Mastercard and Visa dive deeper into the biometric payments space with new partnerships

  • Mastercard will bring FinGo’s vein-scanning payments solution to more markets.
  • And Visa is working on a biometric authentication solution for online transactions with the UAE’s Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank.

Both card networks struck new deals in the biometrics space, which is expected to be worth $82.8 billion by 2027.

Chart showing percentage of people who feel comfortable trying biometric payments
37% of people feel comfortable trying biometric payments

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Mastercard partnered with FinGo to bring the fintech’s biometric authentication offering to global markets. FinGo lets users verify their identities and authenticate transactions using their unique finger vein patterns. The partnership gives FinGo access to Mastercard’s white-label payment processing solution, Mastercard Payments Services Gateway (MPSG), to help it grow its footprint in the Middle East, North Africa, Asia Pacific, Australia, and North America.
  • Visa brought a biometric authentication solution to the UAE’s Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB). The partnership leverages Visa Consumer Authentication Service, which uses nontraditional payment verification methods like fingerprint and facial recognition. Through this integration, bank customers can use the tech to validate online transactions through the ADIB mobile app. It’s also the UAE’s first biometric authentication solution for ecommerce transactions.

These moves can help Visa and Mastercard stay on top of an emerging payments trend. Thirty-seven percent of global consumers said they are at least somewhat comfortable with the idea of biometric payments, according to a Mastercard survey.

More people may have been willing to try this method in the last year after the pandemic pushed consumers to adopt new digital payment forms, including contactless payments. And this trend looks sticky: 93% of global consumers would consider using at least one emerging payment trend in the next year, per Mastercard. Visa’s and Mastercard’s latest biometric partnerships get them more involved in an increasingly popular space, which can help prevent them from losing market share to fintechs and remain leaders in the payments industry.

They also complement the issuers’ existing fraud prevention initiatives. The pandemic opened the door to a deluge of fraud, particularly ecommerce fraud, which hit $17.5 billion in 2020 and is expected to break $20 billion this year, per Juniper Research-heightening the need for stronger payment authentication solutions.

This could also be why both card networks ramped up their identification services: Visa recently invested in biometric authentication startup LoginID, and Mastercard just acquired digital identification platform Ekata. Visa’s and Mastercard’s recent partnerships in the biometrics space might push more merchants and financial institutions to work with them so they can use those value-added services.

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Eight fintech companies that are redefining the money transfer space

The COVID-19 pandemic has sped up the transition to a digital and cashless society, leading more people to become reliant on digital banking as a means to manage their money. The cryptocurrency space in particular has seen tremendous growth since the start of the coronavirus-but some are still catching up to this trend.

In an October 2020 survey from FICO, just 11% of US adults said they currently hold cryptocurrency assets. Meanwhile, March 2021 data from Measure Protocol pointed to cryptocurrency’s opportunity: nearly two-thirds (65.4%) of mobile phone users in Great Britain and the US said they were at least somewhat likely to invest in cryptocurrency in this year.

As customer interest grows-and more online start-ups join the fintech space-companies will have to differentiate themselves and adapt to expectations in order to achieve long term success.

Insider Intelligence has put together a list of the top markets, currency, and exchange companies-including Ripple, Kraken, and Coinbase. We delve into what has led to their growth, and what it means for the future of financial services.

likelihood crypto
Likelihood of investing in cryptocurrency in 2021


Ripple and its cryptocurrency XRP have become increasingly popular due to its ability to move money as quickly as information is exchanged today. Originally called OpenCoin, the company was founded in 2004 by Ryan Fugger, Jed McCaleb, and Chris Larsen.

Unlike most cryptocurrencies that focus on the individual, Ripple was created specifically to serve banks and payment providers, so that they can speed up transactions and lower costs.

While Ripple’s network spans 300-plus providers across more than 40 countries-and is gradually adding more banks to its system-its long term success will depend on whether a majority of banks choose to use XRPs instead of their current infrastructure.


