Jack Dorsey, CEO of both Twitter and Square, is enough of a fan of cryptocurrency that Square’s push into the area won’t stop at releasing a hardware wallet. Instead, the company is creating a new business, to go with existing units like Tidal and Cash App, which is “focused on building an open developer platform with the sole goal of making it easy to create non-custodial, permissionless, and decentralized financial services.” What does that mean exactly? Is the new business called TBD, or is the name “to be determined” at a later date?
The challenge facing Apple upon entering the hotly competitive BNPL market will be gaining consumers’ trust when it comes to taking out a BNPL loan, since Apple will control the payment terms, says Jared Drieling, senior director of market intelligence and insights for The Strawhecker Group, an Omaha, Neb.-based consulting and research firm that tracks the BNPL market. “Trust is a huge hurdle [facing Apple] especially when it comes to handling of payment information and providing the level of service consumers expect from their bank,” Drieling says. “As a consumer, I trust my bank, know it is secure and know that it will help me resolve issues when they arise. Apple is going to need to put a lot of effort into winning consumers’ trust.”
Mastercard and Verizon announced Tuesday a partnership focused on 5G contactless payments for consumers as well as small- and medium-sized businesses. They hope to have some innovations from the partnership by 2023. The collaboration aims to enable businesses to use emerging payment technologies to turn smartphones into cash registers, to turn wearables like watches as payment devices, and to facilitate touchless retail similar to Amazon Go stores.
Since starting in 2006, The Strawhecker Group (TSG) has served over 1,000 clients and has developed several industry-first products. Headquartered in Omaha, NE with satellite offices across the globe, the firm has grown from a pair of payments industry veterans to employing a team of nearly fifty subject matter experts, analysts, and data scientists to support its clients.
“As the firm grows, it’s important for us to remain nimble for our clients,” said Mike Strawhecker, President. “The payments industry is fluid, and we are in a pivotal moment as consumer spending and merchant acceptance evolve. We understand the needs of the industry and we meet them with laser-focused support, forward-thinking strategies, and high-quality output.”
New York-based American Express battled in vain this summer to stop Colorado’s legislature and governor from overturning that state’s ban on credit card surcharges. Last week, the state enacted a law scrapping its credit surcharge ban and installing restrictions that cap merchant surcharges at 2%, of the value of a transaction, or a merchant’s cost to process the transaction. CardX has already tallied wins in Kansas and Oklahoma too. Next up: Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Fortis Payment Systems, LLC (FortisPay), a payment technology leader for businesses, independent software vendors (ISVs), and developers, today announced the addition of three new top executives to lead the company’s continued growth and expansion into new markets. The leadership team will continue to scale the organization’s offerings and support the expanding network of partners. Greg Cohen, FortisPay’s executive chairman, early integrated payments veteran and highly sought-after FinTech advisor, will serve as the company’s CEO.
The fintech funding continues to roll in at a rapid pace, a result of the huge shift underway in how consumers spend and manage their money. In the latest development, Revolut — the London-based financial “superapp” that provides banking, investing, currency transfer and other money management services to some 16 million users globally — this morning confirmed that it has raised $800 million. The company said that this Series E round of funding values Revolut at $33 billion.
Payroc, a global payments leader, has announced the acquisition of ACHeck21®. ACHeck21 is a technology provider that allows software vendors, originators, banks, and acquirers to offer to their merchant customers ACH, check capture and verification with back-end integration to their bank or through a clearing bank. This acquisition is another step in Payroc’s vision of creating a combined card and eCheck payments platform for its integrated partnerships, allowing for a similar solution that is currently offered on Payroc’s Canadian platform, Caledon.
Guillaume Pousaz went seven years without accepting external funding for his start-up. Now, Checkout.com is one of the most valuable fintech unicorns in the world. Pousaz initially wanted to become an investment banker, but he dropped out of his college in Switzerland to become a surfer in California. The Swiss-born entrepreneur then found a job at International Payments Consultants, but left to try his luck at building a start-up. Pousaz eventually started Checkout.com in 2012 to solve the problem of online payment processing for merchants and their customers.
Goldman Sachs said in a note to clients that the blockchain with the highest “real use potential” is Ethereum, suggesting its Ether (ETH) could become the dominant digital store of value. As such, Goldman predicts the total market capitalization of Ether could overtake the total market cap for Bitcoin (BTC) in the coming years, according to a report in Business Insider. “[Ether] currently looks like the cryptocurrency with the highest real use potential as Ethereum, the platform on which it is the native digital currency, is the most popular development platform for smart contract applications.”
Intuits’ introduction of the Quickbooks digital card reader and portable payments hub follows the rise of contactless payments, a trend catalyzed by the COVID-19 pandemic. In an April 2021 survey, the company found that nearly half (46%) of small businesses began processing contactless payments during the coronavirus pandemic, and about a third (30%) of those that accept payments via mobile payment apps also started doing so during the coronavirus pandemic. As QuickBooks enters the point-of-sale business, it’s vying for market share in competition with startups and payment veterans alike.
