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Santander expands its presence – Industry roundup: 9 January

Alipay+ and fintech Thunes teams up to develop a new cross-border payments solution

Thunes, a global payments firm, is joining forces with Alipay+, a global mobile and online payments platform, to develop cutting-edge cross-border payment services. The collaboration aims to enable Alipay+, a subsidiary of Ant Group, to expand its footprint into Europe, as the region will now reportedly accept Asia's well-known mobile wallets.

Through the new partnership, Thune's customers and vendors in Europe will now have access to several of APAC’s top payment wallets, including China's Alipay, Thailand's Rabbit LINE Pay and TrueMoney, the Philippines' GCash, South Korea's KakaoPay, and Malaysia's Touch 'n Go and Boost.

Additionally, businesses that partner with Thunes, which currently supports 79 currencies and facilitates payments to 130 countries, will reportedly be able to cater to online transactions from Asian markets as well as accept payments made with mobile wallets at the point of sale (POS). With the help of a specific POS mobile application that accepts QR-code payments, users will reportedly be able to use their individual mobile wallets to pay for in-store purchases throughout Europe.

The new alliance is expected to broaden not only Thune’s geographic reach pertaining to local payment methods, but also its current variety of alternative payment methods offered to clients in Europe, Latin America, Africa and now Asia. Additionally, Christophe Bourbier, Managing Director, Thunes, anticipates high growth for its 100,000 merchants as mobile wallet solutions continue to emerge as a preferred payment method among the Asian community.

Santander expands its presence in the B2B BNPL market

Multiple companies have collaborated to create a new B2B BNPL service geared towards large multinational corporations. Among the companies to develop a one-stop service for corporates offering instant deferred payments at checkout are Santander’s corporate and investment banking (CIB) working capital scheme, Allianz Trade’s expertise in trade credit insurance, and Two’s B2B BNPL technology.

With Santander’s CIB financing advance payments to sellers and credit terms to buyers worldwide, Two’s single API integration, and Allianz Trade safeguarding the entire value chain, the risk of non-payment is reportedly lowered. Global multi-currency support for businesses is expected to lessen the need for complicated operating models with numerous providers for technology, trade insurance and trade credit, said reports.

The collaboration is expected to enable Allianz Trade to instantly evaluate credit requests by consulting its global corporate database, which includes commercial, financial and strategic data on more than 80 million corporate entities globally. With the results processed, Santander CIB will be able to consider financing decisions immediately, with Two's instalment payments product handling deferred payment terms.

B2B transactions are reportedly still made more difficult by the requirement that buyers use personal or business credit cards. Ignacio Frutos Lopez, Global Head of Receivables, Santander CIB, commented that enabling companies to continue paying invoices within 30 or 60 days in an e-commerce environment will reportedly help eliminate non-payment risk while preserving their cash flow. Furthermore, businesses can expect to manage their high sales volumes across various countries in a more effective and timely manner, while also expanding their BNPL service securely in the global space.

US-based fintech, NorthOne, launches RTP

NorthOne, a US-based fintech, has officially joined The Clearing House's Real-Time Payments (RTP) network in collaboration with The Bancorp Bank, N.A., to enable companies to receive payments immediately 24/7. Reports indicate that 61% of small businesses struggle due to inefficient liquidity management, and the introduction of RTP will reportedly remove a significant obstacle by facilitating faster payments.

Eytan Bensoussan, co-founder and CEO, NorthOne, commented that by eliminating lengthy payment processing times and technical constraints with the launch of RTP, small business entrepreneurs will have the ability to run their business more efficiently, as cash flow and liquidity are critical factors. NorthOne raised US $67 million, with plans in 2023 to develop an innovative financial services platform that will specifically focus on small business enterprises.

Venture capital funding in the US slows from its record high

Despite record-breaking amounts of capital raised by new and existing venture funds, funding for US start-ups reportedly decreased by one-third from its high point in 2021, according to recent data from PitchBook. Private venture-backed businesses raised US $238.3 billion in total in 2022, which was 31% less than the previous high of $344.7 billion set in 2021.