Kraken is based in the US and offers more than 50 types of cryptocurrencies to trade. It also provides rewards on staked coins that are available within a user’s wallet, paid out bi-weekly. The company uses a fee structure that decreases the rate for both the maker and taker as their 30-day volume increases.

Kraken is one of the oldest and most secure crypto currency exchanges, which allows consumers to trade directly from fiat currency to crypto. Its security is a big selling point, as only 28% of those polled in Coupon Follow’s January 2021 survey consider cryptocurrency the safest way to pay.

Crypto Opinions
Opinions on Cryptocurrency


Coinbase was founded in 2012 in San Francisco as a fully licensed and regulated Bitcoin exchange, and is now listed as the second-largest exchange in the world, according to CoinMarketCap.

The company has made it possible for users to pay a friend, make a purchase, or transfer funds across more than 100 countries with just a few taps. Users are able to trade Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin without having to convert from their base currency. They’re also able to leverage their digital wallet and store their assets there.


Founded in 2011 in Slovenia, Bitstamp became one of the first exchanges to trade Bitcoin. It later migrated its accounts to the UK in 2013, and then again to Luxembourg in 2016. Two years later, Bitstamp was acquired by NXMH. Its platform is best suited for intermediate and experienced cryptocurrency users looking to trade Bitcoin, altcoins, and fiat currencies.

While Bitstamp only offers trading options for a limited number of cryptocurrencies, and has endured security breaches in the past, it is revered for offering a consistently positive user experience and providing low-fee options for exchanging digital currencies in large amounts.

BTC Media

BTC has grown to be the world’s largest Bitcoin media group and the top provider of news and education around financial technology and cryptocurrency. The company uses widely read digital currency publications, such as Bitcoin Magazine and yBitcoin, to keep decision-makers and crypto-enthusiasts up-to-date on this rapidly evolving industry.

Digital Asset

Digital Asset was founded in 2014 to help companies easily design and write a business application and deploy it on any ledger. Digital Asset uses its own open-source technology known as DAML (Digital Asset Modeling Language), which can easily integrate with current technology stacks. The company has partnered with well-established firms, including Accenture, Broadridge, and PwC, to help them solve critical business challenges.


Global financial technology firm Circle enables businesses of varying sizes to leverage stablecoins and public blockchains for payments, commerce, and financial applications. The company’s platform APIs are giving rise to a new generation of fintech offerings, which has the potential to raise economic prosperity for all.

Goldman Sachs, Accel, and other heavyweights have poured their financial support into Circle. It is now the principal developer of the fastest-growing regulated and fully-reserved stablecoin, known as USD Coin (USDC), increasing more than 1000% year-over-year and hitting a $10 billion market cap.


reasons US adults use cryptocurrency

Ethereum is a platform and programming language that works with Bitcoin, developer APIs, and consumer applications. It operates as a decentralized network that applications can be built upon.

Following Bitcoin, which is valued at roughly $625 billion, Ethereum is the second-most valuable digital currency with a market value of about $150 billion.

There is much debate from experts as to whether Bitcoin or Ethereum hold more promise. While Euthereum has a higher risk infrastructure, it also has the potential to revolutionize finance and technology by changing the way mortgage transfers and securities trading work.

Ethereum could ultimately win out, as 69% of those surveyed by Gemini in 2021, expressed that long term investment potential was their leading reason for investing in buy and hold cryptocurrency.

Interested in learning more about the Financial Services space? Here are some related reports that might interest you:

  1. The US Wealth Management Ecosystem, which outlines the key players, biggest shifts, and trends driving digital transformation in the $29.1 trillion industry.
  2. 5G and Financial Services, which covers how this new networking technology will enable better experiences for consumers and better data for banks.
  3. US Banking Channel Forecast, outlining how shifting consumer habits and the pandemic are reshaping banking usage and informing banks’ investments in branches, ATMs, call centers, and digital and mobile banking.
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Which industries would benefit from real-time payment adoption?

