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Back home  /  Payments News: 2 June 2023

Payments News Digest 2 June 2023

02 June 2023
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Global: Google beefs up Wallet offering as battle for consumer's top-of-mind intensifies

In a blog post yesterday, Google announced a slew of new features for its Wallet app centred around reducing the friction involved in everyday activities such as train or air travel, personal-identity proofs and insurance access. Biometrically protected storage of private information that one might need to hand in, for example, a healthcare setting is also promised. Barcodes and QR will make possible the digitalisation of any pass or ticket, and the company is working with authorities within the United States to legally incorporate State IDs in the app.

Although none of this is on a par with the high-profile announcements that have seen Apple as a consumer lender offering its own savings account, it does show that Google feels the need to make as much progress as possible towards providing a super-app. Silicon Valley has long made a study of the supercharged mobile-messaging ecosystems in  China  and knows that, as far as possible, the more time consumers spend inside a particular app, the more inclined they will be to look to the provider for other needs, including financial ones.

UK: Monzo results reveal sharp growth in pay-later activity

Last week, we noted that British digital bank Starling reported positive financial results. This week, close competitor Monzo, created by ex-Starling executive Tom Blomfield, announced that it had turned a profit in January and February, a first such run for the company, and that it expected full-year profitability to emerge by the end of next year. The actual profit figures were not disclosed, but net operating income for the full year ending February was almost double that of the previous year at £214 million ($266m).
The revenue performance was attributed to lending efforts across new product lines, including subscriptions, that shot up by over 380 percent. Losses meanwhile fell by 2.3 percent to £116m.

Europe: Pay-later veteran spreads its bets as fresh competitors draw in business

One notable line item in Monzo's balance sheet is the increase from £14 million ($17.5m) to £101m in bad-loan provisions on foot of a sixfold growth in consumer-lending activity. That category includes burgeoning pay-later loans through its Monzo Flex product, not yet two years old. According to the Financial Times, chief executive TS Anil "said the bank did make an unspecified profit in March and still expected to hit annual profitability next year".

Being in the black is also on the mind of executives of erstwhile BNPL pioneer Klarna, whose leadership says it is making "significant strides" towards the milestone of monthly profitability. As evidence, the company notes a halving in its net-loss total for the most recent quarter and net operating income up over a fifth versus the same period last year.

Some other stories of interest this week...

Australia: Marqeta exits market
Brazil: Pix now close to three in ten transactions says central bank
New Zealand: Banks move to processing payments seven days a week
US: Diebold Nixdorf set to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

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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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