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Crypto payments – Industry roundup: 22 April

Contis advances in new payment processing solution, growing European footprint

Digital wallets have exploded in popularity and are now used by almost 70% of consumers. Contis, a banking-as-a-service (BaaS) provider, launched a new payment solution to drive the company's growth in the UK and European Economic Area (EEA) listed countries, enabling customers to expand into new regions. The solution, process.pay, is said to be a Visa and Mastercard certified card system that should handle all credit, debit and prepaid card transactions around the world. This technology will be part of the evolution of Contis' PayTech solutions that is said to evolve to meet the changing demands of the payments sector in this digital age. Additionally, Contis processes approximately €13 billion each year on behalf of more than 2.5 million customers. The service will be available across both small and large banks, fintechs, businesses and non-finance players.

According to reports, Contis’ card issuance and processing was offered exclusively as a bundled service previously. Unbundling these two offerings enables the Solarisbank-owned payments provider to start processing as a standalone service and Contis to process non-Contis bank identification numbers (BINs). This progress led to the growing demand for API-backed, cloud-based, and rapid processing solutions that are ready to swap companies’ legacy products.

Crypto payments to reach New Zealand and Australia via Alchemy Pay and ePayments partnership

Alchemy Pay (ACH), a fiat crypto payment provider, has partnered with New Zealand-based merchant payment provider, ePayments, to provide crypto payments and services in New Zealand and Australia. Reports indicate that ePayments will integrate with Alchemy Pay to provide merchants with cryptocurrency payments and Binance Pay payments. The partnership is said to enable Alchemy Pay to leverage ePayments' New Zealand and Australia fiat payment channels to give global crypto service providers access to users in these markets.

When integrated with Alchemy Pay, ePayment merchants should be able to manage fiat and cryptocurrency transactions through the back-end portal provided by Alchemy Pay. Alchemy Pay's hybrid payment acceptance system is said to allow merchants to accept fiat and cryptocurrency payments. The new solution reportedly provides mainstream friendly access to crypto services and enables the use of crypto for “real-world” goods and services.

Reports show Alchemy Pay as becoming increasingly important in the blockchain space as a payment bridge service for the financial industry. Major networks such as Elrond, Polygon, Algorand, NEAR and Avalanche are currently in the process of integrating Alchemy Pay's fiat money channels. Alchemy Pay states that they have more than 300 fiat payment channels that enable crypto services, DApps and networks to bring users to popular local and global mobile wallets, as well as traditional card and bank transfer payments.

Bank of America’s ESG efforts to transition entire credit and debit card portfolio to recycled materials by 2023

In efforts to mitigate the environmental impact of card plastics and promote sustainable low-carbon solutions, Bank of America is becoming the first US bank to undertake a commitment towards reducing single-use plastic in its supply chain across its entire portfolio of debit and credit cards. It reported that it will shift manufacturing of all plastic credit and debit card products to at least 80% recycled plastic by 2023.

According to market research conducted by Escalent (April 2022), more than 72% of consumers and small business customers are interested in environmental sustainability, and more than 69% illustrate support towards recycled plastic debit and credit cards.

Bank of America, as reported in a press release, estimated that it may help reduce more than 235 tons of single-use plastics based on its annual card issuance to 54 million consumer and commercial cardholders. The bank expects to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption and water consumption by migrating its credit and debit card portfolio to recycled plastics for its credit and debit card portfolio.

Commerzbank, German-based giant, to embark on the “crypto” trend

Commerzbank, one of Germany's largest financial institutions serving over 18 million consumers and over 70k institutional clients, confirmed they applied for a local crypto license with BaFin during the first quarter of 2022. This is reported to be the first major bank in Germany to migrate towards cryptocurrencies with the potential to provide exchange services along with the storage and protection of crypto assets.

Since the start of 2020, companies desiring to offer cryptocurrency services in Germany must first obtain approval from the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, otherwise known as BaFin. Presently, only four companies are licensed, but according to BaFin, more than 25 applications are pending from companies seeking to engage in the cryptocurrency custody business. Reports indicate that Coinbase Germany was the first company to be approved by regulators in June 2021, and Berlin-based financial technology company, Upvest, was approved for license in March 2022.

German investors are also said to be very interested in adopting cryptocurrencies. According to a March 2022 report by KuCoin, 44% of Germans are willing to invest in cryptocurrencies, and 37% of German crypto investors have been trading cryptocurrencies for over a year.

Singapore to build Asia's first licensed crypto solution via FOMO Pay

Singapore merchants are now able to accept Digital Payment Tokens (DPTs) through a new cryptocurrency payment solution launched by FOMO Pay, a payment provider based in Singapore and licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). According to The Finder survey of 1500 internet users in Singapore, the crypto ownership rate in Singapore is 15.8% (January 2022), which is slightly higher than the world’s average of 15.5%. Additionally, a sample of more than 800 Singapore consumers surveyed by global financial technology services company FIS revealed that 33% would be interested in using crypto for future payments.

KPMG highlights that cryptocurrency continues to be the focus of Singapore’s regulators, given that consumers' interest in using cryptocurrencies for payments continues to rise, and large amounts of capital have been invested in the cryptocurrency market. Additionally, through various cryptocurrency payment options, merchants will be able to accept a variety of cryptocurrencies including but not limited to Bitcoin, Ethereum, USDT and USDC. In addition to being a DPT licensee in Singapore, FOMO Pay is part of DBS Bank Ltd., a Singapore multinational banking and financial services corporation, (DBS) Digital Exchange Ecosystem.

By leveraging partnerships and the technologies of trusted partners such as crypto wallet, imToken, and the predictive blockchain monitoring platform Merkle Science, FOMO Pay reportedly created a secure environment for retailers to leverage new solutions. Merchants using cryptocurrency payment solutions should experience reduced costs due to lower transaction fees compared to traditional fiat payment methods. Additionally, it is said the merchants should not be exposed to foreign exchange fluctuations that could arise from receiving payment in crypto because they are receiving settlements in fiat currency.

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