"Indian salt-to-software conglomerate Tata Group is considering injecting another $2 billion into its super app venture to bolster its digital business, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter. The funds would help the group's online platform Tata Neu strengthen its digital offerings, fix technical glitches, and meet any new spending needs, the report said. The injection would take place over two years if the deal goes through, it added."
The Central Bank of UAE (CBUAE) jointly held a signing ceremony with G42 Cloud and R3 to mark the commencement of the implementation of the CBUAE Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) Strategy, one of the nine initiatives of the CBUAE’s Financial Infrastructure Transformation (FIT) Programme. The CBUAE has engaged with G42 Cloud and R3 as the infrastructure and technology providers respectively for its CBDC implementation.
"The Swiss Banking Association (SBA) has presented a white paper detailing plans for creating a digital Swiss franc which it says will operate as a deposit token (DT) on blockchain technology. Designated in the mold of a stablecoin, the proposed DT will immediately offer users use cases in decentralized finance (DeFi), trading digital assets, and executing transactions in the Internet of Things (IoT) domain. According to the white paper, the DT could find substantial usage in both micro and corporate payments, with the next step for the SBA being feasibility studies."
"IDFC FIRST Bank is set to be a part of RBI's pilot project to enable offline payments. This project will give access to digital payments even when there is no network. This unique digital payment solution was designed by Crunchfish for merchants and customers under the RBI's Regulatory Sandbox Program."
"The BIS Innovation Hub Singapore Centre and partners today announced the successful connection of the test versions of three established IPS using the Nexus model and outlined the next phase of the project to work on the real-world potential of a multilateral network that could be scaled up across more countries. The year-long collaboration included the Bank of Italy, Central Bank of Malaysia (BNM) and Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), plus the payment systems operators PayNet and Banking Computer Services (BCS). Test payments were initiated using only the mobile phone numbers or the recipients' company registration numbers via the Eurosystem's TARGET Instant Payment Settlement (TIPS), Malaysia's Real-time Retail Payments Platform (RPP) and Singapore's Fast and Secure Transfers (FAST) payment system."
"A year of tests run by central banks in Italy, Malaysia and Singapore have spurred hopes for a global instant payments network accessible at the tap of a mobile phone. The ability to send money quickly and cheaply around the world has long been seen as something of a holy grail for policymakers due to the advantages it would bring for both people and companies."
"EBA CLEARING announced today that it will enrich its SEPA payment systems, RT1 and STEP2, with fraud prevention and detection capabilities by November 2023. The Company's new Fraud Pattern and Anomaly Detection (FPAD) solution will support RT1 and STEP2 users in complementing their fraud-fighting tools and assessments with insights from a central network view."
"With business travel across domestic and international markets showing a rebound post pandemic, majority of Indian businesses (67%) expect a rise in business travel in 2023 and 77% of businesses are expecting to increase their travel budget in 2023 as compared to 2022. These findings were revealed in the business travel and entertainment (T&E) survey report titled ‘Revival of business travel: An India perspective’ commissioned by American Express, India with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr)."
"The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) released regulations pertaining to payment cards tokenization on electronic device applications on 8 March. Once approved and implemented, the regulations will effectively allow for contactless payments through applications like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay among other fintech services. Currently, payment cards in Egypt can function in both offline and online modes, as well as contactless."
"India and the United Arab Emirates will jointly conduct pilot programs on central bank digital currencies, or CBDCs, according to an announcement on Wednesday. The Reserve Bank of India and the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates signed a memorandum of understanding in Abu Dhabi to explore the interoperability between the CBDCs of the two countries."
"Andrew Torre is Regional President for Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa (CEMEA) at Visa Inc. He oversees Visa operations in more than 90 countries and territories across the region, cultivating relationships with clients and government authorities. He has been with Visa since 2002, where he held global roles across product, strategy and pricing, and had also served as General Manager for Russia and Sub-Saharan Africa respectively....On his recent visit to Pakistan, Torre spoke to Business Recorder, where he discussed Visa’s expansion amid the country’s accelerating digital transformation and the company’s mission in driving greater financial inclusion."
