A careful curation of must-reads and can’t-misses from the world of fintech.
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Security
PAYMENTS NETWORKS BATTLE NEW BREED OF CRIMINALS

Cyber attacks are all the rage. Plugging weak links in authentication is crucial but has a way to go, reports The Financial Times’ Hannah Kuchler: “Payments networks whether Swift or the latest peer-to-peer money transfer app are only as trustworthy as their weakest link. Even if data are encrypted in transit, each bank or individual on a network must be able to reliably prove who they...

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Opinion
Array
James Good
Interac Association and Acxsys Corporation
It is no surprise that advancements in technology are changing the payments landscape. More than ever, we are seeing the emergence of new players, new solutions, and new ways of doing business.  At Interac, Canada’s domestic debit network, we understand that constant transformation is required to remain agile and relevant in this competitive environment. As Canada’s domestic debit network, we’ve seen a massive shift in consumer behaviour as it pertains to how people make payments and access their money. Canadians have quickly migrated from traditional magnetic stripe transactions to embrace new, more secure technologies like chip and PIN, contactless debit, and most recently, mobile de...
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The Bot Economy
THE BOT ECONOMY IS SOARING FASTER THAN APPS

Apps are so 2015. “Move over apps, it’s time for the botsto shine”, writes Julie Verhage at Bloomberg. She quotes a note from Citigroup highlighting just how much faster the bot economy is growing than the app economy did in its early days.According to analyst Mark Maythe note, mobile app stores already generate roughly $40 billion in annual bookings. Bots create lucrative, new...

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Law and Order
NEW EU LAWS LEGITIMIZE FINTECH CHALLENGERS

No laws in the way. Fintech entrepreneurs are “about to receive an important boost from Brussels, establishing their right to be viewed as legitimate competitors to the banks“, writes The Financial TimesThe rule changes have been specifically designed to promote competition with banks when it comes to innovative online services.

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The Bot Economy
YOU CAN NOW BUY THINGS FROM FACEBOOK BOTS

Social media loves bots (and money). Facebook Messenger now allows payments in its chat bots. It means that the credit card info people already have stored in Facebook or Messenger can be used to instantly make purchases in bots that are part of the new closed beta the developers can apply for. So far, though, Microsoft’s bot platform is more popular than Facebook’s among developers.

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Company Spotlight
SCI-FI WALLET FOR A CASHLESS FUTURE

Digital, yet physical. If you could feel your digital money – the way you can feel the a coinor a bill – would you spend it more wisely?San Francisco studio New Deal Design has created a small copper-coloured device called Scrip that allows users to make purchases by swiping its textured surface, as “a modern replacement for cash”.Scrip is a conceptual handheld metal “token” that could...

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Predictions
WHAT IS A BANK?

You know the answer. A bank pools savings and allocates that capital, right? But thats just the start, according to this great article – part of a must-read series on the future of banks in The Wall Street Journal (Read! Read!) –written by Dennis K. Berman. In a separate comment, fintech pundit-in-chief Chris Skinner argues that a bank is just a technology company trying to keep up...

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Banking
INSIDERS: BIG BANKS STRUGGLE TO CASH IN ON FINTECH BOOM

Being big ain’t easy. Agile, lightly regulated startups and “smart incumbents” will be the big winners from the rapid changes in financial services technology, according to an expert group of financial insiders asked by Politico about risks and opportunities in fintech. One participant summed up the mood: “New companies have the technology, incumbents have the customers”.

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Blockchain
BANKS FIND BLOCKCHAIN HARD TO ACTUALLY USE

It’ promising, but then what? Blockchains unhackability and tranparency are huge upsides, but it may still prove difficult to put into practice, reports the Financial Times’ Kadim Shubber. The unprecedented transparency of transactions sits uneasily with the privacy needs of secretive bankers, whose plans for blockchain diverge from the aims of bitcoin’s advocates.

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In Their Opinion
FINTECH IS A WOMAN’S WORLD

Get into the new. Startups offer an alternative path for female bankers who want to escape the alpha male-driven culture of traditional finance, reports Bjarke Smith-Meyer at Politico. That’s the message from female executives at financial technology firms, who say the rapidly expanding space of Fintech offers women a more diverse – and much better – work environment.

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Money And Payments
GERMAN FINTECH START-UPS LURE FRUSTRATED SAVERS

Traditionals on the move! Exactly how are German start-ups convincing the country’s traditionally conservative, risk-averse savers to entrust their cash to the new breed of digital whizz kids? Guy Chazan of The Financial Times has the answer – while providing a really useful rundown of German start-up initiatives.

