BFC FinTech Monitor 24th February — 10th March

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

  • The American financial holding JPMorgan Chase, for the first time, has reported on demand for bitcoin from institutional investors, including investment funds, insurance organizations, pension funds and credit unions.
    “FinTech is going mainstream after this pandemic because there is indeed a demand for digital services.” – Joyce Chan, head of research at JPMorgan Chase
  • Investments artificial intelligence (AI) in 2020 amounted to approximately USD 68 billion dollars, 40% more than in 2019.
  • Samsung and Mastercard will soon start issuing cards with a built-in fingerprint reader. They will be able to be used at any payment terminal that supports the Mastercard system or any cash register POS terminal.
  • Swedish unicorn Klarna has regained the title of the most expensive FinTech startup in Europe after raising USD 1 billion for international expansion and product development. Klarna is estimated to be worth USD 31 billion.
  • HSBC, one of the largest banks in the world, has launched the HSBC @ Home educational program to help customers move toward digital payments. Training within the program takes place in the format of webinars.
  • Facebook and Google are preparing to launch a new payment service in India following an announcement from India’s Reserve Bank that they are ready to admit private companies that offer an alternative to the national payment system into the market.
  • Revolut is entering 10 new markets: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Malta, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
  • Bank of America will train its employees on using virtual reality technology. The bank has already tested the technology and plans to purchase several thousand VR headsets at branch locations.
  • Swiss National Bank has chosen technology for its digital currency, with the regulator moving to use GNU tokens (a free system of microtransactions and electronic payments based on special software) to such ends.
  • Icelandic bank Íslandsbanki has added carbon insights to its mobile app so that users can track their environmental impact. It estimates a user’s carbon footprint based on purchases, broken down by cost category and time period.
  • Investors of the Da Vinci Capital Fund sent Telegram a notification of their intention to file a lawsuit against the failed crypto messenger project TON. If compensation is denied, they plan to file a lawsuit in London.
  • PayPal was the most downloaded payment app in Europe in 2020, beating out neobanks Monzo, Revolut and Wise (formerly TransferWise).


  • The latest FinTech news briefs from Russian financial institutions: insurance by subscription; accepting payments by QR code for entrepreneurs and ethical principles of artificial intelligence from Sber; payment by QR code through the Fast Payment System from Credit Bank of Moscow; and transferring funds using Siri to VTB Bank.
  • VK Pay now has a free virtual Visa card and a new bonus program with a cashback of 2% and more.
  • Russian banks will be able to add Mir payment system cards to Apple Pay beginning April 27, 2021. Promsvyazbank, Gazprombank and VTB Bank already have plans to allow their customers to do this.
  • Three useful longreads: Alexei Kruglov, director of the Digital Platform Division of Sber, discusses new approaches in the field of mobile banking; Forbes examines whether Russian IT companies will be able to compete with Sber and Tinkoff; and Izvestia is trying to find out what the prospects are for QR codes in the Russian payment market.
  • Rosfinmonitoring has completed the development of a service for tracking cryptocurrency transactions. The Federal Tax Service has also launched a new digital platform for interacting with banks.
  • Microsoft, EY and Startupbootcamp are recruiting members for the new Global Pilots program stream, which aims to support Russian startups in entering the global market and preparing for pilot projects with international clients.


  • The National Bank of Ukraine has joined the Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN). This is expected to help the regulator increase the level of innovation penetration into Ukraine’s financial sector as well as implement a strategy for the further development of FinTech in Ukraine.
  • The 9th International BlockchainUA Conference is schedule to take place on March 26, 2021, and PAYINN FEST is scheduled to take place on April 1, 2021.
  • Estonia’s Startup Wise Guys plans to launch its first pre-acceleration program for B2B products in Ukraine in April 2021, noting:
    “For Startup Wise Guys, Ukraine has been a strategically-important country since our first year of existence. Now, Ukraine is the second country in the Startup Wise Guys portfolio, after Estonia, in terms of number of invested companies.” – Startup Wise Guys representative
  • Customers of A-Bank can now complete and sign a form on a smartphone for the issuance of a physical card. The new function is available in the latest update of the bank’s mobile app.


