Breaking Banks Asia

Hosted ByRachel Williamson, Charis Palmer, and Simon Spencer

Breaking Banks Asia gets the inside look at the incredible innovation and technological changes that are setting the standard for the rest of the world. Led by host Rachel Williamson, we talk to the people across Asia about how their ideas came together, what innovations they are bringing to fintech, and the shifts in customer behavior that are forecasting what will happen in the rest of the world.

Rachel Williamson


Rachel is a science and business journalist from New Zealand, writing and podcasting about technology, banking and climate change. As a foreign correspondent, her career has spanned the Middle East, South Asia and the Horn of Africa. Rachel has interviewed Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, politicians and Egyptian revolutionaries, Middle Eastern billionaires, Australian business leaders and former Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. She is the Host of Breaking Banks Asia and Co-founder of Soundcraft Media. 

Charis Palmer


Charis started her career in banking as head of product for Easy Street Financial Services, a fast follower to ING Direct in Australia. She went on to found Banking Review Media, the only publication dedicated to what was then the emerging online banking market. After a career leading new media startups across business, technology and global news, Charis is now the Producer of Breaking Banks Asia and Co-founder of Soundcraft Media.

Simon Spencer


Simon has worked across technology, banking and startups for most of his career, from serving at Telstra Research Labs, to assignments with Oracle, Citibank on Wall Street, Salesforce and closer to home with Nab, ANZ, CBA and Suncorp. Having run engineering and technology teams in Australia, India & Singapore, Simon now serves as the CTO for Digital Engineering at Appscore and Partnerships Director for Breaking Banks Asia.

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All Episodes

Episode 27: “Don’t be a dick” 

Debanking is a real problem for fintechs operating in Australia. Local companies and foreign intrants alike are not immune to a 30-minutes-to-midnight text saying “your accounts will be closed...

Episode 26: What will kill cash?

In Part 1 of this two-part show we explore the resilience of cash for payments. From cards and digital wallets to superapps and digital currency, we ask the experts what’s...

Episode 25: Untangling Filipinos’ complicated financial lives 

There’s a story told by the World Bank that in 2009 more people in the Philippines had a mobile phone than a bank account – despite there still being...

Episode 24: Who guards bankingland’s walled garden? These guys 

Regtech is the unloved tech cousin of the fintech world. It’s the one which follows the rules and makes sure everyone else does too. But in an industry where...

Episode 23: Will banking as a service trump core banking?

Banks replacing their core banking has been likened to ‘doing brain surgery with a spoon’ and there are plenty of public examples where the surgery partly or completely failed.Is...

Episode 22: Orwellian dystopia or sci-fi future? Australia grapples with a digital ID 

 A bill to introduce a digital ID is making its way through the Australian Parliament to better protect government-based identities and stem the flow of consumer data from insecure...

Episode 21: What does 2024 hold for fintech in China? 

2024 is shaping up as the Year of the e-CNY, but can China be trusted with a global reserve CBDC? Our last guest Richard Holden says no. Cashless author...

Episode 20: Money in the 21st Century

Host Charis Palmer sits down with economist Richard Holden to chat about his new book: Money in the 21st Century and why he believes the US Fed needs to...

Episode 19: Hot takes from the 2023 Singapore Fintech Festival

The hosts and producers of Breaking Banks Asia and Breaking Banks Europe get together to swap stories at the world’s biggest fintech event. Plus interviews on the sidelines with...