Paysafe to Acquire Merchants’ Choice Payment Solutions for USD 470 mln

Paysafe Group has announced plans to acquire Merchants’ Choice Payment Solutions (MCPS), a US-based payment processor.

MCPS is a data-focused full service payment processor for merchants and high-volume Independent Sales Organisations (“ISOs”) in North America. The company provides payments services to approximately 60,000 merchants in 50 states and processes over USD 14 billion in sales volume annually.

This acquisition will help Paysafe to get a foothold in North America. The company will add MCPS’s point-of-sale (POS) infrastructure to its Paysafe Processing division increasing its ability to process POS, online and order ahead payments.
MCPS reported revenue of $446 million and earnings before tax of USD 18.4 million in the year ended 31 December 2016. At that date, MCPS had gross assets with a value of USD 90.4 million.

Paysafe is a global provider of payment solutions. Merchants can, through their websites, use their services and gateway platforms, and innovative prepaid products and solutions, to simplify how they accept credit and debit card, direct-from-bank, and alternative and local payments.

Source: The Paypers

Vodafone Albania Brings Down Curtain on M-Pesa

Vodafone Albania is reportedly in the throes of closing down its M-Pesa mobile money service – a move which could affect as many as 250,000 customers in the country.

A notice sent by the operator to its M-Pesa users revealed the service will cease operations on 14 July. Customers will have until 29 July to withdraw any funds lodged with the service from any Vodafone Albania retail store, with the operator waiving transaction charges, RTK Livereported.

While the news service noted Vodafone Albania is yet to offer an official statement regarding the move, it said the information provided to M-Pesa users in the country cited an internal decision for the shutdown.

Such a move is not without precedent. In May 2016 Vodafone’s South African unit Vodacom announced it was discontinuing M-Pesa after a review concluded it was unlikely to achieve a critical mass of users in the country. It was reported at the time the operator had signed up 76,000 users.

The same rationale may apply to Vodafone Albania. The reported number of M-Pesa users in the country represent a fraction of the 2.3 million subscribers GSMA Intelligence reports the operator had at end-Q1 2017.

Vodafone launched M-Pesa in Albania in 2015 as part of a broader strategy to expand availability of the service in Central and Eastern Europe.

Source: MobileWorldLive

 

Extreme Cyber-Attack Could Dwarf Natural Disaster Costs

A major global cyber-attack has the potential to trigger up to US$53 billion of economic losses – greater than some of Australia’s worst natural disasters combined.

The equivalent cost is more than five times the economic losses recorded for the devastating 2011 Queensland floods, one of the most damaging natural disasters recorded at an estimated cost of A$14.1 billion or US$10.7 billion.

The joint research undertaken by Lloyd’s and cybersecurity advisor Cyence examined the potential economic impact of two global scenarios:

A malicious hack that takes down a cloud service provider with estimated losses of up to US$53 billion; and
Attacks on computer operating systems run by a large number of businesses around the world, which could cause losses of US$28.7 billion.
The research acknowledged that economic losses could be much lower or higher than the average in the scenarios because of the uncertainty around cyber aggregation.

For example, while average losses in the cloud service disruption scenario are US$53 billion for an extreme event, they could be as high as US$121 billion or as low as US$15 billion, depending on factors such as the different organisations involved and how long the cloud service disruption lasts for.

The findings also revealed that, while the global demand for cyber insurance is on the rise, the majority of losses are not currently insured, leaving an insurance gap of tens of billions of dollars.

Cyber risk exposures
Asked about the implications for Australia, Lloyd’s general representative in Australia, Chris Mackinnon, said the implications were huge for local businesses of all sizes and across all sectors.

“Businesses today are interconnected by digital technology and services, meaning a single cyber event can cause a severe impact across an economy, triggering multiple claims and dramatically increasing insurers’ claims costs,” he said.

“This report gives us a real sense of the extent of damage a single, extreme cyber-attack could cause. An attack of that magnitude could create losses bigger than of some of Australia’s worst natural disasters combined.”

Putting that into perspective, the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria cost an estimated A$7 billion; the 2011 Queensland floods cost A$14.1 billion and the 1989 Newcastle earthquake cost A$18.7 billion.

“Where a decade ago people would talk about preventing a cyber-attack, the reality today is that any business with proprietary information worth protecting is vulnerable to attack. The issue is how you mitigate against that risk,” Mackinnon said.

“These scenarios are designed to help both businesses and insurers gain a better understanding of their cyber risk exposures and better manage these complex and rising risks.”

Since its inception in 2014, there have been over 114,000 reports of cybercrime registered with the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN). Notably, 23,700 of these have been reported over the last six months, highlighting a growing occurrence of cyber-criminal activity.

Source: RFi Group

Ant Financial Cooperates With Fuzhou To Develop Cashless Society

Ant Financial, the financial arm of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has clinched an agreement with Fuzhou to develop a cashless society.

Fuzhou will be the third Chinese to develop a cashless shopping environment together with Ant Financial following Hangzhou and Wuhan. This cashless development will be supported by an alliance which has been formed between Ant Financial and over 20 institutions including Fuzhou Municipal Bureau of Commerce and State Grid Fujian Electric Power Company.

The campaign is expected to help over 90% of merchants and businesses in the city to operate cashless by the end of this year.

Currently, 95% of the taxi fleet, 85% of supermarkets and convenience stores and 80% of restaurants accept mobile payments and customers between 20 and 40 years old make up 80% of all these users.

In the partnership, Ant Financials, through its Alipay payment service, will aid the city in a few areas of development, namely transport, commercial and government services. These developments will set up the infrastructure which allows residents in Fuzhou to shop and travel simply with a smart phone.

According to RFi Group’s data on payments, Alipay is among the top 3 most important payment methods in China, with 74% of the banking population having used it in the last 12 months.

Tencent Partners with Wirecard to Launch WeChat Pay in Europe

Tencent has partnered with Wirecard, a Germany-based payments service provider, to launch its WeChat Pay payments service in Europe.

European retailers will be able to accept payments made via WeChat Pay, a social media application that incorporates P2P and mobile payments. The new payments method will be implemented by Wirecard.

The launch of the payments service in Europe is aimed at Chinese tourists, who prefer to make mobile payments when shopping overseas. They have also been the largest spending group of tourists in Europe, spending more than USD 261 billion abroad.

The launch of WeChat Pay in Europe will put Tencent in direct competition with Alipay, which has been present on the continent since 2015. Both Chinese payments services have been made available via Wirecard, which acts as an acquirer, centralizing and processing all the transactions for a retailer.

Chinese tourists can open their WeChat wallet feature, show the barcode on their smartphone to the retailer, and the shop assistant will scan the code to activate the payment process. The solution will be ready to go live in November 2017.