Dec 4, 2020

Payment tech has become an ‘arms race’ for banks

Banking
Marqeta
covid-19
William Girling
2 min
Payment tech has become an ‘arms race’ for banks
A new report from Marqeta characterises the post-COVID-19 banking environment to be an ‘arms race’, one that few organisations are fully prepared fo...

A new report from Marqeta characterises the post-COVID-19 banking environment to be an ‘arms race’, one that few organisations are fully prepared for.

These findings and more form a continuation of Marqeta’s ongoing research into how the pandemic has altered the sector’s priorities (read more on part one here).

Surveying 200 European banking executives, the company found an overwhelming majority (94%) agreed that more advanced technology would enable greater competitive advantages, as well as a broadened range of choices and better flexibility for customers.

However 84% believe that legacy infrastructure is stifling innovation, particularly at a time when pressures such as industry scrutiny and customer need are already at unprecedented levels. 

Staying relevant

Although the ongoing contest between incumbents and challenger banks has yet to produce a clear victor, there is some evidence to suggest that the only barrier preventing the latter from usurping the former is proof of longevity. 

The superiority of digital banks’ customer experience and technology has been attested by The Economist Intelligence Unit; trust remains the ace up traditional banking’s sleeve, but it won’t last forever. To stay ahead, the industry will need to embrace wholesale digital transformation. 

“The likes of Uber, Amazon, and Deliveroo, have set the bar when it comes to expectations around payments; having a slick and convenient way to pay has become a fundamental part of the customer experience,” said Ian Johnson, Managing Director Europe at Marqeta.

“Banks seem to be vying with each other to rapidly develop and launch new payments experiences to stay relevant and gain an advantage over rivals.”

Keeping up with digital

It should also be noted that the impediment of legacy technology is not a disadvantage shared by digital native banks, which make full use of cloud computing to keep their operations lean and agile.

Delaying the transition from legacy to digital can create a host of problems, including poor integration between old and new technology (62% of Marqeta’s survey reported this), incohesive or siloed payment platforms (55%) and lack of ability to customise (46%). 

Despite this a slim majority (58%) state that they are uncomfortable or unwilling to break from the status quo, even though industry consensus seems to coalesce on the wisdom of such a move. 

For some this originates from negative experiences with past implementations of new technology (44%), yet Johnson emphasises that they must overcome this aversion:

“Banks must break free from the shackles of legacy technology and embrace more agile systems built for the digital era. By harnessing technologies such as modern core banking and payment platforms, banks can innovate at the pace required to deliver new payments experiences to the market.”

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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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