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BFC Bank launches in UK as specialist provider to PSP’s and MSP’s

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BFC Bank, owned by BFC Group, is the latest bank to launch in the UK promising to act as a new, specialist bank that offers reliable, safe banking services to Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s), Payments Service Providers (PSP’s) and Money Service Providers (MSP’s) that trade internationally.

BFC Bank

BFC Bank launches in UK as specialist provider to PSP’s and MSP’s

BFC Bank makes it clear that it has a 100-year history and is not a so-called Challenger Bank. Rather they have entered the market to service the 60% of SME businesses that make up the back bone of the UK market. The purpose of this entry is to advantage of the “De-risking” that many of the UK’s High Street banks implemented over the last few years.

In the process of De-risking the banks left many SME’s, PSP’s and MSP’s without accounts to provide their services from. Essentially these companies were notified that they had 3 months before their accounts were closed.

BFC Bank sees a massive opportunity to services these clients whom remain underserved by the banking industry through De-risking. “Banking is full of rules and regulations. It’s become too easy when banks have to deal with customers to hide behind these regulations rather than actually solving problems,” explains David Price, CEO, BFC Bank.

“We help small businesses find ways to solve problems. We’re a small business ourselves – we think like they do, and in many ways, we are one of them. We make it clear that we want people working for us who don’t just deal in platitudes, who don’t only speak about putting the customer first – we want to actually do that, to think about how I’d want things to go if it were my business. We don’t hide behind regulations. We are a human-centric, values-driven company.”

Working with SME’s – BFC Banks international payments services complement the existing banking arrangements. SME’s can enjoy an online services and support from experienced relation managers and expert payments teams

Working with PSP’s – BFC Bank knows how important it is for PSP’s to have access to UK domestic payments and cash management services. Fewer banks now provide current accounts and financial services to PSP’s.

Transparent FX – BFC Bank knows about FX charges. It provides clear information on tariffs. This transparency gives the confidence the client needs from a corporate bank and a benchmark against other providers. International payments and FX are BFC’s core competencies.

“We’ve grown from a small business and therefore we have empathy with the small business sector. The UK is a trading nation where SMEs play a vital role and they needs banks that can understand them, made up of staff that can deliver,” says Robert Greene, General Manager, Corporate Banking Division, BFC Bank.

“We are secondary bankers – we have a dedicated relationship management team that can understand businesses and can appreciate the problems they face. The relationships management and customer service mechanisms are vital. Our people will come to visit you and get to understand your business. If we don’t deliver then people won’t use us, and we understand therefore that we always have to deliver.”

posted Mar 11, 2018 by Eddie

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image Hong Kong-based taxi-hailing app HKTaxi has enabled in-app Mastercard   payments, in a move that aims to add convenience to consumers paying for   their cab rides.

 The service is expected to benefit both cardholders and taxi drivers.   Cardholders in Hong Kong will be able to make payments seamlessly on the   app while taxi drivers can avoid potential security risks such as theft of cash   or receiving counterfeit banknotes.

“ Approximately 65 percent of all urban transportation is still paid in cash   globally which slows down consumers in their daily commutes. In response,   Mastercard is working to create cashless solutions that empowers consumers   to get on their way in the easiest and most convenient manner,” said Benjamin Gilbey, Senior Vice President, Digital Payments and Labs, Asia Pacific, Mastercard. “As cities move towards transforming into smart cities, the vision is to continue to build innovative solutions that will improve the quality of life for all segments of societies.”

The Mastercard and HKTaxi alliance comes on the heels of a series of transport-related solutions that Mastercard has implemented in Asia Pacific over the years. Earlier last week, Mastercard and the Transport for New South Wales in Australia launched contactless payments across all Sydney Ferries and light rail services following a successful trial. The rollout means cardholders can use their Mastercard contactless credit or debit cards to tap on and off ferry and light rail services.

Similarly in Singapore, Mastercard has worked with both government and private organizations to facilitate cashless digital payments within the transport sector. For instance, Comfort DelGro, Singapore’s largest taxi operator, extended the convenience of paying with Masterpass to street-hail rides in addition to pre-booked rides.

On a larger scale, Mastercard partnered with the Land Transport Authority in Singapore to jointly pilot an Account-Based Ticketing (ABT) system to drive contactless payments in buses and trains. Following the launch of the ABT system, over 100,000 commuters now use their Mastercard contactless credit or debits cards to make over 60,000 daily trips without the hassle of having to top up their cards. Singapore is the first market in Asia, and one of the few cities in the world to enable such a system.

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Noor Bank, a Shari’a-compliant bank in the UAE, has collaborated with UB QFPay, the joint venture between Dubai-based United Brands and China-based QFPay, to bring a new mobile payment product to the UAE, according to a press release.

