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January 10, 2023

On the web

Digital Wallets and Biometrics to Replace Traditional Payments in UK: Mastercard Survey

Biometric Update

"Roughly half (51 percent) of people in the UK believe physical wallets will become less relevant as digital ways to pay become increasingly popular, new research from Mastercard suggests. The data hints at a decrease in cash usage in the UK. According to Mastercard, around 60 percent of payments were made in cash a decade ago, with UK Finance estimating that this figure will fall to 6 percent by 2031."

December 26, 2022

On the web

BP and MAN to Pilot In-Vehicle Contactless Payments for Truck Drivers (UK)

NFCW

“Petrol retailer BP and truck and bus manufacturer MAN are teaming up to pilot in-vehicle contactless payments at fuel stations across the UK. MAN plans to follow the UK pilot of its new MAN SimplePay digital wallet for trucks with a rollout in Germany and then additional countries “later”. For the UK pilot, MAN is initially launching a solution for automated contactless and secure payment processes when refuelling that lets the driver stay with the truck, “thus eliminating visits to the filling station shop and saving time as a result. This also reduces possible contact with other people in times of the coronavirus pandemic.””

December 16, 2022

On the wires

Billhop & UnionPay International Announce New Partnership

PR Newswire

“Billhop, the smart online bill payment platform, announces a new partnership with UnionPay International (UPI), the global network servicing the world’s largest cardholder base, enabling support for UnionPay card products across its digital payment solutions. The agreement highlights Billhop’s and UPI’s commitment to prioritising accessibility and adoption within the card payments sphere. UnionPay cardholders across the EEA and the UK will be able to access Billhop’s unique card payment solutions, developed to simplify payments and unlock better cash flow control by bridging the gaps around card acceptance rates. The partnership enables UnionPay credit cardholders to pay almost any bill or supplier invoice accepted by Billhop, even when their end beneficiary does not accept card payments.”

Meet Mercuryo`s Banking-as-a-Service Payment Solution With The New Partner – Advcash

PR Newswire

“More and more companies are realising the need to introduce innovative products that solve pain points of the current market. Meet Advcash, another company that has integrated a breakthrough solution from Mercuryo – Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS). Advcash is an electronic payment and digital currency platform offering services for individuals and online businesses. It has partnered with Mercuryo, a cryptopowered global payments infrastructure provider, to equip its users with virtual IBANs, becoming the second company in less than three months to have implemented this solution.”

December 14, 2022

On the wires

Cash Use Slips to Just 15% of British Purchases in 2021

Reuters

“ritish shoppers used cash in only 15% of transactions in 2021, half the level of the year before and down from nearly 40% before the COVID-19 pandemic, retailers said on Friday. The British Retail Consortium said government advice to go contactless during the pandemic, as well as a surge in online shopping, had accelerated an existing shift away from cash. Debit cards accounted for 67% of transactions last year, up from 54% in 2020, while credit cards made up 15%, up from 14%, said the BRC, which represents major stores who accounted for almost 40% of British retail sales last year.”

December 9, 2022

On the web

A New Messaging Standard for UK Payments: ISO 20022

Bank of England

“Payments data in the UK is changing.  The UK payments industry is moving to ISO 20022, the emerging global standard for payments messaging. This standard creates a common language for payments data across the globe. This change includes our sterling high value payment system CHAPS, which will migrate to ISO 20022 messaging on 19 June 2023. Better data in payments promises to deliver significant long-term benefits for the economy. To adapt to the new messaging standard and accompanying data requirements, your organisation might have to make process and technology changes.”

December 8, 2022

On the web

Half of UK Online Retailers Worried About Surviving the Next 12 Months – Could Instant Payments Save the Day?