Payments and shopping platform Klarna is partnering with social shopping startup HERO to bring retailers a solution to create shoppable content right from their brick-and-mortar location. “Immersive shopping experiences are now expected by consumers when shopping online and forward-thinking brands want to provide consumers with a rich, interactive way to shop for their products.”
Trading volumes at major cryptocurrency exchanges fell by more than 40% in June, research showed on Monday, with a regulatory crackdown in China and lower volatility among the factors depressing activity. Spot trading volumes fell 42.7% to $2.7 trillion, with derivative volumes down 40.7% to $3.2 trillion, London-based CryptoCompare’s data showed.
Discover will invest $30 million into Sezzle, based on a per share purchase price of $6.58, which equates to total shares to be issued of 4,556,210. Meanwhile, the firms have agreed to expand their existing partnership to both build a BNPL network solution on the Discover Global Network, and to roll out a dedicated referral program to push Discover credit and debit cards to Sezzle users.
Help wanted. Seriously. The nation’s labor shortage threatens to put a crimp on what’s expected to be robust back-to-school and holiday seasons for retail this year, based on the nation’s economic rebound, mall traffic picking up and consumers eager to update their wardrobes as they start socializing and returning to the office. In the weeks ahead, retailers will put out their annual calls for seasonal help for the fourth quarter, but this time around it will be with a greater sense of urgency than years past and with more incentives embedded in the pitch.
Payments with private-label credit cards picked up after dropping sharply during the pandemic. Transactions and dollar volume for private-label (store-only) credit cards dropped sharply with the onset of COVID-19, but experienced recovery in the second half of 2020, with receivables estimated at $142 billion for that year, according to Packaged Facts’ Private Label Credit Cards in the U.S. Through much of the 20th century, credit cards offered by retailers were the most widely used form of credit.
After months and months of meals at home, consumers are excited to be back at their favorite restaurants this summer. Many major brands are taking advantage of this enthusiasm to refresh their relationships with customers, revitalizing stores aesthetically, operationally and technologically to create a new experience for the 2020s. For example, Moe’s Southwest Grill, an Atlanta-based fast-casual chain with over 700 locations, is redesigning restaurants in major markets with new drive-thrus and mobile order pickup capabilities as well as a new logo, new signage, and a new paint job, among other changes.
Visits to indoor malls in the second quarter were “within striking distance” of pre-pandemic levels, according to a new analysis from Placer.ai—and in more good news, outdoor malls also saw their visit gap drop to a mere 0.7% during the same period. “Malls have made an impressive leap forward in the past three months compared to Q1, when year-over-two-year visits were down an average of 24.5%,” Placer.ai’s Ethan Chernofsky writes in a recent report analyzing Q2 mall data.
Mastercard has been ordered to stop taking new customers in India, as authorities there say it violated the country’s rules on how data should be stored. Starting next Thursday, the company will be banned from issuing new debit, credit or prepaid cards, according to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). It did not stipulate how long the restrictions would last. In a statement Wednesday, the central bank said that Mastercard (MA) had been given “considerable time and adequate opportunities” to comply with a mandate announced in 2018.
The cost of failed payments is estimated to have cost the global economy $118.5 billion in fees, labor and lost business in 2020 according to the latest study from Accuity, a LexisNexis® Risk Solutions company. The total cost of failed payments regionally was $41.1 billion in EMEA, $33.7 billion in the Americas and $43.7 billion in Asia-Pacific (APAC). The report shows that the average cost of failed payments varied across the globe, depending on the type of organization.
Billion-dollar fashion brand Guess has sent letters out to an unknown number of people whose information they lost during a ransomware attack in February. First shared by Bleeping Computer’s Sergiu Gatlan, the letters state that “unauthorized access” to certain Guess systems between Feb. 2, 2021 and Feb. 23, 2021 led to a breach of Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, passport numbers, and financial account numbers.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Wednesday that U.S. is at a ‘critical point’ for regulation of digital currencies, advocating for the application of new rules on some digital payment tools that are similar to those applied to bank deposits and money-market mutual funds. He made special mention of stablecoins like Tether and USD coin, which are pegged to the U.S. dollar and are used to facilitate trading between various cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin and ether.
American Express unveiled the results of its inaugural Global Business Spend Indicator (GBSI), which highlighted a bullish sentiment among global businesses, with 70% companies surveyed sharing an optimistic outlook for the next 12 months. The survey also found that overall, companies have been increasing business spending since the beginning of the year across all the core categories of business-to-business (B2B) spending and they anticipate further increases in 2021.
