Your Friday fix for global fintech and payments news
Just days after being launched, the Central Bank in Brazil has suspended WhatsApp payments in the country. The news comes with a statement that the bank needs adequate time to determine whether WhatsApp payments meets the rules of the country to ensure “an adequate competitive environment”. In other news, Mastercard announced that COVID-19 has sparked a growing, potentially permanent, transition to digital payments in the APAC region, and Barclaycard data shows that UK retail transactions have grown by 60% as the country sees lockdown measures being loosened.
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.
- Central Bank suspends WhatsApp payment in Brazil
- COVID-19 accelerates switch to digital transactions across APAC
- Barclaycard data shows UK retail transactions grew by 60 per cent last week as stores re-open after lockdown
Despite being launched mere days ago, Brazil’s Central Bank has suspended Facebook’s WhatsApp payments. Brazil was WhatsApp payments’ second-biggest market. The decision has come about as the Central Bank aims to “preserve an adequate competitive environment, that ensures the functioning of a payment system that’s interchangeable, fast, secure, transparent, open and cheap”, according to a statement from the bank.
A spokesperson for WhatsApp, said: “Our goal is to provide digital payments to all WhatsApp users in Brazil using an open model and we will continue to work with local partners and the Central Bank to make this possible.” Brazil’s Central Bank says that the suspension will allow it time to evaluate any possible risk to the country’s payment systems and to determine whether WhatsApp payments meets the necessary rules in the country.
Mastercard reveal that COVID-19 has prompted a fast-tracked transition to digital transactions in the APAC region. According to Mastercard, this switch in consumer behaviour in the region is set to become a permanent habit after the pandemic. The study found that 30% of people in Australia, 49% in India, 55% in China and 34% in Japan said they would make more purchases online while shopping at e-commerce platforms. 71% in Australia, 77% in India, 73% in China and 62% in Japan believe that the shift to contactless payments is permanent.
Sandeep Malhotra, APAC EVP of Products & Innovation at Mastercard, said: “Our shift to digital commerce is here to stay as people embrace the benefits of safety, security and convenience. Consumers now want on-demand products and services – whether it’s food delivery, groceries, fitness courses, telemedicine, conferencing, learning or entertainment. This demand and these expectations will continue to drive e-commerce long after Covid-19 subsides.”
Barclaycard has recently released data showing that UK retail transactions have grown by 60% in the last week. With lockdown measures in the UK being loosened, many UK businesses are re-opening their doors for the first time since lockdown began, which saw an additional 60% of Barclaycard’s customers returning to trading and taking payments compared to the first week of April.
Rob Cameron, CEO of Barclaycard Payments, said: “It’s extremely heartening to witness the spike in activity that took place last week, and with some retailers still to open some or all of their stores, we expect sales volumes to continue to rise over the coming weeks. The ability of UK businesses to adapt and grow as they emerge from lockdown is a testament to how dedicated and resilient they are. It will be interesting to watch whether the measures they took to boost income during lockdown, such as turning to social media to increase sales, will become a permanent part of their business models from now on.”