Bogdan Dinu, Head of Product at Thunes and interview partner in this cross-border payments talk.

Finquiry #2: Bogdan Dinu on Cross-Border Payments

Since the dawn of the Internet age, global economies have grown closer – as did the underlying financial systems. Today, we can digitally purchase a product with materials from Eastern Europe, produced in Singapore, refined and branded for sale in Canada, and eventually shipped to Brazil. All countries involved in this supply chain have to maintain financial relationships and this also necessitates numerous cross-border payments.

However, that’s easier said than done. Complying to all regulations, security processes and technical requirements necessary to move funds from one country to the other comes with high efforts and costs for service providers.

For our fintech interview series “Finquiry”, we have asked cross-border payments expert Bogdan Dinu to break down what goes behind facilitating effective and low-cost transfers.

Our Guest: Bogdan Dinu, Head of Product at Thunes

Our interview partner Bogdan Dinu is the perfect expert to lead us through the dense jungle of the cross-border payments landscape. As the Head of Product in leading global payments network Thunes, he is set to support the business through its next phase of global expansion. 

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A computer mouse resting on a bundle of euro banknotes, representing electronic money or e-money, respectively

What Is E-Money – Definitions, Processes, Challenges

E-money, short for Electronic Money, is the electronic alternative to cash. Since it started as a concept in the 1980s and rose to prominence during the Dot-Com era, it has acted as one of the biggest game-changers in the financial industry. In a matter of only four years, from 2014 to 2018, the number of electronic money transactions in Europe alone doubled to more than 4 billion. 

This aspiring form of money deserves our attention. To provide a starting point, this article will give an overview of: 

  • The definition of e-money as a whole
  • The subtle distinctions in its applications
  • The process of electronic payment with e-money
  • The potential downsides of e-money
  • And finally, e-money licencing and who should apply for such a license  

Let’s start!

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CeFi versus DeFi – Part I: The history of the centralized finance

Introduction

trimplement co-founder Natallia Martchouk
trimplement co-founder Natallia Martchouk looks into the history of centralized finance.

We all are used to living in the world of centralized finance (CeFi) and many people cannot imagine that the financial system could work differently. They simply take the existing system as the given and best option. But is this the case? Or do we have alternative possibilities? What do they look like?

In this small series of financial articles I will introduce you to the concept of decentralized finance (DeFi). First I will talk about some historical milestones in the development of the centralized financial systems and the status quo, then I will present the idea of decentralized finance. And last but not least I will describe some of the most famous DeFi projects which are already running and changing the world now, while you’re reading these articles.

CeFi: History and status quo

Money makes the world go round

Let’s start at the very beginning and go through some basic concepts. The financial story of humankind starts with the invention of money.

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A wallet, money and a computer cooling system, symbolizing the rapid real-time payments of SCT Inst

From SCT Inst to EPI – How European Banking Is Changing

Matthias Gall, co-founder of trimplement
trimplement co-founder Matthias Gall traces the origin of the SCT Inst scheme and gives an outlook.

Having followed the European financial press in recent years, chances are you stumbled across the term SCT Inst. This seven letter abbreviation hints at an ambitious banking project that has sharpened the competitive edge of the European financial market: Instant, multi-national payments. 

The SCT Inst scheme was introduced to enable rapid, real-time payments between banks and financial institutions located in different European countries. As such, SCT Inst acts as a stepping stone for more banking projects bound to happen further down the timeline (like the European Payment Initiative or EPI). 

As you are reading this, SCT Inst has already taken hold in banking. But still, banks can feel the challenges it has presented to them. 

Let’s see what we are dealing with.

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A software developer working on coding a payment gateway

How to Develop a Payment Gateway

Online marketplaces are complex systems. That’s true all the more when you decide to equip them with a custom payment gateway you developed (and there are many good reasons why you should do so). 

As a development company, offering CoreWallet, a software foundation for payment and ewallet applications, we are familiar with the complexity of creating payment gateways.  It’s important to approach the development process with a clear plan. To help you master the technical challenges, we have compiled the common stages of such a payment gateway project for you. And we’ve also collected a few best practices. 

So, let’s walk the walk. Let’s build a payment gateway. 

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Two businessmen lining out a payment gateway for their online marketplace and other platforms of the platform economy.

