Fintech

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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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Member Spotlight: Fintech Growth Syndicate

 

Since its founding in 2016, Canada’s Fintech Growth Syndicate (FGS) has won multiple awards and helped companies transform through corporate innovation. FGS is a trusted innovation firm for large international and Canadian corporations, visionary startups, multi-stakeholder organizations, academic institutions, and governments.

FGS’s deep fintech and financial services expertise sets it apart from other advisory firms. With a mission to revolutionize Canada’s fintech ecosystem until it becomes the best on the planet, FGS launched Maple by FGS – Canada’s most exhaustive fintech ecosystem platform.
FGS tracks and analyzes over 1,200 fintechs in Canada and uses data to help companies quickly explore customer needs and untapped business models.

FGS is actively engaged in the fintech ecosystem, staying up to date with regulatory changes, Open Banking initiatives, payment modernization updates, and more to advise and represent stakeholders’ needs in the financial industry. Along with being members of FDATA, FGS is a member of the Payments Canada Stakeholder Advisory Committee, Canadian Lenders Association (CLA), Canadian Innovation Exchange (CIX), Financial Data Exchange (FDX), and the Canadian Prepaid Providers Association (CPPO).

Innovation is at the core of what FGS does – its dynamic team of fintech experts, innovators, and designers create growth strategies for Canada’s largest companies by looking at their external and internal forces, what their customers want, to provide recommendations for products and solutions. They embrace a culture of experimentation and learning focused on minimal investments to assess, define, test, refine, and validate new products.

FGS hosts a podcast, The Disrupticons, intending to explain how various innovations—from artificial intelligence to digital banking to Open Banking—will disrupt the financial services industry for the benefit of the average citizen.

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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

June 2, 2020, Washington, DC – Today, the Financial Data and Technology Association (FDATA) of North America released a paper – “Competition Issues in Data-Driven Consumer and Small Business Financial Services” – on competition issues surrounding open finance and the financial data access competitive landscape in the United States. The paper’s release came in conjunction with a virtual presentation by FDATA North America Executive Director Steve Boms and Duane Pozza, partner at Wiley LLP. Click here to watch a replay of the webinar.

Consumers and small businesses in the United States have become increasingly reliant on financial services and products offered by financial technology (“fintech”) providers. Currently, as many as 100 million Americans 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,” outlines how restrictions on consumer-directed access to individual financial data raise serious competition concerns in the market for data-driven financial services.

Image result for paperclip iconCompetition Issues in Data-Driven Consumer and Small Business Financial Services 

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

  • 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.

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, Fintech Growth Syndicate, Flinks, Intuit, Kabbage, Mogo, Morningstsar, M Science, MX, Petal, Plaid, Questrade, Quicken Loans, TransUnion, Trustly, VoPay, Wealthica and others

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Member Spotlight: Questrade

Questrade: Bringing More Value to Canadians

Questrade, an FDATA North America founding member, offers Canadians simpler and more affordable ways to become financially successful and secure. Founded in 1999, the firm is now the country’s fastest growing online brokerage firm, and has been named as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies for nine consecutive years.

While the growth in accounts is impressive, it is constrained by the fact that traditional financial institutions frequently prevent consumers and small businesses from sharing their own financial data. A system of open finance would help Questrade empower even more Canadians with the tools and opportunities to pursue their individual financial goals – providing tailored convenience while still providing the top notch security people expect from a financial services company.

Questrade is committed to the principle of financial inclusion. As part of its efforts to bring more individuals and families into the investing community, the company has worked to shine a light on a system that is normally opaque. The company has run television ads explaining how Canadians often overpay for investment fees. In the Globe and Mail, Simon Tanner, principal financial advisor with Dynamic Planning Partners in Vancouver, praised the ads, saying Questrade has “forc[ed] advisors to look at their business models and ask, ‘Am I demonstrating value for these fees?’” The company partners each year with JA Central Ontario to celebrate Financial Literacy Month by offering educational opportunities to students and recently announced a donation of one million meals to FoodBanks Canada.

