Travelex, the world’s leading foreign exchange brand, has partnered with advanced global payments platform Nium to extend digital remittance services to their users. Now live in Australia and Singapore, the digital remittance offering (“Travelex International Money Transfer”) will be serviced by Nium’s global payment rails and real-time payment capabilities, enabling Travelex users to remit money to more than 50 markets across the world almost instantly. The service will be further expanded to the rest of Asia soon.
“Extending the Travelex digital suite to offer remittance services is a logical next-step and continues our focus on digital innovation which includes our market-leading online currency exchange platform, the multi-award-winning Travelex Money Card and a global network of FX ATM’s,” explained Cameron Hume, Managing Director, Travelex Asia Pacific.
Travelex will be leveraging Nium’s Remittance-as-a-Service (RaaS) solution for the launch of this service. Introduced just last year, Nium’s RaaS solution makes it easier for companies to become providers of payment services and offer remittance services on their own digital platforms. RaaS provides not just the full stack technology solution, but also incorporates the expansive regulatory portfolio and a team of experts from Nium, paving the way further for businesses to tap into the huge potential of the online payments business and explore new revenue streams.
“Travelex is the leading brand in foreign exchange globally and across the APAC region. They are recognised and trusted as experts in their field. At Nium, we understand how difficult it is for a company to introduce remittance or money transfer services at scale, and we are excited that Travelex has selected Nium to be their trusted partner for this journey,” says Michael Minassian, Regional Head of Nium’s Consumer and SME Business.
“Nium’s mission is to create a global fintech infrastructure that can enable banks, financial institutions and other fintech companies to launch and scale innovative digital financial services without the complexity, time and cost previously required to do so. We look forward to working closely with Travelex to offer a robust digital remittance offering to their customers,” Michael continued.
Consumers can access Travelex International Money Transfer, via their local country Travelex website, with an App to be launched shortly.
“Travelex is delighted to team up with Nium to offer remittance services. Following a rigorous selection process we were impressed with their holistic solution which encompassed the technology framework and the expertise of the team. In today’s competitive payments environment, new technology makes a huge difference in delivering the best customer experience,” states Darren Brown, Managing Director, Travelex Australian and New Zealand.
Travelex will be expanding its digital remittance offering to major markets in Asia Pacific in the coming months.
WeatherNet acquired by Synergy Cloud
Synergy Cloud, the technology and data company owned by Claims Consortium Group, has acquired the majority stake in WeatherNet from Sedgwick, a leading global provider of technology-enabled risk, benefits and integrated business solutions. The deal completed on 30.04.2021 for an undisclosed sum. This acquisition expands Synergy’s current data and insights offering as the company continues to focus on providing industry-leading data and software solutions to the UK insurance market.
Since its inception in 1995, WeatherNet has grown to become UK insurers’ most trusted weather provider – using its unique reservoir of urban-based weather data to supply historic, current and forecast services – and to deliver unique industry-tailored insights.
Jeremy Hyams, Founder and CEO of Claims Consortium Group, said: ‘I am delighted to welcome WeatherNet to Synergy and the Group. As one of the most recognised and respected brands in the industry, it has been pioneering claims technology and data since 1995. The team’s extensive expertise will perfectly complement our existing offering and add a new dimension to our portfolio as we embark on new strategic initiatives.’
Steve Roberts, Founder and Owner of WeatherNet, said: ‘We are delighted to be joining Synergy and Claims Consortium Group and would like to thank Jeremy and his team for their interest, trust and for making everyone here feel so welcome. We look forward to this new and exciting chapter, continuing to build value for our clients and staying at the vanguard of the insurtech market.’
Till Financial and the Importance of Fintech for Families
In this past few weeks alone we’ve heard from a number of fintechs that are dedicated to helping kids learn how to be responsible with money.
We caught up with Taylor Burton, co-founder of Till Financial, one of the many companies that are innovating in the youth financial wellness space. The Massachusetts-based startup, launched in 2018, introduced its free, collaborative family banking platform this spring. At the same time, Till secured $5 million in funding in a round led by Afore Capital – which is where our conversation begins.
