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Industry roundup: 21 September 2020

ClearBank taps J.P. Morgan to offer multi-currency bank accounts via API

ClearBank, a cloud-based clearing bank, says it has become the first clearing bank to offer multi-currency bank accounts via API. From Q4 2020, the bank will be able to offer more than 30 multi-currency bank accounts, providing customers with the ability to seamlessly move funds between accounts with real-time foreign exchange (FX) pricing based on interbank rates. The bank says that this functionality will help its customers benefit from increased liquidity, improved visibility into cash flows, and greater control as the need to transfer funds to third party accounts is removed.

As cash management provider to ClearBank, J.P. Morgan will provide access to multiple currencies, pricing, and execution all via an API, while client funds will continue to be held by ClearBank. J.P. Morgan will also provide FX liquidity to ClearBank, allowing ClearBank’s customers to have rapid access to multiple currencies.

“Before, there were only two options for firms looking to help their customers hold and move multiple currencies," said Simon Jones, chief customer officer at ClearBank. "One, obtain multi-currency capabilities through an electronic money institution but miss out on the functionality of a fully-fledged bank account, or two, work with an established correspondent bank that isn’t API-fluent and lose time-to-market through arduous onboarding processes. With J.P. Morgan’s deep local currency market experience and ClearBank’s API-enabled products and services, this represents the best of both worlds.”

“APIs are becoming increasingly important to how we create a better customer experience," added Jon Lloyd, head of FIG Sales Europe, at J.P. Morgan. "APIs enable us to bring services to customers in a faster, more customised way and ClearBank’s approach is indicative of the way in which the market is moving.”


Answer Pay and Mastercard complete first live Request to Pay transactions in the UK

Answer Pay and Mastercard have completed their first live Request to Pay transactions. The move follows the launch of Answer Pay’s certified repository and is a step in the development of the Pay.UK ecosystem. Answer Pay is designed to support payment services providers with Request to Pay+ services through a simple integration.  

In July, Mastercard successfully enrolled to the Pay.UK Framework for its Request to Pay solution in the UK. Request to Pay is part of Mastercard’s global portfolio of Bill Pay applications enabling people to view and pay their bills instantly, and with flexibility, from their bank accounts.

Request to Pay is a messaging service that enables transaction settlement between businesses and individuals. It is complementary to existing payment infrastructure supporting current payment methods through improved communication. The open ecosystem, designed by Pay.UK brings together communities of billers and payers from participating payment service providers.  

Repository services are the keystone of the Request to Pay ecosystem, managing the identities of participants and securely routing bill payment messages to the correct destinations. They are the interconnection between invoice management systems, typically offered by banks and fintechs and customer bill payment applications which could be retail bank apps, digital wallets or personal finance managers. 


ECB extends partnership with SkySparc

SkySparc has been re-selected by the European Central Bank (ECB) to provide consultancy services for four years to support its use of the Wallstreet Suite (WSS). The new arrangement extends SkySparc’s continuous relationship with the ECB to sixteen years.

SkySparc is one of the firms selected by the ECB to provide consultancy services in all four areas tendered: technical consultancy: functional consultancy; project management; and testing services. Under the new contract, SkySparc will be in a position to provide qualified staff to the Frankfurt-based central bank on a long-term basis under its AÜG license.

The ECB renewal also allows other Eurosystem central banks to contract SkySparc’s services under the same framework agreement, rather than conducting individual tenders. SkySparc has provided support and consultancy services to the global central bank community, one of four core client sectors, since its foundation. 

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