TransUnion Completes Acquisition of Verisk Financial Services
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This week saw the launch of a new, account-to-account payments solution that may prove a trendsetter: Emirates Pay. Like many of its earthbound peers, Emirates Airlines, in its role as a merchant in selling flight tickets, chafes at paying interchange. That unease has now given rise to this powerful play from the airline, one of the globe's best-known carriers. As the underlying white-label solution is known, Iata Pay allows passengers to book flights on the participating airline's website and then pay directly from their bank account using real-time systems rather than card scheme rails. Interestingly, fees are a fixed amount whatever the ticket price, rather than a percentage-based cut of the total. Deutsche Bank developed the app at the behest of the main airline trade group, with Emirates the first to bring the technology to market and passengers in Britain and Germany the first to be able to use it.
Major lenders are acting on the clear signal from consumers that they are open to instalment plan-based borrowing. In Britain, HSBC is letting its credit cardholders avail of up to six plans at a time, once each one of the six meets a value minimum of £250, though that threshold can be made up of smaller purchases worth at least £100. To repay, the lender offers a choice of three, six or twelve monthly payments of equal amounts. The news comes amidst a deluge of BNPL-related developments worldwide, as Buy now, pay later (BNPL) demand increasingly spawns providers, competitors, complementary products and imitators. In Australia, Citibank has jumped into the market also, inspired by a survey that found customers in the country were almost all aware of BNPL options. However, less than one in four of them were ready to entrust the arrangement to a non-traditional lender. The bank's head of cards and loans in Australia, Choong Yu Lum, noted that the sector there had increased "fivefold in the last two years alone", making it too big to ignore.
Following an unprecedented cut in transfer fees for using the interbank system, Japanese banks are planning to slash online transfer fees for their customers in October. Japanese retail banking has long been concentrated in the hands of a small number of dominant lenders. With extremely low interest rates the norm for many years now, those banks have looked to fees as a reliable revenue stream in a market where challengers and fintechs have so far failed to make much of an impact. However, digital payments and transfers now seem an emerging source of future income if volumes can be encouraged, especially as a new app-based ecosystem is reportedly in the works from the incumbents. In other news from the country, an international watchdog set up by the G7 to monitor anti-money-laundering (AML) efforts worldwide has found fault with the Japanese response to the AML scourge. It appears that siloed government agencies are making AML coordination difficult for Tokyo.
To end, here are links to some other stories of interest this week...
Asia-Pacific: Digital banking race dominated by big names
Europe: Rapyd to acquire Valitor for $100 million
US: American Express Platinum Card adds benefits, increases annual fee
US: PayPal introduces complete POS solution PayPal Zettle
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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