They don’t say Europe is one of the most interesting markets for fintech and payments right now for nothing. But with so much going on it can be tough to stay on top of what’s happening in the different hubs across the region. Check out our weekly snapshot of the most interesting stories across the region.
1. Munich airport starts offering Alipay
Chinese tourists travelling through Munich airport will be able to buy goods using Alipay as part of a new partnership between Wirecard and airport retail company eurotrade (which is a subsidiary of Flughafen München Handels-GmbH/Munich Airport and works brands that have shops in the airport). Alipay will become available in 69 eurotrade-affiliated shops and 160 tills on site. Wirecard is making this happen by integrating Alipay’s barcode payments into the eurotrade till systems.
“Passengers from China are an important target group for retail at Munich Airport. We are delighted to soon be able to offer these visitors who have extremely high purchasing power the Chinese payment method Alipay in all our shops, which means currency exchange will no longer be required,” says Sven Zahn, managing director of eurotrade Flughafen München Handels-GmbH.
2. Finland’s Tapp Commerce lands $9m
Meanwhile in the Nordics, Finland’s Tapp Commerce has raised USD9m in new funding for its payments app aimed at people in emerging markets. Describing itself as “democratising commerce”, the firm was founded in 2013 and launched its product last year. This new funding brings its total raised to 12.9m. It helps people without bank accounts buy goods and services such as prepaid electricity or tuition fees online through mobile POS agents. On the flip side it creates an opportunity for retailers to tap new customers through its Tapp Market. The firm will use the new funding to go deeper into Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam with aims to open in Myanmar later this year.
3. Boost for Norwegian contactless payments
Staying in the Nordics, Norway’s domestic debit network BankAxept is partnering with Canadian contactless payments firm Interac to boost contactless and mobile debit payments in the country. The firms say the deal will help deliver cheaper contactless point of sail and mobile payment solutions to BankAxept bank clients.
3. Fintech startup studio FinLeap scores €21m
Also in Germany, Berlin-based Fintech startup studio FinLeap has raised €21m in fresh funding to continue cultivating businesses in the financial tech space. Finleap most recently launched solarisBank out of its studio, a licensed banking platform designed to help digital businesses offer financial services through APIs. As well as existing backer HitFox, new investors include re-insurance giant Hannover Re. FinLeap says aims to invest at least €50m into its ecosystem in the next 12 months. It has built nine new companies in the last 20 months and expects the first to become profitable this year.
4. UK challenger Mondo to change name
UK challenger bank Mondo is changing its name as part of a trade mark dispute and is inviting its customers and indeed the wider Twitter-verse to help come up with a new name. Preferably beginning with an M as it doesn’t want to change all of its branding. The firm already mentioned this in its crowdfunding campaign but can’t disclose the company challenging it. The firm, which just set a record for the fastest £1m raised through crowdfunding is accepting suggestions until midnight tonight. There are just three rules:
- The name should start with the letter “M” (we really love our logo!)
- The name should represent us and work across different languages and cultures
- It can’t be Banky McBankface
5. Travelex offers UK travellers fee-free spending abroad
Another piece of news from the Wirecard newsroom sees the firm underpinning the roll out of foreign exchange firm Travelex’s ‘Supercard’, which lets UK customers spend abroad without incurring fees. This follows a successful pilot of the card which lets users add multiple existing cards to a corresponding app and then pick which one to pay with primarily. The card itself is a MasterCard and travellers get the firm’s wholesale exchange rate, rather than getting charged for using a UK card abroad.
Sound familiar? That’s probably because it’s a similar idea to UK startup Curve, which picked up funding from angels including TransferWise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus and recently ran into difficulties when American Express “paused” integration.
Coalfire validates the P2PE services of the largest independent retail support service provider in the UK.
Marca Wosoba, Head of International Development at World First, looks at the changes and disruptions in the financial sector, and identifies the importance of strategic partnerships.
Ford Motor Co and Amazon have announced a collaboration that will see Amazon’s Alexa integrated into Ford vehicles as a voice-activated digital assistant.
The government has confirmed that the £1 coin will be replaced for the first time in 30 years. The new coin is said to be the "most secure" coin due to a number of new features that will make it much more difficult to counterfeit.