10 Most Promising FinTech Startups Worth Over $1B

10 Most Promising FinTech Startups Worth Over $1B

Not so long ago, the distinction between a financial services company and a technology company is clear and well-defined. Nowadays, the lines between the two are so blurred to the point that many of each other’s services overlap – thankfully, to the benefit of the customers. It is so common for many technology companies nowadays to apply for financial services license, while traditional financial services organisations now call themselves tech innovator.

Fintech, or financial technology, is at the core of this transformation. As key players from both industries try to outcompete each other in terms of maximising operational efficiency, lowering costs and improving customer experience, there will be inevitable winners are losers. Only time will tell which companies will emerge on top but for now, these are the 10 most promising fintech startups to watch in 2020.

It is so common for many technology companies nowadays to apply for financial services license, while traditional financial services organisations now call themselves tech innovator.

1. Plaid

Plaid serves as a mediator between finance/payment apps and customer bank accounts. Plaid allows easy fund tracking and transfers. And it has a major appeal, where it doubled its customer count in 2019. The company has since expanded to Europe, where it now operates in Ireland, France, Spain, and the UK! Its excellent performance made it an acquisition target by Visa. In addition, it has appeared 5 times in the Forbes’ Fintech 50 list!

Current market value is $5.3 billion.

2. Stripe

Stripe provides an economic infrastructure that ensures safe and secure payment and online business management for businesses of all sizes. Right from its inception in 2010, the aim of its founders, Patrick and John Collison, was to provide payment solutions for SMEs and help them grow their business, using a secure billing system that could detect and protect them from fraudulent activities on the internet. With Stripe, merchants can connect to buyers, create complex billing systems, use SQL-powered analytics, create and distribute cards, and also perform other financial management functions necessary for by their business. Stripe provides these services so seamlessly, that tech giants Microsoft and Amazon, including 1000,000 other companies rely on their services.

Current market value is $35.5 billion.

3. Monzo

Ever since its UK banking license restriction was lifted in 2017, Monzo has gained more popularity and acceptance.  The company’s statistics claim that one in every twenty adults in the United Kingdom uses Monzo online banking platform. Monzo became a billion dollars company in 2018 after its fundraising campaign got £85mn from US venture capital investors. As of October 2019, the digital-only bank had over 140,000 customers. With an estimated 55,000 new signups every week, the number is bound to keep increasing. Monzo is committed to helping people make smarter decisions with their money. Hence, it already has a feature that prevents users from spending their funds on gambling, and the company aims to extend the same blocking functionality to the purchase of junk food.

Current market value is $2.5 billion.

4. Coinbase

Coinbase is one of the largest crypto-currency exchange services in the world. Headquartered in San Francisco, California, Coinbase is a secure platform that makes it easy to buy, sell, and store cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, Tezos, and many others. It brands itself as a regulation-compliant company offering security and convenience. In addition, the company offers auxiliary services such as personal electronic wallets, and new currencies to those seeking added privacy.

Current market value is $8.1 billion.

5. TransferWise

TransferWise was established with the main aim of cutting the outrageous bank charges people pay to transfer money abroad. It was established in 2010 by Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus, who were fed up with the bank charges they had to pay to transfer funds between the UK and Estonia. With over six million customers using their service, TransferWise distributes up to 4 billion dollars every month across 750 currencies. It charges a decent transfer rate, which is lower than the typical bank rate.

Current market value is $3 billion.

6. NuBank

Nubank was created to provide efficient, fair, and transparent banking services for Brazilians, who are tired of the traditional banking system, which charges them exorbitant fees and high-interest rates despite being poor at service delivery. Nubank offers free digital accounts with no maintenance charges, credit card services, personal loans, and world-class customer service. It was established by David Valez, Cristiana Junqurai, and Edward Wible in 2013. Its operations kickstarted in 2014, and as of 2018. Nubank became the third Brazilian bank to hit the one billion dollar mark.

Current market value is $10 billion.

7. Ripple

Ripple enables banks, payment providers, digital asset exchanges and companies to send money globally using advanced blockchain technology. It provides real-time gross settlement system, currency exchange and remittance. It facilitates international payments for 300 institutional clients including Santander and Standard Chartered. In 2019, it sold over $500 million worth of XRP, allowing the company to expand and invest in MoneyGram too!

Current market value is $10 billion.

8. Robinhood

Robinhood is a commission-free investment portal that provides users with investment opportunities in the US stock market, options, ETFs, and ADRs. It was established in 2013 by Vladimir Tenev and Baiju Bhatt. Robinhood has so far registered about 6 million users who enjoy a range of other banking services, including savings and checking accounts, debits, and also the purchase of cryptocurrencies. All these are done through the Robinhood App or website without requiring any foreign exchange fees or account minimums.

Current market value is $7.6 billion.

9. Lemonade

Lemonade is a leading casualty and property insurance company that was built on a unique model of charging a flat rate and paying claims and premium within minutes, unlike what’s obtainable in the traditional insurance industry. Lemonade uses a highly sensitive artificial intelligence bot, Maya, and chat messengers, via which clients can receive quotes, advice, and insure their assets within minutes. Lemonade believes in giving back to the society; hence, a considerable part of the leftover money in the users’ insurance pool goes to charity.

Current market value is $2 billion.

