Years of building financial software have taught the Code & Pepper team to associate disruption with positive changes brought about by advanced economic thought and technology. It’s all about the improvement of financial processes so there is more balance between all the market participants.

FinTech Wire Monthly - news from February 2022

The February 2022 news has reminded us of yet another meaning of the word. The brutal invasion of Ukraine by Russia has come as a shock, cautioning us that disruption may also mean disturbance caused by military violence. Such an approach is the opposite of growth. It obliterates progress and solidifies discriminatory structures that bring about human suffering.

The assumption behind FinTech Wire Monthly is to focus on the events that shape the world of stability and inclusivity. We explore their transformative potential and use them as an inspiration. Let’s have a closer look at the analysis of the most interesting February news!

The trophies of open banking

One of the peaceful revolutions welcomed by the global FinTech community has been open banking, which is about managing financial data. The CEO of Open Banking Implementation Entity, Henk van Hulle has revealed that the UK’s open banking has just reached a landmark of 5 million users. 

When the PSD2 legislation came live in the UK four years ago, the purpose was simple: to create more opportunities for smaller businesses and to give more freedom to retail consumers. Optimistic as it sounded, it was difficult to predict the outcome of this new arrangement. Would banks, consumers, and third-party providers be able to establish new meaningful routes for money management? The recent milestone confirms that the change has successfully taken off. 

The popularity of open banking is boosted by new business models and solutions that grow on top of it. Currently, there are two solutions coming to the fore and both of them are in the field of payments. One of them is the Pay By Bank feature and the other one is the Variable Recurring Payments solution. 

Pay By Bank solution

Pay By Bank is a new payment option powered by Mastercard, which has recently been introduced by the largest British bank HSBC. This solution makes it possible to pay for online transactions directly from one’s mobile banking app. Specifically designed for the online environment, it makes up for the limitations of a bank card.

Paying online by card necessitates entering sensitive information for each transaction, creating a security risk. With the Pay by Bank alternative, all the user has to do is enter a Digital Secure Key or a 6-letter code and the transaction is authorised. No additional personal information is required.

This new standard is safe, fast and frictionless so it’s quite certain that it will quickly become mainstream. As Todd Clyde from Token has aptly summed it up:

We’ve already moved from cash to cheque to cards to online payments, and now we are in an era of choice, where consumers have a variety of payment options.

Todd Clyde, Token

Although new on the British market, a similar Pay By Bank feature has been present on the Polish market since 2015. BLIK is a method of payment allowing for cashless transactions online with the help of a 6-digit code issued by a mobile banking app. BLIK can also be used for cashless and contactless transactions in shops, peer-to-peer transfers to mobiles as well as issuing digital cheques.

It’s worth knowing that already in 2019 the number of online BLIK transactions in Poland exceeded the number of online transactions made via bank cards. A year later, Mastercard joined the ownership of this innovative technology with a view of launching it abroad. 

Variable Recurring Payments

Another promising solution that is bound to fuel the adoption of open banking are variable recurring payments. This is about the opportunity to make repeated transfers between one’s own bank accounts or to the third party’s accounts. Such an arrangement allows for transfering money in the most convenient way for the consumer. 

Variable recurring payments were planned to be introduced in January this year but the official launch of this functionality has been postponed until mid-2022.

The ubiquity of open banking

Looking at the FinTech Wire news from February, the majority of new products and services are underpinned by open banking integration. It’s become a ubiquitous setting that allows for the creation of new business models with new revenue streams.

One of the industry disruptors is Vivid Money. It’s a German-based banking app with a focus on saving, spending, and investing money. It has just raised €100 million for further software development and global expansion. 

The app is very much a fruit of open banking. It is licensed by Solarisbank AG which, with its premium selection of APIs, specialises in embedded finance. Interestingly, Vivid Money has also cooperated with Yapily, an open banking power platform. Together they created a top-up feature to enable users to transfer money from almost any bank account to their Vivid pocket.

Another example of a partnership, with open banking in the background, is between Ripple and Modulr. Ripple is a global payments network powered by blockchain, whereas Modulr is a payments technology platform rooted in open banking. With their impressive track record, this power duo is likely to take the international payment culture to another level. Their goal is to eliminate any “hidden inefficiencies” as said by Myles Stephenson, CEO and founder of Modulr.  

 Last but not least, there is BankiFi which is also an open banking technology platform. BankiFi’s offering is addressed to banks. The company’s mission is to equip banks with competitive business workflows needed by SMEs such as: invoicing, accounting, and lending. 

The company has recently announced a partnership with TSB to create a Revenu app for small businesses to help them collect payments efficiently, alleviating issues with cash flow. 

Collaboration to grow

Besides obvious ties to open banking, these pieces of news constitute stories of partnerships that enhance growth. This direction has been trending in the industry for a while. Companies tend to choose collaboration over competition as the most rewarding means of development. With the world becoming more and more specialised, it’s a natural move for businesses to rely on the exchange of expertise and assets. It may sound like a truism but together we grow, divided we fall.