Payments News
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for more than 17 years. Glenbrook curates
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important daily headlines in payments.

April 30, 2021

On The Web

Companies

Ripple Wants Go Public After Settling SEC Lawsuit, SBI CEO Says

Cointelegraph

“Major cryptocurrency company Ripple has not given up on its plans to go public despite its ongoing legal battle with United States regulators, according to SBI Group’s CEO. Yoshitaka Kitao, CEO of Japanese financial giant SBI Group, claimed that Ripple plans to become a public company after the firm settles a legal action brought against it by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.”

Companies

Mastercard Beats on Earnings and Cites a Rebound in Domestic Travel Spending

MarketWatch

“A recent focus for Mastercard has been trying to win travel- or airline-focused co-branded arrangements, Chief Financial Officer Sachin Mehra told MarketWatch, with cards that are “heavily weighted toward people using the products for travel.” The company’s recent momentum in this area makes it “well positioned for travel coming back,” he argued. More generally, Mastercard argues that it’s been winning share in the debit market with recent wins contributing to the company’s debit growth.”

Domains

Biden Tax Plan Leans on Banks to Help Find Unreported Income

Wall Street Journal

“Part of the funding for President Biden’s $1.8 trillion American Families Plan hinges on a beefed-up reporting requirement for banks designed to identify unreported income. The proposal would require banks to report annual account inflows and outflows to the Internal Revenue Service. The requirement would also extend to peer-to-peer payment services such as Venmo but wouldn’t require individuals and businesses to report any additional information to the government, according to people familiar with the plan. Financial institutions already must report interest, dividend and investment income, and the IRS can get bank information during audits.”

Domains

After Dropping Out of College in Nigeria, These Tech Entrepreneurs Have Now Been Snapped up by the Influential Y Combinator

CNBC

“The co-founder and chief executive of Nigerian fintech Flux says dropping out of college helped to pave the way for the launch of a new crypto payments company, one that has since been backed by renowned start-up accelerator Y-Combinator…Flux is a cryptocurrency remittance app. It lets users convert sovereign currencies into crypto and then send those funds overseas, claiming to make the process of international cash transfers faster and more efficient.”

Domains

Instacart Expands Online Food-Stamp Payments, Challenging Rivals

BNN Bloomberg

“Instacart Inc. is increasing the number of stores where it accepts online payments for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participants, moving the online grocery delivery giant into competition with Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc.. for a growing pool of consumers using federal assistance to buy food online. The San Francisco-based startup is partnering with three retailers, Publix Super Markets Inc., The Save Mart Companies and Golub Corp.’s Price Chopper/Market 32, to allow Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) payments in more than 1,500 additional U.S. stores. The expansion is about a 60% increase in availability for SNAP online purchasing through Instacart, which began in October with a partnership with ALDI.”

Glenbrook

The True Cost of Being Underbanked – Payments Views

Payments Views

“It’s expensive to be a low income American, driven in part by the high cost of financial services available to such consumers. In this post, we break down where cost comes from, and how fintechs are changing the way working class Americans are able to access affordable financial products. Fintechs have an opportunity to displace the traditional, high-cost services that target low income consumers. Through the consumer profiles we discuss in this piece, we can see that using fintech products instead of traditional services has a material impact on the financial wellbeing of low-income consumers.”

Global

China Warns Large Tech Firms As Industry Faces Rising Oversight

Wall Street Journal

“China is reining in the ability of the country’s internet giants to use big data for lending, money-management and similar businesses, ending an era of rapid growth that authorities said posed dangers for the financial system. On Thursday, China’s central bank and other regulators ordered 13 firms, including many of the biggest names in the technology sector, to adhere to much tighter regulation of their data and lending practices.”

Systems

SoFi CEO Dives Deeper Into Crypto With Bitcoin, Ethereum Rewards

Bloomberg

Social Finance Inc. is edging deeper into cryptocurrencies, allowing its customers to redeem rewards earned through the company’s app for Bitcoin or Ethereum. Starting Thursday, clients can apply their 2% cash-back rewards on the SoFi credit card toward the two cryptocurrencies, Chief Executive Officer Anthony Noto said in a phone interview. The crypto program is among the first to be made available in the industry.”

Use

Exclusive: U.S. Labor Secretary Throws His Support Behind Classifying Gig Workers As Employees

Reuters

“A lot of gig workers in the United States should be classified as “employees” who deserve work benefits, President Biden’s labor secretary said on Thursday, suggesting a shift in policy that is likely to raise costs for companies that depend on contractors such as Uber and Lyft…As many as 55 million people in the United States were gig workers – or 34% of the workforce – in 2017, according to the International Labor Organization, and the total was projected to rise to 43% in 2020.”

