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Digital and data driven processes to increase charity donations

The past few years have been challenging for charities in many ways.

With increased cost of living driving increased demand for many charity organisations’ services, it’s also put donations under pressure as regular donors feel the pinch. At the same time, the COVID pandemic has dramatically reduced the number of cash transactions across the UK, reducing a vital revenue stream for many charities. 

With so much change, charities are looking to digital as a way of increasing donation levels to support their work post-pandemic. Many are introducing innovative new approaches to increase donations, helping them weather what’s likely to be a highly uncertain couple of years. 

While some charities are at the forefront of digital innovation, others are still catching up – the most recent Charity Digital Skills Report shows that 40% of charities still don’t have a digital strategy in place, and 17% don’t offer any online services. 

No matter what your charity’s level of digital maturity, there are simple steps you can take to leverage technology to improve donations. Here are a few areas to consider:

Contactless donation options

In 2017, debit card transactions overtook cash as the UK’s most popular payment method, and the pandemic has only accelerated this. It’s predicted that by 2027 only 16% of payments will be made with cash

With spare change donations worth as much as £320 million to charities annually, it’s vital that charitable organisations find alternatives to cash donations quickly. 

Contactless technology is a simple alternative to cash donations, allowing donors to give via a QR code or by tapping a card or smartphone. 

Direct bank payments

QR codes can even leverage Open Banking technologies, allowing people to donate direct from their bank accounts rather than using a debit or credit card. Where direct bank payments used to take time to confirm, many can now be authorised instantly with no need for charities to handle donors’ bank sort codes or account numbers. 

Direct bank payments also mean lower fees payable by the charity, so a greater percentage of donation revenue is retained. 

Micro-donations

While QR code and contactless donations mimic the convenience of a change collection box, they don’t replace the “every little helps” concept, where donors are giving loose change that means very little to them. 

Some technology providers are working to replicate this phenomenon – FundStar’s Percy prepaid card makes a micro-donation every time it’s used, allowing customers to give to your charity in tiny increments that they’ll barely even notice. 

Many online retailers also offer similar functionality at their checkouts – for example, Amazon Smile allows customers to set up a preferred charity and donate a percentage of their spend every time they shop. 

Automated gift aid

While encouraging donations is vital, it’s also important to ensure that your charity is maximising the value of every donation it receives. 

The UK government’s Gift Aid small donations scheme allows charities to claim back 25% tax on contactless card donations of £30 or less by activating PAR (Payment Account References), allowing Gift Aid claims for card payments to be automated. 

Streamline your payments with B4B

Whether it’s launching a prepaid card scheme for your donors or enabling direct Open Banking payments, B4B Payments can help you streamline your charity’s payment processes and get the most out of your funds. 

To find out more about how we can help, get in touch today.

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B4B Payments have won the PayTech Award 2022!

We are thrilled to announce that we have won for ‘Best Corporate Payments Initiative’ Category.

The results were announced on the 1st of July 2022 at the Merchant Taylor’s Hall, attended by the B4B Sales, Marketing and Accounts team and Banking Circle! We have won amongst many reputable finalists including Cal and Custodia, Natwest, National Australia Bank, Monneo and more!

B4B cards have supported charities for urgent expenses during the pandemic. Our corporate virtual expense cards have been one of the key measures put in place to help vulnerable people whom are homeless and at risk. They provide a method for paying for essentials like food, shelter or medical care but also give staff access to a digital management platform where they can track, spend hassle free, whilst being able monitor how much funds have been disbursed monthly and carefully choosing how best to utilize government contracts.

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How our contactless prepaid cards can benefit the travel industry

The travel industry was particularly hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the future looks brighter. Industry bodies expect to see a boom in travel as people make up for years spent at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As travellers return to the road or the skies, there are signs that they’re prepared to spend more to make their next trip special – 80% of US travellers aged 18-34 are planning to “go big” on their next trip, and boomers expect to spend at least $4000 on travel in the next 12 months

With consumers champing at the bit to jet off, travel and tour operators are in an ideal place to capitalise on the situation, offering new and innovative ways for their guests to make their trip extra special. 

Prepaid cards have a long history of use in the travel industry – foreign exchange providers have offered prepaid currency cards for many years, giving travellers a convenient, secure alternative to carrying large amounts of foreign currency when they travel. In 2022, there are tons of ways prepaid cards can be used to elevate your customers’ travel experience and increase their lifetime value. 

Post-COVID recovery

While many holidaymakers can’t wait to get away without the stress of masks and restrictions, others remain cautious. Data from booking.com suggests that nearly half of all travellers opted to avoid public transport while travelling in 2021, and 79% of global travellers will take more precautions due to COVID. 

With consumers looking to travel companies to support them to stay safe while travelling, contactless prepaid cards could be a useful way of reducing potential transmission points and help customers feel more confident bouncing back from the pandemic. 

