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Payments News Digest 1 October 2021

01 October 2021
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US, UK, Australia: Mastercard Installments coming in first quarter of new year

Mastercard announced a new BNPL lending programme this week, Mastercard Installments, is set to go live by next April in America, Britain and Australia, allowing consumer-facing partners to offer instalment-based loans at the point of sale. As regularly covered in this newsletter, the BNPL space has had a particularly busy year, now prompting the card networks (Visa is already in the midst of its own BNPL pilot) to get heavily involved. So far Synchrony, Marqeta, FIS, Barclays US and Fifth Third, among others, plan to use Mastercard's solution in the United States, while Australian partners are said to include Latitude and Qantas Loyalty. Finextra notes that "Mastercard is deploying Open Banking technology through Finicity in the US and its pending acquisition of Aiia in Europe to use consumer-permissioned data tied to debit or bank account credentials to run affordability checks on applicants".

Global: Feeling heat from Shopify, Amazon bolstering merchant offerings at POS and online

It is not often that one sees a headline announcing that Amazon has been "surpassed", but that was the case this week with rival Shopify, which outstripped the perennial e-commerce pacesetter in terms of online traffic. The Canadian company, which expanded dramatically during the pandemic, saw a monthly average of 1.16bn unique visitors in the second quarter, pipping Amazon by some sixty million people. Since closing Amazon Webstore in the middle of the last decade and focusing on its booming Marketplace solution, Amazon appears to have ceded some competitive ground to Shopify, requiring third-party merchant partners to use its branded platform rather than giving those businesses the online tools, as Shopify does, to create their standalone e-commerce outlet.

One sign that Amazon intends to rectify that misstep might be the acquisition of Australian start-up Selz in February, a Shopify-like provider. Another sign of a push to attract more merchants into its fold comes in the form of leaked documents in recent weeks which suggest that a new Amazon point-of-sale system is in the works, facilitating both card-present and CNP sales along with Amazon checkout functionality (including contactless) and inventory/business management software.

Global: Santander's PagoNxt evolves quickly in a bid to stake out market position

Santander's new payments unit, PagoNxt, has been busy setting in motion its plan to become a leading global provider in the space last week taking a controlling share of Mexico's MIT (Mercadotecnia, Ideas y Tecnología). MIT is responsible for about a tenth of merchant payments in the country. Last year, Santander acquired Elavon México. "Traditionally, merchant acquiring has been carried out by the banks directly," notes Verisk Financial Research's market report for Mexico. "However, new players have challenged this position over the past two years." Under the Getnet brand, PagoNxt announced two months ago that it would expand its merchant services activity across most European markets, building out from its existing presence in Spain and Portugal. Santander's merchant platform was bolstered late last year by the firesale acquisition of Wirecard's technology assets, including software supporting merchants in acquiring and issuance activities.

Not all of Santander's dramatically expanded ambitions in payments are destined to be realised: this week, the bank announced that it would be closing PagoFX by the end of November. Active primarily in Britain, but also in Spain and Belgium, the platform lets debit cardholders send money abroad in what had been a bid by the bank to take market share from the likes of PayPal and Wise.

Links to other stories of interest this week...

China: All cryptocurrency transactions declared illegal
Ireland: Card spending rises to €7.7bn as consumers go on spree
Middle East, Africa: Network International completes acquisition of DPO Group
US: Square introduces Cash App Pay for sellers

Published here weekly, the Payments News Digest from Verisk Financial Research is also distributed by email: sign up here.

The Weekly News Digest from Verisk Financial Research highlights significant developments that have recently occurred in payment cards, digital payments, acquiring, processing, retail banking and consumer credit. Our writers and researchers frame these items in contexts such as historical, sectoral and regional trends, adding a layer of value that is often missing from the rolling news cycle.

About Verisk Financial Research The market-leading online, interactive database and data dashboards covering the global cards and payments industry in detail, plus a range of data-packed country and regional reports. Leveraging financial cards data going back to 2010 – and forecasts up to 2022 – our unique datasets cover 72 countries around the world and feature more than 250 metrics per market.

Find out more: contact us at research_enquiries@verisk.com.