On The Wires

Domains

Alviere & Currencycloud Partner to Provide Multi-currency Cross-border Embedded Finance Solution

“Alviere, the New York-based embedded finance platform provider, has today announced a partnership with Currencycloud, a leading provider of B2B embedded cross-border solutions, to provide its enterprise-class clients with the functionality of Currencycloud’s Spark solution – a multi-currency e-wallet with individual IBANs that allows customers to pay, hold, convert and collect in as many as 38 currencies simultaneously.”

Global

Updated NPP Roadmap Presents ‘PayTo’ – NPPA

“Every six months, the NPP Roadmap provides an updated overview of the plans to enhance and extend the Platform’s capabilities to meet wider needs of the payments ecosystem. The April 2021 roadmap – now available here – unveils the name chosen as the new official moniker for what was previously known as the Mandated Payments Service. NPP Australia’s Head of Engagement, Katrina Stuart, said PayTo was selected after an extensive process to find the right identity for the service that will enable customers to pre-authorise third parties to initiate payments directly from their bank account.”

Risk

Request for Proposal to Find a Service Provider to Establish and Maintain the EPC MISP Instance

“The European Payments Council (EPC), as a scheme manager, endeavours to adequately address fraud risks in the context of its Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) payment schemes. Therefore, in February 2021, the EPC decided to develop a SEPA-wide “Malware Information Sharing Platform” (“MISP”) instance for real-time fraud information sharing with direct browser access by all SEPA payment scheme participants. Today, the EPC launches a public request for proposal to find a reliable independent service provider to which the EPC can outsource the management and the maintenance of the EPC MISP instance.”

Systems

FedNow Features: Flexible Participation Types

“The FedNow Service will provide financial institutions an innovative platform they can use to unlock instant payment use cases and create new solutions they can offer to individual and business customers. Making the FedNow Service accessible to financial institutions of all sizes is a top priority of the Federal Reserve Banks. To help make this a reality, we’re implementing flexible design features such as the ability to choose from a variety of FedNow participation types.  As financial institutions prepare for the FedNow Service, they should start thinking about which of the following FedNow participation types will allow them to support their business and customer needs. Financial institutions can enable almost any combination of participation types, with a few exceptions. Each participation type allows for several different configurations to be flexible and meet each financial institution’s needs.”

Use

Retailers Sue Fed Over Failure to Follow Congress’ Direction on Debit Card Swipe Fees

“Retailers filed a lawsuit today seeking to have the Federal Reserve lower its 10-year-old cap on “swipe” fees banks charge to process debit card transactions, saying the agency wrongly applied federal law and that merchants have paid billions of dollars more than intended by Congress while banks’ costs have fallen…The suit against the Federal Reserve Board of Governors was filed by the North Dakota Retail Association and the North Dakota Petroleum Marketers Association in U.S. District Court in Bismarck. NRF is not a party but Martz is co-counsel in the case…The lawsuit claims the cap is higher than allowed under the Durbin Amendment, a law passed by Congress in 2010 to address a “broken market” of soaring swipe fees set by Visa and Mastercard and lack of competition among the card-issuing banks that receive the fees.”

April 29, 2021

On The Web

Companies

Facebook Needs Users to Shop, Not Drop

Wall Street Journal

“Facebook is still riding a pandemic high, with ads successfully driving impulse purchases of everything its users didn’t even know they wanted. But longer term it will need to become more of a destination for users to buy exactly what they know they need. On Wednesday, Facebook reported strong first-quarter revenue that handily beat Wall Street’s estimates, up 48% year over year. It also said it expected to see such a pace of revenue growth to continue, if not accelerate modestly, in the second quarter.”

Deals

Paxos Raises $300 Million to Build a Cryptocurrency Infrastructure Giant

TechCrunch

Paxos has raised a $300 million Series D funding round led by Oak HC/FT. With today’s funding the round, the company is now valued at $2.4 billion. The company has been building infrastructure and white-label services for enterprise clients that want to offer cryptocurrency products to their own customers. In particular, Paxos has partnered with PayPal for its cryptocurrency features. Since October 2020 , PayPal customers have been able to buy, hold and sell a handful of crypto assets — Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin. Venmo, a PayPal subsidiary, added the same cryptocurrency features just a few days ago.”

Domains

Thailand, Singapore Launch Linkage of Real-time Payment Systems

Reuters

“The Bank of Thailand (BOT) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) launched on Thursday a linkage of Thailand’s PromptPay and Singapore’s PayNow real-time retail payment systems. Describing it as the first of its kind globally, they said in a statement the linkage followed several years of collaboration between the BOT and MAS, payment system operators, bankers’ associations and banks. ( bit.ly/3t3aNe8 )”

Systems

Coinbase Now Lets US Users Pay for Cryptocurrency Through a PayPal Account | Engadget

Engadget

“In case you needed a sign cryptocurrency has gone mainstream, here it is. Starting today, PayPal users in the US can link their accounts to Coinbase to make it easier to buy digital currencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. Previously, funding those purchases often meant using a debit card or a more time-consuming method like a wire transfer. With today’s update, Coinbase says you can fund your purchases “instantly.” It also means there’s one less platform with your debit and bank account information.”

