19 July 2019

19th July 2019
  • Digital & eCommerce
  • Acquiring/Processing
  • Digital & Retail banking
  • Open Banking & PSD2
  • Remittances
  • Fintechs
  • Corporate Activity
  • UK Payments Infrastructure
  • Regulation

DIGITAL and eCOMMERCE

The IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index online retail sales for June rose by +8.5% yoy.

IMRG says June’s results represent the strongest growth so far this year, and are well ahead of the 3-month, 6-month and 12-month rolling averages (respectively -0.5%, +5.4%, +6.9%).

 

The ONS Retail sales for June also shows Internet sales increased by 8.0% yoy with all sectors showing growth except food stores but indicates internet sales fell on the month by 0.7% when compared with May 2019.

 

Wirecard’s Innovation Lab has developed a prototype of a Smart Mirror.

The prototype is Germany’s first intelligent mirror, enabling customers to access a wide range of information directly through the it: Alternative sizes, different colours, matching products – everything appears on the mirror’s display. If the consumer clicks on “purchase” and scans a QR code, the payment is triggered.

 

ACQUIRING/PROCESSING

Worldpay (UK) Limited has joined the IATA Strategic Partnership Program.

Worldpay says it is has become the largest global acquirer to connect into the IATA Financial Gateway (IFG). The initiative enables payments across multiple channels and supports IATA’s ambitions to create a unified gateway, allowing airlines to increase their payment diversity and acceptance while improving performance across all distribution channels.

 

Tesco For Business has selected Blackhawk Network to lead its UK corporate gift card program.

The agreement will see Blackhawk manage the program through its proprietary CashStar platform—the first time that CashStar has been used in Europe in a B2B environment.

 

Credorax has announced a partnership with Cisco to upgrade its data-centre network’s capabilities, capacity and latency.

The agreement enables Credorax to adopt Cisco’s advanced data-centre networking technology, including an automation, visibility and management system.

 

Ebury is supporting Spain’s Unicaja Banco with its transaction banking platform.

The partnership will enable Unicaja to offer international payments and cash management services to its 400,000 SME customers and 3m retail customers.

 

Wirecard is to process card payments at all ALDI Nord and ALDI Sued stores in Germany.

 

Wirecard is also working with AUTO1 Group to develop new digital financial services for consumers with planned iIndividual services delivered via boon. The agreement was fostered through SoftBank’s existing partnership with Wirecard and AUTO1 Group. Wirecard will continue to explore collaboration opportunities across SoftBank’s portfolio.

 

Paysafe Group is integrating its paysafecard with YouTube.

The partnership will see YouTube add the online prepaid solution as an alternative payment method for YouTube Premium in France, Germany, Spain and the UK.

 

Paynetics, a Bulgarian based acquirer/issuer, is integrating with Austrian based gateway IXOPAY.

Paynetics provides a range of B2B and B2C solutions while IXOPAY runs a SaaS payment platform.

 

ACI Worldwideand Worldpay have announced an international relationship in payments processing technology and solutions.

Worldpay will use ACI’s UP eCommerce Payments solution to broaden the number of APMs available in different regions globally, alongside speeding up time to market for merchants.

 

Lloyds Bank has partnered with Optal to streamline card payments for its commercial banking clients.

Lloyds Bank will leverage Optal’s Invapay solution, which enables corporate buyers to use commercial cards to pay suppliers. The solution converts commercial card transactions into cash and pays non-card accepting suppliers through EFT.

 

DIGITAL & RETAIL BANKING

CYBG has partnered with GoCompare to launch an Energy Switching Service.

The new B Smart service that leverages Open Banking enables B customers to find a better value energy supplier within the B mobile banking app by searching the market for alternative suppliers.

 

Halifax is introducing new card freeze options for its credit card customers.

Customers can now access ‘card freeze’ through their mobile app, allowing them to stop their credit card being used in a number of different ways including freezing cards abroad, online and remote (CNP), at POS and ATMs.

 

TSB is launching a new facial verification functionality in its mobile banking app.

The new functionality allows customers to open a current account using a selfie, without the need to visit a branch, helping to combat survey findings that older generations are averse to opening a bank account using an app. The TSB survey indicates that 57% of over 55s say they never use mobile banking, despite being smartphone users, in contrast to 82% of 18-34-year olds.

 

N26 has relaunched its premium memberships N26 Black and N26 Business Black as N26 You and N26 Business You.

The products are reinventing the bank’s premium memberships by offering more personalization – customers can also now choose their card colour and benefit from a series of curated partner offers.

 

OPEN BANKING & PSD2

The OBIE has published a report commissioned from Fingleton and the ODI which examines the purpose, progress and potential of Open Banking – “Open Banking: Preparing for Lift Off

Some key priorities and recommendations for Open Banking identified within the report include improving payments capabilities and refund functionality, the development of Premium APIs and improving consent protections for consumers. In addition it is clear that the Open Banking platform and infrastructure have extensibility into other sectors and geographies, and in particular, into the creation of an Open Finance ecosystem.

 

The OBIE has published the Open Banking highlights for JunePDF

There are now 137 regulated providers made up of 85 third party providers and 52 account providers, with 32 regulated entities that have at least one proposition live with customers.

