Daily Dash: Visa Completes $1bn Acquisition Of Pismo Card-Issuing Platform

January 25, 2024
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Visa has sealed a major acquisition of Pismo, a global cloud-native issuer processing platform, and Germany’s financial regulator has named operational resilience as one of its key focuses in 2024.

Visa Completes $1bn Acquisition Of Pismo Card-Issuing Platform

Visa has announced that it has completed its acquisition of Pismo, a global cloud-native issuer processing and core banking platform, for $1bn in cash.

The acquisition will provide clients with core banking and issuer processing capabilities across credit, debit, prepaid and commercial cards via cloud native APIs.

Pismo’s platform will also enable Visa to provide support and connectivity for emerging payment schemes and instant payment networks, such as Pix in Brazil, for financial institution (FI) clients.

“The combination of Visa and Pismo will enable our clients to launch innovative payments and banking products within a single cloud-native platform regardless of network, geography, or currency,” said Ricardo Josua, co-founder and CEO of Pismo.

Based in São Paulo, Brazil, Pismo has operations in Latin America, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

BaFin Increases Focus On Operational Resilience In 2024

Germany’s financial regulator, BaFin, has said in a new report that mitigating IT risks will be one of its key focuses in 2024, as the agency warns of disruption due to cyber-attacks.

BaFin has pointed out that in some sectors in Germany, a small number of specialised IT service providers serve a large proportion of banks and insurers, and this concentration poses risks.

“Companies in the financial sector must be resilient to both financial and operational risks,” said BaFin chief Mark Branson at a press briefing to mark the publication of the report. 

According to Branson, who previously headed Switzerland’s financial regulator, many institutions in the financial industry are currently reporting strong to very strong profits. 

But he warned that these profits should not only benefit shareholders.

“Institutions shouldn’t underestimate risk provisioning needs, and, more than ever, companies should be investing in their operational security and stability,” he said.

Worldline Expands Paytech Partnership With Google Cloud

Worldline has announced an expansion of its partnership with Google Cloud in an effort to improve the speed, security, cost and strategic positioning of its paytech infrastructure.

Under the expanded partnership, Worldline will serve as one of Google’s key payment providers in Europe and across multiple jurisdictions.

Worldline aims to provide Google customers with more advanced payment options, support for more payment networks, improved cross-border conversion and a more streamlined customer experience.

“The strategic partnership between Google and Worldline will ultimately create a powerful ecosystem of improved product offerings delivering added value to merchants and banks,” Worldline said.

“By combining their expertise and their specialised knowledge and resources, Google and Worldline will be able to deliver improved payment experiences and accelerate time-to-market.”

Instant Payments A 'Must-Have' For US Banks, Says New Volante Survey

Volante Technologies has published its third annual report on payment modernisation among mid-tier banks in the US, finding high enthusiasm for instant payments.

Based on interviews with 70 senior executives at mid-tier banks, Volante found that 78 percent of respondents say that instant payments are a “must-have” for their organisation.

Following the launch of FedNow in July 2023, most mid-tier banks have firm FedNow plans, with a 50 percent year-over-year uptick in respondents who say they plan to connect within a year or sooner.

Similarly, more than a quarter of those planning to connect to RTP from The Clearing House expect to do so within a year, and connecting to either FedNow or RTP is the top modernisation priority across all asset tiers.

Replacing legacy wire processing systems ranked second in modernisation priority, likely due to the March 2025 deadline for financial institutions in the US to adopt ISO 20022.

Warning Issued Over Fake Video Of Hong Kong Central Bank Chief

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has issued a public alert regarding a video circulating online that purports to show an interview with chief executive Eddie Yue.

In the video, the person who is impersonating Yue is talking to a supposed journalist about an investment opportunity.

“The HKMA has clarified that the related content and remarks are all fake,” said the central bank.

“The public should disregard any information disseminated on suspicious websites or social media pages. The incident has been reported to Police for follow up.”

Spotify 'Outraged' By Apple's New 27 Percent Commission On In-App Payments

Music streaming app Spotify has described Apple’s latest in-app payments policies as an “outrageous” affront to competition and user choice.

Following a three-year antitrust lawsuit brought by Epic Games, Apple has agreed to allow developers to redirect users to external payment methods, but the technology giant will still take a 27 percent commission on these payments.

“Once again, Apple has demonstrated that they will stop at nothing to protect the profits they exact on the backs of developers and consumers under their app store monopoly,” Spotify said in a statement provided to FT.

“Their latest move in the US is outrageous and flies in the face of the court’s efforts to enable greater competition and user choice.”

Spotify added that the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) will “finally put an end” to Apple’s gouging of developers through high commissions.

“We strongly urge the European Commission to act swiftly and decisively to prevent Apple from implementing similar fees, which are prohibited under the DMA,” the company said.

Crédit Agricole Becomes Worldline Minority Shareholder 

French banking giant Crédit Agricole has acquired a 7 percent stake in the global payment services company Worldline.

Crédit Agricole was already a commercial partner of Worldline, after the two companies entered into a long-term strategic partnership in merchant services last year.  

It is hoped that the partnership will enable the creation of a joint venture with the ambition of becoming a major player in France’s payments market.

The partnership will leverage the technological performance and innovation of Worldline and the commercial strength and distribution networks of Crédit Agricole, the companies said.

US Government Agency Loses $7.5m To Payment System Hack

Hackers who gained access to the payment system of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) managed to drain the agency of about $7.5m in a series of cyberattacks.

The attacks took place between March and November last year and targeted HHS Payment Management Services — the system that processes payments to grant recipients.

The attackers used “spear-phishing” emails to gain access to funds that were supposed to be sent to five grantee accounts.

Spear-phishing is when a hacker poses as a trusted sender to induce members of an organisation to reveal confidential information.

In an email statement provided to Bloomberg, an HHS spokesperson said: "This matter has been referred to the Office of Inspector General (OIG). As federal stewards of the taxpayer dollar, we take this issue with the utmost importance."

EU Launches New Sanctions Framework Targeting Hamas 

The Council of the European Union has established a framework that will allow the bloc to penalise any individual or entity who supports, facilitates or enables violent actions by Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

Under the new regime, the EU may target those who support, materially or financially, Hamas or the PIJ. It may also target those who participate in the planning, preparation or enabling of violent actions by Hamas or the PIJ. 

In addition to these rules, which will remain in place until January 19, 2025, the Council designated six individuals of different nationalities for providing financial support to Hamas.

Included are Sudan-based financier Abdelbasit Hamza Elhassan Mohamed Khair; owner of Shuman for Currency Exchange SARL Nabil Chouman; the former's son, Khaled Chouman; senior Hamas financier Rida Ali Khamis; senior Hamas operative Musa Dudin and Algeria-based financier Aiman Ahmad Al Duwaik.

Those designated under the sanctions regime are subject to an asset freeze, meaning that the provision of funds or economic resources — directly or indirectly — to them or for their benefit is prohibited.

Trustly Completes SlimPay Merger Following Regulatory Approval In France

Stockholm-based open banking provider Trustly has merged with France’s SlimPay following regulatory approvals from the French Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority (ACPR).

The merger will bring together Trustly's open banking platform, which is currently used by international brands including eBay and Booking.com, with SlimPay’s recurring payments technology.

The acquisition follows the launch of Trustly Azura, a payments engine that enhances user experiences through personalisation and data optimisation.

The addition of SlimPay's capabilities is expected to further augment the network effect of Azura, providing an easier and more efficient payment process for an expanding customer base.

Through the merger, Trustly aims to deliver faster and more convenient payments to consumers, as Trustly's presence at checkout means no more manual detail entry.

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