Fintech's top 5 April Fool’s Day tales

By Roger Baird on Monday 1 April 2019

Alternative LendingDigital BankingSavings and Investment

The fake April Fool’s story is as old as journalism. Here are five recent fintech examples we have enjoyed.

Fintech firms and news titles cannot resist the urge to let us know they have a sense of humour. Sometimes it works, sometimes you wished they hadn’t let their hair down. Here are five that made us chuckle.

1. April 2019 - Curve's card-free, hands-free payment service

Smart credit card business Curve tells us it is in the advance stage of testing its Curve AR Pay technology. The payment method allows customers to pay at point of sale (POS) terminals in stores without getting out their cards, the transaction will go through “just as long as you can see the POS terminal”.

The London-based firm, founded by Israeli Shachar Bialick added that the system has been a year in development led by top “engineers who previously worked at GCHQ, Israeli special forces 8200, ARM and the best Europe can offer”.

2. April 2019 - Tandem's dating app

Tandem Bank is launching a dating app called Tander, to cut Britain’s divorce rate buy paring people with the same “money mindset from the outset”.

Arguments over spending is often cited as a key reason for marital breakdown, but the challenger bank said its new service aims to reduce this by paring lonelyhearts “based on salary, spending and savings habits”.

The bank said it has brought together at least one couple, April Josephs and her boyfriend John Sloof, who used the beta version of the app.

April said: “We were just so much more relaxed when we went on our first date because we didn’t have to ask each other questions like: are you a big spender or do you prefer to keep within your budget?”

3. April 2018 - Ethereum's WTF cryptocurrency

Russian-Canadian programmer Vitalik Buterin, a co-founder of cryptocurrency Ethereum, announced that he was releasing a stablecoin called World Trade Francs, or WTF. This, of course, is a common acronym when one is lost for words.

4. April 2016 - Cats and dogs with loans

In an elaborate yarn, Toronto-based Fintech startup Borrowell said that it would give customers a free puppy with every new personal loan. It said it had teamed up with taxi-haiingl service Uber to surprise a new Borrowell applicants with furry bundles of joy at their homes. But the terms of the deal changed during the day, with applicants now only being allowed keep the puppies for an hour.

This led to understandable outrage. One source said: “It’s been a madhouse. People are getting upset when they see how cute the dogs are and find out they can’t keep them. The Uber drivers are pissed because they’re getting one-star ratings, so they’re leaving without the dogs. Borrowell is already short three French Bulldogs, two German Shepherds and a Goldendoodle. No Shih Tzu.”

Make of that what you will.

Borrowell said it would suspend its dog offer and substitute it with cats instead.

The firm added:  “We expect a 100 percent return rate for each cat by end of day – people only like cats on the internet.”

5. April 2015 - Greek currency to run on Bitcoin 

Greek news website wrote that the nation’s finance minister Yanis Varoufakis threatened to adopt Bitcoin if it failed to get a good deal from the European Union.

Varoufakis was reported to have told close aides: We ‘ve had enough, we‘ll run on Bitcoin.”

The outburst came at the height of the country’s drawn-out sovereign debt crisis with the European Union, which began in 2010, two years after the financial crisis swept Europe and America.

The finance minister said: “We ‘ll go to Bitcoin, we will be ahead of all the world economies and although it may be painful in the beginning, Greece’s economy will thrive in the long term.”  

The Marxist academic added: “As Greeks we are innovators, look at our history. The first computer was used in Greece, the mechanism of Antikythira, nobody knew what we were starting then.”

However, Varoufakis, in fact, is a critic of Bitcoin.

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