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Malaysia’s central bank to raise interest rates to 3% on Thursday – Industry roundup: 18 January

ACI uses cutting-edge technology to power its cross-border payments via Wallet Hub and Instant Pay

ACI Worldwide, a payment processor, unveiled two new products: ACI Instant Pay and ACI Wallet Hub. Access to more than 200 digital wallets in more than seventy countries will reportedly become available through the ACI Wallet Hub, while ACI Instant Pay aims to support real-time processing. With both solutions, ACI Worldwide plans to support merchants' desire for advanced payment technology, offering faster processing and simpler access to global e-commerce markets.

A study from Juniper Research forecasts that there will be 5.2 billion users worldwide of digital wallets by 2026, up from the current 2.4 billion, and the emerging economies of Asia are poised for explosive growth. Through a straightforward API integration with ACI's payments orchestration platform, merchants will reportedly be able to support every top digital wallet currently available and offer customers native wallet checkout experiences through ACI Wallet Hub. Additionally, the new wallet hub aims to reduce the time and cost associated with creating, overseeing and maintaining integrations for digital wallets.

ACI Instant Pay, a new real-time payments solution, will reportedly enable US businesses to accept payments instantly in-store, on mobile devices and online. In the US, with the anticipated rollout of the domestic real-time payments mechanism FedNow in 2023, real-time transaction volume is expected to increase from 2021’s 1.8 billion to 8.9 billion in 2026, representing a 37% compound annual growth rate, according to ACI's 2022 Prime Time for Real-Time report.

ACI expects users of its new Instant Pay solution to benefit from the elimination of interchange fees, instant settlement to support liquidity, removal of chargebacks with pre-payment account validation, and easy integration via API and QR codes.

Mastercard and Tradeling collaborate to support the economic development of the UAE

Tradeling, a B2B e-marketplace based in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region that reportedly provides trade services, logistics and financing solutions, has partnered with Mastercard to offer small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) easier access to the digital economic infrastructure.

The UAE projects e-commerce to reach US $27 billion in 2023, attributed to SMEs' accelerated growth. The partnership between Tradeling and Mastercard aims to help strengthen both companies' dedication towards the UAE while enabling SMEs to further drive the market's economic development. On Tradeling's platform, customers can expect to make purchases and save 5% on all items. First-time customers in the UAE will reportedly be able to take advantage of this offer by paying with an eligible Mastercard SME or business debit, credit or prepaid card. Furthermore, SMEs will reportedly be able to access trade finance through the platforms of both companies, minimizing obstacles faced by B2B buyers and sellers.

Additionally, Mastercard has reportedly committed to investing $250 million as well as integrating fifty million SMEs worldwide to the digital economy by 2025 in order to help the company create a more environmentally friendly and inclusive digital economy. Mastercard also aims to concentrate on bringing together twenty-five million female entrepreneurs as a portion of these initiatives.

Airwallex and American Express collaborate to expand options for merchant payments

Airwallex, a global fintech company, has partnered with American Express, enabling its users in Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and the UK to accept American Express Cards as a form of payment globally via payment links, Xero invoice payments and e-commerce.

The demand from businesses seeking the advantages of accepting American Express payments, such as higher spending, premium customers and an improved user experience at the point of sale, reportedly led to this partnership. The partnership reportedly combines the advantages and convenience of using American Express with Airwallex's technology and systems to offer sophisticated multi-currency cross-border payment solutions for businesses.

Airwallex reportedly accepts over sixty different forms of payment, including American Express. Additionally, the company intends to assist entrepreneurs in achieving their global goals without the friction and expense present in the conventional financial system. Reports indicate that businesses rely on Airwallex to manage every aspect of finance, including embedded finance, payments and treasury, on a single platform. Furthermore, Airwallex aims to enable businesses to function anywhere, at any time, with access to their global footprint across North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

BNP Paribas supporting sustainability-linked bond offering, moving to support e-invoicing and selling Bank of the West

Three stories today involve BNP Paribas, the largest publicly traded bank in France:

  • Citi and BNP Paribas support the first-ever US $400 million offering by a Chinese corporation

Citi and BNP Paribas join forces to help support a first issuance of a US $400 million 3.5-year sustainability-linked bond offering by a Chinese corporation, Sunny Optical Technology, which has revenues of $4.5 billion and is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Sunny Optical reportedly designs and manufactures camera modules for mobile phone, automobile industry, security, robots and industrial detection businesses.

Reports indicate that the organization is a Cayman Islands-registered optical lens manufacturer with its headquarters in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province. The offering, which is reportedly a first benchmark-sized Reg S transaction from Asia outside of Japan this year, was made in accordance with Sunny Optical's sustainability-linked financing framework, which mandates that the company reduce the intensity of its Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by FY2025 compared to a baseline FY2021. The issuance's proceeds will reportedly be used towards refinancing. Additionally, Citi and BNP Paribas plan to serve as the transaction's joint structuring advisers, global coordinators, bookrunners and lead managers, with Credit Agricole CIB and UBS serving as the other bookrunners and lead managers, said reports.

In addition, Sunny Opotech, a subsidiary of Zhejiang-based Sunny Optical Technology, has reportedly agreed to establish a $300 million facility in India. The project is expected to start in the new facility in 2024, which will reportedly only produce Apple products. Following the first round of product testing in China, production is set to start in 2024.