On The Wires

Domains

Accelerating Our Commitment to Diverse and Minority Suppliers

“Walmart and Sam’s Club are committed to supporting the long-term growth and success of diverse and minority-owned businesses. We’ve heard loud and clear from current and potential diverse suppliers that the biggest challenge to achieving growth is the ability to gain access to working capital. That’s why we’re proud to announce, in partnership with C2FO , an expanded early payment program that provides these suppliers with convenient and consistent access to reliable funding sources. Building on our existing early payment programs, this new option launches with the goal of making access to working capital affordable, transparent and more equitable by offering qualified diverse or minority-owned suppliers faster payments from us at our lowest rates.”

Domains

Apiture Partners With Zelle(R) to Empower Banks With Best-In-Class Payments Solution

Apiture , a leading cloud-native provider of digital banking solutions, today announced a partnership with Zelle®, a peer-to-peer (P2P) payments service, to provide financial institutions with a best-in-class, high-speed payments solution…The partnership between Apiture and Zelle® enables a streamlined and enhanced experience for Apiture customers. Apiture Xpress is an established platform that has been serving leading financial institutions for more than 20 years, helping them to create a fully integrated digital bank. This embedded capability provides clients with a secure, seamless and efficient way to send and receive payments through their digital banking applications.”

Domains

Fiserv Enables Employers to Make Every Day Payday Via Money Network Payroll Cards

Fiserv, Inc. (NASDAQ: FISV), a leading global provider of payments and financial services technology solutions, announced today that businesses leveraging Money Network ® electronic payroll delivery services from Fiserv can provide employees early access to their wages. This increasingly in-demand benefit, known as earned wage access (EWA), is being made available through Money Network prepaid payroll cards via integrated capabilities from Instant Financial.”

Domains

Modernizing B2B Payments: The Time for Digitalization Is Now – FedPayments Improvement

“To determine which B2B efficiency efforts show the greatest potential benefit and highest likelihood of success, the Federal Reserve initiated industry research with support from Kearney and Glenbrook Partners. Insights and feedback from 60 businesses and more than 100 experts was analyzed, and the results were clear: the time to invest in electronic payment information exchange and improved process automation is now. The Federal Reserve remains committed to helping modernize systems across the payment industry and the continual development of the Strategies for Improving the U.S. Payment System ( PDF) . Coordinating efforts across different segments and stakeholders for an integrated approach has its challenges, but we’ve seen from research and previous efforts that collaboration is key.”

Providers

Alliance Data’s Bread® To Enable Point-of-Sale Lending for Fiserv Merchant Clients

Alliance Data Systems Corporation (NYSE: ADS ), a leading provider of data-driven marketing, loyalty and payment solutions, today announced its Bread division, a leading payments technology company that enables seamless checkout experiences for merchants and partners, will provide businesses using merchant acquiring services from Fiserv with access to Bread’s turnkey point-of-sale lending products, including installment loan and buy now, pay later options.”

Systems

Square Brings New Payment Functionality and Cost Savings to Businesses Using Square Invoices

“Today, Square announced businesses can now accept Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments on Square Invoices, bringing convenience and payment flexibility to businesses and their customers alike. ACH payments are an electronic bank payment method that provide a simple and secure alternative to card networks. ACH payment acceptance is another way that Square is meeting the needs of large businesses – particularly those with high ticket items where card processing fees can be cost prohibitive.”

Systems

Deserve Launches Digital First Card on Mastercard Network for Mobile-First Experience

“Deserve, a fast-growing fintech startup based in Palo Alto, unveiled its Digital First Card, a revolutionary product that can decision consumers in minutes and allow the opportunity for instant spending. The proprietary mobile-first platform will power mobile cards for major co-brand partners, affinity groups, and corporations that want to offer an embedded and seamless credit card experience to their customers or members.”

April 28, 2021

On The Web

Deals

Greece’s Viva Wallet Raises $80M for Its Neo-bank Targeting Small Business Merchants

TechCrunch

“Challenger banks continue to make significant waves in the world of finance, with smaller outfits luring customers away from incumbents by providing an easier way for them to not only engage with basic banking services, but to tap into a wave of technology that brings more personalization and often better deals into the equation. In the latest development, Viva Wallet , a Greek startup building banking services aimed at small and medium merchants, has picked up financing of $80 million, money that it will be using to expand its footprint and the services that it is offering to users, in particular expanding its Merchant Advance loans business.”

