Every fortnight we compile some of the most important headlines from the fintech and payments industry covering digital banking, online payments, cryptocurrency, blockchain, and more.
Online lending and investment fintech SoFi announced that it was acquiring digital payment platform Galileo for $1.2 billion. Galileo is already closely integrated with SoFi’s products, and will operate independently under the SoFi banner. This acquisition allows SoFi to expand its product suite to include Galileo’s immensely successful digital payment processing platforms and APIs.
PayPal, Intuit, & Square approved to offer loans to small businesses through coronavirus relief program
PayPal, Intuit and Square have all been approved to participate in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program, which provides aid in the form of forgivable loans for small businesses that keep all employees on their payroll for at least eight weeks. The $350 billion small business loan program is a part of Congress’s $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package, and is aimed at those businesses with fewer than 500 employees.
The round was led by British venture capital firm Hummingbird Ventures and US-based Bedrock Capital. The latest funding brings the total funding raised by the company to date to $26m.The start-up had previously raised funds from seed investors like Sequoia Capital, 3one4 Capital, Matrix Partners and Beenext. The latest funding brings the company’s valuation to nearly $100m. The company’s new product is expected to offer savings account, investments and lending services to salaried people with an income of over INR50,000 ($655.46).
San Francisco-based Chime is aggressively expanding a program to give people access to cash before they receive their $1,200 stimulus payments. While the government checks are scheduled to begin arriving next week, Chime is now letting 100,000 people spend $200 they don’t have on their debit cards, aiming to help people who are having trouble paying bills due to the coronavirus-induced recession. Chime is the most valuable digital bank in America, recently valued (before the coronavirus crisis) at $6 billion after raising $700 million in venture capital.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has announced an SGD 125 million ($87.8 million) coronavirus care package for its country’s financial and fintech sectors. The package, one of the most fintech-specific aid offerings seen so far, focuses on supporting workers and students, as well as boosting operational resilience and speeding up digitisation. For fintechs only, the package offers 80% funding support for those firms purchasing digital solutions which “improve productivity, increase efficiency, enhance operational resilience, manage risks better, and/or serve customers better”. This funding, called a ‘Digital Acceleration Grant’, is capped at SGD 120,000 for each fintech start-up.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia has recorded a surge in mobile payment transactions at the POS, as consumers reach for their phones to avoid touching PIN pads during the Coronavirus outbreak. Latest analysis from the bank, which draws on Visa and Mastercard data, has found digital wallet users in Australia spent $1 billion in a record number of transactions in March 2020, a 17% increase from the same month last year.
Railsbank, the open banking and compliance platform, has picked up further investment, following the company’s $10 million Series A in September 2019. This time backing comes from Visa along with Global Brain, a venture capital firm based in Tokyo, Japan. In addition to investment, Railsbank is announcing that it has signed a 5-year partnership with Visa to deliver Banking as a Service (BaaS) innovation in Southeast Asia, and recently became a Visa “principal issuing” member.
Hong Kong-based fintech unicorn Airwallex has garnered $160 million in a Series D round of financing as it seeks to expand its footprint in Europe, the United States, and other new markets. Airwallex is valued at $1.8 billion after the funding round, it disclosed. The Series D round attracted participation from a group of new strategic investors including ANZi Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Australia’s ANZ Bank, and Salesforce Ventures, the investment unit of American cloud-based software developer Salesforce.