4 Dec 2020

How to break up with your credit card

FinTech Friday is our weekly check-in here at Spreckley, where we share all the most interesting and useful financial services and financial technology news, innovations and trends.

This week, we look at the new London-based start-up Updraft, which has just raised £16 million to further its mission to ‘help people break up with their credit cards’. Also, The Economist has a fascinating take on the ongoing march into fintech of insurance group Ping An. Plus, UK fintech Pockit raises an extra £15 million this week, in its ongoing effort to provide financial services to underserved customers.


Helping people break up with their credit cards

UK-based fintech start-up Updraft is on a mission to ‘help people break up with their credit cards’ and, as such, has just raised an additional £16 million in funding, according to a report on this week.

Updraft, which offers an app that it says is “part lending, part credit report, and part financial planning”, has scored £16 million in funding to help people steer clear of avoidable credit card and overdraft charges,” the report reads.

“The start-up essentially wants to help customers get rid of spend-associated borrowings such as credit cards, overdrafts and increasingly, the ‘buy now, pay later’ schemes often found on e-commerce sites.

“To accomplish that, it builds profiles of users’ spending and borrowing habits, and offers to pay off high-interest-rate debts with a lower-cost loan when expensive borrowing is detected.”


Ping An rapidly becoming fintech super-app

Elsewhere, the The Economist reports how Ping An, one of the world’s largest insurance groups, is rapidly becoming a fintech super-app.

“A job interview at Ping An is a strange experience. To become an agent at the insurance group, the world’s largest by market capitalisation, candidates must take questions from an intelligent machine. As they respond, their voice, choice of words and gestures are scrutinised for the qualities of the most productive salespeople. After accruing data from millions of such interviews, the firm believes its artificial-intelligence (AI) system can quickly pluck talent and weed out the duds. Judged by the company’s agent-productivity scores, it is working.

“Just as the recruitment tool offers a glimpse into the future of hiring, Ping An itself may offer a window on to the future of finance. The tool is just one of thousands of applications built by the group’s army of engineers.

“They support a sprawling array of services, from insurance and banking to health care and education, which this year alone have been used by close to 600m people. No other traditional financial-services group in the world comes close to rivalling Ping An’s ability to develop technologies and deploy them at such a scale.”

For a really interesting read with some great insight into the future of fintech software development, check out the long read over on The Economist’s site.


Financial services for the underserved customer

Finally this week, Finextra reports that Pockit, a UK fintech providing financial services to underserved customers, has raised £15 million in new funding this month.

“Pockit offers its 500,000+ users access to a current account, featuring a pre-paid debit card, international money transfers and direct debits.”

Virraj Jatania CEO & founder of Pockit, says: “Since its launch, Pockit has helped over half a million customers to take control of their financial affairs, many of whom never previously had a current account that let them shop online or make contactless payments.

“The time to accelerate is right now; the COVID recession and the end of furlough schemes will disproportionately affect the financially underserved. Some 12 million people in the UK need a solution urgently, and we believe Pockit is that solution.”