Fintech

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Member Spotlight: Intuit


Intuit is a global technology platform that helps customers and communities overcome their most important financial challenges. Serving approximately 100 million customers worldwide with TurboTax, QuickBooks, Credit Karma and Mint, Intuit believes that everyone should have the opportunity to prosper and works tirelessly to find new, innovative ways to deliver on this belief.

Founded 38 years ago, the work Intuit does starts with a mission of powering prosperity around the world. Prosperity means something different for each person, but finances often sit at the core of living the life you want. Intuit believes that everyone should have access to the expertise, tools, and resources they need to take control of their financial life and pursue their dreams.

Across its platform, Intuit puts the power of technology and data on the side of customers by delivering simple, delightful solutions through their products:

  • QuickBooks is the world’s largest small business platform, serving as the center for small business growth. QuickBooks has helped customers simplify the financial complexities of managing their business and achieve success for more than 25 years. QuickBooks began by helping small businesses manage their books and grew into a platform that helps them get paid fast, manage capital, and pay employees with confidence.
  • TurboTax takes the complexity out of the tax code, helping people get the maximum refund they deserve.
  • Mint is a free personal finance app that helps users to get a holistic view of their financial picture and make smart money decisions.
  • Credit Karma is a data platform that helps people find the right financial products, putting more money in their pockets and providing insights and advice.

Intuit’s mission of powering prosperity also goes beyond its products. Intuit leverages its products, unique expertise, and scale to have a positive impact on communities around the world by investing in people and helping them meet the challenges they face. For example, to help struggling Canadian families and small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, Intuit launched its Prosperity Accelerator. The 5-month program encourages startups to leverage the power of AI to advance the financial prosperity of consumers and businesses in North America. Selected startups have access to a corporate and investor mentorship network, dedicated coaching, and the opportunity for follow-on investment from Highline Beta.

Additionally, Intuit QuickBooks leveraged its fintech experience to help customers access more than $1.2 billion in SBA-approved Paycheck Protection Program loans and keep thousands of employees on payroll in the United during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. QuickBooks also launched a new platform for product-based businesses, offers on-demand accounting experts, and has helped to democratize machine learning by adding it to the company’s offerings for the benefit of small businesses.

Building on its commitment to help small businesses save time by simplifying complex business operations and taking the guesswork out of complicated compliance matters, Intuit QuickBooks Australia became the first accounting software firm in Australia to be accredited by the Data Recipient Accreditor at the unrestricted level and the third data recipient to be accredited overall in October 2020. The landmark accreditation gives Australians greater control over how their financial and banking data is accessed and used and allows them to securely share it with accredited third parties. In addition to saving users additional time – estimated at around eight to ten hours per week – as well as money and resources that are currently spent on financial management, the move allowed real time and simple cash flow management, with highly accurate future forecasting through richer insights.

Intuit is proud to join FDATA North America’s efforts to bring the benefits of opening banking to businesses in other geographies so that individuals and business owners can easily and securely access their banking data allowing them to spend their time focusing on what matters most to them.

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Member Spotlight: Kabbage


In the wake of the Great Recession, Kathryn Petralia and Rob Frohwein launched Kabbage, a startup whose mission would be to use data-driven solutions to empower small businesses to grow with flexibility, efficiency, and prudence. Since then, Kabbage, which is now an American Express company, transformed itself from a funding startup for eBay sellers into a leading cash-flow management platform for all small businesses. Over half a million small businesses accessed more than $16 billion through Kabbage and, during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was the second largest Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) lender in the United States during the first round of PPP, approving nearly 300,000 applications.

By connecting real-time, existing third-party business data to Kabbage, small businesses can be approved for a line of credit between $1,000 to $150,000 in minutes. (Kabbage charges no origination fees, annual fees, monthly maintenance fees, or documentation fees for its small business loans.) It’s new online Kabbage Checking™ account comes with no monthly maintenance fees and small business customers receive a 1.10 annual percentage yield (APY) on balances up to $100,000. Kabbage Payments helps businesses send, process, and settle invoices quickly.

