Fintech Digest

Visa and Mastercard Are Under FTC Probes

FINTECH WEEKLY | 10.10-16.10

In this week's fintech summary: Visa and Mastercard are under FTC Probes, Google announced collab of the year, Apple integrates into Windows, and the development of a new digital asset custody platform. We'll take you on a ride through the finest fintech stories

TOP NEWS | 10.10-16.10
  • Visa and Mastercard Are Under FTC Probes
  • UAE Captures the Metaverse
  • Google Announced Collab of the Year
  • Scientists Have Given Scammers a New Idea of How Data Can Be Stolen
  • Apple Integrates Into Windows
  • One of Europe’s Largest Non-Banks Reported an Increase in Losses
  • The New Digital Asset Custody Platform Is Coming
  • Online Fraud and Data Breach Are on the Rise
  • Canadian Banks Are Not Ready for Real-Time Payments Yet
  • Elon Musk Became a Perfumer
  • Apple Announced a New Partnership Over Its Credit Card Project

Visa and Mastercard Are Under FTC Probes

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) initiated an investigation regarding Visa and Mastercard. An independent U.S. government agency is examining whether security tokens associated with technology companies are impeding competition in debit card routing for some digital payments.

While Visa and Mastercard refrained from any comment, PYMNTS sources said the FTC is looking into whether the two card companies limited the information they supplied when they permitted online payments to go to another network.

Merchants believe that as a result of this approach, the card-issuing bank is much more likely to reject a transaction when it is processed by another network.

Mastercard and Visa are also suspected to be restricting route choice when users keep debit card information on retailer apps, websites, or pay tab buttons according to sources.

Background info: In 2019, the FTC launched an inquiry into whether Visa and Mastercard block shops from routing payments through alternative debit-card networks. However, whether the security token inquiry is part of that examination or a distinct investigation is unclear.

UAE Captures the Web 3.0

Sharjah is the most recent emirate to express interest in Web3. The regional government and the AI ecosystem Multiverse Labs have introduced a city in the metaverse.

It is expected that the city named Sharjahverse will encourage local tourism and may create new employment in the metaverse. All of these efforts are in accordance with Dubai's plans outlined earlier this year.

Sharjah is the UAE's second most populated emirate, after Dubai, with a population of around 1.8 million.

Google Announced Collab of the Year

Google Cloud clients will be able to pay for Google Cloud services in cryptocurrency. The tech giant announced its partnership with Coinbase during the Google Cloud Next conference.

In the beginning, just a few Google Cloud Platform customers will be allowed to make cryptocurrency payments. Still, more Google service users will have this choice in the future.

Terms of the deal between Google and Coinbase have not been disclosed. All we know is that the crypto exchange will be using Google's cloud platform instead of Amazon services. In addition, Coinbase will receive a percentage of each transaction that passes through it.

The function will be deployed in early 2023.

Google is also contemplating utilizing Coinbase Prime, a service that securely holds cryptocurrency for businesses and allows them to conduct transactions. In addition, the giant company plans to explore its involvement in cryptocurrency asset management, the source noted.

Scientists Have Given Scammers a New Idea of How Data Can Be Stolen

Computer security researchers have created a system that can guess computer and smartphone users' passwords in seconds by studying the heat trails left by their fingertips on keyboards and displays.

After a user inputs his password on a computer keyboard, smartphone screen, or ATM keypad, the fraudster is able to capture a photo using a thermal imaging camera that exposes the keys used. This type of fraud is called "heat fraud”.

The warmer the area, the more likely they are to have been touched recently. It is possible to determine the exact letters, numbers, or symbols that make up a password and approximate the sequence in which they were used by analyzing the relative intensity of warmer regions. As a result, attackers can attempt various combinations to break user passwords.

Apple Integrates Into Windows

Apple Music and Apple TV services will be integrated into Windows 11 by the end of 2023. The corresponding desktop applications will be distributed through the Microsoft Store online store.

Users will be able to synchronize photos with iCloud as part of the cooperation with Apple, after which they will be able to see their photos via the usual Photos app.

Background info: The native Apple Music and Apple TV apps for Windows didn’t exist until now. Users had to use a browser and go to the related sites to watch videos and listen to music. Or use iTunes instead, which was poorly adapted for Windows.