Cruise onboard spend

Prepaid cards are the perfect choice for cruise onboard spend, allowing your guests to purchase everything from spa treatments and souvenirs to onshore excursions. Prepaid cards are particularly useful for cruise passengers as they can be used in multiple currencies, making it easy to make purchases onshore as well as on board. 

A branded card makes it easy for guests to manage their onboard funds, as well as offering an easy method for applying any incentive or reward payments they may have earned. 

Best of all, funds loaded onto a branded card can be saved for a future trip, encouraging repeat travel and increasing customer lifetime value. Payment cards could even be used to incentivise customers when they’re not travelling – for example, by offering discounts at select partner retailers. 

Tour groups

Security is a high priority for many guided tour groups. Organised tours are highly visible and can easily become a target for pickpockets and thieves, leading many tour operators to set requirements that guests wear travel belts or take other security precautions to keep their belongings safe. 

Branded prepaid cards could help you offer another level of security to your guests. By requesting that funds are stored on your company’s prepaid cards, you can easily freeze lost or stolen cards to avoid funds being lost, and can quickly transfer your guest’s funds onto a new card instead. This means that if the worst happens, you’re able to respond quickly and get your tour back on track – saving your guests the hassle of having to call their own banks to freeze cards, or arrange alternative payment methods in the interim.

Tour guide expenses

Prepaid cards aren’t just useful for your guests. They’re also perfect for employees like travel representatives or tour guides. 

Prepaid company expense cards can make it easy for your representatives to manage expenses, both for themselves and on behalf of the groups they’re working with. With the option to set automatic top-ups to a preset limit, your guides will always have access to the funds they need to deliver amazing experiences for your guests, and with easy photo upload of receipts and automatic integration with your accounting system, reporting is a breeze too. 

Delay subsistence funds

Every travel organisation occasionally runs into problems with delays or cancellations. While these are unavoidable, the way your brand supports customers can have a significant effect on their experience with you, and on the effect of disruption on your reputation. 

While many travel operators provide vouchers to delayed or stranded guests, prepaid cards could be a more user-friendly and modern option. While vouchers are only accepted by specific outlets, a prepaid MasterCard or Visa can be used in millions of locations worldwide, giving your guests more choice and a better customer experience. Prepaid cards can also be topped up instantly, allowing your customers to cover the cost of pre-approved expenses like taxis or hotels without needing to front the funds from their own money and claim back later. 

Trust B4B to elevate your guest experience

Prepaid contactless cards from B4B can help travel companies deliver an elevated customer experience to their customers, and help make their return to travel extra special. To find out more about how we can help, book a demo today.

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How EdTech is helping universities meet the needs of students

In March, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi announced that the government is ready to spend £150 million to give every school in England access to a high speed broadband connection by 2025.

Following the pandemic, remote learning has seen a boom, initially through necessity but now because it’s been proven to work. Technology in classrooms is enabling students to engage in learning in a very different way to how they engaged ten years ago, with EdTech creating IT tools to provide a more engaging, inclusive and individualised learning experience.

So how is EdTech helping universities meet the needs of their students?

Open to different learning styles and paces

t’s a widely accepted fact that different people learn in different ways and at different paces. Some people learn better by reading, listening, talking, doing or drawing – there are dozens, if not hundreds, of different learning styles.

EdTech allows for all of these different learning styles to be considered, understood and catered for.

Where historically, students might have had one – and only one – opportunity to sit through a two hour lecture with nothing but a textbook and their own notes to refer back to, they can now access the same information in multiple formats whenever they need it. It might be as basic as a film of the lecture with accompanied transcript, or more engaging, interactive, online courses – either way, students can now learn in their own way and at their own pace, which can only lead to a greater sense of agency in their own learning and greater academic outcomes.

24/7 Accessibility

A big way that EdTech is helping students is by making learning accessible to all. For example, text to audio and audio to text tech enables students with impaired vision or hearing to benefit from lectures, either virtual or in person, alongside other learners. While specific support, such as signers or braille formats may still be needed, this kind of EdTech means all learners can engage and work with the same material.

Video lectures, either streamed or recorded for later viewing, allow students with other commitments, such as caring responsibilities or health considerations, to watch and learn from lectures without having to leave their homes and without having to put other aspects of their lives on hold. They also allow neurodivergent students, such as autistic students or those with ADHD, to manage their own learning environment and learn at their own pace, in chunks of time that work best for them.

Collaboration

EdTech is opening up the ways that students can communicate and collaborate with one another.

Project management tools and e-learning resources make it possible for students to work together without having to be in the same room or even available at the same time. Group projects can operate in a fluid way, allowing students to still engage and learn together, whilst still being available for other important commitments.

