It’s November and we have the newest edition of tech weekly news ready. We look at a variety of different biotech, fintech, and telecom-related stories that you may have missed during the past week. We will take a look at BofA’s new offering that can prevent fraud; Visa attracting BNPL providers around the world; ECB initiating a new project as a part of the CBDC push; Mastercard taking their B2B payments to the next level; Ripple launching a first-of-its-kind offering in the Middle East; Samsung upgrading its Samsung Pay as it warns consumers of contactless fraud; Portugal finally getting ready to roll out 5G after a record-long spectrum auction; European Commission investigating the mega chip M&A; Healthcare regulators coming together to outline best practices for AI for medtech and biotech.
Bank of America has just launched a new fraud prevention service for their corporate clients in the United States. Now, the clients can use Account Validation in order to verify the account and authenticate the other, before starting a payment process. The new offering is supported by Early Warning Services. According to BofA, Account Validation is also a useful tool in avoiding misdirected payments.
“With fraud on the rise, companies can no longer make assumptions about whether the person or entity on the other end of a payment is who they say they are,” David Kretz, head, global payments, global transaction services, BofA, says.”Account Validation and other fraud prevention tools are essential for today’s treasury teams.”
It looks like Visa is among the big winners when it comes to BNPL. According to the latest reporters, issuers and acquirers are quick to use Visa’s installment payments technology. In the Asia Pacific, Visa has recently been chosen by HSBC to launch BNPL options. This adds to the Moneris, CIBC, Commerce Bank, Desjardins, ScotiaBank and other financial institutions across North America, Home Credit Bank and Russian Standard Bank in Russia, and several other big names around the globe. Moreover, just last week, Klarna has signed a major deal with Visa connected to the expansion of the service into several markets.
In order to enable its technology, Visa is currently closely cooperating with FIS, Global Payments, Cybersource, and Tsys in various markets. However, it is not all good news as BNPL is starting to gain quite a bit of criticism as well. The UK government started a consultation on BNPL regulations and the latest research has shown that just in the UK, the public using BNPL services has accumulated over £4 billion of outstanding debt in 2021 alone.
James Andrews, the senior personal finance editor at money.co.uk, says: “The £4 billion figure revealed from this new research is certainly eye-watering, but is potentially just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the levels of the debt consumers have with providers like Klarna, Clearpay, and Laybuy.”
In its efforts to find the most efficient and safe way to roll out CBDCs, the European Central Bank has now initiated a new phase of its CBDC investigation process that started back in July and is supposed to be continuing until the summer of 2023.
Now, the ECB is inviting the technology experts to join the online discussions that will be exploring the options for CBDC design. The candidates are supposed to focus on four key areas:
- Large-scale application of privacy-preserving technologies in retail payments in combination with the traceability of financial transactions.
- Security of offline payment solutions that are not linked to any external system for conducting consecutive payments.
- Top-up, funding, and defunding of digital wallets or accounts for bearer and account-based payment solutions.
- Impact of limiting (or disincentivizing) the hoarding of large sums of money in a payment wallet or account on the usability and uptake of a payment solution, in normal times or during times of financial distress.
In order to participate in the project, the interested experts must decide on one of the above-mentioned areas and write a short description of problems and solutions they can think of. All of the online discussions will be closed and joined by the ECB Digital Euro project team. Every session will be scheduled as a 45-minute slot with 20 minutes dedicated to a presentation and the following 25 minutes for questions and answers. The applications can be submitted by the end of November.
Moreover, the ECB has chosen 30 members of the Digital Euro Advisory group that are going to support the design and distribution of the eventual digital euro. The advisory group will consist of senior experts and includes figures such as Aleksander Kurtevski (Managing Director, Bankart); Antonio Macías Vecino (Head of Payments Discipline, BBVA); Axel Schaefer (Payment Regulation and Innovation Specialist, Ingka Group (IKEA)); Cristian Cengher, (Product Owner Cross Border Payments, Erste Group Bank AG); Etienne Goosse, (Director General, European Payments Council); Gerard Hartsink, (Chairman, ICC DSI Industry Advisory Board); Inga Mullins, (CEO, Fluency); Jens Holeczek, (Head of Digital Payment Unit, National Association of German Cooperative Banks); Jochen Siegert, (Managing Director, Global Head of Asset Platforms, Deutsche Bank AG); Nicolas Kozakiewicz, (Chief Innovation Officer, Worldline); and Nilixa Devlukia, (CEO, Payments Solved) among many others.
Mastercard has just announced its new supply chain finance capability within its Track BPS. Now, the clients will have broader access to working capital and at the same time, the costs and risk will both be reduced. The new offerings are launched in cooperation with a supply chain fintech company Demica. The solution will provide the customers with a network for working capital and easy integration for payment partners.
“We are delighted to be working with Mastercard to transform the B2B payments landscape. This partnership will unite Demica’s scalable platform technology with Mastercard’s powerful infrastructure to make a real difference for businesses globally,” said Matt Wreford, CEO, Demica. “Our platform automates financing of payables and receivables and our global network of banks and non-bank investors opens up access to new sources of capital – we’re excited to bring these benefits to more companies through our global partnership with Mastercard.”
