This week’s tech news, filtered for financial services execs

July 4

Hello and welcome to Insights Distilled, a weekly email briefing that curates tactical technology news for financial services execs. Every Tuesday morning, we send you the top five stories you need to know – and explain why they matter. Our tech news roundup helps you stay on top of the innovations driving business agility in your industry. To get next week’s edition in your inbox, sign up here.


Happy Fourth of July to all our American readers! This week’s edition delves into acquisitions, artificial intelligence, and the latest worry for banks’ compliance chiefs.  

Let’s dive in: 

  1. Getting cancelled: Mastercard tries to woo banks with a new subscription management tool
  2. Generalized GenAI: Mizuho is rolling out OpenAI tools to 45,000 employees
  3. Chat challenges: Why financial institutions must grapple with employee emoji use
  4. Booking boost: US Bank adds AI to business travel payments
  5. M&A update: Visa is buying Latin American fintech Pismo

Mastercard is teaming up with a fintech to make cancelling subscriptions a breeze.  

Through a partnership with Subaio, Mastercard is offering an in-demand service that could help banks wrest power from third-party providers and reduce costly chargebacks. 

Consumer subscription fatigue is real and the resultant chargeback costs can be steep, so Mastercard launched a product that can save time and money for both banks and their customers.  

The technology will allow customers to see all their subscriptions within their banking app and unsubscribe to goods or services automatically without having to contact the merchant directly. Banks can enable the new subscription management tool, created through Mastercard’s partnership with fintech Subaio, through an API. 

Mastercard’s pitch to banks is that offering this tool to their customers can help reduce chargeback disputes, pressure on call centers, and operational costs in general. They’d also have ownership over a value-add service, which could increase customer goodwill and loyalty.  

Some banks already make it easy for customers to automatically track subscriptions (for example, Capital One’s Eno chatbot will display all recurring payments), but third-party tools like Rocket Money and PocketGuard have so far dominated subscription cancellation and management. This product would give banks ownership over that capability.  

Mastercard first started working with Subaoi through its Start Path program, which engages dozens of fintechs per year, and this latest launch is a proving point for that model.


Banking giant Mizuho is rolling out Microsoft’s generative AI tools to all 45,000 of its bank staffers in Japan.  

Many financial institutions have banned widespread employee use of GenAI tools like ChatGPT, but Mizuho’s strategy is to dive in headfirst. 

Mizuho is bullish on generative AI’s ability to disrupt workflows and processes throughout its business –and it’s letting employees take the lead of discovering how.  

The banking giant will allow 45,000 workers at its Japanese lending unit to test out Microsoft Azure’s OpenAI service, which offers tools like ChatGPT.  

The goal is to let employees experiment with use cases and pitch ideas for how to use GenAI to help them work more efficiently or unlock new value. While many other financial institutions are experimenting with GenAI, they tend to do so through limited tests and initiatives – sometimes while blocking ChatGPT from corporate computers in general. 

A Mizuho exec told Bloomberg that the bank does have guidelines and safeguards for employee use, but that it sees widespread ideation as a way to ensure it reaps the biggest benefits from the technology and avoids stagnation: “This is something we have to do, otherwise we get left behind.” 


Financial institutions should make sure they’re equipped to handle the next challenge of communications compliance: Interpreting emojis. 

Regulators have indicated that financial firms should be able to monitor and flag potentially problematic emojis in workers’ business communications. 

Wall Street was hammered with fines by US regulators over the past year over employee use of unmonitored chat apps like WhatsApp, prompting many to extend their communication surveillance software to new platforms. In the wake of that crackdown, FinServs should also make sure they’re properly tracking emoji use, based on recent comments from a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) leader at a conference. 

Banks’ communication surveillance technology should be able to interpret and flag suspicious emoji use, the leader implied.  

“Let’s face it, emojis are not going anywhere: In fact, they are becoming more deeply woven into our cultural fabric every day,” Ananth Siva, CEO of mobile communication software firm Movius, told Insights Distilled. FinServs need to ensure their communication monitoring ecosystems “empower users to communicate the way they choose, but in a secure, compliant fashion,” he added.  

However, emoji monitoring is challenging given the sheer number and the vast subtext for their use. To help FinServs appropriately flag suspicious chats, vendors will have to make sure they integrate more contextual understanding of emojis into their technology.  


US Bank is rolling out an AI-powered travel management platform for corporate card clients.  

As business travel ramps back up, making expense reports seamless can be a competitive differentiator for card issuers.  

US Bank is putting its 2021 acquisition of fintech TravelBank to good use.  

The firm just launched a new middle market-focused commercial card with a travel management platform that automates expense control and reporting. The TravelBank-powered tools use artificial intelligence to provide customizable card controls, insights into spend, and automated reporting and analysis.  

For example, business users don’t need to upload receipts or manually label purchases. And TravelBank has ambitions to find ways to make the process even easier for customers through the burgeoning application of generative AI.  

“Maybe one day you won’t even have to think about an expense report,” founder Duke Chung mused to American Banker. “Eventually the expenses could all be done behind the scenes. The overall goal is to give companies greater control over spending.”   

For US Bank, the platform provides an incentive for businesses to choose its commercial cards over the competition. We’ve seen a similar focus on tech-driven travel resources as a differentiator in consumer banking, as Insights Distilled has extensively covered


Visa is buying Brazilian fintech Pismo for $1 billion to expand in Latin America.  

Buying a payments infrastructure firm with clients across South America lets Visa expand its footprint and relationship with customers. 

Visa announced plans to buy Pismo for $1 billion, marking the largest fintech M&A news this year.  

Pismo’s cloud-based infrastructure provides the core banking platform through which financial institutions can issue credit or debit cards or operate digital wallets and marketplaces. The firm counts Citi, Itau, and neobank N26 among its customers and although its main customer base is in Latin America, it also operates in Europe and Asia Pacific.  

The acquisition allows Visa to expand its relationship with customers: It can now offer core banking and card issuing services to banks and financial institutions that it previously only worked with through its payment rails.  

Mastercard was reportedly eying an acquisition as well, but Visa won out. In other fintech acquisition news, Ramp just bought AI-powered customer service startup Cohere

Quick Bits:

Personnel news: TransUnion chief data and analytics officer Venkat Achanta will now also lead the firm’s global technology unit, spearheading its innovation strategy. 

Money moves: Lloyds Banking Group invested a £2 million seed round in finance automation startup Fennech. Meanwhile, Wells Fargo is backing a $70 million “equitable access” fund created by fintech Hello Alice and the Global Entrepreneurship Network. 

Crypto corner: Mastercard’s new Multi Token Network aims to validate digital assets for financial institutions, fintechs, and central banks


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