The annual FinovateEurope 2012 expo took place in London
in February, bringing together technology companies – ranging from
established global players to start ups – to showcase their latest
products, ideas and plans. Meghna Mukerjee met up with the
participants and picks out some of the show


FinovateEurope 2012 in London on 7 February, maintained its
reputation for bringing together some of the most exciting banking
technology innovations for the European market.

With more than 550 attendees, the
day-long event featured financial technology companies –
specialising in different areas – making seven-minute presentations
each to introduce or talk about their latest, most innovative
product or idea.

The segments covered at
FinovateEurope were:

  • Digital banking
    Backbase, Mootwin, Fiserv, Sandstone
    Technology, and Service2Media;
  • Money management
    Figlo, IND Group, Meniga;
  • Security, identity
    and verification:
    FinSphere, miicard, Ping Identity,
  • Digital
    CurrencyFair, Ixaris Systems, PayPal and La
    Caixa, Fiserv,, Luup and Handpoint;
  • Small business
    BCSG, Kabbage, TradeShift;
  • Social
    eToro and iBrokr;
  • Direct investing
    DCisions (Investor Bee), Nutmeg; and
  • Merchant-funded

RBI takes a look at some
of the highlights of FinovateEurope 2012:

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Backbase: Backbase
showcased its Bank 2.0 Portal that aims to create “unique online
banking environments” for different customer segments, through
Portal Manager. The Portal Manager allows e-business professional
to be in control instead of the developer.

Backbase Bank 2.0 Portal empowers
financial institutions to create customer interactions with a user
experience layer that links users to the information and resources
they need most.

The Portal Manager enables
customers to change their individual portal whenever and however
they want it.

Backbase has teamed up with
Australia-based online banking solutions provider, Sandstone, to
market and support the Bank 2.0 Portal throughout Australia and New

Service2Media showcased its App Lifecycle Platform – a solution the
company calls “one of the major opportunities in the mobile payment

Service2Media’s App Lifecycle
Platform aims to solve the challenges and eliminate the complexity
of delivering mobile app innovation.

At FinovateEurope, Service2Media
also showcased its work with one of its clients, Rabobank, through
the Converged Payment-Banking App, that is built and maintained on
Service2Media’s App Lifecycle Platform.

Mobile payments are made available
for all mobile web shops through the App Lifecycle Platform, using
customers’ trusted mobile banking app environment.

Netherland-headquartered Figlo gave a sneak peak of its “latest
innovation in financial planning” for the first time publicly – a
consumer portal that enables financial organisations to create
customised offerings for Personal Finance Management (PMF),
financial product advice and financial planning based on

The Figlo consumer portal aims to
allow users to create and configure their own, personalised bank
look and feel on screen or on the phone, all with social

A drag and drop system enables
“quick time to market” and by integrating widgets into social
media, “the fun factor of financial planning is guaranteed”,
according to Figlo. Financial institutions can build their own
portal and use the Figlo portal to get increase customers

PayPal and la
PayPal announced its partnership with Spanish
lender la Caixa to integrate its Instant Account Creation solution
with the lender’s online banking platform at FinovateEurope.

This is the first time that PayPal
has integrated its account opening services with any banking
platform. PayPal’s director general in Spain and Portugal, Estanis
Martin de Nicolas, said the Instant Account Creation allows la
Caixa customers to open a new PayPal account in just three steps
from the internet channel.

It also allows la Caixa to ensure
that its credit and debit cards are instantly added to the
customer’s new PayPal wallet, providing la Caixa customers with
convenience and PayPal with a new channel to acquire customer
(see page 9).

Etronika: The
Lithuania-based IT vendor demonstrated its Banktron product – a new
version of its Microsoft Kinect-based online banking application –
that is due for launch during the second quarter of 2012. Banktron
recognises a customer’s face, voice, and navigates the user in to
online banking.

Etronika has a ‘natural’ user
interface idea for its Microsoft Kinect-based online banking
application that debuted in 2011.

IND Group: IND’s
presentation was about its new solution IND Banking-Front Office.
IND spoke about gamification – a concept to motivate customers with
game mechanics reward in online banking.

According to IND, gamification is
suitable for online banking because it can make the banking
processes more enjoyable and inspire users to try new services as

Taking a cue from online gaming
platforms such as Farmville, Runkeeper and Foursquare that reward
customers for using the app more and performing better on the
platform, IND has introduced the same concept to online

ValidSoft showcased its voice biometric-based authentication
solution for mobile banking, VALid, and spoke about its transaction
security solutions.

ValidSoft CEO Patrick Carroll said:
“While mobile banking, or m-banking, is here now, with 800m
smartphones already in circulation globally, m-banking is only
going to grow. How do we make m-banking safe and practical?

“You can’t hold your smartphone in
one hand and your bank secure key in the other when walking down
the street. That doesn’t make our lives easier.

“A much simpler solution is using
out-of-band, real-time, multi-factor authentication and transaction

VALid is a
“telecommunications-based multi-factor authentication and
transaction verification platform” that provides protection across
multiple electronic banking channels, including online, m-banking,
contact-centre, mobile payments and such.

“Biometric voice verification can
also be layered for even greater security. Our product combines
usability, portability, and security that will drive the adoption
of m-banking,” said Carroll.

