As the trusted and proven Paytech Pioneer™ uniquely focused on supporting the growth journeys of our customers, nothing gets us more excited than when we see our partners and customers dominating the fintech news agenda. That is why each month we update our ‘Making Headlines’ blog series.
In January’s edition, we cover everything from the latest funding news, to the next wave for neobanks, green fintech and more.
1. Curve hit the ground running with the announcement of a whopping $95 million funding round, bringing the company’s total investment to almost $175m. Curve’s CEO and founder, Shachar Bialick, said that the coronavirus pandemic proved the company’s product and team both are resilient, which is what convinced IDC Ventures, Fuel Venture Capital and Vulcan Capital to invest. He said consumers moved their transactions from point-of-sales to e-commerce, but they continued to use Curve. Curve will use the investment to expand internationally, including to the U.S., and to deepen its European reach.
2. It’s top marks for Starling Bank as a Which? study ranks its recently launched online banking service as the most secure among the UK’s 13 leading banks. Which? gave Starling an 85% security test score based on the findings of researchers at 6point6, with Barclays, First Direct and HSBC following close behind at 78%. One of the reasons Starling ranked so highly is that its customers can only change their most sensitive data via its app. Starling also saw the second-largest net current account switching gain in Q4 2020.
3. Could there be a new fully licensed neobank on the horizon? This is certainly an exciting prospect for Revolut as the company asked UK regulators for a full banking license to fuel expansion beyond its fintech roots. The license would enable Revolut to offer overdrafts, loans and deposit accounts, and the firm would also be covered by the U.K.’s Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
4. Curve and Currensea are the two fintechs handpicked by the Evening Standard this month to feature in the paper’s ‘smartest new debit cards to add to your 2021 wallet’ segment. Curve was heralded for “[solving] the problem of the bulging wallet, connecting all your debit and credit cards into one sleek contactless card that works with Apple, Google and Samsung Pay”, whilst the Currensea card was dubbed as “one for your summer getaway (let’s hope). Currensea links directly with your existing bank account to let you spend overseas without international charges — its founders say it’ll save you more than 85% per transaction.” With 3 trees planted for every £75 you spend with Currensea’s card, it’s a big yes from us. 🌳
5. In an exclusive feature with Fintech Finance, alongside GPS CEO Joanne Dewar, Ziglu CEO Mark Hipperson shared the low down on ‘neo V2.0’ and where Ziglu is heading: “We’re a modern financial services challenger that does crypto as well, because that’s what a modern financial services company needs to do,” he says. “I’m not an evangelist for cryptocurrency; all I’m doing is providing a service to people because they’ve asked for it. And I want to try to provide something that doesn’t rip them off.” With Ziglu’s September crowdfunding round overfunded by 500% within hours, we think he might be on to something!
6. Excited to see some great results incoming from GPS partner Nium, which is looking to book $6 billion in transactions by Q4 this year. The Singapore-based startup handled up to US$2.1 billion transactions in the last quarter. We look forward to seeing what’s next from Nium!
7. Wey aye, Pockit! Great to see fintech roots spreading as Pockit announces its new Newcastle base. The new location marks an exciting advancement in the company’s growth strategy. Virraj Jatania CEO and founder of Pockit commented: “Our decision to set up an office in Newcastle and join their thriving and fast-growing fintech community was down to the collaborative nature of the business community, its ability to attract and retain talent and reputation as a place to grow a tech business. We were quickly able to set up our offices and hire a skilled high-performing team. We have a high number of customers from the North of the UK, which also added value.”
In addition to all of the above, GPS also won an award this month from Bobsguide for Best Payments System - what a way to ring in the New Year! We were also featured on page 29 of the City of London’s report on ‘London and the UK’s competitive strengths in a changing world’ and on page 19 of GP Bullhound’s Global Market Fintech Perspectives (Q4 2020) report, alongside our customers RoosterMoney and Zilch!