Weekly News Highlights – 18 April 2024

Welcome to the latest in fintech news, where cutting-edge technologies and innovative financial solutions converge to reshape the landscape of banking, investing, and payments. Stay tuned as we explore the trends driving the future of finance!

Microsoft Invests $1.5 Billion in Abu Dhabi’s G42 to Accelerate AI Development and Global Expansion (G42)

Microsoft’s $1.5 billion investment in G42, a leading UAE-based AI technology holding company, signifies a deepened collaboration aimed at advancing AI technologies globally. This partnership aims to bring Microsoft’s AI advancements and skilling initiatives to various countries, with Brad Smith joining G42’s board. The investment will fuel the development of a $1 billion fund for developers, supporting the growth of a skilled AI workforce. Additionally, both companies commit to adhering to world-leading standards in AI safety and security, backed by an Intergovernmental Assurance Agreement. This collaboration seeks to provide equitable access to AI services while ensuring the highest standards of security and privacy, particularly in underserved nations. Read more

Software giant Salesforce in advanced talks to buy Informatica (The Guardian)

Salesforce is reportedly in advanced talks to acquire Informatica, a customer relations software maker, in a deal that could be announced soon. The potential acquisition, below Informatica’s current share price of $38.48, is seen as a move to bolster Salesforce’s position in the technology sector. Informatica, known for its subscription-based data management services, has seen its shares rise nearly 43% this year, valuing the company at about $11.35 billion. If successful, this would mark Salesforce’s largest deal since acquiring Slack Technologies in 2020 for nearly $28 billion. The technology sector has seen increased deal-making, with several significant acquisitions recently, reflecting the industry’s enthusiasm for artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies. Read more

Revolut to launch operations in Mexico with new banking licence (Fintech Futures)

Revolut has secured a banking license from Mexico’s CNBV, marking a significant milestone in its international expansion efforts. Previously granted a money transmitter license, Revolut now plans to launch money transfer services in Mexico, with broader financial products to follow. The fintech has met the regulatory requirement of MXN 1.44 billion ($88 million) in starting capital, allowing it to operate in Mexico alongside the 41 other countries where it offers free money transfer services. With plans to expand its services throughout the Americas, Revolut aims to bring comprehensive financial solutions to customers in Mexico and beyond. Read more

Revolut Expands into Mexico with Banking License as Uber Freezes Fintech Plans (FinExtra)(Contxto)

Revolut secures a banking license from Mexico’s CNBV, a significant step in its global expansion. With MXN 1.44 billion in starting capital, Revolut plans to offer money transfer services in Mexico, expanding its financial product offerings later. The fintech’s ambition extends beyond Mexico, aiming to provide comprehensive financial solutions throughout the Americas. Meanwhile, Uber pauses its fintech plans in Mexico, contrasting with DiDi and inDrive’s intensified focus on financial services. This highlights the collaboration potential between transportation platforms and fintechs to address financial inclusion in Mexico’s gig economy. Read more

Credit fintech Petal agrees sale to Empower 

Empower Finance has made two significant acquisitions: Petal, a US credit fintech, and Cashalo, a Philippines-based company. The terms of the Petal deal have not been disclosed, but it grants Empower access to the US credit card sector. Petal specializes in offering Visa credit cards to individuals without credit history, using non-traditional data for underwriting. Cashalo’s acquisition provides Empower with entry into the Southeast Asian credit market. Empower, founded in 2016, utilizes real-time cash flow and machine learning to underwrite credit for underserved consumers in the US and Mexico. CEO Warren Hogarth highlights a shared commitment to leveraging technology and alternative data to enhance financial inclusion in both acquired companies. Read

MUFG and Crédit Agricole complete first Chips payment in ISO 20022 format (FinExtra)

MUFG Bank, Ltd. and Crédit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank have achieved a significant milestone by completing the first payment in the ISO 20022 message format on The Clearing House’s CHIPS network. This marks the adoption of ISO 20022, an international standard for financial messaging, by the largest private-sector high-value clearing and settlement system globally. The transition to ISO 20022 enhances cross-border payment processing efficiency and provides enriched data content for participants and end-user customers. The CHIPS network settled over $1.81 trillion in payments on its first day of operation using the ISO 20022 format, contributing to its status as the premier U.S. dollar clearing and settlement system for international payment activity. This migration aligns CHIPS messaging with global high-value payment systems, improving the efficiency and information content of cross-border payments and demonstrating the network’s commitment to innovation and global financial standards. Read more

