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BFC FinTech Monitor 25th November – 1st December

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

  • Accenture analysts have determined that financial institutions need updates to their payment systems to remain competitive in the face of the growing digital payments market, concluding that: (1) rapid digitalization creates an additional burden on banking businesses; (2) changing dynamics in consumer demand and improved customer service are important considerations; and (3) programs to modernize payment systems do not guarantee income growth.
  • According to the Financial Times, Facebook may launch its cryptocurrency as early as January 2021. The cryptocurrency is expected to be pegged to the U.S. dollar.
  • HSBC has introduced its Open Payments service, an alternative to credit and debit products. The service operates by allowing companies to connect their checkout pages to a mobile platform or online consumer application that sends buyers requests for payment authorization and then instantly sends payments once approved.
  • European marketplace Joom is entering the money transfer market with its new JoomPay service. JoomPay allows funds to be sent using simplified identifiers such as a phone number or an email address. The platform is scheduled for release in early 2021.
  • Visa has launched Commercial Pay, a new B2B payment solution that enables companies to increase cashflow and get rid of outdated manual processes. The new service includes three products: Visa Commercial Pay Mobile (a digital wallet for storing virtual Visa cards for corporate needs), Visa Commercial Pay Travel (a solution for the centralized management of business travel expenses) and Visa Commercial Pay B2B (for cashflow management and receiving extended datasets).
  • WeBank executive vice president and CIO Henry Ma recently gave an interview in which he discusses how Tencent’s neobank works, why more than half of its employees are from the IT sector and how it can be profitable when most of its clients are small business and the underbanked/unbanked.
  • Raiffeisen has collaborated with CoCoNet, a software provider for financial institutions, to develop a payment and settlement service for companies. Its main functionalities include standardized data exchanges and secure payments as well as tools for planning and managing liquidity, creating payment orders and conducting interbank searches for information about accounts.

Russia

  • Legal entities and individual entrepreneurs will soon be able to remotely open bank accounts using a single biometric system. This will reduce the cost of servicing as well as greatly simplify the opening of accounts for new firms.
  • The first deputy of the Central Bank, Olga Skorobogatova, recently met with representatives of the largest Russian banks to discuss the prospects for introducing the digital ruble. Similar meetings are also planned with representatives of the AC Forum, the Association of Russian Banks and the State Duma.
  • Russian companies MTS, Ozon and Yandex have been included on a list of big tech companies compiled by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). The list includes FinTechs and big tech creditors that are becoming increasingly serious competitors to traditional banks.
  • Sberbank has invested in Watchout!, a startup that develops artificial intelligence-based solutions to maintain brand reputations online.
  • Leonid Kornilov, managing partner of the Finbridge group of companies, explains why microfinance organizations are especially valuable for the development of FinTechs; Anna Loevskaya, director of the Digital Corporate Banking Division of Sberbank, discusses whether there is room for a mobile-only strategy in corporate banking; and Markswebb reveals what internet banking should be like for businesses today.

Ukraine

  • In an interview with Novoye Vremya, Oleg Gorokhovsky explains how the COVID-19 pandemic and strict regulations derailed the Koto project (a project from the founders of Monobank) in the United Kingdom.
  • Starting December 1, 2020, a digital passport in the Diya mobile application can be used to carry out cash transactions in financial institutions.
  • According to the deputy chairman of the National Bank, every 9th operation at POS terminals in Ukraine conducted during the January 2020—September 2020 period was executed using a smartphone or other, similar device.
  • The UAFin.Tech 2020 conference is scheduled to take place on December 18, 2020. This year’s conference will be devoted to modern tools, methods and approaches to the digital transformation of the financial sector and the evolution of the FinTech ecosystem as a whole. More details are available here.

Belarus

  • Priorbank has developed a new solution for small- and medium-sized enterprises that allows them to accept payments without using POS-terminals or cash registers. The new solution requires only a smartphone and two applications – TapXPhone (for non-cash payments) and iKassa (for cash payments).

Kazakhstan

  • Amyrkhan Chikanaev, managing director of the Kazakh subsidiary of Sberbank, discusses why the development of mobile banking exclusively as a channel for promoting financial products is an outgoing trend.
  • The National Bank plans to publish a report on various scenarios for introducing the digital tenge in the second half of 2021. It is expected that this will be followed by discussions with government agencies, market participants, experts and international financial organizations, after which the project will begin.
  • The Astana International Financial Center is organizing the Corporate Innovation Bootcamp, an open online event on corporate innovation in Central Asia. The event will take place December 9—11, 2020. More details are available here.

Kyrgyzstan

  • The National Bank has canceled the registration of several international money transfer operators including Xpress Money Services Limited (Xpress Money system), CEL International Ltd. (the Sigue Money Transfer and Forsage systems) and Halyk Bank JSC (the Narodnaya system).

Uzbekistan

  • According to the Central Bank, the number of bank cards active in Uzbekistan is now over 24.48 million.

Azerbaijan

  • Unibank has invited its business clients to join its online salary project. The bank also now allows clients to order and receive a card without visiting a branch location.
  • Public transport in Sumgait now allows users to pay using contactless payment cards and NFC devices thanks to the joint efforts of PASHA Bank, Visa and Sumqayıt Transport LLC.

Moldova

  • Clickpay.md, a platform for P2P transfers, was awarded a gold medal in the FinTech category at the Notorium Trademark Awards 2020. The service has previously received similar awards from Visa and Mastercard.

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