Mastercard Launches Startup Accelerator

Photo Credit:  Karlis Dambrans

Photo Credit: Karlis Dambrans

The firm is offering seven startups the chance to join its 2016 programme; designed to introduce international opportunities and support with business strategy.. 'Start Path', created in 2014, was designed to allow Mastercard to work with startups to develop innovative solutions across a variety of sectors. “In 2014, we wanted to look beyond Mastercard and support innovation that was being developed by new and upcoming, early-stage companies,” - Stephane Wyper, Global Leader at Start Path. “We believe every start-up is unique and that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to working together.” To apply to the programme click here


South Korean Fintech Firms to File Complaint Against Apple

Photo Credit:  iPhonedigital

Photo Credit: iPhonedigital

Financial technology companies in South Korea are planning to take Apple to court over its plans to block rivals from using near field communication (NFC) for mobile devices. The complaint will be lodged with the Korean Fair Trade Commission and the fintech firms will aim to prove that Apple’s restricting of its programming interface effectively blocks rival firms from using NFC. The firms argue that this creates an unfair advantage with regards to financial services. Apple offers NFC support for its mobile devices, but requires that the feature must be used with Apple Pay, which in turn denies consumers from using NFC or mobile payments for services which do not accept Apple’s format; for example when paying for public transport. 


UK Regulators Praised as Most Fintech Friendly

Photo Credit:  Michael Garnett

Photo Credit: Michael Garnett

The UK topped a recent global survey, compiled by professional services firm EY, as the most fintech-friendly. The Financial Control Authority (FCA) has been keen to burnish its credentials by supporting startups. The fintech industry was able to generate £6.6 billion in revenues and employ 61,000 people in 2015. In particular, it is the FCA’s “sandbox”  that was praised by Microsoft. The sandbox is a way for companies to test products with temporary regulator approval. “There are other regulators around the world that have more funds and resources, and other regulators with more powers. But it was really only the UK financial regulator that has built into its governance a mandate to promote innovation and competition” says Imran Gulamhuseinwala, EY’s global leader for fintech.


Terrapay acquires Pay2Global

Photo Credit:  Images Money

Photo Credit: Images Money

The international mobile-first network made a complete purchase of the UK based money transfer company for an undisclosed sum, after regulatory clearance was given. It is believed the acquisition is part of Terrapay’s plans to to boost its European presence and allow the company access to expand its payment network to the 32 countries of the European Economic Area (EEA). TerraPay connects mobile wallet schemes, money transfer operators, and other financial institutions to create an international network for secure transactions. Pay2Global will now become Terra Payment Services (UK). “We are now open for business in the UK and the EEA, among the world’s top markets for remittances,” said Ambar Sur, CEO of TerraPay.


Singapore to Open Fintech Innovation Lab

Photo Credit:  Jerry Van Krasten

Photo Credit: Jerry Van Krasten

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has announced the opening of Looking Glass, a dedicated Lab to devise fintech solutions for financial institutions, start-ups, and technology vendors. The announcement comes just a week after a senior Singapore government minister declared fintech as a "critical differentiator for Singapore."

The lab will be housed within the current MAS headquarters and will also source experts to consult with firms over legal and regulation issues, as well as provide a venue for training and networking. A spokesperson for MAS says the name 'Looking Glass' was chosen in reference to Alice in Wonderland; it represents “a glimpse into a different world where innovation is pervasive, and a warm place for its residents to pursue their passion, protected from the old way of doing things”.


Irish Biometrics Startup Nominated for Fintech award

Photo Credit:  Osseous

Photo Credit: Osseous

B-Secur develops technology for cardiac based biometric authentication and has been nominated for an award in the category of ‘Best Innovation in Financial Services’ at the Dot IE Net Visionary Awards.  The technology developed by B-Secur will take heart signature readings through a user's finger tips. B-Secur has already secured strong investments, as cardiac authentication potentially offers a higher level of security due to the difficulty in emulating another person's unique heart patterns. Financial firms are excited by this prospect, as the industry moves closer to biometric technologies. The best Innovation category of the Dot IE Visionary awards “highlights the best technological innovations around financial services and institutions from Irish businesses, and we’re proud to be named among some great businesses.”





Octopus Investments launches Fintech Initiative for Startups

Photo Credit:  Davide D'Amico

Photo Credit: Davide D'Amico

The UK based fund management firm is looking to recruit start-ups for its new accelerator programme, with a promise to invest in those that prove successful. 

In an attempt to ‘rebuild the financial services sector’ the 12 week programme will provide mentoring and facilities as well as potential access to Octopus Investments’ distribution channels. The first product to emerge from the programme is a P2P lending platform called ‘Octopus Choice’. Richard Wazacz, head of Octopus Labs, says: “Octopus Labs takes the existing strengths of our business and adds a start-up dimension. The result is a powerful new force that will quickly develop new products and services to form part of the Octopus stable.”