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February 26, 2021

On the wires

Varo Bank Introduces Varo Believe, a New and Better Way for Millions of Americans to Build Credit

Varo Bank , the first all-digital nationally chartered bank in the US, today introduced the Varo Believe Program*, an innovative credit building product that includes a Visa credit card and credit monitoring. The Believe Program is aimed at the 45 million Americans who are “credit invisibles” – meaning they have insufficient credit history to qualify for credit – and the millions more who are seeking to improve their credit score.”

January 6, 2021

On the wires

Green Dot Launches Ultimate Mobile Bank for Americans Living Paycheck to Paycheck

“Green Dot Corporation (NYSE: GDOT) today announced the launch of GO2bank , a new mobile bank designed to help the two in three Americans living paycheck to paycheck stretch their money further and build a stronger financial foundation.1 GO2bank makes money access and management a safe, easy, useful part of everyday life with tools that help address common financial challenges and opportunities to improve long-term financial health, all in one easy-to-use mobile app.”

January 4, 2021

On the wires

Current becomes first fintech to receive government stimulus payments

Current , a leading U.S. challenger bank serving Americans overlooked by traditional banks, announced it was the first fintech in the country to receive the second round of government stimulus payments. Current received the payments before 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday, less than three hours after the U.S. Treasury announced the funds were being issued, and is making all funds fully available to all members immediately, as part of its mission to improve financial outcomes.”

December 9, 2020

On the web

November 6, 2020

On the web

October 19, 2020

On the wires

Introducing Varo Advance: Instant Cash Access up to $100

Varo Bank , the only digital national bank, is introducing Varo Advance, an innovative product that instantly advances up to $100 to qualifying customers and gives customers more flexibility and control over their finances. Designed to help customers proactively manage their finances, Varo Advance offers instant access to up to $100 cash right in the Varo Bank app.* With a fixed, transparent cost structure – no tips, no hidden fees, and no instant access fees – Varo Advance provides an advance of up to $20 for free, with a maximum charge of $5 for a $100 advance.”

September 14, 2020

On the web

Goldman Sachs is Taking What It Learned from a $100 Million Acquisition to Upgrade the Marcus App


Goldman Sachs is one step closer to creating what it calls the digital bank of the future. The bank has just released the first version of a personal finance management tool that gives customers of its Marcus retail brand a top-down view of all their financial accounts, as well as insights into spending and a monthly snapshot of their budget, according to Adam Dell, a Goldman partner and head of product at Marcus.”

April 29, 2020

On the web

Wise locks down $5.7 million to scale its challenger bank designed for small businesses


Wise is a new challenger bank built specifically for small businesses. The startup is aiming to insert itself as an essential service in the small business repertoire by bundling banking with payment services powered by Stripe. Customers can receive payments, manage their cash and pay employees all via Wise’s app. CEO Arjun Thyagarajan tells TechCrunch that his company has closed a $5.7 million seed round led by Base10 Partners . Abstract Ventures, Backend Capital, The Fund and Two Culture Capital also participated in the round.”

April 7, 2020

On the web

Fintechs, Small Banks Do Their Part in Coronavirus Fight Despite Risks

American Banker (paywall)

“Chime began giving 1,000 of its customers access to $1,200 each in the first week of April, offering them an advance well before the federal government will start sending out stimulus payments in the same amount by check or direct deposit. This is an extension of the challenger bank’s SpotMe feature, which lets customers who have their paycheck directly deposited in their Chime account make purchases greater than their account balance without incurring a fee. Usually this is limited to $100. In its stimulus-advance pilot, Chime is raising its SpotMe limit to $1,200.”

March 30, 2020

On the web

HMBradley Officially Launches Digital Bank

Mobile Payments Today

“HMBradley, a startup backed by PayPal Co-Founder Max Levchin, has officially launched its high yield digital banking platform after raising $3.5 million in November and signing thousands of applicants to a wait list.  The digital banking service, which offers up to 3% APY, is now allowing waitlisted customers to officially open their bank accounts and has launched a savings program called Plans, which helps account holders set aside funds for specific goals.”

