Bank of America has a new source of small business data. The next iteration of the bank’s Business Advantage 360, a cash flow/cash management app launched in February, will provide the bank with insights from data gathered through outside aggregators, such as QuickBooks, Sharon Miller, Managing Director, Head of Small Business at BofA, told Bank …Read More
“Shoppers today want more control over their buying experience,” Klarna U.K. General Manager Luke Griffiths said. “Our mission is to make payments as seamless and stress-free as possible. We’re now bringing more payment flexibility to the in-store environment, so shoppers can move smoothly through the purchase journey, whether they choose to shop online or on the high street.”
The announcement means that Klarna’s alternative payment options will now be available for transactions in retail, brick and mortar stores. The company has three offerings to simplify the transaction experience:
Consumers can use Klarna via their connected smartphone. First they make their purchase using their smartphone to scan either a QR code at the checkout register or after receiving and clicking on a payment link sent to the customer by email or SMS. Second, the customer adds their information and chooses a Klarna payment option.
The financing decision occurs in real-time, and average completion times run about one minute – ensuring that the in-person shopping experience is as seamless as possible. For the merchant, this means faster checkouts, happier customers, and increased conversions and sales.
Klarna’s news comes just weeks after the company announced it was extending its partnership with Swedish fashion house Acne Studios. “We’ve been impressed with Klarna’s work in Europe – particularly in our home country of Sweden,” Acne Studios CEO Mattias Magnusson said. “(We) are pleased to partner with them in other markets to accelerate our international sales.”
Also in April, Klarna launched its Mindful Money financial management content hub to help Gen Z and Millennials learn more about budgeting and spending. Mindful Money will feature insights and recommendations from personal finance commentators and journalists.
Klarna also launched its global customer authentication platform last month, providing global businesses with an easy and secure authentication process. In March, the company unveiled its open banking platform, enabling access to more than 4,300 European banks via a single access to account API.
Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, Klarna demonstrated its flagship solution at FinovateEurope 2012. The company has raised more than $774 million in funding, and includes Sequoia Capital, General Atlantic, and Creandum among its investors. Klarna was founded in 2005.
Taxpayers in the U.S. can opt to receive any portion of their federal and state tax refund back in bitcoin (BTC). Crypto refunds are made through CoinRT, Refundo’s new product that leverages Bitpay’s Payouts.
When a taxpayer submits their wallet address, Refundo will issue them unique account and routing numbers to include on their tax return. After the taxpayer passes KYC, Bitpay will transfer the IRS-issued refund to the client’s wallet.
Bitcoin is a good fit for Refundo, whose target market is underbanked populations, because it facilitates fast transaction times with low fees. It also fits well with Refundo’s other product offerings, including refund advances, refund transfers, and the ability to allow clients to pay for their tax preparation services with their refund.
“Refundo offers several options to help taxpayers receive their tax refunds safer, faster and more conveniently,” said Roger Chinchilla, Refundo CEO. “Adding Bitcoin was a natural fit for our customers who often do not have traditional checking accounts, pay high check cashing fees, and regularly send money internationally. CoinRT enables them to get Bitcoin quickly and easily for one flat fee.”
This isn’t the first crypto tie-up for tax preparers. Earnst & Young and TurboTax both prepare tax claims on clients’ crytocurrency holdings.
Founded in 2011, New Jersey-based Refundo demonstrated its mobile app at FinovateSpring 2013. The app helps independent tax preparers compete with online software by offering a convenient way for clients to submit their tax information.
In addition to today’s partnership with BitPay, Refundo is also teamed up with Stripe for credit card acceptance, and fellow Finovate alum LendUp, which provides short term loans to clients while they wait on their refunds.
Canada is making a big leap in modernizing identity verification, tapping blockchain technology to let consumers digitally prove who they are to securely access banking and other personal services.
