The Payments Newsletter including Digital Assets & Blockchain, April 2024

Key developments of interest over the last month include: the EU’s regulation on instant credit transfers in euro coming into force; the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) announcing a public-private partnership to explore tokenisation of cross-border payments; and the Bank of England and FCA publishing a joint consultation paper on implementing and operating the Digital Securities Sandbox.

In this Newsletter:

For previous editions of the Payments Newsletters, please visit our Financial Services practice page.

Regulatory Developments: Payments

European Union: Regulation on instant credit transfers in euro comes into force

On 8 April 2024, the Regulation on instant credit transfers in euro ((EU) 2024/886) came into force. This Regulation is part of the European Commission’s objective of increasing digital and instant payment solutions with pan-European reach under its 2020 Retail Payments Strategy.

As reported in the March edition of the Newsletter, there are phased implementation deadlines under the Regulation, modified for the different components of the initiative and to allow for euro area and non-euro area member states.

United Kingdom: FCA publishes 2024/2025 Business Plan

On 19 March 2024, the FCA published its Business Plan for 2024/2025 setting out its planned programme of work for the coming year. The FCA’s areas of focus for 2024/2025 include the following topics:

  • Reducing and preventing financial crime by supporting victims of Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud. The FCA will invest in the use of its data in order to target firms that are more susceptible to receiving the proceeds of fraud. The FCA will ensure that such firms do more to stop the flow of illegitimate funds. Consumers will be protected by the development of AI to help prevent fraud and scams.
  • Putting consumers’ needs first by considering financial inclusion and access to cash. The FCA will hold a Financial Inclusion TechSprint and finalise changes to its mortgage, consumer credit, and overdraft rules, amongst other measures.
  • Taking assertive action on market abuse by participating in the creation of a proportionate market abuse regime for cryptoassets.
  • Enabling consumers to help themselves by continuing supervision of cryptoasset firms’ financial promotions and investing in technology to detect harmful financial promotions, and continuing with its InvestSmart and ScamSmart awareness campaigns online.

The FCA will publish an update on its progress with the Business Plan objectives in the summer of 2024.

Take a look at this Engage article for more on this development.

China: Measures to optimise payment services for senior citizens and overseas visitors

On 27 March 2024, it was reported that China has introduced measures to optimise payment services for senior citizens and overseas visitors to the country.

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has referred to the difficulties experienced by overseas travellers in China in making mobile payments. In addition to the inability of some overseas bank cards to work on Chinese payment platforms, PBOC also noted that overseas visitors struggle with the single transaction limit.

One measure will be the new ability of visitors in paying with overseas bank cards via Alipay, one of China’s major payment service providers.

The single transaction limit will also be raised from USD $1,000 to USD $ 5,000.

As part of the ambitions to optimise payment services, 119 specialised foreign currency exchange institutions and facilities have been established. Currently, over 40 currencies are offered.

Previously, many businesses were reported to decline cash payments, which made payments difficult for overseas visitors as well as senior citizens. To mitigate this, guidance has been released to encourage the acceptance of cash payments and businesses are advised to sign a ‘Commitment to Accept Cash’.

Denmark: ECB announces Denmark to join Eurosystem’s payment services T2 and TIPS

On 21 March 2024, the European Central Bank (ECB) announced that Denmark has signed an agreement to join the ECB’s T2 wholesale payment system and the Target Instant Payment Settlement (TIPS) service in April 2025. This will allow the settlement of high-value payments in euro and Danish kroner in the T2 system.

TARGET Services is the name for the system which relies on central bank money to facilitate transfers between banks, businesses and individuals. T2 and TIPS are two pillars of TARGET Services, which also includes T2S, a platform for settlement of securities which already operates for euro and kroner.

The ECB stated that the new agreement would progress the integration of Europe’s financial infrastructures beyond the euro area.

According to the ECB, market participants in Denmark will be able to use all three TARGET services (T2, TIPS and T2S) to settle payments and securities in their national currency and benefit from optimised liquidity management.

The Danish krone is the third currency available for settlement in TIPS and Denmark is the first non-EU country to be a part of all TARGET services.

Namibia: Changes to cross-border payment transactions

On 26 March 2024, it was reported that cross-border payments between Namibia and countries in the Common Monetary Area will be categorised as international transactions from 15 April 2024. The Common Monetary Area (CMA) is a group encompassing Namibia, Eswatini, Lesotho and South Africa.

