The week in review – December 2, 2019


Each week TAG FinTech Steering Committee member Ali Raza compiles a list of newsworthy events impacting the payments ecosystem. He has graciously agreed to allow us to report his thoughts going forward. Enjoy!

 

This article is courtesy of Blue Leviathan. The original can be seen at https://www.blueleviathan.com/the-week-in-review-92/

 

Here are the new and noteworthy payments stories we have been following this week.

 

India’s financial services firm Paytm raises $1B

Paytm has raised $1 billion in a new financing round led by T. Rowe Price with participation from existing investors, Ant Financial, Softbank, and Discovery Capital; the new funding valued Paytm at $16 billion.

https://techcrunch.com/2019/11/24/paytm-1-billion/

 

What is China’s digital currency plan?

Since 2014, China’s central bank has been working on a project called “DC/EP”: Digital Currency/Electronic Payments as China aims to be the first country in the world to launch a digital currency.

https://www.ft.com/content/e3f9c3c2-0aaf-11ea-bb52-34c8d9dc6d84

 

Discover and PayPal™ Collaboration Gives Cardmembers New Way to Redeem Rewards

Discover has announced a new collaboration with PayPal that lets Discover cardmembers use their Cashback Bonus® or Miles to pay for purchases at online stores and in-app through PayPal.

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20191125005161/en/Discover-PayPal%E2%84%A2-Collaboration-Cardmembers-New-Redeem-Rewards

 

Argentine fintech Ualá raises $150M led by Tencent and SoftBank

Ualá, an Argentine personal finance management app, has raised $150 million in a Series C round led by Tencent and SoftBank’s Latin America-focused Innovation Fund; Ualá offers a prepaid Mastercard and allows customers to transfer money, invest in mutual funds, apply for loans, pay bills, and top-up prepaid services.

https://techcrunch.com/2019/11/25/argentine-fintech-uala-raises-150m-led-by-tencent-and-softbank/

 

ECB offers support to bank-backed alternative to Visa and Mastercard

The European Central Bank (ECB) has articulated its support for the development of a European payments scheme, The Pan European Payment System Initiative (Pepsi) as an alternative to Visa / Mastercard, and to deflect potential threats from Chinese and US tech firms; Pepsi is being championed by 20 German and French banks.

https://www.finextra.com/newsarticle/34843/ecb-offers-support-to-bank-backed-alternative-to-visa-and-mastercard

 

Ant Financial builds $1bn start-up investment fund

Ant Financial is building a $1 billion investment fund to back start-ups across south-east Asia and India with later-stage funding; the fund and the subsequent investments will support Alibaba’s broader push into the global payments ecosystem.

https://www.ft.com/content/234c3472-10f7-11ea-a7e6-62bf4f9e548a

 

NatWest launches digital challenger Bó

NatWest has launched its digital-only bank Bó, which has been built entirely on separate cloud-based technology and offers a debit card linked to a checking account and a range of money management tools; Bó has been in development for 18 months with an operating budget of £100 million.

https://www.finextra.com/newsarticle/34850/natwest-launches-digital-challenger-b

 

PayPal and Mastercard Extend Instant Transfer to Singapore & Europe

PayPal and Mastercard are extending the Instant Transfer service (launched in the US in 2017) to Mastercard cardholders in Singapore and a number of European countries allowing for instant transfer of their PayPal account balance to Mastercard cards leveraging the Mastercard Send™ application.

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20191127005557/en/PayPal-Mastercard-Extend-Instant-Transfer-Singapore-Europe

 

Robinhood pulls bank charter application as fintechs face hurdles to disrupting financial system

Robinhood has voluntarily withdrawn its application for a bank charter with the OCC underscoring the difficulties fintech companies are facing in establishing a new bank.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/11/27/robinhood-pulls-bank-charter-application-as-fintechs-face-hurdles-to-disrupting-financial-system.html

 

KOHO Raises $25M to Usher in a New Era of Simplified Financial Services

Canada-based banking app, KOHO has closed a $25 million extension to its recent Series B financing led by Drive Capital and with participation from NAventures, the venture capital arm of National Bank of Canada.

https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2019/11/28/1953763/0/en/KOHO-Raises-25M-to-Usher-in-a-New-Era-of-Simplified-Financial-Services.html

 

RBA predicts end to physical bank cards

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has published an Issues Paper as the first stage of its Review of Retail Payments Regulation; the paper raises concerns around the rise of Visa/Mastercard dominated digital and mobile payments at the exclusion of eftpos and suggests merchant driven least-cost routing as a way to maintain network competition.

https://www.news.com.au/finance/business/breaking-news/rba-predicts-end-to-physical-bank-cards/news-story/76e0fa42c7b4af36995ac5e07b73775d

 

Pixpay is a challenger bank for teens focused on pocket money

French startup Pixpay is offering a teen focused digital bank account and debit card to help teens with savings, money management, and payments; parents and teens both download the app to interact with the service which offers money transfer functionality as well as several card management features.

https://techcrunch.com/2019/11/29/pixpay-is-a-challenger-bank-for-teens-focused-on-pocket-money/

 

Ali Raza
Payments Industry Advisor and member of TAG FinTech's Steering Committee.
He can be reached at ali.raza@blueleviathan.com

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