TransUnion Completes Acquisition of Verisk Financial Services
TransUnion completed its acquisition of Verisk Financial Services. Together, our combined capabilities will help us better serve customers through enhanced insights into customer behavior. Read More.
The world of in-vehicle payments is heating up, as the launch of Apple's latest version of its CarPlay software draws nearer, bringing with it the possibility of facilitating fuel purchases from an iOS car-navigation screen. Last week, Reuters was the first media outlet to cover the prospect, which was quietly unveiled at the company's developers conference in June. Leading fuel retailer HF Sinclair intends to become compatible with the app's newest range of features at its 1,600 gas stations.
Although not particularly associated with self-driving cars, Apple is an innovator in that field, building towards a consumer launch for eight years now. The pay-and-go refuel stop is a small part of that technical challenge but a lucrative one; last September JPMorgan Chase took a majority stake in Volkswagen Payments with an eye on this opportunity. Some see the autonomous vehicle (in Apple's case, it might not even come with a steering wheel) as the ultimate e-commerce portal, with refuelling just one of the many retail opportunities that integrated providers could be involved in.
It has been an exceptionally busy 18 months in the Greek payments sector as pillar banks, having emerged from an extended period of consolidation, hive off their merchant acquiring (MA) businesses and turn them over to the control of contesting giants in European payments such as Nexi, EVO, Worldline and Euronet. This week Alpha Bank and Nexi launched a joint venture to encourage digitalisation through the likes of mobile- and smart-POS solutions, while Worldline took a controlling stake in Eurobank MA, solidifying its presence in the increasingly important small and medium-sized business segment. Worldline acquired network services provider Cardlink just over a year ago. Its close rival Nexi meanwhile has taken a controlling share in Alpha MA, a move which took into the top three in Greek merchant acquiring.
Another big domestic lender, National Bank of Greece, sold a majority share in its merchant acquiring business to EVO Payments last year and has now seen that business spun out as NBG Pay. Finally Euronet purchased the MA activities of Piraeus Bank, used by 170,000 merchants in the country. The net result is that the four leading banks here have now passed these operations to software-intensive specialists.
Not to be left out, JPMorgan picked up a 49 percent stake in Athens-headquartered Viva Wallet in January. The Cloud-based solution will build JPM's acquiring presence, both online and offline, across Europe.
On the same day as the Worldine/Eurobank deal was completed, account-to-account specialist GoCardless announced that it was acquiring Latvia-based Nordigen, an Open-Banking platform that connects to over 2,300 banks in 31 of the continent's 44 countries. Hiroki Takeuchi, co-founder and chief executive of GoCardless, commented that: "Over the past few years it's been amazing to watch Open Banking grow from a trend on the horizon to a global phenomenon which has given rise to a market worth over $400 billion".
The continent's API-supported ecosystem, enshrined in PSD2 legislation, is making slow but steady progress in Europe. Open Banking proponents have been increasingly making the case that Variable Recurring Payment (VRP) mandates might gain traction as direct-debit solutions prove increasingly clunky and frictional in our ever-deepening digital environment.
Other stories of interest this week...
Europe: EU moves a step closer to regulating Big Tech
Global: Facebook/Meta to shut down Novi wallet
India: Govt offers payment-systems tech to the world via Open APIs
UK, Ireland: Revolut launches first card reader in POS venture
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