Faster payments are garnering greater interest from US financial institutions, businesses, and consumers. Over the past decade, several offerings in particular have risen to the forefront in the US, with some settling transactions in a matter of seconds. But those that don’t deliver instant settlement are still viable, given the significant reach and ability of faster payment systems to handle both credit and debit transactions.

B2B, consumer-to-consumer (C2C), and business-to-consumer (B2C) payments all stand to gain from shorter settlement times, which offer greater financial flexibility and control. Faster payments’ speed also provides valuable transparency for firms, which benefit from the certainty of immediate payment.

B2B payments

US B2B Payment Transaction Value
Real-time payment (RTP) systems stand to reap gigantic rewards from B2B companies.

B2B payments have been slow to digitize relative to other types of payments. But with the US B2B payment market set to reach $26.742 trillion in 2021, per our forecast, real-time payment (RTP) systems stand to reap gigantic rewards if they can gain even a sliver of the market.

This year, $12.034 trillion in US B2B payments will be made via check or cash, making up about 45% of the market. That means a huge number of transactions would see noticeable improvements from faster settlement speeds.

Furthermore, $9.599 trillion will transact via Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments this year, and businesses that have already chosen to use ACH will be keen to upgrade to a faster digital payment option.

C2C payments

Mobile P2P Payments Transaction Value
Mobile P2P payments are among the C2C use cases that could benefit from real-time payments (RTP).

C2C payments have quickly digitized, thanks to the rise of platforms like PayPal’s Venmo and remittance firms including Remitly. Those platforms, as well as actual remittance services, are improving by incorporating faster payments.The US mobile peer-to-peer (P2P) payments market will reach $538.73 billion in 2021, according to our estimates.

The US mobile peer-to-peer (P2P) payments market will reach $538.73 billion in 2021, according to our estimates. These transactions already occur digitally, as do many remittances, so shifting to a faster platform should boost consumer appetite, since faster payments give consumers access to their funds sooner.

B2C payments

US Retail Sales
B2C payments include bill payments, payroll, and retail.

The quicker settlement speeds and additional transparency of faster payments are attractive to firms and consumers involved in B2C payments, which include bill payments, payroll, and retail. We forecast that retail sales will hit $5.630 trillion in the US in 2021.

Also in this segment are bill payments, which hold an estimated value of $2.75 trillion annually, per doxo Insights.

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This article was originally published on eMarketer.

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4 Reasons to press pause on social audio

The excitement over social audio is palpable, judging by the number of companies building out apps or features to support it, and by the number of news reports and opinion columns covering it (our own “Clubhouse and Social Audio 2021” report included). But any marketer that’s active in social media should weigh the drawbacks of entering social audio right now. Here are some key issues to consider before jumping on board.

clubhouse app
Social audio sits at the juncture of four activities: social media, digital audio, virtual events, and conversations.

Scale (in all its forms) is an issue

For all its growth in recent months, Clubhouse had just 12.2 million downloads worldwide through March 9, 2021, per App Annie. There’s no guarantee the app will remain as red-hot as it was in February: It was already starting to show signs of cooling down last month, per Sensor Tower. Other buzzy social apps before it-Vine, to name one-have followed a similar hockey-stick trajectory before sliding back down.

Absolute size, as well as other dimensions of scale, will be a major factor for marketers to consider. For now, social audio is a fraction of the size of social networking or podcasting. We estimate there will be 212.1 million monthly social network users and 117.8 million monthly podcast listeners in the US this year.

Monthly Installs of Clubhouse Worldwide
Worldwide Clubhouse downloads soared in February, but slowed in March.

Another challenge is usage frequency and time spent. Will the average consumer spend significant time listening to social audio-especially after the pandemic ends? Such activity is far more time-consuming and attention-focused than absently thumbing through a feed to kill a few minutes of time.

Early marketing efforts may see only a small payoff

Marketers shouldn’t enter social audio in 2021 with the idea of generating a massive return. For one, the environment isn’t conducive to doing anything splashy. And given the challenges with scale described above, the end results may be spotty at best.

