WEEKLY ROUNDUP - 24.04.2020

Your Friday fix for global fintech and payments news

Is there a new fintech giant on the horizon? Time will tell whether Google will hit the ground running with its newly announced Google smart debit card, that is looking to rival Apple’s position in the payments market. Wirecard make yet another partnership announcement, as it partners with Visa to be their preferred provider of digitalised solutions in the Middle East. Finally, a new report from Verdict reveals the proliferation of cybercriminals seeking to skim online credit card transactions in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

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.

 

  • Google may challenge Apple with own branded payments cards
  • Wirecard, Visa collaborate to deliver digitised solutions in Middle East
  • Banks notice a rise in credit card skimming amid COVID-19

 

Google may challenge Apple with own branded payments cards

Google is reportedly working on creating its own physical and virtual debit cards. The Google card will come with an associated checking/current account, where users will be able to make purchases physically, on a mobile phone or online. This all connects through to a Google app which will allow users to monitor transactions, check their balances, move funds, track purchases, and lock their account should they need to. The app will also have biometric functionality – allowing access through the user’s fingerprint. The virtual version of this card will allow Bluetooth mobile payments to be made, and a virtual card number can also be used to make the payments.

In a company statement, Google said: “We’re exploring how we can partner with banks and credit unions in the US to offer smart checking accounts through Google Pay, helping their customers benefit from useful insights and budgeting tools.” Google previously launched a wallet debit card in 2013 for its app, Google Wallet. The card was discontinued in 2016.

 

Wirecard, Visa collaborate to deliver digitised solutions in Middle East

More news from Wirecard, this week, as they partner with Visa to deliver their digitised solutions in the Middle East. Under the partnership agreement, Wirecard will become the preferred payment processor for Visa in the Middle Eastern region to deliver fast-to-market digitised solutions, providing their financial technology and payment solutions to Visa. This partnership will fall under Visa’s Fintech Fast Track Program in the region, which enables fintech partners the opportunity to develop new commerce experiences through Visa’s global payment network, VisaNet.

Humza Chishti, Middle East Regional Manager at Wirecard, said: “We are excited to be a part of the Visa Fintech Fast Track Program and together, we can continue delivering financial technology innovations to the key Middle East market.” Visa CEMEA Strategic Partnerships, Fintech and Ventures Vice President, Otto Williams, further commented that: “The Visa Fintech Fast Track Program meets fintechs at the speed they work, streamlining access to Visa assets and capabilities, both globally and across the region... This partnership with Wirecard will allow us to continue to enhance the value of fintechs being part of our network and ensure that we work together on innovative new commerce experiences.”

This news comes weeks after Wirecard partnered with SAP and Futur/io to launch ‘Innovation Now’ – a nationwide initiative in Germany that saw the global financial services provider offering discounted ‘assistance packages’ to companies affected by COVID-19; amongst further partnerships with Klarna, and AliPay. Chris Skinner, last week, also commented on Wirecard praising them as one of his “favourite FinTech firms”, large in part to their persistent drive to forge partnerships, co-create, mentor and invest.

 

Banks notice a rise in credit card skimming amid COVID-19

Cybercriminals are currently increasing their focus on digital credit card skimming. While card skimming is a practice commonly carried out with ATMs and physical cards, with nationwide lockdowns in place across multiple parts of the world, and limited opportunities on the high street, fraudsters and cybercriminals are seeking to exploit the huge uptick in people making online payments.

Jérôme Segura, Director of Threat Intelligence at Malwarebytes, an American internet security company, said that: “While digital skimming has been around for many years, the current pandemic creates a unique situation where more online transactions are getting processed than usual … and many folks are learning about shopping online for the first time.”

Fraudsters can target people making online payments by injecting malware into a shopping payment page with the goal of stealing credit card information. Segura warned the best ways to avoid such pitfalls of online shopping are to avoid having credit card information stored in too many different sites, to use reliable antivirus software, and to check your bank statements on a regular basis.