Daily Dash: Mastercard Commits To Recycled Plastic Cards

April 6, 2023
Mastercard confirms plans for first-use plastics to be ousted from its network by 2028, while US authorities file fraud charges against a prominent entrepreneur in relation to a J.P. Morgan Chase acquisition.

No More First-Use Plastic In Cards By 2028, Says Mastercard

Mastercard has announced that it is accelerating efforts to remove first-use, PVC plastics from payment cards on its network by 2028. 

From January 1, 2028, all newly-produced Mastercard plastic payment cards will be made from more sustainable materials, including recycled or bio-sourced plastics such as rPVC, rPET, or PLA, and approved through a certification programme. 

“At Mastercard we are leading and shaping our industry’s collective pursuit of a more sustainable, more environmentally conscious future,” said Ajay Bhalla, president of cyber and intelligence at Mastercard. 

“As our customers respond to increased consumer desire to make more eco-friendly choices, we are making a firm commitment to reducing our environmental footprint — for the benefit of people, planet and inclusive growth.” 

Mastercard has also said that it will support its global issuing partners through the transition away from first-use PVC.

“The announcement from Mastercard is a huge step for financial services,” said Taylan Turan, retail banking head at HSBC. “New sustainable materials, such as rPVC, offer our sector a clear way to accelerate its efforts to build a more sustainable future.”

Former Forbes Under 30 Winner Charged With Fraud

Charlie Javice, former chief executive of Frank, a US student loans company, has been charged with making false claims and submitting false data to J.P. Morgan Chase in a $175m acquisition fraud scheme.

In the complaint filed in the Southern District of New York, Javice is accused of falsely and dramatically inflating the number of customers at Frank to induce J.P. Morgan Chase to purchase the company.

Javice, who appeared in Forbes in 2019, stood to gain more than $45m from the alleged fraud, according to the complaint.

“As alleged, Javice engaged in a brazen scheme to defraud JPMC,” said US District Attorney Damian Williams. “She lied directly to JPMC and fabricated data to support those lies, all in order to make over $45m from the sale of her company.

Bunq Applies For US Licence 

Dutch neobank bunq has confirmed that it is venturing into banking stateside, with the company filing an application for a US banking licence with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in the state of New York.

Ali Niknam, the Canadian-Dutch entrepreneur who founded bunq in 2012, disclosed the news in an interview with Reuters. 

Niknam also said that his bank is attracting depositors in Europe despite nerves following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in the US.

The announcement comes after bunq logged its first quarterly profit, including user deposits that were up by 64 percent to €1.8bn at the end of last year. 

"Throughout bunq's history, we've always focused on making life easy for digital nomads in Europe,” Niknam said in a statement to the press following the news.

“We can't wait to bring our user-centred philosophy stateside, giving a community of location-independent people an effortless way to bank on the go."

UAE Airlines Resume Accepting Russian Card Payments

Several United Arab Emirates (UAE) airlines have reportedly resumed accepting Russian card payments for flight ticket purchases.

According to Russia’s state-owned news agency RT, airlines Emirates, Air Arabia and flydubai are now accepting payment by Mastercard and Visa cards issued by Russian banks. Turkish Airlines also has plans to accept these payments soon.

The payments are made through Russia’s Faster Payments System (SBP). Tickets for Air Arabia flights purchased through the SBP system are charged a 6 percent fee.

Reservations can be made via the Air Arabia website and are confirmed following a call with the airline’s customer service representatives.

Flydubai reportedly conducts transactions through third-party agents and charges a fee of 2,000 rubles ($25), while Emirates must also scan a QR code to make card payments from Russia.

Binance Chief, NBA Star, YouTubers Hit By $1bn Class Action Lawsuit

A new class action lawsuit has been filed by three investors -— two Floridians and one Californian — who claim they lost money after trading digital assets promoted by Binance and online influencers.  

Binance, its founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao and three influencers are being sued for trading in and unlawfully promoting unregistered securities, with the plaintiffs seeking $1bn in damages.

The influencers include NBA Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler and YouTubers Graham Stephan and Ben Armstrong, better known as BitBoy Crypto. According to the lawsuit, “millions” of other investors could be affected and may be eligible to sue for damages.

“The statute clearly states that if an influencer is promoting an unregistered security, and has a financial interest in doing so, the influencer may be liable to everyone who bought the assets,” said Moskowitz Law Firm, after filing the suit. 

“The exchange that facilitates the trades would be liable as well.”

EY Fined, Banned In Germany Over Wirecard Scandal

EY has been issued with a $541,650 fine and forbidden from taking on new audits for companies of public interest for two years, Germany’s audit watchdog APAS has announced

APAS did not name EY, nor the auditors, in its announcement, although EY has confirmed that it was the auditor. 

This is the most extensive procedure carried out by the watchdog to date, APAS confirmed, adding that it had fined five auditors between $23,000 and $300,000. 

This public sanction is separate to the criminal prosecution currently taking place in Germany, with former the chief executive of the company, Marcus Braun, currently on trial in Munich. 

ASEAN Nations Move Towards Transacting In Local Currencies

Finance ministers and central bank governors in Southeast Asia have committed to working together to reduce their dependence on major currencies such as the dollar, euro and yen in international transactions.

At the 2023 ASEAN Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting (AFMGM), participants agreed to pursue a local currency transaction scheme that would build on the region's existing Local Currency Settlement (LCS) framework.

Alongside local currency transactions, the AFMGM also re-affirmed its commitment to delivering interoperability between retail payment systems.

Launched in 2016 by the central banks of Thailand and Malaysia, the LCS framework aims to promote local currency stability and improve efficiency in trade between members.

Indonesia was added to the framework in 2017, and its remit expanded to investment purposes, and the Philippines was added in 2019. 

Under the LCS framework, each country selects a number of major banks to act as appointed cross currency dealers (ACCD).

Italian Data Protection Regulator Bans ChatGPT

Artificial intelligence platform ChatGPT has faced a significant setback after being banned by Italy’s data protection regulator. 

The regulator put out a statement at the end of last week banning the use of the product in the country for reasons such as unlawfully collecting users’ personal data and a lack of age verification. 

The regulator further said that there is “no legal basis underpinning the massive collection and processing of personal data in order to ‘train’ the algorithms on which the platform relies”.

The review of ChatGPT was triggered by a user complaint regarding conversations on the platform, as well as information on payments by subscribers to the service.

US Banking Regulator Launches Fintech Office

The US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has announced it is setting up an Office of Financial Technology to bolster the agency’s expertise in the use of technology in the banking industry.

The new office will analyse relevant trends in financial technology, emerging and potential risks, and the potential implications for OCC supervision.

The agency said the fintech team will enhance the OCC’s expertise on matters regarding digital assets, fintech partnerships, and other changing technologies and business models that affect OCC-supervised banks.

The office will be led by Prashant Bhardwaj and will launch on April 10.

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