Weekly News Highlights – 12 November 2020

It has been a very exciting week, with Joe Biden becoming (debated) president-elect in the USA and Pfizer announcing a 90% success rate on a test for a COVID-19 vaccine. In Fintech this week, we saw initiatives for a more sustainable fintech practice, Visa is on hold to acquire fintech Plaid, WhatsApp officially enters the Indian payments market, Amazon launches AWS Asia Region, Alibaba surpasses IBM in the cloud infrastructure market. We also explore some acquisitions, capital markets, open banking, new partnership programmes, and mobile app launches for finance. Enjoy the reading!

The Green Fintech Network

Switzerland has proposed a new project for the fintech sector, focused on green and sustainable investments. The Green Fintech Network will have the main goal of identifying which conditions for green fintech can be improved. However, the central and major banks in Switzerland remain skeptical about the Federal Council’s green initiative. Read more

Visa is under investigation for Plaid deal

After Visa’s plans earlier this year to acquire Plaid, a technology platform providing financial services, the US Justice Department filed a lawsuit to block the purchase due to antitrust concerns. The accusations brought regard Visa’s high position on the online debit services market, which could mean that the acquisition of Plaid is a strategic move to protect its market stronghold. Read more

WhatsApp officially enters the Indian payments market

WhatsApp payments service has received the final approval to start operating on the Indian market. With the first step to provide its services to 20 million users, WhatsApp can go live on India’s United Payments Interface (UPI). However, one concern remains for the company, which is expected to face competition from Google Pay, Walmart’s PhonePe and local outfit Paytm. Read more

Alibaba surpasses IBM in the cloud infrastructure market

Alibaba announced a quarterly cloud revenue of $2.194 billion, surpassing IBM’s revenue. While China remains the primary market for Alibaba, the company is heavily gaining international traction, establishing a data center and cloud presence in a range of countries. Read more

Thinking Capital acquired fintech Ario

Thinking Capital, a Canadian online small business lender, acquired Ario, builder of a leading-edge finance-as-a-service platform. With the new purchase, Thinking Capital will be able to provide Canadian small businesses with better services and also help them recover and grow amid Covid-19. In addition, the purchase will further benefit Thinking Capital accelerate its fintech vision. Read more

United Fintech transforming the capital markets fintechs

United Fintech, a company that is aiming to provide banks and other financial institutions access to capital market-focused digital technologies, was launched earlier this week. United Fintech plans to acquire and scale up a range of small to medium sized engineering-led fintech companies, all with a proven capital markets product. Read more

Brexit challenges for fintechs

Based on the Brexit aftermath, UK fintechs are preparing to settle contingency plans due to the increased chance of exiting the EU without a trade deal. Some UK fintechs have already begun establishing new European outposts to ensure they can continue operating in the region and avoid disruption to their clients. With the UK being a prominent market for fintechs, new challenges are ahead for both fintechs and banks, due to a rapid decrease in investments (39%) in the first half of 2020 compared to the same period last year. Read more

Experian to boost credit scores via Netflix

Experian, an American consumer credit reporting company, is now allowing its customers to improve their credit score with open banking, by using their council tax, Netflix and Spotify subscription payments. With the Experian Boost product, users can add popular and regular payments, general information such as incomings and outgoings. Read more

Chinese fintech investments trends Q3’20

For Q3’20, China further reports losses and no venture capital deals in terms of fintech. When looking on a global scale, fintech investment levels are remaining flat from quarter-to-quarter, and venture capital investors spent $7.49bn in the three months to the end of September, the same as the previous quarter and down from $13.02bn a year earlier. Read more

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