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Bakkt's stock surges on Mastercard, Fiserv deal to broaden use of crypto in payments

Oct 27, 2021

Cryptocurrency exchange Bakkt stock soared on Monday, after announcing a partnership with Mastercard (MA) to offer crypto debit and credit cards, making it easier for consumers to pay using digital coins. Via Mastercard and Bakkt (BKKT), businesses and banks will be able to issue their own branded crypto debit and credit cards to consumers who want them. Holders can use bitcoin purchased through Bakkt with the card, or link to a fiat-based funding source, and receive bitcoin rewards.

Data fintech Plaid takes a fresh stab at payments

Oct 27, 2021

The financial data company Plaid is betting it can serve a demand for payments directly between bank accounts, a type of transaction that could reduce the need for cards. Plaid on Thursday launched a program that pairs Plaid's technology with a network of partners to facilitate consumer and business payments funded by bank accounts. Nearly 50 companies in Europe and North America are in the network, including, Marqeta, Currencycloud, Square, Dwolla, Galileo, SoFi, Railsbank and Silicon Valley Bank.

The CFPB’s Order Asking for Payments Data From Six Big Tech Companies Stokes Controversy

Oct 22, 2021

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau order handed down Thursday that asks Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc., Apple Inc., Facebook Inc., Inc., Square Inc., and PayPal Holdings Inc. to turn over information about their payments products, plans, and practices has industry observers lining up on both sides of the fence. Some experts are of the opinion that the CFPB’s order, the first major action under its new executive director Rohit Chopra, is an indication the agency intends to take a harder regulatory stance under Chopra.

Square, Goldman, Capital One: Big names crash buy now/pay later party

Oct 21, 2021

Buy now/pay later — pioneered largely by fintechs such as Klarna, Afterpay and Affirm — has become a global phenomenon. The surge in demand has begun to draw the interest of card issuers, commercial banks and payment companies, which are also worried about the threat installment lending poses to their businesses. Some are entering the market through acquisition or partnership. Others are adapting existing credit and loan offerings to the popular pay-in-four model. Whatever their approach, these nine companies are planting a flag in the BNPL market.

Is PayPal pining for Pinterest?

Oct 21, 2021

Digital payments giant PayPal is reportedly contemplating an acquisition of social media and shopping platform Pinterest, potentially creating a marketplace juggernaut. The $45 billion deal turns on San Jose, California-based PayPal offering $70 a share for Pinterest, ladling a 25% premium on Pinterest’s stock, according to a report from Bloomberg, citing unnamed sources. A spokesperson for San Francisco-based Pinterest declined to comment. A spokesperson for PayPal didn't respond to a request for comment.

How GoDaddy became a payment facilitator

Oct 20, 2021

GoDaddy's web management platform hosts 20 million small merchants, a base the company hopes will be attracted to use it — and not banks or fintechs — to handle online payments. "Payments are central to what's happening now," said Greg Goldfarb, vice president of commerce products for GoDaddy. "We want GoDaddy to enable businesses to sell anywhere, whether that be online or in person."

Klarna Makes Preemptive Move, Overhauls BNPL Program

Oct 18, 2021

Buy now pay later (BNPL) FinTech Klarna is modifying its services in the U.K. ahead of new regulations expected to be handed down by financial watchdogs in the country, according to a press release. Some of the changes have to do with how certain aspects of the service are worded. Klarna will now clearly spell out that BNPL is a credit offering that has penalties for missed payments. At checkout, aside from being offered payments spread over weeks or months, customers can choose a new Pay Now feature.

Eftpos signs up banks, fintechs and merchants for eQR roll out

Oct 13, 2021

Eftpos Australia has signed up Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, Coles, Woolworths, Azupay, Beem It and Merchant Warrior to support the rollout of its new QR payments platform, eQR. Eftpos completed the first stage of the eQR build in July 2021 and is currently in trial with several Australian merchants. The new consumer payment option, available both online and instore, will begin to roll out ahead of the busy Christmas shopping season.

Visa Installments Head Down Under With ANZ, Quest Payment Partnership

Oct 7, 2021

Visa has expanded its Visa Installments program in Australia, partnering with financial institution ANZ as well as merchant payment provider Quest, which will help shoppers access buy now, pay later (BNPL) financing, according to a press release emailed to PYMNTS. Shoppers can use the option via their ANZ credit cards during checkout in stores and online, the release stated. The Visa Installments Solution will offer BNPL financing on the cards they already use or have on their phones.

