The Week in Review

The Week in Review

Friday April 30, 2021 –

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

China digital currency: fintech giant Ant Group reveals partnership history with People’s Bank of China

At the recently concluded Digital China Summit, both Ant and Tencent Holdings disclosed their years of cooperation and work with the Chinese central bank digital yuan project; according to various company disclosures, MYbank, an Ant-backed online bank has been involved with the issuance of digital yuan, while Tencent has been involved with e-CNY testing and pilot trials.

Barclays US Consumer Bank Expands Point-of-Sale Financing Suite to Include Installment Options Powered by Amount

Barclays US is partnering with Amount to offer POS financing installment options to merchants under their own brand; Barclays will be providing financing and will leverage its global merchant relationships (principally UK acquiring), with Amount providing its digital lending and technology platform.

Visa Inc. Reports Fiscal Second Quarter 2021 Results

Visa reported fiscal Q2 net revenues of $5.7 billion (-2%) and net income of $3 billion (-2%) with increases in payments volume and total processed transactions (led by by domestic), while cross-border volume (excluding Europe) declined; for the three months ending March 2021, Visa handled $3,043 billion in payments volume and 50.65 billion transactions.

Banking startups Current, Step, and Greenlight together score $580M in funding

Three companies in the kid / teen digital banking market collectively raised $580 million this week; Greenlight raised $260 million in Series D funding led by Andreessen Horowitz, Current closed $220 million in a Series D round also led by Andreessen Horowitz, and Step raised$100 million in a Series C funding round led by General Catalyst.

Fiserv lets merchants accept PayPal and Venmo QR code payments

Fiserv is enabling its merchants that use the Clover or the Carat ecosystem to accept PayPal and Venmo QR code payments in essence providing PayPal access to the physical POS; the Fiserv deal is part of PayPal’s push towards the in-store POS, an imitative that PayPal re-started about a year ago. (Recently PayPal worked with InComm to enable QR code payments at CVS stores).

Singapore and Thailand Launch World’s First Linkage of Real-time Payment Systems

The Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Bank of Thailand have launched the linkage of Singapore’s PayNow and Thailand’s PromptPay real-time retail payment systems, the first of its kind globally; customers of participating banks in Singapore and Thailand will be able to transfer funds of up to S$1,000 or THB25,000 daily across the two countries, using just a mobile number with transfers completed within a matter of minutes.

Fortú launches Latino digital bank; Raises $5MM led by Valar Ventures; Announces Miami HQ

Fortú, a new digital bank focused on Latino and Hispanic US residents is launching and has selected Miami as its headquarters; the bank will offer a fee free checking account, a debit Mastercard, early direct deposit availability, and international remittances via Wise. (Banking and card services will be provided by LendingClub Bank).

Mastercard Incorporated Reports First-Quarter 2021 Financial Results

Mastercard reported Q1 revenues of $4.2 billion (+4%) and net income of $1.8 billion (+8%) with increases in gross dollar volume and switched transactions, while cross-border volume declined; for the three months ending March 2021, Mastercard handled $1,711 billion in gross dollar volume and 30.08 billion purchase transactions.

French anti-trust watchdog says banks could be marginalised by Big Tech giants

After a year long fintech-specific review, the French regulator, Autorité de la concurrence sounded a warning over the role and influence of Big Tech in payments; the regulator noted that Big Tech enjoys considerable advantages in data and technology, and has “..the capacity to draw significant profits, without being subjected to the regulatory constraints which weigh on banking players”.

Robinhood deepens ties with JPMorgan by using bank for money transfers ahead of expected IPO

Robinhood has switched to Chase (from Sutton Bank) for handling money transfers into customers’ accounts; according to a Robinhood email to its clients, the “change is part of a larger effort to make a more consistent and reliable experience”.