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ACI STRENGTHENS SUPPORT FOR UNIONPAY PAYMENTS

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ACI Strengthens Support For Unionpay Payments

Financial institutions now better able to service UnionPay’s rapidly growing global user base, while reducing infrastructure costs with ACI’s consumer payments clearing solution

ACI Worldwide (NASDAQ: ACIW), a leading international provider of electronic payment and banking systems, today announced strengthened support for UnionPay, the largest card network in the world. ACI’s clearing solution, ACI Interchange, opens up new markets for financial institutions and processors by enabling support for UnionPay transactions while extending infrastructure options to include IBM System p™ AIX.

ACI Strengthens Support For Unionpay Payments

ACI Strengthens Support For Unionpay Payments

UnionPay has issued more than 3.5 billion cards worldwide (Nilson Report) and it is projected to continue its significant growth. UnionPay cards are accepted in more than 140 countries and its rapid growth presents a significant opportunity for financial institutions and processors facing revenue pressures or wanting to extend their commercial offerings with a growing brand. ACI Interchange already supports incoming and outgoing clearing and settlement processes for transactions underpinned by EMV and magnetic stripe payment cards for the major international schemes; this has now been extended to include UnionPay.

In addition to adding UnionPay support, ACI Interchange now also offers support for IBM System p™ AIX, which is in line with ACI’s end-to-end consumer payments solution. This enables lowering of IT costs through platform consolidation, while providing customers with more platform choice. Consolidated platform choice directly addresses reducing costs and simplifying infrastructure requirements, thus alleviating maintenance burdens and improving margins.

With ACI Interchange, financial institutions and processors worldwide are able to:

  • Eliminate multiple systems with one solution that offers native support for all international payment networks
  • Remove the burden of maintaining multiple scheme formats, regular scheme mandates and differences between scheme processing requirements
  • Save substantial scheme fees and be proactively compliant with complex interchange requirements

“In collaboration with our customers, we have strengthened our clearing solution to open up new markets and lower costs,” said Jeff Hale, Senior Vice President, Retail Payments, ACI Worldwide. “Customers have previously benefited from using ACI Interchange to save on maintenance costs and reduce scheme fees, and now that we offer UnionPay, they can access this important and fast-growing network.”

 About ACI Worldwide

ACI Worldwide powers electronic payments and banking for more than 5,000 financial institutions, retailers, billers and processors around the world. ACI software processes $13 trillion in payments and securities transactions for more than 250 of the leading global retailers, and 21 of the world’s 25 largest banks. Through our comprehensive suite of software products and hosted services, we deliver a broad range of solutions for payments processing; card and merchant management; online banking; mobile, branch and voice banking; fraud detection; trade finance; and electronic bill presentment and payment. To learn more about ACI, please visit www.aciworldwide.com. You can also find us on Twitter @ACI_Worldwide.

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Sunak to use budget to expand apprenticeships in England

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Sunak to use budget to expand apprenticeships in England 1

LONDON (Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak will announce more funding for apprenticeships in England when he unveils his budget next week, the government said on Friday.

Employers taking part in the Apprenticeship Initiative Scheme will from April 1 receive 3,000 pounds ($4,179) for each apprentice hired, regardless of age – an increase on current grants of between 1,500 and 2,000 pounds depending on age.

The scheme will extended by six months until the end of September, the finance ministry said.

Sunak will also announce an extra 126 million pounds for traineeships for up to 43,000 placements.

Sunak’s March 3 budget will likely include a new round of spending to prop up the economy during what he hopes will be the last phase of lockdown, but he will also probably signal tax rises ahead to plug the huge hole in the public finances.

Sunak is also expected to announce a “flexi-job” apprenticeship scheme, whereby apprentices can join an agency and work for multiple employers in one sector, the finance ministry said.

“We know there’s more to do and it’s vital this continues throughout the next stage of our recovery, which is why I’m boosting support for these programmes, helping jobseekers and employers alike,” Sunak said in a statement.

(Reporting by Andy Bruce, editing by David Milliken)

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UK seeks G7 consensus on digital competition after Facebook blackout

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UK seeks G7 consensus on digital competition after Facebook blackout 2

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain is seeking to build a consensus among G7 nations on how to stop large technology companies exploiting their dominance, warning that there can be no repeat of Facebook’s one-week media blackout in Australia.