While it’s as easy as tapping a button on a phone screen to start an audio room, it’s not so easy to make it successful. Here are just a few areas where the marketing experience on Clubhouse must improve:

  • Making sure users find your room
  • Communicating with other users
  • Reaching users after an event

There are few ways to measure and track results from social audio efforts at this point. Moderators can see a list of attendees in Clubhouse, but there aren’t ways to easily scrape that data into a usable form (and it’s questionable whether Clubhouse would condone the practice anyway).

clubhouse app walkthrough
A big draw for social audio users is the ability to create a room and invite others to spontaneously chat.

That lack of native metrics has led early experimenters to kludge together their own. “We actually had our agencies record the session on their phones so that we could listen to it later, because it disappears otherwise,” said Megan Stroud, brand director at spirits marketer Pernod Ricard.

For now, the call to action is to measure what you can. Like any new medium, the metrics are difficult to come by, but marketers can still do the basics, like count the attendees of a room, and add up the number of new followers after an event.

There are brand safety concerns

Even if conversations are moderated, there is no way to know what someone is going to say when they go live. The spontaneity has strong appeal, but being live is “a nervous place for brands to play because it is very easy for that to go very wrong,” said Karen Staughton, West Coast engagement director at digital agency Grow. “If a brand sponsors or shows up in a room, and somehow something happens in that room, the brand will take the heat for not speaking up or doing something.”

Another issue is creating a safe space. Bullying and other negative behavior have taken place in rooms, which can reflect poorly on brands. “Audio [requires] a more cumbersome process to detect harmful content in real time,” said Jessica Dooley, social practice lead at Mindshare. While social listening remains a challenge in social audio, catching instances of bad behavior will be up to the users.

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This article was originally published on eMarketer.

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The top investment & wealth management firms to pay attention to in 2021

The sharp market decline in the early days of COVID-19, as well as the proceeding market volatility, has significantly impacted investor’s portfolios. Wealth management firms’ top lines were also effected, as net income and fees tied to assets under management (AUM) saw a drop consistent with market performance.

While backstop and contingency efforts have been used as an interim solution to market challenges, investors and wealth management firms must consider new approaches to avoid losing market share and to stay relevant long-term.

Insider Intelligence has put together a list of the top investors and wealth management firms – Betterment, Vanguard, Moneyfarm, Robinhood, Advizr, Nutmeg, Wealthfront, Habito, Hydrogen, Sigfig, Scalable Capital, Mint, Wealthsimple, and Charles Schwab. We’ll share how each of these top firms are positioning themselves for success as we transition into the new normal.


Betterment is the most popular AI-powered robo-advisor in the U.S. and has more than $6 billion in AUM. The company does not require a minimum deposit and charges only 0.25% of AUM annually for its basics plan, making it accessible to even the newest investors. Betterment realizes that customer focus is key in the times of COVID-19, and has advisors readily available to help investors sort out questions and challenges concerning their retirement accounts.


Vanguard had about $6.2 trillion in global assets under management, as of January 31, 2020. Vanguard is good for low-cost investing, with a $0 stock trading commission, making it ideal for buy-and-hold investors and retirement savers. However, active traders may require a more robust trading platform.


Moneyfarm is a robo-advisor that operates in Italy and the United Kingdom, that is very convenient and low-maintenance. It will conduct research and invest your money in the way it believes is best for your personal needs, and not just what is popular at the time. You can start a general investment account, or transfer your existing ISA account to the platform, and then simply watch your money work for you.


Robinhood offers free stock options, exchange-traded fund (ETF) and cryptocurrency trades, and its account minimum is $0. It is a great choice for those looking for low limits or trade crypto, but does not offer mutual funds or bonds.


Advizr was acquired by Orion Advisor Services, LLC (Orion), the premier portfolio management solution provider for registered investment advisors, in 2019. It is one of the least expensive options on the market, as their full package of financial planning software tools, client PFM portal, and account aggregation benefits are available for only $75 per month.

