EMEA Daily: UK Consumer Lending Rose in Feb.; ArK Kapital Raises $183M; Zimpler Plans Expansion; Medius Acquires OnPay Solutions


In today’s top Europe, Middle East and Africa news, consumer lending in Britain swelled in February, the most in five years, the Bank of England revealed; data-driven precision finance startup ArK Kapital raised $183 million in seed capital.

Plus, Zimpler, Swedish payments FinTech, is planning to expand following a round of equity funding; spend management software company Medius has acquired invoice payments provider OnPay Solutions; and expense management tool company Yokoy has raised $80 million in a Series B round.

Consumer Lending Rose in the UK, Fueled by Record Credit Card Borrowing

Lending to consumers in Britain swelled in February, the most in five years, the Bank of England (BoE) announced.

The rise was fueled by credit card borrowing as consumers charged £1.9 billion ($2.5 billion) last month. Of that number, £1.5 billion ($2 billion) was new lending on credit cards. That’s the largest rise since the BoE began keeping records in 1993.

ArK Kapital Raises $183M for Long-Term Alternative Financing Options

ArK Kapital, a data-driven precision finance startup, raised €165 million ($183 million) in seed capital, the Stockholm company announced Tuesday (March 29), EU-StartUps.com reported.

The new funding will be used to invest in promising companies, research and development and double its 20-person team this year, ArK said.

A2A Payments Firm Zimpler Lands Equity Funding

Swedish payments FinTech Zimpler is planning to expand following a new round of equity funding, the company announced Tuesday. The funding amount was not revealed.

“The investment will enable Zimpler to further drive its exponential growth journey and accelerate the company’s commercial development by broadening its customer base and investing in developing new customer verticals,” the Stockholm company said.

Expense Management Firm Yokoy Closes $80M Series B Funding

Expense management tool company Yokoy has raised $80 million in a Series B round, the Amsterdam software startup announced Tuesday.

Founded in 2019, Yokoy sells its products primarily to large businesses, including Dynamic Parcel Distribution, one of the largest express and parcel services in Europe, and Stadler Rail Co., the Swiss train manufacturer. The latest cash infusion brings the total amount raised to more than $107 million.

Russia’s Payments System Gets Around Mastercard, Visa Departure

While sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine have had a devastating effect on the country, it hasn’t stopped Russians from being able to use their Mastercard or Visa cards.

The Wall Street Journal reported the decision by the two card companies to stop doing business in Russia may not be as earth-shattering as once thought, as the cards use a homegrown Russian system to process payments.

Medius Acquires Invoice Payments Firm OnPay

Spend management and eProcurement software company Medius has acquired invoice payments provider OnPay Solutions. The amount of the transaction was not disclosed.

Founded in 2009, OnPay helps clients streamline accounts payable (AP) processes and lower costs by automating invoice payments. According to the release, the Florida company provides “no touch” virtual card, automated clearinghouse (ACH), and check and wire payments to more than 400 clients.

EU Content Moderation Rules May Soon Apply to Big Tech

EU antitrust commissioner Margrethe Vestager said on Monday that a deal between EU governments and EU parliamentarians on the Digital Services Act (DSA) might be reached next month, according to Reuters.

Vestager proposed the DSA just over a year ago, and it requires digital firms to do more to combat unlawful content or face fines of up to 6% of their global revenue.

Apple’s 10th Antitrust Fine in The Netherlands Shows High Stakes at Play  

Apple has accumulated €50 million ($55 million) in fines in the Netherlands for failing to comply with an antitrust decision from the Dutch competition authority.

In December, the authority ordered Apple to adjust the conditions in its App Store to allow dating-app providers to use alternative methods of payment. To encourage Apple to comply, the authority has been imposing a €5 million fine for every week that goes by without full compliance.

Chetwood CEO Calls Open Banking ‘Disappointing,’ Regulation Key to Neobank Success

The U.K. is widely considered a leader in the implementation of open banking. The regulation mandated by the European Union’s Revised Payment Services Directive compels banks to make customer account information available to non-bank third parties through the use application programming interfaces.

To signal its widespread adoption across the country, the U.K.’s Open Banking Implementation Entity announced that more than 5 million individuals and businesses in the country use open banking services, a milestone figure following the fourth anniversary of the creation of the regulatory requirement.

New Volvo CEO: We Need to Better Control Our Software

Volvo Car AB must take more control of the software it develops and deploys in its vehicles, new CEO Jim Rowan told Bloomberg Tuesday.

Rowan, who took the helm at Volvo last week after the company announced his hiring in January to replace longtime CEO Hakan Samuelsson, added that increasing the computing power of cars will reshape the auto industry more than the switch from combustion propulsion to electric.

UK to Propose New Crypto Rules While FCA Closes Registration

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is ending its Temporary Registration Regime (TRR) for crypto asset businesses on Thursday (March 31).

Those companies that are not registered may not be allowed to continue operations in the U.K. At the same time, some news outlets have reported that the U.K.’s finance minister could announce a new regulatory regime for crypto in the coming weeks.

Challenger Bank Lunar Plans $146M Acquisition of Instabank

Challenger bank Lunar is acquiring digital bank Instabank for €132 million (about $146 million), a move that will increase Lunar’s reach in Norway and open the door to the market in Finland, according to a Tuesday blog post.

Founded in 2016 and headquartered in Oslo, Norway, Instabank serves over 60,000 people in Norway, Finland and Germany with both secured and unsecured loans and savings, the blog post stated.

French Court Fines Google $2M for ‘Abusive’ Developer Practices

A French court has fined Google €2 million ($2.2 million) for what the country’s government has described as “abusive” dealings with developers on its app store.

The Paris Commercial Court has also ruled Google must also update seven clauses from its contracts that included a 30% commission on revenues generated by developers on Google’s Play store.