Daily Dash: BNPL Sponsorship Sparks Criticism For Labour

October 9, 2023
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The UK Labour Party has been chastised after a buy now, pay later (BNPL) firm sponsored a party conference event, NatWest has started offering transaction categorisation, and Metro Bank is reportedly in trouble after its shares plunged.

Labour Party Criticised For BNPL Sponsored Event

The Labour Party was criticised this weekend after an event at its party conference was sponsored by Zilch, a buy now, pay later (BNPL) firm. 

Consumer campaigner and media personality Martin Lewis posted on social media site X that he was “shocked”, noting that the founder had been given a “platform to speak against regulation”.

“Have these firms bought influence with every UK political party?” he asked, before asking the leader of the party, Keir Starmer, whether he was anti-regulation of the nascent payment method. 

Weeks ago, Labour’s Treasury spokesperson Tulip Siddiq said that the party was in favour of regulation for BNPL. 

“Major BNPL providers and consumer groups have made clear this is needed to provide certainty for the sector and protect the public, but the Tories refuse to listen,” she posted.

As reported by Vixio, rumours circulated in July that the UK’s Treasury department has backed away from regulating the sector, despite a consultation earlier this year on amending the Consumer Credit Act to account for BNPL.  

NatWest Taps Open Banking For Transaction Categorisation Service

NatWest has launched the new transaction categorisation service “Enriched Transactions”, which is available to businesses, such as account information service providers (AISPs) and lending providers, to integrate with their apps and digital platforms.

NatWest is the first UK bank to offer transaction categorisation as an extension to open banking application programme interfaces (APIs). 

With customers’ consent, businesses will be able to use the service to give customers personalised insights, such as tips on how to manage their budget or reduce their carbon footprint, and help them gain more control over their finances.

AISPs that want to use Enriched Transactions to categorise customers’ transactions can access the service through an extension to NatWest’s Accounts & Transactions API.

In addition, both AISPs and other businesses, such as lending providers, that want to categorise transactions for customers of all banks, can access the service through NatWest's Categorisation as a Service API.

UK Metro Bank In Trouble 

Metro Bank’s shares plunged by 30 percent last week after it was reported on Wednesday night that the lender was preparing to ask investors for hundreds of millions of pounds to shore up its balance sheet.

Media reports suggest that the retail bank needs to raise up to £600m.

The bank has told reporters that its finances remain strong and it continues to meet all regulatory requirements.

Customers have also been urged not to take their money out. Customer deposits up to £85,000 are guaranteed by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, which guarantees that if a bank runs into trouble, depositors will get their money back up to that level.

The bank has approximately 76 branches in the UK and 2.7m customers.

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