Friday May 14, 2021 –
Here are the new and noteworthy stories we have been following this week.
Klarna launches Small Business Impact Initiative to help small and medium-sized enterprises recover from pandemic
Klarna is donating $4.5 million in free payment and media services to 100 SME’s to help with their post-COVID recovery; from May 10–31, 2021 small businesses can apply to receive one free year of payment services and $40,000 worth of free media services from Klarna.
REPAY to Acquire Integrated Payments Provider BillingTree for $503 Million
Atlanta-based payments provider REPAY is acquiring BillingTree for approximately $503 million; BillingTree is a provider of omni-channel, integrated payments solutions to the Healthcare, Credit Union, Accounts Receivable Management (ARM), and Energy industries and will help REPAY expand its position in those business verticals
FLEETCOR® Signs Joint Venture Agreement With CAIXA, Brazil’s Largest Bank, to Distribute Its Electronic Payment Solutions
FLEETCOR, a major global payments company has signed a JV in Brazil between its local subsidiaries and CAIXA, the country’s largest bank and partnering with VR Benefícios, a Brazilian company in meal and food vouchers; the 20-year JV exclusively provides CAIXA’s customers a comprehensive portfolio of electronic payment solutions including automatic toll tags, fuel cards, transportation vouchers, and food vouchers.
CloudWalk Announces US$190M Series B Financing Round Led by Coatue
CloudWalk, a Brazilian merchant payments provider has raised $190 million in Series B funding led by Coatue, with participation from DST Global and existing investors such as FIS, The Hive Brazil, and Valor Capital; CloudWalk with its purpose-built technology stack provides merchant acquiring services to approximately 70,000 active merchants across 3,300+ cities and towns in Brazil.
Facebook-backed digital currency project narrows focus to US
Facebook’s digital currency project Diem is shifting its operations to the US and will partner with California-based Silvergate Bank to issue a US-dollar backed stablecoin; Diem has also cancelled its application to the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority to operate as a payments service, and will instead apply to register as a money services business with the US Treasury.
Fed consults on debit card standards and fintech access to payment network
The Fed is inviting public comment on debit card transaction routing and fintech company access to its payments network; in the case of debit, the issue deals with enabling and allowing merchants to choose from at least two unaffiliated networks for CNP transactions, while in the case of newly chartered fintech companies it is about proposed guidelines to evaluate requests for accounts and payment services at the Fed.
German Regulator Orders Digital Bank N26 to Improve Money-Laundering Controls
Germany’s financial regulator BaFin has told N26, to implement proper controls to prevent money laundering, taking the unusual step of appointing a special monitor to watch over the process; according to BaFin, it made the decision after it found that deficiencies in money-laundering prevention remained two years after it ordered the bank to make improvements.
MoneyGram to let cryptocurrency holders cash in their investments
MoneyGram is teaming with bitcoin exchange and ATM operator Coinme to let people in the US buy / sell cryptocurrency at its retail locations; according to MoneyGram, in the next few weeks new and existing Coinme users will be able to buy crypto with cash or withdraw it from any of its US stores.
Central Bank of Bahrain taps JPMorgan Onyx for digital currency trials
The Central Bank of Bahrain is to use JPMorgan Chase’s blockchain platform Onyx in a pilot scheme to introduce instantaneous cross border payment using a digital currency; Bank ABC (Arab Banking Corporation) along with Chase will pilot the transferring of funds from and to the Kingdom of Bahrain using digital dollars, with the goal of speeding up payments and settlement between buyers and suppliers.
JPMorgan, Others Plan to Issue Credit Cards to People With No Credit Scores
A number of large banks will participate in a pilot to issue credit cards to people without credit scores relying instead on bank account data to underwrite the cards; the plans grew out of government deliberations with banking and fintech executives as well as nonprofit leaders on how to increase credit access to historically disadvantaged communities.
Payments Firm Marqeta Files for IPO Showing Revenue Doubled
Marqeta has filed for an IPO listing the size of its offering at $100 million, a placeholder that will change when it sets terms for the share sale; Marqeta has been exhibiting strong revenue growth although the company is yet to make a profit – Q1 2021 revenue was $108 million vs. $290 million in 2020, and $143 million in 2019.
Atlanta Fed sets up payment inclusion committee
The Atlanta Fed has formed a ‘Special Committee on Payments Inclusion’ focused on finding solutions for cash-reliant individuals to become better connected to the economy, including to innovative financial services; the committee, a public- and private-sector collaboration sponsored by the Atlanta Fed will work to advance ubiquitous access to safe, efficient, and inclusive payments for everyone.