Daily Dash: UK Taxpayers Warm To Open Banking Payments Via Ecospend

February 13, 2024
UK taxpayers sent more than £3bn of open banking payments to HMRC last month, while Visa has announced a new partnership that will bring instant remittances to Egypt.

UK Taxpayers Warm To Open Banking Payments Via Ecospend

UK open banking provider Ecospend has reported that the value of tax payments processed by its Pay by Bank platform rose to a new high of £3.3bn in January 2024.

This marks almost a 40 percent rise in value and an additional 140,000 transactions compared with the same period in 2023 (coinciding with the deadline for self-assessment payments).

In February 2021, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) became the world’s first tax authority to integrate open banking payments when it awarded a £3m contract to Ecospend.

As of January 2023, Ecospend is now owned by global account-to-account payments platform Trustly, which acquired Ecospend following approval from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Visa Signs New Remittance MoU With Egyptian Banks Company (EBC)

Visa has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Egyptian Banks Company (EBC), the technological arm of the central bank, to facilitate remittances for Egyptians living abroad.

The partnership will initially be focused on two projects, the first of them being an upgrade to InstaPay, an EBC-owned instant payments app, to enable customers to initiate transfers from Visa-linked accounts outside Egypt.

Once completed, this will allow funds to be sent from abroad and deposited into registered customers’ accounts via InstaPay, which runs on Egypt’s Instant Payments Network (IPN).

The second project involves partnering with banks and financial institutions to facilitate transfers to beneficiaries in Egypt using IPN’s phone number or username directory.

Leila Serhan, SVP for North Africa, Levant and Pakistan at Visa, said the partnership will open up a significant source of transactions, as Egypt is currently the world’s fifth largest recipient of remittances.

Visa, Mastercard Among Companies To Join AI Safety Consortium

US secretary of commerce Gina Raimondo has announced the creation of a US AI Safety Institute Consortium (AISIC) with Visa and Mastercard as founding members. Tech giants Apple, Microsoft and Amazon are also signed up. 

The consortium will be housed under the US AI Safety Institute (USAISI) and will contribute to priority actions outlined in President Biden’s Biden’s executive order on AI.

Issued in October last year, the executive order aims to develop guidelines for risk management, safety and security when using AI.

Raimondo said the US government has a “significant role to play” in setting standards and developing tools to mitigate risks and harness the “immense potential” of AI.

Mastercard CEO Michael Miebach said that trust is needed in the technology if AI’s full potential is to be realised.

“That starts with a common set of meaningful standards that protect users and spark inclusive innovation,” he said.

Another Year, Another Round Of Layoffs At PayPal

PayPal has confirmed that in 2024 it will cut 9 percent of its global workforce, totalling about 2,500 jobs, through layoffs and elimination of roles that are currently open.

The move is the first round of layoffs initiated by new CEO Alex Chriss since his appointment in August last year.

“While I have been encouraged by the innovation our team is delivering, we must execute faster and ensure we are focused on solving our customers' most critical needs and problems,” he said.

“Specifically, across our organisation, we need to drive more focus and efficiency, deploy automation, and consolidate our technology to reduce complexity and duplication.”

In February last year, previous CEO Daniel Schulman announced plans to cut 2,000 jobs due to a “challenging macroenvironment”.

In its latest Q4 2023 earnings, PayPal reported a 9 percent rise in revenue and an 8 percent rise in operating profit. PayPal stock tumbled over 10 percent after warning investors of a slowdown in growth in 2024.

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