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Back home  /  Payments News: 2 July 2021

Payments News Digest 2 July 2021

02 July 2021
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UK/US: May data reveals shifts in consumer situation and behaviour

New Bank of England data shows that Britons borrowed more than they repaid in May : the result was net borrowing of £300m ($414m) for that month, with June data now eagerly awaited to see what trend emerges. The figures signal a reversal of the net repayments tendency, one of the most striking consumer-behaviour characteristics during the pandemic. However, credit card borrowing, in the words of the central bank, "remained low compared with pre-pandemic levels, with a net repayment of £101m".

Across the Atlantic, the latest release of Personal Income and Outlays data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) moved the focus to consumers' income, which is now falling as government support eases off and prices rise. According to the BEA, personal income for Americans fell by two percent ($414.3bn) in May, while disposable personal income was down even further, by 2.3 percent ($436.3bn).

US/Brazil: Growing digital opportunities draw in major investments

American firms are investing in Brazilian neobanks, as two new deals attest. With plans to raise its client base from the current total of seven million to ten million by the year's end, Sao Paulo-headquartered C6 Bank is clearly energised by the market shares being carved out by the new breed of digital banks in the country, of which it is now a leading brand. That prospect and the extraordinary success of the pioneering Nubank has now drawn JPMorgan Chase, which is taking a 40 percent stake in C6. Just a few weeks ago, Berkshire Hathaway invested half a billion dollars in Nubank, a digital bank founded in 2013 that is already the third-largest credit card issuer by the number of cards and enjoys the custom of 40 million Brazilians for its branchless banking services.

Regulators, the government, and industry bodies have been steadily improving the efficiency of the country's payment systems for over a decade now, with Open Banking set to be fully operational within four months. As Argus Advisory Research's market report for Brazil points out, the value of electronic payments is on course to match cash transactions value this year.

Europe: Consolidation moves continue, as a multi-currency wallet for Nordics emerges

Just as acquirers and payment processors have been consolidating in Europe, so too are mobile wallets, with leading providers in Finland, Denmark and Norway announcing this week that they are creating a single payments app across the three countries to serve the 11 million customers that have been already using the three wallets involved: Vipps, MobilePay and Pivo. Although financial service players in the Nordics are long practised at cross-border cooperation, it is worth noting that the three countries, in fact, use different currencies, with Finland the only euro-based economy of the three. A total of 300,000 merchants will be compatible with the new app, with a combined total of 700 million transactions being processed at last count.

Elsewhere in Europe, Worldline is parting with €180m in return for 80 percent of Axepta Italy, which handles merchant acquiring for BNL, a local bank owned by BNP Paribas that will hold on to the remaining share. The news comes as the country's cards industry was set back by the government's decision to put an end to an incentive scheme which saw Italians entitled to claim back, up to a ceiling of €3,000 ($3,555), ten percent of credit and debit card spend.

To end, some links to other stories of interest this week...

Asia-Pacific Merchant Acquiring: Longtail comes to life
China, Global: UnionPay upgrades Mobile QuickPass service
Europe, UK: Pitfalls of new payment authentication rules
US: Walmart's Money Card is now a checking account

The Weekly News Digest from Argus Advisory Research highlights significant developments in payment cards, digital payments, acquiring, processing, retail banking and consumer credit. Our writers and researchers frame these items in contexts such as historical, sectoral and regional trends, adding a layer of value often missing from the rolling news cycle.

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