In payments, like in most other FinTech segments, the comprehensiveness of services leads to convenience for the end-user and businesses. The culture of convenience led consumers to a strong preference of most seamless experiences, encompassing various aspects of every payment – security of information, loyalty points, rewards, pay-to-purchase time, merchant acceptance, etc. It’s like the army of thousands of FinTech startups operating in the payments segment will shrink down to a handful of most comprehensive solutions, whether through a wave of M&As or natural selection in the FinTech industry.
While the startup community is still largely in the competitive phase, the institutional sector and the most of the big FinTechs (PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.) are on the path of establishing control over the market using the same strategy – offering the most comprehensive answer and meeting the widest array of needs of a large group of end-users.
Pick #1. Braintree Launches Extend to Integrate Loyalty, Fraud Prevention, and Other Services Into Payments
Braintree, the division of PayPal that provides payment services to e-commerce and other online businesses, is launching a new solution called Extend – a set of tools to integrate Braintree payments more closely and easily with other services that online companies are using alongside basic transactions.
The set of services that are being launched today include integrating loyalty and reward schemes, adding fraud prevention and ‘contextual commerce’ – or the ability for a merchant to sell an item and take payment on a platform that is not its own.
While Extend is a new solution, some of the services, such as the contextual commerce option, were already being offered – this is what used to power Pinterest’s buyable pins, for example.
Pick #2. SimbaPay Launches Pan-Africa Remittances Chatbot in Collaboration with Interswitch
SimbaPay, a London-based digital money transfer provider, announced the launch of an AI-powered chatbot service which makes remittance possible with just an SMS. All that’s required from the user is the recipient’s phone number and the chatbot will automatically obtain the recipient bank account or mobile money details.
The SimbaPay chatbot will also enable 24/7 instant customer service for its customers across Africa and Europe. In some instances, recipients may not have a smartphone or internet data bundles or airtime credit. To address this, the SimbaPay chatbot is accessible through SMS for free.
In partnership with Interswitch, SimbaPay’s B2B division offers its instant remittance technology to banks and telcos who want to provide their customers with a modern digital remittance service.
Pick #3. In China’s Payment War, Walmart Places Bet on Tencent
Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, had dropped the Alibaba-linked Alipay in all its stores in the western region of China after agreeing to a tie-up with Tencent to use its WeChat payment system.
The Western China region is a large area that includes provinces like Sichuan, Yunnan, and Gansu. It is, however, more sparsely populated than the wealthier eastern part of the country.
“In the future, Walmart will cooperate with more partners to provide payment solutions with more convenience and benefits,” a Walmart spokeswoman said, adding the firm accepted payment methods including cash, cards, and mobile payments.
Pick #4. Axiom Bank Empowers Traditionally Underbanked Community with AxiomGo Launch
Axiom Bank, the second largest community bank in Florida, launched AxiomGo, an all-digital checkless checking account for people who want an alternative to prepaid cards and traditional checking.
The bank officially launched AxiomGo in December 2017, and the adoption and usage rates, especially among Android users, have increased almost by 300%. Designed for the underbanked, the app has a Spanish-language option and enables users to open, fund an account as well as set up direct deposit with a few simple taps on their smartphone.
Additionally, app users can pay bills by simply snapping a photo, pay a friend, deposit checks, view e-statements, receive account alerts, transfer funds, and access built-in budgeting & personal finance management tools.
Pick #5. Amazon Targets French Grocery Market with Monoprix Deal
Amazon has made further inroads into food retail in France as Casino’s upmarket Monoprix chain became the first local retailer to agree to sell groceries via Amazon. Groceries sourced from Monoprix will be available in the Amazon Prime Now app and website through a dedicated virtual store.
Monoprix is one of France’s best-known store chains, with a network of nearly 800 upmarket stores in more than 250 cities. It has a strong focus on quality and fresh products in the mold of Whole Foods and is a key contributor to Casino group profit.