Craig Vosburg, Chief Product Officer, Mastercard says, “Helping businesses optimize their working capital has been one of the key goals of Mastercard Track Business Payment Service. Disparate systems and processes in the current B2B ecosystem continue to make cash flow management complicated, increase operating costs, and hinder business growth. Our new offering and partnership with Demica help solve these pain points by allowing buyers and suppliers to unlock their working capital and deploy it to grow their businesses – enabling choice and scale and accelerating financial inclusion.”
Partnering with Pyypl, Ripple is getting ready to launch the first On-Demand Liquidity service in the Middle East. Previously, Pyypl has deployed the ODL in the Philippines. Ripple also has some experience with the ODL as it has already announced the launch of an ODL corridor in Japan and is also planning to expand its offerings in Malaysia.
“MENA continues to be a critical region for Ripple thanks to our outstanding roster of customers, a welcoming regulatory environment, and a regional focus on the needed improvements in the current financial system,” comments Brooks Entwistle, Managing Director of RippleNet in APAC and MENA. “The establishment of yet another first-in-market ODL launch demonstrates the understanding that digital assets will play a central role in the future of global payments. We are delighted to partner with forward-thinking companies, like Pyypl, to ensure we can continue to break the status quo in the current global financial system to continue delivering the best experience for customers.
Antti Arponen, Co-Founder and CEO of Pyypl, added: “We’re excited to be Ripple’s first partner of choice to bring the deployment of ODL to the Middle East. This enables our ever-increasing number of users to deliver remittances instantly and cost-effectively. We’ve also reduced our inefficient use of capital through ODL, and look forward to an exciting rollout of its capabilities across the region.”
Samsung Warns The UK Customers Of Contactless Fraud And Rolls Out Samsung Pay
As the limit for contactless payments has increased, so did the risk of losing more money if someone was to lose their card or become a victim of financial fraud. Samsung just rolled out Samsung Pay technology that is supposed to minimize the risk. Using Samsung Pay, the customers would be able to use contactless payments even above the £100 limit but the payment would be protected by fingerprint or PIN authentication.
Teg Dosanjh, Director of Connected Services and Technology, Samsung UK and Ireland, said: “As we start spending again after the extended lockdown we’ve had, there are some great deals to be had, but it’s important not to forget payment safety when we’re out shopping.”
“Physical plastic cards may seem easy with their tap and go function, but with no authentication to spend £100, they present greater risk. We’re encouraged that three-quarters of the UK are now more open and feel more positively towards mobile payment solutions like Samsung Pay, which provides a safer and more secure way to pay. With multiple layers of security and protection built-in, including biometric authentication such as fingerprint and PIN, customers can grab a bargain, and tap and go, safe in the knowledge that their hard-earned money is protected,” he added.
Joao Cadete, head of Portuguese regulator ANACOM, said that 5G will be ready for its commercial launch in Portugal within weeks. That will leave Lithuania as the last country in Europe that does not have 5G yet. After the closing of the extremely lengthy, 200-day long spectrum auction, Cadete said that the country is currently finalizing the last administrative details.
“It will be quick… maybe a few weeks,” said ANACOM’s chief, adding that the rollout of 5G will add “much-needed competition in Portugal.”
The players who snatched up licenses confessions include the big telecoms, i.e., Vodafone Portugal, NOS, and MEO, joined by two newcomers: Telecom Nowo, and Dixarobil. As expected, the operators are not thrilled with how the auction played out.
The CEO of Vodafone Portugal, Mário Vaz, said. “I am disappointed that the auction regulation was poorly thought out and designed and its excessive delay, which resulted in a significant delay in the implementation of 5G in Portugal compared to other European countries. [It will have] harmful consequences for the Portuguese, companies, and the economy in general.”
A few months ago, the UK started to investigate the mega M&A of Nvidia and Arm. Now, the European Commission follows and opens its own investigation. The UK’s regulation authorities decided in August that the proposed acquisition of the chip designer Arm by the US chip giant Nvidia must be explored in-depth.
“Whilst Arm and Nvidia do not directly compete, Arm’s IP is an important input in products competing with those of Nvidia, for example in datacentres, automotive and in the Internet of Things,” said EC EVP in charge of competition Margrethe Vestager. “Our analysis shows that the acquisition of Arm by Nvidia could lead to restricted or degraded access to Arm’s IP, with distortive effects in many markets where semiconductors are used. Our investigation aims to ensure that companies active in Europe continue having effective access to the technology that is necessary to produce state-of-the-art semiconductor products at competitive prices.”
The FDA together with the healthcare regulators in Canada and the United Kingdom will be working together on compiling 10 principles that show AI’s best practices within healthcare programs and medtech devices. The final goal will be a developed “Good Machine Learning Practice”.
“With artificial intelligence and machine learning progressing so rapidly, our three regulatory agencies, together, see a global opportunity” to foster strong procedures, said Bakul Patel, director of the FDA’s Digital Health Center of Excellence, which was established last year.
“We recognize that machine learning technologies present unique considerations due to their complexity and the iterative and data-driven nature of their development. While this is true, we are excited for continued progress in this area,” Patel said in a statement.
While for now, the group efforts are only limited to regulators in the US, UK, and Canada, it has already been announced that the group will want to include healthcare regulators from the International Medical Device Regulators Forum that include countries such as Australia, Brazil, China, Europe, Japan, Russia, Singapore and South Korea.
FDA hopes that the work being done to create “Good Machine Learning Practice” will be able to serve as a starting ground for AI for healthcare use.