Tutors can also input and feedback virtually, meaning that questions can be asked and feedback can be given more regularly, making learning possible at times that suit everyone.

Paperless classrooms

Asides being messy and difficult to keep track of, excess paper isn’t great for the environment – and this is an issue close to young people’s hearts.

In September 2021, a global survey found that 60% of young people aged 16 to 25 felt very or extremely worried about climate change, and more than 45% said that these feelings affected their daily lives.

It tracks then that paper-based learning isn’t what students want, especially given that students today are digital natives. But EdTech allows for students to learn in a paperless environment.

Cashless systems

Younger generations are more likely to rely on cards and digital banking than cash in their day to day life, so cashless payment is expected at university too – especially if remote learning is now commonplace.

Introducing fintech into the university experience can bring huge benefits to students. By issuing students with prepaid cards on enrolment, they can easily receive bursary and scholarship payments quickly and to be accessed immediately. The risks of fraud and human error in inputting bank details are also diminished and processing payments is much quicker than bank transfers or, even worse, cheques.

Prepaid cards can also play an important role in societies, events and clubs. Student union and society fundraising activities often leave students in charge of large budgets but prepaid cards allow students to easily access and take control of their activities. Prepaid cards can also have restrictions that mean funds can only be spent in certain shops, meaning that the budgets can be kept safe.

Cards can also be used as a recruitment and engagement strategy – students can be offered meals and travel expenses to attend open days or to volunteer, making these events and opportunities accessible to all students without racking up their own expenses.

And students facing challenging circumstances can be paid hardship funds in an efficient and cost-effective way, meaning that money can reach them quickly and when it’s needed.

EdTech has transformed the way that students engage with higher education, from making learning more accessible to different people with different schedules, reducing the impact of learning on the environment, and making for safer and more efficient payment solutions.

To find out how B4B Payments can help meet the needs of your students, get in touch today. 

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Choosing a BIN sponsor: key questions to ask when making a decision

Increasing numbers of businesses in all industries are making financial services part of their business proposition to improve their traditional offering and delight their customers.

Whether it’s offering branded cards or buy-now-pay-later payment accounts, embedded finance (or Banking as a Service) can help you offer attractive new features and drive customer engagement and loyalty.

To offer electronic payment accounts like these, companies need an Electronic Money Institution (EMI or eMoney) license. For companies offering payment cards, they’ll also need to be a member of a card scheme like MasterCard or Visa.

Businesses exploring the potential of adding embedded finance features into their business offering quickly discover that the process of applying for these licenses is complex and daunting. Instead, many opt to partner with a BIN sponsor, leveraging another organisation’s license and scheme membership to offer services without the regulatory burden of becoming authorised themselves.

There are a number of BIN sponsors on the market, and it can be difficult to differentiate the benefits offered by different providers. Here are a few things to consider when selecting a BIN sponsor for your business…

Does my BIN sponsor have the right licenses for my needs?

Starting with the obvious – it’s important that your BIN sponsor has the correct licenses for your needs. This sounds simpler than it is, particularly if you want to offer your services internationally.

For the UK, for example, eMoney licenses are issued by the Financial Conduct Authority. However, since Brexit, UK-authorised EMI’s are no longer automatically able to access SEPA, the Single Euro Payments area, to make and receive payments across Europe. If you’d like to offer payment services in Europe, your BIN sponsor will need a separate license for this if they’re a UK EMI – B4B Payments is authorised by the Bank of Lithuania, meaning our Emoney License is applicable across Europe, as well as by the FCA for UK operations.

In the United States it’s even more complex; eMoney licenses are managed at a state level rather than federally, so you’ll need to apply to the individual licensing boards for the states you’d like to offer services in. Other countries across the world have their own individual, separate requirements too. Similarly, it’s important to check you’ll have access to the right card scheme memberships, to be sure you’re able to offer cards which are familiar and widely-usable in stores or ATMs in your target country.

Does my BIN sponsor have experience working with businesses like mine?

While the first area to check is that a prospective BIN sponsor holds the relevant licenses and scheme memberships, that’s not the end of the story. Not all BIN sponsors are cut from the same cloth, and like all businesses, each will have its own specialist areas of expertise.

It goes without saying that different businesses have different needs, and even though BIN sponsorship may seem a simple service, partnering with a BIN sponsor who has experience working with businesses in your industry or sector can help smooth the path and ensure a positive, productive relationship for years to come.

For example – a fast-moving fintech needs a partner who understands the importance of maximising speed to market, and who’s willing to push the boundaries of their service offerings to deliver new and innovative solutions and to work with them through their own applications for EMI licenses or scheme membership. At the other end of the spectrum, a business who simply wants to issue store cards will have simpler needs and could be happier with an off-the-shelf co-brand solution which can be cheaper to mobilise.

What other areas could my BIN sponsor support me with?