  • IBA Group has launched a cloud competitor to Amazon in Belarus, having already spent USD 40 million on construction of a complex.
  • BSB Bank has announced a new solution (POSKassa Sigma online cash register) for small- and medium-sized businesses that combines the functions of a cash register, a contactless payment terminal, a barcode scanner and QR-code scanner.
  • BelVEB has launched an online platform for comprehensive business support. Its functionality includes a personal account, online factoring, online guarantees and online loans.
  • Belinvestbank has developed the EcoCurrency Assistant service for business clients that will help them during currency transactions made online.


  • Bagdat Musin, the Minister of Digital Development, Innovation and the Aerospace Industry, has announced Kazakhstan’s plans to transfer 1% of the world cryptocurrency turnover to its exchanges. Moreover, Kazakhstan also plans to recognize cryptocurrencies on its territory as well as become an active cryptocurrency miner.
  • Rusbase has published a wealth of material about startups in Kazakhstan, including existing opportunities, new features, pitfalls and general information about acceleration programs.
  • Anton Musin, the first deputy chairman of Halyk Bank, discusses the main global FinTech trends likely to affect Kazakhstan, including the development of banking ecosystem services, digital currencies and the integration of financial instruments with government services.
  • Kazakhstan has dropped 4 positions (from 56th to 60th) on a United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) ranking of countries’ B2C e-commerce activities.
  • Non-cash transactions on payment cards in Kazakhstan grew 2.5 times in 2020. Contactless payments are also becoming more popular, with 8 out of 10 transactions with Visa cards being made in a contactless manner.
  • Maxim Barysheva, founder of the group, explains why taxing money transfers from individuals is the wrong path going forward.


  • The payment system CONTACT has launched a new promotion that will set the commission for cash-paid transfers from Russia to Tajikistan at 0.85%. This rate is valid only for the duration of the promotion.


  • Mastercard is working to develop QR-code payment solutions for Azerbaijan. Mastercard is also planning to launch a solution for using bank cards to pay for Baku metro and other public transport fares.
  • Vusal Khalilov, head of the Engineering Department at PASHA Bank, discusses his view on the possibility of creating a neobank in Azerbaijan.
  • Azerpost is planning to launch a money transfer system in April 2021 following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Turkish Post and Telegraph Organization (PTT) and Actif Bank.


  • For the 6th time, Global Finance magazine has nominated Ameriabank for the Best Investment Bank award. This nomination is based on a number of different criteria, including: quality of service, market share, bank investment instruments, volume of transactions, structure of transactions, innovative solutions, reputation in the market and more.
  • IDBank has partnered with FinTech company Idram to launch a non-cash tip acceptance solution. Grigory Yolyan, the commercial director of Idram, discusses how the new solution works and the level of existing demand for it.
  • The Ria Money Transfer system has recognized Araratbank as its best partner. Speaking on the topic, the head of Araratbank’s International Operations Department noted:
    “It is noteworthy that, in 2020 and in the face of numerous challenges associated with changes in the business environment that were caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the post-war crisis, [Araratbank] managed to ensure more than 19% growth in volume of transfers through the Ria Money Transfer system in comparison with 2019 indicators.” –Zaruhi Melkonyan


  • BasisBank has entered into an agreement with Backbase regarding the implementation of the Backbase Engagement Banking platform for modern mobile banking. The agreement is part of BasisBank’s effort to accelerate its digital transformation and will allow for tailored, personalized services to be developed for the bank’s customers.


  • For the 2nd year in a row, the international edition of Global Banking and Finance Review has recognized Moldova Agroindbank as the Best Digital Bank in Moldova.