TransferMate Gets Payment License In Singapore; Shanghai Commercial Bank Teams With EMQ

Welcome to The Axis, your late look at payments news from around the world. Coverage includes TransferMate’s approval for a payments license in Singapore, Chinese bank Shanghai Commercial Bank (SCB) working with the EMQ to support cross-border money transfers, Woori Bank and Wing Limited Special Bank reportedly inking a memorandum of understanding for money transfers between Cambodia and South Korea, and Safaricom rolling out a bus ticketing product with the help of BuuPass Limited.

Business-to-business (B2B) payment cross-border payment provider TransferMate has earned a payments license in Singapore, according to reports. The move marks the company’s first regulatory approval in Asia and will reportedly offer “inroads into the region’s high-growth markets” to the company’s client base. As it stands, the company has license approval in 49 U.S. states along with D.C. and Puerto Rico in addition to Canada, New Zealand and Australia, among other places. TransferMate co-founder and CFO Sinead Fitzmaurice said, according to reports, “Gaining regulatory approval in Singapore marks a significant step for our business and provides a major boost for customers doing business in and out of Asia.”

In Hong Kong, Chinese bank Shanghai Commercial Bank (SCB) is working with the EMQ to support cross-border money transfers, according to reports. Through the tie-up, the SCB payment platform would integrate with the network of EMQ to reportedly offer cost-effective as well as secure cross-border solutions. The news comes as the bank created the Shacom Pay mobile app for low-value instant transactions. SCB managing director and CEO David Kwok said, according to reports, “We are delighted to partner with EMQ as a part of our digital banking strategy to offer customers a fast, convenient and secure money transfer service through our banking network and mobile app.”

In other payment news from Asia, Woori Bank and Wing Limited Special Bank have reportedly inked a memorandum of understanding for money transfers in real-time between South Korea and Cambodia, The Khmer Times reported. The service could roll out in the middle of 2019, per a statement cited by the report.  As it stands, an estimated 40,000 immigrants from Cambodia live in South Korea, and the firms reportedly forecast that figure to still grow in the years to come. Users will reportedly be able to transfer money via automated machines, a banking application or a bank branch when the service becomes available.

On another note, Safaricom rolled out a bus ticketing product with the help of BuuPass Limited, The Star reported. To access the service, customers can a use website or a phone number. At the same time, it was reported that payments are taken via M-PESA. Users can choose a bus operator along with specific seat numbers and preferred times of travel through the platform. Tickets are then printed at the bus station after a confirmation SMS is shown. Safaricom Chief Enterprise Business Officer Rita Okuthe said, according to the report, “This partnership with BuuPass seeks to extend the convenience of M-PESA by empowering our customers to book a bus ticket wherever they may be and at their luxury.”


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Global Payments acquires TSYS for $21.5b

The consolidation wave among payments companies got a major boost today with Global Payments’ acquisition of Total Payments Systems (TSYS) for $21.5 billion in stock. It’s the third major payments M&A deal this year, following FIS’ acquisition of Worldpay for $35 billion in March and Fiserv‘s move to buy First Data in January for $22 billion.

Global Payments offers payments technology and software solutions for its clients, while TSYS focuses on payment processing, issuing and merchant services. The combined capabilities, operating under the Global Payments name, will offer integrated payments and software services to 3.5 million mostly small to medium-sized merchants and 1,300 financial institutions across more than 100 countries.

“This transformative partnership accelerates our technology-enabled, software-driven payments strategy and provides exposure into attractive and complementary businesses, while enhancing our financial strength and flexibility,” Global Payments CEO Jeff Sloan said in a statement.

Industry analysts told Bank Innovation the acquisition will let the combined entity scale more quickly and grow its global presence, while staking out a competitive position against other large payments players.

“Traditional merchant and bank card processors need greater scale,” said Brendan Miller, former principal payments analyst at Forrester Reasearch and global product marketing lead at Rapyd. “Margins are compressing and, when margins compress, more scale is required.”

According to Thad Peterson, senior analyst at Aite Group, the merger will contribute to the growing globalization of payments platforms. “They need to have a global presence if they want to stay competitive with the big guys,” he added.

Mergers of legacy tech companies, however, sometimes have proven to be challenging to implement. For example, a recent report from consulting firm The Strawhecker Group claimed that the integration of First Data and Fiserv could take up to a decade.

Still, Moshe Katri, managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities, is optimistic on Global Payments’ prospects due to elements the two businesses have in common, notably payments technology and service arms. “If you compare this transaction to the other two [recent payments acquisitions] that are pending, this one has the most overlap in terms of merchant processing capability,” he said. “From my perspective, that will provide for significant cost synergies.” 

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Internet Of Things, A Thing Gone Global

Digital assistants. Smart fridges and thermostats. Security devices, too. The Internet of Things (IoT) has gone global, an ever-expanding ecosystem that touches consumers in every facet of their daily lives. The latest Intelligence of Things Tracker shows some pretty big numbers in terms of the billions of devices already out in the field, and the billions of dollars already being spent on those devices … and it seems like things are just getting started.


$2 trillion: Estimated dollar amount spent on IoT endpoints in 2018.

14 billion: Number of IoT devices expected to be in use by the end of 2019.

30 billion: Number of IoT devices expected to be in use by the end of 2020.

127: New IoT devices connecting to the internet every second.

375,000: Number of IoT devices in use in Ireland.