintech.”

Ng is the former COO of Twilio and the former president and COO of Mapbox, and previously spent many years at Goldman Sachs. Co-founder and VP of Technology Matt Bradley is a former vice president of machine learning at Synapse. Yan Wu, vice president of data science and operations, is a former head of data at Sofi and vice president of analytics at BlackRock.

Cover image courtesy of Bond.


Topics: Mobile Banking, Mobile Payments, Technology Providers, Venture Capital


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Thailand Customs Department partners with IBM for blockchain shipping

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/thailand-customs-department-partners-with-ibm-for-blockchain-shipping/

The Customs Department of Thailand has partnered with IBM Thailand Co. and logistics provider Maersk to deploy the TradeLens digital trade platform. This platform will use blockchain technology to provide more shipping data on goods and help prevent fraud and forgery, according to a report by the Bangkok Post.

The companies will implement the platform first at Laem Chabang Port in Chon Buri and then at Bangkok Port. The goal of the platform is to create a more transparent, accurate trading system while helping eliminate paper.

“TradeLens will provide the Thai Customs Department with an automatic and immutable tracking tool, which will lead to a more secure, transparent, efficient and simpler workflow, with near real-time information sharing from a diverse network of ecosystem members,” Patama Chantaruck, vice-president for Indochina expansion and managing director of IBM Thailand, said in the report.


Topics: Blockchain, Region: APAC, Security


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1 in 3 UK Banks Set to Invest in Technical Recruitment

https://thefintechtimes.com/banks-technical-recruitment/

More than half (58%) of UK banks are currently looking for greater in-house technology skills with 48% either recruiting extra skills or using partners to gain the skills they need, research commissioned by fintech provider Fraedom has found.

The report also revealed that more than one-third (38%) of banks say they are likely to invest in recruitment as a priority in order to find specific skills. Currently, banks most want to attract technology risk analysts (32%), data scientists (30%) and network specialists (24%) as they address their financial ecosystem.

Russell Bennett, CEO at Fraedom said: “We can see that there is a great opportunity for banks to partner with fintechs to uncover the skills they need and how best to attract them, whether that be by recruiting or upskilling existing employees. These partnerships would be particularly beneficial as, at present, 34% of banks feel they don’t have the expertise in-house to implement new technology. Fintechs can help banks gain a greater understanding of what technology they need which also will be instrumental in attracting new talent, especially as the younger generations progress in their careers and expect to have access to the latest technology.”

“Fintechs can help banks gain a greater understanding of what technology they need which also will be instrumental in attracting new talent”

As banks have placed a greater emphasis on upskilling employees, Fraedom found that over the past five years, 60% of banks have improved in-house training courses, while 36% have implemented new external training schemes.

Looking to the future, to further develop skills in-house, 28% of banks are putting new internal training schemes in place and 20% plan to send staff on external training programmes.

“Banks are not just focusing on recruiting new talent to gain a broader range of skills but are also looking to retain their existing talent and provide the tools they need to grow with the pace of the technology. They can also partner with fintechs to harness the talent and experience they already have in the company to support their use of technology. To get the most from these activities, banks must prioritise creating the right culture which gives the freedom and flexibility that most employees in technical and development roles desire,” added Bennett. “Financial organisations across the sector are all competing to attract the best talent, so it’s vital they create points of differentiation within their culture so as to be the most attractive.”

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Investing In Cryptocurrencies – Things to Know

https://thefintechtimes.com/investing-in-crypto/

Investing in different forms of cryptocurrency is very attractive for many people. Cryptocurrencies are great because they do not belong to any bank in the world, they offer anonymous buying and trading, and you can use them for purchasing all kinds of things.

The number of users of cryptocurrencies will continue to rise so exciting times are coming up. If you are interested in investing in cryptocurrencies, then the following are some things you should know.

