By Gary Dempsey, Content Leader Money20/20 Europe
Welcome to the Fintech highFive! 🖐 Every day, I’m amazed by the sheer amount of news and innovation happening in the fintech industry 🤯 Fintech truly has not stopped, even during these crazy times. I can’t help but notice common themes in this huge sea of news — so I’m trying something new to bring these headlines together. Bi-weekly, I’ll be hitting you with the biggest themes seen in the news — all counted down on just one hand. 👊 So gimme 5 🙏 as we celebrate 🙌 the best of fintech.
*We’re socially distant here. Virtual high-fives only 👏 for now! 😉
COP26 has finished and hopefully you’ve seen and read the outcomes. I wanted to share an article I found interesting amidst the coverage which calls out Greenwashing within the industry, and what we must do to tackle it. As an industry, we must work together to support the effort to mitigate or avert the climate crisis. We must ensure our funds are going to the innovators and initiatives with genuine intentions to support staving off this crisis. Those with disingenuous intentions, the Greenwashers, must be held to account for taking advantage of the situation for their own financial gain rather than supporting a genuine effort to strengthen and fortify the industry in a time of great uncertainty and crisis. This echoes one of our themes for Money20/20 Europe this year, Building a regenerative gene, where we explored how you can operate in a way that adds robustness to the industry. How can we encourage honest participation of our current players and inspire the newer players joining this industry to do the same?
Facebook have rebranded to Meta as they attempt to bring forth the next iteration of the internet, the metaverse. It’s an interesting and timely play for the major tech company, who have been mired with negative press over the last few years (I’m not even gonna start on libra/novi), so why not take the opportunity present to them, their audiences are en masse at home, more immersed in virtual experiences than ever before, creating a new universe for them is a clever move. As the metaverse forms, I will be keeping an eye on the fintechs making small steps in this space. After all, the metaverse ecosystem will need to reflect and surpass the experiences of the real world, fintech players large and small will need to integrate financial solutions into it, as well as creating new marketplaces or micro-metaverses within this new world.
This Google-led report on the digital economy in the ASEAN region suggest the economy is to grow to $1 trillion by 2030, as millions 40 million new internet users came online this year within the region. Some of the highlights of the report include data points on rises in:
Hot off the press in the UK, Amazon will stop accepting Visa credit card payments from January citing high transaction fees as the reason, Visa debit card payments will still be accepted. Both companies have aired their thoughts on the situation, with Visa expressing their disappointment at the decision but that they were trying to find an alternative solution, while Amazon reinforced their decision by stating that they had made the decision due to a number of price increases by Visa over the years with no additional value to the service they are providing. Neither company has revealed the details of the prices involved. Are Visa willing to be more competitive with their prices/charges. Are Amazon making a play to try and reduce their fees. With a deadline of 19 January, we’ll have to see how this one plays out...
Like it or lump it, BNPL is now embedded into how we pay. The scheme started off as “easy” instalment payment plans at checkout on retail websites. Huge amounts of funding is still being pumped into BNPL players around the world, while more traditional financial institutions are adopting their own iterations of the scheme to give more payment choice to their customers. Just this week, Upgrade, a US based fintech, raised $280m in Series F funding, doubling their valuation to $6 billion. Upgrade turns credit card balances into fixed-rate installment loans and pays rewards to cardholders as they pay down their balance - which sounds a bit like BNPL meets credit card to me. I hate to rain on the BNPL parade, but personally, I struggle to see where the innovation is and how it is advancing the industry, especially given that the most common use of it is young people who do not yet have a full command of their financial lives, buying expensive clothing items.
If you have any thoughts or questions on this week’s fintech highFIVE, please share them in the comments section below. ✋
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