You’ve just secured a significant investment. What does the funding mean for Till?
Taylor Burton: It means an increased ability to positively impact the trajectory of kids as they prepare for launch. The group of investors that we assembled share our vision for how collaborative family banking should look—we are excited to continue to add more supporters as we scale our platform.
We are thrilled to have the support of like-minded investors including Elysian Park Ventures, Pivotal Ventures with Magnify Ventures, Afore Capital, Luge Capital, Alpine Meridian Ventures, The Gramercy Fund, SM Ventures (the family office of the founders/CEOs of Stadium Goods) and Lightspeed Venture Partners’ Scout Fund. Also participating were angel investors such as the founders of fintech Petal, the founders of alcohol marketplace Drizly, the president of Transactis, and the president of 1800Flowers.
We will be adding to our high-quality team in all areas that support our customers through their journey on Till. Marketing that provides the content to help families have the first “real” conversation about money. Development to accelerate our vision of what our product can be, plus integrate all the great ideas coming out of the Till user community. And customer success to ensure that a Till family is maximizing its experience on the platform.
How does Till help empower children to become smarter spenders?
Burton: Till is designed to encourage open and honest discussions between parents and their kids. The goal is to help kids learn by doing and to gain confidence in spending decisions. We do this in the following ways:
The right tools: Till equips kids with their own bank account, digital and physical debit cards, and goal-based savings tools.
Emphasis on community: A child can easily set up a goal on the app that they can use to start saving toward and give family members (such as grandparents, other family members or community members) the opportunity to help pitch in. This gives members of the child’s network an opportunity to support them towards their goals. After all, it takes a village, and Till helps facilitate that.
Visualizing financial responsibility: Kids can also set up recurring payments for different ongoing responsibilities or subscription services that will get them used to the concept of paying bills on a timely basis.
That being said, along with teaching kids valuable saving habits, we want to be advocates for kids to feel empowered in their spending decisions just as much, if not more. Parents and the traditional legacy banking options tend to focus mostly on a child’s savings. At Till, we believe that we need to prioritize preparing kids to be smarter spenders, while supporting them through savings and investing. On our platform, kids learn to spend with intention and purpose, while parents gain confidence and trust based on transparency and accountability.
What is unique about the method that Till Financial uses?
Burton: One unique part of the app are the financial agreements which allow kids to have greater agency and responsibility over their money. Parents can create agreements and tasks that encourage kids/teens to understand the value of every dollar. By visualizing the financial responsibility of earning every allowance, they are able to be active participants in their financial journeys.
Additionally, as families are more spread out over time, Till reinforces the impact of community by leveraging family, friends, and members of their close networks to help the child reach their financial goals. Till also offers merchant partners curated with kids’ interests in mind. As we continue to grow, we will have more opportunities to add on to this list and provide kids with more incentives.
How does Till make money?
Burton: Till aims to be “first in wallet” and “only in wallet,” unlike other card offerings targeted at adults fighting to be “top of wallet.” Till captures value (revenue) when we deliver value to our customers. Unlike other legacy banks—and even some early digital ones that often time charge monthly or subscription fees—Till is free to all consumers, making us accessible to all users.
Till earns revenue in three ways: We earn an interchange fee (like all debit/credit cards) for facilitating the transaction between our users on vendors. There are also affiliate fees. We want our user’s dollars to go farther. We are negotiating both broad and proprietary relationships with the vendors that our kids spend with each day. Our kids get access to discounts and exclusive access and we get a percentage when the kid does choose to make a purchase. Everyone’s a winner: the kids receive a steeper discount on items that they were already planning to buy, while the merchant gains a new customer.