The company’s offerings have been particularly helpful for underserved entrepreneurs. As Kabbage noted in a February 2020 news release, a joint report penned by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland found credit-worthy Black-owned small businesses are about 20 percent less likely than credit-worthy white-owned small businesses to receive approval for financing at both large and community banks. Even when approved for credit, minority-owned businesses are less likely to be approved for the amount they need. Kabbage and its automated underwriting platform improves financing experiences for underserved small businesses by only measuring their true business performance to make credit decisions, creating a blind application process.

With Kabbage, small businesses are approved by analyzing their real-time, and objective, business performance data, eliminating hurdles that may contribute to the struggles minority-owned firms face in traditional loan-application processes. Kabbage also offers data insights to arm entrepreneurs with knowledge to grow their companies. The firm’s Small Business Resource Center includes information on topics ranging from invoicing to competitor analysis to switching checking accounts.

Kabbage was acquired by American Express in 2020 to continue to expand American Express’s B2B offerings beyond their Card business with Kabbage’s broader set of cash flow management tools.

Kabbage co-founder Kathryn Petralia discussed the future of financial technology with Forbes in February 2021. Her comments sum up the benefits of a customer-directed finance system. Petralia said, “It all boils down to the user experience and consumers’ on-demand expectations. Banks are increasingly being commoditized. Fintechs will become the de facto face of money management, as they provide exceptional user experiences that remove friction points common with traditional banking. It shouldn’t take days or weeks to open a bank account, multiple days to settle funds, or months to be approved for a loan. Fintechs will make financial services more seamless and accessible for everyone.”

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Member Spotlight: BillGO


Founded in 2015, BillGO is driven by the core belief that everyone deserves access to a healthy financial future. BillGO helps facilitate this access by providing consumers, billers, fintechs and financial institutions with a faster, smarter, more secure way to pay and manage bills and subscriptions.

So how can bill payment technology improve financial wellbeing?

Consider this: even though most consumers trust financial institutions (FIs) to manage their money, only 22 percent of them use the bill pay technology their FIs provide. Seventy-six percent, meanwhile, pay their online bills directly to biller websites, which is both a cumbersome and risky method of managing bills.

When asked why they reject FI-offered bill pay technology, many consumers say their FI bill pay technology is outmoded. It is difficult to use, offers little visibility and fails to provide real-world bill payment confirmation. This lack of confirmations has real-world results – namely late fees. A 2019 study revealed late credit card payments alone cost consumers up to $3 billion a year.

By offering a modernized, real-time bill pay solution, BillGO not only helps consumers avoid late payments and fees by sending due date reminders but also provides consumers with a single, consolidated tool to manage bills and payments, eliminating the need to log into multiple biller sites each month to manage their financial obligations.

BillGO’s mission doesn’t stop there. In 2020, BillGO launched its Bill Pay Relief Hub, a resource originally conceived to help consumers impacted by bills brought on by COVID-19. Since then, the Hub’s mission has expanded, providing help to consumers facing an array of economic setbacks. The Hub now connects consumers to more than 300 businesses and FIs offering payment relief. In 2020, Banking Tech Awards named the Hub one of 2020’s Best COVID Responses by a Fintech.

Speaking of awards, Fortune recently named BillGO one of the “Best Places To Work” in the financial services industry. And last March, Forbes named BillGO one of “America’s Best Startup Employers” because of its reputation as an employer, its high levels of employee satisfaction, and its potential for growth.

BillGO’s award-winning real-time bill management and payments platform transforms the dreaded necessity of managing and paying bills into an opportunity for financial well-being. The company currently serves more than 32 million consumers, 8,000 FIs and nurtures relationships with more than 170,000 billers and suppliers nationwide and is headquartered in Colorado, with offices in Ohio and Washington state, employing more than 250 people.

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Member Spotlight: ValidiFI


Can open finance positively impact the traditional financial services sector? ValidiFI has proven it can.

