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Crypto Payments Firm Wirex and Visa Expand Partnership to 40 Countries - Industry roundup: 15 February

Japan appoints Ueda as the next central bank governor

Japan's government has appointed Kazuo Ueda, an economics professor, as its next central bank governor, an unexpected selection that could reportedly increase the likelihood of phasing out the country's yield control policy. Ueda, a 71-year-old former Bank of Japan (BOJ) policy board member, is now set to succeed incumbent Haruhiko Kuroda, whose second five-year term is scheduled to expire on 8 April.

Reports suggest that the shift in leadership will place a historical cap on Kuroda's decade-long experiment in monetary policy. Given that inflation exceeds BoJ’s 2% benchmark, Ueda is reportedly faced with the difficult task of normalizing its protracted policy, which is said to have garnered rising public criticism for disrupting market function and straining bank profitability. Analysts anticipate that Ueda, who has reportedly cautioned against the risks of early interest rate increases previously, will delay tightening monetary policy.

However, given his prior remarks highlighting its possible shortcomings, experts say he may be more eager than his predecessor to roll back yield curve control, which combines negative short-term rates with a 0.5% bond yield cap. Naomi Muguruma, Senior Market Economist, Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities, commented that Ueda is expected to concentrate on theory and empirical analysis when formulating monetary policy.

Analysts predict that Ueda's near-term goal will focus on increasing the economy's potential growth rate through structural reforms to help the economy sustain rising rates. Fumio Kishida, the Prime Minister of Japan, expressed optimism that the central bank's new management would further the government's objective of achieving structural wage growth and sustainable economic development to guide monetary policy.

Japan-based JCB integrates with India's digital economy, issuing one million RuPay cards, with further plans for expansion

JCB Co., a Japan-based international payment company, has reportedly begun growing its footprint in the Asia-Pacific region, with one million users adopting its RuPay JCB card. The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and regional banks reportedly collaborated with JCB to develop the RuPay JCB card, which was initially issued in India in 2019. Cardholders can reportedly use their RuPay cards at accepting locations within India as well as their JCB cards at accepting locations outside of India for both point-of-sale transactions and ATM withdrawals.

Reports indicate that the card issuance nearly tripled, while the RuPay JCB card usage increased significantly, with global spending increasing eightfold between April and December 2022. The JCB report attributes this growth to a 70% increase in the number of card users in India between the fourth quarter of 2021 and second quarter of 2022. Furthermore, India is forecasted to contribute $1.8 trillion towards global consumption growth. India's e-commerce sector is reportedly on track to exceed $200 billion by 2026, while outbound tourism is expected to reach $42 billion by 2024.

JCB International, the parent company for JCB Co., aims to continue to expand its product offering throughout various nations. The company offered a similar card programme with Vietnam's Viet Capital Bank the year before, ending the previous year by announcing one with the EastWest Banking Corporation in the Philippines.

Additionally, the business partnered with Concardis, a prominent paytech provider in Europe and a member of the Nets/Nexi Group last year in order to facilitate JCB contactless acceptance for thousands of retailers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Additionally, the company plans to collaborate with the National Bank of Bahrain, enabling JCB payment acceptance at the bank's POS and e-commerce merchants in the Kingdom.

Payment solutions provider Nets launches digital payments innovation hub in Finland

Nets, a provider of payment solutions and subsidiary of Nexi Group, a European-based payment technology company, plans to create a centre in Espoo, Finland, dubbed "Nexi Digital Finland” in efforts to digitise payments throughout Europe rapidly. Reports indicate that software developers, who are also collectively working with the Nexi Group and the broader region, are expected to begin developing digital payment products and services for the new payments innovation hub, which would reportedly be the first for the Nordic region.

Nexi's head of digital, Alexandre Bove, stated that Finland is one of the most digitally advanced societies in the world, and that Nexi Digital Finland intends to expedite growth throughout Europe. Additionally, the company aims to develop sophisticated technology solutions, such as robust POS acceptance terminals, which can accept all types of digital payments and serve the changing needs of merchants and enterprises, and plans to invest in expertise, cloud technologies and innovation.

Wirex joins Visa as a global partner, aiming to expand significantly in APAC

Visa, a payments giant, and Wirex, a prominent London-based cryptocurrency payments platform, have reportedly entered into a long-term, comprehensive worldwide partnership, enabling Wirex to join Visa in APAC and the UK. Additionally, the new alliance is expected to enable Wirex to immediately issue crypto-enabled debit and prepaid cards to more than forty nations.

The partnership between the companies is set to facilitate future cooperation in key regions such as APAC, the UK, Europe and the US. Becoming a member of Visa will reportedly enable Wirex to offer sophisticated products for cryptocurrency for daily activities, enhance user experience, and assess new blockchain initiatives.

Svyatoslav Garal, Regional Managing Director, Wirex APAC, commented that the collaboration with Visa enables them to close the gap between the traditional and digital markets. Both companies plan to continue to collaborate closely to develop new services and internationalize their card programme. Wirex expects to reveal another major alliance for card issuance in Australia in the upcoming weeks.

Accenture acquires Morphus, a Brazilian cybersecurity firm, aiming to increase its footprint in Latin America

Accenture, a Dublin-based global services company, has reportedly acquired Morphus, a Brazilian privately held supplier of cyber protection, risk management and threat intelligence services, in order to expand its capabilities in Brazil and throughout Latin America.

Morphus, which was established in 2003 with various offices across Brazil, reportedly offers an end-to-end portfolio that includes red and blue team services, governance, risk and compliance services, enterprise risk management, cyber strategy, threat intelligence and managed security services. Reports from Accenture's most recent Cyber Threat Intelligence analysis state that Brazil is one of the countries most frequently affected by “infostealer” malware, which is malicious software that is intended to steal user data such as passwords and other personal information. Paolo Dal Cin, Head of Global Security, Accenture, stated that they aim to work “as one team to help organizations build a cyber resilient business and better secure their digital core, their technology, and their supply chains."

With the addition of more than 230 staff, Accenture will reportedly become one of Brazil's top providers of cybersecurity professional services. Additionally, the acquisition is intended to broaden Accenture's product offering in the five main industry sectors of Morphus, including financial services, energy, retail and aviation growth markets, as well as establishing a Cyber Industry practice in Latin America under the direction of Morphus’ former Chief Information Security Officer.

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