Previously, payments from Namibia to CMA countries were treated as domestic payments and benefitted from faster processing times as a result. From 15 April onwards, these payments will need to comply with the requirements for international transactions. The change is expected to increase the security of cross-border transactions.

United Kingdom: HM Treasury policy paper on next stage of Smarter Regulatory Framework

On 21 March 2024, HM Treasury (HMT) published a policy paper setting out the next phase of the Smarter Regulatory Framework (SRF) for financial services in the UK. The SRF is HMT’s programme of secondary legislation to replace retained EU law in order to deliver a financial services regulatory regime tailored to the UK following Brexit.

Retained EU law (now referred to as ‘assimilated law’) will be repealed and replaced with rules set by the regulator, operating within a framework set by government and Parliament.

HMT referred to a number of steps that have been undertaken so far, including:

  • Work to amend the Payment Services Regulations 2017 (PSRs) rules on framework contract termination and to amend the PSRs to allow payment service providers to slow down orders where there are reasonable grounds to suspect fraud or dishonesty (as to which, see the March 2024 edition of this Newsletter and our Engage articles here and here).
  • The government’s commitment in the 2023 Autumn Statement to further the recommendation made in the Future of Payments Review report (November 2023) to repeal ‘prescriptive EU rules for authentication’. The government also committed to reduce friction and improve consumers’ ability to make purchases easily.
  • The government has also introduced the Electronic Money, Payment Card Interchange Fee and Payment Services (Amendment) Regulations 2023. The Regulations give the FCA sufficient rulemaking powers and the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) sufficient powers of direction for payment services and e-money to make replacements as assimilated law is repealed.

In the next stage (‘Tranche 3’) of establishing the SRF, the government will continue with the Payment Services and E-Money Directives reform. This follows from the Payment Services Regulations Call for Evidence and Review conducted in 2023, the Future of Payments Review report conducted by Joe Garner in 2023, and the government’s forthcoming National Payments Vision.

United Kingdom: FCA launches consultation on amendments to guidance for insolvency practitioners on how to approach regulated firms

On 19 March 2024, the FCA published a consultation on proposed amendments to its existing guidance for insolvency practitioners on how to approach regulated firms (Guidance). The Guidance was initially published in 2021 to help insolvency practitioners (IPs) apply the rules which apply following a failure of a regulated firm.

The FCA is carrying out the consultation to consider whether the Guidance remains relevant for when regulated firms fail, particularly in light of developments such as: the commencement of the Payment and Electronic Money Institution Insolvency Regulations 2021; introduction of the Consumer Duty; and interest rate fluctuations within the UK economy.

The publication proposes various amendments to the existing regulatory framework, including:

  • an update to reflect the extension of Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) protection to the eligible customers of an electronic money institution or payment institution; and
  • amending the Guidance to ensure that IPs are aware of the consequence of the case of Baker and another v Financial Conduct Authority (Re Ipagoo LLP) [2022] EWCA Civ 302. Following the Court of Appeal judgment in this case, IPs must top up the asset pool where there is a shortfall in eligible safeguarded funds.

The deadline for responses is 30 April 2024.

Global: SWIFT to create new platform to connect CBDCs to existing finance system

On 26 March 2024, it was reported that the global bank messaging network SWIFT is planning a new platform in the next one to two years to connect the central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) currently in development to the existing finance system.

United Kingdom: PSR launches second review of Specific Direction 12

On 27 March 2024, the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) launched a call for views on its second annual review of Specific Direction 12, which is aimed at supporting LINK to meet its commitment to maintain the UK’s free-to-use (FTU) ATM network.

One of the four focus areas for this second review is the role of SD12 following the changes introduced by the Financial Services and Markets Act 2023 (FSMA 2023), which included confirming the FCA’s lead role in access to cash regulation.

The PSR aims to assist in ensuring that the cash infrastructure continues to be accessible and meet people’s needs, as one of a range of effective payment options. To achieve this, the PSR states that the system must be robust, resilient and cost-effective. Therefore, it wants to use this second review of SD12 to consider its role in the context of the changes to the regulatory landscape.

The call for views is open until 2 May 2024, and the PSR will publish a report to summarise comments received and its findings later in 2024. In addition, it is planning to publish a document setting out its proposed approach to supervision, which will also be subject to a call for views.

United States: CFPB circular warns remittance transfer providers about false claims regarding cost and speed

On 27 March 2024, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a circular warning remittance transfer providers that false advertising about the cost or speed of sending a remittance transfer can violate federal law.