One of Europe’s Largest Neo-Bank Reported an Increase in Losses

N26, a German mobile bank, reported a dramatic increase in yearly revenues as platform usage increased, but losses also increased due to higher regulatory compliance expenditure.

N26′s net revenue climbed 67% to 120.3 million euros in the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021, as the bank benefitted from greater subscriptions. N26 made 72.1 million euros in sales in 2020. However, it has experienced a 14% rise in net losses for 2021. N26 received $900 million in funding in the same year, with a $9 billion value.

Despite the increased losses, N26 intends to break even, according to the bank. However, it remains impossible to determine when this may occur.

The neobank also confirmed that it had abandoned plans to go public later this year.

Neobank added one million new clients last year, with a target of two million by 2020. According to the company's CEO, on average, clients use the N26 app three times each week, making it a mobile bank with the most active customer base in Europe.

The New Digital Asset Custody Platform Is Coming

BNY Mellon has launched its digital asset storage platform in the United States. It allows customers to store and transfer BTC and ETH.

BNY Mellon isn’t the first bank showing interest in cryptocurrencies, but this is still a significant move. BNY Mellon holds $42 trillion in investable assets — that's 20% of the world's investable assets. A recent survey found that 91% of institutional investors are interested in investing in tokens, and 41% currently have cryptocurrencies in their portfolios.

The custodial platform was developed in partnership with Fireblocks and Chainalysis, who also worked with Christie's on their NFT platform. Buy-in from large banks, such as BNY, is critical for institutional expansion and serves as a potent accelerator of risk-taking by others. In other words, BNY Mellon has now opened doors of opportunity to engage in cryptocurrency trading for all large brokerages, sovereign wealth funds, asset managers, and wealth managers that utilize BNY for custody.

Online Fraud and Data Breach Are on the Rise

According to Visa, almost three-quarters of fraud and data breaches are related to the e-commerce market. The study by Visa's Global Risk team says these attacks are primarily social engineering, malware, and phishing. Furthermore, attacks against e-commerce systems and third-party code integration are frequent.

In addition to classic money assaults, attackers are using new tactics to deceive cryptocurrency holders, including new malware targeting wallets in the form of browser extensions for digital currency users.

Cryptobridge services are a threat to your privacy, too. Between January and February 2022, fraudsters stole almost $400 million in three large crimes that used weaknesses in several bridge services.

Canadian Banks Are Not Ready for Real-Time Payments Yet

The debut of Canada's real-time rail payments (RTR) system has been pushed back. It was supposed to be out in the middle of next year.

According to the project’s lead, Payments Canada, the delay will give more time to validate and test the RTR system's components and end-to-end integration. Simultaneously, Payments Canada CEO Tracy Black noted that the agency is assessing the implications of this decision on Canada's payment environment.

As a part of a long-drawn, numerous payments transformation effort, RTR will enable Canadians to make payments in seconds and receive irreversible cash 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  To facilitate this process, the system will also employ the ISO 20022 standard to communicate payment details with each payment.

Elon Musk Became a Perfumer

Elon Musk, an American businessman, debuted his own cologne with the aroma of burnt hair. Musk's own brand, The Boring Company, released a perfume called Burnt Hair.

In a few hours after the launch of sales, about 10,000 bottles left the shelves. The price per bottle is $100.

The perfume has a fragrance that occurs when you lean over a candle, so the bottle is fiery red. Musk described the fragrance itself as "the essence of disgusting desire”. The billionaire also joked that entering the perfume business was inevitable because of his last name (editor's note: "Musk" surname can be translated as "musk" — one of the most frequently used scents in the creation of perfumes).

If you have some Dogecoin in your wallet, hurry up — you can pay for the perfume with this coin.

Apple Announced a New Partnership Over Its Credit Card Project

Apple has joined forces with the world's largest investment bank Goldman Sachs to create a high-yield savings product.

So, thanks to Apple's partnership with Goldman Sachs, Apple customers can earn higher rewards with the Apple Card. For example, Apple cardholders can transfer their Daily Cash earnings into a new savings account, which will be available in the coming months. In addition, the account will have no Goldman Sachs fees, minimum deposits, or minimum balance limits.

Users may also fund a savings account with monies from a connected bank account or Apple Cash balance. Withdrawals to a connected bank account or Apple Cash card can be done at any time.

Once installed, Apple Card users can monitor their spending in Wallet using their Savings dashboard; it displays their account balance and the interest they have generated over time. The interest rate is still unknown.