At its simplest level, BIN sponsorship simply involves issuing BIN ranges – the first six numbers on a payment card which identify the bank who issued it. However, if you’re in the process of launching your own card scheme it’s likely that you’ll need far more than just this service.

Some additional services, such as regulatory reporting, compliance management and fraud monitoring, are the responsibility of the BIN sponsor by default. However, things like card manufacturing or foreign exchange services may not be.

To avoid having to coordinate multiple third-party suppliers, it’s worth checking the full range of features a prospective BIN sponsor is able to offer throughout your growth lifecycle, as investing in an end-to-end solution could significantly reduce the time it takes to bring your card scheme to market.

Can my BIN sponsorship solution scale as my company grows?

Many fintech organisations see a partnership with a BIN sponsor as a temporary state, and have ambitions to hold their own eMoney license, scheme memberships or even their own banking license.

The process of applying for these licenses is lengthy and expensive (with good reason – it’s vital that regulated entities are asked to prove their suitability to offer such critical services), and can take many years to acquire. They’re also not a one-and-done process – there are a number of intermediate steps on the path to becoming a fully regulated financial institution, and in the fast-moving world of fintech the path to authorisation can seem painfully slow.

For fintech companies, a BIN sponsor should be able to accommodate and support your business through each stage of its growth with a flexible and scalable set of services. Gaining an eMoney license means you’ll no longer need to leverage your BIN sponsor’s license, but you may well still need to leverage card scheme memberships. Further down the line, should you be granted your own scheme memberships you may still need support from your BIN sponsor for things like funds safeguarding or accounts.

B4B Payments’ BIN Sponsorship 2.0 solution is designed to support fintech organisations through every step of their transition from a new, unregulated business to a fully regulated EMI with scheme permissions. Our offering is designed to flex and scale as you grow, helping you to become more independent whilst continuing to offer the features you need to get to the next stage of your journey.

Does my BIN sponsor’s platform integrate with my technology?

It’s important to consider how you and your customers will access their services, and this means checking that they have a robust technology platform which will integrate with your own offering.

Fintechs often live or die based on their customer experience, and most invest huge amounts of time and effort into designing an intuitive, inviting and easy-to-use interface for their customers. It’s vital, then, that the transition from your company’s own platform into the areas your BIN sponsor controls, such as payments or accounts, is seamless – an ugly iFrame could negatively affect your customers’ experience, and your brand’s reputation in turn.

Ensuring that features like card issuing, management and payment are integrated with your own systems in a way that maintains the high quality experience and technology, you’ve spent so long developing means finding a BIN sponsor who has the same commitment to UX as you do.

B4B Payments’ card issuing and payment platform is designed to integrate seamlessly into your own workflows for an end-to-end embedded finance solution. Our robust API and webhook functionality makes it easy for developers to build our advanced payment features into your own platform, whilst maintaining the highest levels of security and compliance throughout.

With over 15 years of expertise in payments and now as part of the Banking Circle group of companies, B4B Payments is a globally recognised and trusted provider of card issuing and payment services.

Since 2006, we’ve supported thousands of businesses to bring innovative fintech solutions to market via our robust payments platform.

Our next-generation BIN sponsorship 2.0 solution supports fintechs along every step of their journey from co-brand to fully regulated issuer and scheme member.

Our team has a market-leading level of knowledge and expertise to help you grow your business with the power of scalable and secure payments, and our market-leading solutions provide everything you need to put payments at the heart of your proposition.

Get in touch today to find out how B4B Payments can help you make your fintech ideas a reality with our next-gen BIN Sponsorship services.

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How BIN sponsorship can make your fintech ideas a reality

Fintech is big business, and the COVID-19 pandemic seems to have only accelerated the pace of the sector’s development.

64% of consumers worldwide have used one or more fintech platforms, up from 33% in 2017. In 2021, $102bn in investment was fed into the fintech sector.

It’s no surprise, then, that an ever-growing number of startup companies are working to bring their own innovative fintech offerings to market. London alone plays host to over 2,500 fintech companies, and there are thought to be well over 25,000 startups operating in the space worldwide.

Growing a successful fintech startup in such a competitive landscape requires a diverse range of expertise, not least a solid understanding of the financial sector and the rules and regulations to which fintech’s are subject.

While in the UK initiatives such as the Kalifa Review are seeking to create a more welcoming environment for fintech innovation, founders still struggle to expand their businesses, particularly in the face of international regulation, with 47% citing regulatory compliance issues as the main barrier to international growth.

BIN sponsorship as a solution to regulatory bottlenecks

While it’s possible to go it alone, many new companies find themselves overwhelmed by the level and complexity of red tape surrounding financial regulation, which threatens to hold back their ability to deliver innovative new services to their customers. In these situations, partnering with a BIN sponsor could offer a lifeline to many fintech startups.

