Ep. 249. News: Hook them with a great service

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Ep. 249. News: Hook them with a great service

On this week's news show Sarah and Simon are joined by our guests: Alexa Fernandez and Ryan Edwards-Pritchard to talk about the latest and greatest fintech news stories this week. We also have a great bit of insight from Doug Bobenhouse on US credit card debt.

Our hosts, Sarah Kocianski and Simon Taylor sit down with two great guests: Alexa Fernandez, Open Innovation and Ecosystem Builder at BBVA, and Ryan Edwards-Pritchard, Managing Director at Funding Options to talk about the all the latest news in fintech. Including:

Starling’s secret project, Royal Bank of Scotland has enlisted the online-only challenger Starling to assist in its secret project to build a standalone digital bank. Starling has signed “a contract to provide payment services to support new initiatives at RBS/NatWest”. The digital bank reported that its number of personal current accounts has risen to 210K from 43K last November with a average deposit of £900.

Are challengers the future of banking - will enough people switch? The new wave of digital-only challengers is threatening to change the high street bank’s position as a fixture of the British financial experience. Monzo expects to have opened 1.5 million current accounts by the end of the year. Currently on 925,465, Starling on 210,000.

Goldman Sachs’ Marcus come to the UK. Goldman Sachs has started rolling out its retail bank, Marcus, in the UK, starting with a savings account offered to its 6,000 staff in Britain. Marcus - named after the bank's founder Marcus Goldman - has already amassed more than $20bn in deposits and lent $3bn to customers in the US. In an internal memo, Goldman's Europe boss Richard Gnodde said a nationwide roll-out would follow "in the coming weeks".

Warren Buffet invests in Paytm. Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett’s company, made moves to buy a 4% stake of Paytm’s parent company, One97 Communications. The talks have been ongoing since February. As part of the deal Berkshire Hathaway will pay between $300-350M to Paytm which would give it a valuation of over $10BN.

Google Tez becomes Google Pay. Last September, Google launched Tez, an app for instant money transfers in India. Now the company announced it’s rebranding the app to Google Pay. It’s global payments services with what it’s built for India.

Loan consolidation app Tally raises money to launch robo-advisor. Tally, a 3 year old service that aims to help users better manage their credit card debt, is launching a robo advisor. Tally, which requires users to have a minimum score of 660 analyzes their financial profile to determine the fastest and smartest way to pay down debt. It then offers users a new line of credit at a lower interest rate: between 7.9% to 19.9% per year depending on a user’s credit history.

a16z helps raise $102m to build an Amazon Web Services killer. DFINITY, a startup based out of Zug, Switzerland and Palo Alto has a very lofty goal to build what it calls the “Internet Computer”: a blockchain-based, decentralised and non-proprietary network to run the next generation of mega-applications. DFINITY aims to launch an initial version of its public network — which it has also dubbed “Cloud 3.0” — towards the end of the year.

Wonga on verge of collapse. Wonga the payday lender which was once one of Britain's fastest-growing consumer finance companies, is on the brink of collapse this weekend following a deluge of customer compensation claims. 5 years ago Wonga were aiming to pursue a New York stock market listing that could have valued it more than $1bn and turned it into a British technology 'unicorn'. Wonga's decision go into administration comes three weeks after the company had received an emergency £10m cash injection to keep it afloat.

Are cheques checking out? Debate over the future of cheques has been reignited amid a pay dispute at a company that has been printing cheques for more than 100 years. The use of cheques in the UK peaked in 1990, when there were more than four billion transactions a year. A total of 405 million cheques were processed in the UK last year.

And finally, we kid you not, this story is the GOAT. Goat facial recognition is coming soon… or maybe not
We thought this was a facial recognition story, which it is, but not quite in the way we thought.

All this and so much more on today's episode of Fintech Insider!

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This week's episode was written by Laura Watkins and Dhanum Nursigadoo, produced by Laura Watkins and edited by Holly Blaxill.

Special Guests: Alexa Fernandez, Doug Bobenhouse, and Ryan Edwards-Pritchard.