Questrade has won numerous accolades for its work. In 2018 and 2019, it earned the DALBAR Seal for Service Excellence, which can only be earned after a company undergoes an audit of their customer service practices. MoneySense named the firm the best online broker for 2019.

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Member Spotlight: Wealthica

In 2015, Martin Leclair and Simon Boulet launched Montreal-based Wealthica to “challenge the status quo of financial institutions and portfolio advisers.” The company continues that mission today by helping tens of thousands of investors see all their investments on a single dashboard.

How does it work?
Wealthica automatically imports a user’s data from more than 100 Canadian investing platforms using secure application programming interfaces, or APIs. Wealthica syncs portfolio information daily, after markets close. After only five years in business, the company is tracking about $5 billion in assets.

For families, Wealthica offers a tool where groups of individuals can work together to expand their wealth and track financial goals. The family dashboard and report card can be used to help assess the impact a certain event will have on a family’s investments, for example.

To protect consumers, Wealthica offers two factor authentication as well as email notification when logging in from a new location. The company also encrypts all financial information, and Sitelock, a global leader in website security, verifies Wealthica site security every day to protect users from spam, viruses, and scams.

The remarkable thing?
Wealthica’s basic platform is free to consumers (it also is ad-free) no matter how many accounts a user tracks. That makes the platform ideal for investors who are just starting to build their wealth, or who are unfamiliar with the market.

Unfortunately, as CEO Boulet explained in this 2017 interview, “Most of the financial institutions in Canada are closed and don’t offer a simple way to share your financial data with third party applications without sharing your credentials. For most of the institutions we have to ask the user for their credentials and retrieve their data through web scraping.”

A formal Open Finance system in Canada would make it easier for investors to connect and aggregate the data from all their investing accounts into Wealthica’s dashboard and give more control to the investor over their own financial data.

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Member Spotlight: Mogo

Founded in 2003, Mogo is Vancouver-based financial technology company that offers a finance app that empowers consumers with simple solutions to help them get in control of their financial wellness.

Financial wellness continues to be the number one source of stress across all demographics and it is highest among millennials. At Mogo, users can sign up for a free MogoAccount in only three minutes. This account gets them access to six products: free credit score monitoring, identity fraud protection, digital spending account with Platinum Prepaid Visa® Card (the first product of its kind designed to help Canadians get better control over their spending while earning best-in-class cashback and having a positive impact on the environment), a digital mortgage experience, the MogoCrypto account (the first product within MogoWealth, which enables the buying and selling of bitcoin), and access to smart consumer credit products through MogoMoney.

Today the company serves over one million Canadians. The Digital Policy Institute has named the company one of Canada’s top 50 fintech companies.

Mogo’s goal is to make it easy for consumers to move away from bad money habits and begin adopting the habits that will actually help them achieve their money goals. This includes in-app educational content called “Money Class” that walks the user through the keys to each habit in a simple and engaging way. The redesigned mobile app was launched in December 2019 to give consumers a fuller view of their financial health. Through the app, consumers can:

  • Monitor and protect their credit score;
  • Control their spending;
  • Borrow responsibly; and
  • Save and invest.

When the redesigned app launched founder David Feller noted, “There is a financial health crisis in Canada and, while technology has improved our lives in many ways, unfortunately it has also made it easier than ever to overspend, leaving the majority of Canadians in debt and financially stressed as they find themselves further away from achieving their goal of financial freedom.”

Mogo’s efforts to help consumers get in control of their financial wellness are often hampered by the current banking environment in Canada and consumers’ perception and the reality of the difficulty in moving all or part of their financial needs from their current provider, typically a traditional financial institution, to a competitor, often a fintech. Consumers have come to expect a time-consuming process that creates a real and substantial roadblock for consumers to find the most well-suited financial products and services for their particular circumstances.

A well-architectured, consumer-directed finance system would provide the means to build a more confident, independent and financially free generation of Canadians who will jump at the opportunity for financial self-improvement, education and freedom.

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Open Banking Summit

Join VoPay, Flinks, Kabbage, and Fintech Growth Syndicate to discuss how Canada can accelerate its fintech economy within the framework of open banking and how the lending community can engage with regulators today to achieve this.

Click here for more information.

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