Facebook’s row with the Australian government over payment for local news, although now resolved, has increased international focus on the power wielded by tech corporations.

“We will hold these companies to account and bridge the gap between what they say they do and what happens in practice,” Britain’s digital minister Oliver Dowden said on Friday.

“We will prevent these firms from exploiting their dominance to the detriment of people and the businesses that rely on them.”

Dowden said recent events had strengthened his view that digital markets did not currently function properly.

He spoke after a meeting with Facebook’s Vice-President for Global Affairs, Nick Clegg, a former British deputy prime minister.

“I put these concerns to Facebook and set out our interest in levelling the playing field to enable proper commercial relationships to be formed. We must avoid such nuclear options being taken again,” Dowden said in a statement.

Facebook said in a statement that the call had been constructive, and that it had already struck commercial deals with most major publishers in Britain.

“Nick strongly agreed with the Secretary of State’s (Dowden’s) assertion that the government’s general preference is for companies to enter freely into proper commercial relationships with each other,” a Facebook spokesman said.

Britain will host a meeting of G7 leaders in June.

It is seeking to build consensus there for coordinated action toward “promoting competitive, innovative digital markets while protecting the free speech and journalism that underpin our democracy and precious liberties,” Dowden said.

The G7 comprises the United States, Japan, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Canada, but Australia has also been invited.

Britain is working on a new competition regime aimed at giving consumers more control over their data, and introducing legislation that could regulate social media platforms to prevent the spread of illegal or extremist content and bullying.

(Reporting by William James; Editing by Gareth Jones and John Stonestreet)

 

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Britain to offer fast-track visas to bolster fintechs after Brexit

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Britain to offer fast-track visas to bolster fintechs after Brexit 3

By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said on Friday it would offer a fast-track visa scheme for jobs at high-growth companies after a government-backed review warned that financial technology firms will struggle with Brexit and tougher competition for global talent.

Finance minister Rishi Sunak said that now Britain has left the European Union, it wants to make sure its immigration system helps businesses attract the best hires.

“This new fast-track scale-up stream will make it easier for fintech firms to recruit innovators and job creators, who will help them grow,” Sunak said in a statement.

Over 40% of fintech staff in Britain come from overseas, and the new visa scheme, open to migrants with job offers at high-growth firms that are scaling up, will start in March 2022.

Brexit cut fintechs’ access to the EU single market and made it far harder to employ staff from the bloc, leaving Britain less attractive for the industry.

The review published on Friday and headed by Ron Kalifa, former CEO of payments fintech Worldpay, set out a “strategy and delivery model” that also includes a new 1 billion pound ($1.39 billion) start-up fund.

“It’s about underpinning financial services and our place in the world, and bringing innovation into mainstream banking,” Kalifa told Reuters.

Britain has a 10% share of the global fintech market, generating 11 billion pounds ($15.6 billion) in revenue.

The review said Brexit, heavy investment in fintech by Australia, Canada and Singapore, and the need to be nimbler as COVID-19 accelerates digitalisation of finance, all mean the sector’s future in Britain is not assured.

It also recommends more flexible listing rules for fintechs to catch up with New York.

“We recognise the need to make the UK attractive a more attractive location for IPOs,” said Britain’s financial services minister John Glen, adding that a separate review on listings rules would be published shortly.

“Those findings, along with Ron’s report today, should provide an excellent evidence base for further reform.”

SCALING UP

Britain pioneered “sandboxes” to allow fintechs to test products on real consumers under supervision, and the review says regulators should move to the next stage and set up “scale-boxes” to help fintechs navigate red tape to grow.

“It’s a question of knowing who to call when there’s a problem,” said Kay Swinburne, vice chair of financial services at consultants KPMG and a contributor to the review.

A UK fintech wanting to serve EU clients would have to open a hub in the bloc, an expensive undertaking for a start-up.

“Leaving the EU and access to the single market going away is a big deal, so the UK has to do something significant to make fintechs stay here,” Swinburne said.

The review seeks to join the dots on fintech policy across government departments and regulators, and marshal private sector efforts under a new Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT).

“There is no framework but bits of individual policies, and nowhere does it come together,” said Rachel Kent, a lawyer at Hogan Lovells and contributor to the review.

($1 = 0.7064 pounds)

(Reporting by Huw Jones; editing by Jane Merriman and John Stonestreet)

 

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