Internet Retailing

“British business is bracing itself for a difficult year ahead, new research from Europe’s leading open banking platform, Tink, has revealed. In a recent survey of UK online retailers, half (50%) said they are worried about how their business will survive the next 12 months, with four in ten (41%) afraid of going bankrupt.  As consumers rein in spending, two thirds (66%) of retailers are expecting to see, or are already seeing, more abandoned baskets – particularly at the point of payment (64%). Lower average order values (75%) and fewer repeat customers (67%) are also either expected or already being observed. To adapt and survive, four in ten (40%) retailers have already or are considering cutting costs across the board – from reducing staff (49%) and training (55%) to advertising (52%), technology and online/website investments (48%). Services that customers have come to expect for free are also under threat – with over half of merchants having already stopped or are considering stopping free delivery (53%) and free returns (54%).  Top priorities for merchants looking to reduce payments related costs include reducing payment acceptance fees (44%), lowering costs associated with fraud (35%) and cutting refund costs (40%).”

November 4, 2022

On the wires

Santander to Block UK Transfers to Crypto Exchanges in 2023

“Santander will block UK customers from sending real-time payments to cryptocurrency exchanges next year as part of measures to protect customers from scams, the bank said in an emailed statement on Friday. At an unspecified point during 2023, the bank will introduce a block on all real-time payments to cryptocurrency exchanges made via telephone banking and in-branch payments, as well as online and mobile banking.”

August 22, 2022

On the web

FCA Warns Buy Now Pay Later Firms About Misleading Adverts

FCA

“The FCA has warned firms that offer Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) products that although some agreements are unregulated the financial promotions of all BNPL products must comply with the financial promotion rules. Unauthorised firms might be committing a criminal offence if they don’t have an FCA-authorised firm approve their financial promotions.   Authorised firms selling unregulated or exempt BNPL products must comply with the relevant rules unless an exemption applies. This includes that their BNPL financial promotions must be clear, fair and not misleading.  The FCA is concerned consumers could be misled if BNPL financial promotions do not comply and has seen financial adverts on websites and social media, including posts by social media influencers, which may breach FCA rules.”

August 17, 2022

On the web

Funding Circle Cofounder Unveils New Super Payments Fintech Venture With $27M Investment

TechCrunch

“Funding Circle cofounder Samir Desai has unveiled a new U.K. fintech startup called Super Payments , a venture he founded back in February but which very little was known about up until now. Reports emerged a few months back that Desai had raised around $30 million for this new company, and today this has been confirmed. Super has raised £22.5 million (roughly $27 million as of today) in a round of funding led by Accel, with participation from Union Square Ventures, LocalGlobe, and a slew of angel investors. While Super isn’t opening for business until later this year, the company has now instigated a waitlist for consumers and businesses keen to be first-in-line for when things officially get off the ground — this will include an early-access program.”

UK Group to Test Stablecoin Payments, Provide Data to Bank of England

Coindesk

“The Digital FMI Consortium, a group of private-sector companies, said it plans to test cross-border payments and provide recommendations to the Bank of England using its own sterling-backed stablecoin, dSterling. “The backing of the dSterling will be pounds held in a Bank of England reserve account and it is 100% backed,” a company spokeperson told CoinDesk. The pilot, known as Project New Era, will start in October and run for 12-24 months, it said a press release . Digital FMI, which has 15-20 members, will provide white papers and recommendations to the Bank of England and other regulators. A stablecoin is a cryptocurrency designed to hold its value against another asset, often the U.S. dollar.”

August 11, 2022

On the web

Open Banking Oversight Committee Takes Next Step with Creation of Working Group

AltFi

“Bryan Zhang, the co-founder of the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School, will head up the strategic working group for the oversight of open banking. The UK has moved another step closer to a clear vision of the open banking Oversight Committee with its latest appointment.   Bryan Zhang will act as the new independent chair for the Joint Regulatory Oversight Committee’s (JROC) strategic working group (SWG). Co-chaired by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Payments Systems Regulator (PSR), the SWG is a non-decision-making consultative forum to provide industry and stakeholder insight to help shape the future development of open banking.”