United Airlines Debuts PayPal QR Codes for In-Flight Payments

Oct 6, 2021

United Airlines is partnering with PayPal to make in-flight purchases touch-free even if no Wi-Fi is available, World Airline News reported Wednesday (Oct. 6). Starting in November, United customers on some flights can show a flight attendant a PayPal QR code and use it to buy snacks and other items, according to the report. “PayPal QR codes can be used on select flights departing from Chicago O’ Hare International Airport in November, and before the end of the year, will extend to all flights across the entire network where contactless payment is available,” the report stated.

Target Teams With Affirm, Sezzle for BNPL

Oct 6, 2021

Affirm share prices surged 20% on news that mega-retailer Target is integrating the buy now, pay later (BNPL) solution at checkout for purchases of over $100, CNBC reported. Target also announced that it is teaming up with Sezzle on BNPL to get ready for the holiday shopping season. “We know our guests want easy and affordable payment options that work within their family’s budget,” Target President of Financial and Retail Services Gemma Kubat said in a company blog post. “Through our partnerships with Affirm and Sezzle, Target is investing in new financial tools that make our shopping experiences more flexible and personalized to guests’ needs, right in time for the holiday season.”

Amazon One lets you pay with your palm

Oct 6, 2021

Amazon is unveiling its own palm recognition technology today that will be used initially to turn your hand into a personal credit card inside the company’s physical retail stores. Amazon One uses the palm of your hand to identify you, using a combination of surface-area details like lines and ridges, alongside vein patterns to create a “palm signature.”

Apple Pay Fees Vex Credit-Card Issuers

Oct 6, 2021

Banks are nudging Visa to change the way it processes some Apple Pay transactions, according to people familiar with the matter. Banks rushed to work with the Apple Pay mobile wallet when it debuted in 2014. They have some regrets. When Apple Pay launched, the tech giant got big banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Capital One Financial Corp. and Bank of America Corp. to agree to pay fees that would allow their cardholders to pay by iPhone. But some banks have grown unhappy with the costs, especially after Apple Inc. introduced its own new credit card in 2019, according to people familiar with the matter.

Don't hold your breath for a US CBDC

Oct 4, 2021

Given the vast spectrum of American payment choices and slower U.S. digital advances, any central bank digital currency may be a long time coming. The Federal Reserve is taking its sweet time delivering a report to kick off public discussions of whether the U.S. will issue a central bank digital currency. First, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said the “white paper” would arrive this summer. Later, he told members of Congress it would land in September. And now, it’s coming “soon,” he said at a press conference last week.

Making digital currency interoperable

Oct 2, 2021

Imagine splitting the check with your friends, when everyone at the table is using a different type of money — some using a central bank digital currency (or CBDC) like Sweden’s eKrona, and others preferring a private stablecoin like USDC. How about sending $500 in USDC to a friend in London, and having those funds automatically converted to digital British pounds before they arrive in her CBDC wallet. Now imagine all this happening in real-time, across multiple networks, and compatible with multiple digital wallets. 

Card critics call for credit routing scrutiny

Oct 1, 2021

The latest attack on the card giants Visa and Mastercard over their alleged anticompetitive tactics was launched yesterday in response to the Biden administration’s hunt for antitrust infractions in corporate America.

Visa, Mastercard Swipe Fee MDL Gets Class Certification

Sep 30, 2021

A New York judge has partially granted class action status in multidistrict litigation accusing Visa, Mastercard and several U.S. banks of jointly maintaining a series of anti-competitive rules that cause merchants to pay high transaction fees. Chief U.S. District Judge Margo K. Brodie's order on Monday remains sealed, but the case docket says that class members will consist of all individuals or businesses that accepted credit or debit cards issued by Visa and Mastercard in the U.S. at any time between Dec. 18 and the date of the court's final judgment in this case.

No card required: Mastercard takes buy now/pay later to bank apps

Sep 28, 2021

Mastercard is building a bank-driven buy now/pay later platform that allows borrowers to apply for loans via mobile banking, and then use a virtual card to pay the retailer.

Payment industry acquisitions shoot toward record year

Sep 14, 2021

A spate of acquisitions in the industry this month are feeding into a monster deal-making year, with incumbents looking to protect their turf and upstart fintechs seeking to invade.

Big credit card issuers make their moves in buy now/pay later

Sep 16, 2021

Credit card heavyweights, which long showed little angst about buy now/pay later competitors, are starting to acknowledge the need to match the offers from those upstart firms.

The Merchant Advisory Group

Driving positive change and innovation in the payments industry that serves the merchants interest through collaboration, education, and advocacy.