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The Direct finance Card gives companies direct overview and control over all employee expenses in real-time

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The Direct finance Card gives companies direct overview and control over all employee expenses in real-time
  • Employees across the whole company can use the Direct Card for business expenses anywhere in the world – including trips, instore and online purchases
  • Direct Card can be used anywhere where Mastercard® is accepted
  • It can be provided as an individual card to each employee or as a single card that teams can share
  • Provides Financial Directors and company accountants with a direct overview and control over all company expenses
  • The solution has already been adopted by companies such as Ogilvy, HRG, AlgoTech, ŠKODA Auto, HYUNDAI Motor Manufacturing Czech s.r.o. Tatra Trucks and Economia

Direct finance Europe a.s., in collaboration with Global Processing Services (GPS), announces the release of their Direct Card, an all-inclusive corporate expense management prepaid Mastercard® solution to the Czech market.

Direct Card is a prepaid solution that has been developed to facilitate expense management for businesses and their employees. Businesses can transfer funds from their corporate account to a Direct Collection Account and have the ability to control card functionalities, set spending amounts per individual user or a group of users – and in real-time. The cards can be easily uploaded with funds and instantly used by employees for payments at any merchants accepting Mastercard, at over 160,000 business premises in the Czech Republic and 30 million locations worldwide.

Companies have the ability through the web or mobile application to manage and control their corporate finance online, order and administer the settings of individual or shared cards and control their usage as needed; for example limiting payments on certain days of the week only, limiting cash withdrawals from ATMs, defining the type of expenditure allowed or even block cards if required.

Employees have access to the Direct Card web or mobile app which is linked to their card where they can view in real-time all transactions and card balance, scan and store their receipts and block the card in case of loss or stolen. The app provides speed and convenience for employees in reducing those long hours spent on administrative tasks dealing with sorting out expenses.

Financial Directors or accountants in a company can view spending in real-time and control spending limits per person or per user groups defined. This provides the company or management teams with a better overview of how each individual or department is managing their budgets while keeping total control over company cash flows in this regards and reducing time spent on bookkeeping.

Companies can also choose to give their employees a complete coverage and peace of mind for their business trips with the Direct Travel Insurance. Employees can subscribe to an annual insurance package for medical expenses and liability insurance of up to CZK 30 million. The insurance covers repeated trips up to 90 days and includes all trips including holidays.

Central Europe is a rapidly expanding fintech hub with an estimated worth at EUR 2.2 billion and an annual growth of 55%, with Czech Republic, alone, covering EUR 190 million of this according to the Deloitte Fintech Study. Direct finance, is emerging amongst the fintechs in Czech Republic that are disrupting how businesses operate.

Suresh Vaghjiani, Managing Director at Global Processing Services, comments: “Central and Eastern Europe are experiencing rapid annual growth in the Fintech sector. It is very exciting to know we are contributing to that region‘s growth, enabling fintech disruptors, like Direct finance, to develop customer-led innovations in corporate cash management.“

Pavel Rehak, CEO at Direct finance Europe comments: We aim to simplify our customers‘ life through simple, fast, reliable and friendly solutions. Direct Card provides just that in the area of cash and expense management.  We are excited to see the interest and positive customer response that is being reflected in our rapid growth of more than 100% year-on-year as we are approaching further service innovations and regional expansion.

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Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs

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Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs 1

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Bitcoin hit a fresh high in Asian trading on Saturday, extending a two-month rally that saw its market capitalisation cross $1 trillion a day earlier.

The world’s most popular cryptocurrency rose to an record $56,620, taking its weekly gain to 18%. It has surged more than 92% this year.

Bitcoin’s gains have been fuelled by evidence it is gaining acceptance among mainstream investors and companies, such as Tesla Inc, Mastercard Inc and BNY Mellon.

Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization and daily volume, hit a record $2,040.62, for a weekly gain of about 12%.

Ether is the digital currency or token that facilitates transactions on the ethereum blockchain. In the crypto world, the terms ether and ethereum have become interchangeable.

Ether futures contracts launched on derivatives exchange CME earlier this month.

(Reporting by Vidya Ranganathan; Editing by William Mallard)

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World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers

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World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers 2

By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The World Bank is working to standardize COVID-19 vaccine contracts that countries are signing with drug makers, and is pushing manufacturers to be more open about where doses are headed, as it races to get more vaccines to poor countries, the bank’s president said on Friday.

World Bank President David Malpass told Reuters he expected the bank’s board to have approved $1.6 billion in vaccine funding for 12 countries, including the Philippines, Bangladesh, Tunisia and Ethiopia, by the end of March, with 30 more to follow shortly thereafter.

The bank is working with local governments to identify and fill gaps in distribution capacity, after they purchase vaccines under a $12 billion World Bank program, and also to standardize the contracts they are signing with manufacturers, he said.

The bank’s International Finance Corp, its private financing arm, has $4 billion to invest in expanding existing production plants or building new ones, including in developed countries, but needs more data on where current production is headed, he said.

“We are eager to be investing in new capacity, but it’s hard to do because you don’t know how much of the existing capacity is already committed to the various off-takers,” Malpass said in an interview with Reuters. New or expanded plants could be used to produce other types of vaccinations in the future, he said.

The bank’s funds could be used to expand plants in advanced economies, if the production was earmarked for developing nations, he said.

Malpass welcomed Friday’s pledge by the Group of Seven rich countries to intensify cooperation on the pandemic, saying it could help jump-start deliveries of vaccines to poorer countries, which are lagging far behind rich countries in getting shots in arms.

Data compiled by Our World In Data, a scientific online publication, showed Israel was leading the world in COVID-19 vaccinations, with nearly 82 of 100 people vaccinated, while India and Bangladesh reported less than one person per 100, Many African countries have not started at all.

Malpass said he was heartened by news about new vaccines coming down the road, and about Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE seeking permission to store their vaccine at higher temperatures, which would ease another obstacle to deliveries in lower-income countries.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Heather Timmons and Leslie Adler)

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Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion

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Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion 3

By Paresh Dave

(Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google will evaluate the performance of its vice presidents and above on team diversity and inclusion starting this year, the company said on Friday in one of several responses to concerns about its treatment of a Black scientist.

Timnit Gebru, co-leader of Google’s ethical artificial intelligence research team, said in December that Google abruptly fired her after she criticized its diversity efforts and threatened to resign.

Alphabet and Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai ordered a review of the situation. While Google declined to share specific findings, the company announced on Friday it will engage human resources specialists during sensitive employee departures.

Pichai in June said that by 2025, Google aims to have 30% more of its leaders come from underrepresented groups, with a focus on Black, Latinx and Native American leaders in the United States and female technical leaders globally. About 96% of Google’s U.S. leaders at the time were white or Asian, and 73% globally were men.

As a result of the investigation, the company also expanded a commitment announced in June to devote more resources to retaining and promoting existing employees, including by expanding a team addressing disputes among workers and their managers.

The diversity component of executive performance reviews was not previously announced, and the company did not immediately share details about what would be measured and how pay would be affected.

Alphabet for years had rejected proposals from shareholders and employees to set diversity goals and tie executive pay to them.

Irene Knapp, a former Google employee who advocated for one such proposal at a 2018 shareholder meeting, said on Friday, “I am pleased that they met our demand from 2018, which was a bare minimum that should have been easy to do immediately.”

Evaluating managers on diversity goals is becoming more commonplace. McDonald’s Corp on Thursday tied executive bonuses to diversity.

(Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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