March 24, 2020

On the web

Popular European Banking App Revolut Is Launching in the US Today

The Verge

“Mobile banking app Revolut, which has more than 10 million customers in Europe, is launching today in the US, the company announced. Like Monzo, a UK-based banking app that made the jump to the US last June, Revolut is entirely app-based and doesn’t operate any brick-and-mortar locations. That means you can sign up for an account and a debit card in just a few minutes right from within the app. That account is insured for up to $250,000 by the FDIC.”

March 17, 2020

On the web

Monzo launches free and paid-for business bank accounts


Monzo , the U.K. challenger bank, is officially launching business bank accounts today, after an extensive trial period over the last 12 months that saw early access given to 2,500 business customers. Perhaps surprisingly, right out of the gate Monzo is offering two versions of its business bank account — which is aimed at sold traders and SMEs — a free account and a premium paid-for account, confirming our scoop from last week .”

Business banking fintech Penta raises another €18.5M


Penta , the Berlin-based business banking challenger that also now operates in Italy, has raised €18.5 million, described as the first closing of a new funding round. Leading the round is new investor RTP Global and existing investor HV Holtzbrinck Ventures. Also participating is ABN AMRO Ventures and Berliner Volksbank Ventures, and Finleap (the fintech company builder that has a majority stake in Penta).”

March 10, 2020

On the web

March 4, 2020

On the web

Starling Bank Looks to Irish Banking Licence for European Expansion

FinTech Futures

“UK challenger Starling Bank has concrete plans on a European expansion via an Irish banking licence, its CEO Anne Boden has revealed. Anne Boden, Starling Bank Speaking to IBS Intelligence, Boden says that the bank is “working on a process to get an Irish banking licence” and that it would be looking into the creation of a European centre in Dublin. The challenger has been eyeing up the Emerald Isle for some time. It was reported back in March 2019 by the Irish Times that Boden’s firm was planning a 2019 launch and had lodged an application with the Central Bank of Ireland for a licence.”

March 3, 2020

On the web

Valued at $10B, Nubank launches it’s Nu credit card in Mexico


Nubank , the Brazilian digital bank valued at $10 billion, is launching its Nu credit card in Mexico – a country where the unbanked population counts 36 million people.  The Sao Paulo-based fintech company, known for its fully-mobile digital bank and credit card, has raised $820 million across seven rounds of investment and has amassed nearly 22 million customers in Brazil alone. Now, the Nu credit card is available to all Mexicans over 18 years of age – and has already grown a waiting list of 30,000 Mexican customers.”

March 2, 2020

On the web

Thought Machine nabs $83M for a cloud-based platform that powers banking services


“… today a startup called Thought Machine , which has built cloud-based technology that powers this new generation of services on behalf of both old and new banks, is announcing some significant funding — $83 million — a Series B that the company plans to use to continue investing in its platform and growing its customer base. To date, Thought Machine’s customers are primarily in Europe and Asia — they include large, legacy outfits like Standard Chartered, Lloyds Banking Group, and Sweden’s SEB through to “challenger” (AKA neo-) banks like Atom Bank. Some of this financing will go towards boosting the startup’s activities in the US, including opening an office in the country later this year and moving ahead with commercial deals.”

February 11, 2020

On the web

N26, the German Online Bank Backed by Peter Thiel, Is Leaving the UK — and It’s Blaming Brexit


“German online bank N26 has told customers it’s pulling out of the U.K. because it won’t have a license to operate there after Brexit. The Berlin-based firm launched in Britain in October 2018, about six months before the country’s exit from the European Union was initially due to take place. At the time, N26 CEO Valentin Stalf told CNBC the move was a “no-brainer for us, independent of Brexit.””

February 10, 2020

On the web

January 27, 2020

On the wires

N26 Hits 250,000 U.S. Customers in First Five Months

“N26 Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of one of Europe’s fastest-growing mobile banks, N26 GmbH, today announced it has reached 250,000 U.S. customers. Having only launched in the U.S. last August in partnership with Axos Bank, N26 has grown rapidly to become a leading force in changing how American consumers bank.”

January 21, 2020

On the web

Challenger business bank Qonto raises $115 million round led by Tencent and DST Global


“French startup Qonto has raised a $115 million Series C funding round led by Tencent and DST Global. Today’s news comes a few days after another French fintech startup Lydia raised some money from Tencent. Existing investors Valar and Alven are also participating in today’s funding round. TransferWise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus and Adyen CFO Ingo Uytdehaage are also joining the round. Qonto says that it represents the largest funding round for a French fintech company.”