Domains

Ivorian Startup Afrikrea Partners With DHL and Visa to Launch SaaS E-commerce Platform ANKA

TechCrunch

“The platform called ANKA will allow users to sell from Africa, ship products to anywhere in the world and get paid through local and international African payment methods… The platform lets users sell via an omnichannel dashboard with a single inventory, orders and messages management. Customers can carry out transactions via a customized online storefront like Shopify, social media platforms, links such as on Gumroad and the Afrikrea marketplace. Merchants can carry out payments and payouts via a wallet and an Afrikrea Visa card. The platform, which costs $12, allows customers to perform mobile money and mobile banking transactions with MPesa, Orange, MTN and PayPal.”

Domains

Branch, an Employer Payments Platform, and Card Issuance Platform Marqeta Share Latest on Payments Preferences for Gig Workers

Crowdfund Insider

“Branch, an Employer Payments Platform, and global card issuing platform Marqeta have shared the findings from a study on the work and payments “preferences” of gig workers. Surveying more than 1,000 workers who began engaging in gig and 1099 work during the past six months, the Branch x Marqeta Gig Payments Report reveals that “driven by the pandemic, 85% of respondents said they had picked up additional work.””

Domains

Mailchimp Moves Into E-commerce

TechCrunch

“Over the course of the last few years, Mailchimp morphed from a basic newsletter platform to a fully fledged marketing company. And while the service already offered integrations with a number of e-commerce sites, it is now launching its own online stores for small and medium businesses, as well as a new appointment booking service. These new services will be part of MailChimp’s new “Websites & Commerce” plans, which starts with a free tier that offers most of the basic functionality. Users on the free plan will pay a 2% transaction fee. For $10/month, Mailchimp will remove its own branding and users will get access to email and chat support and only pay a 1.5% transaction fee, while those who opt for the “Plus” plan at $29/month will only pay a 0.5% transaction fee per order.”

Global

Mobile Money Finally Comes to Ethiopia

Developing Telecoms

“Ethio Telecom, the – for now – monopoly telecommunications provider in Ethiopia, has announced the roll-out of a mobile money service. Called TeleBirr, it will be available to Ethio Telecom subscribers from May this year. Although the government is planning to allow two new operators to compete with Ethio Telecom, they won’t be permitted to offer mobile money services. Ethio Telecom, by contrast, has the approval of the country’s Council of Ministers to offer digital financial services. The process apparently began over a year ago with a proposal to the National Bank of Ethiopia, which approved the application.”

Global

Fiserv Partners With Brazil’s Caixa Economica Federal in Card Deal

Reuters

“Payments company Fiserv (FISV.O) has reached a deal with Brazilian state-controlled lender Caixa Economica Federal to offer its card services to the bank’s clients, according to a securities filing on Monday. The deal estimates a total payment volume processed of 457 billion reais ($84.06 billion) throughout the next 20 years. The value of the deal has not been disclosed.”

Global

Crunchtime for Cash at Singapore’s Famed Hawker Food Stalls

BNN Bloomberg

“Singapore officials trying to digitize the economy are targeting a tricky group of holdouts: elderly vendors who run the country’s famed hawker stalls. For generations of Singaporeans, stalls selling popular street food have been an indispensable part of local life. Even amid unbearable midday heat, these open-air complexes draw office professionals, families and retirees with favorites such as chicken rice, prawn noodles and the nasi lemak coconut rice dish. Hawker centers have won global acclaim, recognized by Unesco last year as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Most of these stalls have been cash-only businesses though, and that’s part of the challenge as Singapore encourages consumers to use electronic payments.”

Security

Are You Sure About the Safety of That QR Code?

TechRadar

“It is predicted that by 2022, over five billion QR codes will have been scanned or accessed by mobile devices.  A QR code is an additional form of contactless communication that, once scanned, either relays information or directs an individual to another online source, website or application. QR code adoption has increased with the contactless way of life that many of us have had to adjust to, especially during the worldwide pandemic.”

Systems

US Bank Selects Cryptocurrency Custodian, Wins Admin Role for NYDIG’s Bitcoin ETF

CoinDesk

“Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank is taking a big step into the bitcoin business. In addition to its recent strategic investment in crypto infrastructure firm Securrency, U.S. Bank, part of U.S. Bancorp, the fifth-largest bank in America, said Tuesday it will offer a new cryptocurrency custody product in partnership with an unnamed sub-custodian. U.S. Bank also announced Tuesday it has been selected to administer NYDIG’s bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) (should it be approved by regulators) – building on the bank’s long-standing private-fund servicing relationship with NYDIG.”

On The Wires

Companies

Visa and Airbnb Partner To Get Hosts Paid Faster With Visa Direct

“Visa (NYSE:V), the world’s leader in digital payments, and Airbnb (NASDAQ: ABNB), a leading online marketplace for lodging and experiences, today announced Airbnb Hosts in select markets will be able to access their earnings more quickly. Through Airbnb’s use of Visa Direct[1], Visa’s real-time[2] push payments platform, Hosts will have an option to move money from Airbnb to a bank account associated with an eligible Visa debit card.”

