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A new chapter arises as Prime Minister Sunak secures EU agreement on Northern Ireland – Industry roundup: 27 February

A new chapter arises as Prime Minister Sunak secures EU agreement on Northern Ireland

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has reached a new agreement today with the European Union on Northern Ireland's post-Brexit trade regulations. The Prime Minister claims that it will open the door to a new era in London's relations with the EU. Sunak and von der Leyen have reportedly agreed to ease trade restrictions for the British province of Northern Ireland and offer its legislators greater discretion over their laws.

Sunak stated that they decided to alter the previous protocol for Northern Ireland in order to construct the "New Windsor Framework”. In 2020, in order to avoid establishing potentially divisive checkpoints along the 500 km land border within Ireland, Britain and Brussels reportedly agreed to the original protocol for Northern Ireland as part of its exit agreement. However, certain restrictions on goods passing between Ireland, an EU member, and Northern Ireland, a British colony, led to tensions. The New Windsor Framework aims to more fully address the issue and allow a freer flow of goods.

Reports indicate that the agreement's success will likely depend on its ability to persuade the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to cease its boycott of Northern Ireland's power-sharing arrangements, which reportedly played a crucial role in the peace accord from 1998. As per von der Leyen, the European Court of Justice will have the final say in matters relating to single market and EU law.

With the proposed plan, Sunak also aims to enhance cooperation with the EU in areas other than Northern Ireland, such as the supervision of financial services, support for scholarly research and aid in reducing the number of migrants arriving in small boats in the English Channel.

Stripe aims to satisfy merchant needs with softPOS solution

Stripe has launched Tap to Pay on Android for merchants utilizing its terminal in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, the UK and the US. The solution enables merchants to accept contactless payments in-person using any Android mobile smartphone that contains wireless near field communication (NFC) technology. Google Pay and Visa, Mastercard and American Express credit cards are reportedly accepted payment options.

Stripe supports iPhone Tap to Pay, which is Apple's software point-of-sale (softPOS) solution, reportedly complementing Stripe's Terminal product suite while aiming to improve merchant loyalty.

Adoption of contactless payments is expected to rise from US $4.6 trillion in 2022 to $10 trillion by 2027, according to Juniper Research. Demand for softPOS is reportedly also rising as it enables businesses to accept contactless payments without the need for additional hardware. A recent study found that more than 34.5 million global merchants expect to use softPOS systems by 2027, up from 6 million in 2022. Furthermore, Stripe will reportedly be able to access a significant potential market on Android with Tap to Pay, as Android accounts for approximately 72% of mobile operating systems in the world, said reports.

Although Stripe has traditionally been focused on online payments, the company has reportedly been growing in-store to reach a wider merchant base while reinforcing the expansion of ecommerce as a whole. Analysts forecast that the global ecommerce market will rise 8.9% year over year in 2023, down from 26.7% in 2020. Stripe’s initiatives aim to continue to follow a positive track towards growth despite recent economic difficulties, while seeking to raise US $2.5 billion. The company, which has been in business for thirteen years, anticipates making a profit this year, with goals to achieve $1 trillion in payments volume.

Wise and G-P collaborate to streamline global business payments

Wise, a global technology firm, and G-P (Globalization Partners), a global employment platform, have joined forces to enable companies to pay international contractors seamlessly in the future. The integration is expected to equip companies with direct access within G-P’s payment system, promoting fairness and payment transparency.

Reports indicate that cross-border transactions have been limited to laborious and manual bank transfers for payment processing. However, the G-P Contractor platform aims to offer simple access to the complete payment process, including the mid-market exchange rate, with multiple payment choices.

Additionally, it is expected to grant companies greater autonomy and control over their foreign payments. Users have control over the timing, frequency and currency of payments. They may also view a detailed breakdown of transaction information and the current status of payments. The platform is aimed at minimizing inefficiencies, ensuring prompt money delivery, offering the current FX rate, saving time and effort on individual invoices and establishing a more transparent procedure for all parties. Also, it offers an advantage to individuals who lack access to stable currencies or are dealing with global inflation.

Steve Naudé, Head of Wise Platform, commented that the collaboration will offer businesses a simple and transparent approach for hiring contractors from abroad and helping manage these relationships more effectively. Furthermore, Wise adds that there is a growing need from businesses for greater control over their foreign payments, particularly to contractors, in doing business internationally.

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