Lanistar gets FCA approval after 2020 regulatory wrist slap
The hyped-up UK fintech startup Lanistar, has been granted Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) approval to launch what it claims is one of the world’s most secure card payment solutions.
The company, which launched in 2019, came under fire late last year following the rollout of an extensive social media campaign that saw it target 3,000 high-level Instagram influencers as part of the company’s marketing strategy.
Popular influencers taking part in the campaign included Love Island celebrities and Premier League footballers - one of which has 12 million followers.
The campaign led with the news that Lanistar’s ‘Polymorphic’ payment card provides ultimate customer security because it does not store personal information, it can generate one-time PINs and set unique security codes for individual purchases or ATM withdrawals.
Fintech FCA approval
But the FCA sent out a warning about the company, saying it was “not authorised by us" as well as saying “some firms act without our authorisation and some knowingly run investment scams”.
Lanistar now says it has secured regulatory approval to operate as an Electronic Money Directive (EMD) agent of the payments firm Modulr. The EMD status means the fintech can distribute and redeem electronic money on behalf of Modulr, enabling Lanistar to provide its customers with digital accounts that can receive and send out payments.
The card, which is available free of charge - or has £3.99 and £14.99 per month options, also enables customers to load several cards onto the Lanistar app and select between them.
The news follows on from Lanistar’s tie-up in June 2020 with MasterCard, which at the time of the FCA warning, stood by Lanistar, saying it was committed to ‘driving choice and innovation in payments for people everywhere and supporting fintechs through our card issuing partners.’
Lanistar expansion plans
Despite the setback late last year, executives say Lanistar is forging ahead with investment and expansion plans. said the company was still promoting its strategy to become a £10bn+ fintech, with plans to expand to the EU and South America, starting in Brazil.
To date, Lanistar has raised £15m in capital from supporters and family investments. A £10bn valuation would place it higher than Starling Bank, Revolut and Monzo combined.
"We are extremely grateful and excited by the official confirmation that we are approved as an EMD agent and one step closer towards achieving greatness,” said Kiziloz.
Lanistar currently employs 100 staff across three locations, namely London, Athens and Macedonia. It’s expansion plans include reaching a 400-strong team by the end of 2021.
Tink partners with Novalnet AG for open banking payments
The Munich-based fintech Novalnet AG, which was founded in 2007 and is one of Europe’s leadingfintech companies, has announced a new partnership with Tink, the Swedish open banking platform currently connected to more than 3,400 European banks.
Novalnet AG delivers payment solutions and fully automated services, from checkout to debt collection. Its solutions are also available worldwide.
According to reports, the fintech company plans to launch a real-time payments feature for merchants across Europe, to expand its current services and enhance the transaction experience it operates through its platform.
The new feature, says Novalnet, will revolutionise payments for ecommerce with transactions being credited to merchant’s accounts almost instantly.
Novalnet partnership with Tink
By partnering with Tink for payment initiation services (PIS) technology, Novalnet will take previous region-specific payment methods and offer a new unified digital payments service to its merchants across Europe.
The fintech’s real-time merchant payments feature, which will be launched initially in Germany and the United Kingdom, will then be integrated across other European markets during 2021.
Speaking about the new collaboration, Emmanuel Kirse, COO of Novalnet, explained, "We expect great things from our strategic partnership with Tink, which is a significant development for both parties.
“With Tink, Novalnet can offer a new set of open banking-related solutions in Europe. The new opportunities offered by this partnership will help both Tink and Novalnet grow together, along with our merchants."
Cyrosch Kalateh, Regional Director for the DACH region at Tink said, “Our partnership with Novalnet is a big step for Tink in the German market, and we are excited to work together to bring new, innovative payments services to merchants across Europe.”
He added, “At the end of 2020 Tink committed to expanding its payment initiation services from five to 10 markets, fuelled by an €85mn investment round. We are proud to add Germany to this list by announcing we have now fully launched Tink’s PIS services in this market.”
Image credit: Novalnet AG