Friday March 26, 2021 –
Here are the new and noteworthy stories we have been following this week.
New digital payment platform, Figure Pay, makes national debut in Missoula
A new deposit and payment method developed by Figure Pay made its national debut in Missoula, Montana with the goal of providing “thin file” customers a way to build credit and for merchants to lower the cost of payment acceptance; Figure Pay is built on blockchain technology.
Jerome Powell says the Fed won’t issue a digital currency without congressional approval
Jerome H. Powell, the chair of the Federal Reserve, said the Fed’s research into central bank-issued digital currencies is early and exploratory and that they would only consider issuing a digital dollar if they believed there was a clear use and if the idea had widespread public and political buy-in; speaking at a BIS event on central bank innovation, Mr. Powell said, “We would not proceed with this without support from Congress.”
Discover Announces Alliance with Malaysia’s PayNet to Expand Worldwide Acceptance
Discover and Payments Network Malaysia Sdn Bhd (PayNet), the national payments network and shared central infrastructure for payment services in Malaysia, have signed an agreement for the acceptance of Discover, Diners Club International, and network alliance cards in Malaysia; the PayNet alliance will potentially open up acceptance at 10,000 ATM locations and more than 570,000 POS terminals throughout Malaysia.
Revolut applies for bank charter in the US
Revolut has announced that it is applying for a bank charter in the US and has submitted a draft application with the FDIC and the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation; Revolut currently uses Metropolitan Commercial Bank in the US as its partner and sponsor bank for deposits and card issuing.
HSBC launches mobile business bank for UK SMEs
HSBC has launched Kinetic in the UK, a mobile banking app catering to small to medium sized businesses (SMEs); Kinetic which already boasts 5,000 users allows businesses to open accounts within minutes and conduct most of their banking activity digitally.
Hopper and Capital One Announce Long-Term Partnership to Develop a New Capital One Travel
Canadian travel booking company Hopper is partnering with Capital One to create the new and improved Capital One Travel, a customer booking portal for Capital One cardholders – additionally, Hopper has raised a Series F round of $170 million led by Capital One; the new portal will launch in the second half of 2021 and among other features will provide Hopper’s price prediction and alert technology.
Fidelity to launch bitcoin ETF as investment giant builds its digital asset business
Fidelity Investments is preparing to launch its own bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) – FD Funds Management, a subsidiary of Fidelity is planning to provide financial backing for the ETF called the Wise Origin Bitcoin Trust and has filed an SI with the SEC; the ETF, if approved will track the performance of bitcoin as measured by the movement of the Fidelity Bitcoin Index.
Killer Mike’s Greenwood banking platform raises nearly $40 million in Series A funding
Atlanta-based Black and Latino focused startup digital bank Greenwood has raised $40 million in a series A round led by Truist Ventures with participation from a host of investors including major banks (Bank of America, Chase, Wells, PNC, Banco Popular), Visa/Mastercard, FIS, and several VC firms; Greenwood will launch its transaction account and debit card in the summer followed by credit products at the end of the year, and investment products next year.
JPMorgan Chase joins PPRO funding round
PPRO has received an additional $90 million in funding from Chase and Eldridge (an extension to its $180 million raises of a few weeks ago); PPRO has been growing rapidly over the last year with a significant increase in transaction volumes and has built partnerships with local payment methods in Indonesia and Singapore.
Dapi (YC W20) Launches Payment API in Mexico, First in Region to Offer Free Financial Data
Dapi, a San Francisco and Abu Dhabi-based startup, has launched its permission-based bank payment initiation and account data aggregation services in Mexico becoming one of the first companies to offer integrated bank transfer payments to the fintech community in Mexico, enabling companies to accept money directly from customer bank accounts from within their applications or websites; Dapi operates in 10 countries globally.