For fintechs looking to issue cards or offer payments, obtaining an Electronic Money Institution (EMI or eMoney) license and card scheme membership could be a significant hurdle – in the UK, companies applying for an EMI license must provide in-depth information about the structure and objectives of their organisation, as well as proving they hold a significant amount of starting capital.

Instead of going through the rigorous process of obtaining these licenses ahead of launch, partnering with a BIN sponsor allows brands to leverage another company’s existing licenses and partnerships, getting your offering off the ground without the complexity of becoming a financially regulated entity.

While many fintechs have ambitions of becoming regulated entities in their own right, BIN sponsorship is an attractive first step on the road that offers a number of benefits to startup companies.

Increased speed to market

While the value of so-called “first mover advantage” is sometimes debated, there are undeniable advantages in being first to offer an innovative new service. Bringing an offering to market quickly allows startups to outmanoeuvre direct competitors, establish early brand loyalty with customers, and use resources and investment effectively by minimising costs with a shorter development roadmap.

Launching faster also puts your product in front of potential users more quickly, giving you first-hand insights and feedback at a much earlier stage and providing vital data for further development of your offering.

Even if your ultimate goal is to operate as a fully-regulated entity with your own scheme licenses, BIN Sponsorship could allow you to launch your offering while your applications are still in progress, accelerating your development roadmap and cementing your brand’s position early. With B4B Payments next-generation BIN Sponsorship 2.0 offering, you’ll get access to the licenses and scheme memberships you need to get to market, alongside longer-term support and flexibility as you move along our journey to becoming fully regulated in your own right.

Confidence in regulatory compliance

While speed to market is a high priority for many startups, in finance it’s vital that this doesn’t lead to cutting corners. Security breaches or instances of fraud can be hugely damaging to fintech brands, and can lead to serious consequences if they’re discovered to have been the result of compliance issues. For example, OCBC bank’s fraud prevention measures are currently under scrutiny from the Monetary Authority of Singapore after customers lost S$8.5 million in an SMS phishing scam.

By partnering with a BIN sponsor, you’ll receive a raft of support for all aspects of regulatory compliance. As well as being able to leverage your sponsor’s e-money license and card scheme memberships, your BIN sponsor will handle AML checks, fraud monitoring, funds safeguarding and more, so you’re free to focus on developing an innovative tech offering and exceptional customer experience.

With the regulatory aspects of your payment service taken care of, you’ll be free to innovate with confidence that your customers will be safe and that your compliance risk is minimised.

Expert support and guidance

While they may have talented developers and visionary ideas, fintech startups often lack knowledge of the inner workings of the banking and payments world. By partnering with a BIN sponsor, fintechs can gain access to a team of experts with many years’ combined experience in the industry, and all of the benefits that brings.

B4B Payments’ BIN sponsorship service gives you direct access to a team of seasoned industry veterans, each with many years’ experience in the payments space as well as a deep understanding and appreciation for fintech innovation. They’ll be on hand to support you from your first steps towards launching a card issuing or payment platform, right through to taking over the reigns as a regulated entity in your own right.

Our BIN Sponsorship 2.0 offering also provides access to a wide range of pre-built processes and procedures to make it simple to stay on top of your compliance and regulatory responsibilities, without the pressure of developing these yourself.

Robust underlying technology

Innovative technology is only as good as the foundation upon which it’s built, and while fintech companies rely on their own teams of expert developers, there’s a definite advantage to being able to leverage tried-and-tested solutions, at least at first.

While not all BIN sponsors offer an end-to-end service, B4B Payments’ next-generation BIN sponsorship solution includes access to our cutting-edge payment platform, designed to be integrated using our API and webhooks to create your own embedded finance solution. By leveraging our trusted payment platform, fintechs can focus on the developing the advanced features and innovations that make them unique, with the confidence that the basics are taken care of via a robust, established and secure technology platform.

With over 15 years of expertise in payments and now as part of the Banking Circle group of companies, B4B Payments is a globally recognised and trusted provider of card issuing and payment services.

Since 2006, we’ve supported thousands of businesses to bring innovative fintech solutions to market via our robust payments platform.

Our next-generation BIN sponsorship 2.0 solution supports fintechs along every step of their journey from co-brand to fully regulated issuer and scheme member.

Our team has a market-leading level of knowledge and expertise to help you grow your business with the power of scalable and secure payments, and our market-leading solutions provide everything you need to put payments at the heart of your proposition.

Get in touch today to find out how B4B Payments can help you make your fintech ideas a reality with our next-gen BIN Sponsorship services.

