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Nielsen: Virtual Banks to Become a Real Game Changer to Banking Industry Landscape



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With the rapid development of Financial Technology (FinTech), the idea of virtual banking has been widely discussed and is gaining more traction among the local banking population. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) first issued the Guideline on the Authorization of Virtual Banks under the Banking Ordinance back in 2000. However, the concept remained at an inception stage until 2018 when HKMA started to receive license applications. So far, out of the 30 applications, only eight had been approved and it was not until March 2020 that the first virtual bank was launched, 20 years after the first issuance of the Guideline.

It has been a long journey for virtual banking to be officially in place in town. To explore the dynamics of virtual banking in Hong Kong, Nielsen has conducted a Personal Finance Monitor to study customer perspective towards virtual banking. This yearly syndicated study aims to provide a holistic view on consumers’ personal financial status and identifying the impact virtual banking brings to the financial industry.


According to the Nielsen Personal Finance Monitor 2020, more banking consumers have heard of the term “virtual bank”, with the corresponding awareness level rocketing from 67% in 2018 to 93% in 2020. However, 42% of them have heard of this term but do not have a strong understanding of it and 38% of them are unable to correctly cite any virtual bank’s name.

Around 7% of the banking customers claim that they are currently using virtual banking services, which is an encouraging figure as the first virtual bank has become fully operational just three months before the survey took place. Moreover, the survey shows that there has been a spike of intention to use virtual banking services,  from 20% in 2018 to 37% this year.

“While virtual banks gain popularity among the public, consumers lack a clear understanding of the services and nature. It is imperative for corresponding financial organizations to dedicate more efforts to promote the virtual banking concept and educate the public about this innovative initiative,” recommends Eddie Au, Senior Director, Financial Services, Nielsen.


The study also observed the relationship between virtual bank usage intention and mobile wallet usage. Over half (51%) of active mobile wallet users who use it on a weekly basis express their intention to use virtual banking services in the future, compared with remarkably lower rates of 27% among inactive mobile wallet users and 16% among non-users. The result is not surprising as frequent mobile wallet users are more tech-savvy and have already adopted technology for financial management. In addition, the decision of using virtual banking for customers who are not active peer-to-peer (P2P) service users could be hindered by their unfamiliarity with FinTech, such as making cash deposits or withdrawals through Fast Payment System (FPS).

“Given the positive relationship between virtual bank usage intention and mobile wallet usage, partnering with various Stored Value Facility (SVF) providers could help boost virtual bank usage. Alternatively, the feasibility of facilitating SVF issuance should also be explored,” advised Eddie.


When it comes to popular virtual banking services, the survey reveals that around 75% of potential virtual bank customers prefer to start using virtual banks by opening a deposit account. Meanwhile, credit card services are also on demand, with over half of respondents (54%) showing interests in virtual bank credit card applications. Nonetheless, customers are less excited about virtual personal loan services, which are regarded as one of the popular market entry products for virtual banks. Only 18% of the customers claim they would consider applying for the loans in the future.

“Virtual bank has become a prominent and irreversible trend. Continuous growth is expected in virtual bank usage in the coming years along with the opening of more virtual banks. Still, facing competition from not only their peers but also traditional banks, virtual banks are recommended to fight for market share by putting their focuses on the most demanded services and offering competitive deposit interest rates to trigger trial usage,” said Eddie.

Virtual banks are expected to disrupt the financial industry by offering innovative and extraordinary products and services which are attractive and competitive, likely to force traditional banks to upgrade and improve their offerings and make better use of technology. In the end, banking customers would benefit from the competition.

This News has been Published in Partnership with PR Newswire


Fintech Startup Stockify offers safe, curated and verified Unlisted or Pre-IPO shares to Indians and NRIs



Fintech Startup Stockify offers safe, curated and verified Unlisted or Pre-IPO shares to Indians and NRIs
  • Stockify helps investors diversify their portfolio without the associated risks
  • It offers a single-window, easy-to-use platform to analyze, buy and sell unlisted or Pre-IPO shares

Stockify, an exciting fintech start-up with offices in Bengaluru and Dubai, recently announced its brand new easy-to-use online platform to help Indians and Non-Resident Indians diversify their stock portfolio by investing in a new category of shares.

Unlisted or Pre-IPO shares are offered by early-stage investors, promoters and employees in the secondary market to raise funds in advance, in order to generate liquidity. Pre-IPO companies are those private firms that intend to list on the stock market leaderboard. Companies that have opened doors to investors, but have not yet been listed on the stock market and have not yet made an Initial Public Offering are said to have offered Unlisted or Pre-IPO shares.

Stockify makes buying and selling Unlisted or Pre-IPO shares as easy as A-B-C: Choose a company, complete your KYC to make the payment, and get your shares transferred.

“With Unlisted or Pre-IPO shares, buying early is key to maximizing profits,” said Piyush Jhunjhunwala, Co-Founder and CEO, Stockify. “These shares are always available at a cost lower than their listed peers. By investing early in a company’s Unlisted or Pre-IPO shares, investors can multiply their returns significantly once the company is officially listed on the stock exchanges.”

