Morning Brief 10.21.20: U.K. merchants attack interchange; Emburse partners with TransferWise

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Fee battle

U.K. retailers are asking the government to pressure Visa and Mastercard to lower fees because the percentage of card payments is growing so quickly.

The British Retail Consortium reports card usage grew from 54% of payments in 2016 to 61% in 2019, a percentage that's likely jumped in 2020 due to the pandemic. The BRC also says the cost to retailers for accepting cards was more than $1.2 billion in 2019, reports Finextra, adding the cost per transaction jumped 15% for credit cards and 6% for debit cards between 2016 and 2019.

Merchants in the U.K. scored a victory in court earlier in 2020 when the U.K.'s supreme court ruled Visa and Mastercard's fees were hurting competition.

Quick turn

Emburse is streamlining cross-border corporate expense management through a partnership with global remittance provider TransferWise.

San Francisco-based Emburse, which serves 14,000 companies, has launched Emburse Global Reimbursements so its clients can quickly reimburse employees for out-of-pocket expenses across multiple countries and currencies, according to a press release.

The partnership relies on TransferWise’s international network of local banks to exchange funds using the mid-market exchange rate, with transfers completed within minutes after submitting expenses.

Making a deal

The pandemic has led more companies to adopt digital payments for accounts payable, leading to a merger agreement between Toronto fintech Versapay and Twinsburg, Ohio-based payment technology company Solupay.

The combined company will focus specifically on accounts receivable automation and integrated B2B payment products, totalling $10 billion in yearly payments volume for more than 8,000 businesses.

The new company will operate under Versapay's brand, and follows Boston private equity firm Great Hill Partners' February acquisition of Versapay.

Reupping

Payment technology firm Worldline has extended a partnership with PSA Payment Services in Austria, giving it a continued 100% share of Austrian debit card payments.

That partnership yielded more than 1 billion debit transactions in 2019, and helped drive Austria's push to cashless payments, Worldline reports.

Earlier this year, Worldline entered an $8.6 billion merger with Ingenico to boost both companies' European operations and potential growth into other global markets. The European Commission last month approved of Worldline's acquisition of Ingenico, under some conditions that would assure fair competition throughout the continent.

From the web

Latin American payment giant rises amid pandemic, with an eye on China's Ant
REUTERS | Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Latin America's top e-commerce firm is revving up its digital payments engine as shops shift online amid the coronavirus pandemic, and is looking toward China for inspiration to bring the region's un-banked and cash-loving savers online.

Whole Foods now offers free one-hour grocery pickup at all US stores
THE VERGE | Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Amazon Prime subscribers now get free one-hour grocery pickup at all of Whole Foods’ 487 US stores, Amazon announced today. The news marks an expansion of Whole Foods’ existing pickup service, which was previously only available at select stores, according to CNBC.

Amazon launches a program to pay consumers for their data on non-Amazon purchases
TECHCRUNCH | Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Amazon has launched a new program that directly pays consumers for information about what they’re purchasing outside of Amazon.com and for responding to short surveys.

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