Domains

dLocal Expands Further Into Southeast Asia to Support Merchant Demand

“dLocal, a technology-first payments platform enabling global enterprise merchants to connect with billions of consumers in emerging markets, today announced operations in three new countries in Southeast Asia, including Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. These countries, along with the region’s other two largest economies, Indonesia and Singapore, have seen significant eCommerce growth due to their expanded digital footprint in the wake of the pandemic…dLocal will now provide payment capabilities for eWallets, cash and international card payments, as well as chargebacks and refunds.”

Systems

Petco Announces Revolutionary Credit Card Program in Partnership With Alliance Data and Mastercard

“As the credit card for pet lovers, Petco Pay, issued by Alliance Data, includes the Petco Pay Mastercard, a co-branded credit card, and the Petco Pay Credit Card, a private label credit card. In addition to many perks, with every purchase made using Petco Pay credit cards, Petco will make a donation to Petco Love (formerly the Petco Foundation), an independent nonprofit organization, to support life-saving initiatives for pets in need. Petco has pledged to donate up to $1 million annually in total to the lifesaving initiatives of Petco Love under the program.”

Systems

Cross Borders, Cross Industries, Cross Payment Types: FIS RealNet Solution Changes the Game in Real-Time Payments

“Financial technology leader FIS ® (NYSE: FIS) today announced RealNet ™, a new cloud-based, software as a service (SaaS) platform that will enable account-to-account (A2A) transactions for businesses, consumers and governments over real-time payment networks. The FIS RealNet platform will make it easier for organizations across all industries to send, receive and accept payments, whether they are engaging with a consumer or business, or with their own employees. The platform functions as a “network of networks,” utilizing a full range of existing domestic and cross-border payment rails to simplify and speed up the processing, clearing and settlement of payments. By using a smart-routing decision engine, FIS RealNet identifies the fastest, most cost-efficient payments option for a given transaction in real-time—whether ACH, same-day ACH, Wires and RTP®—and automates the end-to-end process.”

Tech

DBS, J.P. Morgan and Temasek to Establish Platform to Transform Interbank Value Movements in a New Digital Era

“Acknowledging that the future of global payments is on the cusp of a fundamental shift, DBS, J.P. Morgan (NYSE: JPM) and Temasek today announced plans to develop an open industry platform to reimagine and accelerate value movements for payments, trade and foreign exchange settlement in a new digital era, through a newly-established technology company. The company, Partior, aims to disrupt the traditional cross-border payments ‘hub and spoke’ model, that has resulted in common pain points, including multiple validations on payment details by banks, which translate to costly and onerous post transaction exception handling and reconciliation activities.”

April 27, 2021

On The Web

Companies

Apple Set to Get EU Antitrust Complaint Over Spotify

Bloomberg

Apple Inc. faces a European Union antitrust complaint as soon as this week, escalating a probe into Spotify Technology SA ’s allegations that App Store rules are unfair, according to a person familiar with the case who asked not to be named because the process isn’t public. The move raises the risk that the EU could order changes to Apple’s App Store or impose fines. Apple will have the chance to argue its case against any EU suspicions before regulators take a final decision. The EU is also probing Apple over e-books and payments.”

Companies

Paypal CEO Talks Cryptocurrency And The Rise Of Super Apps

Time

“The fintech giant had a record year as the pandemic drove shoppers from stores. Instead, they bought groceries, movies and underwear on their phones and computers. PayPal does business in more than 200 countries and deals in more than 100 currencies. It did a staggering amount of business last year, processing transactions at a rate of 1,000 per second during the peak holiday shopping season. In total, PayPal processed 15.4 billion payments, with a value of $936 billion last year.”

Companies

Stripe Acquires TaxJar to Add Cloud-based, Automated Sales Tax Tools Into Its Payments Platform

TechCrunch

Stripe , the privately-held payments company now valued at $95 billion , has made an acquisition to expand the range of tools (and services) that it provides to online businesses. It has acquired TaxJar , a popular provider of a cloud-based suite of tax services, which can be used to automatically calculate, report and file sales taxes. One key point about TaxJar is that it works across a number of geographies and the many different sales tax regimes that each uses — a complex area for a lot of companies that do business online.”

Deals

Kids-focused Fintech Greenlight Raises $260M in A16z-led Series D, Nearly Doubles Valuation to $2.3B

TechCrunch

Greenlight , the fintech company that pitches parents on kid-friendly bank accounts, has raised $260 million in a Series D funding round that nearly doubles its valuation to $2.3 billion. The funding comes just months after the Atlanta-based startup landed $215 million in funding at a $1.2 billion valuation. With the latest round, Greenlight has now raised over $550 million…Since it launched its debit cards for kids in 2017, the company has managed to set up accounts for more than 3 million parents and children, who have saved more than $120 million through the app.”

