High 5! The five fintech stories we’re following this week

  • "You gotta get on the fintech bus or risk getting left behind." Not.
  • Maybe it's about time to figure out the real cost of maintaining legacy financial platforms.

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High 5! The five fintech stories we’re following this week

Get on the fintech bus...or else

This happens every time a particular technology or sets of technologies get popular. Large, multinational consultants see an opportunity to make bank and quickly get to work pushing an industry's panic button. You gotta get on the bus or risk getting left behind. Well, with report after report exhorting financial services executives to get fintech gospel, consulting firms are ratcheting up the collective FOMO. Maybe they're a little late? Fintech deals hit a five quarter low in North America. With private and public equity offerings slowing down, there's still one place fintech companies are finding some funding success: debt. Many fintech startups are receiving investment from banks themselves, rather than turning to their friendly, neighborhood venture capitalist-man.

A better, faster payment mousetrap

There's a lot of talk (and activity) around speeding up various forms of payments. There's the usual taskforce and service providers encouraging upgrade cycles. Dwolla, which focuses on ACH, is helping the industry make payments faster. Fiserv, for its part, is rolling out faster P2P payments to more clients of financial institutions and businesses with its NOW network, encroaching somewhat on Venmo's turf. In order to ramp up things a bit, maybe it really is time to figure out the cost of maintaining a legacy financial platform.

Better security and more usability for financial products?

Well, usually not. There's generally a tradeoff between security and usability when it comes to design. The more hurdles you make a user jump over to authenticate themselves, the more likely, the thinking goes, that the user will have a poor experience with the technology. A company called BioCatch is changing all that. The company continuously authenticates a user throughout a session by analyzing her behavior. It gives users small cognitive games, like hiding the cursor, to see whether you are who you really claim you are. Behavioral science is cool.

Recruits are choosing tech over Wall Street

The face of New York is changing. No longer is Wall Street the job engine for the city. Tech is. "Growth in these high-paying jobs is picking up much of the slack created by the softness of the securities industry," New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley said last week.

Don't say "thank you" like that

This is kind of a funny story. It seems Citibank has been suing AT&T over use of the tagline 'AT&T thanks' as part of the telecom's loyalty program. Citi didn't like that use because the banking firm has been using 'thankyou' as part of its own loyalty program, beginning back in 2004. From the NY Post: US District Judge Katherine Forrest acknowledged 'thankyou' and 'AT&T thanks' both “share five central letters, are partially pronounced similarly and both convey a message of gratitude." It's a bit more complicated, actually. 1.7 million customers use a co-branded card that both AT&T and Citi market, containing the Citi's 'thankyou'. Anyway, AT&T prevailed.  

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