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Wednesday 3rd March, 2021

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Fintech

Mastercard Partners SadaPay, Launches MEA Region’s First Numberless Card In Pakistan

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SadaPay and Mastercard are issuing the Middle East & Africa (MEA) region’s first numberless and contactless-enabled card, allowing users to transact in a simpler, faster and more secure way.

This announcement which is an effort at building on the partnership announced in Pakistan in 2020, further strengthens Mastercard’s commitment to promoting financial inclusion in emerging markets and encouraging the adoption of secure digital payment methods.

As Pakistan’s first numberless card, the new offering has been designed to provide SadaPay users with a safe and simple way to transact both online and offline.

The physical version of the card is completely numberless, both front and back, thus providing ultimate protection from the prospect of theft of personal and financial information for additional peace of mind.

Despite being a numberless card, cardholders can still use it easily to make e-commerce payments as their card details are safely stored within the SadaPay app.

The launch of the numberless card is the first implementation of Mastercard’s Digital First program in Pakistan and the wider MEA region.

This innovative technology will set the stage for a more advanced digital payment landscape in the country offering cardholders with contactless and safer ways to transact.

“Our focus is to deliver a safe and secure digital experience to all cardholders. Mastercard is a trusted partner that enables issuers and merchants to leverage technologies such as the numberless cards to ensure the safety of e-commerce and over-the-counter transactions in order to protect consumers and merchants against fraud.

We are truly excited to be launching the first numberless card in Pakistan and the MEA region in partnership with SadaPay. We continue to partner with digital players across the region to launch exciting digital solutions and share innovations to advance financial inclusion, bringing us closer to a world beyond cash,” said Ngozi Megwa, Senior Vice President, Digital Partnerships MEA, Mastercard.

“SadaPay takes the security of its customers very seriously and it is in that spirit that we have brought an innovative regime like numberless cards to Pakistan. Our users will now be able to make online and offline digital payments in the most secure way possible.

“We are also working to bring even more innovative ideas to the market all in the pursuit of customer delight. This is just the start and we’re glad to be working with Mastercard to really explore the true potential of a financially included Pakistan,” said Brandon Timinsky, Founder and CEO of SadaPay.

Banks and financial services can develop a state-of-the-art, fully digital product through the Mastercard Digital First program. The new offering makes payments and banking instantly available to consumers through the mobile banking app including services such as instant issuing, card controls and access to a wide array of features and benefits with additional bank support delivered via chat.

SadaPay will issue virtual cards with every account that is instantly available when customers sign up. The physical teal and peach card is optional, which is free and delivered at no cost to the user.

More than 150,000 people have already signed up for early access and are eagerly waiting for their accounts. Anyone with a valid Pakistani ID card can join the waitlist for the numberless card by signing up via www.sadapay.pk/waitlist

SadaPay is now operational and in its pilot phase under supervision of the regulator. The public rollout will begin once the pilot is completed.

 

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Fintech

Facebook And Google Eye Indian Digital Payment Network

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Facebook and Google are teaming up with Indian firms, Infibeam and Reliance Industries on an application to set up a national digital payment network in the South Asian country, according to the Economic Times.

The Reserve Bank of India has invited companies to create new umbrella entities (NUEs) that build payments networks that offer an alternative to the bank-owned not-for-profit National Payments Council of India.

Citing sources, the Economic Times says that Google, Facebook, conglomerate Reliance and fintech firm Infibeam are at an advanced stage in submitting their plan to the central bank.

Google and Facebook (through WhatsApp) are already significant players in the fast-growing Indian digital payments market.

Another American giant, Amazon, is rumoured to have teamed up with ICICI Bank to explore its own NUE play. The Reserve Bank is expected to award two licences.

 

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MoneyGram Suspends Ripple Pact Over SEC Suit

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MoneyGram has suspended trading on Ripple’s platform over concerns about the latter’s litigation with the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to a Finextra report.

In 2019, Ripple agreed to invest up to $50 million in MoneyGram as part of a two-year partnership that has seen the old-school money transfer player tap the blockchain startup’s XRP digital currency for cross-border payment and foreign exchange settlement.

Ripple has effectively been paying MoneyGram to use its on-demand liquidity service, with the money transfer outfit seeing a “net expense benefit” of $12.1 million from Ripple market development fees in the first quarter of 2020.

However, late last year the SEC filed a regulatory lawsuit against Ripple Labs Inc. and two of its executives, alleging that they “raised over $1.3 billion through an unregistered, ongoing digital asset securities offering.”

The complaint mentions the MoneyGram arrangement, although not the company by name, saying: “The Money Transmitter became yet another conduit for Ripple’s unregistered XRP sales into the market, with Ripple receiving the added benefit that it could tout its inorganic XRP ‘use’ and trading volume for XRP.”

Reporting its fourth-quarter results, MoneyGram now says: “The Company is not planning for any benefit from Ripple market development fees in the first quarter. Due to the uncertainty concerning their ongoing litigation with the SEC, the Company has suspended trading on Ripple’s platform.”

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Opera Prepares For Roll Out Of Fintech Banking Service

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Opera, an Internet company is moving into financial services with the launch of Dify, an in-browser cashback service and digital wallet for online shopping.

Launching first in Spain, the initial version of the Dify app ships with a current account, a free virtual debit card issued by MasterCard, as well as Google Pay support for offline spending.

The company intends to expand the service across the EU, where it currently claims 50 million active users.

The business developments that preceded the launch included the January 2020 acquisition of Estonian banking-as-a-service startup, Pocosys and takeover terms for the buyout of Lithuanian digital bank Fjord Bank.

“The total size of Opera’s investment into Dify is expected to exceed $100 million over the next few years, given we scale as expected,” says spokesperson Krystian Kolondra, EVP browsers & EEA fintech at Opera.

“This includes acquisitions, development cost and our marketing and distribution plans.”

The first version of the Dify app will allow consumers to receive eCommerce cashback for purchases made on partner websites accessed through the Opera browser.

Partner brands, which include Nike, Sephora and Asos, will appear in a new shopping-related tab on the Opera browser.

Says Kolondra: “Every day millions of people shop online and make their payments using the Opera browsers. With Dify, we are making the browser and a superior wallet work better, together, to improve users’ shopping experience and also make it financially rewarding.”

In the future, Opera’s plans include offering more wallet services like savings management, credit, investment opportunities and instant cashback.

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