Deals

Mobile Bank Current Raises $220 Million Series D, Triples Valuation to $2.2B

TechCrunch

“U.S.-based challenger bank Current , which has now grown to nearly 3 million users, announced this morning it has raised a $220 million round of Series D funding, led by new investor Andreessen Horowitz (a16z). The funding swiftly follows Current’s $131 million Series C at the end of last year, at which point the company had doubled its user base over just six months to over 2 million users…Current began its life as a teen debit card controlled by parents, but later expanded to offer personal checking accounts powered by the same underlying banking technology.”

Deals

Teen Banking Service Step Raises $100M Series C, Announces Steph Curry’s Investment

TechCrunch

Step , the digital banking service aimed at teens and endorsed by TikTok star Charli D’Amelio, announced this morning the close of a $100 million round of Series C funding after growing to over 1.5 million users just six months after launch. The new round, led by General Catalyst, comes shortly after Step’s $50 million Series B, announced at the end of last year after the startup hit half a million users in only two months post-launch…Step today competes in a crowded market of mobile banking services aimed at a younger demographic, but it’s one of very few that targets teenagers ages 13 to 18. Through Step’s app, teens gain access to an FDIC-insured bank account without fees and a secured Visa card that helps them to establish credit before they turn 18. The app also offers Venmo-like functionality for sending money to friends.”

Domains

Bitcoin’s Most Recent Adopters Are Working-class Migrants

Rest of World

“Salgado is now part of a growing number of Latin Americans using cryptocurrency to transfer money from the United States south of the Rio Grande. They represent a new wave of crypto users who are not tech enthusiasts or white-collar financiers but rather working-class people whose livelihoods depend on a technology that is often seen as experimental. The savings in commission fees makes crypto remittances a gamble worth taking for low-wage migrants. Before Bitcoin, like most migrants, she would send her money via the international transfer companies Western Union, MoneyGram, or Vigo.”

Global

‘Pay With a Glance’: Russia’s Sberbank Rolling Out Face-recognition Payments

Reuters

“Russia’s biggest bank hopes shoppers will sign up for a facial recognition service that will let them pay for their groceries with just a glance. Sberbank is partnering with supermarket chain Magnit and plans to connect 100 stores in Moscow and Krasnodar to the service by June, the two companies said on Thursday. A pilot programme is already running in ten shops. As banking margins shrink, Russia’s largest lender is expanding in areas ranging from food delivery and taxi services to cloud computing and cyber security.”

Reports

FinHealth Spend Report 2021

Financial Health Network

“About two-thirds of the U.S. population struggles to spend, save, borrow, and plan, yet those households contribute 84% of total spending on interest and fees for everyday financial services like credit cards, auto loans, remittances, and overdraft charges, and spend a greater share of their income compared with those who are financially healthy. Financially Coping and Vulnerable households spent a total of $255 billion in 2020, out of a total of $303 billion nationwide. On average, Financially Vulnerable households spent 13% of their income on fees and interest for everyday financial services, compared with 5% for Coping households and just 1% for Financially Healthy households.”

Security

Experian’s Credit Freeze Security Is Still a Joke

krebsonsecurity

“In 2017, KrebsOnSecurity showed how easy it is for identity thieves to undo a consumer’s request to freeze their credit file at Experian , one of the big three consumer credit bureaus in the United States.  Last week, KrebsOnSecurity heard from a reader who had his freeze thawed without authorization through Experian’s website, and it reminded me of how truly broken authentication and security remains in the credit bureau space.”

Systems

GDF Issues Mixed Response to FATF Consultation on Crypto

Finextra Research

“Cryptoassets and digital finance industry membership body, Global Digital Finance (GDF), today issued a mixed response to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)’s recent consultation on crypto. As a global anti-money laundering (AML) watchdog, the FATF’s crypto consultation sets out guidance for regulators and the wider industry, with regard to spot exchanges, custody, decentralised finance (DeFi), stablecoins, and peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions.”

Systems

E-commerce Giant JD.com Used China’s Digital Currency to Pay Some Employees

CNBC

“Chinese e-commerce company JD.com has paid some employees with the digital yuan as the country’s central bank looks to expand the scope of its use. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) began work on the digital currency/electronic payment (DC/EP) in 2014. Also known the digital yuan or e-CNY, the digital currency is a way to replace coins and cash in circulation and is primarily focused on domestic use.”

Systems

Still Getting Your Head Around Digital Currency? So Are Central Bankers.

