EMEA Daily: Wise Fined $360K for AML Violations by Abu Dhabi Regulator; PalmPay Hits 10M Users in Nigeria

Today in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Wise has been slapped with a $360,000 fine by Abu Dhabi’s anti-money laundering regulator and PalmPay hits an important milestone,  surpassing 10 million users.

Wise Fined $360K for AML Violations by Abu Dhabi Regulator

Money transfer service Wise has been fined $360,000 in Abu Dhabi for violating anti-money laundering (AML) regulations.

The Abu Dhabi Global Market’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) said in a statement today that it “found that Wise did not establish and maintain adequate AML systems and controls to ensure full compliance with its AML obligations.”

In a statement emailed to PYMNTS, a Wise spokesperson said the company takes its responsibility to protect its customers and prevent money laundering seriously, noting that it had worked with the FSRA and that neither Wise nor the authority had found instances of money laundering or any financial crime.

Moove, Suzuki, MUFG Team to Promote Financial Inclusion for Gig Workers

The mobility-focused FinTech Moove has teamed up with Japanese financial services company MUFG and carmaker Suzuki to promote financial inclusion among gig workers in Africa., Moove stated in a press release today.

According to the release, the partnership was inked at the eighth Tokyo International Conference on African Development and is among the first to involve an African FinTech company.

Launched in Lagos, Nigeria, in 2020, Moove provides access to vehicle financing and other financial services and has since scaled to seven markets across sub-Saharan Africa and six markets in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, Asia and Europe.

The companies said their agreement would allow them to collaborate on other mobility-related challenges, including helping more female customers access financing and improving road safety and training support for mobility entrepreneurs.

Vodacom Intros New Cash Advance Product to Benefit Underbanked 

Digital and financial services solutions firm Vodacom is introducing a new cash advance product to give people who are underbanked fast access to funds, the company announced Tuesday (Aug. 30).

VodaLend Cash Advance complements other offerings in the VodaLend financial services product suite, including VodaLend Compare, Voucher Advance and Airtime Advance. The new credit solution will beavailable exclusively to Vodacom customers through the VodaPay super app.

Flutterwave Moving Ahead With IPO Despite Woes in Kenya 

African FinTech Flutterwave is moving ahead with preparations for an initial public offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq despite claims of financial impropriety by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) and its bank accounts being frozen by Kenya’s High Court.

Flutterwave is planning to use the proceeds from the public listing to grow its operations in current markets while exploring expansion into new African opportunities according to Bloomberg Tuesday.

Commerce Platform Bango Acquires NTT Docomo’s Payments Arm for $4M

The U.K.-based commerce technology company Bango has acquired the global payments business of Japanese mobile phone operator NTT Docomo for 4 million euros (about $4 million) and signed a long-term platform agreement with the company to provide payment services in Japan for the world’s largest merchants.

Bango’s existing cash and operating activities are funding the acquisition of Docomo Digital, which had a cash balance of 3.1 million euros (about $3.1 million) when the deal was signed, according to a statement released to the press Tuesday (Aug. 30).

Qatar Central Bank Issues First Digital Payments License

Qatar Central Bank (QCB) announced in a tweet today that it has issued the first license for digital payments to two companies that provide electronic payment services — iPay by Vodafone Qatar and Ooredoo Money.

The central bank stated that the license represented “an initial step to include all companies providing digital payment services under the supervision of the Qatar Central Bank to contribute to the development of the financial technology sector and enhance financial inclusion.”

PalmPay Hits 10M Users in Nigeria

The Lagos-based FinTech PalmPay announced Tuesday that it had reached 10 million users in Nigeria. Three years after the company launched, the latest numbers represent a doubling in its user base within just six months, the company stated in the release.

Since 2019, PalmPay has been growing its user base in Nigeria and Ghana, where it provides a payment app and agency banking network to facilitate payments and transfers. In Nigeria, the startup is regulated by the Central Bank of Nigeria under a Mobile Money Operator license.

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