ValidiFI is a technology company that delivers data solutions to business and financial service providers. Simply: through a combination of technology and strategic partnerships, ValidiFI creates better ways to validate and analyze customer information.

ValidiFI’s data—which is sourced from banks, payment processors, financial platforms, and hundreds of thousands of businesses—comprises the most comprehensive lake of financial information in the industry. Financial services firms harness the data to improve account openings, credit decisions, payment processing, fraud detection, and risk segmentation. Businesses of every size—from new startups to public companies—use ValidiFI solutions to increase sales and facilitate payments.

Take managing underwriting and risk, for example.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for financial institutions to properly segment their applicants while identifying who will be a good and bad customer. ValidiFI’s alternative data solutions help firms identify and segment the risk of applicants based on their employment, income, and bank data. ValidiFI’s Payment Instrument (PI) Risk Score analyzes thousands of attributes to enhance the financial profile of the consumer, helping to mitigate fraud, reduce defaults, and reduce returns.

ValidiFI’s tools also help financial services firms stay compliant with government and organizational regulations. Using Bank Account Validation (BAV), firms can adhere to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s payment provisions. ValidiFI also offers comprehensive Account Validation services to help maintain compliance with Nacha’s WEB Debit Rule.

According to ValidiFI, accessing a greater range of data is essential as the United States and Canada climb their way out of the COVID-19 health and economic crisis. ValidiFI said companies that are able to adapt to change by utilizing alternative underwriting methods and data, for example, will recover and advance more successfully.

ValidiFI joined FDATA North America in March 2021.

President and Chief Operating Officer Jesse Berger said, “Access and insight into the rapidly changing regulatory environment for open banking and finance is crucial. It is vital for the development of innovative financial data and technology products like those offered by ValidiFI and other FDATA members. With FDATA’s support, members are ensuring financial products give consumers and businesses more choices and competitive service offerings.”

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Member Spotlight: Fiserv


Established in 1984, Fiserv is a leading global provider of payments and financial services technology, including data aggregation. Today, the firm, which has been named among Fortune “World’s Most Admired Companies” for eight years running, helps thousands of financial institutions, millions of businesses, and tens of millions of consumers in more than 100 countries move money and access information.

Fiserv is among the world’s most admired companies for good reason. Just consider, for example, how it has revolutionized consumer financial management. The company has made pioneering contributions in digital banking, electronic bill payment, person-to-person payments, and invented the e-bill.

Fiserv understands that consumers are not thinking about financial data – they’re thinking about buying a home or putting a child through college – or if they have enough money in their bank account to go out to dinner tonight and still cover the bill payment that is due tomorrow. Data is at the heart of what Fiserv does every day. From moving more than $75 trillion each year to delivering a better customer experience to preventing fraud, Fiserv enables today’s digital economy while solving real-world problems for real people and real institutions.

Leading financial institutions and technology providers use AllData® Aggregation from Fiserv to access real time consumer financial data from more than 18,000 unique data sources. Given data security and regulatory compliance are crucial, Fiserv is also focused on reducing risk associated with data sharing via its AllData® Connect product.

Fiserv plays a unique role in the market as both an aggregator and data source – with a client list that includes thousands of banks and credit unions. A range of companies as well as consumers rely on account aggregation solutions from Fiserv, from fintechs disbursing wages on-demand, to lenders automating and expediting the lending process, to financial institutions helping customers gain insight into investments and spending. Fiserv brings decades of data aggregation expertise to the industry, striving to improve the secure exchange of financial data, and deliver value to clients and consumers while helping move the industry forward.

Find out more about Fiserv at www.fiserv.com/alldata.

