BFC FinTech Monitor (7th – 17th September)

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

Around the World

  • India’s largest financial institutions are launching an account aggregator service that will consolidate client data from various financial institutions. Once operational, it will be the most advanced digital financial infrastructure in the world.
  • The European Commission (EC) is committed to reducing dependencies on US and Chinese technologies through a series of investments in blockchain, 5G and quantum networks.
  • Adobe is launching Adobe Commerce, which will allow retail and business customers to integrate secure payments into their sites using PayPal Commerce.
  • Chinese authorities are planning to transform Alipay Ant Group by creating a separate division for the company’s lending business.
  • Goldman Sachs has acquired FinTech company GreenSky Inc., which is specialized in providing consumer loans for large purchases.
  • Amazon is developing a new POS system to compete with PayPal and Shopify.
  • In buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) news: (1) neobanks Revolut and Monzo are launching their own BNPL solutions; and (2) PayPal is acquiring the Japanese BNPL company Paidy.
  • Mastercard has acquired Aiia, Europe’s leading open banking solution provider known for providing API connectivity to over 2,700 banks across Europe.
  • In crypto news: (1) El Salvador has recognized bitcoin as an official means of payment and intends to exempt foreign investors from capital gains tax and income tax on transactions using it. At the same time, money transfer systems stand to loose USD 400 million due to the proliferation of digital assets in the country; (2) Mastercard has bought analytical crypto service CipherTrace; (3) more than a quarter of Americans support the idea of using bitcoin as they do the US dollar; (4) Eastern Europe became the leader in terms of the volume of illegal cryptocurrency transactions; and (5) Slovenia plans to introduce a 10% income tax on operations with cryptocurrencies.
  • Former Ripple executives have presented PingNpay, a new blockchain project for small- and medium-sized businesses aimed at creating a new, low-cost infrastructure for international payments.
  • In central bank digital currency (CBDC) news: (1) European Central Bank board member Jens Weidmann has stated that the digital euro could destabilize the financial system; (2) Turkey has launched a pilot for the digital lyre; (3) the largest state-owned banks in China will take part in testing the digital yuan; and (4) the UK is planning a multi-year pilot for the digital pound.
  • Clients of the German neobank N26 can now use the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) system, allowing funds to be credited in a matter of seconds.

Russia:

  • Visa and Mastercard will introduce a commission for Russian banks for the use of the 3D Secure service. Additionally, Visa is set to increase the interbank commission for accepting cards for supermarkets as well as abolish the preferential interbank tariff for large sellers of household appliances, furniture, and courier services.
  • The Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Russia have presented for public discussion a strategy for the development of Russia’s financial market through 2030. The strategy largely focuses on creating a more open financial system, especially introducing open APIs.
  • Contactless payments in Russia now account for 89% of all payments.
  • Testing of the digital ruble will begin in January 2022, following which a roadmap for larger implementation will be developed.
  • A new study by SDI360 Digital Audit Agency has found that Russia is still inferior in terms of the penetration of digital services in the retail and services sector but superior in the insurance sector. The study specifically noted that only 40–50% of financial institutions in the country are investing in the development of digital competencies.
  • Credit Bank of Moscow and GenerationS (a corporate innovation development platform) are launching a FinTech accelerator to identify breakthrough innovative solutions that will improve the bank’s customer service.
  • Sberbank has launched the SberClever Educational and Information Project to improve financial literacy.
  • According to a study by the NAFI Analytical Center, children’s banking is becoming a full-fledged segment of the financial sector, with every third teenager now using non-cash payment methods and every second now making purchases using a smartphone.

Ukraine:

  • Ukraine’s parliament has legalized virtual assets, allowing cryptocurrency owners to be legally able to exchange and declare them as well as paving the way for international crypto companies to register as businesses in the country.
  • Experts at the Consumer Lending 2021: What the New Business Season Will Look Like roundtable are predicting that the creation of digital banks in Ukraine will be spurred by legislative changes that continue to blur the boundaries between financial institutions, FinTechs and other financial sector players.
  • According to Mastercard, 60% of gen Z residing in Ukraine prefer non-cash payment methods.
  • The National Bank of Ukraine has initiated a public discussion on the country’s FinTech Development Strategy through 2025. Interested parties can send their thoughts and proposals to [email protected] through October 2021.
  • Users of the Diya app will now be able to receive a notification if their credentials are checked.
  • Ukrainian digital bank monobank has bought Expirenza, a platform for working with customer reviews. It is expected that a new service will launch to create one-stop QR codes for businesses.
  • IBA Group, Visa and ConcordBank have launched tapXphone, a payment solution that allows a smartphone to be used as a bank terminal.

Kazakhstan:

  • FinTech giant Kaspi.kz, for the fourth time, has topped the Top KZ Retail E-Commerce 2021 rankings of the largest online trading platforms operating in Kazakhstan.
  • The Agency for the Regulation and Development of the Financial Market plans to change the rules for the provision of online microloans.
  • Sberbank and Visa have launched Visa Stop Payment Service (VSPS), allowing users to control all their subscriptions to internet resources through the bank’s app.
  • The number of outlets accepting payment cards has nearly doubled in the first half of 2021.

Tajikistan:

  • The International Bank of Tajikistan has become the first financial institution in the country to introduce NFC contactless payment technology.

Uzbekistan:

  • A former advisor to the Chairman of the State Committee for Tourism has presented a new concept for the development of Uzbekistan’s digital economy through 2030.
  • The operator of the UZCARD payment system has warned of new fraud attempts phishing for card details on a site purporting to be one of theirs.
  • Ilkhom Norkulov, the Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction, stated that improving financial literacy in the country is expected to simplify the introduction of Islamic banking.
  • The number of payments made through terminals in Uzbekistan has decreased since the beginning of the year due to an increase in the usage of both online payments and QR-based payments.

Azerbaijan:

Armenia:

  • ACBA Bank, MobiDram and Future Payment Systems have launched the JustQR payment system. According to the armbanks.am portal, trade and service points cooperating with ACBA Bank can connect the system and use it to generate a QR code for payments.
  • Kaspersky Lab has announced that only 0.07% of Armenian users were attacked using banking trojans.
  • HayPost has launched a new money transfer system between all post offices within the country.

Moldova:

  • The Paynet payment system has started cooperation with the Ukrainian company UKRKART, which will provide Paynet with its full processing cycle and support in the issuance and management of payment cards.

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