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16 September 2014

Finance made simple 

Several European startups have joined a crowd of companies worldwide that are aiming to shake up the world of financial technology.

The best of these fintech startups are competing in the European BBVA Open Talent contest, whose winners will be announced at the Bank Next Europe conference on September 18-19 in Barcelona.

The common theme among the Open Talent finalists is making it easier for people to untangle the complexities of finance.

TransferGo, based in the UK, says it can transfer money "10 times cheaper" than banks. It also promises cash transfers will be available on the next business day.

Germany’s Lendstar is a mobile-payments app that allows people to borrow money, collect payments, prepay for items and split expenses among multiple people.

ETFmatic, based in the UK, lets users tap into the growing popularity of exchange-traded funds, which investors can trade like shares on a stock market, unlike traditional investment funds.

Cashboard, also from Germany, is a cloud-based service that helps independent entrepreneurs track all their expenses, invoices and projects, and enables vendors to conduct online billing.

Established banks and financial firms are likely to be watching such companies closely for ideas on streamlining their customer service. Some of them may well end up being acquired by a big institution.

Technology has been integral to banking and financial services since the dawn of the computer age. Today the online revolution is encouraging young companies to devise new ways to take the strain out of financial transactions.