According to the related CFPB press release, the circular highlights several marketing practices relating to sending international money transfers that may violate the Consumer Financial Protection Act’s (CFPA) prohibition on deceptive acts or practices, which is enforced by the CFPB, states, and other regulators. The press release also states that guidance in the circular applies both to traditional providers of international money transfers and to “digital wallets” that offer the capability to send money internationally from the United States.

The circular is the latest development in the CFPB’s continuing work to protect senders of international money transfers. The press release contains more detail on other recent and ongoing related work.

United Kingdom: Bank of England, FCA, PRA and PSR conduct 2023 review of Memorandum of Understanding for payment systems in the UK

On 28 March 2024, the FCA published a statement regarding the existing joint-authority Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the FCA, Bank of England, PRA and Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) (together, the Authorities).

Since 2018, the MoU has set out the relationship between the Authorities in regulating payment systems in the UK. Under the Financial Services (Banking Reform) Act 2013, the Authorities are required to review the MoU annually.

Senior representatives from the BoE, FCA, PRA and PSR have considered whether co-operation between the Authorities, pursuant to the MoU, is working well. Overall, the Authorities have concluded that the MoU continues to work well.

Areas for future co-operation and co-ordination include revisions to the MoU regarding proposed stablecoin regulation, embedding the reforms from the Financial Services and Markets Act 2023 (FSMA 2023). These will be undertaken during 2024 and beyond. The Authorities will also continue to work, as needed, with HM Treasury in its preparation of a National Payments Vision.

Global: BIS public-private partnership on tokenisation of cross-border payments announced

On 3 April 2024, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) announced a new project exploring tokenisation of cross-border payments.

Project Agorá will see the BIS Innovation Hub and seven central banks - Bank of France (representing the Eurosystem), Bank of Japan, Bank of Korea, Bank of Mexico, Swiss National Bank, Bank of England and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York - working with a large group of firms convened by the Institute of International Finance.

The Project will look into how tokenisation of wholesale central bank money and commercial bank deposits on programmable platforms can improve the functioning of the monetary system. BIS will issue a call for expressions of interest to firms to join the Project.

Singapore: MAS announces finalisation of extension to scope of regulated payment services

On 2 April 2024, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced that Singapore has finalised amendments to the Payment Services Act and its subsidiary legislation, expanding the scope of regulated activities and introducing more stringent obligations on digital payment token (DPT) service providers.  The changes take place in stages from 4 April 2024 onwards.

United Kingdom: PSR publishes annual plan and budget for 2024/25

On 9 April 2024, the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) published its annual plan and budget for 2024/25. It has also published its 2024/25 work plan.

The documents summarise the PSR's key aims and activities for 2024/25 and its expected operating costs. Its key projects for 2024/25 include:

  • Assessing PSR five-year Strategy at the halfway point and revising priorities as necessary;
  • Publishing final report on market review of cross-border interchange fees and consulting on remedies and implementation, as necessary.
  • Publishing interim and final reports on market review of scheme and processing fees and, if necessary, consulting on remedies and implementation.
  • Publishing a report on barriers consumers face in using digital payments and setting out how it intends to support adoption of digital payment methods.
  • Publishing second annual review on the effectiveness of Specific Direction 12 in maintaining access to free-to-use cash machines via the LINK network (see separate item).
  • Tackling authorised push payment (APP) scams, including consulting on reimbursement rules for participants in the CHAPS payment system, new requirements that require payment service providers to report data to Pay.UK and guidance on reporting and publishing APP fraud performance data.
  • Unlocking account-to-account payments by continuing to clarify the future regulation of open banking and making decisions on any changes needed to enable the expansion of variable recurring payments, and consulting on how to deliver account-to-account retail payments.

Indicative timings for the above projects are included in the work plan.

The PSR is holding an event on 9 May 2024 to hear stakeholders' views on its annual plan. Anyone interested in attending will need to register via this link before 26 April 2024.

Regulatory Developments: Digital Assets

United Kingdom: Bank of England and FCA publish joint consultation paper on implementing and operating Digital Securities Sandbox

On 3 April 2024, the Bank of England (BoE) and the FCA issued a consultation paper setting out the proposed approach to operating the Digital Securities Sandbox (DSS).

The DSS is designed to facilitate the adoption of innovative technology in digital assets in the UK.

