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April 6, 2020

On The Web

Companies

Plaid Gives Lenders Access to Small Business Payroll Data to Speed Emergency Loan Approval

CNBC

“Start-up Plaid is looking to solve a pain point in the emergency loan process: Access to payroll data.  Small businesses looking to survive the coronavirus slowdown are rushing to apply for emergency government loans. But as a part of that process, they need to download their payroll data and share it with their bank, who then needs to verify and process the information and application. The process can take days or weeks, and is often done manually, according to Plaid.”

Deals

Vodacom And Safaricom Acquire M-Pesa To Accelerate Mobile Money Services In Africa

TechCrunch

“M-Pesa, the first and most successful mobile money payment service, has been acquired by South Africa’s Vodacom and its Kenyan subsidiary Safaricom in a new joint venture that they hope will spur the growth of this novel new form of payment on the continent. The GSMA already says half of all the world’s mobile money services are in Africa, which is a testament to how successful this trend, originally launched by Safaricom in 2007, has been. Safaricom was a Vodafone subsidiary at the time, and its ownership was transformed to Vodacom, another subsidiary, in 2017 to consolidate the London-based Vodafone’s subsidiaries in sub-Saharan Africa.”

Deals

Open banking fintech Yapily raises $13M Series A

TechCrunch

Yapily , one of a number of fintech startups that offer an opening banking API to let enterprises, such as financial service providers and merchants, connect to banks, has raised $13 million in Series A funding. Leading the round is Lakestar, which is also a backer of fintech unicorn Revolut. Existing investors HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, and LocalGlobe also participated. Yapily last disclosed $5.4 million in seed funding in May 2019, and counts the likes of Taavet Hinrikus (TransferWise chairman and co-founder), Ott Kaukver (Twilio’s CTO), Roberto Nicastro (UniCredit’s former deputy CEO) and Frank Strauss (Former CEO of Deutsche Postbank) as angel backers.”

Global

Card Networks Up Canadian Contactless Transaction Limits To Limit Physical Contact

Digital Transactions

“Contactless payments already capture a big share of point-of-sale purchases in Canada, and that share is sure to grow with recent announcements by Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc. that they are raising their contactless transaction limits to C$250 to limit the handling of cards that could spread the coronavirus, according to news reports. The limits had been C$100. “With safety and social distancing top of mind for all Canadians, today’s announcement is one way we’re helping cardholders to shop easily, securely and with more peace of mind during this difficult time,” Sasha Krstic, president of Mastercard in Canada, said in a statement Thursday.”

On The Wires

Companies

TouchBistro Launches ‘Restaurant Recovery Navigator’ and New Products to Support Restaurateurs Through the COVID-19 Pandemic

“TouchBistro announced today the launch of its all-new Restaurant Recovery Navigator , a go-to source for information, insights, products, and one-on-one support to help restaurateurs navigate their business through the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare a path forward for the future. TouchBistro also launched its dedicated gift card offering, a new solution designed to help restaurateurs improve their immediate cash flow during the pandemic; and announced its plans for a proprietary online ordering product, which is set to release by mid-April and will be free for TouchBistro customers for the first 12 months.”

April 3, 2020

On The Web

Deals

Nordic challenger bank Lunar adds €20M to its Series B

TechCrunch

Lunar , the Nordic challenger bank that started out life as a personal finance manager app (PFM) but since acquired a full banking license last year, has extended it Series B round with an additional €20 million in funding. It brings the Series B total to €46 million, having disclosed €26 million in August last year. The Series B extension is led by Seed Capital, with participation from Greyhound, Socii and Augustinus. In addition, I’m told that David Helgason, founder of Unity Technologies, has joined the round.”

Domains

Amazon and Apple Strike Deal for Prime Video In-App Purchases and Subscriptions

Daring Fireball

“In a significant shift, the Amazon Prime Video app on iOS and Apple TV now features a built-in content store. This means users can now buy or rent TV shows and movies directly inside the app on Apple platforms. The change was first spotted by The Verge . For the longest time, Amazon did not support this because of Apple’s App Store rules which require the developer to use Apple’s In-App purchase system for digital content and give 30% of the revenue to Apple. The app now seems to use Amazon payment method if you have a card on file, otherwise it uses Apple In-App Purchase.”

Industry

New Data Show Even Necessities Aren’t Immune to Covid-19’s Impact on Card Spending

Digital Transactions

“The Covid-19 virus is taking a fearful toll not only on lives but also on U.S. commerce, and now even everyday staples are feeling the pinch. Grocery stores saw a sharp spike in card-based purchase volume in March as consumers scrambled to lay in supplies against the rapid spread of the pandemic, but by the end of the month that momentum had flattened out, according to data from CMSPi, a U.K.-based payments-research center with U.S. offices in Atlanta. Meanwhile, gasoline purchases on credit and debit cards held steady until mid-month but then began trending steadily downward, the data show.”

