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At the Mobile World Congress, Mastercard recently announced that it was teaming up with Facebook to provide small businesses in Africa and Asia with an affordable and simple on-ramp for accepting mobile payments. The partnership will help unbanked retailers and merchants in the regions open bank accounts through Facebook Messenger. At the launch, Kahina Van Dyke, director of Payments and Financial Services Partnerships at Facebook, said, “Brands and developers around the world are turning to messaging to connect with the 1.3 billion people who use Messenger each month. We are pleased that Mastercard is developing a service on the Messenger platform to help small merchants use messagingRead More →

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Originally Published on Digitalist Magazine With the advent of robo-advisors, artificial intelligence (AI), and virtual assistants, the next wave of the financial technology revolution could arrive sooner than anticipated. A report by EY, “Unleashing the Potential of Fintech in Banking,” highlights that collaborations with startups (and not competition) can provide fresh tech solutions for banks. Shared services and knowledge will improve product offerings through data analytics tools like predictive analytics, offering deeper engagements with customers. How are banks currently leveraging fintech? Albeit independently, banks are building in-house technology in response to the growing fintech challenge. In 2017, JPMorgan appointed a new team for the automation ofRead More →

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Chatbots may soon be your personal stylist. A recent report by MasterCard and Mercator research shows that 66% of US adults use voice assistants or chatbots, and 87% are aware of the technologies. With a growing demand for chatbots, fashion brands are introducing ways to keep the in-shop customers engaged offline too — in an organic manner that does not look automated. With the advent of chatbots, fashion brands are racing to embrace virtual stylists, ensuring that shopping experience for customers goes beyond the usual traditional experience. So far, automation for the fashion industry has meant browsing through styles that relied heavily on previous search history thatRead More →

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Apple Inc.’s next breakthrough may be powered by Augmented Reality (AR). A recent report by Bloomberg outlines Apple’s ‘big step’ towards the AR space through talented hires and acquisitions in the related field. According to the report, with the goal of making smart glasses, in the short term, Apple’s AR features may first show up on the iPhone. Bloomberg’s report comes after its November story published last year, which highlighted Apple’s wearable expansion into ‘digital glasses’. The AR industry is gaining momentum and could be a huge global market worth $90 million by 2020. For Apple, an AR adoption could mean a new dimension to its existing products, possibly resulting inRead More →

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Big Data tools not only simplify lengthy analytical procedures in any industry, but they also provide a competitive advantage to banks. With new regulations, banks are looking at ways to make compliance procedures more effective and accurate. Big data in banking is slowly gaining momentum and becoming an inevitable necessity across the banking industry. As traditional data management structures become obsolete, the community banks struggle to comply with external competitive and regulatory pressures. The need to execute analytics tools in the community banking system is gradually becoming more of a compulsion than an option. Gartner’s 2014 CIO survey shows that financial firms encourage investing inRead More →

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Elon Musk is known for his work in revolutionizing space travel, electric cars and even tunnel transportation, but his efforts also reveal his humanitarian side. Musk’s humanitarian efforts have ranged widely, from funding educational projects to helping hurricane victims in Puerto Rico. These are three ways Elon Musk is matching his technological innovations with his philanthropic efforts. Musk’s Humanitarian Efforts Include the Global Learning XPRIZE Musk has been involved in funding projects that aim to improve education. His recent donation of $15 million went to an XPRIZE program called Global Learning. The program aims to “empower children to take control of their learning” and is aRead More →

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Nigeria is a business-oriented economy, with an estimated 37 million micro, small and medium-sized companies (MSMEs). The entrepreneurial economy contributes roughly 48 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and employs over 60 million people, making Nigeria the largest economy in the sub-Saharan region. Although these numbers look promising, few businesses are successful in obtaining loans from financial institutions. According to The Credit Crunch, a joint report by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), of the 840 MSMEs surveyed in Nigeria, only 31 percent successfully obtained a loan from a bank or microfinance institution. MSMEs are often burdened by aRead More →