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Fintech start-up leverages B4B’s issuing solution

LONDON, England, 10th May 2022: B4B Payments, a leading global payments provider, is pleased to announce an exciting new partnership. Swedish fintech start-up Juni has chosen UK payment solutions provider B4B Payments to deliver their innovative financial services offering for ecommerce companies, this is delivered as part of a new service by B4B, designed to help fintech start-ups scale their offerings more rapidly.

Gothenburg-based Juni was listed as 2021’s fastest-growing fintech startup in Europe, raising $76M in Series A funding and has recently come out of beta with its all-in-one financial management platform. With a goal of eliminating common challenges faced by ecommerce businesses, Juni has leveraged B4B Payments’ BIN sponsorship 2.0 service to power their prepaid card proposition, with the aim of making it easy for businesses to keep track of their finances across multiple platforms.

“We’re delighted to be supporting Juni to bring the Juni prepaid Mastercard to market, and to see our payment solutions leveraged in such an innovative way to empower ecommerce and digital marketing entrepreneurs. As an established fintech firm ourselves, we’re excited to be part of Juni’s success, and we look forward to working closely with them to achieve their ambitious roadmap.”   

Paul Swinton, CEO of B4B Payments

“We’re really excited about our partnership with B4B and their support in building our infrastructure. It will enable us to scale Juni and continue our fast-paced growth while, most importantly, give our customers more value when using our platform. Through B4B, we’ve recently launched our new USD accounts and Mastercard cards, and we’re looking forward to launching additional currencies and features in the coming months.”

Samir El-Sabini, Co-founder and CEO of Juni

B4B Payments’ issuing solution is designed to provide an easier path to market for innovative fintech firms like Juni by removing many of the complexities of regulatory compliance. While Juni is not currently a financially regulated entity, B4B Payments enable them to offer fully secure and compliant card issuing and payment services integrated seamlessly into their platform without first needing to jump the hurdles of gaining regulated status.

Juni has selected B4B Payments to support the launch of their virtual Mastercard prepaid card. With the option to make payments in multiple currencies, process FX transactions with a 0.25% capped fee, earn 1% cashback on ad spend, and access data from multiple ad accounts in a single dashboard the Juni Card empowers ecommerce businesses to gather data insights, make better decisions, and scale their activities more effectively than ever before.

B4B Payments’ next-gen solutions are designed to scale flexibly over time to support fintech companies from their earliest days as a start-up through to becoming a fully licensed entity in their own right. By offering not only access to the required licenses, but a raft of resources and expert support, B4B Payments aim to support a new wave of fintech companies on the path to success.

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How reloadables are driving better CX and loyalty

One of the benefits of prepaid cards is that they don’t have to be a single-use item – they can be reloaded again and again.

While many incentives are one-off’s, there’s value to be had from using a prepaid card to build a longer-term relationship with your customers, driving an improved customer experience and building loyalty and engagement with your brand.

So how can reloadable pre-paid cards drive better customer experience and loyalty?

Guarantee Faster Payouts

For businesses who regularly pay out gaming winnings, commission or expenses, chasing payments can be an unnecessary hassle. And for customers who are waiting to receive payments from a business, waiting can be stressful and affect their opinion of a company, even if the payment delay isn’t their fault.

Whether your business is paying out insurance settlements, gaming winnings, referral commissions, or anything else, a pre-paid card can take the stress and uncertainty out of payouts. Because the payments are instant, there’s no waiting for bank transfers to clear, and customers can even receive an SMS notification when their payment has been made.

Drive Repeat Customers

For companies who pay out gaming winnings, commission or other regular loyalty payments, a reloadable pre-paid card can be an efficient way of not only getting customers their funds faster, but of maximising repeat business, too.

Funds loaded onto a prepaid card are automatically “ring-fenced” from a customer’s main bank account, and are therefore less likely to be used on general expenses.

If winnings or loyalty earnings are stored on a separate, branded card, there’s a much greater chance they’ll be used to play again or to purchase a “treat” that’s over and above that customer’s usual spending habits.

Build your Brand

As well as the function of a card, simply having a branded pre-paid card in a customer’s wallet can act as incentive and reminder enough. Having a branded card is a nice, easily recognisable reminder for the customer of your brand.

As well as that though, business today is becoming more and more values-driven – we see customers making decisions on where they spend their money based on ethics, and a pre-paid card is an opportunity to harness this.

For example, offering your customers eco-friendly cards will demonstrate commitments to the environment. You could even partner with charities and offer a donation for every £1 spent on the prepaid card, giving your customers choice in how their spending can have a social impact.

The knowledge that their spending is bringing a benefit to a cause that they identify with can create an all-round better experience for the customer and encourage them to keep coming back.

Keep customers engaged

While a one-off incentive campaign can drive brand awareness and engagement in the short term, some of the most successful customer loyalty campaigns run over the long term – Boots’ Advantage Card scheme and Tesco’s Clubcard have both been around since the 1990’s, meaning some customers will have grown up with the brand as a constant presence in their wallet.