The consultation invites views from interested participants on how the DSS will operate in practice, in order to maximise the potential benefits from the technology while protecting financial stability and market integrity. It includes:

  • An outline of the proposed approach to the operation of the DSS, including the BoE’s draft rules and fee regime; and
  • A draft guidance document for potential applicants.

The consultation follows HM Treasury’s (HMT) response to its consultation on the DSS published in November 2023 and the Financial Securities and Markets Act 2023 (Digital Securities Sandbox) Regulations 2023 (the DSS Regulations) which entered into force on 8 January 2024 (read more about these developments in our Engage article here).

The consultation is open for comments until 29 May 2024.

For more on this development, take a look at our Engage article.

European Union: ESMA releases publications on MiCA

On 25 March 2024, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) released the following three publications on the Regulation on Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA):

1. Final report on first set of RTS and ITS

ESMA published its final report on draft technical standards specifying requirements of MiCA. The final report follows a consultation paper in which ESMA sought views on this first package of proposals for draft regulatory technical standards (RTS) and implementing technical standards (ITS). Sections 2 to 5 of the final report set out the feedback statements relating to five of the six draft technical standards related to investor protection topics which were included in the consultation. ESMA has submitted the relevant draft technical standards to the European Commission for adoption.

The final report relating to the technical standards on conflicts of interest for cryptoasset service providers will be published at a later stage to allow the European Banking Authority (EBA) to conclude its related consultation process and therefore facilitate close cooperation with ESMA to ensure maximum alignment.

2. Final report on technical standards on co-operation between competent authorities, ESAs and third-country authorities

ESMA published a final report on draft technical standards specifying requirements for cooperation, exchange of information, and notification between competent authorities, European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs), and third countries under MiCA. There was no public consultation as the standards are not addressed to market participants.

The report contains two draft RTS and two ITS in relation to:

  • the exchange of information between competent authorities;
  • procedures, forms and templates for the exchange of information between competent authorities;
  • procedures, forms and templates for exchange of information between competent authorities and ESMA/the European Banking Authority; and
  • the template for cooperation with third-country authorities.

ESMA will now submit the final report to the European Commission, who will decide whether to adopt the technical standards.

The DSS is designed to facilitate the adoption of innovative technology in digital assets in the UK.

The consultation invites views from interested participants on how the DSS will operate in practice, in order to maximise the potential benefits from the technology while protecting financial stability and market integrity. It includes:

  • An outline of the proposed approach to the operation of the DSS, including the BoE’s draft rules and fee regime; and
  • A draft guidance document for potential applicants.

The consultation follows HM Treasury’s (HMT) response to its consultation on the DSS published in November 2023 and the Financial Securities and Markets Act 2023 (Digital Securities Sandbox) Regulations 2023 (the DSS Regulations) which entered into force on 8 January 2024 (read more about these developments in our Engage article here).

The consultation is open for comments until 29 May 2024.

For more on this development, take a look at our Engage article.

3. Consultation on third set of RTS and guidelines

ESMA published a consultation paper on draft technical standards and guidelines specifying certain requirements of MiCA on detection and prevention of market abuse, investor protection and operational resilience.

The paper relates to the following four mandates under consultation:

  1. Prevention and detection of cryptoasset market abuse;
  2. Suitability requirements applicable to the provision of advice and portfolio management services in cryptoassets and the format of the periodic statement to be provided for portfolio management services;
  3. Transfer services for cryptoassets; and
  4. Maintenance of systems and security access protocols.

The deadline for responses is 25 June 2024. ESMA is required to submit the technical standards in the consultation paper to the European Commission by 30 December 2024.

United Arab Emirates: DIFC announces enactment of new Digital Assets Law, new Law of Security and other related legislative amendments

On 13 March 2024, Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) announced the enactment of the new Digital Assets Law to accommodate technological developments in international trade and financial markets. This follows on from the consultation announced by the DIFC which we had previously reported on in our October 2023 Newsletter.

Alongside the Digital Assets Law, DIFC also enacted a new Law of Security and made related amendments to the existing legislative framework to accommodate the new digital assets and revised security regime.

Amendments to the Law of Obligation have provided for the use of electronic transferable records which will act as a functional equivalent to paper trade documents or instruments. DIFC has stated that such electronic transferable records will facilitate greater efficiency in cross border digital trade.

