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BFC FinTech Monitor 1st – 18th January

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

  • Mastercard has launched a cybersecurity center for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to provide them with the tools to solve any cybersecurity problem SMEs face. 5 of these free tools have already been uploaded to the Mastercard website, along with a wealth of educational materials.
  • Specialists from Scotiabank in Canada have developed the SOFIA (Strategic Operating Framework for Insights and Analytics) cashflow forecasting tool to help customers during the pandemic. It uses commercial banking data and machine learning to help the bank understand which customers are likely to be hit the hardest by an economic downturn and how to best respond to them.
  • The startup Anchorage became the world’s first cryptobank with a federal license, which it received from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Now, traditional banks will be able to use its services, including offerring cryptocurrency products to customers. This is important as the number of financial advisors working with cryptocurrencies increased by 50% last year.
  • British payment service became the most expensive FinTech unicorn in Europe and the 4th-largest FinTech company in the world. The company creates a one-stop shop for payments, accepting transactions, processing them and tracking fraud. The service operates in Europe, the US, China, Australia, Singapore and Turkey and is preparing to enter India and the Philippines.
  • Visa has refused to take over the FinTech unicorn Plaid due to claims by the US Department of Justice of a payment system monopoly. According to representatives of Visa, Plaid also now considers the transaction undesirable.
  • Revolut has applied for a UK banking license. If approved, the startup will be able to independently issue loans and open deposits for local customers.
  • Ant Group, the largest mobile payment operator in China, is preparing a business reorganization plan. Local supervisors will inform the company of which segments of its FinTech platform should be regulated as financial institutions and which divisions need an operating license.


  • Analysts at the Center for the Study of Financial Technologies and the Digital Economy have identified the main risks of introducing the digital ruble in Russia. These include a decrease in confidence in the regulator, the loss of the regulator as an independent participant in the financial market, increased pressure on commercial players and a lack of demand among certain groups of the population. It is important to note that, as of January 1, most of the provisions of the Law on Digital Financial Assets and Digital Currencies came into force. Read more about them here.
  • Bloomchain has prepared material on how FinTechs fought the 2020 coronavirus crisis.
  • The Fintech Association will launch new projects in 2021, the most significant being the transfer of the digital bank guarantees service into industrial operation, the development of a service prototype for issuing digital financial assets on the Masterchain blockchain platform, the pilot launch of digital profiles for individuals and legal entities and the digitalization of insurance businesses.
  • The Central Bank of Russia has announced a tightening of requirements for the protection of transfers within the Fast Payments System. They also announced the planned launch of digital mortgages (using distributed ledger technology), a proposal for simplifying the transition of customers from bank to bank and their positive assessment of the entry of Russian technology players into the financial market.
  • Sberbank has compiled a list of the 10 most significant trends in 2020. Among them are the formation of a new class of investors, the digital health ecosystem, end-to-end mobility, lifestyle platforms and decentralized super apps. The bank’s artificial intelligence laboratory has also developed an algorithm to determine the probability of someone having COVID-19 within a minute.


  • The first deputy head of the National Bank of Ukraine has announced expectations of the financial sector for 2021. In particular, the regulator expects the partial privatization of Ukrgasbank, a decrease in the state’s share in banks (from 54% to 25%), a reduction in the number of non-performing loans, continued low interest rates, an increase in deposits, the de-dollarization of banks, an increase in the profits of financial institutions (by reduced costs), the development of mortgage lending and lending to SMEs, the continued consolidation of banks and digitalization.
  • A new record for non-cash payments was set in Ukraine, reaching UAH 325 billion in 2020. This is 31% more than in 2019.
  • The PAYINN FEST. ALL ABOUT PAYMENTS international forum will be held on April 1 in Kiev. It is expected to be a unique industry platform for organizations that innovate and deliver value via new solutions. Register here.
  • Ukrinform reveals what has changed for Ukrainian microfinance organizations in the past year and what to expect in the coming year.
  • Alena Andronikova, head of the FinTech service Moneyveo, discusses the company’s transformation in 2020, including its quick adaptation to changes during the quarantine period as well as its introduction of new innovations and products.


  • Pay Wallet is now available to the customers of 7 Belarusian banks. The service was launched last summer by Russian developer Cardsmobile and is being implemented jointly with Mastercard.


  • has prepared an overview of the main changes that await the financial sector of Kazakhstan in 2021. Among them are the creation of the Committee on Monetary Policy, the licensing of microfinance activities, the approval of limits for withdrawing cash from bank accounts by business entities and the setting of limits on the purchase rate from the sale of foreign currencies.
  • Forbes Kazakhstan columnist Tatyana Batishcheva outlines why the financial market is still underdeveloped in the country.
  • AIFC Fintech Hub, Astana Hub and Bitfury Kazakhstan are launching a joint initiative to develop corporate innovation in Kazakhstan and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Its main goal is to help corporations build startups with small- and medium-sized technology teams as well as turn costs into investments in order to find new growth points.
  • Kazakhstan Stock Exchange (KASE) has developed KASE Mobile to simplify access to exchange information for retail and professional investors as well as provide educational trading. Additionally, Starbusiness, from Bank CenterCredit JSC, is now available in the Appgallery.
  • reports that residents of Kazakhstan are withdrawing cash less and less, with cash withdrawal transactions now only a third of total card turnover.


  • The draft Law on the Turnover of Cryptocurrencies has been submitted for public discussion. Its main goal is to create a legal framework for the turnover of cryptocurrencies and the activities of cryptocurrency exchange service providers as well as reduce the risks of financing terrorist activities and money laundering, capital outflow and consumer protection.


  • Tajikistan has approved new legislation that will tax internet giants like Google, Apple and Facebook 18%.


  • HUMO is testing the first cartomat in Uzbekistan. The device issues a full-fledged card, including embossed personal data. Users simply need to install the app, connect it to the app of their bank and receive their card at any of the card machines by entering their TIN, other unique data and an SMS code.
  • The founder and head of the OSON payment system speaks about how the pandemic affected FinTech, what will happen to electronic money in 2021 and what prospects await the industry over the next 3 years.
  • OSON, CLICK, Apelsin and other payment services have temporarily disabled YuMoney (formerly Yandex.Money) as the Central Bank of Russia has prohibited the system from making transfers to companies registered outside of the Russian Federation.


  • The International Bank of Azerbaijan was one of the first in the country to introduce the SWIFT GPI service. With its help, customers will be able to track international transfers online.
  • The Central Bank is extending, until the beginning of April, the measures to support the financial sector provided for in the Procedure for the Temporary Regulation of the Activities of Credit Institutions in the Context of the Coronavirus Pandemic.
  • The number of bank cards in Azerbaijan, as of the end of 2020, increased by 26.8% and amounted to 9.1 million.
  • Visa has announced the growth of contactless and tokenized transactions in Azerbaijan as well as e-commerce becoming the main trend in non-cash payments in the country.


  • VTB Bank is the first in Armenia to switch to paperless loan processing technology. Now, customers will be able to sign necessary documents using special tablets. The bank also recently received the Card Champion award from Visa.
  • Eurasian Development Bank will allocate funds to the Stock Exchange of Armenia OJSC for software modernization. The funds will be used to introduce a new exchange trading system capable of allowing investors to make exchange transactions in real time. The bank also recently received the Card Champion award from Visa.