The Importance of Financial Literacy During Uncertain Economic Times

DAVID PENN | April 7, 2020

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What does it mean to be financially literate? Is it more important to be able to balance a checkbook or to understand the power of compound interest? Does a financially literate person pay down student debt or consumer debt first? And does a truly financially literate person even take on debt in the first place? A growing number of fintechs – many of them Finovate alums you’ll meet below – have devised innovative ways to help young people in particular, become better earners, savers, spenders, and investors.

Spotlight

Blue Ocean Brokerage

Blue Ocean Brokerage LLC is a private, financial intermediary specializing in the brokerage of cash-based and derivative commodity and energy products. Major markets served include Finished Gasoline and Gasoline Components, Liquid Petroleum Gasoline, Ethanol & Biofuels, and Petrochemicals- dealing in both the cash market for physical delivery and derivative financial products. Blue Ocean Brokerage LLC provides price discovery, trade execution, and market color/commentary services to a wide variety of customers- including oil companies, refined products producers, petroleum refineries, independents, marketers, traders, and investment banks. Blue Ocean Brokerage LLC was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in New York (NY), with subsidiary offices in Omaha (NE) and Houston (TX).

OTHER ARTICLES

How to grow your customer base

Article | August 26, 2020

Need more repeat customers? You’re not alone. Businesses of all sizes struggle to win over new shoppers and to inspire brand loyalty in the ones they already have. Pulling off both at the same time is even harder. The key to growing this group is acquiring and retaining new customers. While marketing plays a role in the process, sales and support teams are typically responsible for winning and keeping new users.

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Open Banking in the Same Language

Article | April 6, 2020

What happens when third party fintechs try to access banking data on behalf of their consumers, but each way has a different way of doing so? That’s exactly what’s happening in the U.S. right now, and it’s a major factor in preventing the country from adopting an open banking culture. In an era when consumers conduct their banking activities with multiple providers, open banking not only safeguards consumer data but also places them in control of how they want their data used and for how long.

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10 Fintechs that Make Taxes Less Taxing

Article | April 15, 2020

Taxes, especially in the U.S., can be anxiety-inducing not only for consumers but also for small businesses. And even though this year’s tax filing deadline has been extended to July 15, the filing and payment requirements remain unchanged. “The daunting task of gathering documents for a year that has passed is one that is difficult for small business owners, especially when they already feel overwhelmed at tax time,” said Lil Roberts, CEO and founder of Xendoo. “Coupling that pain point with small businesses feeling that federal tax is a “black box” and understanding how to maximize tax savings is also extremely frustrating.”

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Open Banking and Trust a key issue