Additionally, DIFC has amended the Law of Security to significantly amend and enhance its securities regime, repealing the existing Law of Security and Financial Collateral Regulations

Estonia: Government approves new Bill to regulate cryptoassets

On 22 March 2024, it was reported that the Estonian government had approved a Bill to align the domestic legal framework with the EU’s MiCA Regulation.

Previously, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) was responsible for the registration of cryptocurrency service providers and its duties were largely determined by reference to anti-money laundering (AML) measures. The new Bill proposes that responsibility for the regulation of cryptocurrency service providers be moved to the Financial Supervision Authority (FSA), who will have a remit broader than AML regulations.

From 2025, the FSA will be able to issue licences to cryptocurrency service providers. Entities who currently hold an FIU licence will need to ensure that they are moved to an FSA licence by 2025.

The Bill awaits Parliamentary approval before it can become law.

South Korea: Financial Services Commission hosts digital finance roundtable with OECD and ASEAN

On 18 March 2024, the Financial Services Commission of South Korean (FSC) announced that it was hosting a joint roundtable meeting from 18 to 19 March 2024 on digital finance with the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Korean Institute of Finance.

The roundtable meeting discussed topics such as:

  • Digital assets, central bank digital currencies and tokenisation;
  • Decentralised finance and cryptoassets in ASEAN and beyond;
  • Cyber-security in the financial sector;
  • Artificial intelligence in finance; and
  • Generative AI in finance in Asia and ASEAN.

The FSC Vice Chairman stated that South Korea will seek to strengthen cooperation with international organisations and ASEAN economies to exchange intelligence on financial industry trends and maintain regulatory consistency with global standards.

Lithuania: Draft legislation published for implementation of MiCA

On 14 March 2024, the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Lithuania announced draft amendments to align Lithuania’s existing financial services regulatory framework with the EU MiCA Regulation. The draft amendments would bring cryptoasset service providers closer to the operating standards applied to financial institutions.

Under the draft changes, the Bank of Lithuania will become responsible for the supervision of cryptoasset service providers and, along with the Financial Crime Investigation Service, will monitor the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing for such entities.

The period for comment on the draft legislation expired on 28 March 2024.

European Union: ESMA publishes update on DLT Pilot Regime implementation

On 3 April 2024, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) published a letter from Verena Ross, ESMA Chair, to Mairead McGuinness, European Commissioner for Financial Services, Financial Stability and Capital Markets Union (CMU), on the implementation of the Regulation on a pilot regime for market infrastructures based on distributed ledger technology (DLT) ((EU) 2022/858) (DLT Pilot Regime Regulation). Key points include:

  • As no DLT market infrastructures have been authorised under the Regulation, ESMA does not intend to publish the first annual interim report that was due on 24 March 2024 under Article 15 of the Regulation.
  • There is an update for the Commission on the status of the applications submitted and the main challenges observed by ESMA during its interactions with national competent authorities and applicants.

Market Developments

Ethiopia: Cooperative Bank of Oromia launches new banking apps

On 19 March 2024, Temenos announced that Ethiopia’s Cooperative Bank of Oromia had launched Islamic banking and conventional banking apps in partnership with it.  As a result of this partnership, the Cooperative Bank of Oromia will be able to support customers across various touchpoints, including online banking, mobile banking, ATMs and in-branch services.

India: VISA CEO comments on Indian fintech market

On 19 March 2024, it was reported that Visa’s CEO has expressed Visa’s interest in engaging with the Indian fintech market to enhance Visa’s product offerings and expand its customer base. The report stated that localised solutions are required to drive financial inclusion.

The report also noted that India is a global leader in the adoption of QR-based payment systems, which are easy to use, secure and involve low costs to deploy.

Europe: Euroclear invests in blockchain company IZNES

On 25 March 2024, it was announced that Euroclear will acquire a stake in IZNES, a pan-European funds marketplace based on blockchain technology.

Euroclear expressed its hopes that this acquisition will reduce the cost of funds distribution by facilitating the mutualisation of data and further automation of processes.

United States: Dwolla and MX partner to simplify payments for businesses

On 26 March 2024, it was announced that Dwolla, a provider of account-to-account payment services, has partnered with MX Technologies, Inc., a financial data and technology company, in order to enable enterprises to manage money movement more effectively.

Dwolla’s open banking services will work with MX’s instant account verifications and account aggregation systems to provide businesses with bank verification and balance check services. 