Reloadable cards make it easy to offer similar long-term loyalty schemes – offering cash back for a certain level of spend is a tried-and-tested method of keeping your customers coming back for more. Reloadable prepaid cards can be set to closed-loop, meaning a customer’s earnings can only be spent in your stores.

And with no loading fees on prepaid cards, making small payments is cost-effective, meaning customers can get their loyalty credits or winnings in smaller, more regular increments, keeping engagement levels high.

Gather customer insights

One of the key reasons major brands like Tesco and Boots invest so much in their loyalty schemes is that, as well as driving repeat purchase, their cards provide crucial data and insights into their customers’ shopping behaviours.

B4B’s prepaid cards allow you to view transaction data and understand your customers’ purchase patterns, providing vital insights to feed into your customer experience strategy.

Reloadable prepaid cards can help you build a long-term relationship with your customers, not only by encouraging loyalty and repeat purchase but by providing insights into their behaviour to improve your overall customer experience.

To find out how we can help you with your own prepaid card loyalty scheme, get in touch with B4B Payments today.

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Why insurance firms should take advantage of fintech innovation

PwC found that 74% of insurance companies see fintech as a challenge for their industry.

But, with consumer behaviours already changing pre-COVID and becoming evermore geared towards digital in the post-COVID world, insurance is at risk of being left behind.

But why is it so important that insurance firms take advantage of the latest fintech innovation?

Reaching a younger audience

Younger audiences are an important target audiences for insurance firms. Getting young people to take out a policy now and making sure that your offer suits their needs means potential customers for life, so getting it right with young people is a must.

Typically, Millennial audiences and younger Generation X consumers prefer digital methods for payments and communications. The less direct interaction with a business, the more convenient it is for this demographic to use a service.

Not only that, but this demographic are far less likely to be loyal to financial companies, swapping and changing as their needs evolve. This means that flexible, digital options are absolutely vital.

But PwC’s fintech global report found that, until COVID-19, apps were seen as ‘nice to have’, which means that many insurance companies and financial institutions might not yet be meeting the needs of a younger demographic.

Today, customers expect a great deal of flexibility, and insurtech offers this. Free from legacy products and processes, they use emerging technologies to build brand new systems and are much more targeted, rather than the old-fashioned end-to-end solutions that don’t meet everyone’s needs.

US insurance firm Metromile is a great example of this: by offering customers pay-per-mile insurance, particularly for those who live in urban areas and don’t drive very often, Metromile can offer customers flexible, bespoke insurance policies that meet their unique needs.

Another good example of a flexible, bespoke approach to insurance policies is life insurance firm Vantis Life. By making use of artificial intelligence, Vantis Life were able to underwrite life insurance policies in the US based on public records and third-party data, which meant that many customers didn’t need to undergo medical tests. Again, this minimal contact between customer and insurer will help to attract younger customers.

And AI isn’t just beneficial for the customer – in early 2017, home insurer Lemonade (also based in the US) reported that its AI-powered technology managed to process and settle a theft claim in just three seconds, without paperwork from the customer. It’s estimated that long claim processes can inflate a claim value by up to 30%, so speeding up the payment process can save insurers a great deal of money.

So making insurance processes simpler, more flexible and – most importantly – digital can work wonders for reaching a younger audience. Do it right, and you’ve got a customer for life, so investment in fintech and insurtech can have immense long-term returns for your business.

Build trust between you and your customers

IBM reported in 2020 that 42% of customers don’t trust their insurer. However, a Salesforce study found that 84% of customers globally say that the experience a company provides is just as important as its product or services.

This means that insurance has a long way to go to meet customers’ expectations. But, through fintech, that trust can be built and the customers’ needs can be placed front and centre.

At the time of a claim, customers might be experiencing loss or trauma, through theft or injury, so the interaction between insurer and policy-holder is delicate. No business wants to contribute to a customer’s difficult experiences but some insurers may be inadvertently doing so.

The last thing that customers want when getting back on their feet is a complex and lengthy process – they want efficiency, understanding and, importantly, speed. The quicker the payout, the sooner the customer can get back to their day-to-day life.

Fintech can make this happen. Solutions like virtual cards can offer a simple method of paying a claim that works for everyone. By issuing these cards when a policy is taken out, insurers can be sure that money is being sent to the right place within minutes of a claim being assessed, making for a much simpler and convenient process for customers than old-fashioned methods like bank transfer or – even worse – cheque.

As well as this, customers who receive regular recurring payments, like disability or annuity, can access funds immediately through a prepaid card.

Understand and build loyalty with your customers

Fintech also provides you with opportunities to provide personalised incentives and rewards for your customers in a way that legacy processes simply can’t, whilst also bringing in new revenue streams for your business.

