Latest Payments News: Block To Cut 1,000 Staff By End Of 2024 and more

Kat Pilkington


November 13, 2023

Catch up on six of the stories our payments compliance analysts have covered lately, and stay up-to-date on the latest news.

Block To Cut 1,000 Staff By End Of 2024

US fintech giant Block has revealed that it plans to lay off 1,000 staff by the end of 2024.

In its Q3 earnings report, Block said it will impose an “absolute cap” of 12,000 on the number of staff at the company — down from 13,000 currently.

Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Block, said the cap will remain “until we feel the growth of the business has meaningfully outpaced the growth of the company."

Amrita Ahuja, chief financial officer, added: “We believe constraining team size will enable us to be more effective in how we drive performance and service of our customers and accountability on our business strategies.”

The company will aim to centralise teams and functions, reduce duplication and introduce “strict prioritisation” to meet the head count target.

Japan Could Be The Next Country To Link Up With India’s UPI

The governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has revealed that Japan could be the next country to connect with India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI).

Speaking at the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry this week, Shaktikanta Das said that a linkage of India’s UPI with Japan’s Zengin system “may be” explored.

He added that a linkage would aim to “leverage the power of fintech and make cross-border payments more efficient and less costly.”

In February this year, a similar linkage between UPI and Singapore’s PayNow system went live.

Hong Kong’s Octopus Payment System To Integrate e-CNY

Tim Yang, CEO of Hong Kong’s Octopus payment company, has confirmed that e-CNY top-ups will soon be available within the Octopus mobile wallet.

Speaking with CNBC, Yang said the move will allow mainland visitors to Hong Kong to use e-CNY to pay at over 180,000 merchants and all means of transport that accept Octopus.

“Essentially, pay like a local,” he said. “Today as a visitor to Hong Kong, it’s a pretty manual process. You have to go to the MTR station, you have to physically top up and exchange for Hong Kong dollars.

“But with the mobile Octopus solution, you’ll be able to get an Octopus card and top up anytime, anywhere.”

Caribbean Nations Join Pan-African Payment And Settlement System (PAPSS)

The central banks of all 11 nations that make up the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have unanimously adopted PAPSS as their preferred settlement system for intra-regional trade.

“In adopting PAPSS, the central banks in the Caribbean region have recognised its immense potential for unlocking new opportunities for trade growth and cooperation within their respective jurisdictions,” PAPSS said in a statement.

“By streamlining and expediting the settlement process, PAPSS will eliminate the complexities and inefficiencies that often hinder intra-regional trade, promoting monetary stability and economic development across the Caribbean.”

Operational in the six countries of the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ), PAPSS is gaining traction on the African continent as a cross-border payment solution.

In June this year, five multinational African commercial banks, with a presence in almost 40 countries, committed to implementing PAPSS in all their subsidiaries across Africa.

Russia, Myanmar Thrash Out Interbank Agreement To Bypass Sanctions

Russia and Myanmar are reportedly working on an interbank agreement that will allow the two countries to bypass sanctions and use their own currencies for bilateral trade.

Following a meeting with the Myanmar central bank governor, Russia has selected Evrofinance Mosnarbank to handle transactions on its side; the Myanmar partner is yet to be confirmed.

According to Myanmar’s news site, the two countries are also working on a valuation agreement for the use of the rouble and kyat in bilateral trade.

At present, Myanmar’s military junta uses the Chinese yuan to make purchases of goods, such as oil, from Russia.

In September, Myanmar also confirmed that six of its commercial banks would join Russia’s Mir card payment network.

Ripple, Onafriq To Launch Digital Asset-Enabled Cross-Border Payment Solution

Ripple has partnered with Onafriq, formerly MFS Africa, to launch a digital asset-based cross-border payment solution between Africa, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the UK and Australia.

Onafriq will use Ripple crypto-enabled technology to open up three new payment corridors between Africa and the rest of the world.

Customers of PayAngel in the UK, Pyypl in the GCC and Zazi Transfer in Australia are now able to send remittances and business payments to recipients in 27 countries across Onafriq’s pan-African network.

Onafriq has the largest mobile money footprint in Africa. It connects over 500m mobile wallets across 40 African countries and operates across more than 1,300 payment corridors on the continent.

“Using Ripple’s crypto technology, Onafriq is eliminating the traditional problems associated with cross-border payments such as lengthy transfer times, unreliability and excessive cost,” the company said.

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