Welcome to The Axis, your late look at payments news from around the world. Coverage includes Sweden-based Anyfin’s €8 million extended Series A funding round. Denmark’s Pleo has announced a $56 million Series B financing round led by Stripes, the number of merchants that accept Alipay in Japan has jumped and Oman Arab Bank (OAB) has rolled out an instant rewards system for near-field communication (NFC) cards.
In Sweden, consumer credit startup Anyfin notched in €8 million through an extended Series A funding round, according to reports. The company taps into mobile technology, artificial intelligence (AI) and consumer data to help consumers refinance loans via logging into their previous loan provider or snapping a photo of their loan statements. Its ranks have grown to a team of 22 from eight over a year’s time, with hires from top tech firms in the country. Anyfin Founder and CEO Mikael Hussain said, according to the report, “we are on a mission to put the power back in the hands of the consumer, making it as simple as possible to refinance a loan and giving consumers the rate they deserve.”
In Denmark, business spending platform Pleo has announced a Stripes-led $56 million Series B financing round, according to reports. With the latest round, the company has raised $79 million in total. The company offers smart company cards connected with apps and software to match receipts automatically and monitor company spending. Pleo Co-Founder and CEO Jeppe Rindom said, according to reports, “Managing work-related spending has traditionally caused headaches for employees and their employers alike. Pleo is making the whole process simpler, quicker and more transparent.”
And, in Japan, the number of merchants that accept Alipay has skyrocketed from the beginning of 2018 to the start of this year, according to an announcement. As of early 2018, Ant Financial says, it has connected over 300,000 Japanese merchants with mainland Chinese visitors making payments via the Alipay app. By comparison, 50,000 merchants in Japan took Alipay at the beginning of 2018. Ant Financial Chairman and CEO Eric Jing said in the announcement, “Alipay has been providing technology support to our nine e-wallet partners to enhance their cross-border payment capabilities, and hopefully to bring more Asian customers to Japan and contribute to revitalizing the local economy.”
On another note, Oman Arab Bank (OAB) has rolled out an instant rewards system for near-field communication (NFC) cards, according to a press release posted on Zawya. Through the offering, credit card clients can redeem reward points that they have earned at the point of sale. The move comes as the bank is aiming to bolster its customer service efforts. OAB DGM of Retail Banking Rashad Al Shaikh said, according to the post, “The launch of this new feature is in line with that focus, offering our customers a convenient and immediate way to redeem their accumulated OAB Reward Points right at the time of sale as opposed to doing so by contacting the bank or via our internet baking service.”