Your bank doesn’t suck – the 2014 Matchi Global Fintech Innovation Challenge

Steves around the country may disagree with me on this one, but, for the most part, your bank doesn’t suck… really, I mean that. Our banks have stepped in to the 21st century and are attempting to make our banking experience as pleasant as possible. While I might be young I’m not young enough to forget a time when any banking had to be done by going in to a branch and dealing with a human. I’m only really a fan of dealing with other humans if they’re making me laugh or throwing chocolate at me… neither of which they do in banks.

In the last few years we’ve seen some rather impressive innovation in the banking sector. Do you realise how much tech goes in to your online banking experience? From logging in securely to moving money to your credit card – each step is a rather detailed process in itself. Banking apps have all but replaced banking counters (I found this fantastic piece on the Techie Guy comparing banking apps. It’s a bit outdated though as the new Standard Bank app was launched this year & not included BUT I still think it deserves a quick scan through to show you how far we’ve come).


One of the big changes in the banking sector is a change in attitude. Because of security risks banks were inherently dubious to look at technology outside the realm of what they were developing in house. If new technology outside the bank was financed there was a “MINE” type attitude that came with it. That has changed and the likes of SnapScan is a perfect example of this. While Standard Bank may have supplied funding to the app, it wasn’t exclusively for their clients. Any customer or merchant could use the technology.

With that same idea of collaboration to benefit everyone, Standard Bank partnered up with the 2014 Matchi Global Fintech Innovation Challenge. This is a competition for Fintech firms worldwide who submit innovative solutions in a host of banking categories including Mobile Payments & Customer Service, Lending, Personal Financial Management & Investment, Banking & SMEs as well as Security & Fraud Reduction.

More than 60 international firms entered and they were whittled down to the 6 top firms (one for each category). They were then flown to South Africa where they pitched their ideas to a group of banks (not just our local guys, there were representatives from the likes of Spain & Israel).

According to Standard Bank’s Head of Innovation Capability, Paul Steenkamp, challenges like this one aids the bank to bring innovative solutions to the customer (so, you) and address various delivery challenges.


Out of the top 6 finalists my favourite (and one I’d definitely utilise if made available to be) was Stockpile.

Forget socks for Christmas. With Stockpile you can gift someone actual stock in a brand. You pick the stock, the dollar amount and the recipient. You get to add an optional message and then just plug in their email addie. You don’t need any other information. You then pay for the stock via credit or debit card and the receiver gets a mail notifying them that they now own said stock. They can then keep the gift, change to stock in a different brand or gift it someone else. Alternatively they can choose to convert it to a store gift card of the same value. Pretty rad right? With the right stock choices you could help your friends become millionaires!      


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