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The Reports
ACCENTURE: CHINA LEADS GLOBAL INVESTMENT IN FINTECH

Lurching tiger. Investments in Asia-Pacific fintech ventures, primarily in China, reached $9.62 billion as of July 31, more than twice the $4.26 billion invested in the region in all of 2015, according to an Accenture analysis of CB Insights data. But the volume of deals in Europe and The U.S. is still superior.

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Security
THE NEVER ENDING SAGA OF CONTACTLESS CARD FRAUD

Contactless sorrows. Security measures for the UK’s contactless card programme have been derided as chaotic after it emerged that customers can still be subject to fraudulent transactions up to eight months after reporting lost or stolen cards, reports Fintech Ranking. The problem arises when tap and go card payments are authorized offline by retailers without first going through the...

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Great Discoveries
THE CENTAURS OF BANKING

“It’s not creepy, it’s the future”. So decrees Jason Sweig of The Wall Street Journal in explaining how your next financial adviser might be a centaur – not half-human, half-horse – but half-human, half-machine. Backed by artificial intelligence, a human adviser should be better able to prevent a change in emotions or circumstances from knocking you off track to meet your... [read on]

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Money And Payments
CHINA VS WORLD: NO CONTEST

China is leading. Again. China is leading the world in its embrace of financial technology, even at the early development stage, according to a report published by Visual Capitalist – “27 Fintech Unicorns and Where They Were Born” – in a very nice infographic.

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Good Reads
NEWEST FINTECH TREND: DITCH THE HUMANS

While much of fintech has been about improving the front end of banking, the focus is now shifting to streamlining the back office. More startups are helping banks automate manual processes, and in some cases cut humans out of the equation entirely, observe Bryan Yurcan and Tanaya Macheel after attending events in New York last week.

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Money And Payments
WALL STREET STEPS UP GAME AGAINST FINTECH

A budding buddy system for banks. Marcus, Zelle and Concord. They’re not names for Silicon Valley start-ups, but rather what Wall Street has been doing to defend itself from the growing threat of fintech. Big banks begin to partner up as web-enabled banking products keep gaining traction with consumers. CNBC’s Jon Marino gives us the rundown of the latest initiatives.

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Company Spotlight
THIS AI STARTUP AUTOMATES YOUR TEDIOUS FINANCIAL RESEARCH

Less work ALWAYS sounds good. The company AlphaSense says machine learning and natural language processing can make financial research dramatically more efficient, reports Fast Company. The San Francisco-based company takes in information from thousands of licensed data sources, as well as public web sources, and processes them to extract meaning.

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Money And Payments
HOW LOYALTY PROGRAMS WILL SHAPE MOBILE PAYMENTS

We always go for the free lunch. As payments go digital, banks will have to work hard to make sure their loyalty programs keep pace, argues Bryan Yurcan at American Banker. For decades, banks have fought hard to ensure that their cards are the ones their customers grab first by offering perks. The digitization of loyalty rewards programs is the underpinning of the adoption of mobile payments.

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Good Reads
THE WAR ON CASH

It’s not over. Banks, governments, credit card companies and fintech evangelists allwant us to believe a cashless future is inevitable and good. But this isn’t a frictionless utopia, writes Brett Scott in The long+Short, and it’s time to fight back. He argues – amusinglywell – that much fintech ‘disruption’ merely involves putting slicker clothes on the same old... [read on]

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Blockchain
THIS IS YOUR COMPANY ON BLOCKCHAIN

Appealing or appalling? True believers say blockchain could reduce the need for businesses to organize as companies, which get work done via command and control. In this article – one of the best we’ve seen about the blockchain conundrum – Peter Koy and Olga Kharif at Bloomberg Business Week go deep into the problems and possibilities of the technology.

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Internet of Things
THE INTERNET OF THINGS NEEDS FINTECH

Blockchain to the rescue. The Internet of Things, billions of smart devices communicating with each other, “depends on a Ledger of Things to track everything, ensure its reliability, and pay for its contribution”, explains Alex Tapscott at Forbes. He goes on to show potential applications across virtually every sector.

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BankAxept
40 AFRICAN FINTECH CHALLENGERS

Africa is the largest unserved market that has dropped out of sight of the global financial system, writes Let’s Talk Payments. According to some estimates, 330 million adult Africans lack access to formal financial services. This is a huge opportunity for fintech, and LTP has assembled an interesting list of 40 contenders.

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