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LHV becomes the first bank to give fintechs access to instant pound and euro payments
LHV, the fintech focused bank, is pleased to announce that it plans to start providing its fintech clients with pound payments in June. The innovative bank now has an account with the Bank of England and will join the Faster Payments scheme as a direct member. This makes LHV Connect the only banking Application Programming Interface (‘API’) that gives fintechs access to Single Euro Payment Area Instant (‘SEPA Instant’) and pound (‘Faster Payments’) payments.
Faster Payments is directed towards fintechs and financial intermediaries, enabling them to use real-time pound and instant euro payments by just one easy integration with the LHV Connect API. Using the platform, fintechs can make domestic payments in both the UK as well as in the euro area and they can get an overview of their accounts in real time.
Available 24/7 throughout the year, including during bank holidays, Faster Payments Domestic instant payment network enables near-real time pound payments up to a value of £250,000 per payment. Faster Payments is a UK banking initiative set up with the aim of reducing payment times between different banks’ customer accounts from the standard three working days with the long-established Bacs system to a few seconds.
Andres Kitter, Head of LHV’s UK branch, commented, “Going live with Faster Payments through our LHV branch in the UK is very exciting for us as we’ve been working towards this moment since we expanded to London just over a year ago. Despite the turbulent times resulting from Brexit, our inaugural year in the UK has been hugely successful – we’ve more than doubled our existing client base and reached profitability well ahead of schedule.
“During the busy year, we have also focused on contingency planning for different Brexit scenarios and refining the product portfolio. We are currently recruiting and very open to acquiring new talent in London as LHV has full faith that London will continue to reign as the fintech capital of Europe; we look forward to becoming the best possible partner for all the fintechs in the capital. Therefore, we will continue to develop tailored solutions, like virtual IBANs and other services that will contribute to our success.”
Alongside Faster Payments, LHV is setting up fully functional UK operations, which enables it to start issuing UK account numbers.
LHV Bank opened its UK branch in March 2018 with the strategy of providing fintechs and payment intermediaries with specialist Banking Services. Since then, its client base has grown from circa 30 clients to 75, many of which are leading names in the fintech industry. Long-time customers including Transferwise and Coinbase have been joined by new innovative companies like the recent payments unicorn Airwallex, that allows companies manage cross-border revenue and financing in their business.
James Butland, UK Director of Airwallex, said, "It is great to see LHV enter the UK market and expand its product offering outside of Europe. LHV has always been a tech first bank and provide a great service for the new breed of innovative fintech businesses like Airwallex. We are delighted to work with them as one of our many counter-parties.”
In March, LHV launched its Virtual International Banking Account Number (‘IBAN’) service enabling the bank to issue IBANs to fintechs that can be personalised and allocated to end customers who can send and receive payments. Behind the scenes, the Virtual IBAN is connected to a master account, which is debited and credited when a payment is made; the first customers are already using this service.
Meanwhile, SEPA Instant Payments (RT1) have been available through LHV Connect API since April. LHV was one of the founding members behind the SEPA Instant payment initiative. The payment system operates around the clock every day of the year, supporting payment service providers in transferring euro transactions between payment accounts in less than 10 seconds end-to-end, with immediate availability of the payment amount to the beneficiary.
Notes on LHV
LHV is a preferred banking partner amongst fintechs. The Company established a presence in London in 2018 to expand its existing business line of servicing financial intermediaries. It chose London given its status as the undisputed capital of fintech in Europe.
LHV offers several innovative financial services to its clients, including Virtual International Bank Account Numbers (‘IBAN’), Single Euro Payment Area (‘SEPA’) Payments and Faster Payments, enabling real-time Euro and Sterling payments to financial intermediaries.
The bank views fintechs as allies – not competition. It even integrated some of the services offered by the start-ups to its online banking, enhancing the offering to its own retail clients. LHV is extremely agile and ready to embrace change; notably, the board views the bank more as a technology company than a financial institution.
Most of LHV’s clients fall under the following categories: money remittance, neobanks/challenger banks, fx broker/remittance and cryptocurrency players.
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