Google has plans to expand its Tez mobile app into new markets while Paytm rivals both Google and WhatsApp with new payment app enhancements. And in other news, Visa pays out winnings to 50 small businesses in the Visa Cashless Challenge.
Here’s your weekly news roundup!
Google plans to expand its Tez mobile payments app into new markets. In an interview with the Financial Times, Diana Layfield, the head of Tez, said that the company is looking at three Asian markets and one other country in an emerging market for its next launch. The app was first launched in India.
As PaymentFacilitator has previously noted, Asia is a fast-growing region for technology-enabled payment solutions. Factors such as limited usage of electronic payments and supportive governments are helping to create a favorable environment.
Layfield did not name the countries the company is considering for its Tez expansion. However, she did name characteristics that were important, including low credit card penetration and a lack of political opposition.
No word yet on the partnerships Google might use to expand into new markets. When it entered India last year, Google did so with the help of a number of partners, including payment facilitators PayU and BillDesk.
Peer-to-peer storage platform Neighbor branches outside its local market with $2.5 million in seed funding. Making the most of the peer-to-peer model, Utah-based storage company Neighbor matches “renters” (people in need of storage space) with “hosts” (those with space to offer) for half the price of a traditional storage unit, according to the press release.
“In 2017, Americans spent roughly $38 billion on storage. Neighbor not only offers renters a cheaper and safer solution but provides a way for hosts to make money off of that same market,” said Neighbor CEO Joseph Woodbury via the same release.
The platform facilitates payments and advertising between their network of eligible hosts and renters.
Visa awards $10,000 in winnings to each small business winner in the Visa Cashless Challenge. Targeting the food-services sector, the Visa Cashless Challenge asked participating businesses to explain how the cashless movement could benefit their business specifically. Fifty small businesses walked away with $10,000 they can use to assist in their plans towards commerce enhancements, according to the press release.
“When we launched the Visa Cashless Challenge, we wanted to inspire and inform merchants on the benefits and effectiveness of going cashless,” said Jack Forestell, head of global product and solutions at Visa Inc, via the same release. “Since announcing the challenge, we have continued to see businesses across the country go cash-free, and Visa is committed to tapping into our innovation and technology for merchants to remain competitively connected to their consumers.”
Visa said it will also be releasing research later this spring addressing challenges with going cashless and the steps Visa is taking to ensure the entire system is as inclusive as possible.
DocuSign files registration statement for proposed public offering of its common stock. And while the number of shares to be offered and the proposed pricing have not yet been disclosed, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is in receipt of the proposal. The company intends to trade under the ticker symbol “DOCU” on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, according to the press release.
The National Bank of Egypt (NBE), e-finance and Visa partner together on first cashless university. Egyptian university Helwan will become the first in the country to adopt financial inclusion. This will be made possible through the issuance of prepaid Visa cards to approximately 100,000 students, as well as simultaneous activation of all options for digital payment acceptance offered either via POS at the university or the bank’s website. With the latter option, students will be able to pay for purchases online or with their phones using the NBEPay MVisa app, according to Daily News Egypt.
According to NBE Vice Chairperson Yehia Aboul Fotouh, via the same article, “the transformation of Helwan University into a non-cash one is a real nucleus on the road to achieving financial inclusion at Egyptian universities.” The effort is in line with the government’s efforts to expand banking services to more users, he said.
Paytm responds to rivals WhatsApp and Google with enhanced in-app user experience. Targeting its Money Transfers functionality specifically, Paytm has added several payment options – including bank-to-bank – to its cashless repertoire, according to The Economic Times.
Other motivation beyond rivalry revolves around the Reserve Bank of India’s new Know Your Customer (KYC) guidelines and their impact on the digital wallet business. The same article reports that Paytm’s response to this is to promote bank-to-bank payments by making them as seamless as possible.
Also expected is a move towards enabling large transactions (such as rental payments) through bank-to-bank transfers. This could mean a significant shift from peer-to-peer and peer-to-merchant transactions to larger ticket-size opportunities such as payments for house rent, suppliers or even salaries of the unorganized workforce, according to the same article.