  • Investing in cryptocurrencies is similar like investing in some other type of commodity. You can treat the investment like an asset which you can exchange or sell at any given time. 
  • Bitcoin is the most popular type of digital currency and many people choose Bitcoin for their investments. Bitcoin has the biggest price of all types of cryptocurrencies and is a good option to invest in. 
  • Cryptocurrencies are capped at certain number, so as their demand rises its price will rise too. Therefore, investing now when the price is more affordable is great because you can sell them later at much bigger price. If you are interested in learning more about buying, selling and trading with Bitcoins and other forms of digital currencies, it is advisable you visit www.cryptorocket.com where you can get properly informed about anything regarding trading with cryptocurrencies. 
  • Usage is main criteria when it comes to cryptocurrencies. If you plan to invest in digital currency then you should first analyse the demand and supply for particular cryptocurrency. That way you will get better idea when is it a good time to invest your money in digital currencies. You can also consult professionals in the trade and get expert advice regarding investing in cryptocurrencies. 
  • Check out the developments on the market before investing. There are specific periods when cryptocurrency market is very active and everyone buys and sells. Reading reports and analysing the developments can help you make better investment decisions. Investing in cryptocurrencies requires constant attention, patience and discipline if you want to get the best prices. 
  • Remember that you can exchange the cryptocurrencies you have bought into conventional money any time you want. However, before you exchange them make sure you will get a good price for them and sell them higher than you have bought them. 
  • Investing in cryptocurrency can pay off long-term. Always have the big picture in mind and do not rush to buy or sell. It takes time before all things align as they should, so be patient. 
  • Create a personal portfolio, store different forms of cryptocurrency in your account and exchange them when you see you can make profits on the market. This is risky, but at the same time very exciting. Make some smart investments and wait for the right time to make profit. 
  • Read quality resources and get insight from professionals in the field. If you are not certain what to do and which option is the best, get properly informed and find out all details first before making your investment. 
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https://thefintechtimes.com/investing-in-crypto/

The 5 Most Important Things You Need to Know About Behavioural Economics

https://thefintechtimes.com/behavioural-economics/

By Uygar Kilic, Behavioural Economist

Behavioural economics incorporates human psychology, decision science and economics in an attempt to understand how people make decisions. From a simple perspective, it explains why we make irrational decisions and try to find rational reasons to justify them. This is a relatively new concept to the business world, however it has been known to academics for a very long time – more precisely, since Adam Smith released a book called ‘The Theory of Moral Sentiments’ in 1795. 

Understanding the human decision-making process is crucial for businesses. Humans make more than 3,000 decisions per day through both biases and heuristics, but unfortunately, our brains are not designed to make precise economical decisions. We make heuristic decisions about our finances, which is why people take out personal loans with really high interest rates or why they don’t save for retirement. Behavioural economics, however, explains how all these decisions are made.

I would like to cover five key points that you need to know about behavioural economics.

1. History of Behavioural Economics

While the concept of behavioural economics is relatively new to business life, it was actually founded in 1795 by a Scottish economist named Adam Smith. He covered the basics of behavioural economics in his book, ‘The Theory of Moral Sentiments’, and explained human behaviours very precisely. 

Nonetheless, psychology was not considered to be a science in the 18th century, and it was only in the early 20th century that the Australian School of Economics suggested that economics should be considered a form of psychology, as economic decisions are derived from basic human principles. They were not supporting the ‘neoclassical economic’ theory that every human is rational. 

“Understanding the human decision-making process is crucial for businesses”

In the following years, John Maynard Keynes highlighted the importance of human psychology on economics decisions. Thinking of more recent times, you might remember the books ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’, ‘Nudge’ and ‘Predictably Irrational’, written by Daniel Kahneman and Dan Ariely respectively. It was then that behavioural economics was introduced by academics to daily life. Many companies started to encourage their behavioural economics teams to implement its principles in human resources advertisement, health and safety and many more. Believe it or not, you are often exposed to nudges during your daily life.

