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Industry roundup: 29 September

Worldline uses open banking so online businesses can launch payment methods

Worldline, a European payments and transactional services provider, has introduced WL Account-Based Payments, an account-to-account (A2A) payment offering allowing online businesses to launch their own custom-branded payment method. Worldline’s solution is built with open banking technology, which allows third parties to access consumer banking information previously controlled by banks. The payment methods will feature custom branding, instant settlement notification, low fees, comprehensive coverage and more.

The solution is designed for online brands with a loyal consumer base who would consider using a brand’s own payment method at checkout. Brands who wish to adopt a different strategy can choose a more standardised setup. The solution from Worldline can be accessed through a single API integration, and offers custom branded payments, instant settlement notification, low fees, and coverage 20 European countries and the UK.

Further features include QR-code payments with one-click refunds and the setup of recurring payments at checkout is scheduled for later this year. These are designed to lead to an improved user experience and conversion rates. Worldline is launching the solution progressively throughout Europe and is continuing its expansion into high growth markets in Asia and Latin America.


Marketnode, an SGX and Temasek digital asset venture, announces banking partners 

Marketnode, a Singapore Exchange (SGX) and Temasek digital asset joint venture, has announced its partnership with Barclays, BNP Paribas, BNY Mellon, Citi, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Orient Securities International, Standard Chartered, Societe Generale and UOB, ahead of its upcoming product launches focused on digital issuance services, ESG bond data and digital asset depository infrastructure. These components will play a key role in the buildout of an end-to-end DLT-enabled fixed income infrastructure.

Beyond early adoption of Marketnode’s products, these ten partner institutions will work with Marketnode to accelerate usage of its platform, provide market input towards its product development, co-create DLT solutions and jointly explore product expansion beyond fixed income. 

Marketnode’s fixed income issuer services platform is slated to launch in Q4 2021 and will provide issuers, law firms and banks with products and solutions such as documentation streamlining, investor engagement tools, ESG reporting and market access mechanisms, all powered by data analysis.  

In addition to its existing strategic collaboration with Covalent Capital, Marketnode will also be partnering with RootAnt Global, a Singapore-based fintech, and SETL, a UK-based blockchain solution platform to build out its fixed income and multi-asset end-to-end infrastructure.


Singapore’s PayNow and Malaysia’s DuitNow to link in 2022

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has announced plans to commence a phased linkage of Singapore’s PayNow and Malaysia’s DuitNow real-time payment systems. 

The first phase of the PayNow-DuitNow linkage will be launched in the fourth quarter of 2022. This will allow customers of participating financial institutions to make real-time fund transfers between Singapore and Malaysia using just a mobile number. Customers will also be able to make retail payments by scanning NETS or DuitNow QR codes displayed at merchants’ storefronts. The project will enable more seamless payments for the high volume of remittances between Singapore and Malaysia, which reached SGD 1.3 billion in 2020. It will also cater to travellers between both countries, which saw sizeable pre-pandemic traffic of about 12 million arrivals yearly on average.

Following the launch, MAS and BNM will progressively expand the PayNow-DuitNow linkage to incorporate a wider range of features and participants. Both regulators will also explore the feasibility of integrating innovative features such as distributed ledger technology-based solutions to catalyse greater efficiencies in payments clearing and settlement between participating banks.

"Singapore’s remittance corridor with Malaysia is our largest remittance corridor; hence, the PayNow-DuitNow linkage will be an important infrastructure to support cross-border payment needs of individuals and businesses, as well as the growing digital economic activity between both countries," commented Sopnendu Mohanty, chief fintech officer of MAS. "The linkage also offers MAS and BNM a valuable opportunity to incorporate the use of distributed ledger and smart contract technologies in the wholesale cross border payments space."


RBC survey reveals pandemic-driven SME trends are here to stay 

The COVID-19 pandemic was a catalyst for many new business practices and priorities, and it also accelerated the need for small business owners to adapt to other trends that were steadily on the rise over the last several years. As Canadian entrepreneurs continue to chart a path toward recovery and growth in these uncertain times, many are wondering which trends and consumer expectations are here to stay.

RBC's latest poll of Canadians revealed the following three trends that will impact the small business playbook for success in the next year:

  1. A growing demand for digital payment and engagement options: e-commerce and digital solutions were already on the rise pre-pandemic, but they became pandemic necessities as businesses adapted to health and safety measures. Now, more Canadians are expecting this to be the new way of doing business with two-thirds (64%) of Canadians saying that partnering with digital platforms to make products and services more accessible will be important post-pandemic, especially among millennials (72%). Meanwhile, four-in-five Canadians polled say that they would like to continue to shop online at small businesses, even after the economy is fully reopened, and 72% of those polled say that increased social media presence helped them become more aware of what small and local businesses had to offer.
  2. Canadians value small businesses that prioritise employee wellness and overall health and safety. Eighty-seven per cent of Canadian respondents say providing more wellness and mental health benefits and resources to employees will be important going forward. Nine-in-ten (88%) Canadian respondents also say they expect heightened hygiene standards to continue post-pandemic, and 78% would like businesses to continue offering curbside pickup and delivery services. Implementing employee benefits, resources and safety protocols to meet these new expectations will be critical differentiators for small businesses that are looking to attract and retain talent and customers in the next year.
  3. The rise of the socially and locally conscious consumer. Supporting small, local, and diversity-focused businesses is here to stay post-pandemic. The majority of Canadians (77%) polled say they plan to spend more at small, local retail stores, restaurants and businesses to support their recovery than they did before the COVID-19 pandemic. Many Canadian respondents are also actively seeking out and supporting 2SLGBTQ+ (52%) and BIPOC (61%)-owned businesses, products and services. This shift is significantly higher for millennials (65%, 69% respectively) and Gen Z (59%, 71% respectively), indicating that the next generation of consumers will increasingly purchase through a diversity-focused lens.

"There's no doubt that the pandemic created some significant challenges and changes for small business owners," said Don Ludlow, vice-president of Small Business, Partnerships & Strategy at RBC. "But it also became a catalyst to accelerate some important shifts that we started seeing pre-pandemic around digital adoption, a focus on wellness, and support for diverse businesses and community members. These have become the new expectations of consumers for today's small businesses. Successful entrepreneurs will be those who adapt their business strategies and operational practices to address these new consumer and employee demands."

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