The Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) alternative payment method is the hottest trend in payments right now. Amazon announced a major partnership with Affirm, Square will acquire Australian BNPL provider AfterPay, and now PayPal will acquire Paidy for $2.7 billion. All of this activity occurred in about a 40 day span.
Nacha, who enables Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments, has approved eight amendments to their Operating Rules focused on infrastructure around improving Same Day ACH and providing a framework for authorizing consumer ACH payments that can be applied to the growing channels and technologies consumers want to use to make digital payments. Additional new rules pertain to handling unauthorized payments and ACH reversals.
The new rules will take effect throughout 2021 as Nacha continues to expand Same Day ACH to become a more competitive payment choice for consumers and businesses.
Guest Post Written by: Daryn Griggs, Co-Founder, Payshield, Certified eCommerce Fraud Professional
The events of COVID 19 have seen a massive increase in online shopping around the world including people who have never shopped online before. Naturally with an increase in online shopping comes an increase in online fraud, and the biggest fraud increase? Friendly Fraud!
The U.S. Central Bank will embark on its biggest investment in payments since becoming an ACH operator more than forty years ago. FedNow will be an interbank real-time gross settlement service (RTGS) with integrated clearing. It will support 24/7 real-time transfers of up to $25,000 between any banks in the U.S. and will be available by 2023 or 2024.
Klarna, a payment company offering micro credit for online transactions like PayPal Credit, serves consumers and merchants in Europe and the United States while preparing to launch in Australia and New Zealand. They recently announced an equity funding round raising $460 million, valuing the credit terms alternative payment provider at $5.5 billion.
The number of Klarna users in the U.S. is growing by 6 million per year.
Amazon Cash is the latest payment method and feature supported by Amazon and was designed for the under- and unbanked. Consumers can request a barcode that is linked to their Amazon account, and when checking-out at a partner retail store location the customer can add between $15 and $500, using cash, which will become stored credit on their Amazon account. Amazon Cash was announced on April 3rd and is now available in the United States.
This new payment method immediately becomes a new option for U.S. Amazon customers. According to the FDIC, 7 percent of U.S. households were unbanked in 2015, while an additional 20 percent were considered underbanked. Amazon Cash provides a more direct way for these consumers, 27 percent of U.S. households, to make purchases with the online retailer.
Ant Financial Services Group, the Alibaba Group affiliate formerly known as Alipay, announced the acquisition of major money remittance company Money Gram for $880 million. While already the online payments leader in China, this acquisition would greatly increase Ant’s international and U.S. presence, with the acquisition expected to close in the second half of the year.
Before their 2014 IPO, Alibaba spun Ant Financial Services Group off as a private company that would continue to operate the Alipay service. It has been estimated that more than half of online payments in China go through Alipay. In 2016, Ant held a private funding round that raised $4.5 billion, resulting in a company valuation comparable to American Express. Ant has plans to go public as well, but will likely now wait until after the MoneyGram merger is complete.
Amazon announced in February they would be acquiring Emvantage, an online payment gateway that processes alternative and card-based payments in India, for an undisclosed sum. The privately held startup offers a platform and technology that Amazon will leverage to develop and build out their Indian eCommerce site and payment platform.
The acquisition of Emvantage benefits Amazon by providing local payment methods and expertise in a market that has lower credit and debit card penetration and more preference towards cash-funded and alternative payment methods.
Following Visa Checkout and MasterPass, American Express launched their new Amex Express Checkout service in July, but doesn’t want it to be labeled a wallet. Cardholders that login to view or pay statements online can use the same user ID and password to submit payments online via PCs, mobile web browsers and mobile apps, and American Express will provide the merchant with a token to process payment.
Like Visa and MasterCard, American Express is taking measures to make it as easy as possible for their cardholders to use Amex cards for online transactions, especially when coming from mobile devices. Digital wallets like PayPal expedite checkout by allowing a user to login with a username and password rather than type in a 16-digit credit card number, billing address, shipping address and other information. The two largest card associations launched Visa Checkout and MasterPass to offer this convenience, and while American Express is following suit there are some similarities and differences between the other card association wallets.
Four members of the House of Representatives formed a bipartisan committee known as the Congressional Payments Technology Caucus (CPTC) announcing the new group on March 19th. The group’s focus is to serve as a key resource of information for any discussions on future legislation around payment-centric topics such as data security, new payment technologies and access to electronic payments for the underbanked.
Lawmakers don’t have the best track record when it comes to regulations and legislations around payment related issues, with unintended consequences following the Durbin Amendment serving as one example. In hopes to help lawmakers better understand the payment issues at hand four members of the House of Representatives formed the Congressional Payments Technology Caucus.