Use of fintech apps in Europe accelerates

Fintech apps have seen a surge in take-up in Europe over the past week, as people adapt their lifestyles to cope with limitations on mobility amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

As people are told to stay at home, digital banking apps are being increasingly used, along with other digital services.

According to a study by financial advisory deVere Group, the use of fintech apps in Europe surged 72% in the past week. Meanwhile, the use of cash in the UK dropped by 50% in the days following the UK government announcing limits on people’s movements, known as lockdown, according to the UK ATM network Link. The exchanging of cash can spread the virus and some retailers stopped accepting it early in the lockdown.

“The world has changed in the past few weeks,” said James Green, divisional manager Europe at deVere Group. “The measures we’re now all taking to help the fightback

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Loan charge MPs secure ‘unanimous’ support for motion to curb policy’s retrospective powers

A cross-party group of MPs has secured unanimous support from across the House of Commons for its continued push to have all retrospective aspects of the government’s controversial loan charge policy removed.

The policy has seen thousands of IT contractors saddled with life-changing tax bills relating back to work they did between 6 April 1999 and 5 April 2019, which they were remunerated for in the form of loans, rather than a conventional salary.

In HM Revenue & Customs’ (HMRC) opinion, these loans were never intended to be repaid and so should have been classified as taxable income.

An amendment was therefore added to the Finance Act in 2017 that made it possible for HMRC to demand contractors pay the tax the agency claims they avoided during this 20-year window through the introduction of the loan charge policy in November 2017.

The policy has been linked to at least seven

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Fintechs create Covid Credit to help self-employed prove income loss

Financial technology (fintech) professionals have created a cloud-based tool using open banking technology to help self-employed people prove their income losses during the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis.

The service will access transaction data from the bank accounts of self-employed people, made possible by open banking regulations, and will be able to prove an individual’s earnings. It collects historic banking data from the last 12 months as evidence of past income and potential loss of income in the future.

Known as Covid Credit, the tool is in development and has not been given the green light by the government.

The concept was created by staff at fintechs including Credit Kudos, 11:FS, Coconut, Capital on Tap and TrueLayer. They are working on a proof of concept to support self-employed people prove their lost income to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

The group said in a statement: “In 48 hours, a team from

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IT contractors ‘left stranded’ by exclusion from support for self-employed

The government stands accused of leaving IT contractors “out in the cold” by denying limited company contractors access to financial measures designed to support the self-employed through the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.

In an address to the nation on Thursday 26 March 2020, the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, outlined details of a support package the government will roll out to help self-employed people through the pandemic.

This includes a promise to pay self-employed people who earn up to £50,000 a year a maximum of £2,500 a month for at least the next three months, if their ability to earn an income has been adversely affected by the coronavirus.

These payments will be made possible through the provision of a taxable grant worth up to 80% of the average monthly profits these individuals have banked over the past three years.

“To make sure only the genuinely self-employed benefit, it will be available to

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Nordic fintechs urge financial literacy to be taken seriously before it’s too late

Digital startups across the Nordics are looking to plug a knowledge gap in financial literacy, and are urging parents and education systems to introduce the topic to young people at a much earlier age.

There are many financial tools and apps for adults on the market at present. Although that is a positive sign of proactive problem-solving and digital assistance, it could also be construed as a worrying indictment of how much the average adult needs help with their personal finances.

“If we need a lot of tools for the management of our money as adults, then we’ll just end up with a host of algorithms and AI [artificial intelligence] tools managing our money because we’re unable to do it ourselves,” said Philip Haglund, CEO of Swedish pocket-money management app Gimi. “And that’s the scenario for adults who are completely digitally literate.

“There is also an alarming amount of

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Meeting reviewing subpostmaster applications to appeal criminal prosecutions moves into second day

The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) has extended its virtual meeting of commissioners reviewing subpostmaster applications to appeal criminal convictions linked to a faulty computer system.

The meeting, which began yesterday (24 March 2020), will continue into a second day, with details of when a further announcement will be made expected to follow quickly.

In January, the CCRC arranged the committee of commissioners meeting to consider subpostmasters’ applications to appeal against convictions for offences including theft that led to some being sent to jail. A recent High Court group litigation proved that faults in the Horizon IT system subpostmasters use in branches caused the losses they were prosecuted for.

The commissioners meeting looked in doubt due to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, with meetings being cancelled to avoid spreading the coronavirus, but went ahead as planned yesterday using Microsoft Teams collaboration software.

The CCRC said the meeting had been extended into

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