10. Klarna

Klarna is a Sweden-based online banking platform that provides payment solutions to different online stores. It eliminates payment hassles for online shoppers by allowing them to pay for their purchases after 30 days, or in instalments for three months. Klarna grew to become the biggest fintech company in Europe in August 2019, after it received a 460-million-dollar funding, which raised its financial strength to 5.5 billion dollars. It partners with reputable vendors like ASOS and over 1,500 other retailers. It has 80 million active users in 250 countries, and with 50,000 new customers every week, Klarna is on the path for even bigger growth.

Current market value is $5.5 billion.

>> To read more about this story and other exclusive features about the digital banking landscape, download the latest issue of The Digital Banker Magazine HERE.

Digital Bank Licensing in Singapore 2020 and Beyond

Digital Bank Licensing in Singapore: 2020 and Beyond

Editor’s Note: This article is the fourth part of a four-part series that takes a closer look at the landscape of Digital Bank Licensing in Singapore. Read the previous article here.

Once MAS announces the successful applicants in for digital full bank (DFB) digital wholesale bank (DWB) licences in June 2020, expect the winds of change to gather up speed. As it is, MAS already envisions a “Smart Financial Center” for Singapore with a vibrant fintech ecosystem and a dynamic regulatory environment that lets it thrive.

The overall market condition provides a conducive environment to make it happen:

singapore economy snapshot

Source: EY – Banking in Asia Pacific 2019

 

While digital banking has already been making headway in regions such as North America and Europe, and while places in Asia such as Malaysia, Taiwan and Hong Kong have all introduced digital banking licences in the past 12 months or so, Singapore’s entry into the fray paints an unusually exciting future for all stakeholders.

“Singapore’s FinTech journey is about innovation, inclusion and inspiration. Everything we do in FinTech must always have a larger purpose – to improve the lives of individuals, to build a more dynamic economy, to promote a more inclusive society.”

Here’s why: Singapore’s stature in the global community, in terms of its business competitiveness, regulatory environment and political stability, presents a significant opportunity to shake things up – for the better. As we head into the digital future, the combination of disruptive banking innovations and firm foundational infrastructure by the government, can only produce the best outcome for the banks, the economy, and most importantly, the millions of average consumers and small businesses that stand to benefit the most,

In the words of Ravi Menon, Managing Director, MAS: “Singapore’s FinTech journey is about innovation, inclusion and inspiration. Everything we do in FinTech must always have a larger purpose – to improve the lives of individuals, to build a more dynamic economy, to promote a more inclusive society.”

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This article is the fourth part of a four-part series that takes a closer look at the landscape of Digital Bank Licensing in Singapore. Here are the links the complete series:

Part 1: The Real Score

Part 2: The Contenders

Part 3: The Incumbents

Part 4: 2020 and Beyond

Digital Bank Licensing in Singapore The Incumbents

Digital Bank Licensing in Singapore: The Incumbents

Editor’s Note: This article is the third part of a four-part series that takes a closer look at the landscape of Digital Bank Licensing in Singapore. Read the previous article here.

It’s true that digital banks will be able to offer the same type of services that traditional banks do. In fact, MAS’ intention is for a digital full bank to eventually be able to conduct all banking transactions as existing banks. In Singapore, the current main local players are Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC), United Overseas Bank (UOB) and DBS Bank.

One key differentiating factor of traditional banks is the presence of a physical structure such as a bank branch. People’s preference to have ‘human interaction’ as part of a collective cultural norm bodes well for the traditional banks’ business model – something that digital banks will have a hard time to topple over. This crucial difference equips the so-called incumbents with significant advantages over new industry participants. In its report, ‘Banking in Asia Pacific’, EY listed down these resultant advantages:

“In improving customer experience, data still remains the ‘secret sauce’ in enabling companies to come up with better offerings.”

Large customer bases. Banks have well–established customer relationships, giving them access to deep customer data. In the open data environment, these are key assets banks can use to enhance the user experience and deliver deeper insights to identify cross–and up–sell prospects and to constantly enhance offerings.

Scale, underpinned by strong balance sheets. Lending, funded by a strong balance sheet, is still the major source of growth for financial services entities. Scale is critical to being anything other than a niche offering and delivers banks a massive advantage over new entrant rivals, particularly for corporate clients. Incumbent banks with deep pockets, established histories and trusted client relationships, continue to be the preferred source of funds for corporates.

Compliance expertise. While FinTechs may be quicker and more agile in testing new ideas, incumbent banks are well practiced in delivering products and services in compliance with stringent regulatory frameworks. Banks’ compliance capabilities will prove a strong asset as the open data environment is increasingly regulated.

A trust advantage. Customers still trust their bank to keep their money safe and, more recently, to protect their data. This a key differentiator for banks as financial services move to an open data environment, an environment that hinges on customer trust to realize its true potential.

But this is not to say that bank branches are the traditional banks’ key engine of growth. Over the last couple of years, local players are investing in technology, efficiency and customer experience to further entrench their positioning. In fact, even as the total assets of local banks continue to increase, their physical bank branches are in constant decrease.

People’s preference to have ‘human interaction’ as part of a collective cultural norm bodes well for the traditional banks’ business model – something that digital banks will have a hard time to topple over.

 

Fig. 1: Number of commercial bank branches per hundred thousand adults in Singapore

Fig. 1: Number of commercial bank branches per hundred thousand adults in Singapore

Source: Statista

 

Fig. 2: Total assets of banks in Singapore

Fig. 2: Total assets of banks in Singapore

Source: Statista

 

In improving customer experience, data still remains the ‘secret sauce’ in enabling companies to come up with better offerings. This is particularly true in banking.