Ixaris: Global
electronic payments company launched Opn Cardworks at
FinovateEurope, a payment application which aims to enable
businesses to set up a personalised prepaid card programme fast and
embed it into their own online and mobile payment services.

Opn Cardworks allows customers to
create a customisable prepaid card programme – virtual or plastic.
It is part of the company’s open payment platform, Ixaris Opn.

Opn Cardworks provides all of the
necessary infrastructure and supporting services, including all the
necessary banking partners and a comprehensive risk and compliance
platform to ensure that customers meet obligations such as KYC

The product aims to provide an
end-to-end solution, offer cost effective and faster-to-market
alternative to more mainstream card services on the market.

Cardworks programmes come with APIs
to support integration into websites and mobile apps. Customers are
allowed to offer remittance services to their end users, claim
funds on to a virtual or plastic prepaid card and receive updates
on their account through an online portal or SMS.

“As the growth of mobile apps and
services continues, there is an increasing demand for integrated
solutions that can improve the speed and efficiency of payments
through these channels,” said Ixaris CEO Alex Mifsud.

Opn Cardworks will enable merchants
of all sizes to further extend their payment applications through
an extremely cost-effective prepaid card service

Miicard: Online
identity verification service provider miicard demonstrated its
‘digital passport’ at FinovateEurope – a service to help consumers
prove they are who they say they are.

“miiCard uses information only a
user would know, accesses details to their online bank account, and
creates a secure, encrypted link to this account which has already
approved a primary identity check to meet AML/KYC regulations,”
said miicard CEO James Varga.

“Each point of validation is
rechecked daily for accuracy and suitability. Vendors establish
appropriate level of assurance requirements for their product or
service. miiCard then allows those vendors to identify an
individual with enough assurance to support the transaction, like
the sale of a regulated financial product.”

Miicard also announced that the
‘digital passport’ is being rolled out to India, South Africa,
Australia and New Zealand.

In the UK particularly, the “big
problem in retail banking” is about customer acquisition and
knowing a new users real identity, said Varga, stressing the
‘digital passport’ is effective in this scenario.

US-based transaction-driven marketing company Cardlytics, along
with loyalty management vendor Aimia, demonstrated their joint
venture in the UK – a solution that will enable merchants to keep
track of offers served, activated and revenue earned.

The portal – that aims to allow
banks to market loyalty solutions to its users on the back of
individual purchasing history – was set up in 2008 and launched in
October 2011. According to Cardlytics, all bank-facing channels and
capability are futile with merchant engagement and the new solution
enables that.

The software tracks an individual
customer’s spending habits, the frequency, spending budgets and
areas of spend, to enable banks to make relevant offers that would
appeal to the consumer.

Luup: Luup showed
its Mobile Corporate Solution that gives employees of any company a
tool that aims to make internal travel authorisation and budget
management easier.

The tool can be used by an employee
to submit a request from a mobile device to their line manager
about work-related travel plans. The line manager gets a push
notification and actions the request with an online view of his
budget position wherever the line manager may be.

The traveller gets a push
notification with the decision of the line manager and can proceed
with the booking.

“Luup is redefining payments with
its universal mobile payment platform and solutions. Enabled by
Luup’s successful Remote Authorisation and Mobile Wallet products,
the new service optimises processes, aiming to create efficiency
and productivity,” said CEO Martin Wilson.

“With Luup’s latest service, travel
budgets are managed in Luup’s wallet system that enables travel
requests, authorisations and payments within minutes from anywhere,
on any mobile device.”

On the retail banking side Luup has
been offering retail banks globally a mobile payments tool that
enables remittances across countries via a couple of SMSs, and in
2012 the vendor plans to continue creating larger easy remittance
system among banks, added Wilson.

Fiserv: Fiserv
formally announced the launch of its upgraded M-Cash mobile payment
platform at FinovateEurope.

Mobiliti M-Cash is a complete
bank-driven personal payments platform that enables leading
financial institutions to set up their own mobile-centric P2P brand
and enable consumer to consumer payments, consumer to business
payments and consumer payments to online retailers.

Nutmeg: Providing
an alterative to investing and saving at banks, investments startup
Nutmeg introduced itself and unveiled its services at

Nutmeg is a new online investment
manager that creates smart, personalised investment funds for
customers with details around how much they would want to invest,
what are the savings goals, and the risk they are comfortable

“It was a pleasure to unveil Nutmeg
at Finovate,” said CEO Nick Hungerford.

“We are passionate about the need
for an easy and transparent way for every type of saver and
investor to build a secure financial future, without the
complicated jargon or stressful mystique that is typically
associated with managing money, particularly in these uncertain
economic times.”

A key aspect of Nutmeg’s service
its ‘collecting nutmegs scheme’ – which is the equivalent of
collecting value points. Nutmegs are accrued based on the amount of
an investment – the greater the lump sum or contribution, the more
nutmegs are earned – and through recommending the service to

The more nutmegs a user earns, the
lower his or her fees become for investing, Hungerford added.

Several leading European banks,
including La Caixa, ABN AMRO, BNP Paribas, ING, and Rabobank were
actively present at the event, but with the notable exception of
Barclays, UK-headquartered banks were notably conspicuous by the
lack of a high profile presence.

Cardlytics, Dynamics, eToro and Nutmeg were named ‘best of show’
through audience votes.