Today in FinTech: iPhone Rumors and Unicorns

In FinTech news today, big investments gave small firms supersized valuations and even birthed a happy new unicorn following Happy Money’s latest funding round. GoCardless bagged $312 million and HubPay notched $20 million in its first funding post-seed.

On the FinTech innovation front, merchants will soon be able to ditch POS hardware using their iPhones instead, and challenger bank Customers Bank puts together a special banking group to serve securities broker-dealers and a host of other new industries.

Apple Confirms Plans for iPhone Contactless Payments for Merchants

Sometimes the rumor mill churns out some truth, and that was case with Apple’s latest endeavor for merchants: a no-hardware, contactless, point-of-sale payments terminal using something most people have on hand — an iPhone.

Merchants and customers merely point their iPhones at one another in a sort of air kiss, and presto, the payment process is completed. Customers have multiple payment options, including their digital wallet, Apple Pay, or virtual debit and credit cards.

FinTech Customers Bank Launches Financial Institutions Banking Group

Headquartered in the small Pennsylvania borough of Phoenixville, challenger bank startup Customers Bank is thinking big and outside the digital-only box. With 12 branches and 10 loan offices servicing Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Texas, the 12-year-old bank has its sights set on serving securities broker-dealers and a whole lot more.

To set out that journey, it formed a financial institutions group (FIG) to launch the Broker-Dealer Banking Group, which will cater to clients ranging in size from $100 million to $1 billion. The bank previously introduced additional groups it formed — Funds Finance Group, the Technology and Venture Banking Group, and a blockchain-based real-time payments system for cryptocurrency and digital asset institutions branded Customers Bank Instant Tokens (CBIT).

Lending Platform Happy Money Valued at $1.1B

Happy Money is clapping its hands all the way to the bank with a bit of a gallop in its step after reaching unicorn status following a $50 million Series D-1 funding round. Happy Money, which offers unsecured loan assistance in partnership with credit unions, was founded in 2009 in Tustin, California.

The platform has helped make almost 205,000 members happy by working with lending partners to fund $3.7 billion in loans by the end of last year.

Hubpay Raises $20M and Unveils Cross-Border Digital Wallet

FinTech Hubpay, working with the Middle East and North Africa, raised its first round of funding following its initial seed round. Its Series A funding of $20 million was led by Signal Peak Ventures.

The first startup licensed in the United Arab Emirates for digital money services, Hubpay has plans to use the new capital to grow its talent team and continue its global expansion, starting with a bigger presence in Africa and Asia. The company has offices in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Karachi and London.

GoCardless Valued at $2.1B After Series G

GoCardless now has a valuation of $2.1 billion following its $312 million Series G funding round. The latest tech unicorn in Europe and the U.K., GoCardless works with more than 70,000 businesses around the world, including Epson, TripAdvisor and DocuSign.

The FinTech is among the leading direct bank payment solutions and plans to use the fresh funding to speed up its growth in the open banking space by launching new products and entering more regions.

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