In an interview with this magazine, Anurag Mathur, Head of International Retail Banking & Wealth Management for Asia Pacific at HSBC and The Digital Banker’s Retail Banker of the Year in 2019 commented: “Data is critical for us in delivering a mobile-centred smart banking proposition where we can proactively, yet without being intrusive, prompt or alert our customers on how we can support them.”

“We also leverage data to further drive customer experience as it allows us to have a better understanding of our customers especially when they are actively looking for banking solutions that meet their life stage needs. Having access to rich and precise data allows us to better customise our offers and guide our customers in discovering new services or solutions that will help them in their financial planning journey,” he concludes.

“We don’t believe in doing this as a one-off. DBS has consistently been investing in digital for our retail and wealth customers over the years – and hasn’t slowed down.”

For DBS Bank’s Head of Digital Wealth, Evy Theunis, it all boils down to being customer obsessed: “We don’t believe in doing this as a one-off. DBS has consistently been investing in digital for our retail and wealth customers over the years – and hasn’t slowed down. Instead, we continue to invest and enhance our capabilities on an ongoing basis. It’s also critical to ensure the investment isn’t just on the front-end; it must be front-to-back. You need strong back-end architecture and systems to enable excellent front-end client experiences – can’t have one without the other.”

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This article is the third part of a four-part series that takes a closer look at the landscape of Digital Bank Licensing in Singapore. Here are the links the complete series:

Part 1: The Real Score

Part 2: The Contenders

Part 3: The Incumbents

Part 4: 2020 and Beyond

Digital Bank Licensing in Singapore The Contenders

Digital Bank Licensing in Singapore: The Contenders

Editor’s Note: This article is the second part of a four-part series that takes a closer look at the landscape of Digital Bank Licensing in Singapore. Read the previous article here.

The roster of companies competing to gain a foothold in a strategic market such as Singapore are major league players in their respective fields. While no official word has been released on who, specifically, these players are, some of them already came out publicly with their bids.

Grab-Singtel tie up

Grab and Singtel has confirmed that they are making a bid for a digital full bank license. Grab, a ride-hailing firm, will hold 60% stake in the consortium while Singtel, the Republic’s largest telco will hold the remaining 40%.

According to its joint statement: “The digital bank will aim to cater to the needs of digital-first customers, who have come to expect greater convenience and personalisation, and small and medium-sized enterprises, which cite lack of access to credit as a key pain point.”

Razer Youth Bank 

Razer Fintech, who will take up a 60% majority stake, will lead a consortium of strategic partners who will take up the remaining equity interest in Razer Youth Bank. The strategic equity partners include: Sheng Siong Holdings, FWD, LinkSure Global, Insignia Ventures Partners and Carro.

“Should Razer Fintech and its consortium be awarded the license by the MAS, Razer Fintech is planning to extend its current fintech offerings to digital banking services by building the world’s first global youth bank, Razer Youth Bank, to be headquartered in Singapore, leveraging on the strength of Razer as a lifestyle brand synonymous with the youth and millennials, Razer’s global presence and the innovative digital payments platform Razer Fintech has built,” the company said in a press release.

The roster of companies competing to gain a foothold in a strategic market such as Singapore are major league players in their respective fields.

Ant Financial

Billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant Financial has also submitted an application for a wholesale digital bank license. Currently, the fintech giant is behind MyBank, one of China’s operational virtual banks and also among those granted a digital bank license in Hong Kong. Its bid in Singapore is one that has been in the pipeline for quite some time as Ant Financial has previously stated its interest to bid for Singapore banking license.

BEYOND

BEYOND association, led by V3 Group and EZ link, also placed a bid for a full digital banking license. The strategic alliance is also joined by MSIG insurance, Singapore Business Federation (SBF), Heliconia and Far East Organisation.

According to Gan Chee Yen, the chairman-designate of BEYOND: “Our proposal represents the combined strengths of some of Singapore’s most established companies and their reach to SMEs and their workforce.”

“Together with my fellow incoming board members who have in-depth experience in risk management and digital banking operations in the UK and North Asia, we have developed a suite of innovative products and services that cater to the needs of the silver generation and SMEs operating in different industries,” he said.

Zall Consortium

China-based Zall Smart Commerce Group is bidding for a digital wholesale bank licence in Singapore. According to report, “Hong Kong-listed Zall operates Asia’s largest business-to-business (B2B) trade platform in China and South-east Asia. In 2018, the group achieved a gross merchandise value of more than 600 billion yuan (S$117 billion), serving over one milllion SME customers worldwide.”

According to our research, Zall is leading a consortium comprising Global eTrade Services (GeTS), a Singapore supply chain platform provider, and Marubeni Corporation, a Japanese trading conglomerate.

***

This article is the second part of a four-part series that takes a closer look at the landscape of Digital Bank Licensing in Singapore. Here are the links the complete series:

Part 1: The Real Score

Part 2: The Contenders

Part 3: The Incumbents

Part 4: 2020 and Beyond

 

 

Image: mimisim / Shutterstock.com

Digital Bank Licensing in Singapore The Real Score

Digital Bank Licensing in Singapore: The Real Score

The profile of applicants vying to be Singapore’s first digital bank are a veritable list of who’s who in the world of business and global commerce. Notwithstanding the fact that many of them are relatively new in the financial services business, these companies might just end up bringing the most transformative change in banking and finance sector in Singapore.

