American Express rolls out a new online checkout service for US cardholders, FinTech is the reason for record hikes in venture capital flooding into the London startup scene, Angistri agrees to trial digital currency Nautiluscoin, and more top stories from this week in FinTech.

Amex Launches Online Checkout Service

American Express has launched a new service that lets cardholders pay at participating online merchants with just a user ID and password. Finextra reports:

“Amex Express Checkout enables users to enter their existing American Express login details to confirm payments, with the card firm auto-filling all the information required. Amex is working with Stripe, meaning that retailers that use the fast-growing payments outfit can easily integrate the new service. Burberry, Ledbury, Ticketmaster, and The Wall Street Journal, are among the merchants already onboard.”

FinTech Drives Record Hike in London Startup VC Funding

A report from London & Partners identifies FinTech as being responsible for a record hike in venture capital being poured into London's startup scene. According to figures released in the report, nearly $1.5B was raised during the first six months of this year. From Wired:

“London and Partners, a public-private partnership created with backing from the Mayor of London and designed to promote the Capital outside the UK, announced on Friday that of the $1.47bn (£94m) VC funding raised during the first half of the year, $1.18bn (£75m) was invested into London businesses and of that, 40 percent was being directly invested into local FinTech.”

Greek Island to Trial Gold-Backed Digital Currency Alternative to the Euro

Ioannis Athanasiou, mayor of the Greek island of Angistri, has agreed to a trial of the digital currency Nautiluscoin as a way to attract tourists. Brian Kelly, the founder of Nautiluscoin, published an article on CNBC announcing the news that the mayor had given his support to the plan. CT reports:

“The cryptocurrency is attempting to tap into fears among tourists visiting Greece that the emptying of ATMs and suspension of most international banking services could leave them without spending cash during their holidays. Bitcoin has been repeatedly discussed as a solution to this problem and also as a possible option for Greeks looking to for a store of value. Nautiluscoin, however, is hoping to one-up the popular digital currency with an additional promise that the decentralized coins will be backed by a centralized supply of gold.”

Greek Island to Trial Gold-Backed Digital Currency Alternative to the Euro

Banks Are Right to Be Afraid of the FinTech Boom

FinTech is providing access to services that facilitate sound financial decision-making and, according to Time, the banks should worry. Services that were once almost exclusively the business of banks are being disrupted by new wave of tech startups. Time writes:

“Generally, banks follow a loss leader pricing strategy: They provide certain products (checking accounts) at a cost below their market value to stimulate the sales of more profitable products (loans) and to attract new customers. Now FinTech companies are extracting the most profitable portions of the banking model, leaving banks stuck with high overhead and less profitable products.”

2015 Credit Card Landscape Report

In CardHub’s latest quarterly report, they note that credit card rates were “fairly stable during the second quarter,” with two exceptions: rates slipped (1.5%) from levels last year for consumers with excellent credit and rose (3.6%) for those with only fair credit. From CardHub:

“Not only do credit card offers regularly fluctuate in value, corresponding to changes in the economic climate or issuer strategy — but credit card market trends are also extremely revealing in terms of the health of the country’s economy and that of its consumers. Keeping track of this information is therefore essential to finding the best deals and truly understanding the financial climate.”

London Called ‘Money Laundering Capital,’ While FinTech Startups Burdened by Regulation

An international crime expert has labeled London the center of international money laundering, saying the city's major banks disregard the anti-money laundering regulation that at the same time burdens FinTech startups. CT reports:

“Cointelegraph spoke to Danial Daychopan, CEO of LazyPay, a London-based digital currency merchant payment processing platform, about the AML regulations that they also face. The startup has had to meet complex requirements to qualify for a UK Money Services Business license. Daychopan told CT about his frustration as a FinTech company trying to meet what he sees as outdated rules.”

London Called ‘Money Laundering Capital,’ While FinTech Startups Burdened by Regulation

Mobile Pay Players Focused on Biometrics Authentication

Biometrics and authentication. Authentication and biometrics. These are always two hot topics that come to mind when discussing the future of payments. From Samsung to MasterCard to AliPay, biometric authentication is seeing some interesting implementations. From PYMNTS:

“Fingerprints? ‘So 2014,’ some say. Iris scanning? Getting closer. But it seems, at least from the interest from Alibaba with Alipay, and more recently from MasterCard, more companies are throwing their hat into the biometrics ring to discuss how facial scanning authentication might be the next big thing in mobile payments.”

Alibaba Affiliate Ant Financial Confirms Series A Funding at $45–$50B Valuation

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s finance affiliate, Ant Financial, which runs China’s biggest online payments business, closed a private placement that valued the unit at more than US$40 billion. Alibaba’s subsidiary company mentioned that the round included capital from “major Chinese insurance corporations” and other investors. TechCrunch reports:

“Ant Financial, which was spun out [of] Alibaba before the e-commerce firm’s blockbuster U.S. IPO last year, operates a series of financial businesses focused on helping the ‘small guy’. Its roster of services — which it claimed are used by 400 million active users — includes Alipay (the online payment services that handles three times the volumes of PayPal), investment service Yu’e Bao, online credit scoring service Sesame Credit, loan programs and newly-launched digital bank MYBank.”

Singapore Bitcoin Exchange BitX Launches in Nigeria

Singapore-headquartered Bitcoin exchange BitX has launched operations in Nigeria. The company provides a bitcoin wallet, an exchange, merchant integration and APIs to businesses and consumers across the world and has built up a sizeable presence in Southeast Asia and Africa. From CT:

“The launch will allow Nigerians to buy or sell bitcoin instantly using Nigerian naira for the first time through the mobile BitX Wallet on iOS and Android. They will also be able to trade bitcoin, and use the BitX API to develop their own bitcoin products.”

Singapore Bitcoin Exchange BitX Launches in Nigeria

Fintech Startup IndiaLends Takes Shot at Unorganized Lending Market, Secures Pre-Series A Funding

Delhi-based credit underwriting and analytics platform IndiaLends has raised a pre-Series A funding round led by DSG Consumer Partners. The amount of investment remains undisclosed. YourStory reports:

“IndiaLends captures and analyses a variety of relevant data points that help in assessing a borrowers’ credit worthiness. This in turn assists lenders (banks and NBFCs) in making informed lending decisions. Moreover, IndiaLends also provides a technology platform which is being used by some of the financial institutions to make credit assessments and manage loan originations.”