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VISA TECHNOLOGY EXTENDS MOBILE PAYMENTS INTO 12 EUROPEAN COUNTRIES BY END OF 2017

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VISA TECHNOLOGY EXTENDS MOBILE PAYMENTS INTO 12 EUROPEAN COUNTRIES BY END OF 2017
  • Visa Token Service, which enables secure and convenient mobile payments, is live in five European markets, with seven more in the pipeline
  • European consumers currently spending an average of €9 in face-to-face transactions when they use their mobile device to pay
  • More than 1.2 million European merchants offer contactless point-of-sale, driving uptake in mobile payments

At the launch of its new Innovation Center in London today, Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) announced that, by the end of this year, more than 12 European countries are adopting the Visa Token Service, a new technology that makes mobile and online payments more secure and convenient by replacing the consumer account information with a digital identifier.

The technology is already supporting mobile payment schemes in 27 countries worldwide, including in France, Ireland, Poland, Switzerland and the UK, with more than 1,300 financial institution partners. Visa is working with its clients and partners to extend the use of the technology to more countries and to online payments.

Pioneered by Visa in 2014, the Visa Token Service is the technology that underpins popular mobile payment services including Apple Pay and Android Pay, providing consumers a secure way to load and access their payment account on a mobile device.  The technology sits at the heart of Visa’s IoT (Internet of Things) vision, enabling secure and convenient commerce on any connected device, such as phones, tablets, wearable devices, even automobiles and appliances.

Sandra Alzetta, Executive Director Digital Solutions for Visa:

“Since 2015, we have seen people throughout Europe embrace mobile payments. Next on Visa’s horizon is expanding our token service to give merchants an easy way to safely store the customer account information they keep on file and enabling secure commerce with a broad range of connected devices.”

Key Growth Drivers for Mobile Payments in Europe

Security, convenience, and an increase of retail locations equipped with contactless payment terminals are key factors driving the adoption of mobile payments across Europe. Visa’s token service technology is providing consumers with peace of mind when shopping with mobile devices, offering a seamless purchasing experience for every day purchases from commuting to their morning coffee and entertainment. In addition, European merchants are increasingly installing new technology that supports payments with both cards and mobile (NFC) devices.

  • In Europe, the top five popular merchant categories for mobile payments are restaurants, supermarkets, transit, convenience food and drink, and leisure and entertainment.
  • When using their mobile device to make a purchase, European shoppers spend an average of €9 in store and €41 online.
  • When travelling abroad, Europeans have used their mobile device to make purchases in 91 countries around the world, demonstrating that people feel safe and secure using their smartphones or tablets when shopping in another country.
  • There are more than 1.2 million merchants in Europe that accept contactless payments by cards and mobile devices[i] in store, driving more than five billion contactless purchases by European Visa account holders[ii]. This represents 32% of all Visa-processed transactions at physical retail locations[iii].

Enabling Internet of Things (IoT) Commerce

Visa’s Token Service and ability to remove sensitive consumer payment account information from purchases in digital channels is foundational for secure commerce with a broad range of (IoT) connected devices, from a watch or ring, to an appliance or car.

Visa’s global collaboration with IBM, announced last week at the opening of IBMs new IoT Watson Research Center in Munich, is designed to do just that and is rooted in a shared vision and belief that we can securely embed payments and commerce into many of the 20 billion connected devices estimated to be in the global economy by 2020[iv].

As part of the collaboration between the two companies, IBM’s Watson IoT clients, we will make the Visa Token Service accessible through a network of token service providers (TSPs) as part of our Visa Ready partnership program.

Finance

Sunak warns of bill to be paid to tackle Britain’s ‘exposed’ finances – FT

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Sunak warns of bill to be paid to tackle Britain's 'exposed' finances - FT 1

(Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak will use the budget next week to level with the public over the “enormous strains” in the country’s finances, warning that a bill will have to be paid after further coronavirus support, according to an interview with the Financial Times.

Sunak told the newspaper there was an immediate need to spend more to protect jobs as the UK emerged from COVID-19, but warned that Britain’s finances were now “exposed.”

UK exposure to a rise of one percentage point across all interest rates was 25 billion pounds ($34.83 billion) a year to the government’s cost of servicing its debt, Sunak told FT.

“That (is) why I talk about leveling with people about the public finances (challenges) and our plans to address them,” he said.

The government has already spent more than 280 billion pounds in coronavirus relief and tax cuts this year, and his 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.

He is also expected to announce a new mortgage scheme targeted at people with small deposits, the UK’s Treasury announced late on Friday.

Additionally, the government will also announce a new 100 million pound task force to crack-down on COVID-19 fraudsters exploiting government support schemes, it said.

(Reporting by Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler and Cynthia Osterman)

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Finance

G20 promises no let-up in stimulus, sees tax deal by summer

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G20 promises no let-up in stimulus, sees tax deal by summer 2

By Gavin Jones and Jan Strupczewski

ROME/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The world’s financial leaders agreed on Friday to maintain expansionary policies to help economies survive the effects of COVID-19, and committed to a more multilateral approach to the twin coronavirus and economic crises.

