Friday February 19, 2021 –
Here are the new and noteworthy stories we have been following this week.
Asian authorities clamp down on digital lenders
Regulators in India and Indonesia are cracking down on unlicensed digital lenders that are providing high priced credit to unbanked and financially vulnerable consumers via apps and websites; many of the lenders have a connection to China where regulators clamped down on P2P and fintech credit in 2018 sending a large number of them to other Asian markets.
U.S. payments startup Marqeta files with regulators for IPO
Marqeta a prepaid and debit card issuer processor and payments provider has filed confidentially with the SEC for a proposed IPO; according to various industry sources Marqeta is looking at a $10 billion valuation.
Personetics raises $75 million to bring data-driven insights to banks’ customers
Personetics, a data-driven platform that uses AI to help banks issue personalized advice and insights to customers, has raised $75 million in funding from Warburg Pincus; Personetics aims to analyze customers’ financial transactions and behavior and deliver real-time tips and suggestions to improve their long-term financial health.
Joompay gets Visa Principal Member status
Joompay, a Luxembourg-based fintech that allows for instant P2P payments transfers across Europe has become a principal member of Visa; leveraging the Visa relationship, Joompay will soon issue its own Visa card to its users across Europe.
Investors Are Now Valuing Stripe At $115 Billion
Investors in the “secondary market” are now valuing Stripe at $115 billion; this is up more than threefold from the $36 billion Stripe valuation when it raised $600 million in April 2020 from various venture firms including Andreessen Horowitz, General Catalyst, and Sequoia.
Financial health startup SeedFi raises $65m
SeedFi, a fintech startup focused on financial wellness has raised $15 million in equity and $50 million in debt led by Andreessen Horowitz with participation from several investment firms; SeedFi offers a credit building product, a savings and credit product, and will soon offer a billl payment program.
Mastercard and Island Pay Launch World’s First Central Bank Digital Currency-Linked Card
Mastercard and Island Pay are launching the Bahamas Sand Dollar prepaid card that will allow cardholders to instantly convert Sand Dollars to traditional Bahamian dollars and pay for goods and services anywhere Mastercard is accepted; the digital Sand Dollar is issued by the Central Bank of The Bahamas and carries the same value and consumer protections as a traditional Bahamian dollar.
Discover Signs Agreement to Help Expand Acceptance of Sezzle’s Buy Now, Pay Later Feature
Discover and Sezzle, have signed an agreement that will allow Sezzle to offer select Discover merchants its BNPL program; the agreement enables select Discover US merchants the ability to offer their customers Sezzle’s installment credit products through Sezzle’s platform, with minimal upgrades to their existing payments systems.
Brex applies for bank charter
Brex, a startup corporate credit card issuer has submitted an application with the FDIC and the Utah Department of Financial Institutions to establish Brex Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of Brex; according to company reports, the bank will allow Brex to expand its product suite and offer deposit products to SMB’s.
Citigroup considering divestiture of some foreign consumer units
Citigroup Inc is considering divesting some international consumer units, specifically units across retail banking in the Asia-Pacific region; the move, part of incoming CEO Jane Fraser’s attempt to simplify the bank, can see units in South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines and Australia being shed.