Lastly, there’s origination. Consumers’ needs change over time and our ability to create the best outcomes for our families depends on focus. It is not Till’s intention to be a kid’s forever bank, just their first bank. With that in mind a Till kid should be treated with the respect that they have earned on our platform for positive financial decisions at launch. When the time comes for kids to leave the house and strike out on their own, Till introduces them to our launch offers market. There, they can receive preferential treatment on loans, credit cards, and adult debit/checking. The adult financial institution gets a better, more valuable client; our consumer receives the advantages they deserve for being of sound financial mind; and Till receives an origination fee.
How important are partnerships to Till’s business plan?
Burton: Till’s merchant and venture partners are interwoven into our business plan to seamlessly offer kids/teens and their families the best resources to develop responsible spending habits. As Till continues to expand their merchant partnerships, kids will have greater access to exclusive offers that they can use on items that they are already planning to purchase. These key partners include top tier brands that kids already shop at such as Adidas, Stadium Goods, and Dick’s Sporting Goods. And, of course, we also believe that the partnerships with our investors are a key component of the continued success of Till. We want our investors to share the same mission of empowering the next generation of economic actors.
What in your background gave you the confidence to tackle this challenge?
Burton: For starters, all three of us co-founders are dads and we’ve all had our share of financial awakenings whether with our kids or ourselves personally. That being said, Till is not just for us, but for the 50 million families that know there is a better way to raise a family; where financial conversations are collaborative not confrontational, and where all of our kids are better prepared for the modern economy.
On the company-building front, the founding team brings together everything needed to build a valued and valuable company. I bring expertise in direct-to-consumer products in a heavily regulated market (Drizly and alcohol delivery), coupled with innovation success in payments rails and merchant partners integration (PayPal and card-linked offers). Tom (Pincince) came to me with this idea after selling his third company. This serial entrepreneur has built a career by finding gaps and opportunities created by market movements and technology changes. And then Brian (Chemel), a multi-time technical founder equipped to marry the best of the old and the new to build a secure and scalable infrastructure backing a delightful and engaging user experience.
Looking back on 2020, what is your biggest professional takeaway?
Burton: We learned to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. COVID-19 impacted people’s businesses differently and when you layer in a fundraise and being an early stage start up, that can either make you or break you. In our case I think it really codified our commitment to our mission and vision and has ultimately put us in the position we are in now.
What can we expect from Till over the balance of 2021 and beyond?
Burton: Our first job is to become an integral part of millions of families’ every day financial activities. We do this by building an engaging platform that delivers both economic and social value. Along the way you will see Till add features that help parents and kids understand where they are on a financial journey and how their decisions can be rewarded by access to opportunities, experiences, and offerings. We are here to serve our users who are already helping us set priorities and guide us to new features and functionality. We are already getting requests for collaborative investing and philanthropic giving features, for example.
We are thinking big because the market is massive– there are currently 50 million pre-banked kids in the U.S. and yet, the average middle-class family in America spends $284,570 per child by age 18. At Till, we believe kids are a major economic force, as $18 billion per year is given by parents to children in the form of an allowance (mostly as cash). We recognize that they are influencers on larger family decisions, such as cars, vacations, etc. By putting the spending power back into the hands of young people, we want to be the driving force that replaces awkward family conversations about money with real actions and experiential learning.
The Facts and Figures of the Patriot Act’s Financial Crimes Solution
According to a 2020 Deloitte Anti-Money Laundering Preparedness Survey, the world loses 2–5 percent of its global GDP (about USD 800B–2T) annually through money laundering. Money laundering activities can create enough money to run several countries for one year. For instance, 2020 government budget estimates show that USD 800B can run the economies of Mexico, Belgium, and Sweden for a year. This amount can also finance over 50 of the world’s developing economies.
Over the years, the USA Patriot Act has changed the fabric of the war against financial crimes, terrorist financing, and money laundering activities. Understanding the USA Patriot Act will help you take advantage of the protections it offers US citizens and businesses against financial crimes.
What Is the USA PATRIOT Act?
The USA Patriot Act stands for “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism.” Congress enacted the Patriot Act in the wake of the horrific September 11, 2001 terror attack, with overwhelming support across the political divide.
