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Industry roundup: 5 January

Technology innovation: Rêv USA launches The X World Wallet super app supporting global sustainability

Fintech companies continue to make waves into the world of payments. Rêv USA, Inc. is an innovation fintech company for payment products, with partnerships around the globe (North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific). Rêv has launched The X World Wallet, an app-based multi-currency debit account integrating loyalty programs, a travel booking portal and discounts with worldwide sustainability. The X World Wallet accounts are easily accessible because they are linked to physical and digital Visa cards that can be easily added from user’s existing bank accounts to their Apple, Google, or Samsung Pay digital wallets for tap and go accessibility.

Roy Sosa, CEO, Rêv Worldwide Inc., parent company of Rêv USA, commented that The X World Wallet brings value to customers through a debit platform to allow customers to achieve maximum rewards without incurring the high annual fees and interests typical of affinity credit cards. Community banks, credit unions and strategic partnerships will market The X World Wallet directly to consumers. Christopher C. Doyle, President, Texas First Bank; Director, Texas Independent Bankers Association (IBAT); and Member, Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) Payments and Technical Committee, commented that The X World Wallet is a collaborative model that helps bank partners develop new sources of revenue and the ability to quickly respond to customer demands in today’s competitive and robust fintech landscape.

According to Visa and Mastercard’s national consumer spending report, digital payments have risen during the pandemic and are becoming more and more popular around the world. This is partly heightened by new fintech product offerings that are easy to register and offer mobile-centric plug and play service. Tap-to-pay transactions have increased by 30% year-on-year in the United States according to Visa’s survey, and an estimated 150 million Americans are using a digital wallet, representing an increase in e-wallet adoption, according to a survey by finder.com.

The Rêv founders, Roy Sosa and Bertrand Sosa, further commented that the availability of The X World Wallet in the United States further expands the landscape of their payment product offering, which was primarily in overseas markets such as Europe, Australia, Brazil and the Middle East.

For additional information on X World Wallet, please visit The X World Wallet.

 

B4B Payments will be part of the Mastercard Fintech Express program

B4B Payments, a global innovative payment provider in the UK and Lithuania, has announced its participation in the Mastercard Fintech Express programme, part of the Mastercard Developers initiative. According to B4B Payments, the Mastercard Developers initiative will enable clients to obtain licenses to issue Mastercard prepaid, debit and credit cards, either directly from Mastercard or through a qualified Express Issuance partner.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) had enabled B4B Payments to provide immediate and secure prepaid solutions to the business world for over fifteen years. Through B4B Payments, companies of all sizes have the ability to manage payments, expenses, gifts or premiums quickly and securely through automated and optimized processes built into a powerful platform.

By participating in the Fintech Express programme, B4B is strengthening their relationship with Mastercard. B4B established the first steps as principal member in 2020, enabling access to the Global Acceptance Network as a card issuer. This partnership with Mastercard further met B4B's goals to instantly deliver innovative payment capabilities to all businesses.

Paul Swinton, CEO, B4B Payments, stated that the Mastercard Fintech Express programme partnership will enable companies to go live faster with Mastercard. Swinton further added that businesses will have more seamless payment choices and faster, more efficient and cost-effective cashless payouts.

 

Jamaica Bank Announces Completion of CBDC Pilot Project

As the digital world continues to evolve, countries are now taking further steps to digitize their financial ecosystem by creating the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). According to Coin Rivet, currently only two countries in the world are using the CBDC system: the Bahamas’ "Sand Dollar", which was introduced in 2020, and Nigeria's "eNaira", introduced in October 2021. However, many countries have begun research on CBDCs or are in the final stages of implementing this year.

The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) announced that their CBDC pilot project has been successfully completed. The testing of the CBDC prototype in the financial regulation sandbox was launched in March 2021. Furthermore, the latest initiative indicates that Bank of Jamaica is on track to reach their CBDC deployment targets in the first quarter of 2022, while other central banks around the world are still preparing for CBDC pilots.

According to BOJ, nearly US$230 million worth of digital currency was issued to depository institutions, and approximately $1 million value of CBDC to its banking department in August 2021. BOJ issued the first issuance of digital currency, a CBDC worth approximately $5 million to the National Commercial Bank of Jamaica (NCB), a financial institution.

