Morning Brief 12.13.19: Klarna kicks the tires on an IPO

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The information you need to start your day, from PaymentsSource and around the web:

Going public?

Klarna is in the midst of a geographic expansion as it builds a merchant network for its installment payments product, and it may also be prepping an IPO as it battles fintechs such as Affirm and Splitit.

The listing, if it happens, would likely be in the U.S., reports TechCrunch, which quoted Sebastian Siemiatkowski, Klarna's co-founder and CEO, adding the company just opened a development hub in Berlin that will host about 500 of the company's 3,000 employees.

Klarna's investors include Visa, and earlier this year Klarna raised more than $400 million in the private equity market, bringing its valuation to more than $5.5 billion — enough to make it one of Europe's largest technology companies.

Day-to-day AI

Bank of Montreal is adding artificial intelligence to card and check tracking as part of an upgrade that provides tailored tips on financial management.

The bank's responding to an internal survey that says 66% of Canadians are not able to save or cannot pay down debt. The AI feature ties card or check transactions to other accounts to suggest "actionable pathways" to improve financial health.

Banks are increasingly using personal financial management features as a lure to boost their payments businesses by linking e-commerce and faster payment processing to budgeting. AI provides a way to make the budgeting personalized and proactive.

Digital AR race

NAB has added an automated payment rail for B2B payments, which are warming up to electronic transactions after years of clinging to paper billing.

Called Zero, the platform is open to Australian businesses with internet banking. These businesses can execute multiple bill payments simultaneously through Zero and approve transactions through the NAB mobile app.

The integration is designed to avoid downloading invoice files and uploading them to the bank separately.

Fitting room

All-in-one card platform Curve has added to its wearables network by adding Garmin, Fitbit and Sony's Wena Pay in an attempt to build interoperability ahead of an international expansion planned for 2020.

Curve in November added support for Samsung Pay, which followed a crowdfunding campaign in October that raised about $8 million, a relatively small amount though an effective way for Curve to build its audience.

Curve, which competes with fintechs such as Edge and Dynamics in the all-in-one card market, also had a more conventional $55 million venture capital raise over the summer.

From the web

Credit Card Use in the U.S. Remains Strong among Consumers
YAHOO FINANCE | Fri December 13, 2019
Mercator Advisory Group's most recent consumer survey report reveals that the credit card is U.S. consumers' preferred method of payment both online and offline. When shopping in stores, 43% of U.S. consumers prefer to use credit/charge cards, followed by 32% who prefer to use debit and 17% who opt for cash. Further, these findings are on par with last year's results.

Western Union Launches Cross-border Payments to Japan
YAHOO FINANCE | Fri December 13, 2019
Western Union, and City Express have launched a global consumer-to-business (C2B) payment service to enable global used-car enthusiasts to buy from BE FORWARD, one of Japan’s used-car exporters. Western Union’s C2B offering uses the company’s proprietary Quick PaySM service, which is live in eight countries, including the Bahamas, Chile, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mongolia, New Zealand, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Cryptocurrency Is Still the World’s Best Performing Asset Class This Year
COINDESK | Fri December 13, 2019
As the year and decade come to an end, cryptocurrencies once again outperform other major asset classes. Despite trading significantly down from their record highs of late December 2017, large-cap cryptocurrencies had a phenomenal year and remain one of the greatest investment success stories of the decade.

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