The FinTech news that caught my eye this week

UK challenger bank, Atom, has secured £30 million of new funding, bagging the Tier 2 capital from the British Business Bank. It’s been a month of two halves (Brian) for the new entrant. Alongside the £30 million boost, there was the postponement of plans to launch a current account over concerns about forthcoming Competition and Markets Authority Open Banking standards that make the market too “ambiguous and uncertain”. In addition, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) recently launched a review of current accounts, which will not deliver initial findings until next year.


Many FinTechs have been frothing at the mouth over the Open Banking revolution, but not Atom. Speaking to the FT, Chief Executive, Mark Mullen, said the current account launch would be “certainly not in 2017, and maybe not even in 2018”.

Klarna gets a full banking licence. TechCrunch had the best coverage of this story IMHO.

“We want to be part of reshaping the retail banking industry. New regulations … set the right prerequisites for the destruction of that industry but it needs a Ryanair to come along. We want to be that player,” Klarna Chief Executive Sebastian Siemiatkowski told the Financial Times.

Yikes. Bonus points, I guess, for not being the billionth person to say ‘we want to be the Uber of banking’, but Ryanair? So that’s cheap but crap with horrendous customer service and an obnoxious boss, right?

Peeps can now buy products they discover via Instagram using Amazon’s payments platform.

The e-tailer has partnered with Moda Operandi to integrate Amazon Pay directly within the clothing retailer’s Instagram posts.

I like it. I like it a lot.

Bad week for Tesco. First the supermarket chain was hit by a home shopping glitch affecting thousands of orders. Then hundreds of Tesco Bank customers were unable to access their online accounts after the company suffered a second day of computer failures.

Remember the great Tesco Bank hack of 2016? Would you bank with these people? Me either.

Apple Pay expands to 40 more banks around the US, UK, and China…Every little bit helps, but Apple Pay and other mobile payment services will not go mainstream until they bolt on additional offerings (transaction-based incentives etc). To quote my tech savvy girlfriend, who refuses to use Apple Pay: “What’s the point? I can use my contactless card, it’s quicker than Apple Pay and less hassle.”

About me: Freelance journalist specialising in FinTech, banking technology and retail technology. Former Editor of FStech, Retail Systems and IBS Journal. Further info here.


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