As the trusted and proven Paytech Pioneer™ uniquely focused on supporting the growth journeys of our customers, nothing gets us more excited than when we see our customers and partners dominating the payments news agenda. That’s why each month we update our ‘Making Headlines’ blog series to bring you some of the highlights from our customers and partners in the last month, from acquisitions to significant customer milestones, right through to innovative features and strategic partnerships. Let’s go! 👇
📅 2021 is the Year of the Issuer Processor
This month saw big news for the issuer processor space in the form of Marqeta’s initial public offering (IPO). The US payment giant’s $16 billion IPO represents a ‘tipping point’ for investors, who are now beginning to wake up to the immense value of the technology providers and enablers behind some of the world's most valuable fintechs. To celebrate Marqeta’s success, GPS’ Chief Executive Officer, Joanne Dewar, shared her thoughts with Nasdaq on the rise of next generation payments and the huge hyper-growth opportunity across the globe.
✈️ Passport to a post-Covid world
As the world starts to open back up and travel no longer seems a distant memory, our attention has turned to widening access to cross-border payments for financial institutions and fintechs with our partner Currencycloud. Leveraging each other’s expertise, we now enable businesses to offer their customers a compliance and regulatory infrastructure, cross-border payments infrastructure, real-time FX for overseas card transactions, access to a global banking network, multi-currency accounts, banking cards and so much more.
In June’s episode of the EPA Insights podcast, 'The Evolution of Cross-Border Payments’, our Chief Risk and Compliance Officer, Lisa Grahame, joined a panel of industry experts to share her views on the future of cross-border payments. Lisa was also part of a cross-border payments consultation with the Bank of England, as part of the EPA’s Project International Trade, of which GPS is a benefactor. Things are looking up for cross-border payment innovation in Europe!
Next up in the travel space was the announcement of Caxton’s super smooth migration of its award-winning Mastercard card programme to its new partners PSI-Pay Ltd and GPS! A leader in foreign exchange services, Caxton offers bank rate beating currency cards and payments. Following its migration, it continues to service its growing band of customers as travel corridors re-open.
Exciting news for our customer Ixaris, as Singapore-based cross-border money transfer operator Nium, who is also a GPS partner, is set to buy the company. Providing flexible funding and payment methods, Ixaris helps airlines and travel agents flatten FX fees and streamline reconciliation. The acquisition is set to help Nium’s efforts to provide one API integration to access the world’s payments infrastructure, as well as expand its geographic reach ahead of a planned IPO in the US within the next two years.
Environmental responsibility is the direction of travel for pliant as it revealed it is set to launch a corporate credit card that promises to ensure carbon neutral travel. Available from this month, the card will be synced with an app that automatically calculates CO2 offsets for travel. The company is also stressing that customers are rewarded for spending through cashback, rather than the ‘false incentives’ of bonus miles.
Currensea went live this month with TV advertisements across the UK showcasing a different way for customers to spend - a direct debit travel card that connects with customer bank accounts. Currensea offers consumers, and now small businesses, zero foreign exchange fees on overseas card payments, without having to top up a prepaid card. Currensea uses open banking to partner with all the major high street banks, as well as several environmental organisations, to help offer a sustainable travel payments solution.
🏅 Smashing company milestones
A huge milestone for any company, WeLab Bank has reached an incredible 100,000 customers within a year of launching, with the virtual bank also introducing its Apple Pay functionality in the same month, which GPS helped bring to market. Customers no longer have to touch physical PIN pad buttons or exchange cash; instead they now just have to hold their iPhone or Apple Watch close to a payment terminal in order to make a contactless payment. A definite win for the post-Covid environment in the booming Asia Pacific region.
Following suit is Zilch who have just celebrated a monumental milestone themselves by surpassing 500,000 users this month! The good news just keeps on rolling in for the London-based start up, which recently raised $80 million in a series B funding round – having now raised more than $120 million in the last two years – and is now valued at $500 million.
In more celebratory news, corporate payments solutions company Reap turned three this month! Setting out to fuel the ambitions of businesses, Reap provides key tools for business growth including online payments and expense management. We look forward to supporting its innovative solution in the years to come!
📈 Innovation for growth
UK-based fintech Ziglu has launched a new investment product called Sterling Boost, offering an interest rate of 5%. Mark Hipperson, founder and CEO of Ziglu, said, “We have launched Sterling Boost to provide a better return than cash, and without the price changes of the cryptocurrency markets. It makes use of the opportunities presented by stablecoins and decentralised finance to provide a great return to investors.”
It’s a win-win in the latest innovation from Intercash and Canadian video game company Ascendance Games. In an exciting new gaming feature for multiplayer PC games, players earn points when winning battles and in-game tournaments, which can then be used to redeem in-game items such as player skins, weapons and more. With the support of Intercash, Ascendance Games will now be able to set itself apart from the competition by issuing virtual prepaid cards to its players and allowing them to redeem points for real cash, loaded directly onto the card.
With talks of growth slowing amongst fintech companies during the pandemic, Revolut has reported its financials this month, with a total of £261 million amassed in revenue, which is a 57% increase compared to 2019 revenue of £166 million. Foreign exchange and wealth made up £80 million in revenue while subscriptions, such as Revolut Plus, Revolut Premium and Revolut Metal, accounted for £75 million. The company also launched a new Points feature in the UK, allowing customers to earn points when they use their Revolut app or card, and added Dogecoin (DOGE) into its crypto offerings.
Curve is powering the latest innovation from Samsung Pay which allows customers to earn up to 20% cashback with major UK brands. Like shopping at the likes of Dunelm, Harvey Nichols and Kate Spade? Then you’re in for a treat. Samsung Pay+ is a digital card that simplifies spending, allowing customers to use any major UK bank card from their Samsung smartphone or smartwatch, and earn cashback along the way.
🚀 Branching out to crypto
Crypto continues to be a hot topic across many verticals with gaming
behemoth, Razer, announcing that it is eyeing a move into the space. Tan Min-Liang, Chief Executive of Razer, said: "With our global reach to hundreds of millions of gamers and the youth worldwide, (and) our Razer Gold and fintech businesses that process billions of dollars worldwide, the potential for blockchain and crypto applications is quite clear.” Stay tuned.
Last but by no means least, is the increasing conversation around industry heavyweight Visa taking cryptocurrency seriously. What are the five key digital currency opportunities that Visa has identified? And what are its views on the potential in B2B payments, as well as the cross-border opportunity? Nikola Plecas, head of new payment flows, Visa Consulting and Analytics, Europe at Visa speaks to Forbes on the wonderful world of digital currencies.
That’s it for June’s installation of our Making Headlines blog! Check out our blog next month for more stories on innovation and expansion in the fintech world, or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for more updates.