  • BNP Paribas and Libeo join forces on e-invoicing

BNP Paribas has collaborated with Libeo, a cloud-based payment technology solutions provider, to incorporate the firm’s technology into the bank’s corporate client services in preparation for the impending regulations that will require electronic invoices in France.

E-invoices will reportedly be required for the majority of French business transactions starting on 1 July 2024. In response, the lender plans to integrate the Libeo invoice management tool, enabling its corporate clients to receive, manage and settle invoices digitally. Additionally, by integrating the specific API of BNP Paribas into Libeo, customers will reportedly gain access to immediate payments. Marc Espagnon, Head of payments and cash management, BNP Paribas, commented that the collaboration should help businesses continue be productive as well as competitive.

  • BNP Paribas receives regulatory approval to finalize the sale of Bank of the West to BMO

BNP Paribas has announced that it has obtained all the necessary regulatory approvals to finalize the sale of its retail and commercial banking operations in the US, which were carried out through its subsidiary Bank of the West, Inc., to Bank of Montreal (BMO). The transaction is expected to close on 1 February 2023, provided that all remaining customary closing conditions are met.

BMO announced in December 2021 that it intended to pay US $16.3 billion to acquire BNP Paribas' Bank of the West subsidiary in the US, which would reportedly be its largest transaction to date. Additionally, this move would enable BMO to increase its presence while also providing BNP Paribas with a significant boost in dealmaking capabilities.

BNP Paribas reportedly continues to leverage its long-standing presence in the US, particularly from its robust corporate and institutional banking franchise, with further efforts to continue to consolidate and develop its group to satisfy its multinational clients’ requirements and needs.

Paytm Bank receives RBI approval to function as the Bharat bill payment operating unit

The Reserve Bank of India has granted Paytm Payments Bank final approval to function as a Bharat Bill Payment Operating Unit (BBPOU), enabling them to facilitate bill payment services for electricity, phone, DTH, water, insurance, gas, loan repayments, FASTag recharge, tuition, credit card bills and municipal taxes under the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS), which is owned by the National Payments Corporation of India.

Reports indicate that the activity has reportedly been carried out by Paytm Payments Bank Ltd with RBI's in-principle approval. The bank will now reportedly be able to list all agent organizations on its website according to RBI’s guidance. Additionally, Paytm Payments Bank plans to increase user access to digital services in order to promote financial inclusion, aiming to help merchant billers adopt digital payments and offer customers access to safe, quick and convenient transactions.

Malaysia's central bank to raise interest rates to 3% on Thursday

Malaysia's central bank expects to raise interest rates for the fifth time in a row in an effort to keep high inflation under control and support the country's struggling currency, said reports. Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) reportedly became one of the first Asian central banks to raise rates in 2022, adding a total of 100 basis points. However, reports indicate that it has largely failed to contain rising inflation, which stood at 4.0% in November. Additionally, analysts now forecast that inflation will average 3% in 2023, up from 2.8% projected in October 2022.

Despite tightening at a slower rate than its competitors, the BNM governor Nor Shamsiah binti Mohd Yunus recently stated that the organization's decisions would be based on how the situation changed and how it would affect growth and inflation expectations.

Nexi and IBM collaborate to revamp core payment technology while lowering carbon emissions

Nexi, a European-based financial technology firm, has reportedly entered in a five-year partnership with IBM to update the fintech's primary payment processing system, enhance customer service and reduce associated emissions. Additionally, the fintech, which reportedly manages 29 billion acquiring and transactions throughout Europe along with 170 million payment cards, intends to utilize IBM’s z16 technology and storage system to help expand its clientele. Nexi’s customer base reportedly includes more than 1,000 financial institutions and over two million merchants.

The digitalization will reportedly concentrate on updating Nexi's central technology information system, which is essential to the operation of the company. In addition, IBM is expected to supply the technologies as well as help facilitate increased workflows and improve efficiency of the firm's digital payment services in a secure manner.

The partnership aims to focus on environmentally sustainable measures, with Nexi anticipating a reduction in infrastructure energy consumption of up to 25% and a further 25% reduction in heat dispersion, as well as reducing its carbon footprint as a result. Nico Losito, Vice President of IBM Technology Italy, commented that IBM intends to offer a resilient, secure and efficient technology to assist Nexi in accelerating the modernization of digital payments in order to enhance customer experience and lower CO2 emissions.

The Bank of Spain grants Monei approval to assess a euro-backed stablecoin

The Bank of Spain has reportedly approved a pilot test of a euro-backed stablecoin by Monei, a payments fintech firm. The EURM digital token, which is pegged to the euro, has reportedly emerged from the Bank of Spain's digital sandbox for testing new propositions.

The EURM aims to facilitate the sending of euros and online payments throughout Europe by creating a token using Ethereum and Polygon Blockchain technology. During the test phase, the user will reportedly enter their phone number, authenticate themselves using video identification, and fill their wallet with actual euros via Bizum, a Spanish instant payment provider. Additionally, the user can expect to send EURM to other registered users after an automatic creation of an equivalent amount of EURM is made for each real euro deposited by the user.

Reports indicate that each token will substitute for one actual euro, with the entire amount being kept in two safekeeping accounts at Spanish financial institutions such as BBVA and Caixabank.

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