Daily Dash: Almost Nine Out Of Ten Canadians Oppose CBDC

December 12, 2023
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Canadians have voiced strong opposition to a digital Canadian dollar, Westpac has enabled merchant choice routing for online transactions, and Circle has launched a new stablecoin partnership with the world’s largest neobank.

Almost Nine Out Of Ten Canadians Oppose CBDC, Survey Finds

new survey by the Bank of Canada has found that 86 percent of Canadians have “strong criticisms” of central bank digital currency (CBDC).

In a survey of 1,000 Canadians, conducted for a consultation on a digital dollar, 86 percent of responses were categorised as “net negative”, while only 5 percent were categorised as “net positive”.

More than half of respondents (52 percent) said they think CBDC is a bad idea, have no intention of using it and hope that a CBDC is not issued.

One in five respondents (19 percent) voiced concerns about excessive government control over their money and transactions, and another one in five said that existing payment methods are sufficient.

“A digital dollar sounded great until we saw the federal government freeze private bank accounts of its own citizens for supporting a political movement it disagreed with,” said one respondent.

“I cannot imagine a CBDC being compatible with our values of liberty and privacy,” said another.

Westpac Expands Merchant Choice Routing To E-Commerce

Australia’s Westpac bank has become the latest of the "Big Four" to enable merchant choice routing for online payments. 

With merchant choice routing, businesses can opt to route card-not-present transactions via eftpos, Australia’s low-cost domestic scheme, rather than Visa Debit or Debit Mastercard.

“Merchant choice routing is an important industry initiative that supports competition and helps give businesses more control over their costs,” said Mandy Rutherford, managing director of cash and transactional banking at Westpac.

“Expanding merchant choice routing to online payments gives our customers more choice in how they manage their transaction costs, and is part of our commitment to make it easier for businesses to do their banking.”

Merchant choice routing has been available for Westpac customers for in-store payments since 2019, and is currently the default option for all new customers on simple pricing plans.

Circle, Nubank Partner To Increase USD Stablecoin Access In Brazil

US stablecoin issuer Circle has announced a new partnership with Brazil’s Nubank that will allow Nubank customers to access USDC, Circle’s dollar-backed stablecoin.

USDC support will initially be rolled out as part of Nubank Cripto, providing Brazilian users with access to buying and holding digital dollars.

“We continue to see strong demand across Latin America for access to dollars, specifically in Brazil, which has emerged as a driving force for digital currency use and adoption in the region,” said Jeremy Allaire, CEO and co-founder of Circle.

“Our partnership with Nubank marks a significant moment in expanding the global reach of USDC, and an important step towards building the new internet financial system.”

Nubank is the world’s largest neobank by number of customers, serving more than 90m customers across Brazil, Mexico and Colombia.

Amazon Ends Partnership With Venmo 

Amazon will discontinue PayPal-owned Venmo in the new year, it has emerged

“Due to recent changes, Venmo can no longer be added as a payment method,” a statement on Venmo’s website says. 

Venmo has confirmed that it will remain available to users who currently have it enabled in their Amazon wallet until January 10. 

Online shoppers have been able to use Venmo to pay for Amazon purchases since October last year. 

The mobile payment service has been used in the US since 2009 and operates more than 90m accounts.

It has, however, courted controversy due to privacy and cybersecurity concerns. In 2018, for example, the company settled with the US Federal Trade Commission over misleading customers. 

UK Regulator Consults On Access To Cash Rules

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has proposed new rules to maintain reasonable access to cash for personal and business customers across the UK. 

This follows new powers granted to the FCA by the Financial Services and Markets Act 2023.

The consultation is open until February 8 and the FCA expects to finalise the rules by Q3 2024.

Under the proposals, designated banks and building societies will be required to undertake cash access assessments when changes are being made to cash access services to understand whether additional services are required to meet local gaps.

Firms will also need to respond to requests from local residents, community organisations and representatives to consider, assess and plug gaps and deliver reasonable additional cash services to fill gaps in provision where assessments show that there is or will be a significant local gap.

Further, firms will need to ensure they do not close cash facilities, including bank branches, until any additional cash services identified are available.

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