Morning Brief 1.28.20: Westpac makes a pair of installment payment investments

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Westpac is trying to cash in on the popularity of installment payment apps, investing $90 million in Kredivo, an Indonesian point of sale credit app.

The Australian bank made the investment through its Reinventure VC fund, which has made a handful of bets in the region, including in Zest, another "buy now pay later" firm, reports Finextra. Westpac sees installment payments as a financial inclusion play.

Installment payment firms have received a boost in investment in the past year, enough for the category to branch into other transaction types, such as supply chains.

Across the pond

A fintech called Teller, which is positioning itself as a rival to Plaid, has raised $4 million in seed funding to restart its service in the U.S., a few months after shuttering its service in the U.K.

The investors include Max Levchin's SciFi, Founders Fund and Lightspeed Ventures, reports TechCrunch, adding Teller believes the lack of a formal PSD2 standard in the U.S. creates more maneuverability for API firms that connect payment technology firms and banks.

Teller is in beta testing in the U.S., while Plaid is in the midst of being acquired by Visa as the market for open banking technology heats up.

Selloff

The Coronavirus has caused the quarantine of tens of millions of people in China and has also sparked a global stock selloff.

Travel stocks have been particularly hard hit, as well as American Express, which dropped on Monday. Barron's attributed the selloff to slower payment flows due to cancelled travel. Amex's decline came despite reporting solid earnings late last week.

The virus could also pressure firms such as Ant Financial's Alipay and Tencent's WeChat Pay, which rely on travel transactions for revenue, particularly outside of China.

Postal code

Poste Italiane is trying to drive small small-business revenue through a QR code-based payment system.

Users can make payments directly with a mobile device by scanning the code, without the need for other hardware, reports Reuters.

Payment technology has been increasing in postal networks in other countries, such as Belgium and Canada.

Island payments

Mastercard is pushing to increase cashless commerce in the Caribbean, launching what it calls a "smart islands" initiative.

The card brand will incrementally release a series of payment technology projects in different locations, with an initial goal of reaching tourist regions, reports Jamaica Observer, adding tourism makes up half of the economy for much of the region.

RBC has also launched a contactless payment project in the Caribbean to advance the bank's broader mobile wallet plans.

From the Web

Remitly and Alipay partner on cross-border remittances
VERDICT | Mon January 27, 2020
Remitly customers will be able to transfer funds using their smartphone or computer. Also, users can receive money in the Alipay app. Remitly is said to be the first online money transfer service to launch this feature in the US and offer the service internationally.

PrimaHealth Credit will now lend to borrowers looking to pay for addiction treatment
TECHCRUNCH | Tue January 28, 2020
PrimaHealth Credit, which offers loans to borrowers to pay for medical treatment, is expanding its pitch to cover addiction treatment centers. According to the company, PrimaHealth won’t charge any interest for most of its loans — depending on the creditworthiness of the borrower — instead, the company will make money by charging a fee to the treatment center.

Peter Thiel-backed mobile bank N26 says it’s luring deposits from US titans like Chase and Citibank
CNBC | Mon January 27, 2020
German mobile bank N26 has attracted 250,000 users in the United States, where it claims new customers are shifting funds from established giants like Chase Bank and Citibank. As is the case with rivals like Monzo, Revolut and Starling, people can sign up for an account with N26 within minutes and don’t pay any additional foreign exchange fees when spending abroad.

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