In this issue of FinTech Wire we hear from one of our good friends, Smart Pension, that reached an important milestone, and review news from the UK, China, and India.

Weekly FinTech news digest: 2—8 February 2021

Rabobank to launch an online platform for carbon sequestration

The solution will connect farmers in developing countries with large corporations looking to offset their carbon emissions

The Dutch bank teased a brand new online platform developed together with Microsoft and aimed at tackling the problem of corporate CO2 emissions. The platform will allow large businesses to team up with smallholder farmers in developing countries that offer to sequester carbon emissions by planting trees on their land. Officially, the platform will be launched in 2022, but the pilot conducted last year in sub-Saharan Africa has already led to planting more than 50,000 trees. 

Read more about 2021 trends in FinTech

Chinese regulators and Ant Group reach an agreement

Jack Ma’s FinTech will be converted into a financial holding company

According to Bloomberg, Ant Group’s problems with Chinese regulators are coming to an end, as both parties have allegedly reached an agreement on converting the company into a financial holding. Therefore, Jack Ma’s spinoff company will be subject to strict legal requirements like other financial institutions such as banks. What is interesting, Ant’s offerings don’t limit solely to financial services, as the company operates also in different areas such as food delivery. It’s still not clear how the decision will affect these areas of operations or what will be the capital requirements that the company will be obliged to meet. 

Read more about legal requirements in FinTech development

More post-Brexit consequences for UK customers

Customers complain that some EU companies reject payments from UK euro accounts

As expected, the consequences of Brexit are complicating things in more and more areas of our lives. In January, we reported that measures had to be taken to allow for the derivatives trading to continue right after the UK’s departure from the EU came into effect. Recently, comments suggesting an IBAN discrimination started to emerge. The issue was revealed by Starling Bank, which explained that several businesses across the EU reject payments made from UK euro accounts due to the bank account number containing the ‘GB’ country code.

Read more about the most popular online payment methods in 2020

Barclays to provide Smart Pension platform to 1,100 businesses across the UK

The companies agreed on a partnership that will bring the pensions solution to small businesses

Barclays announced that it started a new collaboration with Smart Pension, a London-based online pensions platform provider. The aim of the partnership is to provide Barclay’s network of 1,100 small and medium businesses with access to a simple pensions solution and the possibility to comply with the auto-enrolment requirement. In the words of Jamie Fiveash, UK CEO at Smart Pension, the agreement is an “important milestone” for the company and strengthens this strategic partnership. 

Read more about Smart Pension’s platform

PayPal quits Indian domestic payments market

The company will still enable international sales for Indian businesses

Despite serving over 300,000 merchants in the country, the payments provider PayPal decided to give up the competitive race after four years of presence on the Indian market. From 1 April, the company will no longer offer domestic payments products, focusing solely on providing Indian businesses with international payments services. The online payments market in India is believed to be extremely competitive and dominated by Big Tech companies such as Amazon, Google, Facebook and Tencent. Therefore, due to the wide range of options, it is highly probable that Indian merchants won’t suffer from the lack of PayPal’s domestic services.

Read more about payment processing providers

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