Article | April 15, 2021

Open Banking is all about the customer being in control of their data and funds. It gives them the freedom and flexibility to decide when and with whom to share their valuable information. However, as with all vibrant and progressive ecosystems, speed, security, and ease of use will determine open banking’s future success along with the key issue of trust. Will the end user trust people to share data with them and trust their banks to still protect their data? PSD2 Open Banking gives Payment Service Users (PSUs) the legal right to share their transactional account data with regulated third party providers (TPPs). For this to be possible, the 6,000+ Financial Institutions providing transactional payment accounts that can be accessed online have to put in place open banking APIs. These APIs give TPPs the access required to either make payments on an account holder’s behalf or view account data and funds, both of which require the account holder’s prior explicit consent. Access can only be denied if a TPP is believed to be unauthorised or fraudulent. Open banking regulation has given rise to a new group of FinTechs who are seizing the opportunity to create innovative apps and products with the customer at the core of the offering. At the end of 2019, 240 TPPs from across the EEA and UK were regulated to provide open banking services. A year later, this figure had increased to 450 (excluding the thousands of credit institutions that are also able to act in the capacity of TPPs). The near doubling of newly regulated entities demonstrates user demand for the innovative products and services that these organisations are offering – it is now down to trust and security in the ecosystem, along with ease of use, to drive volumes. Source: Konsentus The ability for TPPs, many of whom may be unknown to these Financial Institutions, to request immediate access to valuable data and funds presents many challenges and risks – all of which must be addressed without introducing potential friction in the customer journey. The main challenges are knowing if a TPP is who it claims to be and whether it is regulated to provide the services being requested at the time of the transaction request. After all, these are the key factors enabling the bank to trust the TPP and feel confident the end user can trust them. The added difficulty of knowing which markets within the EEA a TPP is authorised to operate in is an additional challenge. Financial Institutions have long been the trusted guardians of their customers’ data and funds. Although the open banking model means the customer now has ultimate control of their data, it is still primarily the Financial Institution’s responsibility to ensure nothing goes wrong and they are likely to be held liable in any disputes that arise. There is also the very real reputational risk to Financial Institution if something does go wrong. Checking a TPP’s identity, its current regulated status, and the services it is requesting to perform are essential but not easy tasks to complete in that, firstly, a Financial Institution needs to determine whether a TPP is who it claims to be. This is done by having real-time access to the 70+ Qualified Trust Service Providers (QTSPs) who can issue PSD2 eIDAS certificates. These eIDAS certificates contain the requisite information on a TPP’s identity and are used to secure communications between Financial Institutions and TPPs. They also digitally seal messages, ensuring the integrity of the concept and proof of origin. However, an eIDAS certificate can have up to a two-year validity period. During this time, changes may have been made to a TPP’s regulatory authorisation status by its Home National Competent Authority (NCA). This introduces significant risk to the Financial Institution’s decision process. eIDAS certificates also do not contain information on the countries a TPP is authorised to provide their products and services into under passporting rules. This information is held on the TPP’s Home NCA Credit Institution and Payment Service Provider (PSP) registers. Between them, the 31 NCAs maintain over 115 databases and registers. Checking them at the time of a transaction request is paramount to prevent fraudulent TPPs from slipping through the net. According to the Konsentus Q4 2020 TPP tracker, every country in the EEA had at least 75 TPPs who could provide open banking services. These may not all be Home regulated TPPs. Take, for instance, Germany, who had 35 Home Regulated TPPs in December 2020 but an additional 112 TPPs who could passport in their services. To do the requisite due diligence on all these TPPs would require having online access to all the databases and registers hosted by the NCAs regulating these TPPs. This means connecting to the 31 NCAs and interrogating over 115 separate registers in real-time, in addition to connecting with all the QTSPs who issue PSD2 eIDAS certificates. When a Financial Institution is presented with an eIDAS certificate by a TPP, if a real-time online connection can be made to all the legal sources of record, the Financial Institution can make an instant informed risk management decision on whether, or not, to give the TPP access. All this can be done behind the scenes without the end user even being aware of what is happening. As volumes look to dramatically increase over the next few years fraudulent and other sorts of attacks are bound to increase. Financial institutions are going to face increasing challenges around protecting end users’ data, ensuring access is only given to those with the appropriate authorisations and permissions. A very real risk for them is the reputational one; after all, end users may not be that good at separating a reputational issue around open banking from broader issues around their banking relationship. For Financial Institutions, maintaining trust in their brands is going to be crucial going forward, but the risks are going to increase if they have not locked down who can access end user account data and funds.

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Spotlight

Blue Ocean Brokerage

Blue Ocean Brokerage LLC is a private, financial intermediary specializing in the brokerage of cash-based and derivative commodity and energy products. Major markets served include Finished Gasoline and Gasoline Components, Liquid Petroleum Gasoline, Ethanol & Biofuels, and Petrochemicals- dealing in both the cash market for physical delivery and derivative financial products. Blue Ocean Brokerage LLC provides price discovery, trade execution, and market color/commentary services to a wide variety of customers- including oil companies, refined products producers, petroleum refineries, independents, marketers, traders, and investment banks. Blue Ocean Brokerage LLC was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in New York (NY), with subsidiary offices in Omaha (NE) and Houston (TX).

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