WEEKLY ROUNDUP - 05.03.2021

Your Friday fix for global fintech and payments news

With the UK budget announcement disclosing the information that the UK contactless limit will now be raised to £100, retailers are rejoicing whilst banks are encouraging the government to raise the limit in smaller increments. In other news this week, we are covering the rapid increase in chargeable ATMs in the UK, the spike in e-commerce in the US during the pandemic, and the news that BNPL service provider Klarna are planning further international expansion.

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.

  • Free-to-use ATMs disappearing from UK high streets
  • Pandemic fuelled 32.4% e-commerce surge in 2020
  • Klarna raises $1bn to drive international expansion

 

Free-to-use ATMs disappearing from UK high streets

Information from independent consumer organisation Which? shows that the number of people having to pay to use their local cash machine has seen a rapid increase.

Which? is putting pressure on the UK government to consider members of the population who[KB1]  still rely on the use of the free-to-use ATM. Some of England’s most deprived areas have seen an increase in the amount of chargeable ATMs, with some charging up to £2 per withdrawal. Which? is asking the government to provide clarity and direction on the role of cash in the future.

Which? Head of Money, Gareth Shaw said: “Legislation is a fundamental part of this, and there is an urgent need for a clear timeframe for when it will be in place, so that industry and regulators can work with the government to ensure that cash is protected as a payment method for those who have no other option.”

 

Pandemic fuelled 32.4% e-commerce surge in 2020

The US saw a huge jump in online sales in Q2 of 2020 - 44.4% higher than the same time the previous year. According to news source CNBC: "Consumers filled up their virtual shopping carts with products that they might not have otherwise ordered online."

According to analysts Digital360, the pandemic meant that consumers got a lot more comfortable with online shopping, while e-commerce companies have been improving the online experience for their customers.

Although the rate slowed down towards the end of the year, as restrictions were lifted and people ventured back to physical stores, e-commerce sales were still going strong and totalled $791.7 billion - an increase of 32.4% on 2019.

 

Klarna raises $1bn to drive international expansion

BNPL giant Klarna has announced further international expansion and global retail growth plans during a recent equity funding round. The Sweden-based service provider had a recent valuation of $31 billion and committed 1% of the new capital to support key sustainability challengers across the globe.

 Sebastian Siemiatkowski, Klarna co-founder and CEO said: “At Klarna, we solve problems – that is the heart of what we do for both consumers and retailers. Consumers want transparent products to help them bank, shop and pay that reflect the way they live their lives, not just outdated traditional models.”