BFC FinTech Monitor 11th – 21st December

Stay up-to-date on all the all the latest FinTech news and information from around the world in the BFC FinTech Monitor.

Around the World

  • According to an Accenture Global Banking Consumer Study, the rapid transition to digital banking is diminishing customer confidence as many consumers feel a strong emotional connection with their financial institution(s). Without that connection, many simply view financial services as a commodity of mass demand with only price points differentiating each institution. As such, financial institutions need to work hard to reimagine their digital services to ensure that they are providing consumers with personalized, relationship-building products and services.
  • Visa has published a new study on central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) that proposes a new solution for offline payments between two devices. In short, the new solution would create a cash-like experience that would store digital money in a smartphone similar to (yet drastically different from) how a wallet stores physical bills.
  • Citibank is developing a FinTech marketplace that will allow users to share information about their account with financial applications and services using API-token technology.
  • WhatsApp has announced cooperation with the State Bank of India and HDFC Pension to offer medical insurance and pensions to its Indian users. Many of the components necessary for this have already been tested and may be released countrywide before the end of the year.
  • Germany is planning to convert existing securities into an electronic form using blockchain technology. This will help reduce costs and administrative barriers.
  • Swedish neobank Rocker is partnering with international technology company Idemia to test contactless biometric debit cards. Such cards would allow users to make a purchase without using a PIN code.
  • FinTech startup Umba has raised USD 2 million in its most recent round of attracting seed financing. The company is already active in Kenya and Nigeria, offering users an alternative to expensive local banking services (e.g. accounts, loans, deposits, money transfers) via a mobile application.

Russia

  • According to Markswebb analysts, the next development cycle for mobile banks will be the introduction of new functionalities in digital offices that increase the convenience of daily banking as well as the establishment of mobile banking as a core ecosystem.
  • The largest Russian banks are expected to replace up to 50% of plastic bank cards with digital variants in the near future as part of an effort to save money and go green. At the same time, many Russian consumers have expressed a preference for plastic cards.
  • 3dnews.ru has published 10 cybersecurity forecasts for 2021, including: ransomware attacks will become more aggressive; phone scammers will continue to devastate the savings of Russians; medical and remote workers will remain at risk; fraudsters will make use of artificial intelligence solutions; and 5G may expose operators to additional cyberattacks.
  • MTS has launched a neobank for gamers, and the largest Russian online retailer (Wildberries) is preparing to purchase Standard-Credit Bank in order to develop loyalty programs and settlement solutions.
  • Evgeny Lisnyak, Visa’s senior director for strategic partnerships and FinTech in the CIS and Southeastern Europe, has become the first guest of the new Vlast FinTech podcast. On the podcast, he discussed the current status of financial technologies as well as their likely future.

Ukraine

  • PaySpace Magazine discusses how COVID-19 has impacted the growth of e-commerce, installment purchases, business transformation, technology development, digitalization, online fraud and bitcoin in Ukraine.
  • The National Bank of Ukraine and UnionPay (the parent company of China UnionPay) have issued the co-branded Prostir – UnionPay International payment card in partnership with Ukrgasbank.

Kazakhstan

  • The head of Accenture’s Technological Strategy Department discusses key technological trends in the banking business, including technology and new customer experiences, the new role of artificial intelligence, collaborations with customers and the “continuous innovation engine”.
  • The National Bank of Kazakhstan plans to cut the costs of non-cash payments in half as well as to speed up their execution as part of a national program to develop the national payment system. Particular attention will be given to transitioning to the ISO 20022 international standard format, the development of a remote identification service, the formulation of requirements for Open API and Open Banking, improving the regulatory framework to support innovations, harmonization with EEU countries and the development of a digital currency.

Kyrgyzstan

  • Keremet Bank has introduced remote identification, including for new clients. The new system allows consumers to immediately connect to their internet banking system and access the bank’s services.
  • FINCA Bank has been recognized as the Bank of the Year by the Interbank Processing Center for its commitment to the promotion of remote banking services.
  • Kyrgyz Post has introduced cashless payments for domestic and international electronic postal transfers. Payments can be made using Visa, Master Card, Elcart and Mir payment cards.

Tajikistan

  • Spitamen Bank plans to introduce a new product that will take advantage of an artificial intelligence (AI)-based credit scoring system. If successful, similar products could be launched in other financial institutions in the country.

Uzbekistan

  • Representatives of Uzpromstroybank held a press conference at which they spoke about their digital transformation, especially their new online services, their launch of the JOYDA mobile app and their updated underwriting and debt collection methodologies.

Azerbaijan

  • Yelo Bank, Access Bank and Azerpost LLC have joined the country’s instant payment system, allowing their customers to conduct settlements on bank accounts around the clock using simplified identifiers.

Armenia

  • The number of attacks by cryptominers has decreased in Armenia. According to Kaspersky Lab, only 1.06% of users faced this problem in the third quarter of 2020.

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