The product, which the companies call a first of its kind in the region, will enable tourists, as well as overseas visitors, to make payments at retail outlets in the UAE using multiple international mobile wallets from various markets. Noor Bank will handle all transaction settlements for the product as part of its collaboration, according to the release.

As part of the initiative, UB QFPay will enable retail outlets within the UAE to accept secure payments from tourists who wish to pay for their purchases from their preferred mobile wallets. UBPAY is currently live at a number of retailers in the UAE that are frequented by Chinese tourists.

The companies did not say in the release which international mobile wallets UB QFPay would support, though Chinese tourists are well known for using Alipay and WeChat when they travel if acceptance is available in other countries.

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image On 25 May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation   (GDPR) becomes enforceable under law in the European   Union (EU).

 It fundamentally changes how businesses (and the public   sector) must handle information relating to their customers, giving greater   protection to individuals and harmonizing the laws for data handling across the EU.

 GDPR has a different focus to previous data protection laws, and ensures the protection of Personally Identifiable Information (PII)   related to an EU individual, regardless of where it is stored anywhere across the world.

 If you are a small business which has never dealt with, or shipped to anywhere outside of your home country, it is possible that GDPR will   not be a concern. However, even if you have a single regular EU-based customer, you will need to become compliant.

 Compliance with GDPR is essential for any business doing business inside the EU, but it is also just as important for any business globally that wants to do business with the EU.

So with that in mind, what steps should businesses in APAC look to consider?

The first requirement would be to put someone in charge of data compliance. Under GDPR this person is known as the Data Protection Officer (DPO), and is responsible for ensuring that your company is securing their data correctly, while also holding overall responsibility for the compliance process. Without a DPO, companies might risk failing to comply, with internal battles preventing effective decisions from being made.

With a DPO in place, you can then start to look at areas where data protection best practices will help. It is worth bearing in mind that the full current documentation contains 99 GDPR articles, hence I’m proposing three important areas to pay particular focus on. 

1. Encryption of data. This may seem obvious, but it’s worth taking the time to review what you encrypt and where it is. This will likely mean running a full data audit, but as we know since data does change value over its lifecycle – an audit will have benefits beyond just knowing ‘what’ to encrypt, you will also learn what data is being held and whether it can be archived or even deleted. This is also not just about encrypting data at-rest, also consider data in-motion and network data protection methods. The latest encryption and cloud access security broker (CASB) tools will greatly help here.

2. Access controls. Make sure you know who is accessing data, from where, and when. With demands for 24x7 any-device access, it is very important to put these controls in place, and reduce the risk for unauthorised access. At the same time make sure that employee access methods are strong with good, regularly changed, passwords and multi-factor authentication in place. However, this only covers user access to data. You will also need to look at what is accessing data. Many organisations have third party connections in place with partners or other applications. These will similarly need to be continuously monitored, for ongoing GDPR compliance.

3. Establish an incident response process. Under GDPR, if data is breached, you need to notify that this has happened – and in most circumstances, the notification has to happen within 72 hours of detecting the breach. Effective incident response processes will put you in a stronger position should a breach occur, to understand what happened, the impact of the breach and the mitigation measures required. The breach will still need to be reported, and you may have to contact individual customers to let them know – but an efficient response process will allow for better mitigation of potential damage, while also greatly reducing the risk of negative long-term brand or financial impact.

In summary, ensuring the safe protection of your customers’ data should always be a priority, and is fundamentally sound business sense.

The imminent roll-out of GDPR however, as a significantly broad set of regulations with potential legal implications globally – should serve as fresh impetus for your company to relook the way it approaches data protection, and plug gaps which might otherwise pose issues in the long run.

While GDPR details how data relating to EU citizens must be protected, does it not make sense to simultaneously consider and adopt the best practices being rolled out, and protect ALL citizen data that you process globally?

Various countries in the region are already creating and updating their respective data protection laws. Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and the Philippines for example all already have plans in the works, with Australia having recently already amended their existing privacy acts – but the GDPR is cross-border legislation, and becomes legally enforceable from the 25th of May this year.

With regulation comes opportunity, and GDPR is perhaps the perfect catalyst for companies across the region (and beyond) to relook the way they approach data protection. Better data protection will not only ensure compliance with the new regulations, but also ultimately provide confidence to your customers in the long run – this is your chance to stay ahead of the game.

 

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CRYPTOCURRENCIES such as Bitcoin, Ripple and Ethereum are all in the green now after a turbulent start to the year. But could all three top tokens return to their previous record highs? Here are the latest price predictions.

Bitcoin had a good weekend after a poor start to 2018, dropping to under $6,000 at the start of February.

As of February 20, CoinDesk's Bitcoin Price Index (BPI) highlights a peak up to $ 11,279.18 (£8,068.54) at the time of writing - the first time the currency has broken through the $11,000 mark since January 29.