The New York Times

“America’s Federal Reserve says it is in no rush to issue a digital currency, but it is coming under intense and increasing pressure to research and understand the design and potential of digital money…Yet huge questions persist about a central bank digital dollar — such as “What problem would this solve?” and “How would it work?” Jerome H. Powell, the chair of the Fed, has been clear that while research is well underway, the Fed has a big responsibility as steward of the U.S. dollar, the world’s dominant currency. It would not issue a digital version of U.S. currency without congressional approval, and it is in no hurry to upend the existing monetary system before it fully understands the consequences.”

On The Wires

Domains

Mazooma and Fifth Third Bank Are the First to Bring Instant Withdrawals to the $150B+ U.S. Sports Wagering and IGaming Markets

“A partnership between Mazooma, the gaming industry leader for bank account-based payments, and Fifth Third Bank, N.A. is bringing real-time withdrawals to sports wagering and iGaming industries through the RTP® network from The Clearing House. The offering, now live for all of Mazooma’s operators, enables players to receive payouts immediately into their bank accounts, safely and securely, 24/7/365. Immediate payouts are a win-win for both players and operators. Players enjoy peace of mind with the option to access their winnings instantly. For the gaming operator, real-time withdrawals offer a better user experience than any other payment method available.”

Domains

Apruve Expands Automated Credit & Accounts Receivable Platform in China

Apruve , a U.S.-based pioneer in long-tail credit and accounts receivable automation for global enterprises, announced today that it has expanded its solutions to the China market. Apruve enables organizations to reduce the time and resources needed to manage their high-volume smaller accounts. With the expansion of Apruve’s Global Credit Network and the internationalization of the Apruve Payment Platform, global enterprises can now offer customers in China a simplified digital transaction experience while bringing days sales outstanding (DSO) to one day by paying out invoices nightly.”

Domains

Merchants Can Offer More Touch-free Ways to Pay As Fiserv Brings PayPal and Venmo QR Code Payments to the Point of Sale

Fiserv, Inc. (NASDAQ: FISV), a leading global provider of payments and financial services technology solutions, is enabling businesses of all sizes across a range of industries to support in-demand digital payment options and expand their touch-free payment capabilities via a new relationship with PayPal. Small and mid-sized businesses using Clover ® and large enterprises leveraging the Carat omnichannel commerce ecosystem from Fiserv will be able to accept payment via PayPal and Venmo through QR codes presented at the point of sale. Consumers will be able to initiate payment by scanning the QR code with their PayPal or Venmo app, and will receive a digital receipt.”

Providers

Barclays US Consumer Bank Expands Point-of-Sale Financing Suite to Include Installment Options Powered by Amount

Barclays US Consumer Bank, a premier financial services partner and co-branded credit card issuer in the United States, has partnered with Amount, a leading technology provider for financial institutions, to become one of the first major U.S. banks to offer point-of-sale (POS) financing installment options. Barclays will also be one of the first providers to offer merchants the option of a POS payment under the merchant’s own brand, which presents a unique opportunity for them to deepen connections with their customers.”

Providers

GoCardless Launches Open Banking Payments, Offering Businesses a New Alternative to Taking One-Off Payments

GoCardless , a leading fintech for bank-to-bank payments, today launched Instant Bank Pay , a new open banking feature directly integrated into its global payment platform. With Instant Bank Pay, merchants can take instant, one-off bank-to-bank payments from new and existing customers while still reaping the benefits of bank debit for their recurring payments…With the introduction of Instant Bank Pay, GoCardless will expand its offering into the adjacent e-commerce market, where it can take on both one-off and card-on-file payments.”

Providers

ChargeAfter Partners With Quadpay to Bring Buy Now Pay Later to Its Global Portfolio of Point-of-Sale Consumer Financing Options for Online and In-Store Shopping

Quadpay , a Zip company (ASX: Z1P), a global payment technology pioneer that gives consumers a simple, transparent, and financially responsible alternative to traditional credit cards, today announced a new partnership. ChargeAfter , the leading network of personalized point-of-sale consumer financing options for merchants, will add Quadpay and Zip’s Buy Now, Pay Later installments to its portfolio of consumer financing lenders and options for online and in-store shopping.”

Systems

Gemini Partners With Mastercard to Launch New Crypto Rewards Credit Card This Summer

Gemini , a cryptocurrency platform, today announced details of its first-of-a-kind cryptocurrency rewards credit card, including a partnership with Mastercard and WebBank, a leader in digital lending and the bank issuing the credit card. Since it was first introduced in early 2021, the Gemini Credit Card has amassed more than 140,000 people on its waitlist…The Gemini Credit Card provides a seamless way for consumers to acquire bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies as a reward on their everyday purchases. Cardholders will earn up to 3% back on dining, 2% back on groceries, and 1% back on other purchases.”