Norway targets cryptocurrency mining with data centre law (The Paypers)

Norway is targeting cryptocurrency mining activities with a new data centre law aimed at regulating operations within these facilities. The proposed legislation will require data centre operators to register and disclose detailed information about their operations, with a focus on filtering out cryptocurrency mining. Concerns over significant greenhouse gas emissions associated with crypto mining are cited as a primary reason for the government’s move. While acknowledging the importance of the broader data centre industry, Norway aims to host “serious actors” contributing positively to society rather than those solely seeking cheap energy. This initiative reflects previous efforts by Norway to address cryptocurrency mining, including discussions around bans and reconsidering tax incentives for data centres involved in such activities. Read more

Canada to boost financial innovation with new open banking laws (Fintech Global)

The Canadian government has reaffirmed its commitment to establishing open banking legislation by the end of the year, following a detailed three-year study comparing with the UK’s approach. The pledge aims to facilitate easier access for third-party financial services providers to consumer banking data, fostering competition and innovation in the financial sector. The legislation, outlined in the recent federal budget, will consist of six pivotal elements and involve key organizations such as the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada and the Department of Finance. However, the exact date for implementation remains unclear, causing concerns within the fintech community about Canada potentially lagging behind in innovation. Despite this, the framework represents a significant milestone in modernizing Canadian financial services, promoting transparency, and fostering a competitive market. Calls for greater clarity and expedited processes have been intensified to maintain Canada’s competitive edge in the global fintech arena. Read more

Google Wallet to launch in India (The Paypers)

Google Wallet is set to launch in India as a separate entity from Google Pay. While the app preview briefly appeared on the Indian Google Play store before being removed, Google officials have commented that they are continually working to enhance digital experiences in India. Google Pay, utilizing the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), is already widely used in India, prompting Google to offer a separate option with Google Wallet. Although some Android users in India have accessed the current Google Wallet app, its functionality is limited to adding credit and debit cards for contactless payments, with no support for local businesses or loyalty programs. Despite this, Google Pay remains one of the top UPI apps in India, with over 5 billion transactions valued at over USD 83 billion initiated in March 2024. Read more

German Federal Bank LBBW in Crypto Partnership With Bitpanda (Fintech Magazine)

Germany’s largest federal bank, LBBW, has forged a strategic partnership with Bitpanda to integrate its investing-as-a-service infrastructure for crypto custody, including Bitcoin and Ethereum. This move aims to bolster LBBW’s digital assets offerings, prioritizing security and innovation for corporate clients. Bitpanda’s collaboration with LBBW follows a similar partnership with RLB NÖ-Wien, making it the first traditional bank in Europe to offer digital assets trading. With the crypto market witnessing significant growth, LBBW seeks to stay competitive by leveraging Bitpanda’s infrastructure, facilitated by the EU’s MiCA Act regulating digital assets trading. LBBW plans to work closely with Bitpanda to offer regulated platforms for crypto asset custody and procurement to its corporate clients, enhancing its digital assets offering with a strong European partner. This partnership reflects a milestone moment as banks blend traditional practices with new digital assets trading features, signaling LBBW’s commitment to innovation and agility in the German market. Read more

TokenEx merges with fintech IXOPAY (

TokenEx and fintech IXOPAY have announced a merger, combining their data and payment optimization software products to offer an alternative to bundled payments services. The merged company, “IXOPAY, a TokenEx Company,” will be led by Marc Olesen as CEO. This partnership aims to increase authorization rates, decrease interchange fees for vendors, and provide PCI-certified secure payment data. Their platform offers omnichannel tokenization, enabling merchants to use one payment token for various transactions across different channels and processors. Additionally, it provides payments orchestration with intelligent routing, cascading, and risk management functions. The merger allows the companies to leverage TokenEx’s expertise to provide enhanced service to European customers in the U.S. market. CEO Marc Olsen emphasizes that the merger represents a significant milestone in the payments industry, positioning the combined entity to help merchants optimize payment strategies and improve financial performance. Read more

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