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Member Spotlight: Envestnet | Yodlee


A founding member of FDATA North America, Envestnet® | Yodlee® is one of the world’s leading data aggregation and analytics platforms for financial service providers. Our platform has proudly fueled innovation for financial institutions (FIs) and FinTech for more than 20 years, and has refined the art of normalizing, categorizing, and enriching data, making the information derived from these records reliable and insightful. As a result, today Envestnet | Yodlee helps more than 1,400 financial institutions and fintech companies, including 16 of the top 20 U.S. banks, to deliver innovate products and services to more than 33 million consumers across the globe enabling them to live better financial lives

Envestnet | Yodlee’s Financial Wellness Solutions, for example, are white labeled applications that leverage more than 17,000 data sources and incorporate leading data security, regulatory compliance, and privacy practices enabling FI and FinTechs to give consumers the broadest possible view of their investments, savings, and debts. Using Envestnet | Yodlee FastLink, consumers can securely link all of their financial accounts – including credit cards, mortgage statements, rewards programs, and more. The FinApp series also can also provide consumers with expense, income, and cash flow analyses and it estimates net worth, and also uses artificial intelligence to dynamically measure financial health and to create financial forecasts that help manage recurring income and financial obligations.

The company also is leveraging its data to help businesses and policymakers make better decisions. During the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, Envestnet | Yodlee has used its resources and capabilities to help its partners, economists, and lawmakers track and understand the impact the virus has had on American families. The company examines spending trends on a week-to-week basis while also looking at changes in net employment by industry.

Envestnet | Yodlee is an industry leader in making data more accessible and secure via open banking connections. Envestnet | Yodlee provides a trusted and secure open ecosystem for all financial institutions and FinTechs by providing responsible data access through our enhanced governance package, open banking-ready platform, and leadership in security and privacy practices so our customers can easily deliver digital financial experiences that enable the needs of the consumer to achieve financial wellness. As an independent financial data aggregator with a diverse customer-base composed of financial institutions, wealth management firms, FinTech, and other innovators, Envestnet | Yodlee’s Open Banking Central offers a robust, multi-country pathway so our customers can quickly participate in the open banking ecosystem.

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Member Spotlight: APImetrics

Headquartered in Seattle, FDATA North America member APImetrics offers the fintech industry’s only intelligent, analytics-driven API performance solution built specifically for the enterprise. By interfacing with all current and legacy API protocols, APImetrics helps companies to know if their APIs are performing as designed. Clients include Microsoft, Philips Signify, leading global banks, and mobile telephone carriers.

Still wondering what an API is? APImetrics has the answer (of course).

According to a company blog post, the term application programming interface (API) was first used in 1968, but meant something a bit different than it does today since in 1968 there was no World Wide Web. Regardless of its evolution, APIs make programming – any kind of programming, according to APImetrics – easier by abstracting out the details of what goes on at both sides of request/response pair. (A request/response pair could be a lot of things, but the easiest way to think about it might be a financial transaction – where there are two sides, both making decisions.)

In today’s world, APIs can tell us a lot about how individuals use everything from social media to e-commerce websites to online banking applications.

And, as APImetrics explained, APIs also can tell us a lot about the spread of viruses like COVID-19. The website covid19api.com, for example, provides an API that allows users easy access to a range of up-to-date data about the virus and how it is traveling.

Even if this information would have been available a century ago during the 1918 influenza outbreak, it would have taken years to assemble. As APImetrics said, “In the past, the required information might have been hidden away in paper documents stored in a filing cabinet somewhere. Whether the information was needed by an organization or someone from outside, getting hold of it was often a slow and unreliable process. Even when information eventually started to be stored electronically, finding it was still often a frustrating and time-consuming experience. But now with the advent of the API, organizations can provide a structured way for users to discover and consume easily, conveniently, and quickly the exact information they need.”

And how would Open Finance improve the data consumers, small businesses, and financial institutions can derive from APIs? CEO David O’Neill responds:

“There are two parts to that. The first is by making sure that the APIs themselves work as documented. There is nothing more frustrating or worse for an eco-system than not being able to get the APIs to actually work in the first place.

“The second is to ensure that they enable that eco-system with consistent, accurate, and fast data that can help create the next generation of financial services. The explosion in open banking isn’t just about making it easier to access services; it’s about creating new services that build on what we have. We have had taxis for over a century, but Uber and Lyft are new. With open banking, the ENTIRE financial service sector benefits when the next ‘Uber of finance’ appears.”

