The Week in Review

The Week in Review

Friday July 10, 2020 –

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

Payfazz gets $53 million to give more Indonesians access to financial services

Indonesia-based fintech startup Payfazz has raised a $53 million Series B round led by B Capital and Insignia Ventures Partners; Payfazz provides mobile financial services primarily to a rural population leveraging an agent network of small grocery stores.

Square Rally Sends Valuation Into Ranks of Biggest U.S. Banks

A rally in the shares of Square Inc. over the past few months has pushed its market valuation into the ranks of some of the biggest U.S. banks; Square has a market capitalization of about $55 billion after doubling since May, making it worth more than Truist Financial Corp. and all but four banks in the KBW Bank Index.

Atlanta Venture Capital Firm Valor Ventures Leads Seed Round in Vital4

Atlanta-based AML and risk screening startup Vital4 has raised a seed round from Valor Ventures; Vital4 works in multiple business sectors including financial services and will use the funds to continue to expand operations and its business reach.

Saudi Payments and Discover Sign Network Alliance Agreement

Saudi Payments and Discover have signed a strategic reciprocity agreement that will enable Discover and affiliated cards / brands to be used on the ‘mada’ network in Saudi Arabia; the deal also allows Saudi banks to issue cards that can be accepted on the Discover Global Network for international use.

Didi partners with China’s central bank on digital currency research and development

Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing (Didi) is working with the People’s Bank of China to speed up the research and development of the central bank’s planned digital currency – known as Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP) – via its on-demand transport platform; according to Didi, it will design and implement pilot DCEP projects.

Wagestream raises £20m for income streaming service

Wagestream, a UK startup that lets customers draw down their ‘earned income’ at any time during the pay cycle, has raised £20 million in a Series B funding round led by Northzone; other backers included QED Investors, Latitude Ventures, and Balderton Capital.

Card schemes to take Click to Pay standard global

All four of the major international payments networks, American Express, Visa, Mastercard and Discover are rolling out the online ‘Click to Pay’ standard globally, having signed up 10,000 merchants in the US; the networks are each beginning technical preparations for global expansion of Click to Pay based on the EMV Secure Remote Commerce industry standard.

German prosecutors open Wirecard money laundering probe

German state prosecutors are investigating individuals at Wirecard for suspected money laundering, adding to probes into alleged fraud, balance falsification, and market manipulation; according to the Munich prosecutor’s office, the inquiry was directed at individuals at Wirecard after a number of criminal complaints.

Wells Fargo Readying Thousands of Job Cuts to Start in 2020

Wells Fargo is preparing to cut thousands of jobs starting later this year in the face of mounting internal pressure to reduce costs; according to industry data, Wells’ compensation ratio is higher than its peers, Citi, Bank of America, and Chase.

Railsbank launches in US with its Credit Card as a Service solution

UK-based Railsbank has launched in the US and will provide its complete platform, including Banking as a Service, Cards as a Service, and Credit Card as a Service (CCaaS) to fintech and ‘brand’ customers in the US; Railsbank’s first US client is Unifimoney.–1243424

Americans are rapidly shrinking their credit card debt during the pandemic

US credit card debt is shrinking rapidly during the coronavirus recession as a function of lower overall consumer spend; according to Fed data, revolving credit balances decreased at an annual rate of 28.5% in May to $995.6 billion – the second straight monthly contraction.