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BFC FinTech Monitor 9th – 16th February

Stay up-to-date on all the all the latest FinTech news and information from around the world in the BFC FinTech Monitor.

Around the World

  • Officials from the European Central Bank worry that the launch of the digital euro could result in massive transfers of money from commercial financial institutions to the central bank. In order to avoid a potential collapse of the financial system of Europe, the regulator is considering setting a threshold of EUR 3,000 for digital euro assets.
  • Visa has launched the Visa Everywhere Initiative 2021, a global innovation program and competition for FinTechs. The total prize fund for the initiative is USD 100,000. Applications must be submitted no later than May 7, 2021.
  • IKEA is planning to enter the financial services market as parent company Ingka works out a deal to buy out 49% of the Swedish bank Ikano Bank. Assuming the buyout goes through, Ingka then plans to offer financial services to IKEA customers.
  • PayPal is planning to launch new services (e.g. stock trading, savings accounts) that will make the payment service similar to Chinese superapps Alipay and WeChat Pay.
  • Residents of the U.S. will soon be able to pay with bitcoins using Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay. Additionally, Visa and Mastercard are planning to start work on the creation of a new cryptocurrency in the near future.
  • The securities division of the French financial conglomerate BNP Paribas and a subsidiary of the insurance and investment company Prudential are set to begin settling transactions with derivatives using blockchain technology.
  • Bernard Arnault, owner of Louis Vuitton and Dior, and Jean-Pierre Moustier, former CEO of UniCredit, are preparing to create a special purpose acquisition company called Pegasus Europe. Once launched, the company will help European FinTechs become listed companies.
  • Beijing residents will soon be paid to temporarily ditch traditional money in favor of the digital yuan. In total, approximately USD 1.5 million in digital yuan equivalent will be given to the population to spend between February 10 and February 17, 2021 at select offline stores or on the JD.com marketplace. SWIFT and the People’s Bank of China will study the use of the digital yuan, including the effectiveness of the information systems and other technology necessary for the digital currency to be successful.

Russia

Ukraine

  • The PaySpace Magazine Awards 2020 ceremony was held in Kiev, celebrating the best Ukrainian FinTech and e-commerce players of the year.
  • Euromoney has recognized Privatbank as the most technologically-advanced financial institution in Ukraine, naming it both Best in Data Management and Cybersecurity and Best in the Implementation of Innovative and Promising Technologies.
  • Alfa-Bank clients can now open an account online in 5 minutes using the Diya app.

Belarus

  • Resident of Belarus made a record number of cashless transactions in 2020. In total, these transactions amounted to BYN 52.5 billion, 31.1% more than in 2019.
  • Viktor Ananich, chairman of Belarusbank, discusses how digital transformation is beneficial for ordinary clients and how the bank has supported entrepreneurs in the midst of the pandemic.

Kazakhstan

  • The Agency for the Regulation and Development of the Financial Market plans to increase the level of financial inclusion in the country by providing legal and legislative support to financial institutions. At the same time, the agency noted that key initiatives also need to come from the market side for financial inclusion to truly increase.
  • Jysan Bank has launched the JPAY app, which replaces traditional POS terminals with a regular smartphone. It is expected that the app will allow micro- and small-sized businesses to save money on the purchase of equipment.
  • Fascinating figures: the volume of non-cash payments in Kazakhstan increased 2.6 times in 2020; 420,00 Kazakhstani residents received a loan for the first time in 2020.
  • Halyk-Life JSC has become the first life insurance company in the country to release a mobile app for clients.

Kyrgyzstan

  • The Presidential decree On Measures to Further Develop the Financial Market in the Kyrgyz Republic has recommended allowing P2P lending practices, which would allow residents to lend to each via the internet.

 Uzbekistan:

  • The National Bank of Uzbekistan has become the first in the country to launch the Visa Direct service, which allows 24/7 fund transfers between Visa cards issued by the bank and Visa cards issued in other countries.

Azerbaijan

  • The Central Bank of Azerbaijan is launching the Cashless Azerbaijan project. The project hopes to help the country increase the share of non-cash payments by 7% a year, with the ultimate goal of reducing the share of cash payments from 74% to 40%.

Armenia

  • Ruben Melikyan, founder of RUMELS Management Solutions, discusses how Armenia’s banking system is developing, how attractive it is for investors and how Armenian financial institutions can increase their profits.

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