 

Truelayer is supporting a partnership between Revolut and Emma.

The partnership will see Revolut’s customers gaining access to Emma’s money management service using Truelayer’s Open Banking software.

Truelayer on Direct app-to-app authentication on mobile.

 

REMITTANCES

Western Union and the Post Office have launched expanded international payment services.

The Western Union cross-border money movement platform will enable international money transfers and payments as an integrated service on the Post Office’s digital channel.

 

SWIFT has announced the further enhancement of its gpi service with the full go-live of SWIFT gpi for corporates.

The solution enables multi-banked corporates to initiate and track payments across multiple banks directly from their treasury and payment systems. More than 50 of the world’s largest companies including LVMH, Microsoft and Petronas have already signed up to the service.

 

FINTECH

The IMF is launching a new series of Fintech Notes, the first one of which is on ‘The Rise of Digital Money’.

The Rise of Digital Money analyses how technology companies are stepping up competition to large banks and credit card companies. The paper identifies the benefits and risks and highlights regulatory issues that are likely to emerge with a broader adoption of stablecoins. The paper also highlights the risks associated with e-money: potential creation of new monopolies; threats to weaker currencies; concerns about consumer protection and financial stability; and the risk of fostering illegal activities, among others.

 

CORPORATE ACTIVITY

Visa has acquired Munich-based Payworks.

The move will see Payworks’ cloud-based solution for in-store payment processing integrating with the CyberSource’s digital payment management platform to create a fully integrated payment acceptance solution for merchants and acquirers. The joint offering will provide acquirers and payment service providers with a modern, fully white-labelled omnichannel payment management platform.

 

Visa is also investing in GOJEK, an Indonesian ride-hailing app, as part of a new funding round.

Thefunds will be used to drive the growth of GOJEK’s payment services across Southeast Asia with the two partners focussing on cashless payment solutions to serve the unbanked and underserved. The investment amount has not been given. Apparently the vast majority of Indonesia’s transactions are still cash-based.

 

SumUp has raised €330m debt financing from providers including Bain Capital Credit.

The funds will be used to accelerate the growth of its customer base, enhance its technology leadership position and expand its product suite, both organically and through more acquisitions. SumUp has over 1.5mn users generating €200m+ in revenue this year.

 

N26 has announced a $170m extension of its Series D funding round.

The additional amount drives N26’s valuation to $3.5bn, making it the highest valued German startup. All previous investors from the Series D funding round in January 2019 extended their investment including Tencent. N26 will use the additional funds to drive expansion in Europe, the US, and Brazil and invest in innovative new features.

 

Raisin has secured €25m (USD28.16m) in venture funding round from Goldman Sachs.

The new injection of capital follows the fintech’s recent series D round of €100m that included PayPal.

 

FIS has gained EU Competition approval for its takeover of Worldpay.

The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns given, on the one hand, the limited horizontal overlap between the companies’ activities and, on the other hand, the absence of anti-competitive vertical effects resulting from the combination of the activities of FIS and Worldpay.

 

Curve has raised $55m in a Series B funding round.

The account consolidator fintech says it is now valued at $250m describing what it is doing as building an ‘Over the Top Banking Platform’ that moves banking to the cloud.

 

Payr and Hudya have merged to develop a digital platform for everyday services.

The two Nordic fintechs, a bill payment app and a two-sided utilities marketplace for consumers, are looking to build an international as well as Nordic presence. Payr will become part of Hudya’s Payments department with the merged company seeking to develop technical solutions for simplifying personal finances.

 

Billie has raised €30m in a Series B funding round.

The Berlin-based fintech startup claims to be Germany’s leading “one-stop shop” for handling all outgoing invoices for B2B sellers, offering a checkout financing solution and a SME invoice factoring platform.

 

UK PAYMENTS INFRASTRUCTURE

The PSR has issued a series of reports on Access and governance on payment systems for Pay.uk, Visa Europe, MasterCard and LINK.

The reports consist of a template comprising a set of forms and associated guidance to assist the operators of regulated payment systems in completing the compliance reports that are required by the PSR General Directions on Access and Governance. The forms show how the operator has responded to these rules over the 12-month period from 1 October 2017 to 30 September 2018.  Essentially gives details of activities, progress, governance, etc.  Some data redacted.

 

REGULATION (Competition)

The EC has opened a formal antitrust investigation to assess whether Amazon’s use of sensitive data from independent retailers who sell on its marketplace is in breach of EU competition rules.

Meanwhile Amazon had reached a deal with Germany’s Federal Cartel Office to overhaul its terms of service for third-party merchants hours before the EC investigation was made public. The changes will apply not only to Germany, Amazon’s No. 2 market after the United States, but also to its marketplaces in Britain, France, Italy and Spain.

The Bundeskartellamt has now terminated its proceedings following the amendments made by Amazon, presumably leaving a clear path for the EC.

 

REGULATION (UK)

The Treasury has published draft legislation to go forward with a digital services tax on large technology companies.

The government will introduce a 2% digital sales tax on sales revenues derived from UK users of big social media platforms. This move comes immediately after a similar decision taken in the French Senate.

 

The PSR, FCA, PRA and CMA have issued a Joint statement about regulatory coordination.

 

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