The Italian presidency of the G20 group of the world’s top economies said the gathering of finance chiefs had pledged to work more closely to accelerate a still fragile and uneven recovery.

“We agreed that any premature withdrawal of fiscal and monetary support should be avoided,” Daniele Franco, Italy’s finance minister, told a news conference after the videolinked meeting held by the G20 finance ministers and central bankers.

The United States is readying $1.9 trillion in fiscal stimulus and the European Union has already put together more than 3 trillion euros ($3.63 trillion) to keep its economies through lockdowns.

But despite the large sums, problems with the global rollout of vaccines and the emergence of new coronavirus variants mean the future path of the recovery remains uncertain.

The G20 is “committed to scaling up international coordination to tackle current global challenges by adopting a stronger multilateral approach and focusing on a set of core priorities,” the Italian presidency said in a statement.

The meeting was the first since Joe Biden – who pledged to rebuild U.S. cooperation in international bodies – U.S. president, and significant progress appeared to have been made on the thorny issue of taxation of multinational companies, particularly web giants like Google, Amazon and Facebook.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told the G20 Washington had dropped the Trump administration’s proposal to let some companies opt out of new global digital tax rules, raising hopes for an agreement by summer.

“GIANT STEP FORWARD”

The move was hailed as a major breakthrough by Germany’s Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and his French counterpart Bruno Le Maire.

Scholz said Yellen told the G20 officials that Washington also planned to reform U.S. minimum tax regulations in line with an OECD proposal for a global effective minimum tax.

“This is a giant step forward,” Scholz said.

Italy’s Franco said the new U.S. stance should pave the way to an overarching deal on taxation of multinationals at a G20 meeting of finance chiefs in Venice in July.

The G20 also discussed how to help the world’s poorest countries, whose economies are being disproportionately hit by the crisis.

On this front there was broad support for boosting the capital of the International Monetary Fund to help it provide more loans, but no concrete numbers were proposed.

To give itself more firepower, the Fund proposed last year to increase its war chest by $500 billion in the IMF’s own currency called the Special Drawing Rights (SDR), but the idea was blocked by Trump.

“There was no discussion on specific amounts of SDRs,” Franco said, adding that the issue would be looked at again on the basis of a proposal prepared by the IMF for April.

While the IMF sees the U.S. economy returning to pre-crisis levels at the end of this year, it may take Europe until the middle of 2022 to reach that point.

The recovery is fragile elsewhere too. Factory activity in China grew at the slowest pace in five months in January, and in Japan fourth quarter growth slowed from the previous quarter.

Some countries had expressed hopes the G20 may extend a suspension of debt servicing costs for the poorest countries beyond June, but no decision was taken.

The issue will be discussed at the next meeting, Franco said.

(Additional reporting by Andrea Shalal in Washington Michael Nienaber in Berlin and Crispian Balmer in Rome; editing by John Stonestreet)

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Bank of England’s Haldane says inflation “tiger” is prowling

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Bank of England's Haldane says inflation "tiger" is prowling 3

By Andy Bruce and David Milliken

LONDON (Reuters) – Bank of England Chief Economist Andy Haldane warned on Friday that an inflationary “tiger” had woken up and could prove difficult to tame as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, potentially requiring the BoE to take action.

In a clear break from other members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) who are more relaxed about the outlook for consumer prices, Haldane called inflation a “tiger (that) has been stirred by the extraordinary events and policy actions of the past 12 months”.

“People are right to caution about the risks of central banks acting too conservatively by tightening policy prematurely,” Haldane said in a speech published online. “But, for me, the greater risk at present is of central bank complacency allowing the inflationary (big) cat out of the bag.”

Haldane’s comments prompted British government bond prices to fall to their lowest level in almost a year and sterling to rise as he warned that investors may not be adequately positioned for the risk of higher inflation or BoE rates.

“There is a tangible risk inflation proves more difficult to tame, requiring monetary policymakers to act more assertively than is currently priced into financial markets,” Haldane said.

He pointed to the BoE’s latest estimate of slack in Britain’s economy, which was much smaller and likely to be less persistent than after the 2008 financial crisis, leaving less room for the economy to grow before generating price pressures.

Haldane also cited a glut of savings built by businesses and households during the pandemic that could be unleashed in the form of higher spending, as well as the government’s extensive fiscal response to the pandemic and other factors.

Disinflationary forces could return if risks from COVID-19 or other sources proved more persistent than expected, he said.

But in Haldane’s judgement, inflation risked overshooting the BoE’s 2% target for a sustained period – in contrast to its official forecasts published early this month that showed only a very small overshoot in 2022 and early 2023.

Haldane’s comments put him at the most hawkish end among the nine members of the MPC.

Deputy Governor Dave Ramsden on Friday said risks to UK inflation were broadly balanced.

“I see inflation expectations – whatever measure you look at – well anchored,” Ramsden said following a speech given online, echoing comments from fellow deputy governor Ben Broadbent on Wednesday.

(Editing by Larry King and John Stonestreet)

 

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