The Week in Review

The Week in Review

Friday October 2, 2020 –

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

HSBC in final talks to sell French retail business at hefty loss

HSBC has received an offer of a symbolic ‘one euro’ for its French retail banking business from Cerberus and another investment firm; the offer is contingent on HSBC fully recapitalizing the business with an infusion of at least 500 million euros.

Billionaire-Backed Argentine Fintech Ualá Launches in Mexico

Argentina’s Ualá, the mobile payments startup focused on the unbanked population is launching its prepaid card operations in Mexico; Ualá provides a range of financial services based on a prepaid card managed through a mobile app.

Germany’s Deposit Solutions launches in the US

Deposit Solutions, a German company that directly connects banks with retail depositors has launched in the US; Deposit Solutions was established about 10 years ago and operates in Europe where it connects more than 150 banks from 20 countries.

Amazon One lets you pay with your palm

Amazon is launching its own palm recognition technology (linked to a credit card) allowing consumers to complete a payment by scanning their palm; initially this technology will be used in Amazon’s own Go stores in Seattle and then extended to other Amazon stores, as well as to third-parties.

South African banks prepare to phase out paper cheques

Major South African banks including Nedbank, FNB and Absa have announced plans to discontinue the use of cheque payments beginning in January 2021; according to the Payments Association of South Africa, it expects more banks to announce plans to phase out cheques.

Gusto is expanding from payroll into a full suite financial wellness platform

Gusto, a small business payroll processor has launched Gusto Wallet, a banking app and debit card with an emphasis on financial health and wellness; Gusto is offering the banking services for free while charging employers for its payroll services.

US charges bitcoin exchange founders over money laundering

US authorities have charged the founders of BitMEX, a major cryptocurrency exchange, with failing to prevent money laundering and operating an unregistered trading platform; according to the CFTC, BitMEX had taken in $11 billion worth of bitcoin in deposits and earned $1 billion in fees since its founding in 2014.

JPMorgan Sees Frequent-Flyer Points as Alternative for Investors

Chase is working with Affinity Capital Exchange to let companies turn rewards programs into a standardized, exchangeable currency to be traded by institutional investors and used as collateral to raise capital; the intent is to convert loyalty programs into pieces, or “reserve points,” that can be sold to investors like hedge funds or banks.

Swift to move into low-value consumer payments market

Swift is moving into the low-value remittance market, providing member banks with the means to make instant cross-border payments for small and medium-sized companies and consumers; Swift is reportedly working with over 20 banks to develop this new service.

ECB Takes Major Step Toward Introducing a Digital Euro

The European Central Bank (ECB) will start experimenting with a digital version of the euro while simultaneously holding a public consultation; according to the ECB, it will decide toward mid-2021 whether to launch a digital euro project, which would start with an “investigation phase.”