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BFC FinTech Monitor 13th – 27th July

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:

  • The Office of the Comptroller of the United States Currency has authorized financial institutions to provide custody services for cryptocurrencies as they are able to “offer more secure storage services than existing services.”
  • According to a PwC and CB Insights report, investments in U.S. FinTech startups are up by 40%. In fact, California FinTech unicorn Stripe alone has attracted USD 600 million in investments and is now valued at USD 36 billion.
  • Mastercard will change its currency conversion rules for non-cash transactions beginning August 11. The new rules will ensure that non-card currency payments are converted at the exchange rate on the day of payment (as opposed to 1-3 days later, when the payment posts).
  • PayPal has reached an agreement with blockchain startup Paxos to help in the launch of a new cryptocurrency trading service.
  • Superapps, mobile wallets and QR-code payment services are conquering the payment market of Southeast Asia.
  • The FinTech Times published an article by EPAM Systems expert Tom Moran on what banks should pay attention to when developing new generation services.
  • British neobank Monzo is facing a wave of criticism following their second attempt at launching a paid account. Last year, the bank faced similar criticism for trying to launch paid accounts, resulting in the service being cancelled.

Russia:

  • VTB Bank has launched a project to create and implement robots in customer operation support processes. Bank employees will themselves choose which processes to make robotic and then introduce digital assistants into their work.
  • Alfa-Bank is now using voice-recognition technology to identify customers that call in for assistance (as opposed to asking for a code word or asking other security questions). To take advantage of the new service, the customer must sign a consent form for the processing of their biometric data.
  • According to Accenture, the chatbot market in Russia amounted to approximately RUB 1.5 billion in 2019 and is forecast to grow 30% in 2020, 2021 and 2022.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a new law on financial marketplaces that is expected to create a legal basis for the activities of electronic platform operators and make possible the launch of the Bank of Russia’s marketplace system.
  • Russia’s parliament has adopted a new law on digital financial assets that defines the concept of digital currencies as well as restricts their use. It remains to be seen how this will impact the development of the blockchain industry in the country.

Ukraine:

  • Privatbank, which was recently declared by British magazine Euromoney as a top-10 financial institution in Central and Eastern Europe, has decided to support small businesses by not charging tariffs for the use of PoS terminals through the end of the summer.
  • Kiev will host the XX Payments & XIII Security EMA Conference on July 30. At the conference, participants will discuss what the financial and payment market players of Ukraine need to do today in order to (1) prevent the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic from being catastrophic and (2) maximize new opportunities for stable growth.
  • One expert believes that quarantine restrictions have lowered the level of financial inclusion in Ukraine. Moreover, the expert also believes that FinTechs alone cannot solve this problem without appropriate government support.

Kazakhstan:

  • BTS Digital, a new player on the FinTech market of Kazakhstan, is introducing a unified electronic payment system called “Kassa24”. The system allows users to transmit payments via the online wallet Aitu Pay as well as at more than 15,000 terminals throughout the country.
  • VTB Bank has become one of the first commercial financial institutions in Kazakhstan to being completely restructuring its business processes and procedures as a way of adapting to COVID-19 conditions.
  • In an interview with Kapital.kz, the chairman of the board of Halyk Bank spoke about how the current pandemic conditions present financial institutions with a great opportunity to digitize products and services, including in the areas of accounting for business and B2B marketplaces.

Uzbekistan:

  • Uzpromstroybank has launched a new service that will allow its clients to receive money transfers onto a Visa card using the Joyda mobile app.

Tajikistan:

  • Alif Bank and Visa have signed a strategic partnership agreement aimed at helping develop a digital payment ecosystem in Tajikistan.

Armenia:

  • VTB Bank is now offering its customers a new payment device – a ring with a built-in NFC chip that is linked to an account. The rings are available at any VTB Bank branch or can be ordered online.

 Georgia:

  • Georgian FinTech company PostaPay has reached a cooperation agreement with UnionPay International that will allow PostaPay to accept any UnionPay cards as well as issue prepaid cards through the UnionPay International system.

 Azerbaijan:

  • Trend has published an article written by Visa’s regional manager for the Caucasus, Kristina Dorosh, that discusses the new business challenges and opportunities associated with digital transformation.

Moldova:

  • Moldova plans to create a state fund to support digital innovations in the country. Moldova also plans to increase the monthly insurance income of employee-residents of IT parks from 60% to 68% of the average salary.

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