The Week in Review

The Week in Review

Friday January 24, 2020 –

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

Cash, Plastic or Hand? Amazon Envisions Paying With a Wave

Amazon is working on new technology and terminals that would allow consumers to link card information to their hand and use their palm for authentication and authorization; initially Amazon plans to target high frequency repeat purchase businesses like coffee shops, fast food, and grocery.

African fintech firm Flutterwave raises $35M, partners with Worldpay

B2B payments fintech Flutterwave has raised $35 million in a Series B round and entered into a partnership with FIS Worldpay making Flutterwave the payment provider for Worldpay in Africa; the new funding will allow for investment in technology, business development, and growth.

Global central banks are partnering up to explore digital currencies

The central banks of Britain, Japan, the euro zone, Sweden and Switzerland along with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) have teamed up to explore central bank digital currencies (CBDC); they will focus on use cases, economic, functional and technical design choices, and cross-border interoperability.

PayPal Moves Further Into China With UnionPay Partnership

PayPal is partnering with China UnionPay to allow UnionPay cardholders access to PayPal’s merchant network; in turn UnionPay will faciliate PayPal’s access to its Chinese merchants.

Canapi Ventures Launches Inaugural $545 Million Fintech Venture Funds to Support Innovation in Financial Services

Canapi Ventures has announced its inaugural $545 million Fintech Venture Fund which will be targeted at early to growth stage fintech investments; the fund is backed by a set of institutional investors including 35 banks, national, community, and state banking associations.

India requires cardholders to opt in to contactless payments

According to new Reserve Bank of India (RBI) rules, card issuers will need to disable functionality related to contactless, online, and international use when sending out new cards; cardholders will need to pro-actively ‘turn on’ this functionality.

Mastercard Opens Global Intelligence and Cyber Centre in Vancouver

Mastercard has unveiled its new Intelligence and Cyber Centre in Vancouver, Canada to accelerate innovation in digital and cyber security, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things; the centre is being launched in partnership with the Government of Canada through its Strategic Innovation Fund, with an additional $510 million investment by Mastercard.

Verizon to Offer New Credit Card in Partnership with Synchrony

Synchrony and Verizon have announced a partnership in which Synchrony will issue a Verizon co-branded consumer credit cards; the card program is expected to be launched in the first half of this year.

The New York City Council voted in favor of a bill to require stores and restaurants to accept cash (in addition to cards and other forms of payment) to ensure that unbanked consumers, as well as those without credit cards can continue to make payments; the bill is expected to be signed by the Mayor.

American Express earnings beat expectations on strong card fee revenues, shares rise

Amex reported solid Q4 results with revenues of $11.4 billion and net income of $1.4 billion; Amex attributed the strong performance to a “well-balanced mix” in fee, spending and lending revenues.