2. Irrational Behaviour

According to the ‘neoclassical economics’ theory, when the price of a product increases, the demand decreases. When a product’s price increases, sometimes their demand increases too; they call this an exception. However, this exception can be seen in many industries. When a product’s price increases, more people are looking to buy it, because unfortunately our brains are not designed to make precise financial decisions. According to the book ‘Enigma of Reasoning’, we make a decision and defend it, with our brains acting similarly to a defence barrister rather than a scientific professor. We make a decision through biases and heuristics, and then we justify our decision later. Paying three pounds for a cup of coffee, spending more than £1000 on a smartphone, taking a huge risk to have a credit card with 57.6% APR; none of these decisions are rational, but we all make them.

3. Behavioural Economics Has No End

While it feels good thinking you know everything, unfortunately this does not apply to behavioural economics. As Daniel Ariely recently mentioned, things are changing all the time. For example, we now have social media channels. First it was Facebook posts, then Instagram photos and now Stories. The way we communicate with each other fundamentally changed with messaging apps such as WhatsApp. Our world is constantly changing, as is the way we behave. It used to be impossible to send a document via text message, but now we can send documents on WhatsApp. While our behaviours are ever-changing, there is no end for behavioural economics.

4. Behavioural Economics Can be Applied to Everything

Behavioural economics principles can be applied to many different fields. As this concept is heavily used in the marketing and advertising industries, many people believe that applications are therefore limited to marketing and advertising only; these principles cannot be applied to the fields of human resources, finance or health and safety. 

Conversely, the behavioural economics principles such as loss aversion, framing, scarcity effect and herding effect can be applied to any field that involves direct interaction with humans. Our brains do not have switches for marketing, human resources, driving or eating; we use our existing decision-making processes for everything. Therefore, these principles can easily be implanted in various, diverse business operations.

5. Behavioural Economics Shows What Data Cannot

Data is a vital part of every business, as well as our daily lives. It is traceable, trustworthy, and we can’t argue with numbers! However, market research or data cannot show one thing, and that is human psychology. It cannot show why people are getting a particular mortgage, or why people pay the minimum amount for their credit cards when they can afford to pay it all. Data shows what has happened but cannot explain the herding effect or loss aversion, and so it is behavioural economics that explains the rational or irrational reasons behind those numbers. 

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Tala’s $110 Million raise – late stage VC feels like a House of Cards

https://dailyfintech.com/2019/08/30/talas-110-million-raise-highlights-signs-of-overheated-fintech-sector/

We live in a world where we often have to wonder what the balance between promise and performance is. It is especially critical to see the distinction in a space where Billions of dollars is being pumped into.

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“The promise to provide lending solutions brings in more capital at higher valuations than lending itself”

– Ganesh Rangeswamy, Quona Capital

During my vacation in India in the past three weeks, I had a chat about the Indian Venture capital landscape to a bunch of VCs. I had an opportunity to talk to Ganesh Rangeswamy from Quona capital – one of the top Fintech VCs in Bangalore. He succinctly indicated that promise seems to bring more capital to firms than performance.

We have seen several late stage VC investments over the past 12 months. Some of them backed by late stage investors like Softbank, have had an extended run into an IPO adventure. However, in the last couple of weeks, we have had headlines about Fintech firms raising capital at near Billion valuations.

Tala, a California based company, have been around since 2013. They provide micro-lending services to the unbanked based on cutting edge data science capabilities. They recently announced their successful fund raising of $110 Million from several institutional investors namely, GGV Capital, IVP, Revolution Growth, Lowercase Capital, Data Collective VC, ThomVest Ventures and PayPal Ventures.

Some key statistics about Tala are as follows.

  • Tala have a mobile application that uses over 10,000 data points to provide credit decisions to its borrowers.
  • The average amount lent per customer is $70 and the range of lending amounts is from $10-$500.
  • The average repayment term is 30 days with an interest of 11-15% charged.
  • They have 4 Million users and have lent over $1 Billion
  • They use data from users’ mobile such as texts, and transactions information to understand ability to repay.
  • They do a behaviour assessment of the users based on the way they use their mobile.
  • About 85% of the lending requests are serviced in less than 10 minutes.
  • Repayment rate so far is about 92%, and the main customers are Small businesses that use the loans for operational capital.