Advizr is newer to the marketplace and is not as robust as some of the bigger players, but it is growing in popularity among smaller firms or advisors looking for an intuitive, easy-t0-use platform. The company collects client data and run tests to determine appropriate recommendations.


Nutmeg launched in the UK in 2011 and offers investors a cheaper alternative to traditional wealth management services by focussing on exchange traded funds (ETFs) and tracker funds that carry lower charges. They also specialize in import substitution industrializations (ISAs) and pensions, and are ideal for those looking for someone to manage their portfolio and help them make tactical decisions.


Number of Employees: 101 to 250

Number of acquisitions: 1

Total Funding: $204.5 million

One Thing to Know: In 2019 Wealthfron launched the Wealthfront Cash Account, offering a 2.24% interest rate and FDIC insurance that covers balances up to $1 million.


Number of Employees: 101 to 250

Total Funding: $231 million

One Thing to Know: Habito targets home buyers and tries to remove the friction of mortgage applications.


Before launching in 2017, Hydrogen started as a product offering of consumer fintech company Hedgeable. Hydrogen launched as a standalone platform with the mission of allowing teams to deploy financial applications anywhere in the world.

Hydrogen has gained popularity due it’s quick application process, straightforward website, and online-only approach that does not require clients to travel to a physical space. This is a good fit for more experienced investors, as some mortgage knowledge may be required and it is not ideal for those who have had debt issues in the past.


SigFig is an robo-advisor backed by UBS, New York Life, Santander InnoVentures, Eaton Vance, and Comerica Bank. They offer low-cost portfolio management, with no fee for the first $10,000 invested, with a competitive rate of 0.25% going forward. SigFig’s $2,000 minimum investment is higher than that of competitors, but many clients find that its unlimited free financial counseling and innovative portfolio tracking tools more than makes up for this.

Scalable Capital

Scalable Capital started in Munich, Germany in 2016, and has since grown to be one of Europe’s fastest growing digital wealth managers, investing over £1.3 billion of assets for about 50,000 clients. It provides the strongest and most consistent returns on low to medium risk portfolios, but is unlikely to be a top performers due to its heavy focus on risk management.

In contrast to services like Nutmeg and Moneyfarm, Scalable Capital has a minimum investment amount of £10,000, which has gotten them higher investments from the average client, but could scare away some newer investors.


Mint is a popular financial tool that was founded in 2009 by Inuit, the company that also created Quickbook for bookkeeping and accounting, and TurboTax for the completing, filing, and paying of taxes. Its mission is to keep individuals more informed about their financial health, whether they are looking for a general overview or want to explore its more robust features.

Mint has impressive website and mobile app, which syncs with other accounts and categorizes transactions. Users can check their net worth, set budgets, and create goals. While there is no fee to sign up, users will encounter advertisements. In addition, some might have to adjust their settings to avoid frequent notifications.


Wealthsimple could be a good fit for investors of all ages looking to save money and take the next step in ensuring long-term financial security. They are a socially responsible investment option, and have live representative readily available to help clients. Wealthsimple’s fees are higher compared to the average robo-advisor, but they offer an account minimum of $0, which is useful for investors who are just starting out.

Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab is a well-known wealth management company that went public in January 10, 2003. It caters to investors beginner investors with its $0 account minimum, as well as to active traders with its $0 commission for stock, options and exchange-traded funds. The company also charges no annual or inactivity fees. They also have an above-average mobile app, and offer sophisticated tools and trading platforms.

More to Learn

This comprehensive list of fintech companies merely scratches the surface of the fintech industry, which is growing in unprecedented ways.

And here are some related Financial Services reports that might interest you:

  1. The Banking-as-a-Service Report, which looks at five major BaaS providers, ranging from fintechs to 20-year-old legacy providers that we think represent a proper cross-section of approaches to offering BaaS.
  2. AI in Banking, which identifies the most meaningful AI applications across banks’ front and middle offices.
  3. The Global Neobanks Report, which explores how the neobank market has grown rapidly, and what’s in store as the industry pivots from hyper-growth to sustainability.
Read the original article on Business Insider

Banking fintech providers and startups to watch in 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has sped up our transition to a digital and cashless society, causing more people to become reliant on technology as a means to manage their money. As customer expectations evolve and more companies populate the financial technology space, finserv companies are integrating technology into their offerings in order to set themselves apart from the pack.