NCB, the first wallet provider for the pilot project, successfully embarked with fifty-seven customers, including four small retailers and fifty-three consumers. These customers conducted individual deposit and withdrawal transactions through thirty-seven accounts and small retailers (local craft jewellery stores, shoe designers, fashion and clothing stores) through the NCB-sponsored event in December 2021. Nationwide expansion of CBDC is planned for the first quarter of 2022, and NCB will continue to accept existing and new customers, commented BOJ.

Global central banks continue to accelerate efforts to develop CBDCs in their corresponding jurisdictions. The CBDC is fully supported by relevant authorities as governments around the world seek to enforce strict regulations on private cryptocurrencies. However, due to the nature of digital currencies and distributed ledger technology (DLT), issuing CBDCs can be time consuming. The CBDC guidelines were outlined by the G7 finance leaders in October 2021.

 

First Russian fintech participates in open API pilot

Fintech businesses will be able to collaborate with participants in an open API environment to develop new financial products and services as part of the Russian FinTech Association (RFA)-sponsored pilot projects. The FinTech Association collaborates with leading financial companies to develop open APIs, conduct pilot projects and test them, and build an infrastructure foundation for a reliable open banking environment.

Tatiana Zarkova, Chief Executive Officer, Russian FinTech Association, commented that fintech companies involved in open API pilots gain competitive advantage, such as exchanging data with the largest players in the financial markets, and reduce the cost of deploying new products and services. Increasingly, the standardized API allows the ability to create new partnerships at no additional cost to customize on a case-by-case basis.

Introducing an open API for interaction between the market and financial enterprises will improve market transparency, the level of competition, and the availability of financial services, the premise for the creation of a financial services platform, stated Igor Alutin, Managing Director, Moscow Exchange Financial Services Project. Leveraging these advanced technologies opens up new possibilities for customers and partners. The participation in the open API project will significantly improve the customer experience, and the data exchanges between partners will be swift and efficient, added Alutin.

 

The Reserve Bank of India approves Fino Payments Bank's international money transfer business

Fino Payments Bank, a Mumbai-based fintech start-up, has been approved by the Central Bank of India to launch an international money transfer business under the Money Transfer Service Scheme (MTSS). Fino will carry out cross-border remittance activities under the new company, making it easier for users to transfer funds from abroad to India.

Deployment is underway and focuses on the families of employees working outside India. Payment options are currently available for international transfers via NRE transfers and platforms such as Remitly, Wise and PayPal's Xoom.

According to Fino, customers can transfer funds to their Fino accounts, and their recipients from India can withdraw funds using a nearby micro-ATM or Aadhaar Enabled Payment Service (AEPS), a service to be introduced to Fino Bank’s merchants in the first quarter of 2023. After the announcement, the company's share price has risen by more than 3% from the previous closing price of Rs 370.90.

Given that Fino was listed on the stock exchange with a discount of over 5%, Fino's first performance on the stock market was not unexpected. The transaction was closed 7% below the issue price of Rs 577 on the first day of the transaction. Since its listing a month and a half ago, the company has lost more than 34% of its market value. Fino Payment Bank is currently focused on building digital strategies to maximize the customer experience, including providing international mobile remittance services.

Ashish Ahuja, Chief Operating Officer, Fino Payment Bank, commented that Fino will launch inward remittance solutions to its customers by the first quarter 2023 and will consider including this product in its mobile application. 

According to the World Bank's November 2021 report, India was set to become the world's largest remittance beneficiaries in 2021 with revenues in excess of US $ 87 billion. Additionally, revenue is expected to increase by 3% in 2022 to over US $ 90 billion, as many of India’s workforce return to normalcy. Fino plans to focus on 80,000 merchants to facilitate access to domestic and cross-border transactions. According to Fino, areas of India such as Bihar, Gujarat, Kerala, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh are significant for inward money transfer remittance transactions.

Looking ahead, Fino will further develop its subscription-based savings accounts abroad and partner with the International Money Transfer Companies (MTO) to begin working on international money transfers. Other opportunities for Fino will be cross-selling products such as loans, fixed deposits (FD) and mutual funds estimated to be launched in 2023.

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