Payments, Banking & FinTech roundup: December 2020

As the year draws to a close, we’d like to thank all our customers and partners for choosing to work with Banking Circle in 2020.

It has certainly been a significant year; perhaps most significant has been the resilience that so many businesses have shown in the face of such adversity. We consider ourselves privileged to have been chosen to provide the financial infrastructure that has underpinned so many services. These, in turn, have enabled global trade to continue.

Highlights for us included securing our Banking Licence from the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) in Luxembourg, allowing us to give financial institutions access to real-time payments regardless of borders and regardless of size.

In the absence of live events for colleagues to meet and network, another big focus for us this year was providing ways to connect virtually. We also invested in research to help provide insight into market challenges, commissioning three different research studies and publishing five white papers.

The addition of new services such as POBO and COBO, USD Marketplace collections and the addition of new currencies is something else we’re proud of this year, designed to respond to market needs with solutions that are fit-for-purpose.

More recently, our Chief Executive Officer, Anders la Cour, gives his insights in the Fintech Times ‘View from the Top’ round-up, sharing his thoughts on the decisions behind the past 12 months as well as looking ahead to 2021.

Here are some other important stories from the industry you may have missed in December:

Singapore opens up retail payments infrastructure to non-banks

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Singapore’s central bank, has announced that non-bank financial institutions (NFIs) licensed as major payment institutions will be granted access to e-payment infrastructure as early as February 2021. The move is designed to help simplify payments for both businesses and consumers.

NFIs will first have to pass checks in risk management and anti-money laundering procedures. For those that pass these checkers, they will be able to connect with fund transfer services, Fast & Secure Transfers (FAST), which allows customers to instantly transfer Singapore dollars from one entity to another, as well as PayNow, which lets businesses and consumers make payments instantly across accounts using a proxy such as a mobile phone number or national registration ID card.

Read more here.

Direct Debit turns 50

As the Direct Debit celebrated its milestone anniversary in the UK we learn it has been responsible for moving 78 million payments, equating to £1.3 trillion.

Launched in 1970, and owned and run by Pay.UK, along with Faster Payments, it is one of the most familiar payment methods in the UK. 50 years on it is perhaps even more relevant to our lifestyles now than it has ever been, with so many of us managing regular outgoing payments, from various different insurances, to gym memberships, subscriptions, mortgages and bills.

Speaking of the anniversary, Pay.UK’s Chief Payments Office, Maha El Dimachki, claims “during this unusual, difficult year, Direct Debit has continued to run quietly, securely, and reliably in the background, as it has in the past 50 years, collecting payments for billers and giving customers peace of mind that the services they need and want are being paid for with the minimum of effort on their part.”

Apple urging developers to prepare for changes to payments in the European Economic Area

Developers with apps available in the European Economic Area have been told that purchases will need to be compliant with the new Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) requirements, with the App Store and Apple Pay both supporting these new requirements.

Developers are also being recommended to review their implementation of StoreKit and Apple Pay in their apps too, with the new requirements set to be effective from December 31st 2020.
A full list of changes is available on the Apple Developer website.

The World Economic Forum releases Global COVID-19 FinTech study

The Global COVID-19 FinTech Market Rapid Assessment Study was compiled using empirical data from 1,385 FinTech firms across 169 jurisdictions, looking at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the market.

As well as examining the response of the FinTech industry to the recent challenges, the study takes a look at the most pressing FinTech regulatory and policy issues.

Despite the obstacles posed by the pandemic, the industry has seen increased growth. In 2020, FinTech companies saw an average rise of 13% compared to 11% in previous years, with the expansion of transactions heavily dictated by the extent of local lockdown measures.

Download the report here.