Pulse Alert – News Pulse for September 10, 2019

A daily download of SME, startup, fintech and tax news from around Australia.

Xinja Bank wins unrestricted licence, launches transaction accounts

The prudential regulator says Xinja Bank’s licence is now unrestricted, prompting the neobank to immediately launch new transaction accounts into the market on Monday, as it seeks to attract Millennial customers away from the major banks with a data-driven, digital-only offering.

Xinja joins four other new banks to win licences after passing scrutiny by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority: 86400, Volt Bank and small business lender Judo Bank. Another new digital bank, Up, is using the licence of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank.

Real disruption involves a human touch

It is fair to say that the last couple of years have not been kind to the brand trust of some financial institutions – but not all players in the sector have seen theirs eroded.

Many of the customer-owned banks have net promoter scores (a score ranging from –100 to +100 that measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company’s products or services to others) over 90, says Steve James, CEO of Sydney-based Teachers Mutual Bank. “Given the environment in financial services over the last few years, that is quite an achievement – and what drives that, the fact that our customers are members of the organisations themselves, is very attractive to a lot of people.”

Helping the tall poppies to grow

There are a range of issues impacting on the ability of Australian SMEs to innovate.

Research and development (R&D) spending as a percentage of GDP in Australia is comparatively low by international standards. It is below the OECDOrganisation for Economic Co-operation and Development average and noticeably low when compared to other smaller OECDOrganisation for Economic Co-operation and Development nations like Israel and The Netherlands.

Almost one third of government R&D spending is through tax incentives. This is a relatively blunt instrument and may be more likely to benefit larger businesses rather than smaller ones.

ACCC puts businesses “on notice” to overhaul customer loyalty schemes

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCCAustralian Competition and Consumer Commission The ACCC is Australia's competition regulator and national consumer law champion.) is warning businesses to review loyalty program practices in light of consumer issues.

Businesses looking to stay out of hot water should check their practices against the ACCCAustralian Competition and Consumer Commission The ACCC is Australia's competition regulator and national consumer law champion.’s recommendations, corporate lawyer Richard Prangell tells SmartCompany .

Why Australia can’t afford to ignore early-stage startups

Last month KPMG released it’s Venture Pulse report which found Aussie entrepreneurs received a record-high US$630 million in investment last financial year. However, despite the increasing number of resources founders can now access, we continue to fall behind other countries. We’re all familiar with the recent Global Startup Ecosystem Report , which saw Sydney and Melbourne’s ranking fall. So what’s behind the dip?

As a nation, we have a plethora of ingenious early-stage startups in areas such as agriculture, food processing and robotics. These startups are the key to Australia’s future innovation prospects. The missing piece is ensuring these businesses have adequate access to support networks and capital to get off the ground and scale up successfully.

After (finally) securing its full banking licence, neobank Xinja opens for business

Aussie neobank Xinja has finally been granted its licence to operate as an authorised deposit-taking institution (ADI) by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, and launched its transaction account product, ushering in a whole new era in the challenger bank saga.

Founded in 2017 by Eric Wilson and Van Le, Xinja already has about 12,000 customers using its prepaid credit card product, and 28,000 on its waiting list.

Privacy concerns: Warnings tax debt reports could be ’embarrassing’

A Senate committee has raised concerns about privacy in its review of a plan to empower the Australian Taxation Office to tell credit reporting bureaus about company tax debts.

The worries come as the lobby group representing sole traders and micro businesses warned the policy “destroys the basis of taxation privacy” and does not have enough checks and balances to ensure fairness.

Feds drive $15m data share pilot

The federal government has earmarked $15 million to create a national disability dataset, on the back of plans to introduce a consent-free public sector data sharing scheme.

The agreement emerged from the COAG Australian Data and Digital council meeting in Brisbane on Friday, the first to be chaired by Government Services minister Stuart Robert.

Govt’s consent-free data sharing plan

The federal government’s proposed mandatory public data sharing scheme will not require consent from citizens and its own data authority will not be able to override a department’s decision on an information release.

On Tuesday morning government services minister Stuart Robert unveiled a discussion paper for the planned Data Sharing and Release legislation , which has been in the works for more than two years.

Xinja Bank gets full Australian banking licence

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has handed out another banking licence to a new player in the market, with neobank Xinja Bank granted a licence to operate as an authorised deposit-taking institution (ADI) without restrictions.

The green light from APRA on Monday means Xinja can start rolling out transaction accounts to customers. The accounts are accessed solely via the company’s app and come with a Xinja Debit Mastercard.

ATO unpaid super action welcome but 99 per cent of workers still short-changed

Moves by the Australian Tax Office to go after those employers not paying their workers super are welcome but barely scratch the surface of the problem Industry Super Australia (ISA) says.

With ISA analysis showing that one in three workers – around 2.85 million people – are  being ripped off close to $6 billion in super by unscrupulous employers, the ATO Australian Taxation Office’s compliance action relating to 25,000 people will only deal with less than 1 per cent of employees currently missing out on their super.

12 take-aways from The COSBOA National Small Business Summit 2019

It was a huge two-days in Melbourne focusing on policy development and emerging issues for small business at our National Small Business Summit in 2019. Themed Policy for the People, more than 60 phenomenal speakers, exhibitors and sponsors, brought collaboration, insight and real conversations around small businesses, red tape, training, contractors, digital engagement, finance, sustainability and policy. Here’s some of our top take-aways from the COSBOA Council of Small Business Australia #NSBS19!

Open banking best for consumers

A leading digital lender says traditional revenue models in financial services are likely to be a thing of the past thanks to a confluence of forces including new technologies, new regulations and changing customer demands.

Anthony Baum, founder and chief executive of online lender Tic: Toc Home Loans argues banking is going through a revolution. Technology is facilitating legislative change with the introduction of the open banking regime, which gives customers control of the data financial services firms hold about them such as information about their transactions.

Tips, comments or suggestions? Let me know in the comments, send me an email or tweet me @simeonduncan.

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