May require account to read. Here’s what the biggest U.S. banks are telling us about the state of the economy. Consumer spending is returning to pre-pandemic levels, and borrowing appears poised to rise. Markets are cooling, but deal making is as hot as ever. Still, the recovery remains vulnerable, bank executives said. Covid-19 variants are driving up case counts, raising the specter of new lockdowns. Government-aid programs that kept many Americans afloat are about to expire.
Inflation surged in June at its fastest pace in nearly 13 years amid a burst in used vehicle costs and price increases in food and energy, the Labor Department reported Tuesday. The consumer price index increased 5.4% from a year earlier, the largest jump since August 2008, just before the worst of the financial crisis. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting a 5% gain. Stripping out volatile food and energy prices, the core CPI rose 4.5%, the sharpest move for that measure since September 1991 and well above the estimate of 3.8%.
New applications for unemployment benefits fell last week to a new pandemic low, as companies sought to hire more workers and avoid layoffs amid a robust U.S. economic recovery. Initial jobless claims fell by 26,000 to 360,000 in the seven days ended July 10, matching the forecast of economists polled by The Wall Street Journal. These are traditional benefits paid by the states. An additional 96,362 applications for benefits were filed through a temporary federal relief program set up during the pandemic, the government said Thursday.
Visa announced that it is collaborating with Global Payments, a leading worldwide provider of payment technology and software solutions, and Desjardins, North America’s leading financial cooperative group, to bring Visa Installments to participating Canadian merchants and eligible credit cardholders. Visa Installments is a new option to convert qualifying purchases into smaller, equal payments made over a defined period of time using an eligible credit card.
MoonPay, which provides payments infrastructure for buying and selling cryptocurrency, has selected financial technology leader FIS® for merchant acquiring services in the more than 160 countries and 80 digital currencies supported by the rapidly growing company. MoonPay creates tools that enable web and mobile developers globally to accept payments for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ether as well as for non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
PayPal PYPL is making strong efforts to strengthen its presence in the booming digital payment market of Australia. The company has made its Pay in 4service — a buy now, pay later (“BNPL”) solution available to the eligible customers in Australia, which testifies the aforesaid fact. The expansion of the service in Australia was announced at the end of first-quarter 2021. PayPal is offering the solution free of any interest, payment fees and sign-up fees.
Square announced it has acquired Crew, a frontline employee platform for consolidating and streamlining the day-to-day operations of hourly workforces. Communication is a critical element for all employers managing teams. With the acquisition of Crew, Square gains a robust workplace messaging platform that will strengthen, complement, and scale its existing labor management tools offered through Team Management, better positioning the company to meet the needs of larger, more complex sellers.
GoDaddy Inc., the company that empowers everyday entrepreneurs, announced an integration with Google which allows GoDaddy customers a way to get discovered across Google surfaces from GoDaddy’s Online Store. This expansion to GoDaddy’s current Google offering will make it easy for customers to scale their businesses and reach millions of new shoppers via Google. Without leaving their GoDaddy Online Store, customers are now able to automatically create a Google Merchant Center account, sync their catalog to create free product listings on Google, and promote their products on Google.
Marqeta, the global modern card issuing platform, and Payfare, a leading fintech powering instant payout and digital banking solutions for contract workers, today announced a strategic partnership to expand the reach of Payfare’s platform across the global gig economy. Marqeta’s modern card issuing platform is certified to operate in 36 countries with focused efforts to quickly enter into new growth markets.
SIBS MB and Discover signed a strategic agreement that increases the global acceptance footprint for both organizations. This new strategic agreement gives Discover, Diners Club International and network alliance cardholders the ability to use their cards on the SIBS MB network at merchant and ATM locations across Portugal. The agreement will also allow members of SIBS MB to issue MB cards that will be accepted on the Discover Global Network for international purchases and cash withdrawals outside Portugal and provides access to more than 50 million outlets in 200 countries and territories via the Discover Global Network.
Skrill, part of leading specialized payments company Paysafe, announces that it has added 20 new cryptocurrencies to its digital wallet for its customers to buy and sell. The new additions bring the total number of available cryptocurrencies available within Skrill to 35 for customers based outside of the US. The expanded portfolio is also available within NETELLER, another of Paysafe’s proprietary digital wallets.
Adyen, the global payments platform of choice for many of the world’s leading companies, and Slice, the innovative tech platform powering America’s independent pizzerias, have partnered to enhance Slice’s payment processing experience. By leveraging Adyen for Platforms, Slice will scale an industry leading end-customer payment experience across its thousands of pizzeria clients.
Paya, a leading integrated payments and commerce solutions provider, has announced a strategic partnership with RECUR360, a cloud-based software and automation solution provider which offers recurring payment, invoicing, and collection capabilities across a number of B2B verticals. Through the partnership, RECUR360 will offer its clients enhanced capabilities and support for integrated card and ACH while also tapping into new, underserved markets such as wholesalers, distributors, and field service providers.