5.23.19 Your morning briefing

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

Closed gates
Nepal has banned WeChat Pay and Alipay, contending the apps are illegal and hurt the country's economy.

Nepal's central bank says the Chinese wallet apps are not registered with local regulators but are widely used by Chinese tourists, reports Reuters. Nepal's government also threatened to punish anyone who uses WeChat Pay and Alipay in Nepal. Both companies told Reuters they comply with local regulations in all countries in their global networks.

Given their large user bases and the expanding number of Chinese tourists, WeChat Pay and Alipay have grown substantially outside of China, mostly by partnering with local merchants to support payments for Chinese travelers.
Marqeta's $2 billion
Marqeta has completed a $260 million Series E fundraise with Coatue Management as the lead investor.

The fintech announced the funding in March, which brings its valuation to about $2 billion. Marqeta plans to use the investment to fund geographic expansion for its range of mobile and virtual card technology.

Visa has also invested in Marqeta to fund the fintech's payment sandbox.

Loot struggles
U.K. digital payment and financial services company Loot has run into cash flow problems after a sale to RBS fell through, TechCrunch reports.

Loot's primary market is students and young people who lack traditional bank relationships, a common market for mobile payment apps, P2P services and other fintech services. RBS indirectly owned a 25% stake in Loot through a digital bank project at RBS subsidiary NatWest.

Loot, which was founded in 2014, offers a Mastercard, mobile app and analysis of a consumer's payments and budgeting. It has about 250,000 accounts, according to TechCrunch.

AML gap
A German regulator has reprimanded N26 for inadequate anti-money laundering protections, joining Revolut as fast-growing European fintechs that have recently drawn negative attention over AML compliance problems.

As part of the reprimand, German regulator BaFin has ordered N26 to remove backlogs in IT monitoring, issue AML process descriptions and re-identify existing customers, reports Finextra. BaFin's N26 investigation dates to the spring, and covers staffing, engineering and other regulatory issues.

N26, which partnered with Apple Pay to extend mobile payments in Spain, is adding additional financial services beyond mobile payments, an expansion that's drawn fintech investors.

From the Web

Credit, debit cards found to be 'dirtiest payment method’ versus cash, coins, study says
Fox Business | Wed May 22, 2019 - That credit or debit card in your wallet Opens a New Window. is apparently dirtier than you might have suspected. A recent study by LendEDU.com showed credit and debit cards were dirtier on average than cash or coins.

Plaid gives digital banks and fintech a new tool to bypass traditional finance
CNBC | Wed May 22, 2019 - Start-up Plaid, recently valued at $2.7 billion, already connects bank accounts to fintech apps like Venmo, Robinhood, Coinbase and Acorns. It announced “Plaid Direct”, which lets users more easily connect to newer digital banks like Chime.

Indonesia Finally Releases Fintech Permits Two Years After Startups Applied
Business Times | Wed May 22, 2019 - Indonesia's Financial Services Authority (OJK) has finally released the permits of four fintech startups that waited for two, long years to become an "official" business. The peer-to-peer (P2P) homegrown platforms are Kimo, Investree, Dompet Kilat, and Amartha.

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