Morning Brief 3.12.20: Klarna rival Alma raises $14 million

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Bonjour Alma

Klarna doesn't operate in France, creating an opening for local rivals like Alma, a French startup that just raised $14.1 million in funding, TechCrunch reports.

Alma allows consumers to stagger purchases over three to four payments, and its investors include Idinvest, ISAI and Picus Capital, the article states. Alma also handles risk, which is especially vital in France, which has no central credit scoring system, TechCrunch reports.

Alma plans to expand its merchant base and its range of payment options, as well as improve its checkout integration with merchants.

Gig guarantee

BandPay, an Aventura, Fla.-based startup building a payment platform for musicians, has secured $2 million in funding from an angel investor.

BandPay centers on an app that ensures musicians, producers and other artistic collaborators are paid when they complete a creative project on time, according to a press release.

Project backers contribute money toward music projects in development, and the funds are held securely until completion, when participants are paid based on previously arranged milestones. The app aims to eliminate misunderstandings, “project scope bloat” and fraud, while empowering artists to reduce costs and losses for their creative productions, the release said.

Klarna online

Wirecard is collaborating with Klarna to embed all three of Klarna’s financing options within an e-commerce merchant’s checkout page.

The move enables merchants to offer Klarna’s Pay Now, Pay Later (payment due in 30 days) or Klarna Financing (financing over 36 months) through one integration, a press release said.

Wirecard is rolling the solution out now in Klarna’s home base of Sweden, along with Norway, Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and the U.K., with plans to expand it to the U.S. and Australia later this year.

Paperless

WIC, the federal government’s nutrition program officially known as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, is going fully digital.

State by state, WIC agencies across the U.S. have been introducing electronic benefit cards to replace paper certificates, and on Oct. 1, 2020, all participating retailers must upgrade to eWIC to accept electronic payments.

WIC payment processors also must comply. Raleigh, N.C.-based GK Software recently completed certification for online eWIC payments through Custom Data Processing, so it can manage WIC payments through a unified processor, completing transactions in real time through the merchant’s POS terminal and WIC’s network processor, according to a press release. GK Software’s eWIC certification is live in 20 U.S. states.

Orange zone

Orange Money has expanded to Morocco. The move enables the wireless carrier to offer a mobile wallet linked to its customers’ mobile numbers for making payments at participating retailers through Orange Money Maroc, according to a press release.

Moroccans that are not Orange customers can use Orange Money locally by linking a bank account to the app. Targeting consumers in emerging markets in Africa and the Middle East, Orange Money launched in 2008 and is available in 18 countries.

From the Web

As coronavirus outbreak spreads, banks and credit unions could cut breaks on payments
USA TODAY | Wed March 11, 2020
During the coming weeks, consumers could see similar types of outreach from PNC Bank as the virus spreads in the USA and there may be some front-line impact involving job cuts and other disruptions to the economy. Regulators are worried that if borrowers’ incomes are disrupted, they may not be able to make payments on their loans.

Alibaba Intends to Offer Third-Party Vendor Service on Alipay
YAHOO FINANCE | Thu March 12, 2020
Alibaba Group Holding Limited’s BABA affiliate Ant Financial intends to offer retail, food and healthcare-related services with the help of these vendors on Alipay. The latest strategic move bodes well for the company under the current global health crisis induced by the novel coronavirus, which is placing people under house arrest.

Western Union introduces new payments option for US legal firms
VERDICT | Wed March 11, 2020
Western Union has launched a new incoming payment service for small and medium-sized law firms in the US. Dubbed WU Incoming Payments for Legal, the solution helps law firms eliminate the bank processing fees incurred from incoming foreign payments and receivables.

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