Insider Intelligence has put together a list of the top banking fintech providers and startups – Monzo, Starling Bank, Ally Financial, Tandem, Tide, N26, and Atom. We’ll share why each of these companies have been able to outpace other competitors, and the implications of their success. 


Since being founded in 2015, Monzo has created a name for itself as a UK digital-only challenger bank with a bright coral-colored card, and is now valued at nearly $1.4 billion. 

Monzo’s mobile app aims to meet customer needs, offering budget tracking, cashflow advice, and the ability to make domestic and international payments. Their capability for customers to easily move money between accounts offers immense global appeal.

Monzo has been able to connect and build trust with the modern customer, by communicating in an informal, conversational tone. They have also used the Monzo Community Forum to build a brand community, listen to and engage with their customers, and contribute to the overall success of their brand.

Starling Bank

Starling disrupted the banking world in 2014, offering the benefits of incumbent banks, such as the ability to deposit cash and checks, plus added perks such as easy payments and instant notifications.

While Sterling has fewer customers than other challenger banks, it has more of their money, which suggests that customers are using this card for day-to-day expenses, and not just as a spending card.

Ally Financial

Ally Bank

Ally Financial went public on April 10, 2014, and has since drawn in over 8.5 million people with its high rates and low fees.

Ally is also know for their superior customer service. Diane Morais, Ally’s president of consumer and commercial banking products, echoes their company’s  sentiment when she shares, “It’s not okay to just be satisfied. Your money should be working as hard as it can.”


Tandem is true to its name, given its capacity for customers to view all their money in one place. With open banking, individuals can access their spending and savings without logging into separate accounts.

Tandem’s simple interface makes it accessible to all, even those who aren’t as familiar with online banking. They also offer a “pocket accountant,” that analyzes all customer spending and offers custom tips to help save them money. 

Lastly, Tandem has the advantage of being connected with most major banks, which keeps them ahead of competitors that aren’t yet compatible.


Tide has attracted more than 200,000 customers since its launch in 2015, winning many over with their “three minute” business card sign-up and their robust mobile app that offers a number of unique features. 

Customers have the autonomy to freeze and unfreeze their card, check their pin number, and reorder a lost card. They can also integrate their transaction feed with accounting software in order to export their financial information as needed.


N26, Europe’s first mobile bank, was founded in Berlin in 2013, and has since gained popularity among those who wish to transition away from incumbent banks, but prefer the security of a banking license. It also has excellent currency conversion rates, whch makes it ideal for international travelers. 

Their app is highly intutitive, and given that this company is relatively young, we can expect more innovation in the future. They are best known for their straightforward approach to banking, which has attracted many well-known investors, such as Silicon Valley’s Peter Thiel.


Atom is one of the inital challenger banks that got it’s start in 2016, by making banking easily accessible to customers through their smartphones and tablets. Unlike many of its competitors, Atom offers savings accounts and mortgages, and business loans, as opposed to currents accounts.

Atom offers a number of safety and security features. Instead of using the standard passcode and password combination, they use face and voice recognition to keep their customers’ money safe.

More to Learn

This comprehensive list of fintech companies merely scratches the surface of the fintech industry, which is growing in unprecedented ways.

And here are some related Banking reports that might interest you:

  1. The Banking-as-a-Service Report, which looks at five major BaaS providers, ranging from fintechs to 20-year-old legacy providers that we think represent a proper cross-section of approaches to offering BaaS.
  2. AI in Banking, which identifies the most meaningful AI applications across banks’ front and middle offices. 
  3. The Global Neobanks Report, which explores how the neobank market has grown rapidly, and what’s in store as the industry pivots from hyper-growth to sustainability.
Read the original article on Business Insider