Morning Brief 10.25.19: Revolut's international expansion reaches Singapore

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Continent hopping

U.K. fintech Revolut has launched in Singapore, contending it's starting with 30,000 pre-signed consumers and pushing "free" cross-border payments to Europe.

Singapore is a fast-growing technology and banking hub, with about $7 billion in outbound cross-border payments volume yearly, reports Yahoo Singapore. and Revolut recently signed a global partnership with Mastercard.

Revolut also plans to launch in the U.S. and Canada, and recently entered a partnership with Bottomline to power faster payments in the U.K.

With the Current

Wellington Management Co. and the venture capital arm of CUNA Mutual Group are part of a $20 million round in youth payment app Current, which has expanded from a teen debit card to personal checking accounts and other financial services.
Current has passed 500,000 in accounts and has raised $45 million in total funding since its debut in 2015, reports TechCrunch.
Current uses an API platform that supports integration with banks that can issue the card or opt to add customized features. It contends it's on pace to pass one million users by 2020.

Virtual agent

Amex's investment arm American Express Ventures has made an undisclosed investment in Isreali startup Voca.ai, which develops artificial intelligence for customer service.
The startup's core product is a virtual agent that uses speech-to-text to capture queries, then uses its internal systems to analyze and process text before communicating back to the consumer. These Voca Agents also adjust accent, language and vocal inflections to mimic a human experience, explains Finextra, adding its clients include financial institutions, payment companies and card companies.
While security risk is the primary use of AI for payment companies, customer service is starting to gain steam as the technology improves.

Cross-Atlantic sand

Several U.S. regulators have joined the Global Financial Innovation Network, a regulatory sandbox that falls under the U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority.
Sandboxes, which temporarily relax regulations to test financial innovation, have proven useful in pushing payments innovation, enough for the concept to spread internationally.
The SEC, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, FDIC and OCC will all support the FCA's sandbox, reports Coindesk. The mix of regulators could benefit cross-border payment companies and blockchain development.

From the web

simPRO partners Square to drive payments for field service professionals
VERDICT | Thu October 24, 2019
Australian SaaS company simPRO has partnered with Square to offer fast payment processing options to field service professionals. The collaboration will involve the integration of Square payment platform with simPRO to provide the businesses with an on-spot payment option.

Japan’s Kyodai Remittance taps Western Union for fund transfers
VERDICT | Thu October 24, 2019
Japanese firm Kyodai Remittance has entered into a new partnership to enable fund transfers globally through Western Union. The collaboration will enable customers to utilise Kyodai’s multi-channel remittance services in Japan to send money globally. The service will support payments across bank accounts in more than 100 countries and Western Union’s global retail network.

Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency gets a 'hell no' from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey
CNET | Thu October 24, 2019
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey gave a resounding negative answer when asked whether his social media platform would be joining Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency project, according to multiple reports. During a Twitter event in New York City Thursday, Dorsey said "hell no" to the prospect.

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