Rahul Khatuwala, Co-Founder, Stockify, said, “Stockify brings both sellers and buyers together for hassle-free Unlisted (Pre-IPO) share trading. These stocks can go public anytime and tend to offer a better return compared to listed firms. To put it simply, investors can enter the stock market without the anxiety of fluctuations. Unlisted shares have low liquidity as well as low volatility, leading to lower valuation but a higher return on investment.”

Investors on the Stockify platform can choose not only the companies they want to invest in, but also, depending on the firm, consult Stockify to unlock the best deal. “We recommend all our investors to connect with us to help them reach a decision,” said Jhunjhunwala, a qualified Chartered Accountant from India and a Certified Public Accountant from the United States with over 20 years of experience in leading multinationals such as PepsiCo and Reckitt Benckiser. “Our top-notch in-house analysis team does extensive research to give the best deal options to our retail public HNI investors.”

Stockify’s business mission is to partner with retail investors to find Pre-IPO stocks that have the potential to deliver multifold returns. “Previously, the Pre-IPO sector was accessible only to major investors, venture funds, hedge funds, PE funds and other specialized financial institutions,” said Khatuwala, also a qualified Chartered Accountant from India. “Now, we help our retail and HNI investors access the Pre-IPO market at an early stage and help maximize their wealth. We have a dedicated team focusing on Pre-IPO opportunities in India.”

On its website (, Stockify offers a complete portfolio of companies currently offering unlisted shares. “As of now, we are not a registered investment advisor and we do not recommend trading of any share,” Jhunjhunwala said. “However, we list the most profitable Unlisted (Pre-IPO) shares based on our analysis and you are recommended to take advice from your financial advisors before making any decision. However, we are happy to assist on client requests.”


Stockify is a customer-oriented platform for Unlisted or Pre-IPO shares in India. Its mission is to help HNIs and NRIs access multiple unlisted shares via the Pre-IPO route and maximize investors’ wealth.


Piyush Jhunjhunwala is a qualified Chartered Accountant (CA) from India and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) from the United States. He is a seasoned finance professional with over 20 years of experience in global conglomerates such as PepsiCo Inc., Reckitt Benckiser PLC, and Coty Inc. He has rich experience in multiple geographies, including MENA, Russia, Turkey and India.


Rahul Khatuwala is a qualified Chartered Accountant (CA) from ICAI, India. He is the founder of, a fintech company that delivers services across various verticals through a network of 5000-plus CAs and finance professionals in India. Rahul is acting CFO of multiple companies operating in diversified verticals. He heads Stockify’s Indian operations and is based out of Bengaluru.

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Fintech Startup PayTabs introduces SwitchOn®, the next generation payment solutions suite



Fintech Startup PayTabs introduces SwitchOn®, the next generation payment solutions suite

PayTabs’ SwitchOn® platform offers unrivaled capabilities, value, and flexibility to established financial institutions, fintech’s and merchants in the MENA region

PayTabs – MENA’s award-winning payment processing powerhouse, made a jump start last year in its pursuit to pioneer next generation payments, by announcing the launch of its new home owned, globally validated unified payments and transaction processing platform, PayTabs SwitchOn®.

After multiple launches with clients across the region, the payment card industry (PCI) certified solution, includes a Switching and Authorization System, a Card and Wallet Management System, and the Unified API Gateway.

PayTabs SwitchOn® is now available for local deployment, at a fraction of the cost. With its own IP and built upon deep use case expertise, the flexible and compelling solution aims to empower innovation in the region by enabling flexible payment orchestration at scale.

As a Fintech enabler for the region, PayTabs’ mission is to simplify and yet orchestrate a unified payments experience and value for key players in MENA and beyond. Fintechs will find it particularly suitable to comply with local in-country regulations.

Established Financial Institutions and fintechs’ specific needs are met via the modular and hybrid deployment modes available.

PayTabs SwitchOn® architecture is designed to ensure a unique payment orchestration capability allowing clients from multiple industries and scale to maximise the benefits they get while in conjunction with the legacy systems.

From the Card and Wallet Management System to the Unified APM Gateway and passing by the various value-added modules, clients can select what best fits their needs. PayTabs’ experts will ensure the right deployment mode is provided, either it is a Hosted Managed Service, On-Premises, or Hybrid. PayTabs also provides custom fit white-label solutions.

PayTabs SwitchOn® solution for omni channel payments and its deployment modes provide answers and checks all the boxes to the growing demand for solutions that are compliant with the data localization directives and regulations for each country of operation. Which enables brands and large corporations across countries and regions to manage their payment complexities with a 360-degree view, reducing dependencies with third parties and thus streamlining the speed to market.

Commenting on the launch of PayTabs SwitchOn®, Johnson S Sasikumar, Group Head of Strategy, PayTabs said: “In the post covid era of emerging payments, this is good news for the region. By orchestrating a groundbreaking technology and as the next generation payment system architects, we have elevated our payment processing capabilities. With PayTabs SwitchOn® we are now able to deliver a 360-degree payment experience in a few weeks, at a fraction of the cost.”

