Friday July 9, 2021 –
Here are the new and noteworthy stories we have been following this week.
Emirates spearheads airline industry attack on credit card fees
Dubai-based Emirates has implemented Iata Pay to lower payments acceptance costs by providing an alternative to credit cards; Iata Pay has been developed by Deutsche Bank and uses the open banking framework allowing for payments via bank transfer.
Fidelity, BlackRock Lead Fintech Startup’s $600 Million Funding
Singapore-based Pine Labs that facilitates payments for merchants in India and Southeast Asia, closed a $600 million funding round with support from multiple global investment firms; Pine Labs provides a wide variety of payments, billing, and installment credit products and services to merchants and banks.
Crypto-linked cards see continued growth
According to Visa, more than $1 billion has been spent on crypto-linked Visa cards in the first half of 2021; additionally Visa reported that it is partnering with 50 of the leading crypto platforms on card programs that make it easy to convert and spend digital currency at 70 million Visa merchants worldwide.
Wise direct listing values fintech giant at $11 billion in big win for post-Brexit London
Money transfer firm Wise (formerly TransferWise) went public via a direct listing in London that valued the firm at more than £8 billion ($11 billion); Wise has been profitable since 2017 and in its 2021 fiscal year, the company reported doubling profits to £30.9 million ($42.7 million).
InComm Payments Partners with Flexa to Enable Seamless Digital Currency Acceptance for Merchants
InComm has selected Flexa a pure-digital payments network, to offer its merchants a seamless way to instantly accept digital currencies like bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH), litecoin (LTC), dogecoin (DOGE), and zcash (ZEC); through this new Flexa connection, InComm merchants can add in-store and online acceptance of digital currencies using their existing POS hardware and software.
Americans are reaching for their credit cards again and taking out more auto loans
Total consumer credit increased by $35.3 billion in May signifying greater consumer confidence in the economic recovery; according to Fed data, in May, total consumer credit increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 10% to $4.3 trillion, revolving credit increased at an annual rate of 11.4% to $975 billion, while nonrevolving credit increased at an annual rate of 9.5% to $3.3 trillion.
Fintech Circle to merge with Bob Diamond-backed SPAC in $4.5 bln deal
Circle, which provides payments infrastructure for digital currencies, said that it would go public in a SPAC deal that values it at $4.5 billion; Circle will merge with Concord Acquisition Corp which is backed by the former head of Barclays, and the combined entity will be acquired by a new Irish holding company that will trade on the New York Stock Exchange.
Dutch challenger bunq hits €1.6bn valuation on first outside investment
Netherlands-based challenger bank bunq has raised €193 million in Series A funding round (€168 million from Pollen Street Capital and €25 million from bunq’s founder) at a valuation of €1.6 billion and also acquired Irish lending firm Capitalflow Group; bunq which operates a subscription-based model is now available in 30 European markets and has deposits of €1 billion.
Online payments firm Stripe takes first step toward blockbuster listing
Stripe has reportedly taken its first major step toward a public listing by hiring Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP as a legal adviser on its early-stage listing preparations; according to sources, there has been no decision on timing, but the stock market listing would be unlikely to happen this year. (Stripe was last valued at $95 billion).
White House to target bank mergers, financial data with competition order
President Biden’s executive order to promote greater US competition will target bank mergers by pushing the Fed and the DOJ to update merger guidelines and increase scrutiny of deals; further, it will ask the CFPB to issue rules giving consumers full control of their financial data to make it easier for customers to switch banks.