Tech In Africa
"According to the latest data from International Data Corporation (IDC), Kenya’s smartphone market dropped for the second quarter in Q4 2022, with shipments down 13.5% year on year (YoY). In its report, the global technology intelligence firm said that supply shortages and rising prices were the main reasons for the drop. Also, the dollar’s exchange rate went up during the quarter, increasing import costs and street prices, which drove up consumer demand. In the fourth quarter of 2022, Samsung had a 31.7% unit share of Kenya’s smartphone market, making it the market leader. Tecno was in second place with 18.8% of shipments, and Infinix was in third place with 9.2% of shipments."
Australian Financial Review
"Cuscal, which provides payment services to mutual banks and fintechs, has acquired Basiq, a Sydney-based start-up backed by powerful investors including Westpac and National Australia Bank, in a deal that points to the looming consolidation of payments, data systems and digital identity. The deal provides an exit for Basiq’s shareholders which include US card giant Visa, Westpac’s venture capital fund Reinventure Group, NAB Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, AP Ventures (backed by Afterpay) and Plaid, a large US-based banking data company."
"Numeral announces its launch in the UK, with the support of SEPA, Bacs, and FPS payments for UK fintech companies...Numeral’s banking aggregation and payment automation platform provides fintech companies with fast, future-proof and cost-effective access to SEPA, Bacs, and FPS through their banking partners"
"The newly introduced AI-based fingerprint authentication mechanism for securing Aadhaar-based transactions by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is a measure to prevent cloning of Aadhaar-linked fingerprints, the UIDAI said on March 13, 2023, in a Right to Information (RTI) response to MediaNama. The RTI, filed on February 18, was primarily about financial crimes involving Aadhaar-Enabled Payment System (AePS) and the UIDAI provided no answers to queries specifically related to these much-discussed recurring frauds."
"Bank customers who pay cheques from rival lenders into their accounts will be able to get the money cleared within one working day in fresh efforts to boost cash flow in the economy. At the moment, the process can take up to three days, removing the discrimination that has for years seen banks clear internal cheques within 24 hours. The reduced clearance period follows an upgrade of the Automated Clearing House System (ACH), the platform used by banks for electronic funds transfers and cheques."
"The service, backed by SARB and local banks, will allow South Africans to transfer money instantly between their phones, without a bank account. PayShap is expected to become South Africa's most popular electronic payment option by the end of this year. It could be a significant solution to displace cash as it estimates that nine out of 10 transactions in the country are still conducted in cash."
"The Australia and New Zealand Bank is to pilot the use of a prototype central bank digital currency (CBDC) for offline transactions using pre-loaded contactless cards at RMIT University in the Australian city of Melbourne and Southern Cross University in New South Wales. ANZ will test the CBDC for offline payments in one of 14 pilot projects to be launched by the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Digital Finance Cooperative Research Centre as part of their ongoing research into the development and issuance of an Australian CBDC that will also cover use cases including ecommerce, asset trading, corporate bond settlement, livestock auctioning and construction payments."
"Indian companies are using the SWIFT global payment system to settle dollar payments with Russia, a top trade official said on Wednesday, even though many Russian banks are blocked from the network due to Western sanctions. The West blocked access to SWIFT for several Russian banks, including Sberbank and VTB, soon after Moscow invaded Ukraine in February last year to target Russian trade, making it harder for Russian companies to do business. SWIFT underpins financial transactions globally."
"Novatti Group Limited, a leading fintech enabling businesses to pay and be paid, has launched Novatti BillPay, a platform connecting businesses offering BPAY® bills and payees. Novatti BillPay enables businesses with BPAY® bills to accept payments from people overseas who prefer to pay in their currency of choice using digital wallets. Designed for international students, new migrants and people overseas without access to an Australian bank account, users can choose to pay their Australian bills such as tuition fees, rent, utility bills and council fees using a range of Asian currencies as amended and updated from time to time."