Reports indicate that $162.6 billion was secured across 769 funds in 2022, establishing an annual record for capital raised and reportedly signalling the rise of venture capital (VC) as an asset class for money managers, notwithstanding the difficult year for new fund managers. Furthermore, in the midst of a year marked by high interest rates, geopolitical risks and economic uncertainty, investors are reportedly holding onto unallocated funds and easing on putting funds into private tech companies that are financially unviable.

The performance on public markets reportedly still has an impact on investor confidence in the private markets, as initial public offerings remain hard to obtain, and withdrawal options limit VC investors.

Growth and late-stage firms must reportedly decide between a “down round”, in which target firms are valued lower than in their previous round, or structured financing with debt-like characteristics that offer investors more security. Some companies, such as Snky, a start-up in cybersecurity, raised $196 million in funding in December despite seeing its valuation fall by 12% to $7.4 billion, and Coatue Management provided $150 million in structured capital to TripActions, a business travel and expense management company, indicating that pricing control has been returned to managers.

NALA, a Tanzanian fintech company, debuts in the EU

NALA, a Tanzania-based fintech that enables payments to Africa, has launched in the EU, expanding its list of send markets to include nineteen new countries in the Eurozone.

Reports indicate that NALA has experienced significant growth by diversifying its products and expanding into new geographies after transitioning from the UK to the US earlier this year. In addition to the EU expansion, the recent release of NALA for Business and integrations with Apple and Google Pay are among other updates said reports.

Benjamin Fernandes, founder and CEO, NALA, commented that more than a quarter of African migrants reside in Europe, the third-largest economy in the world, and cited that NALA’s objectives are to provide Africans everywhere access to financial resources.

Although there are many ways to send money to Africa from abroad, the continent reportedly remains the most expensive destination for funds transfers. The average transfer fee to Africa is estimated at 9%, according to the World Bank, not including undetectable fees that make it difficult to determine the actual cost of sending money. NALA is currently accessible for download from the majority of Eurozone nations via the App Store or Play Store.

Research indicates B2B SMEs in UK overlook embedded finance opportunities

Kriya, a UK-based trade finance firm formerly known as MarketFinance that specialises in invoice finance, business loans and embedded finance, has released its new study indicating that UK B2B firms do not intend to offer BNPL terms on their e-commerce sites for another three years, despite 92% of firms understanding the concept of embedded finance.

The top five benefits cited by surveyed companies according to the UK Embedded Finance Index were improved customer experience (30%), quicker new customer onboarding (28%), more efficient internal operations (27%), improved cash flow (27%), and increased sales volume (26%).

Materials Market, a marketplace that connects suppliers and trade customers in the construction sector to determine the best costs and turnaround times, is an example noted in the report. After integrating Kriya Payments, Materials Market realized a 579% increase in the volume of trade credit transactions in the first month and an 186% increase in the value of trade credit orders the subsequent two months. Embedded credit sales are expected to increase to between 50% and 60% of all transactions made on the platform, according to the company. Samuel Hunt, co-founder and CEO, Materials Market, commented that the capability to streamline and have access to finance is highly effective for their business.

Suppliers reportedly prefer to be paid in advance, while buyers prefer to pay in instalments. Anil Stocker, co-founder and CEO, Kriya, added that these tools are now widely available and can be implemented quickly, providing a low-cost way to improve customer experience, operational efficiency and cash flow.

FLEETCOR finalizes acquisition of Global Reach, a UK-based cross-border payments firm

Global Reach Group, a UK-based provider of cross-border payments for customers of all sizes from a range of industries, has reportedly been acquired by FLEETCOR Technologies, Inc., a global business payments firm. FLEETCOR, which currently manages cross-border payments for about 27,000 clients globally in more than 145 different currencies, aims to expand its cross-border payments scale while solidifying its position as a major non-bank B2B global cross-border payments provider with the acquisition.

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