In terms of their global footprint, they have successfully launched in three continents. They are in Kenya, Philippines, Mexico and in the US. The fund raise is to help them expand into the Indian market.

It is one thing to have the ability to credit score the unbanked, but it is a different ability to ensure that the credit models would withstand stress scenarios. In many markets, the regulators do not mandate the required amount of due diligence on the lenders’ credit models.

When we invested in a P2P lending marketplace WeLendUs last year, we did a thorough check on stress testing of their credit models. WeLendUs had built a proprietary credit engine, and were able to demonstrate the ability to deal with scenarios where there is a liquidity crunch.

Kenya is Tala’s biggest market, and they have managed to lend over $750 Million to its consumer base there. But over the past year or so, there have been concerns raised over micro lending in Sub Saharan Africa.

The region has about 50% of the worlds mobile money accounts, that represent about $27 Billion worth of money lent. However, there are concerns that this market may be heating up, and consumers getting into a vicious credit cycle.

As per Amrik Heyer – the Head of Research at Kenya’s FSD (Financial Sector Deepening), over two thirds of Kenya’s borrowing consumer base are under severe stress. With over three fourth’s of Tala’s exposure in this market, are they getting too close to the cliff?

I did ask Ganesh (Quona Capital), if he thought we would see a correction in the late stage VC market. He felt, there were some corrections in the capital markets, which may or may not trickle down into private markets – VCs and PEs. But he didn’t anticipate any major corrections, and felt these big cheques may be the new normal.

I do not know what the future holds, but it still feels like we are building a house of cards with many of these firms. Without careful regulatory controls, and ongoing oversight, it may all collapse and lead to prolonged global economic slow down. On the flipside, too much regulations often hurts innovation too.

The market cap of these firms may not be big enough to hurt the globe yet, but a few collapses could hurt sentiments and may just be a trigger. Bringing financial inclusion to the unbanked is a great vision, however, it still needs to be suitably governed for sustained inclusion.


Arunkumar Krishnakumar is a Venture Capital investor at Green Shores Capital focusing on Inclusion and a podcast host.

I have no positions or commercial relationships with the companies or people mentioned. I am not receiving compensation for this post.

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https://dailyfintech.com/2019/08/30/talas-110-million-raise-highlights-signs-of-overheated-fintech-sector/

Bazaarvoice Acquires Influenster

https://finovate.com/bazaarvoice-acquires-influenster/

Bazaarvoice, a startup that leverages product reviews and user-generated content (UGC) to help banks and retailers find and reach consumers, marked its fifth acquisition this week with the purchase of Influenster. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.

The deal offers Bazaarvoice access to the six million community members on Influenster’s product discovery and reviews platform. Combined, these members have written more than 38 million product reviews and create more than 50,000 pieces of content on a daily basis. This network, coupled with Bazaarvoice’s own database of 6,000+ global brand and retailer websites, will offer brands a one-stop shop where they can build customer relationships, create product reviews and UGC strategy, and scale word-of-mouth marketing.

Offering insight into the acquisition decision, Joe Davis, CEO of Bazaarvoice, said, “Influenster’s product sampling and review generation offerings further strengthen our core product ratings and reviews solutions, and their hyper-targeting and gamification capabilities will allow us to better support our customers’ broader marketing initiatives.” He added, “We’re excited to partner with a company that shares our belief in the power of the everyday consumer.”

Before today’s acquisition, Influenster had raised $8 million since it launched nine years ago. Post-acquisition, the company’s founders, Aydin Acar and Elizabeth Scherle, will remain involved in “key functions” at Influenster. The companies have not disclosed the founders’ official roles or titles.

Austin, Texas-based Bazaarvoice, which also has offices in Chicago, London, Munich, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Singapore, and Sydney, is now offering the new integrated platform in North America. The company will launch in Europe this fall and expand to more international locations in 2020.

Bazaarvoice’s other acquisitions include AddStructure in 2018, FeedMagnet in 2014, and Power Reviews and Longboard Media, both in 2012. The company demoed at FinovateSpring 2012.

https://finovate.com/bazaarvoice-acquires-influenster/