As of 31 December 2019, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has confirmed that it had received “21 applications for digital bank licences,” comprising 7 applications for the digital full bank (DFB) licences, and 14 applications for the digital wholesale bank (DWB) licences.

MAS further added that, “the new digital bank licences have attracted strong interest from a diverse group of applicants. These include e-commerce firms, technology and telecommunications companies, FinTechs (such as crowd-funding platforms and payment services providers) and financial institutions. The majority of applicants are consortiums, with entities seeking to combine their individual strengths to enhance the digital bank’s value proposition.”

The number of applicants seems quite high considering the strict eligibility criteria that MAS has laid out for applicants of digital bank license in Singapore, which includes the ability to “meet the applicable minimum paid-up capital requirement at the onset and the minimum capital funds requirement on an ongoing basis.”

For Digital Full Bank (DFB) applicants, this includes a commitment of funds or “concrete fundraising plans to meet the minimum paid-up capital of S$1.5 billion that is required when the DFB becomes a full functioning DFB,” according to MAS website.

WHAT’S ALL THE FUSS ABOUT DIGITAL BANKS?

While all these latest developments seem to be exciting and all brand new, Singapore’s local banking sector are already in the thick of the digital banking game for quite some time. Currently, there are four local banks and nine qualifying full banks in Singapore providing full range of banking services. Additionally, there are 99 licensed wholesale banking entities in Singapore.

Taking advantage of Singapore’s high internet and mobile subscription penetration rates, standing at 91% and 154% of the population respectively, local banks have launched and continue to improve their online banking and mobile apps strategy. As a result, Singaporeans are ditching bank visits and opting to go mobile instead.

According to a study, mobile banking usage has overtaken branch visits by 15%. In addition, customers who expressed openness to digital banking, 66% said they will remain with their current bank even if all of its physical branches were closed while only 52% indicated they would do so with an entity outside of the banking sector, perhaps an indication that existing local banks are making headway in their quest to go digital.

Of course, behaviours could change. And with the amount of resources that would-be digital banks are willing to put in, there is no telling where we could end up with 3 to 5 years from now. After all, digital banking is more than just an internet or a mobile version of banking services. It goes far deeper than that in that it is underpinned by the unprecedented utilisation of customers’ data, making the relationship between a digital bank and its customers more intimate and highly personal.

“By having access to data, which traditional banks do not have today, digital banks could come up with unique products and services.”

In fact, according to some reports, it is not impossible that one day, you may be able to pay for your annual holiday vacation by instalments or perhaps buy an insurance for a movie ticket. These types of financial services could come as a result of partnership of multiple entities with different core strengths, vying to present a compelling USP to its customers.

“By having access to data, which traditional banks do not have today, digital banks could come up with unique products and services that may be unconventional, but could prove to be wildly popular for customers,” says Nirav Patel, Managing Director of The Digital Banker, a globally trusted news, business intelligence and research partner to the worldwide financial services sector.

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This article is the first part of a four-part series that takes a closer look at the landscape of Digital Bank Licensing in Singapore. Here are the links the complete series:

Part 1: The Real Score

Part 2: The Contenders

Part 3: The Incumbents

Part 4: 2020 and Beyond

 

Image: joyfull / Shutterstock.com

MJBL Delivering Dependable Digital Capabilities in Lao web

MJBL: Delivering Dependable Digital Capabilities in Lao

In the ASEAN region, there are a few companies that not only pursue commercial objectives but also help support strong bilateral ties between countries. One of the them is MARUHAN Japan Bank Lao (MJBL). Using MARUHAN Japan Group’s unparalleled resources, capacity, and expertise to revolutionise the ASEAN banking industry, MJBL delivers products and services that facilitate and encourage investment and contribute to the continuing growth and development of Lao PDR. Its corporate social responsibility programs also aim to promote growth and well-being in communities throughout the country. And when it comes to providing excellent customer experience, its star also shines bright.

Just recently, MARUHAN Japan Bank Lao was awarded Highly Acclaimed, Best User Experience – Mobile and Best Bank for Customer Experience at the Digital CX Awards 2020 by The Digital Banker. The prestigious CX awards event, running on its second year now, received more than 200 nominations for various awards categories. This year’s distinguished panel of judges include industry veterans known for their integrity and unbiased adjudication from companies such as Forrester, EY, Fuji Xerox, Bain & Company, Wipro Digital and KPMG.

“To be a key player in the local banking industry, our contribution and commitment hold great importance. Having received eminent recognitions from our local authority such as BOL, as well as these awards by our peers in the industry, makes us extremely proud. Our initiatives have crafted a new frontier in banking innovation in Lao, especially in the digital space, customer experience and product innovation, and we will never waiver in this mission,” said Richard Lee, Head of Performance Management, Retail Banking at MARUHAN Japan Bank Lao.

Leveling Up Convenience for Customers

With the new leadership team that came on board in July 2019, MJBL has since launched a transformation program aimed to deliver leading customer experience through best-in-class digital capabilities. It leveraged on ATMs, mobile banking, agency and Merchant/Partner to ultimately drive 75% of transactions through non-branch channels.