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Member Spotlight: Trustly

 

Today, our salaries are deposited straight into our bank accounts and we shop online, from merchants all around the world. So why is it so hard to pay straight from our bank accounts? This is where Trustly comes in.

The fintech, which now has operations in Canada and Australia in addition to the United States and Europe, is building an Online Banking Payments network that bypasses the card networks, letting consumers make and receive simple and safe payments to/from merchants by signing in to their online banking. With support for more than 7,600 banks, Trustly enables merchants to accept payments from roughly 600 million consumers across Europe and North America.

Trustly serves many of the world’s most prominent merchants within e-commerce, financial services, gaming, media, telecom and travel, which all benefit from increased consumer conversion and reduced operational, fraud and chargeback costs.

In the United States, for instance, Trustly partners with AT&T to help subscribers pay their monthly bills, and with Dell to help customers purchase computers online, in both cases with a simple and safe user experience — no card or registration needed. At the same, AT&T and Dell increase their payment approval rates while reducing their payment acceptance costs and eliminating chargebacks. These are just two examples of how Trustly is helping large North American merchants circumvent the limitations of the card networks.

In Europe, Trustly helps PayPal users top up their wallets, and Norwegian Air travelers pay for plane tickets directly from their bank accounts. And, last year, Trustly established a partnership with the Help to Help Foundation, which grants scholarships to university students in East Africa. Using Trustly’s Direct Debit service to digitize recurring payments and simplify the management of donations from monthly donors, Help to Help has reduced churn, allowing a greater portion of donations to go toward scholarships. Help to Help founder Malin Cronqvist said the organization now saves two to three percent of donations in fees.

Trustly joined FDATA North America to bring more opportunities like these to more consumers in the United States and Canada. “We look forward to helping U.S.and Canadian consumers pay their favorite merchants and billers with our Online Banking Payments service, a modern, simple and safe alternative to cards,” said Alex Gonthier, CEO of Trustly Inc.

The company now has more than 400 employees, 10 offices across the Americas and Europe, and processed more than 100 million payments last year.

In February 2020, Trustly was recognized as Best Payment Initiation Service Provider(PISP)/Account Information Service Provider (AISP) at the Merchant Payment Ecosystem Awards, which honor the achievements of companies in the European merchant payments ecosystem. The PISP AISP award goes to the company “that most efficiently brings open banking services to the merchant community, and provides the best customer experience.”

Leon Dhaene, Chairman of the MPE Awards, explained why Trustly was chosen. “Make e-commerce simple again. It could have been the slogan of a politician, but it is essential if you want to bring potential customers to effectively buy over the internet,” said Dhaene. “The Jury appreciated the fact that Trustly delivers fast, simple, and secure payments in only three steps.”

Simplicity and security – just what consumers can expect with Open Banking in North America.

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FDATA North America Outlines Competition Issues Surrounding Open Banking

FDATA North America Outlines Competition Issues Surrounding Open Banking

Contact: Kerrie Rushton, (202) 365-6338, krushton@allonadvocacy.com

July 17, 2020, Washington, DC – Today, the Financial Data and Technology Association (FDATA) of North America released a paper on competition issues surrounding customer-directed finance and the financial data access competitive landscape in Canada. The paper’s release comes ahead of a virtual presentation by FDATA North America Executive Director Steve Boms, Senator Colin Deacon, and Michael Binetti, partner at Affleck Greene McMurtry LLP.

A replay of the webinar can be found here.

Consumers and small businesses in Canada have become increasingly reliant on financial services and products offered by financial technology (“fintech”) providers. Today, as many as four million Canadians utilize fintech tools to improve their financial wellbeing. Regardless of the type of product or service offered by fintech firms, all rely on the ability of the consumer or small business to grant them access to their financial data, which is typically held at a financial institution.