June 23, 2022

On the web

FICO UK Credit Card Market Report April 2022

Business Wire

“FICO’s report of April 2022 UK card trends shows some early signs of the impact of the widely reported cost-of-living pressures. The monthly report based on the largest consortium of UK cards data shows a typical rise in card spend and balances, but also a slight increase in missed payments. Average monthly spend hit £760, tied with December 2021 as the highest in more than two years. Highlights: Average total sales at £760 – a 10 percent month on month increase, which is typical behaviour in card spend for the time of yearAverage active balance is also rising month on month – again typical for the time of year. No change month on month in percentage of payments to balance, suggesting continued pragmatic management of credit card accounts. But a small uplift in the average balance for accounts missing 1 payment suggests inflation is having an impact”

May 19, 2022

On the web

UK’s Digital Watchdogs Take a Closer Look at Algorithmic Processing

Business News Wales

“This “algorithmic processing” is commonplace and often beneficial, underpinning many of the products and services we use in everyday life. From detecting fraudulent activity in financial services to connecting us with friends online or translating languages at the click of a button, these systems have become a core part of modern society. However, algorithmic systems, particularly modern Machine Learning (ML) or Artificial Intelligence (AI) approaches, pose significant risks if used without due care. They can introduce or amplify harmful biases that lead to discriminatory decisions or unfair outcomes that reinforce inequalities. They can be used to mislead consumers and distort competition. Regulators need to work together to articulate the nature and severity of these risks and take measures to mitigate them. That’s how they can help empower the development and deployment of algorithmic processing systems in safe, responsible ways that are pro-innovation and pro-consumer.”

May 9, 2022

On the web

UK’s Digital Watchdogs Take a Closer Look at Algorithms as Plans Set Out for Year Ahead

GOV.UK

“This “algorithmic processing” is commonplace and often beneficial, underpinning many of the products and services we use in everyday life. From detecting fraudulent activity in financial services to connecting us with friends online or translating languages at the click of a button, these systems have become a core part of modern society. However, algorithmic systems, particularly modern Machine Learning (ML) or Artificial Intelligence (AI) approaches, pose significant risks if used without due care. They can introduce or amplify harmful biases that lead to discriminatory decisions or unfair outcomes that reinforce inequalities. They can be used to mislead consumers and distort competition.”

April 19, 2022

On the web

Robinhood Buys U.K. Crypto Firm With Eye on Global Expansion

bloomberg

Robinhood Markets Inc. agreed to acquire Ziglu Ltd. , a London-based crypto and payments company, ending the U.S. brokerage’s long pause on international expansion. The transaction will give Robinhood a platform that allows customers to buy and sell 11 cryptocurrencies as well as move and spend money abroad, the Menlo Park, California-based company said Tuesday in a statement . Terms weren’t disclosed.”

April 14, 2022

On the web

Sweatcoin Eyes Launch of SWEAT Tokens That Turn Movement Into Money

AltFi

“Getting into crypto just got a whole lot cheaper (and healthier), as London-based tech company Sweatcoin prepares to launch a new token, SWEAT, that allows users to mint currency using just their shoe leather. The company says its mission is to “inspire a healthier planet by incentivising people to move more” and has partnered with BVI headquartered crypto business, the Sweat Foundation Ltd, to offer the token. With over 63 million users, who have collectively walked over 20 trillion steps, the company claims that SWEAT represents the world’s largest crypto giveaway ever.”

March 21, 2022

On the web

CMA Writes to Barclays and Lloyds Over Open Banking API Breaches

Finextra Research

“The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority has written to Barclays and Lloyds about a series of failures to make accurate and comprehensive data on its products and services available through open APIs. Under the Open Banking provisions of the Retail Banking Market Investigation Order 2017, big banks are required to make accurate, comprehensive and up to date product and service information continuously available through APIs so that third parties can use the data.”

October 26, 2021

On the web

U.K. Narrows Scope of Payments Overhaul

American Banker

“When the blueprint for the U.K.’s New Payments Architecture was unveiled to great fanfare in 2015, it promised to transform the country’s payments systems by providing increased access for consumers, as well as fostering competition and innovation. But the initiative is in danger of falling far short of these goals, and the U.K.’s Payment Systems Regulator recently announced that the complexity of the NPA has been greatly narrowed due to its perceived risks.”