For example, MJBL has simplified deposit account opening. What used to take up to 3 hours processing, has been reduced to just 30 minutes! It has also set a goal of deploying digital channels and adopting paperless banking in high population density areas. These significant changes are being implemented under 3 guiding principles: Simple, easy and fast. Of course, with no compromise on compliance and risk as all changes being implemented are consistent with local regulatory requirements.

On top of these core initiatives, MJBL is also the only local bank with exclusive partnership to open banking booth with priority lanes at the only cinema group in Lao. The goal is to level up convenience and innovation for customers and erase the notion that dealing with banks is usually rigid, inflexible and old fashioned. This unique approach has brought good publicity for MJBL within the capital, Vientiane as well as trading town of Pakse.

MJBL has simplified deposit account opening. What used to take up to 3 hours processing, has been reduced to just 30 minutes!

MJ Saduak – Simplicity and Innovation

MJ Saduak (‘Saduak’ means Simple) is MJBL’s first mobile banking app. MJ Saduak is equipped with Chatbot (called “Noy”), an interactive feature that allows quick response and feedback on all banking information enquiries. “Noy” is the first and only active Chatbot that’s available in Lao currently.

MJ Saduak is built with simple financial aid tool, a first-of-its-kind in Lao, that manages wealth innovatively as it tracks savings and spending. It is also equipped with face recognition capability making it highly secure and convenient. MJ Saduak helps ease the opening of e-wallet online and has the ability to upgrade to CASA anytime. In addition, MJBL is also a founding partner Bank with Lao National Payment Network (LAPNet), which aims to achieve faster, reliable and more convenient payment system in Lao, and one of the first batch of pilot Banks to offer unlimited ATM fund transfer facilities in Lao. As such, MJBL can tap into tap into the extensive 750 ATMs network throughout the country and expand its reach exponentially allowing them to serve a wider network of customers and bring convenience to a whole new level.

 

Download the magazine print version of this article here.

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Read more about the winners at the Digital CX Awards 2020 here.

Image: Dzerkach Viktar / Shutterstock.com

UOB: Building purpose-built products for unparalleled customer experience

Recognising the varied needs of customers across different life stages, United Overseas Bank’s (UOB) focus on customer centricity underpins its innovation drive.

The Bank’s focus on the customer has resulted in the launch of several initiatives, including a one-of-a-kind portfolio advisory tool, an accelerated miles programme and an AI-powered digital banking service. At the Digital CX Awards 2020 by The Digital Banker, UOB brought home 8 major awards, namely:

  • Winner, Best Technology Implementation – Front-End
  • Winner, Best Use of AI for Customer Experience
  • Highly Acclaimed, Best Product or Service Innovation
  • Highly Acclaimed, Best Customer Insight and Feedback Initiative
  • Highly Acclaimed, Best Digital Customer Experience in Wealth Management
  • Highly Acclaimed, Outstanding Customer Experience in Financial Inclusion
  • Highly Acclaimed, Best Digital Customer Experience in Life Insurance
  • Highly Acclaimed, Best Employee Experience

With these 8 awards, UOB is one of the most recognised organisations, standing out against the 200 nominations in various award categories received this year, The adjudication panel that helped select this year’s award winners are longtime subject-matter experts from companies such as Forrester, EY, Fuji Xerox, Bain & Company, Wipro Digital and KPMG.

“Our greatest accomplishments can only be measured by the impact and positive experience we give to our customers. These awards only help to strengthen our resolve to do just that. In UOB, we always anticipate our customers’ needs. If we can come up with a product or service that can enable our customers to track their finances effortlessly, which will guide them to relevant financial solutions that can help them meet their financial needs, then that will be our focus. We truly value our customers’ needs,” said Chung Shaw Bee, Managing Director, Head of Deposits & Wealth Management for Singapore and the region at UOB.

“Our greatest accomplishments can only be measured by the impact and positive experience we give to our customers. These awards only help to strengthen our resolve to do just that.”

Award-winning Initiatives that make a difference

UOB Bond Explorer

UOB Bond Explorer is a first-of-its-kind bond portfolio analytical and comparison tool that contains innovative functionalities from online bond factsheets to interactive interest rate sensitivity analysis and performance analysis. It is a purpose-built digital advisory platform that allows UOB’s customers to make the most informed decisions about their bond portfolio.

With UOB Bond Explorer, the bank’s customer relationship managers can now perform sophisticated analysis and evaluation of portfolio of bonds in the presence of their customers, providing efficiency and convenience to customers.

UOB Mighty Insights

UOB Mighty Insights is Singapore’s first artificial intelligence (AI)-based digital banking service that makes it simpler for UOB’s customers to manage their personal finances. With this digital service, customers are provided insights to help them track their savings and expenses effortlessly and to be guided to relevant financial solutions that can help them meet their financial needs.

Since the launch of UOB Mighty Insights, the number of Monthly Active Users has increased 40% year-on-year, and the average login frequency has increased 20% year-on-year. Of 400 UOB Mighty customers surveyed, 83% stated that they were highly satisfied with their digital banking experience on the UOB Mighty platform – an increase of 16% since the introduction of UOB Mighty Insights.

UOB Mighty

KrisFlyer UOB Account

The KrisFlyer UOB Account enables customers to earn accelerated KrisFlyer miles when they spend on their KrisFlyer UOB card and save through the KrisFlyer UOB Account. The miles earned are credited directly to customers’ Krisflyer account with no conversion fee, making it seamless and effortless for customers to accumulate miles. This industry-first product provides a comprehensive banking solution to customers for whom travel is a lifestyle priority.

