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BFC FinTech Monitor 1st – 8th 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

  • Visa has announced the launch of its AI-powered VisaNet. The new AI service is expected to help solve the most common problems experienced by financial institutions, businesses and individuals. The payment giant has also announced that its own API for the purchase and sale of cryptocurrencies should be available by the end of the year.
  • Chinese FinTech giant Ant Group has reached an agreement with regulators to transform into a financial holding company, meaning that they will now have to meet the same requirements as financial institutions.
  • Blockchain startup Ripple is in discussions with a number of central banks regarding the possibility of using Ripple’s tools to help them create central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).
  • Bank of America reported a record level of demand for digital services during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the bank, up to 70% of its customers now use its online services.
  • Mastercard is joining forces with the Veon telecom holding to develop financial services for the Bangladeshi, Kazakhstani, Pakistani, Russian and Ukrainian markets. This should result in increased user access to information about purchases. British bank NatWest is also transitioning all its cards to Mastercard cards.
  • 4 of Ireland’s largest banks are teaming up to create a multi-bank online payment app capable of competing with the simple and fast solutions offered by FinTech startups like Revolut.
  • The Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) is helping to create a digital competence center to help implement the digital agenda of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) in EDB member countries as well as coordinate the creation of common digital platforms and the implementation of other IT projects. 

Russia

  • For the second year in a row, Sberbank has been named the world’s strongest banking brand by Brand Finance Banking analysts.
  • The Central Bank of Russia has published instructions for the creation and use of e-wallets as well as launched a pilot for the registration of mortgages using blockchain technology.
  • Tinkoff has launched a free service that allows entrepreneurs to create landing pages on Instagram. The landing pages are template-based mini pages where entrepreneurs can link to their main site, product catalogue, portfolio, social media accounts, messaging services and payment forms.
  • According to the BCG Fully Digital Retail Bank study, approximately 30% of Russians plan to stop going (or at least drastically reduce visits) to physical branches of financial institutions, even after the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
  • Ak Bars Bank has introduced a new currency payment tracker service that allows for the online tracking of payments sent via the SWIFT system.

Ukraine

  • The Ukrainian Association of FinTech and Innovative Companies has announced a new direction: EduTech. Through EduTech, they hope to push the digital transformation of education, especially as related to financial technologies and the development of innovative FinTech solutions.
  • As part of a visit to the United States, the head of LeoGaming (Alena Degrik Shevtsova) hopes to attract American venture funds to Ukrainian FinTechs. Her visit was arranged by the Alena Degrik Shevtsova and the Association of Ukrainian Banks.
  • The FinTech ecosystem of Concord FinTech Solutions is going international as one of the elements of the ecosystem, the Procard processing center, has become the first Visa-certified partner under the Ready for FinTech Enablers program in Southeastern Europe.

Belarus

  • BPS-Sberbank has introduced a currency p2p transfer service that allows money to be sent to different countries without excessive exchanges or bad rates. A commission of 1.5% will be charged to use the service.
  • Priorbank is offering new service packages for small- and medium-sized businesses that are focused on the delivery of remote services, including personal managers who are available to answer all business-related questions.

Kazakhstan

  • A new law that will come into force in June 2021 will equate QR codes to POS terminals. This will mean that entrepreneurs can officially accept payments via QR codes.
  • The Ministry of Finance is planning to use blockchain for VAT administration. This is expected to reduce risks related to tax evasion and cash-out transactions.
  • The Astana International Financial Center (AIFC) has published a practical guide to venture capital.

Tajikistan

  • Clients of Alif Bank will now be able to receive transfers from the Russian bank Solidarity by selecting “Tajikistan” in the payments section of the Russian bank’s mobile app.

Uzbekistan

  • HUMO and Masterсard have annulled their 1.5% commission on purchases, which had almost no analogues elsewhere in the world.
  • UZCARD has launched USSD payment services developed on the Russian platform WINGS. This will allow users to easily complete tasks such as paying for services, managing automatic payments, transferring funds and checking balances.

Azerbaijan

  • The Central Bank of Azerbaijan has presented the draft Law on Payment Services and Payment Systems. If passed, it is expected to contribute to the development of open banking in Azerbaijan as well as allow FinTechs to actively participate in the payment ecosystem.

Armenia

  • VTB Bank has presented a new premium Visa Signature card that offers users new perks such as free travel insurance, emergency card reissuance (in case of a lost card) and consultations with a personal manager.
  • The Chairman of the Central Bank of Armenia expects that bank lending will decrease this year and that the number of problem loans will increase.

Moldova

  • Moldova Agroindbank has received the Brand of the Year 2020 award in the finance category due to its active work in the digitalization of services.
  • The National Bank of Moldova has published a list of recommendations on how not to become a victim of fraud.

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