SecureKey Technologies Inc.’s Verified.Me digital identity system is now available for customers of five Canadian banks through a mobile app, the Toronto-based firm said Wednesday in a statement. The system works at Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto-Dominion Bank, Bank of Nova Scotia, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Desjardins Group, and is coming soon to Bank of Montreal and National Bank of Canada. Sun Life Financial Inc. also signed on to be the first North American insurer on the service.
The network is built on collaboration between banks, telecom firms and credit agencies, and SecureKey Chief Executive Officer Greg Wolfond said he expects Verified.Me to be used by consumers to prove their identities to access health records, open accounts at banks and telephone companies, and get government services by the end of this year.
“Everything from being able to see your health records in a secure way, being able to open a new bank account, being able to get a new phone — all this stuff that’s so time-consuming and painful is going to get easier for consumers,” Wolfond said in an interview. “They’re going to be able to share their data in a secure and trusted way, which they never really could before.”
The Canadian Bankers Association has been calling for adoption of digital IDs while the country revamps its payments system and the federal government explores “open banking,” a process of letting consumers share financial data with other companies. The group’s CEO, Neil Parmenter, has called for the nation to abandon outdated paper-based processes and move to a “federated model” of digital IDs that links federal and provincial systems.
Verified.Me, built on top of blockchain technology developed by International Business Machines Corp. and the Linux Foundation, has been in the works since October 2016. Canada’s biggest banks and Desjardins, the Quebec-based credit-union group, have collaborated on the system, as have telecom companies, credit firm Equifax Inc., government agencies and Toronto-based financial-technology firm Prodigy Ventures Inc.
“This is quite a significant development,” said Rami Thabet, vice president of digital products at Royal Bank, calling the collaboration “groundbreaking” for Canada. “What is quite compelling here is the fundamental unlocking of client value by simplifying the verification of personal information safely, securely and in a streamlined manner.”
Published May 1, 2019, 5:00:00 AM, by Doug Alexander (Bloomberg)
Mastercard today introduced a suite of digital offerings for small business owners who are Mastercard Business and World Elite cardholders. The new offerings include discounts to Intuit products like QuickBooks and TurboTax, a 24/7 personalized business assistant, ID theft protection, as well as automatic savings on business expenses. Amnah Ajmal, EVP of Core Products for …Read More
Phoenix-based True Food Kitchen has launched its first loyalty program and custom-branded app — True Insider. The chain, which released a digital ordering platform earlier this year, partnered with Thanx to develop the app with a goal of giving customers a more personalized brand engagement program, according to a company press release.
The app, which integrates directly with the restaurant’s digital ordering platform, allows guests to order and pay online, make reservations, manage their accounts and earn and redeem rewards at any of its 27 locations.
How it works
Structured as a tiered program based on annual spending, the program provides incentives to guests as they earn status in higher tiers. The introductory tier — referred to as bronze — includes a welcome offer of $10 off a $25 purchase, a free birthday dessert and invitations to special events, including cocktail workshops, gardening classes, nutrition seminars and the chain’s seasonal four-course community dinners, according to the release.
The program’s silver and gold tiers — achieved after spending $500 and $1,500, respectively — provide members with even richer rewards including preview tastings of seasonal menu changes, lifestyle merchandise from ShopTrueFoodKitchen.com, priority seating and free dishes and beverages. True Food will leverage the program to make the brand even more memorable for guests with year-round, surprise-and-delight offers and personalized, one-of-a kind experiences such as an intimate chef’s dinner for some of the brand’s most loyal guests, True Food Kitchen CEO Christine Barone, said in the release.
The app will also help the chain gain insight about guest preferences, individualized behavior, interests and past purchases to send targeted and personalized emails and offers, according to the release. Lastly, it will unify current email marketing with the new app, loyalty program, online ordering and SMS messaging.
Registration to True Insider requires guest to register a credit card to track spending progress, but the platform includes a camera that allows guests to take a photo of a card to scan and save payment information with bank-level security, according to the release. Cash-paying guests have the opportunity to upload receipts to earn spending progress and redeem rewards.
Companies: True Food Kitchen