UOB Lady’s Card

The UOB Lady’s Card was relaunched on 8 Mar 2019 in conjunction with International Women’s Day and as part of UOB’s 30th Anniversary celebrations. Recognising the evolving and varied needs of women across different life stages, UOB Lady’s Card is the only Credit Card in the market to empower women with the freedom of choice to define how they want to be rewarded and have the flexibility to change their choice of reward category every quarter.

Since the relaunch, total card applications have exceeded the preceding month-on-month average by over 200%. Online card applications exceeded year-on-year performance by more than 300% during the campaign period. The continuous rise in card applications reflects the positive reception of the new UOB Lady’s Card.

UOB Portfolio Advisory Tools

The UOB Portfolio Advisory Tool (PAT) is a first-of-its-kind purpose-built digital wealth management platform that provides customers with portfolio analysis and insights. The suite of digital tools has been designed to enable customers to monitor, manage and optimise their investment portfolios, empowering them to make well-informed decisions to achieve their financial goals.

Within the first three months of launch, the UOB PAT had benefitted more than 5,155 UOB wealth management customers. Out of the 5,155 customers, 1,458 had invested or rebalanced their wealth portfolios based on the review assessments by UOB PAT – this conversion rate of 30% is significantly higher than UOB’s usual closure rate for regular sales appointments, reflecting its relevance and effectiveness for customers.

UOB Fund Explorer

UOB Fund Explorer is the bank’s first-to-market, one-stop shop for reviewing funds. The fund analytical and comparison tool enables users to extract key information pertaining to funds, to analyse and to compare single funds and portfolio of funds across multiple risk parameters, exposures and performance indicators.

UOB Insurance Explorer

UOB Insurance Explorer is a market-first insurance advisory tool that empowers clients to make sound insurance decisions through providing a holistic view of one’s financial plan beyond a single-product perspective. It is an all-in-one digital platform that facilitates policy aggregation, cash-flow analysis, insurance coverage overview, gap analysis and coverage simulations.

Professional Conversion Programme (PCP)

UOB’s PCP is an initiative developed to strengthen the digital capabilities of UOB’s front-line staff. Introduced in November 2017, its aim was to prepare mid-career professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) for future roles and responsibilities in financial services, in line with the nation’s ambition to be at the forefront of technological developments.

The programme covered design thinking, customer journey design, channel management, and scenario analysis and planning, conducted through classroom learning, workshops and on-the-job training. These were supported through the learning journal initiative that involved participatory learning by the staff and coaching from supervisors.

UOB is the first local bank in Singapore expected to complete its PCP for 100% of its customer-facing staff by 2020. Currently. 80% of its branch staff have completed the journey and have been equipped with the right skillsets for their evolving work roles.

UOB is the first local bank in Singapore expected to complete its PCP for 100% of its customer-facing staff by 2020. Currently. 80% of its branch staff have completed the journey and have been equipped with the right skillsets for their evolving work roles.

 

Download the magazine print version of this article here.

Image: Dzerkach Viktar / Shutterstock.com

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Read more about the winners at the Digital CX Awards 2020 here.

TMRW by UOB Best-in-Class Experience for the Digital Generation

TMRW by UOB: Best-in-Class Experience for the Digital Generation

At TMRW, the first mobile-only digital bank designed for the ASEAN millennial, the digital service strategy is built through a bottom-up approach. They started with a deep understanding of how millennials typically interact with one another and designed the service model to mimic this manner of interaction. TMRW’s unique service delivery model puts them at the top of the digital banking game and have won them accolades from all corners of the world. Recently, they have also bagged several major awards at the Digital CX Awards 2020 by The Digital Banker.

Awards received include: Winner, Best Digital Bank for Customer Experience, Outstanding Chabot Customer Experience and Outstanding Leadership in Customer Experience – Institution. They’ve also been awarded Highly Acclaimed, Outstanding Customer Experience Account Opening. This feat of accomplishment was achieved with over 200 nominations received for various awards categories.

Judging this year’s awards are subject-matter experts known for their integrity and unbiased adjudication from companies such as Forrester, EY, Fuji Xerox, Bain & Company, Wipro Digital and KPMG.

“We are truly honoured to be recognised as the leader in customer experience. By bringing technology into the core of what we do, we can bring in an assortment of capabilities in our customer service delivery, such as multilingual response management, human support through chat and voice and deep-linked screens for ease of usage interactions. This motivates us to do more,” said Delwyn Phoon, First Vice President, TMRW Digital Bank at United Overseas Bank.

“To achieve a truly simple account opening process for TMRW Indonesia, the team leveraged on permissible remote KYC guidelines set out by the local regulators.”

TMRW Intelligent Assistant – setting a new benchmark in customer service

TMRW’s distinct service delivery model brings together a complex orchestration of chatbot, live chat, and VOIP voice call similar to some of the leading messaging platforms – creating an experience unmatched by any typical bank. TMRW’s chatbot Tia (TMRW Intelligent Assistant) is right at the center of this experience. Tia also has the distinction of being the first chatbot in the Thai banking industry with full Natural Language Processing (NLP) capabilities in Thai language and the only banking chatbot in Thailand with dual language capabilities (Thai and English).

“TMRW’s distinct service delivery model brings together a complex orchestration of chatbot, live chat, and VOIP voice call – creating an experience unmatched by any typical bank.”

