Daily Dash: Amex Now, Pay Later

February 28, 2024
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American Express has launched a new buy now, pay later option in the UK, while Sweden’s government has set out proposals to ban credit card payments for gambling.

Amex Launches BNPL Option

American Express has launched "Plan It", a new offering for the UK market that allows credit cardholders to pay off purchases on their statement, or a portion of their monthly bill, in instalments.

Amex members will be able to select a transaction, or an amount from their most recent statement, to put into an instalment plan for three, six or 12 months. 

“We know our Cardmembers value flexibility including in how they pay. With Plan It, our credit card customers can now pay at their own pace, continuing to earn rewards as they do so on everything from a new vacuum cleaner to their next big holiday,” said Ricky Bonham, vice president, American Express.

“As a business regulated by the FCA, we’re also delighted to be launching an instalment plan that offers transparent fees and no hidden charges.”

Customers will be charged a fixed monthly fee for their instalment plan, which will be clearly displayed at set up; however, they will not be charged interest on any balance in their instalment plan. 

Meanwhile, they will still be able to obtain rewards on any purchase in their plan, as usual.

Gambling Credit Card Ban Looms For Sweden

Sweden’s Ministry of Finance has submitted a memorandum with proposals to introduce a more comprehensive ban on using credit, including credit cards, when gambling. 

The aim of the proposal is to prevent gambling for money from leading to indebtedness. 

“Gambling for money on credit can lead to great financial difficulties,” said Niklas Wykman, finance minister. “Therefore, we are now stopping that possibility. It is not reasonable that gambling companies or gambling agents contribute to individuals taking such large risks”

The memorandum also proposes to authorise the Swedish Gambling Authority (Spelinspektionen) to set requirements on the content of the action plan that gambling operators must draw up to implement the ban.

The amendments are proposed to enter into force on September 1, 2024 (the authorisation) and April 1, 2025 (the credit ban).

EU Council Nods Through Instant Payments Framework

The Council of the EU has adopted the EU’s Instants Payments Regulation (IPR), which will make instant payments fully available in euro to businesses and consumers in the EU and European Economic Area (EEA). 

The European Parliament recently voted through the legislation as well, meaning that it only needs to be signed by the presidents of the European Parliament and European Council and entered into the Official Journal of the EU. 

The law will enter into force 20 days after entering the official journal, which is when the countdown to regulatory deadlines will need to begin for payment service providers. 

European Commission Publishes MiCA, DORA Delegated Acts 

The European Commission has adopted two delegated acts under the Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA) and the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulation. 

This includes topics such as the criteria for critical ICT providers and the criteria for defining asset referenced tokens and e-money tokens. 

The Parliament and Council now have three months to scrutinise the delegated acts, which they can extend for another three months. 

The rules will start applying after the period elapses and no objection is raised.

Google Pay Set To Close

The US version of the standalone Google Pay app will no longer be available for use starting June 4, 2024.

Google made the announcement in a blog post, and said that the planned move is to simplify its payments options. 

The company is trying to move users over to its Google Wallet product instead. 

“Google Wallet continues to be the primary place for people to securely store payment cards used for tap and pay in stores, alongside other digital items like transit cards, driver’s licenses, state IDs and more,” the blog post, written by group product manager Joris Van Mens, says. 

Google Pay has been available for Android users since 2014, and is currently used in more than 180 countries.

CAB Payments CEO To Depart After Float Flop

Bhairav Trivedi, the CEO of CAB Payments, is due to depart the company next month after the B2B cross-border payments firm’s London Stock Exchange listing backfired. 

Neeraj Kapur, who previously worked for Vanquis Banking Group, will take over, and has already joined the company. 

“The Board very much welcomes Neeraj to CAB Payments as our incoming CEO,” said Ann Cairns, company chair. “He is a seasoned finance professional and proven leader who brings a wealth of experience to this role. We are confident CAB Payments will continue to flourish and grow under his leadership, as he executes our strategy to deliver long term value for all our stakeholders."

CAB raised up to £335m through a listing on the London Stock Exchange in July 2023 at a valuation of more than £800m.

Within three months, however, its share price had fallen by half after the company revised revenue guidance sharply downwards. 

Shares currently trade at around a third of the listing price.

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