January 13, 2020

On the web

Hong Kong’s First Digital Bank Offers 6% Rate That Tops HSBC

“The first of Hong Kong’s new generation of digital banks has announced its arrival with an introductory rate of 6% or higher for deposits. ZA Bank Ltd. , one of eight firms preparing to start digital-only banks in Hong Kong, has begun a trial run that pays a select group of depositors over 3 percentage points more than established banks such as HSBC Holdings Plc and Standard Chartered Plc . Though many doubt the new banks will be able to maintain such rates, the offer is a warning of upcoming competition for the the city’s $410 billion local currency time-deposit business.”

Former Google Pay execs raise $13.2M to build neo-banking platform for millennials in India

“Two co-founders of Google Pay in India are building a neo-banking platform in the country — and they have already secured backing from three top VC funds. Sujith Narayanan, a veteran payments executive who co-founded Google Pay in India (formerly known as Google Tez ), said on Monday that his startup, epiFi , has raised $13.2 million in its seed financial round led by Sequoia India and Ribbit Capital. The round valued epiFi at about $50 million.”

January 2, 2020

On the web

Razer Fintech Plans to Build ‘world’s First Global Youth Bank’ Targeting Youth and Millennials

Business Insider Singapore

“Singaporean entrepreneur Min-Liang Tan’s Razer Fintech – the fintech arm of gaming hardware maker Razer – has applied for a Digital Full Bank Licence in Singapore, with a focus on the underserved youth and millennials segment, the company announced on Thursday (Jan 2). If successful, the firm will build what it calls the “world’s first global youth bank”, named Razer Youth Bank, with plans to progressively expand into a global banking network.”

December 18, 2019

On the web

S.Korea Launches “Open Banking” Services to Lower Fee, Enhance Convenience – Xinhua | English.news.cn


“South Korea’s financial regulator said Wednesday that it formally launched “open banking” services in a bid to lower transaction fees and enhance convenience for using online banking services. Under the open banking system, bank customers will be allowed to use any mobile banking application they choose to approach their bank accounts at any local bank and to withdraw and transfer money from their bank accounts.”

December 10, 2019

On the wires

N26 Unveils Its US Debit Card Benefits Perks Program With New Partners Lime, Booking.com, and Headspace

N26 Inc. , the US subsidiary of N26 GmbH, parent company of one of Europe’s fastest growing mobile banks, today announced an expansion of its Perks program, which offers customers exclusive cashback rewards and discounts when using their N26 debit card. The partners include some of the most popular global brands in travel, mobility, wellness, education, and fashion. By offering promotions and savings that are typically found in premium credit card offerings, N26 is one of the only mobile banking experiences that includes debit rewards for US users.”

December 5, 2019

On the web

Tink Expands Open Banking in Spain, Portugal and Italy


“Tink, a Stockholm-based open banking platform, said it has expanded its European presence with entries into Portugal and Italy as well as opening a new office in Madrid, Spain. Tink officials said the Portugal launch follows a September agreement with Caixa Geral de Depositos, which launched a consumer banking app called Dabox, which includes aggregation, payment initiation, data enrichment and personal financial management technology from the Tink platform”

December 2, 2019

On the web

Pixpay Is a Challenger Bank for Teens Focused on Pocket Money


“Meet Pixpay , a French startup that wants to replace cash when you’re handing out pocket money to your kids. Anybody who is older than 10 years old can create a Pixpay account, get a debit card and manage pocket money. Challenger banks are nothing new, but they’re still mostly targeted towards adults. If you want to create an N26 or Revolut account, you need to be at least 18 years old. You can create a Lydia account if you’re at least 14 years old with parental consent.”

November 27, 2019

On the web

A Major UK Lender Just Launched a Digital Bank to Compete With Unicorns Like Monzo and Revolut


“British lender NatWest has launched a digital bank to compete in the U.K.’s thriving fintech space. NatWest — a subsidiary of RBS — launched cloud-based bank Bo on Wednesday, with the service going live on both Apple’s App store and Google Play.   Those who sign up to the digital bank will be sent a bright yellow Visa card and access their account via Bo’s mobile app.”

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