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December 30, 2013updated 04 Apr 2017 4:09pm

M-banking to the fore at Finovate Asia

Finovate's roadshow has reached Asia, showcasing innovations from a range of well-known vendors and ambitious start-ups. Sruti Rao picks out some of the stand-out presentations at the Singapore conference held in late November from mobile banking to security to solutions to target the unbanked segment

By Sruti Rao

Finovate’s roadshow has reached Asia, showcasing innovations from a range of well-known vendors and ambitious start-ups. Sruti Rao picks out some of the stand-out presentations at the Singapore conference held in late November from mobile banking to security to solutions to target the unbanked segment

With 37 companies presenting at Finnovate Asia 2013 in Singapore, it was evident that financial technology innovations continue to evolve with the aim of offering banks in the region the means to differentiate themselves.
The mobile banking stream was particularly prominent with 13 companies presenting in this space. With the significant emerging markets presence in the region, the issue of serving the unbanked and under-banked through accessible solutions was addressed significantly by the start-ups present.
RBI cherry-picks four innovative companies that stood out at Finovate Asia:

Mobile banking: Pixeliris
Mobility payments were among the most prominent points for discussion at the conference with 13 companies presenting in the mobile applications and payment processing realm.
Pixeliris is a company that stood out with its audio technology software used in contactless payments. The technology marketing services company believes that services and research in audio technology are the forward-looking approach to digital development.
Pixeliris core product, Copsonic, is a universal contactless mobile payment system launched in September of this year that is powered by sonic communication. A competitive factor of this technology is its compatibility with 100% of existing phones and smartphones, unlike NFC technologies.
Brian Roeten, Senior Project Manager tells RBI: "Copsonic has the potential to be a real game changer. All current technologies, including NFC are limited to the reach of terminals equipped with add-ons. Copsonic however, is available to every phone and can make any mobile device into a payment terminal."
One-time password processing and authentication maintains the security of the payment mechanism. The password however, is sent across acoustic waves instead of magnetic waves, in the case of NFC. To validate the payment the customer will just have to answer the phone call and the transaction is processed, thereby allowing its compatibility across all mobile phones.
The universality of this software drives its industry potential, as the accessibility with older phone models opens up the service to underserved emerging markets in Asia.

Serving the unbanked: Arkologic Transaksi
As Indonesia’s first participant at Finnovate, Arkologic brought to the stage their new ‘Moneta’ banking platform that allows for end-to-end cashless transactions through convenient and accessible mobile banking.
Through its open platform, the company aims to address the issue of restricted payment ecosystems that banks, technology and telecommunication companies offer exclusively only to their ecosystem.
Moneta hopes to be a cost-efficient mobile financial solution that brings a seamless payment system for banks and telco customers with combined mobile wallet, e-money, mobile payment and mobile commerce transactions globally.
Card transactions only require the contactless merchant branded card payments. John Chard, Chief Strategy Officer, Arkologic Transaksi tells RBI:
"The contactless card is a first for many of the unbanked in Indonesia to be introduced to cashless payments."
In the perspective of merchants, the card reader for the mobile devices is EMV certified and processes payments for credit, debit, NFC and QR code payments.
Accessibility to cashless payments for Indonesia’s unbanked was a key priority for the Arkologic business model, and aims to be a convenient and accessible payment medium for merchants, banks and customers alike.

Microfinance: Mambu
A Germany based solution provider with an open cloud-banking platform aims to eliminate the complexities of core banking platforms.
The in-house cloud SaaS banking application was launched in May 2011 to help banks run end-to-end operations from loan and deposit product creation and servicing and relationship management engagement. The delivery model allows financial institutions of any size to access such services online at a fraction of the cost of installing traditional core banking systems.
David Hamilton, president of Mambu says: "It is estimated that banks spend about $400bn a year on information technology. Yet with all of this spend, they only service about 50% of the world’s population."
"Yet McKinsey predicts that the small to medium enterprise banking market alone could yield revenues annually of up to $320bn worldwide – 60% of that revenue growth will come out of emerging markets like Asia."
To address these issues, Mambu’s cloud-based application platform allows the firm to design, deploy and launch a product from scratch without the need to go through their IT system and offers greater flexibility.
In over two years the platform has been implemented at more than 105 financial institutions in 30 different countries.

Transaction security: BehavioSec
A Swedish company recognised for its patented continuous authentication and verification technology, the Behavio Web and Mobile product uses behavioural biometrics to ensure secure and authorised transactions via online and mobile platforms.
A university spin out, the company has a strong Scandanavian bank client base, and hopes to establish a presence in Asia.
The company was selected as part of "Cool Vendors in Security: Identity and Access Management" in 2012, and also bagged the ‘Best of Show’ award at Finnovate Asia 2013.
In the business of IT security, the aim of the user-authentication service is to add an additional layer of real-time and transparent security, without burdening the end-user.
Neil Costigan, CEO of BehavioSec explains: "We don’t believe the user should be part of the IT solution. PIN numbers, smart cards, SMS authentication, limit usability of the system. So we have developed a behavioural biometric, that can be used for online and mobile solutions, to get security without adding a burden on the end-user."
Behavioral analytics monitors the way the user behaves and interacts with the device – the rhythm and speed at which they type, their key strokes and gestures. Costigan elaborated that people tend to type things they know such as passwords and usernames in a very reflexive manner, and so understanding that comprehensively adds to the user authentication accuracy for the bank.
The technology is adopted transparently onto the website and on mobile applications, and the back-end anti-fraud monitoring personnel can determine in real-time whether the customer is who they say they are.
Whether this helps the user experience may produce a sceptical assessment, the use of behavioural analytics as an additional measure of security breach is a unique proposition of the company.

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