Welcome to The Axis, your late look at payments news from around the world. Coverage includes Mastercard’s partnership with Selcom in Tanzania. In addition, Grab is rolling out mobile wallet credits in Malaysia, while U.S.-based Concord is rolling out an externally audited implementation of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance.
Africa And The Middle East
To support Tanzania’s goal of becoming a cashless economy, Mastercard and Selcom have teamed up to introduce a variety of payment solutions in the country, Mastercard said in a statement. As the country has high rate of mobile money account usage, Selcom plans to introduce a Mastercard card linked to a mobile wallet that allows users to withdraw cash or pay in-store or online.
And, in an effort to support online payments, merchants will gain access to the Mastercard Payments Gateway Services platform. As a result, eCommerce retailers can accept payments for web purchases both from local and international users.
“In order for us to narrow the gap and ensure Tanzanians have access to relevant financial tools, our approach with Selcom is to build a stronger payment ecosystem,” Raghav Prasad, division president, Sub-Saharan Africa, Mastercard, said in a statement. “Our partnership will strengthen key areas of the economy, thus better equipping businesses and consumers to replace cash with secure and convenient payment options, whether they be on mobile or card solutions – it is not a one size fits all approach.”
In Saudi Arabia, ABANA Enterprises Group Co. has been appointed as Spire Payments’ distributor for the country, Spire Payments announced in a press release. With the appointment, ABANA will offer Spire’s point of sale (POS) payment solutions. In the future, technologies such as Spire’s mPOS and SmartPOS solutions will be added to the company’s portfolio.
“The Middle East has always been central to our geographic expansion plans and now Saudi Arabia can become a key market for us,” Spire Payments President T.K. Cheung said in a press release. “ABANA offers the perfect synergy to our solutions with their significant expertise and capability.”
And Southeast Asia’s Grab is rolling out a mobile wallet in Malaysia to help its customers go cashless, the company said in an announcement. With a new GrabPay, consumers can top-up and pay for services such as rides and GrabFood. In addition, consumers can pay for purchases at partners with the GrabPay QR code or transfer money to someone else. The rollout comes as Bank Negara statistics show that more than 80 percent of transactions in Malaysia still happen in cash.
“What’s stopping many in Malaysia from adopting cashless is the perceived lack of safety and convenience,” Ooi Huey Tyng, managing director of GrabPay Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines, said in the announcement. “With GrabPay, consumers across Malaysia, regardless of age, can participate in the cashless, digital economy without having to download additional apps.”
In other payment news from Southeast Asia, digital lender AsiaKredit has notched $2.5 million in funding since launching in November, the company said in an announcement. With the pera247 mobile app launched in the Philippines, the company provides unsecured small-ticket, short-term consumer loans for up to 90 days to the country’s unbanked and underbanked populations.
To make lending decisions, the pera24 app uses data-driven credit assessment tools to analyze mobile behavioral data along with alternative sources of information. And while AsiaKredit Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder Michael Singh said the company currently focuses on “short-term loans on the higher end of the risk spectrum,” it plans to move into longer duration and lower risk products such as personal instalment loans “in the next six to 12 months.”
And Lendingblock and QUOINE, with offices in Singapore, Japan and Vietnam, are teaming up to share liquidity and access to financial services, the companies said in an announcement. With a partnership, QUOINE’s QUOINEX and QRYPTOS exchanges will be integrated with the Lendingblock platform to allow for the sharing of liquidity. Additionally, Lendingblock will be integrated with the group’s forthcoming LIQUID platform at a later date. With the tie-up, QUOINE will also join Lendingblock’s Institutional Advisory Group and list Lendingblock’s LND token on QRYPTOS and LIQUID.
In Sweden, digital wallet and loyalty program company Plexian is shoring up its management team, the company said in an announcement. Plexian said Staffan Mattson will be the firm’s new CEO, and Per-Anders Eriksson will be the firm’s CTO. Additionally, Plexian founder and former CEO Sami Sulieman will become CCO and a member of the board.
“The traditional model where loyalty is associated with transactions is changing and instead focus is put on building genuine and honest relations,” Mattson said in a statement. “The solution is not to offer a loyalty program. The future is to be a loyalty company. Plexian works with modern technology and a mindset that will make it possible to introduce solutions, which are creating real value for both partners and users.”
In other news, Europe’s 4finance Group has appointed Oyvind Oanes the position of Group CEO as of August 1, the group said in a press release. Oanes joins the firm after serving as CEO of Fintech banking platform Numbrs Personal Finance AG and succeeds Mark Ruddock, who the group said will return to its supervisory board after his agreed term as CEO.
In the U.S., contract lifecycle management platform Concord is rolling out an externally audited implementation of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance for its contract management platform, the company said in an announcement. The move comes as organizations that use manual and offline process face greater potential risk of noncompliance than those that utilize digital processes.
“Compliance is becoming more complex as supply chains, partners and staff become global; and while GDPR is just one example of compliance, it has been a wake-up call to a lot of companies,” Concord CEO and Co-Founder Matt Lhoumeau said in the announcement. “The digital transformation of an organization’s manual and offline processes, such as Concord provides for contract lifecycle management, offers one of the most powerful opportunities to avoid compliance exposure.”