Use

Introducing Prism Data and the CashScore: Petal’s Transaction Intelligence Platform–and Cash Flow Underwriting–Now Available to the Broader Market for the First Time

Petal, a new kind of credit card company created to help people build credit and spend responsibly, today announced the launch of its first B2B enterprise product, Prism Data , to make Petal’s next-generation transaction intelligence platform—and unique cash flow based underwriting technology—available to the broader market for the first time, via a simple, lightning-quick API. Prism Data takes in raw, consumer-permissioned bank account transactional data from financial providers and transforms it into useful information those providers can rely on, giving them greater insight into credit risk, identity, financial status, and more.”

April 26, 2021

On The Web

Companies

Nedbank Partners Mastercard, Ukheshe for WhatsApp Payments

ITWeb

“Nedbank, in collaboration with Mastercard and fintech firm Ukheshe, has launched Money Message, a payment platform that lets small and micro businesses receive in-chat payments from their customers via WhatsApp. In a statement, the big-four bank says a first in SA, the solution will enable merchants to send an invoice requesting a payment from any customer through WhatsApp. Their customers, in turn, can quickly settle a payment directly from the platform, it adds.”

Deals

Weav Raises $4.3M to Knit Together a Universal API for Commerce Platforms

TechCrunch

Weav , which is building a universal API for commerce platforms, is emerging from stealth today with $4.3 million in funding from a bevy of investors, and a partnership with… Specifically, Weav’s embedded technology is designed to give these organizations access to “real time, user-permissioned” commerce data that they can use to create new financial products for small businesses.   Its products allow its customers to connect to multiple platforms with a single API that was developed specifically for the commerce platforms that businesses use to sell products and accept payments.”

Deals

Brex Valuation Jumps to $7.4 Billion With Tiger-Led Investment

Bloomberg

Brex Inc. , the San Francisco startup looking to disrupt the corporate card market, raised $425 million in a funding round led by Tiger Global Management. The latest round — which drew investment from firms including TCV and Ribbit Capital — values the four-year-old startup at more than $7.4 billion, Brex said Monday in a statement. When Brex started, it was focused on providing corporate cards to other startups and venture capital-backed companies. That meant the firm was targeting an area long dominated by the likes of American Express Co. or JPMorgan Chase & Co.”

Systems

Analysis: China Digital Currency Trials Show Threat to Alipay, WeChat Duopoly

Reuters

“In China’s commercial hub Shanghai, six big state banks are quietly promoting digital yuan ahead of a May 5 shopping festival, carrying out a political mandate to provide consumers with a payment alternative to Alipay and WeChat Pay. The banks are persuading merchant and retail clients to download digital wallets so that transactions during the pilot programme can be made directly in digital yuan, bypassing the ubiquitous payment plumbing laid by tech giants Ant Group, an affiliate of Alibaba and Tencent.”

Use

How Welcome Tech Will Use $35 Million in Fresh Funding to Serve Unbanked Hispanics

Digital Transactions

“Welcome Tech, a provider of digital financial services to unbanked and underbanked Hispanics, plans to leverage $35 million in new funding it secured last week to grow its customer base by about 1 million and add more financial services, such as a pathway to credit, to help bring its customers into the mainstream of financial services. To date, Welcome Tech has raised $50 million.”

On The Wires

Deals

Paya Announces Strategic Acquisition of Paragon Payment Solutions

Paya Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: PAYA) (“Paya Holdings,” “Paya” or the “Company”), a leading integrated payments and commerce solution provider, today announced the acquisition of Paragon Payments Solutions (“Paragon”). Founded in 1994 and based in Tempe, AZ, Paragon is a growing integrated payments solutions provider, focused on serving the unique needs of the non-profit and healthcare verticals. Paragon’s omnichannel solutions offering, partner-centric distribution model, payment agnostic platform, and card-not-present volume mix is highly complementary to Paya’s business.”

Security

U.S. Payments Forum Publishes Resource Providing Solution Options, Stakeholder Considerations for Card-on-File Tokenization

“Tokenization has been a key investment in the payments industry for increased security at various points of the transaction lifecycle. The U.S. Payments Forum today released a resource that provides an overview of different card-on-file tokenization solution options and stakeholder considerations for each, including debit routing. The solution configurations discuss the steps followed for provisioning and transaction processing, the technical implementation, and debit routing support.”

Systems

Paxos National Trust Receives OCC Conditional Approval for De Novo Charter | Paxos

“Today, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) announced that Paxos has received preliminary conditional approval of its application to establish a de novo national Trust Bank. This makes Paxos the first crypto-native company to receive preliminary conditional approval for a de novo national Trust Bank charter. While other digital asset companies have received the greenlight to convert to a national trust bank, Paxos is the first to maintain its current regulatory structure (i.e. Paxos will retain our New York Department of Financial Services state Trust charter) and also seek a new federal charter.”

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