Empowering the Platform Economy

aye4fin Managing Partner Thomas Tittelbach, presenting 5 important topics when creating payment gateways on a business level.
Thomas Tittelbach, Managing Partner at aye4fin gives you a detailed overview of how to approach building a payment gateway from a business perspective.

E-commerce is a growing market – but it’s not taking place entirely within single online shops. By far not. Online marketplace environments have cemented their presence all over the web, be they specialized in dealing with certain types of goods or all-in-one digital warehouses. In addition to retail, service platforms and even comparison portals have found their niches as well. In short: We live in the age of the platform economy – driven by smooth-flowing online payment solutions.

Yet sometimes the last part is more wishful thinking than reality. Payment processing requires a payment gateway designed for the specific transaction flows, which occur in marketplaces. And if you want to design such a well-functioning solution yourself, you can turn it into a business case on its own.

Of course, there are things to keep in mind, from a business perspective. In this second part of our Article Series on Payment Gateway Building, we give you an overview of those. Here are five topics to consider when building payment gateways for marketplace platforms.

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A point-of-sale for credit cards symbolizing the developments in the digital payment industry of 2019

2019: The Year in Payments

Matthias Gall, co-founder of trimplement
Matthias Gall looks back on the developments in payments of 2019

When I sat down to write my article on innovation in fintech and payments last year, I was a little disappointed about what I saw in Europe, as you can probably tell from the article. I decided to look somewhere else instead and found more innovation on the African continent.

This year, though, things are looking a bit different: pressure to innovate keeps rising in Europe. When it comes to payments in Europe, there might be light at the end of the tunnel.

Let’s start with one theme that manifested itself throughout the last couple of years.

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A person holding a credit card facing an online marketplace, symbolizing online payment and the payment gateways in charge of the transfer

How to Build a Payment Gateway: Definitions and Central Questions

Digital platforms are the go-to spots for e-commerce – and terminals for countless payment transactions. Online marketplaces like Amazon or Alibaba present themselves as the popular top dogs in this area. But they only compose a fraction of the platform economy. 

Today’s online marketplace platforms offer goods, services, jobs, and business partners. And then, we’ve said nothing about comparison portals like Check24. They browse external platforms to find the best offers, acting as “meta marketplaces” of a kind. 

But whatever platform you use: The point will come when you will have to pay for what you have obtained. At this point, Payment Service Providers and Payment Gateways make their appearance. It’s their job to detect fraud and validate the purchasing agreement. And ultimately, to debit your account and move your money – in the virtual as well as the physical sphere.  

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Portrait of Andrei Martchouk, interview partner of the first finquiry episode, talking about blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

Finquiry #1: Andrei Martchouk on Blockchain

The financial industry of today and tomorrow branches out in many directions. As providers of software foundations for e-wallets and payment processing systems, we plant the roots on which your trailblazing financial products can stand firmly. Yet, with catchwords like  “PSD2”, “fintech”, “blockchain”,” neobanking” and “robo-advisory” entering the scene every day, it’s easy to miss the forest for the trees.

To keep oneself up-to-date on the newest industry developments, what better way than to ask the experts. In our new blog series “Finquiry”, we interview professionals about the today and the tomorrow of the financial industry. 

Our Guest: Blockchain expert Andrei Martchouk

Our interview partner Andrei Martchouk is Managing Director and Co-Founder of KI decentralized GmbH. We have asked him about blockchain and the cryptocurrency sphere. 

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A gravestone, showing a list of numbers resembling an iTAN list, standing as a symbol for the demise of the iTAN procedures due to the PSD2 Open Banking regulations

iTAN – An Obituary

Here lies iTAN. 

On September 14th 2019, after a lingering and worsening case of backwardness, it passed away. It joined the likes of videotex and MeChip in the peaceful hereafter of online banking.

Alas, poor iTAN, we knew you. 

In your brief existence of only 14 years, you have put your mark on the whole banking industry. And on myriads of printed lists. Precious times we have spent on your behalf, poring over papers, grubbing for that one golden number to end our insecurity – and get those funds transferred from our budget account to our savings account. 

You, iTAN, have managed to rise above its forebears, ending the whateverism of the old TAN dynasty. And yet, you had trouble keeping a stiff upper lip in the face of all those hyperactive neo banking millenials. You passed with dignity.

Farewell, iTAN. We will miss you.

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