Opinion

Stimulus Funds Should Be Delivered Via Mobile Payments

Forbes

“Now is the time for governments to be promoting and employing mobile-based tools to assist families and businesses harmed by the pandemic. From mobile passports to re-admittance into normal life to mobile payment methods, mobile technology could be our best weapon in the fight against coronavirus. Delivering stimulus funds via mobile payments will help more people get stimulus funds faster, and may help spur adoption of mobile payment systems and reduce the unbanked percent of the U.S. population.”

April 2, 2020

On The Web

Industry

The Rush for $350 Billion in Small-Business Loans Starts Friday. Banks Have Questions.

Wall Street Journal

“A day before small businesses can apply for forgivable loans from the $2 trillion financial-relief package , banks say they are still struggling to understand how to make these loans eligible for a government guarantee. Under the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, part of the stimulus package signed into law last week in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, lenders would make available as much as $350 billion in government-guaranteed loans to cover eight weeks of payroll and other expenses. Business owners can begin applying on Friday for the loans, which are forgivable if businesses keep their workforce largely intact and use the loans for eligible expenses such as rent and utilities.”

April 1, 2020

On The Web

Companies

Visa Transaction Volumes Hurt As Coronavirus Crisis Deepens

Reuters

“Visa Inc ( V.N ) said on Monday its transaction volumes had been hit as the coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc on consumer spending, leading it to forecast mid-single-digit percentage revenue growth for the second quarter. “As countries have imposed social distancing, shelter-in-place or total lock-down orders, domestic spending, most notably in travel, restaurants, entertainment and fuel, has sharply declined week on week,” the world’s largest payments network said in a statement. The company said transaction volumes fell in the second half of March and there has been a rapid deterioration in cross-border travel-related spending.”

Domains

Mobile app spending to double by 2024, despite economic impacts of COVID-19

TechCrunch

“The spread of COVID-19 has already had a significant impact on the mobile app industry, and that will continue in the years to come. According to a revised 2020-2024 market forecast from app intelligence firm Sensor Tower, a sizable increase in app downloads for industries like remote work and education will lead to a large surge in app installs for the early part of 2020 and beyond, despite other decreases in downloads for ridesharing and fast food apps. However, the expected economic downturn resulting from COVID-19 will somewhat dampen revenue growth in the years ahead, the report found. Despite this, mobile app spending worldwide will continue to grow and will even double by 2024.”

Domains

Department Store’s Tough Times Continue: S&P 500 Index Drops Macy’s

Retail TouchPoints

“Macy’s is one of many retailers reeling from the COVID-19 outbreak, furloughing most of its 130,000 employees after closing its 800+ stores. But the effects also have hurt Macy’s status as a U.S. business power player: the department store is being removed from the S&P 500 Index. Macy’s will be replaced by air conditioning company Carrier Global, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices, which oversees the index.”

Industry

America’s Smallest Banks Are Being Enlisted to Rescue Millions of American Jobs

Quartz

“Banking giant JPMorgan Chase is among the biggest providers of SBA loans, but smaller institutions make up much of the market’s core. The US has more than 4,000 community banks that provide about half of the country’s borrowing for smaller enterprises, according to the trade group Independent Community Bankers of America. They’ll be needed to funnel funds into everything from dry cleaners to optometrist clinics.”

Industry

How Payments Can Adjust to the Coronavirus Pandemic–and Help the World Adapt

McKinsey & Company

“As the catastrophic human costs of the coronavirus come into clearer focus, so too do the consequences for people’s well-being beyond the immediate imperative to safeguard lives. Taking care of our families and friends, our neighbors and communities, our employees and coworkers comes first. For that reason, companies across industries and geographies have scrambled to establish remote-working conditions—and continue to improve them as the health crisis continues. Those that can, including most banks and financial-services companies, have taken swift action to protect both their customers and their employees.”