Ethereum is up at $949.19 with Ripple up 0.73 percent at $1.15. While LiteCoin Cash, a Litecoin fork that occurred on Sunday night, is currently $ 7.33 (a rise of some 141 percent).

The total market cap for all cryptocurrencies stands at $484,989,000,000.

The rises come after a damaging month for cryptocurrencies as a whole. After peaking at about $834billion on January 7, the market plunged an eye-watering 66 percent, wiping out some $553billion, according to CoinMarketCap.

But with Bitcoin, Ripple and Ethereum all back in the green today, many Crypto experts are confident that the market can reach new heights this year.

Thomas Glucksmann of GateCoin told CNBC: “Increasing regulatory recognition of cryptocurrency exchanges, the entrance of institutional capital and major technology developments will contribute to the market's rebound and push cryptocurrency prices to all new highs this year.”

He added bitcoin, the biggest and best-known cryptocurrency, could be “pushing $50,000 by December”.

Jamie Burke, CEO at Outlier Ventures, is bullish about the cryptocurrency market, insisting it has the potential to reach $1trillion.

He told CNBC: “We believe after February the market will likely go on a bull run comparative if not greater than last year potentially reaching the trillion-dollar mark before a proper crypto winter sets in where the market becomes more focused on proper market fundamentals.”

And Panos Mourdoukoutas, writing for Forbes, suggested that after “ being in a deep correction for a few weeks, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and Litecoin have been coming back nicely over the last week, gaining 19.87%, 10.48%, 30.57%, and 53.90% respectively”.

He added the crypto turnaround after the recent crash comes as equity markets rebounded from the sell-off early in the month.

And he also wrote the cryptocurrency “technicals” remain strong, saying “83 cryptocurrencies [are] advancing and only 17 declining among the top 100 listed currencies.”

Dennis de Jong, managing director of UFX, says he believes cryptocurrencies remain strong and will not plummet for good in 2018.

He told Express.co.uk: “It may not capture the headlines like the volatility of bitcoin has in recent months, but there have been considerable advances in the underlying technology of the blockchain.

“Many industries are already live with, or in the process of testing, blockchain use cases that have potentially huge knock-ons for data management and security advancements.

“The relationship between crypto usage and investment in the space underpins bitcoin’s value to an extent, and for this reason I can’t see it going anywhere soon."

But as central banks attempt to kickstart regulation - Citibank India being the latest financial authority this week to ban cryptocurrency payments on debit or credit card - some investors believe the market slump could be an indicator of an overall crash in all financial markets.

Bleakley Financial Group CIO Peter Boockvar said: “If bitcoin resumes its decline here, I think that equity investors should pay attention.”

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                                                          VERIME AND MARITIME BANK

VeriMe is a Singaporean blockchain based verification-as-a-service platform that facilitates other organizations in easy and fast user authentication. The platform relies on the secure, high speed working of blockchain to give its clients a cheaper and unparalleled service, allowing them to concentrate on their core services and let VeriMe take care of the working behind the verification of customers or other services.

VeriME offers two types of services, namely D-KYC and D-Secure. D-KYC is a digital identity verification system that performs Know Your Customer background checks for institutions, requiring no hectic and tedious form filling and document submission. D-Secure is a payment authentication service designed form merchants and banks, allowing them to process customer requests with ease. D-Secure, like the KYC counterpart, does not require face to face meetings or heavy document filing.

Maritime Bank, as one of the largest banks in Vietnam, has a broad base of clients and handles a lot of transactions and new customers in a day. By partnering up with VeriMe, the bank’s user and payment verification system load is transferred to VeriMe. The quick services of VeriMe ensure that no matter how much the processing load from Maritime is, it can deliver the quickest of verification services. Maritime benefits a lot as verification time for its services will drop significantly.

Maritime Bank is not the first Vietnamese bank that has partnered with VeriMe. Previous partnerships with Military Bank and CFC exist, giving their combines 5,000,000 plus users an easy way to verify themselves and the online purchasing done by them.

WHY VERIME?

VeriMe, as a blockchain platform, offers a many-fold increase in speed of verification of individuals and payment services by providing a cost effective, high level of data protection, document free and third party free system. Traditional procedures are slow and tedious, involving a lot of paperwork, inflexible rules, unsecure and money intensive. VeriMe does away with all the clutter and smoothes the experience.

VeriMe has already partnered with more than 30 organization around the world, providing services to more than 300,000 merchants and their respective consumers. The platform is in talks with ASEAN member country partners for expanding in other geographical locations.

VERIME’S VME

The authentication and the verification process of the VeriMe platform is paid for through its its internal token, the VME. It has recently completed a successful token generation event with more than 106,500,000 VME grabbed by early investors. The event saw 1 ETH being traded for 3000 VME.

For more information about the Verification as a Service platform, visit their websitehttps://www.verime.mobi/home

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