India: Hitachi Payment Services installs 10,000 ATMs in India

On 27 March 2024, it was reported that Hitachi Payment Services, a leading payments solutions provider in India, had installed 10,000 white label ATMs in the country. Hitachi Payment Services has a particular focus in semi-urban and rural regions, widening financial inclusion in these areas.

Global: Ant International expands Alipay+ tourist payment service

On 27 March 2024, it was reported that Ant Group, a Chinese financial technology company, will expand its cross-border mobile payment service, Alipay+. 

Alipay+ facilitates the delivery of electronic payments to small and medium-sized businesses from foreign travellers. Among other planned changes, Ant aims to increase the number of partner wallets in the Alipay+ system in 2024. Currently 25 digital wallets are partnered with Alipay+ and the company hopes to increase this to more than 35.

Global: Western Union combines digital wallets with eSIM mobile service

On 27 March 2024, it was reported that eSim Go, a company which specialises in electronic versions of mobile phone SIM cards, has added Western Union’s digital wallets to its mobile data service. Eligible Western Union digital wallet customers will be able to access the solution from their digital banking app and transact in their chosen language and currency.

Global: GoCardless to acquire Nuapay

On 18 March 2024, GoCardless, the bank payment company, announced that it had signed an agreement to acquire Nuapay, a payment services subsidiary of EML Payments. The agreement is subject to regulatory approvals.

The acquisition is expected to increase GoCardless’ indirect channel offering and enable it to unlock use cases in areas such as payroll, financial services, and utilities.

Global: Mastercard partners with Alipay for digital wallets to enable cross-border payments

On 25 March 2024, it was reported that Mastercard will invest in the remittances market through a new partnership with Alipay. While traditionally remittances are expected to end up at cash endpoints, the trend of increasing digitalisation is expected to shift the market towards cross-border wallets.

Australia: Australian Payments Plus enlists SWIFT to develop confirmation of payee system

On 21 March 2024, it was reported that Australian Payments Plus, an organisation which brings together Australia’s three domestic payment providers, will partner with SWIFT, the global bank messaging network, to establish a confirmation of payee system. The new measure will be implemented in Australia’s New Payments Platform.

The confirmation of payee process will protect consumers against fraud by taking steps to verify the recipient’s identity before completing a payment.

United Kingdom: BT Group develops Tap to Pay on iPhone for small business customers in partnership with Adyen

On 21 March 2024, BT Group announced that its associate company, Etc. will partner with the global financial technology platform, Adyen, to facilitate in-person contactless payments with Tap to Pay on iPhone for small business customers. The new app will allow small businesses to accept payments via physical debit and credit cards, Apple Pay and other digital wallets without the need for a card reader or extra hardware.

Oman: Oman Investment & Finance Co. launches e-wallet

On 26 March 2024, it was reported that the Oman Investment & Finance Co. (OIFC) had launched an e-wallet, Khedmah Pay, following approval from the Central Bank of Oman.

Khdemah Pay will allow customers to open an e-wallet account, add funds and make payments through the Khedmah Pay app. Among other functions, customers will be able to pay bills, subscribe to services, pay fines, and make insurance payments.

Customers can top up their e-wallets by cash, or digital payments through a linked bank account.

Surveys and Reports

Sweden: Payments report finds ‘Cash is rarely used and the supply of cash services is decreasing’

On 14 March 2024, the Central Bank of Sweden, Sveriges Riksbank, published its Payments Report for 2024.

Among other findings, the report highlighted that the Swedish payments market has been digitalised, with cash and manual payments services being replaced by cards, mobile phones and internet services. While this has made payments faster and cheaper, it risks marginalising those who do not have access to digital payment services.

The report also flagged the security concerns associated with digitalisation and called for a focus on the challenges of digitalisation. Riksbank offered a number of proposals including the enhancement of resilience in the payment system and new laws on cash management.

Global: Worldpay Global Payments Report 2024

On 21 March 2024, Worldpay published its Global Payments Report 2024 with the headline ‘Digital wallet maturity ushers in a golden age of payments’.

The report found that the widespread adoption of digital wallets has facilitated greater consumer choice and control. Digital wallets accounted for $13.9 trillion in global transaction value in 2023, representing half of all online and 30% of consumer spend at point-of-sale (POS).

By 2027, digital wallets are projected to account for more than $25 trillion in global transaction value, or 49% of all sales online and at POS combined.



Authored by Grace Wyatt, Virginia Montgomery and Ada Nourell.



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