Forgot your wallet? Pay with your palm… And other fintech news

Financial Well-being

Yes, you read that right. You might be able to make secure payments simply by waving your hand. Sounds like something from a sci-fi movie? It certainly feels that way. But Amazon is looking into making palm payments a reality.

Palm payment
Amazon One will let users pay for goods simply by scanning their palms

By hovering your palm over an Amazon One scanner for a second or two, you can make a secure payment for goods. Forgot your wallet at home? Well, you don’t need it if you can pay with your hand.

But why a palm scanner? Amazon says not only is it a contactless way of making payments (think social distancing), but it’s also more difficult to fake and it doesn’t put the person’s identity, like their facial features, at risk. After the recent controversy around facial recognition, this is definitely a clever move on their part.

And signing up is easy too: “To register, a customer can just insert their bank card and follow the on-screen instructions to link their palm print to that payment option, Amazon said. The company promises that the print is not stored on site, but encrypted and kept securely in the Cloud. Customers could also delete their data via website, it added.”

The Amazon One palm payment system will be trialed in two of their physical stores, and possibly other retailers in the future.

Is paying with your palm too extreme for you? There are other cashless options also taking over the world. Read more here

UK banks looking to invest in tech

Tech investment is the top priority for financial institutions in the UK, despite all the uncertainty brought about by the pandemic, Brexit and economic insecurity. This came to light in a new survey done by Lloyds Bank.

The UK’s financial institutions plan to focus on investing in new technology for the coming year: “Nine in ten (88%) senior leaders within financial institutions say tech investment is a top strategic priority for the next 12 months, ahead of responding to the coronavirus pandemic at 63% and further business expansion at 62%,” reports Finextra.

UK financial institutions plan to invest more in tech
UK financial institutions plan to invest more in tech.

In the same survey, 62% of senior leaders stated that they plan to increase their investment in core systems and technology. More than a third of participants said that they will beef up their fintech offering, either by partnering with existing fintechs, or acquiring them.

The coronavirus pandemic showed that technology companies, and fintechs especially, have the power to adapt quickly to stay relevant in unforeseen circumstances. With all the accelerated changes in our daily lives, that nimble ability to adjust will be crucial for all companies in the future, and fintechs are at the forefront.

Want to become over a 100 years old? Read this ↓

You’ll soon be able to invest in possible life-lengthening technology. That is, once British billionaire Jim Mellon makes his life extension company, Juvenescence, public in the next year. Also known as the ‘British Buffet’, Jim Mellon, the chairman of Juvenescence, has been involved in the life-extension business for nearly 4 years now:

“Founded in October 2016, Juvenescence is investing in a wide range of anti-ageing therapies that it thinks have the potential to extend the human life.One of those investments is Insilico Medicine, which is aiming to use artificial intelligence for drug discovery. It has also backed AgeX Therapeutics, a California-headquartered firm trying to create stem cells that can regenerate ageing tissue, and LyGenesis, which wants to develop a technology that uses lymph nodes as bioreactors to regrow replacement organs,” reports CNBC.

Investing in life-extension companies may sound like something from a James Bond movie, but Jim Mellon isn’t the only real-life rich citizen who has invested into possible age reversal. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, and billionaire PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel have both invested into Unity Biotechnology, a San Francisco company that wants to make humans live longer without ageing.

Another nail in the coffin for Wirecard

Humans might be able to live longer, but it seems that Wirecard’s time is officially over. The former fintech unicorn’s fate is further sealedas the Singapore Central Bank orders them to cease all operations, close up shop and return all customers’ funds within two weeks.

But it’s not just bad news for Wirecard. The German financial regulation system is also coming under fire for not realizing what was happening right under their noses.

The German Bundestag will launch a full inquiry into the Wirecard scandal
The German Bundestag will launch a full inquiry into the Wirecard scandal.

According to the Financial Times, the scandal surrounding Wirecard has laid bare how faulty Germany’s financial regulation system is, and in particular, the ineffectiveness of BaFin, the German financial market watchdog.

“No government agencies played any role in uncovering the crime — neither BaFin, nor the FIU, nor the public prosecutor,” says Florian Toncar, an MP for the pro-business Free Democratic party. “The state made zero contribution to getting to the bottom of the Wirecard affair.”

The Bundestag has decided to launch a full scale parliamentary inquiry into the matter.

That’s it for our Fintech news this month. Keep an eye on the blog for more industry-relevant news, tips and posts.