Taff Morris, PayTabs VP- Divisional Head of SaaS added: “SwitchOn is the power behind PayTabs next generation payment processing solutions.”

About PayTabs

PayTabs is an award winning, payments solutions powerhouse founded by Saudi entrepreneur Abdulaziz Al Jouf in 2014.

PayTabs processes transactions in multiple currencies and markets, safely and securely. Using API plugins, PayTabs facilitates seamless B2B e-commerce solutions for small and medium enterprises across industries, to ‘plug and play’ payment features on to their websites. PayTabs prides itself on offering e-invoicing services enabling businesses to enjoy digital invoicing, pay by QR code or secure social media payment links.

Originally backed by Saudi Aramco’s “Waed” and later by private Saudi investment, over the years, PayTabs has in-built and exported a full stack of game changing solutions. These include mobile applications, hospitality, governmental, education, airline, travel, transport, and biller solutions, to interlink the multi-billion-dollar enterprise market chain in the MENA region.

In 2021, PayTabs launched “PT Touch”, the first SoftPOS solution in MENA to transform smart phones into merchant POS terminals. Last month, PayTabs launched its own social commerce platform, ‘Paymes’ to ease payments for micro merchants.

A proven game changer in the global payments space, PayTabs has dedicated offices in the UAE and KSA and presence in other locales including Egypt. The company is an equal opportunities employer with a diverse and multi-cultural team from over twenty nationalities.

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IOT Startup MagicCube Extends its Tap to Pay Acceptance Platform to Serve Enterprise and Big Box Retailers



IOT Startup MagicCube Extends its Tap to Pay Acceptance Platform to Serve Enterprise and Big Box Retailers

i-Accept, the scalable software-based solution that enables payments acceptance on off-the-shelf devices, gains new capabilities designed to extend Tap to Pay beyond small and micro-merchants

MagicCubeTM, the startup that created the Software Defined Trust (SDT) category, today announced it is extending its Tap to Pay acceptance platform to help enterprise and big box retailers take advantage of software point-of-sale (softPOS) technology to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and deliver better customer experiences. i-AcceptTM, the platform that transforms off-the-shelf smart devices such as phones, tablets, and large screens into contactless payments terminals, introduces new attributes ranging from device management to easier PCI compliance intended to enable seamless, scalable, and secure Tap to Pay—with or without PIN—in complex, large retailer environments.

MagicCube extends its Tap to Pay acceptance platform, i-Accept, to serve enterprise and big box retailers

“With Apple releasing Tap to Pay as a component of its proprietary iOS operating system, it becomes more urgent to serve the two billion Android users that represent more than 70% of the global mobile market,” said Sam Shawki, CEO and cofounder, MagicCube. “i-Accept brings a robust, enterprise-grade solution that is secure, and not tied to a specific device maker, operating system, or card network—making it ideal to go beyond small and micro merchants and serve large retailers, which have a vast array of use cases.”

Among the new i-Accept capabilities designed to help enterprise retailers to reinvent, optimize, and improve their checkout experience, are:

  • Multi-acquirer and multi-merchant support from a single platform
  • Direct integration into complex systems without affecting PCI-DSS scope or certification
  • Unchanged transaction routing and full control of the existing acquirer and merchant flows
  • Flexible management of acceptance rules across multiple geographies
  • Message translation across different standards
  • Support of current and future compliance requirements for large retailers

Through i-Accept, acquiring banks and other financial services institutions can enable their large merchants and retailers to accept contactless transactions via payment cards and mobile wallets such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay—all at “card present” rates for merchants and without limits on transaction amounts for consumers. It’s also flexible to quickly adapt to acceptance of local card schemes or crypto wallets, and support check out features such as “Buy Now, Pay Later” and rewards programs, among others.

i-Accept can also securely capture financial PINs and other verification methods on NFC-enabled smart devices large and small— a key feature in European and other markets where the use of PIN is mandated.

Starting today, MagicCube will be demonstrating these enterprise-grade capabilities at Money20/20 Europe, booth C50, Hall 5.

About MagicCube

MagicCube leads the Software Defined Trust (SDT) category with its software-based solutions that replace hardware chips used today to secure sensitive data and authenticate whoever needs access to it. The technology enables secure, large-scale deployment and management of Internet of Things (IoT) and mobile solutions to consumers. MagicCube was awarded the first recognition of a software-based Trusted Execution Environment issued by EMVCo, the global consortium which facilitates worldwide interoperability and acceptance of secure payment transactions. MagicCube has been named by Network World’s one of the “10 Hot IoT Startups to Watch”, listed as a Cool Vendor in Security and Risk Management by Gartner, and is the only startup to sit on the board of the PCI Security Standards Council. Investors in MagicCube include Mosaik Partners, Shift4, Bold Capital, Epic Ventures, ID Tech, Sony Innovation Fund, and Visa, among others.

SOURCE MagicCube

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