Reports

Study Indicates Mid-size Banks Are Slow Embracing Digital Delivery and Automated Services

Mobile Payments Today

“Thirty-two banks with median assets of more than $4 billion participated in the study, which collected nearly 300 spending, operations and staffing benchmarks across dozens of bank areas. The study’s findings when compared to the firm’s 2017 report showed that bank assets grew 30%, staff grew by 5%, assets per employee increased 18%, assets grew 23%, return on assets improved 19%, but online deposits only grew 2.17%.The report indicated that mid-size banks are slow to embrace digital delivery and higher productivity through automation. “Even with a commercial focus, mid-size banks have hundreds of thousands of ‘eyeballs’ logging into mobile and online banking each month, but these same institutions are doing very little to leverage or monetize this activity from a sales or customer engagement standpoint,” the report stated in a recent press release”

Risk

Marriott Discloses New Data Breach Impacting 5.2 Million Hotel Guests | ZDNet

ZDNet

“Hotel chain Marriott disclosed today a security breach that impacted more than 5.2 million hotel guests who used the company’s loyalty app. According to a breach notification posted on its website , the hotel chain learned of the security breach at the end of February, when it discovered that a hacker had used the login credentials of two employees from one of its franchise properties to access customer information from the app’s backend systems.”

On The Wires

Reports

COVID-19 Crisis Highlights Need for Real-Time and New Digital Payments Services Around the World, New ACI Worldwide Research Reveals

“More than half a trillion real-time payments transactions will be processed over the next five years, according to Prime Time for Real-Time , a new global report from ACI Worldwide (NASDAQ: ACIW) and Global Data . This industry-first research, which analyzes global real-time, account-to-account payment volumes and forecasts across 30 global markets, projects a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 23.4 percent from 2019 to 2024.”

March 31, 2020

On The Web

Domains

U.S. E-Commerce Growth Surges for Many Merchants Amid the Covid-19 Pandemic

Digital Transactions

“Newly analyzed data from Emarsys, a digital-marketing platform, shows that U.S. e-commerce spending continues to surge in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, with at least a 57% growth in revenue and a 45% growth in orders in the past seven days. The U.S. Northeast region shows a 57% growth rate in revenue for pure e-commerce merchants, which have no physical locations, across all merchant types. The Midwest rate is 66%, the West at 71%, and the South at 72%.”

Industry

PayPal Announces Fee And Loan Relief for Merchants Impacted by Covid-19

Digital Transactions

“In a move to cut costs for immediate availability of funds, PayPal is waiving fees through April 30 for instant transfers from the merchant’s PayPal business account to a bank account or card. Normally, the fee for instant transfers is 1%, up to $10. PayPal is also waiving fees for chargebacks filed by customers with a credit card issuer through April 30. In a related move, PayPal also said it is extending from 10 days to 20 days the window during which merchants must respond to a customer dispute.”

Industry

Fed to Launch New Lending Facility for Foreign Central Banks

Wall Street Journal

“The Federal Reserve said Tuesday it would launch a temporary lending facility that will allow foreign central banks with accounts at the Fed to convert their holdings of Treasuries into dollars, its latest bid to alleviate strains in global markets. The program will allow foreign central banks and other international monetary authorities who maintain accounts at the New York Fed to enter a lending arrangement called a repurchase agreement, or repo, in which borrowers temporarily exchange their Treasury securities for U.S. dollars.”

Industry

Comcast Says Voice and Video Calls Have Skyrocketed 212 Percent During Widespread Self-isolation

The Verge

“Comcast says it’s seen other major shifts in data usage over the past month to accommodate working from home. Uploads are now at their peak throughout the workday, whereas they used to spike in the evening. And as you’d expect, streaming video and gaming have seen increases, too. Video consumption is up 38 percent, and game downloads are up 50 percent on Comcast’s network.”

Security

This Startup Is Helping Local Stores ID Customers During COVID-19

Street Fight

“Pure play ecommerce outlets have spent years developing systems to manage transactions and verify customer identities, but most retailers on Main Street are accustomed to seeing shoppers in person and visually checking IDs. A San Francisco-based startup called Persona is offering to help those local businesses adapt by giving away its online ID verification service for free during the COVID-19 crisis.”

Systems

French Central Bank to Experiment With Wholesale Central Bank Digital Currency – Ledger Insights – Enterprise Blockchain

Ledger Insights - enterprise blockchain

“Yesterday the Banque de France announced plans for an experiment to help with clearing and settlement of tokenized digital assets. To that end, it is calling for participants in a wholesale central bank digital currency (CBDC) test for interbank settlement. The announcement doesn’t come as a surprise because the Bank’s Governor Villeroy de Galhau previously expressed a desire for the European Central Bank (ECB) to be the first to issue a wholesale CBDC.”

On The Wires

Domains

Tipalti Introduces Tipalti Pi™ — Artificial Intelligence for Accounts Payable

Tipalti , the leading global payables automation solution, today announced Tipalti Pi™, a continuously-adaptive, integrated payables intelligence engine throughout the Tipalti platform that employs AI and machine learning to make the entire payables process smarter. This technology, which is available automatically to all Tipalti customers, proactively identifies fraud and risk, eliminates AP process errors, improves decision-making, and automates manual work.”

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