Payments News in Numbers
African paytech Flutterwave is eyeing up expansion after securing $170m in a Series C funding round led by international investors.
The company, founded in 2016 by Nigerians and headquartered in San Francisco, specialises in individual and consumer transfers.
Growth equity firms Avenir Growth Capital and Tiger Global Management LLC led the round, which brings the company’s valuation to over $1bn and its total investment to $225m.
London-based payments service provider SumUp has obtained a €750m ($893m) facility from several investors to ramp up its growth strategy.
The round involved the participation of Goldman Sachs, Temasek, Bain Capital Credit, Crestline, as well as funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management.
Using the fresh capital, SumUp intends to expedite its growth plans, and acquire and support its merchants in 33 markets. It also plans to expand its product line-up with the infusion, through organic developments and merger and acquisition activities, and also refinance existing debt facilities.
Digital payments firm Stripe has secured a $600m investment in a new financing round, taking its valuation to $95bn – almost triple its last valuation of $36bn announced a year earlier.
The company secured $600m in funding last April, through the backing of Andreessen Horowitz, General Catalyst, GV, and Sequoia.
Stripe plans to utilise the fresh funds in its European business, mainly in its Dublin headquarters.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK has increased the limits on contactless payments to £100 from £45 for single transactions.
In addition, the British watchdog has raised the limit on multiple transactions to £300 from the previous threshold of £130.
The FCA is hopeful that the move will lead more consumers to use contactless card payments for higher value transactions in the future.
The European Commission (EC) has approved Italian payments processor Nexi’s $9.28bn bid to takeover its Nordic rival Nets.
The deal, which was first announced by both companies in November last year, has already been supported by shareholders of both companies.
The Commission noted that the proposed deal would not raise any competition concerns given the limited horizontal overlap between the companies’ activities.
PayPal is reportedly looking to hire more than 1,000 engineers this year for its India development centres located in Chennai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad.
The new hires will be recruited across product development, software, risk analytics data science, and business analytics streams at entry, mid-level, and senior roles.
PayPal, which employees over 4,500 people at its Indian technology centres, is also eying campus recruitments from top engineering colleges across the country to ramp up hiring.
The Key Moments in
Payments This Month
CommBank enters BNPL market with new pay in four feature
Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has entered the buy now, pay later (BNPL) market, directly competing with the likes of Afterpay and Klarna.
Today, the bank unveiled its new BNPL feature, which can be used anywhere debit and credit card payments are accepted.
Set to launch in mid-2021, the feature will be available to eligible CBA customers, linking to customer bank accounts, with no ongoing fees and at no additional cost to businesses.
Tide to launch new Payment Acceptance service
UK business financial platform Tide has announced it will expand its platform further, introducing Tide Payment Acceptance later in 2021.
The product will initially be available in the UK and later rolled out to Tide’s new Indian arm.
Tide Payment Acceptance enables Tide members to accept payments from customers online, on the go or at their business premises, via card terminals.
Starling launches debit cards made from recycled plastic
UK challenger Starling Bank has launched debit cards cards made from recycled plastic in a bid to become more eco-friendly.
The new card is the first UK Mastercard debit card to be made from recycled plastic. In addition, the material, which is sourced from EU industrial waste from printing and packaging industries, makes up 75% of the card.
Starling argues that the new cards will reduce the demand for new plastic production.
US small business revenue migrates online, Amex survey
An American Express survey has revealed that 57% of small business owners have said their businesses are fully open as shutdowns ease, with reopen rates aided by companies shifting operations online.
One-third of businesses stated they now either exclusively sell online or expanded to a hybrid business, conducting sales both online and in-person.
The shift to online has reset revenue expectations across small businesses.
Poland’s Nest Bank chooses Fiserv to manage card programmes
Poland’s Nest Bank has chosen Fiserv to power its debit and credit card programmes as part of the bank’s ongoing digital development.
Through the partnership, Fiserv will provide traditional and online card issuing, as well as fraud monitoring. This will enable Nest Bank to issue virtual payment cards quickly.
Nest Bank specialises in financial services for micro- and small enterprises. Currently, it offers a range of products for retail clients, including deposit accounts and investment products.
Goldman Sachs in talks to buy credit card business of JetBlue
American investment giant Goldman Sachs is reportedly in discussions with JetBlue Airways to purchase its credit card business.
Citing people familiar with the development, the Wall Street Journal reported that Goldman is competing with Barclays, which currently issues JetBlue credit cards.
The sources said that the discussions are currently underway and JetBlue, whose contract with Barclays doesn’t end for almost another three years, may decide to stick with the British lender.
Automation in Action
The latest companies to use AI to streamline their workforce
Pandora Automates 5% of Workforce
Music streaming service and Spotify rival Pandora has announced that it is laying off about 5% of its workforce in a bid to save around $45m a year. Jobs across several departments are being automated, including advertising, marketing and investment, as part of a wider restructuring to the company in a bid to maintain its presence in the streaming market.
Amazon Restructuring Sees Key Tasks Automated
Online retail giant Amazon has cut hundreds of jobs at its Seattle headquarters as the company reorganises to remove older departments and shift a growing number of tasks onto AI-based software. The company, which is enjoying strong growth, is reportedly restructuring to support future ventures, cutting some operating costs in the process.
Driverless Trucks Replace Oil Sands Jobs
Canada-based Suncor Energy has announced the layoff of several hundred workers as the company introduces autonomous haul trucks into its Alberta-based oil sands operations. The layoffs, which have prompted strong reactions from unions, are likely to be only the start, with Suncor planning to build a fleet of over 150 driverless trucks over the next six years.
Source: Global News
India Sees IT Layoffs in Tens of Thousands
Once one of the biggest employment sources in the country, India’s IT industry saw layoffs totalling over 56,000 in 2017, and is expecting to see further job cuts in the coming year. The layoffs have been largely due to digitisation and automation, which have dramatically reduced the number of workers required to maintain current operational levels.