Morning Brief 8.6.30: eBay tests small-business lending

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Capital idea

eBay and LendingPoint have entered a partnership to extend funding to U.S. sellers, an important service for fintechs looking to maintain relationships with small businesses hurt by the pandemic.

The two companies will offer digital access to installment loans and varied repayment options. Called eBay Seller Capital, the feature is currently in pilot testing ahead of a planned rollout nationally by the end of 2020. eBay's PayPal separation recently completed, giving eBay the ability to more aggressively add merchant services.

Firms like PayPal, Kabbage and Square have also made lending part of their outreach to sellers on their sites. These are existing programs that have accelerated during government relief programs.

PSD2 in the mail

PostePay has hired payment and financial messaging company Volante Technologies to boost Poste Italiane Group's upgrade, including open banking, instant payments and a gateway to interbank networks.

Volante will supply a cloud-based architecture to adhere to Europe's PSD2 regulation, which mandates data sharing between banks and third parties. The partnership also will provide more access to Postpay's contactless QR code payment feature.

Poste Italiane has more than 14 million accounts, making it one of the largest electronic money institutions in Italy, with more than 28 million cards in circulation and about 1.4 billion payments processed in 2019.

Go to High Street

Amazon is reportedly scouting locations in London in anticipation of opening checkout-free Go stores by the end of 2020.

The e-commerce company is looking at bookstores and mini-marts, which have layouts most conducive to the relatively small spaces that can currently accommodate checkout-free stores, reports OnlyinLondon, adding these stores are often near transit hubs.

Amazon recently opened a larger Go store in Seattle, in a location that's as large as an average Whole Foods location. Amazon is also testing shopping carts that contain checkout-free technology

Latest installment

Point of sale credit firm Splitit has raised $71.5 million in a private placement following record growth in the most recent quarter. Splitit reported more than $65 million in merchant sales volume, a 260% year over year growth rate and 176% higher than the prior quarter.

Woodson Capital Management was among the investors, and Splitit will use the funds to accelerate sales and marketing. Splitit's model is different from most other buy now/pay later firms in that it relies on existing card accounts to make enrollment easier.

BNPL firms have grown quickly during the pandemic as consumers look for alternatives to credit card debt and firms like Affirm and Klarna report exponential growth.

Uncorked

California wineries haven’t fully reopened — only outdoor tastings are permitted — but Pasadena-based Vertical Finance is preparing for post-pandemic life by launching the Grand Reserve World Mastercard rewards credit card with exclusive benefits at wineries nationwide.

The new card challenges conventional industry wisdom by charging a $149 annual fee at a time when travel and leisure-based rewards credit card issuers are seeing steep losses due to coronavirus restrictions and financial pressures.

The Grand Reserve card is issued by Salt Lake City, Utah-based Celtic Bank & Trust and powered by Silicon Valley-based Deserve, a digital-first card-issuing platform that specializes in getting new credit card programs to market within 90 days. Deserve launched in 2017 and has raised almost $240 million in VC funds to date, including $50 million in a single funding round last year that involved Apple Card backer Goldman Sachs.

Going social

Klarna, nearing the five-year mark of its U.S. launch, has been steadily moving its buy now, pay later experience from retailers’ websites to its own app.

This week Klarna added a twist enabling consumers to create wish lists of products from any online store for items that others can follow within the app or on social media sites like Instagram.

Shoppers, brands and style influencers can create wish lists and share them to social media sites by clicking a link, with Sephora and Adidas among the first brands to launch shoppable wish lists. The move aims to give Klarna a single destination to manage buy now, pay later purchases in a niche that’s becoming increasingly competitive.

From the Web

Buy now, pay later firm Sezzle tests the waters in India for year-end launch
REUTERS | Thursday Aug 6 2020
Sezzle Inc is testing its buy-now-pay-later service in India for a potential launch at the end of the year, its chief executive officer said, capitalising on rapid global growth in online shopping as competition intensifies in the sector.

DoorDash launches a convenience store
TECHCRUNCH | Wednesday Aug 5 2020
On-demand delivery startup DoorDash has launched a digital storefront to sell household items, as well as the types of things you’d find at a convenience store.

Why Ukraine Is Ripe for Cryptocurrency Adoption
COINDESK | Wednesday Aug 5 2020
A relatively unstable state – with a technically sophisticated population – creates a fertile ground for crypto adoption. Now, regulators are working with Ukraine’s crypto entrepreneurs to decide the future of digital currency.

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