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FCA proposes three-month extension to mortgage payment holidays

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has today announced proposals which will continue support for customers struggling to pay their mortgage due to Covid-19.

The proposal outlines the options firms will be required to provide customers coming to the end of a payment holiday, and those who are yet to request one.

For customers yet to request a payment holiday, the time to apply for one would be extended to October 31. In addition, the proposal encourages firms to continue offering support for those struggling to meet payments. This could include extending a payment holiday by a further three months.

Source: Verdict

 Facebook, Instagram launch online stores called Facebook Shops

Facebook and Instagram have introduced a new way of selling online that does not involve Amazon.

In their biggest push yet into online shopping, the pair of tech companies are allowing businesses to turn their Facebook and Instagram pages into online storefronts for their fans and followers.

This big new feature for online merchants is called Facebook Shops. Facebook and Instagram are pitching it to small businesses as a new option for struggling brick-and-mortar shops to sell to customers online.

 Wirecard taps Varengold Bank to assist fintechs looking to scale up

Germany’s Wirecard has partnered with Varengold Bank to assist ambitious fintechs looking to scale their operations.

Through the partnership, fintechs will have access to capital to refinance their loan portfolios, and a set of payment solutions.

As part of the offering, Varengold Bank customers will have access to Wirecard’s banking-as-a-service expertise. Meanwhile, Wirecard’s customers will have access to Varengold Bank’s capabilities in creating financing solutions.

Source: Verdict

 PPRO enters Japanese market with Konbini and Pay-easy integration

Payments platform PPRO has entered the Japanese e-commerce market after adding popular payment methods Konbini and Pay-easy to its portfolio.

The move by PPRO marks the company’s commitment to further expand in the APAC region. To date, PPRO’s platform has 150 payment methods, including established APAC players such as Alipay, WeChat Pay, UnionPay and GrabPay.

hrough PPRO’s integration with Konbini, customers can shop online and pay cash in-store at over 50,000 convenience stores across the country. These include 7-Eleven, Lawson, FamilyMart, Ministop, Seicomart and Daily Yamazaki.

Source: Verdict

Visa hooks up with Safaricom’s M-Pesa to push ecommerce

Visa and Safaricom, which is Kenya’s largest telecom and operator of M-Pesa, have announced a partnership on payments and tech to boost ecommerce in East Africa.

The alliance will make available M-Pesa’s extensive financial services network in the region to Visa’s global merchant and card network across 200 countries.

The companies will also collaborate “on development of products that will support digital payments for M-Pesa customers.” The parties say, the partnership, which is subject to regulatory approval, will allow them to join hands facilitate e-commerce and increase digital inclusion in the region.

Source: Verdict

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.

Source: TechCrunch

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.

Source: Time

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.

Source: Quartz