FinAsia Day in Hamburg

In November the second FinTech Week will be happening in Hamburg/Germany. Last year’s edition was a great success, combining all different FinTech events of the second half of the year into one week. Resulting in a concentrated week of discussions, networking and learning. Last year the figo team had organised a Bankathon within FinTech Week 2016 and this year I will be personally supporting one event day which will focus on FinTech from the other side of the world: we call it #FinAsia.

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Granting access to your bank account

Last week PwC in Germany published a survey where the majority answered they would grant a third party access to their bank account. Exactly 2/3 said they would consider doing so and the remaining 33% stated that there is no scenario where they would do so.

Among the people who are considering granting access their willingness depends on account protection (38%), data safety and privacy (34%), added value from third party (21%), who is the third party (19%), price advantages (17%) or convenience (11%). Willingness to share credentials with third party providers is highly depending on the age. Taking only the respondents below the age of 30 in consideration, the willingness to use third party providers increases from 67% to 86%.

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Why banking needs more innovative regulation

The European Union is turning Europe into a playing field for FinTech entrepreneurs. In the post PSD2 world any accredited third party provider will be able to access the data of payment accounts whenever the owner of the account has granted the right to do so. Banking is in many ways an old fashioned industry, but the complete neglect of doing anything else with financial data that storing was surprising – to say the least. Other industries were growing vital thanks to exploiting such data sources, however, banks and other incumbents decided to not only to forego the opportunity to make use of them but also to limit access for others. Which is somehow proving, that banks know about the true value of financial data but at the same time declaring that oneself is not able to harness it, and thus, no one should. More entry barriers and protection were welcomed to make it even more complicated for outside players to enter the industry. The classical story of protectionism.

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Bankathon 2017

Until today we have organised four Bankathons and it all started in April 2015. For the second half of 2017 we are planning another two events, in Amsterdam and Berlin. Additionally, there are more and more other FinTech hackathons which are mostly organised banks. This is quite a high selection for FinTech developers to choose from when he/she is considering attending a FinTech hackathon.

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XS2A: Access to Answers

Currently, Europe is being seen as the role model for Open Banking. Incumbents like banks are obliged to open up and provide access to the data of their customers. A trend which might have happened even without a regulatory requirement as well, but definitely a lot slower (yes even slower than the development of PSD2…). In the years after PSD2 it is likely that other financial accounts will be opened up by banks for third parties as well. But is connectivity to these financial accounts the only barrier which is avoiding innovation from happening in this industry? I believe that opening up is one step, but probably an even more important one is to increase quality of our financial data.

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Services I love to pay for

Today is a little off-topic, since I am writing about tools I use every day and not specifically about FinTech.

At the end of my studies I signed up for Xing (German version of LinkedIn) premium. As many other people in the same situation, this was a helpful tool to connect to others in order to find the right job since the basic version has lots of limitations. However, since then I am a premium member but advantages were rather little for me since usage of LinkedIn was anyway predominant. Now I have finally lapsed my subscription and feel quite happy not to pay the 90 EUR per year for a service I don’t actually use.

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Attraction of uncertainty?

Since 2013 I am reading FinTech news on a – more or less-  daily basis and tweet about it. Twitter was a good way to find new interesting articles but also discuss them with a diverse audience. The interest in FinTech started at the end of my studies when I was wondering if joining a bank is actually the only option with my background. Thanks to an internship at a VC & SumUp, an innovation / entrepreneurship focused MSc degree and finally joining figo – all of this has deepen my consumption of FinTech news.

When I was going through the news of the last weeks to find a topic to write a blog post about I couldn’t really find a relevant one. When I finally went to my tweets of this week I came to realisation: most of my reading activity during the last weeks was much more about Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies than “traditional FinTech” – which was usually the case. Blockchain has been part of my reading since a few years but was always just one topic of many and other topics such as Open Banking and APIs has been dominating. In the past weeks this has changed, which is why I have deleted a few FinTech sources in my Feedly and replaced them with Blockchain focused ones.

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Guess who’s back, back again…

One of the most important thing for being successful in anything from sports to learning a new skill: Consistency. Something I have been lacking a lot in this blog here. It has been more than two and a half months since I’ve published my last blog post. Last blog post in mid April and today is already beginning of July. So I have missed my own goal of one blog post per week pretty badly. That is something I cannot undo but aiming to become consistent again and live up to my self-set goal.

The reason for being so quiet? Many things from “being busy in life” to my honeymoon trip. And as so often missing the deadline once makes it a lot easier to do it again. And again. That’s why being consistent can be hard 😉   Continue reading

Feeding my bank account

I have just returned from a Easter weekend trip to Dublin and unlike in Berlin, paying by card was easily possible in most of the shops, bars or restaurants. Paying with card is definitely more convenient, however, my current main reason for using card instead of cash is adding data to my bank account. While using cash, details about my spending behaviour are lost but with card payment this data is saved and accessible later on.

At the moment the pure benefit of this is that my N26 app helps me to categorise my expenses and that I’ve a nice overview of my total expenses. However, our financial data becomes more accessible thanks to PSD2 and new services are making more and more use of this data. At the moment these services are mostly focused on recurring expenses in order to optimise contracts and help the user to save money, but it’s just a matter of time until new service providers will also offer services on our full “financial footprint”.
In order for this to happen it’s important that the holder of the financial data (e.g. bank) understands the true value of the data and treats it accordingly. Until today the value of financial data has not been exploited much and keeping “the record” was a requirement but not a business purpose. A good example for this is the monthly bulk credit card payments. I’m using a credit card issued by a travel company which helps me saving credit card fees while booking a flight. However, since the monthly sum gets deducted in one sum, the data from each single booking is gone. My N26 app cannot categorise these single payments correctly and my “financial footprint” is inaccurate. This is because no party involved had an interest to move the data but just the payment itself. There was no value in forwarding the data. Personally, I believe removing barriers all around handling and transmission of financial data will be an important post-PSD2 step so service providers can actually make use of our financial footprint and not just payment transactions.

 

To be continued…

Can you build MVPs in banking?

This week was time again for the EXEC conference. It is probably one of the biggest FinTech conferences in Germany and personally my favourite FinTech conference in Germany. This time a little different since it was first time in Berlin and not Frankfurt, and additionally, the conference covered not only FinTech but InsurTech as well.

What was the trending topic? Well, you could say “all the typical things” as known as PSD2, Open Banking, Identity, etc. On top of that there was one more topic that was touched in a couple of presentations and conversations: Building MVPs (Minimum Viable Products) in banking. Valentin from N26 and Peter from SolarisBank touched this topic in their presentations and my very own presentation was all about “Building MVPs in banking”.

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