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Apple has applied for a patent that would enable the transfer of money between iPhones, PayPal spends a boatload on Xoom, and more top stories from this week in FinTech.
Tech giant Apple has applied for a patent that would enable the transfer of money between iPhones, startup ClearScore is bringing free credit reports and credit scores to UK consumers, PayPal spends a boatload on Xoom, and more top stories from this week in FinTech.
Apple has applied for a patent for a method of transferring money from one iPhone to another. This news signals that the tech giant may indeed have big plans beyond just Apple Pay. Can you say Apple Bank? From 9to5Mac:
“Payments would be credited to a choice of ‘payment vehicles,’ read: bank accounts and cards that can accept transfers from third-parties. The patent of course notes that all data transmitted between both the iPhones and the payment processor would be encrypted.”
Later this month, UK consumers will have access to their credit report and credit score for free, thanks to ClearScore. The startup is looking to help consumers take more control of their financial well-being by giving them the option to see their credit information, free of charge, on a regular basis. Tech City News reports:
“The website will use a powerful data engine to present its customers — in real-time — with money-saving suggestions for credit cards, loans and other financial products, tailored to their unique financial situation. This will add value and take the guesswork out of applications, whilst generating revenue for ClearScore through commissions, allowing the service to be completed free.”
PayPal announced that the company has agreed to acquire the San Francisco-based online money transfer technology and services company Xoom, to the tune of US$890 million. CT reports:
“With Xoom’s pre-existing payment/remittance infrastructure, the platform’s large user base of 1.3 million U.S. customers and annual transactions of about US$7 billion in 37 countries, PayPal hopes to expand to emerging markets like India and China, and its user base of 68 million active users to focus on global growth.”
Santander is teaming with mobile payment company Monitise to invest in and build new FinTech startups. According to Monitise, the new joint venture will be funded by £10 million (US$15.6 million) from each company. Business Insider reports:
“The new fund is in addition to a $100 million (£63.8 million) fund Santander set up last year to invest in fintech startups. It shows just how seriously the bank is taking the threat — or some would say opportunity — of fintech. Banks are facing a huge wave of competition from startups that have found cheaper, quicker and smarter ways to do finance using technology.”
Beginning in the autumn, MasterCard will start experimenting with a new program that allows for online purchases to be approved via face scans. The company is betting that more and more consumers are willing to use biometrics to prove their identity, instead of, you know, passwords. From CNN Money:
“MasterCard will launch a small pilot program that uses fingerprints — but also facial scans. It'll be a limited experiment involving 500 customers. But once it works out all the kinks, MasterCard plans to launch it publicly sometime after that.”
Banking giant Citigroup has developed three blockchains and a test cryptocurrency dubbed 'Citicoin' to run across them. This is in effort to ensure that the bank is "at the leading edge of [distributed ledger technology]" so it can "exploit the opportunities within it." CT reports:
“According to Ken Moore, head of Citi Innovation Labs, Citi has been looking at blockchain technology for ‘the last few years’ and has developed ‘an equivalent to bitcoin’ within its labs while mining what it calls ‘Citicoin.’”
The World Economic Forum recently released a report examining how FinTech startups are changing the finance industry. And according to the report, while banking innovations are happening across all sides, insurance may soon feel the greatest “impact of disruption.” Wired reports:
“According to the WEF’s report, new entrants have cropped up in a few key areas. Online price aggregators like BizInsure, GoCompare.com, or Google Compare (yes, that Google), are helping consumers compare alternatives and get the best price. Health insurance startups such as Oscar and Vitality have found focusing on overall wellness and customer happiness encourages customers to stay healthy and fit. And car insurance startups are using auto-tracking devices to teach newer drivers how to stay safe (Marmalade Insurance) and help locate cars if they are stolen (Insure the Box).”
Adding to their list of woes, Greeks can no longer use their PayPal accounts. What this proves is that at the heart of most of the financial startups meant to overthrow the old guard, there’s an old-fashioned bank still calling the shots. From Quartz:
“Limits on how much money Greeks can take out of banks put in place by their debt-stricken government as it negotiates with lenders have effectively crippled the online payment service, which relies on traditional banks and credit cards to transfer money.”
Bitcoin startup, Coinkite has announced a new kind of "Bitcoin Payment Button" that lets anyone accept bitcoin as payment for products or services. CT reports:
Barclays has announced the extension of its mobile checks imaging service to nearly 1 million more customers. Because, you know, checks are still a thing. This expansion includes 500,000 customers with Android phones in the UK, and, for the first time in the UK, iPad users. PYMNTS reports:
“Mobile check imaging is available through the Barclays Mobile Banking app and allows customers to pay with a Barclays check of up to £500 (roughly US$780) within minutes of receiving it. Customers take a photo of the check then complete a couple of steps before the funds are immediately available in their current account. The check is cleared in a maximum of two working days (one day if deposited by 4 p.m.), rather than the current six. The service can be used from any location in the UK, 24 hours a day.”
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