How do you filter the market data to pick out the most valuable insights? Does the amount of news and updates make your head spin? The FinTech Wire comes to the rescue with a carefully selected combination of brand stories which are shaking the world of finance and banking. This week, we’ll be hearing from Visa, Pennyworth, Monument, SoFi, JP Morgan, and NerdWallet. Let’s roll!

A week in FinTech: 27 October—2 November 2020

New week, new month, new challenges… While Visa faces the looming investigation into its planned acquisition of Plaid, two new neobanks pop up in the UK to take a bite of the mass affluent market. Meanwhile, SoFi pushes for a banking license, JP Morgan launches a new crypto business and NerdWallet targets the SME market with the acquisition of Fundera. Scroll down for the juicy details…

Visa’s acquisition of Plaid under investigation in US

Competition concerns at the Department of Justice.
Will DoJ block Visa’s acquisition of Plaid?

Fighting for market power is nothing new in modern business. However, when a market leader such as Visa is planning to ingest one of its competitors, it could potentially threaten the balance in global payments systems. Such concerns have triggered an investigation at the Department of Justice into the $5.3 billion deal Visa made to acquire Plaid in January. With Plaid’s resources, Visa could get access to 200 million consumer bank accounts and 2,600 financial technology apps, thus enabling it to expand into real-time payments and digital wallets. However, DoJ could still block the merger on antitrust grounds.

Read more about market leaders in online payment processing

Pennyworth and Monument enter the UK challenger bank scene

Can new entrants snatch the mass affluent demographic from the big incumbent banks?

Two new challenger banks—Pennyworth and Monument—are to be launched in the UK. According to S&P Global, new FinTech entrants will be targeting the mass affluent or the “aspiring affluent” segments, rather than compete with Revolut and other successful neobanks focused on millennials and younger customers. Both challengers have a clear vision of their commercial and market goals. Instead of competing for the day-to-day banking services, they want to focus on specific saving and lending products addressed to premium customers, currently under-served by large financial institutions. With API-enabled wealth management, loans, invoice financing, and financial advice using open banking, Pennyworth and Monument believe to be on a fast track to become profitable in record time.

Read more about lending software development as an alternative to traditional banking

SoFi on track to obtain a national banking license

Preliminary conditional approval for a US bank charter granted to SoFi. FDIC review is pending

In one of the previous editions of the FinTech Wire, we have already showcased SoFi Invest and its introduction of social trading features into impact investment. Looks like the San Francisco-based company is far from resting on laurels and has even more ambitious plans for future growth. In a move to broaden its offer, SoFi filed for a banking license in July and has just been granted preliminary approval for a bank charter by the OCC. If the FDIC review finds no objections to the application, SoFi would be able to manage customer deposits and make loans without having to rely on external bank partners.

Read more about challenges and opportunities posed by banking integrations

JP Morgan tests digital currency and launches a blockchain

JPM Coin under commercial trials. A new blockchain and payments infrastructure—Onyx—is born

Although JPM Coin, a digital currency developed by JP Morgan & Chase, has been around for a while, it’s only now that the solution is put on trial in the commercial context of cross-border payments. The company believes that blockchain and cryptocurrency are on the verge of becoming mainstream, which is why they have decided to launch a separate entity for all its crypto business, called Onyx. In the context of the recent developments in PayTech (see: PayPal’s new service enabling customers to deal with cryptocurrency straight from their PayPal accounts), JP Morgan might be reading the market just right…

Read more about technology in the service of digital payments

NerdWallet acquires Fundera to expand into the SME market

NerdWallet and Fundera join forces to capitalise on the market of small business owners

NerdWallet is a US-based FinTech providing personal finance services to over 160 million customers. Not long after acquiring a UK startup Know Your Money to make it NerdWallet’s first operator outside of its native market, the company is striking while the iron is hot and joins forces with Fundera. Fuelled by Fundera’s loan marketplace for SMEs (and financial resources attracting 28 million small and medium US businesses), NerdWallet is looking to strengthen its presence in the segment. The acquisition marks yet another strategic step towards diversifying NerdWallet’s offer and expanding its financial guidance and financing options into this fast-growing market.

Read a case study on developing an alternative financing platform for SMEs

More news from FinTech Wire coming soon…

Will next week’s news make your heart skip a beat? Watch this space to keep track of major disruptions and recent developments in FinTech, PayTech, BankingTech and absolutely everything in between. Also, remember you can subscribe to the #FinTechWire hashtag on our LinkedIn and Twitter to receive updates straight to your news feed!