Russia Briefing News
"Several Cuban banks in Havana have now begun accepting Russia’s MIR payment cards, the equivalent of Visa or Mastercard in Russia or UnionPay in China. ATMs now display the logo of the Russian payment system and provide an option to withdraw funds from cards issued by Russian banks meaning Russian visitors to the island can access their money held in accounts in Russia. The money is provided in Cuban Pesos, with the Ruble / Peso exchange rate currently about 1 to 1.5."
Swift is moving into the second phase of its cross-border central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot, conducted with 18 central and commercial banks. Banque de France, the Deutsche Bundesbank and the Monetary Authority of Singapore, participated in the first phase. Participants conducted trials in a sandbox using APIs and two blockchain networks – Quorum and Corda – as well as a simulated real-time gross settlement network.
"Merchants in the eurozone area could be obliged to accept a digital euro if it is deemed to be legal tender, according to a paper set to be put before finance ministers later Monday and seen by CoinDesk. Giving the central bank digital currency, or CBDC, the same status as banknotes and coins would mean payments legally discharge obligations to pay, and with mandatory acceptance at full face value, the paper said."
"HSBC Holdings Plc is planning to inject £2 billion ($2.4 billion) of liquidity into Silicon Valley Bank’s UK division, a move capping a frenzied weekend of talks that saw Europe’s largest lender take ownership of the stricken subsidiary. Chief Executive Officer Noel Quinn and Ian Stuart, the head of HSBC UK, told London tech investors on a call Monday that the bank would commit billions of pounds to ensure that business-as-usual continued at SVB UK after it bought the unit for £1."
"The Network for Electronic Transfers (NETS) Group has inked agreements with Mastercard and Visa to acquire merchants directly in Singapore. Eligible merchants can now have access to an enhanced suite of digital payment schemes such as NETS, Mastercard, and Visa from a single payment service provider. Most existing merchants who already accept NETS can add on Mastercard and Visa as payment options without needing to upgrade their payment terminals."
ACI Worldwide, the global leader in mission-critical, real-time payments software, today announced a partnership with financial technology company RedAbierta to power real-time payments in Honduras. RedAbierta, the central infrastructure provider in Honduras, will leverage two ACI solutions — ACI Enterprise Payments Platform and ACI Low-Value Real-Time Payments — to build the domestic real-time payments central infrastructure in the Central American country and help financial institutions connect to the new scheme.
Wirex, a leading crypto payments platform, has partnered with card issuer, Novatti, to directly issue cards to Australians. The announcement has the potential to allow over 20 million people to utilise their innovative multicurrency card every day. Wirex developed the world's first crypto-enabled debit card. Over 5 million customers worldwide can buy, hold, exchange and sell over 12 traditional and 130 cryptocurrencies, spendable at 80 million locations using Wirex's Visa debit card. This includes the TAUD (True AUD) stablecoin, recently listed on the Wirex app as part of Wirex's largest release of tokens in one go.
"Bill Gates has visited MOSIP (Modular Open Source Identity Platform) in its hometown Bangalore for presentations on the project’s progress and plans, MOSIP has shared in a LinkedIn post. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been a backer of the free-to-use ID platform that avoids vendor lock-in."
"PayRetailers accelerates the deployment of its payment solution in Latin America, offering global digital companies more flexible payment solutions and local operating facilities to help them expand their businesses within the region. International expansion is a natural step for global start-ups looking for new markets to boost their revenue. In this sense, Latin America has become one of the biggest bets to accelerate digital commerce worldwide."
"Post demonetisation, digital transactions witnessed a tremendous increase, which led to the sudden emergence of payment gateway vendors. However, the payment gateway market got a real boost during the pandemic. Meanwhile, government initiatives and digital payment trends aided MSMEs and small businesses to adopt these digital payment systems. The rise in e-commerce transactions have also added value to the various payment gateways in India."