The paper, “Competition Issues in Data-Driven Consumer and Small Business Financial Services in Canada,” outlines how restrictions on consumer-directed access to individual financial data raise serious competition concerns in the market for data-driven financial services and underscores the need for the Canadian government to advance a customer-directed finance ecosystem.

“The financial impact from COVID-19 – and the government’s refusal to allow fintech lenders to participate in its response – is the latest in a growing string of examples that underscore the need for Canada to have a customer-directed finance regime as soon as possible,” said Senator Colin Deacon. “FDATA North America’s paper makes clear that the absence of such a regime is actively thwarting competition in the financial marketplace. Accordingly, I urge the Department of Finance to expedite its consultation process and to submit to Parliament draft legislation as soon as possible that would allow Canada to join the growing number of innovative economies that provide consumers and small businesses choice and autonomy over their financial data.”

Highlights from “Competition Issues in Data-Driven Consumer and Small Business Financial Services in Canada”:

  • The innovation in financial services is powered by consumers and small businesses granting permission for access and use of their data, often in conjunction with cutting edge machine learning and other data analytics technology.
  • As consumers and businesses face a deteriorating economic landscape, it is critical to maintain competition in the market for these data-driven financial services.
  • Competition issues cannot take a back seat as the regulatory and technological framework in data sharing continues to evolve. As open finance develops, competition laws provide a critical backstop to ensure that existing competition in the market for data-driven consumer financial services is not stifled.

Click here to read the paper.


ABOUT FDATA NORTH AMERICA
FDATA was heavily involved in the UK Open Banking Working Group in 2015. In 2016, the working group’s output was published by Her Majesty’s Treasury as the Open Banking Standard. FDATA North America was founded in early 2018. Its members collectively provide tens of millions of consumers in Canada, the United States and Mexico with aggregation-based tools to better manage their finances. Existing FDATA North America members include: air (Alliance for Innovative Regulation), API Metrics, Betterment, Direct ID, Envestnet Yodlee, EQ Bank, Experian, Fintech Growth Syndicate, Fiserv, Flinks, Interac, Intuit, Kabbage, Mogo, Morningstsar, M Science, MX, Petal, Plaid, Questrade, Quicken Loans, TransUnion, Trustly, VoPay, Wealthica, Xero, and others.

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Member Spotlight: Flinks

 

Founded in 2016, Flinks is a Montreal-based company that empowers businesses to provide better financial services to consumers and small businesses. Data security and privacy are among the company’s very top priorities.

By virtue of its information security program, Flinks invests heavily in state-of-the-art security measures and approaches its operations with a “privacy by design” mindset. These measures make the Flinks environment extremely robust from a data protection standpoint. And while Canada waits for open banking to specifically regulate the sharing of financial data, Flinks operates under and is compliant with the relevant applicable privacy laws, including PIPEDA, Canada’s federal privacy and data protection law.

All of the data handled by Flinks is collected, used and shared per the consumer’s direction, following consent protocols that are explicit and easy to understand. Consumers also have the opportunity to request Flinks to correct, update, or erase their personal information in the company’s records. In short, they are in complete control and can withdraw their consent from Flinks to share their data at any time.

Flinks CEO Yves-Gabriel Leboeuf says implementing an open banking framework in Canada will make it even easier to secure consumers’ information and ensure their privacy. As Flinks’ Data Protection Officer Francis Lepine said in this blog post, open banking really is the modernization of existing banking policies. “Sharing bank and financial information has been a common thing to ask consumers for years. All sorts of institutions and businesses rely on void checks, bank statements and tax returns to operate and deliver services,” said Lepine. “Too often, such sensitive information is shared through email — and we’ve heard of even less secure means of communication being used.”

Flinks is enabling a financial system that benefits underserved populations, for example in the area of access to credit. While the traditional credit scoring systems work well for financially active and well-off consumers, they can inhibit companies and individuals that are just getting started, or trying to recover from financial hardship. Credit reports also are slow to capture sudden changes in a person’s financial situation; underwriting models based on financial data can allow for a more real-time, granular picture.

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