TransUnion Completes Acquisition of Verisk Financial Services
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The news this week from the world's southernmost capital city, Wellington, that the competition regulator has issued draft guidance on interchange fee caps demonstrates that the issue remains a live point of contention for cards industry players around the world. The limits will come into force in two months' time, following a consultation period in which networks, acquirers and issuers affected can prepare to comply. The caps apply to "designated" networks – Visa and Mastercard in this case.
"Any reduction in merchant fees will decrease the cost to businesses of accepting payments on these networks," commented Commerce Commissioner Dr John Small. "As the cost of receiving payments comes down, we expect savings to be shared with consumers." The incoming limits are using new legislation enacted earlier this year concerning retail payment systems in New Zealand.
Global network JCB this week announced the launch of a mobile payments app in its home market of Japan, a first among its traditional competitors there. The world of Japanese payments has long been a curious mix, with a tech-savvy populace that nonetheless remains quite wedded to cash, a banking establishment that has been slow to embrace new technology and a dizzying plethora of POS solutions. Perhaps surprisingly for a cards network, the app offers P2P and QR code-based account-to-account transfers.
However, young consumers have given relatively new players such as PayPay and Line a clear lead in mobile, a threat that JCB hopes to counter in time by stacking up powerful banking and payments solutions, such as ATM withdrawals and salary access, through the app.
Last week, Singapore's central bank clearly communicated that it would not be issuing a central bank digital currency (CBDC) anytime soon. The sentiment is quite different in Frankfurt, headquarters of the European Central Bank, which besides raising interest rates (by a historic three-quarters of a percent in its latest policy move this week) is also moving closer to releasing a CBDC, though for now the project remains firmly on the drawing board.
"We have singled out, for the first release of the digital euro, three use cases, " said the coin's programme manager, Evelien Witlox, in a speech this week. She identified these as "peer-to-peer payments, ...consumer-to-business payments in physical or online stores, and payments to or by governments". For now, heavy-duty features such as salary disbursement will have to wait, she told listeners. The Eurozone's central bank plans to commence a pilot of its digital euro next year.
Other stories of interest this week...
Australia, Europe, India, Indonesia, Japan: Google quietly extends User Choice Billing
UK: Cost-of-living squeeze starts to impact international travel, Barclaycard reveals
US: Top banking regulator warns of crisis risk from fintech proliferation
US: Zelle now moves more money than Venmo and Cash App combined
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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.
About Argus Advisory Research The market-leading online, interactive database and data dashboards covering the global cards and payments industry in detail, plus a range of data-packed country and regional reports. Leveraging financial cards data going back to 2010 – and forecasts up to 2025 – our unique datasets cover countries around the world and feature more than 250 metrics per market.