The finance industry has been in a state of flux for the last few years, as start-ups with bright new ideas to make saving, spending and transferring money easier, have captured the attention of both consumers and business owners alike.
These days barely a day goes by without new companies popping up, or existing ones releasing new and improved services. Many of the banking giants and insurance titans, have forged alliances with the next generation of fintech start-ups, bring their own organizations into the digital age.
Using our Catalyst platform we’ve been tracking the hottest stories in fintech in recent weeks, and have cherry-picked some of the most exciting stories and products to see who and what are behind them.
1. HSBC - Selfie Security
HSBC has recently announced it will be allowing customers to withdraw, pay-in and open new bank accounts using their selfies. The idea is that self-portraits from their phone will be verified using facial-recognition software thus saving time for customers and removing the need for lengthy passwords. The move seeks to counter the concerns of many banks worried about cybersecurity threats, which have become increasingly prominent in recent years.
2. Barclays - Blockchain First
Barclay’s recently laid claim to the world’s first blockchain trade-finance transaction. The bank teamed-up with Israeli start-up Wave to execute the feat, which was a credit transaction between Ornua and Seychelles Trading Company, with trade documentation handled by the Wave platform. The supposed benefits of blockchain technology are to eliminate present inefficiencies in global trade, reduce costs for companies making transactions and also to tackle fraud.
3. Klarna & Arcadia - Buy Now, Pay Later
Klarna, the online consumer credit company, has entered into a deal with the Arcadia, the retail conglomerate responsible for Toyshop, Miss Selfridge and many others. Now a fintech unicorn, Klarna allows consumers to order products online but then pay later if they like them. Already hugely successful in Sweden, processing 30% of all online sales, the company tries to address the issue of basket abandonment in online sales - a major problem for retailers looking to increase their online conversion rates.
4. Habito - Digital Mortgage Adviser
Habito, a UK-based start-up, has launched an artificially intelligent Digital Mortgage Adviser (DMA) - a world first. The service enables consumers to test their financial life (employment, salary and personal life etc) against 100's of mortgage products. The DMA will explain the effects of consumer’s decisions on their mortgage plan and also calculate a monthly payment - all in much less time than using a traditional broker
5. ClickSWITCH - 2016 Fintech Forward "Company to Watch"
ClickSWITCH has been named as one of the 2016 FinTech Forward "Companies to Watch” by American Banker and BAI. The award is given to high-impact innovative start-ups. ClickSWITCH is and account holder acquisition technology used by banks and other financial institutions to onboard new account holders. Its unique solution makes the process of transferring recurring payments from old accounts to new both quick and safe allowing institutions to increase the activation rates and engage with their new clients during onboarding.
6. Aire - Alternative Credit Score
Aire, a start-up that offers an alternative method of getting a credit score, has been authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. Aire’s platform generates a credit score by accounting for the character and potential of candidates. It does this using machine learning designed to replicate human intelligence. This is designed to offer help to those with thin credit histories, as well as those who have recently emigrated.
"As things stand, genuine hard-working people are being penalised by the way credit scores are created, that's not good for growth, innovation or wellbeing. We believe we have a solution to address this issue, balancing the numerous forces at play across data, ethics, regulation and technology.”- Aneesh Varma, CEO of Aire
Catalyst tracks innovation by major players and new entrants in the fintech market, providing intelligence and briefings to financial companies.