Here’s our pick of five of the top news stories from the world of finance and tech this week.
European Central Bank picks five partners for digital euro initiative
The European Central Bank (ECB) has selected five companies – out of 54 applicants – to collaborate with for the development of potential user interfaces for the digital euro.
The selection is a result of the call of expressions of interest for the prototyping exercise issued by the ECB in April this year. While all of the hopefuls fulfil a number of “essential capabilities” that were outlined in the call, the bank explains, the five providers chosen best matched the “specific capabilities” required for the assigned use case.
Each of the five firms will focus on one specific use case:
- CaixaBank – peer-to-peer (P2P) online payments;
- Worldline – P2P offline payments;
- EPI – point of sale (POS) payments initiated by the payer;
- Nexi – POS payments initiated by the payee;
- Amazon – e-commerce payments.
The aim of this prototyping exercise is to test how well the technology behind a digital euro integrates with prototypes developed by companies. Simulated transactions will be initiated using the front-end prototypes developed by the five companies and processed through the Eurosystem’s interface and back-end infrastructure.
Enterprise tech provider NCR to split into separate digital commerce and ATM firms
US enterprise tech provider NCR Corporation is to split into two publicly traded firms – one focused on digital commerce, the other on ATMs – by the end of 2023.
NCR says the split will “unlock value” for the company’s shareholders by creating two firms that can pursue independent growth strategies.
CEO Michael Hayford says the separation of NCR’s businesses will create “two strong companies at scale”, enabling each to simplify operations and provide investors with a better ability to value each business.
US consumer finance regulator to outline credit card-like BNPL protections
The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is set to outline new rules for buy now, pay later (BNPL) firms to ensure consumers are covered by many of the same protections established for credit cards.
The regulator will focus on three key areas: inconsistent consumer protections, data harvesting and monetisation, and debt accumulation and overextension.
CFPB director Rohit Chopra says BNPL is a “rapidly growing” type of loan that often substitutes for credit cards.
“We will be working to ensure that borrowers have similar protections, regardless of whether they use a credit card or a buy now, pay later loan,” Chopra adds.
To avoid harm to consumers, the CFPB will set out guidance or rules that hem BNPL firms much closer to credit cards in terms of regulation, as well ensuring that BNPL lenders are subject to relevant supervision.
Revolut falls victim to “highly targeted” cyber-attack
UK-based super-app Revolut has fallen victim to a “highly targeted” cyber-attack that may have affected tens of thousands of customers.
In an e-mail to affected customers, the fintech says that while their money is safe and no card details, PINs or passwords were accessed, some individuals may be vulnerable to fraud and phishing attacks.
A Revolut spokesperson says: “Revolut recently experienced a highly targeted cyber-attack. This resulted in an unauthorised third party obtaining access to the details of a small percentage (0.16%) of our customers for a short period of time.”
The company has set up a dedicated team to monitor affected accounts, which, according to the Lithuanian data protection authority (where Revolut holds its banking licence), may be as many as 50,150 customers around the world.
Change at the top for crypto exchange Kraken with former COO to lead firm
Crypto exchange Kraken has appointed a new CEO – chief operating officer (COO) Dave Ripley is to lead the firm with current CEO Jesse Powell set to become chair of the company’s board.
Ripley, who has been COO for six years, will assume the role of CEO once a new COO has been found, Kraken says.
Throughout his tenure as COO, Ripley has played an “instrumental role” in growing the company and scaling operations. He joined Kraken through its acquisition of crypto wallet Glidera, where he was co-founder and CEO.
Ripley says: “My vision, along with the rest of the leadership team, is in lockstep with Jesse’s – to accelerate the adoption of cryptocurrency.”