The Act provides a framework that allows federal law enforcement agencies to use sophisticated methods to investigate, stop, or prevent acts of domestic and international terrorism. This includes all activities leading to terrorism, especially funding and planning terror attacks.
History of the PATRIOT Act
The journey leading to the establishment of the Patriot Act is long and exciting. Around the 1970s, governments globally did not focus on money laundering. The war against drugs was a more immediate adversary. The Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 was the first legislation that attempted to check money laundering activities and other financial crimes. It aimed to reduce the power of drug cartels.
In 1986, Congress enacted the Money Laundering Control Act, making money laundering a federal crime for the first time in history. This led to a cascade of actions that put money laundering on global economies’ radar. Countries finally woke up to the impact of criminal financing on terrorist activities, civil wars, and other global menaces. As a result, the 1990s and 2000s saw concerted global efforts to curb financial crimes. Money laundering was the biggest source of funding for large-scale criminal activities.
Provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act
The Patriot Act gives the US federal government much greater reach to combat international or large-scale terrorism by cutting off its financial facilitators. The legislation addresses four key aspects related to terrorism funding, money laundering, and protection of the American people.
- Title II–expansion of surveillance methods for law enforcement
- Title IV–immigration procedure changes and security of US borders
- Title VIII–criminal sanctions against terrorism-related activities
- Title III–comprehensive legislation of currency transaction and anti-money-laundering (AML) laws
Title III of the Patriot Act specifically creates measures to curb terrorism financing. Terrorists often get funding from well-orchestrated illegal transactions disguised as ordinary business transactions. The Patriot Act empowers law enforcement agencies to dig deeper into these dealings and uncover critical information about terror activities.
The major guidelines of the Patriot Act are:
1. International Community Guidelines
Title III outlines stringent guidelines surrounding inter-country financial activities. It expands the definition of money laundering activities to include breaches in data protection protocols, cybercrimes, bribing election officials, and misusing public funds. It also reinforces banking rules to control international money laundering.
Many countries followed the enactment of the Patriot Act with complementary AML laws of their own. Otherwise, the Patriot Act would be a lame-duck without international support. As a result, there are better communication structures between US law enforcement agencies and other countries.
2. Property Seizure
Section 106 of the Patriot Act allows the President to seize private or corporate property if an individual or business is engaging in terrorist activities. (Section 411 defines these activities.)
3. Fair Credit Reporting Act Amendment
The Patriot Act also amends the Fair Credit Reporting Act. It allows FBI agents, using ex parte administrative orders, to access credit histories of individuals under investigation related to national or international terrorism. This happens only where the First Amendment does not protect the criminal activities in question.
4. Anti-Money Laundering Activities
Money laundering involves disguising proceeds from criminal activity as income from legitimate business activities. This usually happens in three steps:
- Placement—criminals will first place dubious funds in financial institutions
- Layering—they will then use complex financial transactions to mask the true origins of their income
- Integration—they finally create a legitimate transaction to sanitize the payment, allowing them to use the money
E-commerce is quickly replacing the more traditional form of buyer-seller transactions. The Patriot Act requires businesses and financial institutions to employ Know Your Customer (KYC) measures. KYC measures require businesses to verify customer identities before doing business with them.
Banking businesses, including startups, must assess the risk profile of clients before transacting with them. They must crosscheck customer details against any politically exposed persons, sanction lists, or terrorist watch lists.
Where Are We Now?
With the Patriot Act, financial institutions have improved their capacity to prevent financial crimes. This is good news for everyone. No one wants to find out their business activities have inadvertently funded terrorism activity or their income came from criminal activities.
Still, the world needs a single platform to prosecute, stop, or prevent international money-laundering activities. But the USA Patriot Act was undoubtedly an excellent place to start.
8 Solid Tips That Will Help Beginners Succeed As Forex Traders
The world of finance continues to be shaken up with more and more financial instruments that allow smart individuals to spread their wealth over time. Apart from your standard stocks, another tried and tested financial instrument that stands strong to this day is foreign exchange.
