Feb 19, 2021

Monzo and TrueLayer use open banking to protect customers

Monzo
TrueLayer
openbanking
gambling
William Girling
2 min
Monzo and TrueLayer use open banking to protect customers
Digital bank Monzo and open finance tech expert TrueLayer have partnered to create a new ‘gambling block’ for vulnerable customers...

Monzo first instigated a ‘block’ feature for its app in 2018, apparently to meet the demand of customers who wished to tackle issues related to gambling addiction.

Subsequently, 275,000 of its five million users have reportedly activated the function and less than 10% have deactivated it. However, the evolution of payment methods for online gambling using open finance tools has meant that prior protections are no longer robust enough. Monzo’s collaboration with TrueLayer is an attempt to redress the balance.

Protecting vulnerable customers

The previous incarnation of Monzo’s protection would block payments to particular ‘merchant codes’ (assigned on card platforms like Mastercard or Visa) linked to gambling companies. 

This still works well, however new methods for payment, such as those powered by open banking, bypass the protection by dispensing with a card platform intermediary and allowing a direct consumer-bank authorisation. 

Through an enhanced API, TrueLayer can overcome this issue by notifying Monzo any time a user with gambling restrictions on their account attempts to pay with open banking. TrueLayer described the solution as “relatively straightforward”, yet with the potential to have a significant impact in helping those who require support. 

Making gambling more responsible

Following a statement from Monzo’s new CEO TS Anil earlier this week, it appears that the leading digital-only bank is taking a firm stance on making gambling a more managed activity.

“We believe the government should take the opportunity afforded by the [2005] Gambling Act review to make sure every consumer in the UK can access these blocks, regardless of who they bank with.

“These tools are simple to build, proven to work, and will help protect hundreds of thousands of people.”

According to Statista the gross gambling yield in the UK last year was roughly £14bn, with 31% of the population gambling on a weekly basis. As such, talks about how best to protect consumers in an age where digital payments make the activity easily accessible are ongoing.

TrueLayer concluded its announcement of the Monzo partnership with a positive affirmation, “By enabling the right types of protections for all players, gambling can remain a purely social activity, rather than one with life-altering negative effects.” 

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Jul 22, 2021

Upgrade launch new credit card with bitcoin rewards

Fintech
upgrade
Bitcoin
card
2 min
Upgrade has announced their new bitcoin rewards card that offers unlimited 1.5% BTC back on every purchase paid

Upgrade, a fintech company focused on providing credit for mainstream consumers, has launched the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card a new version of its Upgrade Card featuring bitcoin rewards. Under the new programme, users earn unlimited 1.5% bitcoin rewards on every purchase as they make payments.  

The custody and trading platform for holding and selling bitcoin is provided by NYDIG and the card is a Visa Signature card, which includes benefits such as trip and baggage insurance, purchase protection, and extended warranty coverage.

The company offers credit lines from $500 to $25,000 with the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card depending on your credit score. It works with Apple Pay and Google Pay. Like other Upgrade credit cards, there are no monthly fees, late fees, or returned payment fees.

"Upgrade Card is already delivering over $3 billion in annualised credit to consumers," said Renaud Laplanche, co-founder and CEO at Upgrade. "Starting today, anyone can apply for an Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card and enjoy the same affordable and responsible credit as with any Upgrade Card, plus the potential upside and fun of owning bitcoin."

 

 

(Image: Upgrade)

Participating in the crypto economy 

 

Upgrade isn’t the first company to announce a credit card with bitcoin rewards, but it’s the first one that is generally available. Anyone can apply with no waitlist, and start using their virtual card immediately until they get their physical card in the mail. 

"Crypto rewards introduce cardholders to a new asset class that is increasingly part of a consumer's financial portfolio," said Terry Angelos, SVP and Global Head of Fintech at Visa. "Whether you're a crypto enthusiast or just getting started, programmes like the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card offer an engaging and low-risk way to participate in the crypto economy."

At the moment, you can’t do much with your bitcoins. You can choose to hold them or sell them. There’s no way to transfer your bitcoins to another wallet for instance. If you choose to sell your rewards, there’s a 1.5% transaction fee.

This card is not currently available in all 50 states. Customers in Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia can’t order an Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card at the moment.

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