WEEKLY ROUNDUP - 21.08.2020

Your Friday fix for global fintech and payments news


This week’s news has been focussed on the hugely popular short video sharing app, TikTok, and the race for interest in buying the US operation. While big players are fighting that out, stories shaping the payments and banking world from this week include voice biometrics breaking into Malaysia, a huge increase in the issuance of contactless cards in India, and just how much Brits are avoiding cash.

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.

  • HSBC debuts voice biometrics solution for Malaysian customers
  • Indian banks issued 16 million debit cards amid Covid-19 lockdown
  • Brits shunning cash over misplaced fears about Coronavirus spread


HSBC debuts voice biometrics solution for Malaysian customers

Enrolled HSBC customers in Malaysia will be able to use their voice to access their bank account information via phone. The Voice ID solution eradicates the need to remember passwords and answers to security questions and aims to provide an additional layer of security for customers in the fight against fraud.

The Voice ID solution is currently used in the UK, UAE and Hong Kong and supports English, Mandarin and Bahasa Malaysia languages.

HSBC Malaysia’s Head of Wealth and Personal Banking, Tara Latini said: “With the introduction of our Voice ID solution, retail customers in Malaysia will have even quicker and easier access to their bank accounts while leveraging a more secure form of identification; using customers’ unique voiceprint which will help protect their accounts against fraud.”


Indian banks issued 16 million debit cards amid Covid-19 lockdown

The demand for contactless enabled cards has undoubtedly heightened during the pandemic. India’s banking regulator was already urging banks to replace old magnetic stripe cards for contactless, but during lockdown the country issued over 16 million new contactless enabled debit cards. According to data from the Reserve Bank of India, the number of debit cards in circulation at the end of June was 845.4 million.

A public sector banker told the Economic Times: “The pandemic has brought in better use case scenarios for digital payments, where we issued a lot of debit cards to new customers opening bank accounts to access government payments.Some of it was also to customers who upgraded to chip and PIN cards as we migrated from magnetic stripe cards.”


Brits shunning cash over misplaced fears about Coronavirus spread

A GoCompare Money study shows that some UK consumers are already living a cashless life (14%) and 16% would be happy to. A third of respondents answered that they are avoiding cash because of the potential risk of spreading Coronavirus, despite reassurances from the World Health Organisation.

A large majority of the 2,000 respondents have used a contactless card during the pandemic and a significant amount have also used other methods of payment including PayPal (61%), mobile payments (15%) and BACS (15%). Interestingly, 27% of the respondents have not used cash at all as a payment method during the pandemic.

Lee Griffin, CEO and Founder of GoCompare, comments: “In early March, there were news reports about the spread of the Coronavirus on banknotes and coins. However, the Bank of England and the World Health Organisation have stressed that cash doesn’t pose any greater risk than any other items and, repeated the advice on regular hand washing. However, from the results of our survey, it’s clear that many people remain concerned about the potential of money to be contaminated."