Stay informed with new developments from the fintech world. The highlighted news of this week are: Mastercard acquires Ekata, M&A between Gojek and Tokopedia, new payment method by Amazon, virtual chat function by HSBS, task force by the bank of England, net-zero emissions alliance joined by big banks, bank assets in post-Brexit, and more! Dive into the updates and enjoy the reading!
Mastercard to Acquire Ekata to Advance Digital Identity Efforts (Mastercard.com)
Mastercard took steps to advance its identity verification efforts with the acquisition of Ekata, a company that provides global identity verification. Ekata’s identity verification data, machine learning technology and global experience combined with Mastercard’s fraud prevention and digital identity programs, will help businesses confidently know who their customers are and, in turn, help those customers safely interact online. Mastercard and Ekata’s integrated services will build on both companies’ commitments to ensure trust and the responsible use of data. Read more
Gojek and Tokopedia, two of Indonesia’s biggest internet companies, are finalizing their $18 billion (€15bn) merger to create a giant in ride-hailing, food delivery, and e-commerce. The combined entity is set to be called Goto, pronounced as “go to,” and will include two executives each from Gojek and Tokopedia. Read more
Amazon will let you pay with your palm in some Whole Foods stores (Vox.com)
Amazon is unveiling a new way to pay at selected Whole Foods stores: a biometric technology called Amazon One that allows shoppers to pay by placing their palm over a scanning device when they check out. The new technology is now available at the grocery chain’s Madison Broadway store in Seattle, Washington. Seven more Whole Foods locations in the Seattle area will offer the payment option in the coming months. Read more
HSBC launches live chat for online investors (FsTech)
HSBC UK has launched a human live chat feature to its online investment service. The bank said that customers accessing its “My Investment” service will have access to Live Chat with a UK-based support team, and claims to be the first bank to offer a human live chat investment service. Customers will now be able to have on-screen conversations at any step of the process with HSBC UK Wealth engagement officers who are specially trained in discussing wealth and Insurance products. Read more
Bank of England announce Central Bank Digital Currency (PCM)
The Bank of England and HM Treasury have announced the joint creation of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) Taskforce to explore a potential UK CBDC. A CBDC would be a new form of digital money issued by the Bank of England and for use by households and businesses. It would exist alongside cash and bank deposits, rather than replacing them. Read more
Big banks join net-zero emissions alliance (Finextra)
More than 40 of the world’s biggest banks have joined a UN-convened alliance pledging to align their lending and investment portfolios with net-zero emissions by 2050. The Net-Zero Banking Alliance brings together 43 banks – including Barclays, Citi and Shinhan – from 23 countries with US$28.5 trillion in assets. The banking alliance says it will reinforce, accelerate and support the implementation of decarbonisation strategies, providing an internationally coherent framework and guidelines in which to operate, supported by peer-learning from pioneering banks. Read more
UK loses £900bn in bank assets as 440 firms flee post-Brexit (FsTech)
More than 440 banking and financial organisations have moved or are moving part of their business, staff, assets, or legal entities from the UK to the EU following Brexit. Research from think tank New Financial found that over £900 billion in bank assets, around 10% of the entire UK banking system, have either been or are being moved. New Financial predicts that as the EU takes a tougher line on the location of activity and individuals, the number of firms leaving the UK along with their bank assets will increase in future. Read more
Citi partners Mastercard to let firms send funds to consumer debit cards (Finextra)
Citi is tapping Mastercard Send to enable its corporate and public sector clients in the US to send funds directly to a consumer debit or prepaid card account. This means people won’t need to receive a cheque in the mail, deposit a cheque, or share sensitive bank routing information to get access to their payment. In addition, they will benefit from near immediate access to funds. Read more
Japan’s first app-only bank to run entirely on Google Cloud (Finextra)
Minna Bank, Japan’s first app-only bank, is set to open for business in May after acquiring a banking licence from the country’s Financial Services Agency. A wholly owned subsidiary of regional banking group Fukuoka Financial, Minna Bank’s services are designed to appeal to the needs of digital natives, providing account opening, deposits and funds transfer over consumer smartphones. The new bank will run on a next generation banking system developed in partnership with Accenture and running on Google Cloud. Read more
Venmo lets users buy and sell crypto (Finextra)
Venmo is set to start letting its 70 million users buy, hold and sell cryptocurrency directly within its app. Users can buy as little as $1 worth of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash from within the app using funds from the Venmo app or a linked bank account or debit card. Customers can also view cryptocurrency trends and access in-app guides and videos to help answer commonly asked questions. Read more
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