By forming partnerships with other businesses, you can harness fintech to provide bespoke offers. For example, pet insurance claimants can receive discounts at pet shops or health insurance policy-holders could receive discounted gym memberships, when paid for through their prepaid card issued when taking out a policy.

What’s more, by providing this payment option to policy-holders, you can gather useful data on their spending habits to offer tailored products and services that meet their individual needs. This means you can understand your customers better, provide them with a better service, and keep them coming back.

Fintech is opening doors in insurance – don’t be left behind.

With fintech providing opportunities to reach younger customers and, more significantly, keep them coming back, the importance of insurance firms embracing and investing in fintech in a post-COVID world has never been more clear.

To find out how we can help you embed fintech into your insurance firm, contact B4B Payments today.

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E-money leading the digital revolution for Fintechs

Last year, EY found that three out of four consumers across 27 global markets had used an e-money or fintech payment service.

The branch-based model of banking has been on the way out for a long time now – with banking available at customers’ fingertips, demand for digital has grown in huge amounts over the past decade.

In fact, in the UK, e-money and fintech are currently one of the strongest start up sectors. From 2019 to 2020, investment into the sector increased by 35% from £2.44 billion to £3.29 billion – and this was pre-COVID-19!

And, given that UK ATM withdrawals fell by £37 billion from March 2020 to March 2021, COVID has only sped up the move to digital payment.

So how has e-money led the digital revolution?

A major innovation of the past decade has been the development of neobanks.

Neobanks are similar to your regular bank but, instead of operating under the traditional branch-based model, neobanks are exclusively online, accessed predominantly via an app.

There are two type of neobank to consider: real, fully licensed banks, like Monzo, that can do everything a traditional bank can but is purely digital; and E-money instututions (EMIs), like Revolut. An authorised EMI is similar to a bank in that it provides services for customers to make payments and store their money digitally but has some key differences.

Unlike a bank, EMIs often can’t store customers’ money themselves. Instead, money is held by a licensed bank (such as Lloyd’s or Barclay’s) and the EMI provides payment services only. While this means that an EMI can’t give interest on accounts, customers money is kept separate from that of the EMI, which means that it will be protected should the EMI go bust.

Now, banks have been offering online services for years, so the concept of accessing money digitally isn’t new. And it’s true that, unlike a bank, an EMI couldn’t typically offer investment, deposit or credit services, unless they got additional authorisation. However, despite being subject to strict licensing, regulation and oversight, they can be set up much more quickly and efficiently.

This does of course mean that the services an EMI can offer their customers are more limited than those of a bank but what makes an EMI so revolutionary is that, they can be more agile and therefore more easily adapt to emerging trends, as well as integrate new innovations. This means that, as fintech evolves to meet customer demand, an EMI can evolve with it, where a bank wouldn’t be able to quite so easily.

So why are neobanks so popular? 41% of people who opened a digital-only bank account did so in 2020 because it’s more convenient, 39% because they offer better rates, and 28% because transaction fees abroad are cheaper.

What’s more, neobanks and EMIs have plugged a gap and made complex processes simple and easy. PayPal was the first online international money transfer company to provide a simple solution to complicated and expensive fund transfers that historically only a bank could facilitate.

So, with EMIs able to develop this fintech that customers are demanding without the same red tape as a bank, e-money and digital payment services can slot very easily into other sectors.

As Angela Strange, general partner at a16z, once said, ‘Every company will be a fintech’.

Through e-money and digital banking, businesses can now offer simpler and more convenient products and services to their customers – and it’s not just about simpler payments but the whole customer experience.

Look at transport – the days of handing over loose change for a bus fare or scrambling coins together for a taxi are on the decline. Customers can now get from A to B digitally through pre-paid travel cards, and can even track their transport and split their fare through taxi apps like Uber. E-money isn’t just making the payment simpler but the customer experience too.

E-money has also revolutionised retail and hospitality. Loyalty cards, like Nectar and Clubcard, give customers e-money in return for repeat custom to gain discounts on future purchases. You’ve even got Starbucks and Greggs letting customers order food in advance and skip the queue to collect, meaning that the little pleasures can fit seamlessly into customers’ day-to-day lives. Again, e-money hasn’t just made it easier to pay but has made the whole shopping experience simpler and more flexible.

And it’s not just customer spending that’s been revolutionised but the spending of businesses themselves. Where previously, internal finance teams had to keep hundreds of even thousands of pounds worth of petty cash on site and complete lengthy and complicated expense and approval processes, now departments and individual staff members can have e-money transferred to prepaid cards within minutes, and spend can be tracked through a central, digital system.

The digital revolution is in full swing – with fintech now taking top spot in the UK’s strongest start-ups, businesses are flocking to take full advantage.

So don’t be left behind: contact B4B Payments today to see how we can help you be part of e-money’s digital revolution.