The Week in Review

The Week in Review

Friday November 27, 2020 –

Here are the new and noteworthy stories we have been following this week.

Visa Commercial Pay Brings Virtual Card Capabilities to Clients and Partners Worldwide

Visa and Conferma Pay have announced a strategic partnership to launch Visa Commercial Pay, a suite of B2B payment solutions; at its core, Visa Commercial Pay is a virtual commercial card solution and features three B2B payment offerings: Visa Commercial Pay Mobile app, Visa Commercial Pay Travel, and Visa Commercial Pay B2B.

Bank Applications Get a Coronavirus Boost

Consumer lender Oportun has filed documentation to start its own bank becoming the latest company to apply for a banking license (Figure Technologies applied earlier in November); according to the OCC, ten companies have filed applications for a new national bank charter in the fiscal year through September 30. 

Payments Startup Stripe in Talks for Funding at $70 Billion Valuation or More

Stripe is reportedly in discussions to raise new funding at a valuation of between $70 billion to $100 billion (up from $36 billion in April); Stripe, along with other e-commerce merchant acquirers like Adyen continue to benefit from soaring COVID-19 driven e-commerce sales volume.

Mobile banking app Current raises $131M Series C, tops 2 million members

US digital bank Current has raised $131 million in Series C funding, led by Tiger Global Management; the new financing brings Current to over $180 million in total funding to date, and gives the company a valuation of $750 million.

HMBradley raises $18.25 million for savings-focused banking platform

US digital financial services provider HMBradley has raised $18.25 million in a series A funding round led by Acrew Capital; HMBradley focuses on encouraging savings through a tiered rate structure with APY’s ranging from 0.5% to 3% and also offers a credit card that pays back 3% for the highest spending category.

Nets and Worldline take stakes in bank-backed rival to Visa and Mastercard

Worldline and Nets have become shareholders in the European Payments Initiative (EPI), a bank-backed joint venture that aims to create a unified pan-European payment system; Worldline and Nets are the first non-banks to sign up to the scheme as shareholders.

Facebook’s Libra currency to launch next year in limited format

Facebook’s digital currency Libra is preparing to launch as early as January with the exact date to be determined based on approval from the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority; while originally envisaged as a synthetic coin backed by a basket of currencies, the Libra Association will initially launch a single coin backed one-for-one by the dollar.

Iceland goes live with new RTGS and instant payments platform

The Central Bank of Iceland (which manages all interbank payments) has gone live with a new real-time gross settlement system (RTGS) and instant payment platform; the new system has been developed by Italy’s SIA, and the new payments infrastructure has been implemented as a single platform capable of processing bank-to-bank, P2P, P2B and B2B transactions in a consolidated operating model.

GM Plans to Seek Banking Charter to Grow Auto-Lending Business

GM is reportedly planning to seek a banking charter that would allow it to accept deposits and expand its auto lending business; according to various people, GM has been speaking with regulators about an industrial-loan charter and could file an application next month.  (Recall, the old GMAC had to be bailed out and eventually became Ally Financial.)