TMRW’s digital customer service model boasts of many firsts in the Thai banking and ASEAN banking industry in terms of capability, design and performance. Among them are:

  1. Chatbot orchestration. First digital service model that uses chatbot to orchestrate the delivery of customer service as a combination of self service, FAQ responses and human support through voice or chat – all without the user having to ever exit or switch away from the TMRW app.
  1. Sentiment detection for improved confidence with bot usage. One of the largest challenges associated with a chatbot implementation is its ability to handle customer’s sentiment. The world of NLP acknowledges that sentiment detection remains the largest challenge faced by this technology and the most important one to surpass in order for acceptance of chatbots as a norm in customer service. Tia runs multiple algorithms in the background to detect sentiments when responding to customer queries to detect a variety of human emotions such as humour, disappointment, anger, fear and anxiety.
  1. Ability to understand slang, typographical errors and short phrases in Thai language. The team spent approximately 8 months engaging the services of over 100 native Thai language speakers and collecting more than 25,000 words, sentences and phrases to train, test and ascertain Tia’s ability to understand the user’s input in Thai, even with inclusion of typos or slang words. After the official launch of TMRW in March 2019, Tia has been trained with over 10,000 phrases monthly taking its NLP comprehension to more than 100,000 Thai words and phrases.
  1. First chatbot orchestration to move conversation from text chat to voice within the same interface. Every query is different when measured on the scale of user anxiety or emotion. Queries on card lost or fraud generally tend to involve a higher degree of anxiety and the best efforts to handle them through text chat may still leave the user feeling unassured. This is precisely the reason why Tia brings in a voice agent into the conversation the moment the user says he is worried about a fraud in his account, without attempting to resolve the query by herself or passing it to a text chat agent.
  1. Highly scalable and re-deployable operating model. Tia’s architectural design allows TMRW to scale Tia’s ability to handle newer queries and additional languages with ease. Tia is now being trained in Bahasa Indonesia and soon will handle customer enquiries in English and Bahasa in tandem with TMRW’s launch in Indonesia in 2020.
  1. Zero production downtime. Tia has had zero production down time since its launch, indicating her ability to handle hundreds of concurrent conversations with customers, without negative impact on her ability to respond on time and accurately to each and every one of them.

TMRW 1

Remote Video Account Opening in Indonesia

After the successful public launch of TMRW in Thailand in March 2019, the TMRW team quickly adapted and planned for an Indonesian implementation. Indonesian regulations are, however, more favourable to remote account opening. This presented the TMRW team an opportunity to offer a more convenient account opening process than Thailand.

To achieve a truly simple account opening process for TMRW Indonesia, the team leveraged on permissible remote know-your-customers (KYC) guidelines set out by the local regulators. They then scanned the market to see what is available, what works and what does not. TMRW Indonesia adapted its Thailand implementation model, with a key difference – the Indonesia model will feature full remote video authentication.

The video authentication is designed as a two-step process. Customers start off by answering three simple questions – one’s full name as shown on identification card, date of birth and mother’s maiden name. When that is done, a video chat request is triggered by the TMRW app to initiate the video authentication. Here, the customer would need to perform a short video selfie while holding up their eKTP Card. This video authentication process takes less than a minute.

During its tests, more than 85% of the respondents were able to complete the video authentications on first try, and close to 98% were able to complete on the second try.

New-to-bank customers can now verify and authenticate themselves on the TMRW mobile app – anytime, anywhere. They do not have to wait in line or spend their precious time traveling to the branches. This offers customers a superior customer experience compared to traditional account opening, as they can apply and get their Savings Accounts approved within minutes.

 

Read more about the winners at the Digital CX Awards 2020 here.

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Download the magazine print version of this article here.

Taipei Fubon Bank Using Robo to Help Clients Boost their Wealth

Taipei Fubon Bank: Using ‘Robo’ to Help Clients Boost their Wealth

In this day and age, every company in the finance industry knows that a smart approach is to leverage the power of fintech to be able to provide premium services while boosting the bottom line. However, only a few companies have the combined technical proficiency and unwavering grit to do it. Taipei Fubon Bank is one of them – and does it with flying colours. Because of this, Taipei Fubon Bank was awarded Winner, Best Customer Experience – Social Media; Highly Acclaimed, Best Robo Advisory Experience and Highly Acclaimed, Best Use of Data and Analytics at the Digital CX Awards 2020 by The Digital Banker.

Emerging triumphant among the more than 200 nominations in various awards categories received this year, Taipei Fubon Bank’s win is no small feat considering  the  top calibre line up of judges at  this year’s  awards ceremony. Among them are seasoned professionals from companies such as Forrester, EY, Fuji Xerox, Bain & Company, Wipro Digital and KPMG.

“Within our organisation, we always strive to provide better service for our customers. One of the most significant actions we took was to leverage fintech and ETFs with low cost to boost our business and serve our customers better. We feel absolutely honored to receive this award as it is a clear testament of the success of our mission, which we continue to improve and build upon each day,” said Daniel Cheng, Senior Vice President, Digital Banking Department at Taipei Fubon Bank.

Michael Lee, Vice President for Marketing Support Department-Retail Banking also added: “As we continually communicate with our customers, we will continue to adopt different marketing communications at different touch points to ensure that we   respond   to  their  needs in a timely manner. This award serves as our inspiration to use data analytics in a manner that is responsible, accurate and value adding.”