October 15, 2021

On the web

July 30, 2021

On the web

The Payments Landscape in the UK After Brexit

European Payments Council

“The UK payments industry highly values the work of the European Payments Council and its members ensured the UK retained its membership of the Single Euro Payments Area, which minimised payment disruption for millions of people and companies across Europe following Brexit. After decades of close collaboration and innovation between the UK and the     on payments regulation the UK’s payment landscape is, and will continue to be, strongly interlinked with the European landscape. The UK payments industry continues to look to Europe to deliver on key initiatives such as the Retail Payments Strategy and Open Finance proposals.”

July 26, 2021

On the wires

FICO UK Credit Market Report May 2021: Markedly Lower Year-On-Year Increase in Credit Card Spend Suggests Consumers Are Adjusting to ‘New Normal’

“Global analytics software provider FICO today released its analysis of UK card trends for May 2021, which suggests that some consumers are practicing pragmatic financial management, as well as continuing to make use of savings accrued during the pandemic. There are, however, warning signs of the financial pressure growing for those already in debt. Whilst the effects of a full month of retail and hospitality re-openings were reflected in a further rise in card spend, the increase was just 4 percent compared to the 12 percent increase seen in April. This suggests that consumers foresee future pressure on income with the prospect of furlough support and payment holidays ending.”

December 8, 2020

On the web

Britain’s competition regulator sets out new regime for tech giants

Reuters

“Britain’s competition watchdog outlined a new regime for regulating tech giants such as Google and Facebook, saying it needed new powers to harness the full potential of digital markets and drive competition and innovation. It proposed a new, legally binding code of conduct, pro-competitive interventions in the market and enhanced merger rules, overseen by a Digital Markets Unit that was announced by the government last month.”

October 1, 2020

On the wires

September 28, 2020

On the wires

Real Demand for Open Banking as User Numbers Grow to More than Two Million

“The Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE), the body set up by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to deliver open banking in the UK, has today announced that over two million customers are now using open banking-enabled products*. This represents a significant upswing in the use of the innovative banking technology despite the disruptive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

September 15, 2020

On the wires

August 25, 2020

On the wires

Deal between Visa and Plaid given the go-ahead

“The decision by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) follows a Phase 1 review in which it investigated several possible ways the deal could harm competition…The CMA’s investigation primarily focused on how the deal could affect competition in the UK consumer-to-business electronic payments sector in which Visa, through its card-based payments and Plaid, through its PIS-enabled payments, are both active.”

August 13, 2020

On the web

Barclaycard wants to help UK businesses combat late payments

Tech Radar

“A new service launched by Barclaycard aims to tackle late payments , save time and generate savings for its business customers. Barclaycard Payment Intelligence (BPI) will use data analytics to help provide a much more comprehensive overview of businesses and their supply chains. As a result, Barclaycard reckons that it will be able to help businesses cut costs by combatting late payment inefficiencies.”

July 24, 2020

On the wires

Confirmation of Payee Requests Exceed One Million Per Day

“The new, payment beneficiary name-checking service known as Confirmation of Payee (CoP) is now enabling more than 1 million name-checking requests per day, helping to protect consumers and businesses from certain types of fraud and misdirected payments. The end of June 2020 saw a number of UK banks and building societies complete their rollout of CoP. It means that when an individual or business sets up a new payee, or edits an existing payee’s details, they now need to provide the sort code and account number plus the account name of the individual or business they are paying.”

July 7, 2020

On the wires

Wagestream Goes Mainstream As It Completes a £20m Series B Funding Round

“Income streaming provider, Wagestream, which enables employees to access their earned wages in real time, today announced it has completed a £20m Series B funding round.  Wagestream, which enables staff to draw down a percentage of their earned wages any day of the month for a flat £1.75 fee, has seen demand for its product skyrocket among major UK brands over the past year. New client sign-ups were particularly strong in the second quarter, as employers sought to make their staff more financially resilient in the face of Covid-19.”