Morning Brief 2.24.20: Intuit nears Credit Karma acquisition

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A larger gig

Intuit wants to expand its role in direct consumer finance through a potential $7 billion deal to acquire Credit Karma, according to The New York Times and other media reports that an acquisition is close.

Intuit, which sells Turbo Tax, would be able to offer free credit scores to consumers, as well as borrowing history. Intuit has added services over the past few years to appeal to the growing economy for contract workers, such as same day deposits and streamlined transfers through arrangements with Visa and Bancorp Bank.

Intuit also operates Mint, the personal finance management app. Adding Credit Karma would provide an added source of data that could feed credit products tied to its other services.

Taking a toll

Paytm Payments Bank has set up a service that allows about 100,000 ride hailing app drivers to buy FASTags, which allow seamless toll payments.

The service covers Ola and Uber, with more than a dozen retail locations selling the tags in India's largest cities, such as Bangalore, Chennai Kerala, and Pune. Paytm is also partnering with Ola to support automatic digital toll payments at airports, reports Economic Times in India.

It's a score for Ola and Uber, since Paytm's FASTags don't require a distinct prepaid account. Instead, funds are automatically deducted from the Paytm Wallet, and balances can be used for other payments.

Closed casino

National Australia bank is allowing consumers to block gambling transactions through its mobile banking app.

The restrictions cover Visa credit and debit cards, with the controls requiring a single touch.

The bank is positioning the move as a financial control issue, adding Australians spent $25 billion on gambling in 2018, up 5% from the prior year, citing government statistics. The bank also cited statistics from the NAB Australian Wellbeing Survey, which said 25% of Australians had experienced financial anxiety over the past four months.

Not a bit

Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales is not a fan of cryptocurrency, adding he does not think there is a use case for crowdsourced encyclopedia support crypto or blockchain technology.

Wales also thinks cryptocurrency would damage Wikipedia's "vision" by creating the potential for people to pay for content on the site, reports Coindesk, quoting Wales at a cryptocurrency conference in London.

Cryptocurrency advocates have pitched Wikipedia on ideas to reward content creators and editors, but Wales said he has turned them down.

Yellow card

Swiss regulators have reprimanded Julius Baer for lax money laundering risk management, including payments to corrupt parties in Venezuela and the soccer association FIFA.

In some cases, the bank processed payments for clients that were under investigation for corruption, according to Reuters, which reported regulators found "scores" of failings.

However, regulators have not fined the bank at this point, nor ordered it to return profits from the suspect transactions. The bank acknowledged its "shortcomings," Reuters reports.

From the Web

Scammers & Robocallers Are Dialing Up ID Theft Efforts During Tax Season
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Carmel man indicted in alleged $2 million eBay, PayPal fraud scheme
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Fintech startups raised $34B in 2019
TECHCRUNCH | Sun February 23, 2020
Financial services startups raised less money in 2019 than they did in 2018 as VC firms looked to back late stage firms and focused on developing markets, a new report has revealed. According to research firm CB Insights’ annual report, fintech startups across the world raised $33.9 billion in total last year across 1,912 deals, down from $40.8 billion they picked up by participating in 2,049 deals the year before.

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