Building an ecosystem for users’ life and financial needs via LINE

To make the dream of becoming users’ best friend come true, Taipei Fubon Bank partnered with LINE, Taiwan’s biggest communication app platform, to manage its official account.

By founding an ecosystem related to users’ life and financial needs   via LINE, Taipei Fubon Bank was able to provide functions and services users need to bring profits to the company, lower the gap between consumers and the bank, and create a win- win proposition for both.

The services include card-application, 1 click to adjust credit, online coupon to offline spending, AI consumer service, robo-advisor, digital account, and so on. The bank approaches its users and get  their feedback through a series of anthropomorphic and phenomenon-based marketing strategies and action plans.

Taipei Fubon Bank has gained 1 million friends on first day and reached 4 million friends in the past 8 months. Over 20% of 0.4 million J card applications were from LINE, and this brought in over 30 million business revenue.

Owing to the combination of CRM data and information users gave via LINE, the bank can analyse users’ exact needs for target marketing and personalised services to bring in profits. By engaging consumers smartly, Taipei Fubon Bank has not only increased its revenue from cards but also managed to cross-sell other products and services such as insurance, deposit, foreign currency, and investments.

Nano Investment – the largest robo-advisor service in Taiwan

Taipei Fubon Bank, one of the most trusted banks in Taiwan, used emerging financial technologies to create the ultimate consumer experience  of “banking in all aspects of life”.

Taipei Fubon Bank collaborated with the largest online asset management company in UK and Europe, Nutmeg, and launched “Nano investment”, the first customised global ETF robo-advisor product in Taiwan in April 2019. Nano helps Taiwanese customers enjoy the premium world-class wealth management service and earn stable portfolio growth with the recipe of “SELECT” (Simple, Easy, Long-term, Expertise, low-Cost and Technology).

Nano Investment builds highly customised portfolios for customers. Additionally, Nano Investment adopts online interactive conversation to help customers complete the KYC and onboarding processes in an easy and natural way with the use of artificial intelligence.

Among the key features of “Nano Investment” are as follows:

Online Interactive Conversations. Taipei Fubon Bank adopts online interactive conversation to help customers complete the KYC and onboarding processes in a more easy and natural way.

Low-cost ETF. “Nano Investment” is the only intelligent investment service with a low-cost ETF portfolio in Taiwan.

Fractional Shares. Nano Investment uses the technology of “Fractional Shares” to improve portfolio efficiency and lower the threshold for customers to initiate their investment plans.

Automatic Rebalancing. Nano Investment rebalances clients’ portfolios automatically while the climate of global capital market changes to deliver stable and sustainable return to investors.

Since launching the service, Nano Investment has demonstrated Taipei Fubon Bank’s strength in fintech. To date, Nano Investment has acquired more than 18,000 customers invested and over 98% of these customers enjoyed positive returns from their portfolios, even during an ongoing volatility due to the trade war between United States and China and the panics of COVID-19.

“Nano helps Taiwanese customers enjoy the premium world-class wealth management service.”

Nano Customer Journey – Visualisation Dashboard

The Nano dashboard relies on data visualisation technology to “interact” with Nano Investments customer data and analyse the customer journey through changes in data in real time. At the same time, it adjusts to changing conditions based on channel, product and customer considerations. This high-speed tool that people can use to invest on their own, backed by the effective management of the customer journey, has already begun enhancing customer experience. It has also helped provide regular account holders with high-quality financial services.

Through customer journey analysis, the following benefits were achieved:

1. Enhanced customer experience

  • No breakpoints in the customer experience. Through the monitoring systems, abnormal values are detected immediately and specific points in the customer experience are addressed, leading to improvements in processes and ongoing gains in capacity and effectiveness.
  • Better communication with customers. System continues to communicate with customers based on their customer journeys, with different marketing approaches used at different contact points on the journey.

2. Triggered management teams to be more efficient

  • Unlike a lengthy communication process happening in the past, the real-time dashboard used by Nano Investments that compiles information on customer segments, products and channels and relies on data to manage these different areas, gives each department a clear picture of up-to-the-minute performance. Managers can quickly make key decisions without the need for extensive meetings, resulting in better customer experience and more efficient management.

3. Created competitive advantages

  • Nano Investments’ customer journey dashboard monitors customer profiles, product results and channel management to gauge performance. When indicators in any of those three areas trend lower, the responsible unit can react immediately and take corrective action. This rapid response time and attention to all contact points gives the system a real competitive advantage.

 

Download the magazine print version of this article here.

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Read more about the winners at the Digital CX Awards 2020 here.

How Thailand bank digitalisation efforts are allowing them to reach unbanked customers

How Thai banks’ digitalisation efforts are allowing them to reach unbanked customers

Choon Hin, CEO of United Overseas Bank Thailand, discusses industry trends across ASEAN, including regional integration and the push towards Industry 4.0. For Thailand, the digitalisation strategy that is being pursued under Thailand 4.0 is improving internet infrastructure, which in turn is opening up opportunities for digital banking. Tech solutions and programmes for the country’s significant small and medium-sized enterprise sector are broadening banks’ traditional customer bases.

In this blog, we curate relevant and remarkable content related to digital banking, fintech and high-performance banking leaders. Watch this video from Oxford Business Group to learn more about the digitalisation efforts of Thailand’s banks.