Forex trading is the practice of trading and exchanging two different currencies in the hopes of making significant gains. It’s a popular financial instrument used by financial traders that prefer less volatile trading options as compared to stocks, crypto, and commodities.
Although forex trading is a lot safer as compared to other trading options, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any risks anymore. These are still pretty much present which is why you should learn the right techniques to help guide you towards making better trades.
If you are a beginner, then here’s a good guide to get you started.
Pick The Right Broker
Before you even think about trading, the very first thing you should think of is the broker or the platform through which you can trade from. While they are all there to help you trade, some platforms give you access to trading features and fair transaction rates altogether.
Of course, you should also consider the security and legitimacy of the platforms you trade on as well. As there are many brokers available, you should consider your options thoroughly. Read through reviews online and only trade with trusted brokers so that your money stays safe in good hands.
What’s good about forex trading is that since it’s based on foreign exchange, the rates you are going to deal with are affected by current news regarding a country’s economy. For instance, good foreign investments can help the value of one currency positively whereas negative economic news has the opposite effect.
This means that staying up-to-date with news regarding the currencies you trade in is going to be beneficial. Now, keep in mind that no currency is volatile to the point that it will see a severe drop rate in 24 hours. Still, economic news does have its effect on a currency over time.
Prepare A Risk Management Plan
Like other financial instruments, your gains in forex trading depends on the risks you are willing to take. The higher the risks, the bigger your earnings. However, that doesn’t mean that you should carelessly trade until you completely run out of capital.
It’s always good to trade with a risk management plan in mind. Ideally, you’d want to stop trading when you reach a certain threshold of losses. This will prevent you from completely losing your capital, and will allow you to come back another day if one trading session isn’t doing you well.
Since this is your first time trading forex, it would be smart to start with small and manageable trade. This means starting with a small capital from the get-go. Try to test the waters and then develop your own trading strategy first. Forex trading is here to stay so try to be patient with it.
Starting small also means trading one at a time. Experienced traders engage in multiple deals at a time but that’s because they’ve already developed the skill set for it through consistent trading. Eventually, you’ll learn to engage in multiple trades too.
Concoct Your Own Strategy
While you can find many strategies online, these are only good at the start of your journey. Each trader has his or her own effective trading strategy because we all have different principles and budgets to adhere to. As you move forward, you should start finding a strategy that fits you.
Having your own strategy is a good thing because it caters to what you know as a trader. Aside from the budget, this also considers what you are capable of as a trader. This is why practicing and taking it slow is very recommended if you are a beginner in forex trading.
It goes without saying that practicing is a key part of your forex trading journey as well. The good news is that there are many ways to practice without having to risk anything on your end. You can do this through demo accounts on trading platforms that let you trade with virtual money.
Almost every trading platform offers this unique feature so you don’t have to look hard to find one. Before you trade with real money, make it a must to trade using a demo account first. Get a feel of forex trading. It’s similar with other forms of trading but since the instruments are different, it does take getting used to.
From the get-go, you might be tempted to trade only currencies you are familiar with. This isn’t a bad idea though. Doing this is good because you are at least familiar with the currency and you know how to take full advantage of it with what you know.
However, don’t limit yourself to these currencies as there are many out there that’s waiting to be explored. Sometimes, it’s good to keep a close eye on up-and-coming economies because they offer the best chances for growth and gains.
Avoid Being Too Emotional
Last but not least is the most common tip you’ll hear, regardless of what you are hoping to trade. Being an emotional trader is a bad idea. This forces you to take unnecessary risks and potentially put yourself in danger of losing all of your capital. As much as possible, stay neutral.
What does being too emotional mean? This basically means you let your emotions affect your trades. For instance, if you are on a good roll, being emotional means continuously increasing the amount of your trades because you are feeling too confident. We don’t need to tell you why this is a bad idea.
Forex trading could be the key to your financial success but keep in mind that it’s not an easy venture to get into. With the right practice and techniques, you can rise from being a beginner and become a seasoned forex trader.
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