Challenger Payments Platform VibePay OK’d By UK FCA

London-based VibePay has won approval from the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to provide direct-to-bank payments via open banking.

VibePay will launch its first product, a consumer app, in September. It will allow friends to plan gatherings and pay in groups.

“The VibePay app makes it easier for groups of friends to plan and pay for their social activities. It takes the pain out of collecting council tax from flatmates and planning holidays with friends,” said Luke Massie, VibePay CEO and founder.

“At Vibe, we understand young consumers and build products that add value to their everyday lives. We’re excited to bring merchants and marketplaces an engaged, transactional and highly targeted user base,” he added.

Launched six years ago VibePay also plans to introduce a B2B solution that will enable consumers to pay for online purchases directly from their bank accounts.

As for how challenger banks are performing so far in the country, a Financial Times report last month found that “Bank of England has found widespread weaknesses among the U.K.’s challenger banks in stress tests that showed new lenders cutting corners in an aggressive pursuit of growth.” In addition, “a senior regulator at the central bank wrote to chief executives this week, ordering them to tighten standards and correct ‘overly optimistic’ risk modelling.”

The report went on to explain that the main problem stems from challenger banks’ failure to support “assumptions in their stress test models,” according to the news outlet. Additionally, those upstart financial institutions are operating with an “aggressive focus on growth,” according to regulators, and “tend to make riskier loans.”

The regulatory focus on challenger banks is proof of the push from authorities since the financial crisis to “break the monopoly of high street banks as part of efforts to boost competition and avoid having institutions that are ‘too big to fail.’”


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