“We’re all in it together” is the overriding sentiment this week as the payments industry sees companies coming together and collaborating where possible in the global response to COVID-19. Global financial services provider, Wirecard, has announced its ‘Innovation Now’ initiative to assist merchants at this time, as British bank Lloyds Banking Group opens a dedicated service line for vulnerable customers and NHS staff. Reports from this week also highlight that COVID-19 has prompted a rise in the use of fintech apps by as much as 72%.
Our weekly round-up brings you a dose of some of the biggest news announcements from the past seven days so you can keep an eye on all that’s shaping our world this week.
- Wirecard, SAP and Futur/io launch ‘Innovation Now’ to assist merchants amid COVID-19
- Lloyds Banking Group opens dedicated call line for vulnerable customers and NHS staff
- Coronavirus drives 72% rise in use of fintech apps
Global financial services provider, Wirecard, has this week launched its ‘Innovation Now’ initiative alongside European multinational software corporation, SAP, and European innovation platform, Futur/io. The initiative will see Wirecard offering its services to businesses affected by COVID-19, through “assistance packages” delivered via the platform. The aim of the initiative is to bring together the offerings of all major tech companies in Germany and make them more easily accessible to companies affected by the pandemic. One such offering is a free online payments solution called ‘Pay-by-Link’, which lets merchants receive real-time payments, even if they do not have an e-commerce site. Catering for all size of businesses, its assistance packages are described as “discounted” and “low cost” at a time when many services are being made available free of charge.
Wirecard, SAP, and Futur/io are actively encouraging other leading companies to participate in the initiative. Wirecard’s EVP of Innovation Labs and Value-Added Services, Jörn Leogrande, commented that: “Now, more than ever, it is important that we act together, and combine and share our knowledge.”
Lloyds Banking Group has opened a dedicated phone line for customers over the age of 70 and NHS staff, as it deals with a huge upsurge in calls from concerned customers. In an effort to make services more accessible to those who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, and those who cannot easily access bank services, the bank has decided to open a specific line to ensure that certain groups don’t get left behind. In addition to various in-branch social distancing measures, the bank has announced a relaxing of the restrictions preventing third parties from carrying out banking procedures on behalf of account holders. The bank is allowing customers to nominate a trusted person to perform banking services on their behalf if they are unable to leave their home. To do this, the bank telephones the customer in question to ensure they know the nominated person, in order to authorise them to make cash withdrawals on the account holders behalf, up to a value of £100.
In a company statement, Lloyds Banking Group announced the move was a measure to help those who need the bank’s support most. Retail Director of Lloyds Banking Group, Vim Maru, continued by stating that: “The new measures we’ve announced will allow us to offer more practical support to our most vulnerable customers, ensuring we can prioritise their calls and give them access to their cash.” The measures will apply to all brands underneath the Lloyds Banking Group umbrella, including Lloyds Bank, Halifax, and Bank of Scotland.
According to recent research conducted this week by deVere Group, the COVID-19 virus has driven a 72% rise in the use of fintech apps such as e-money currency apps and investment and savings apps. The Swiss-based financial services company announced that the massive upsurge in fintech app usage will likely become a mainstay for many of us during lockdown. Divisional Manager of Europe at deVere Group, James Green, commented that: “The world has changed in the last few weeks. The measures we’re now all taking to help the fight back against coronavirus are affecting the way we interact, live, work, and take care of our finances." One can expect such numbers to increase further, as a general growth in usage has emerged in digital technology across the world. "A new era has already begun, with digitalisation and new technologies driving the shift," Green concluded.