Global Wrap: In Australia, MC Exec Lashes Out At Apple/Amex Deal
This week’s global payments report has investments from Mexico, India and the U.K., an Australian cyber currency IPO delayed for the fifth time, a Canadian Amex small merchant initiative and a MasterCard exec lashing out at the Apple/Amex deal in Australia.
- Mexico’s Clip Pulls In $8 Million Investment From Amex, Sierra Ventures, Alta Ventures
Clip, an operation that works with retailers to accept multiple payment options from Mexican shoppers, has finalized a new financing round of $8 million. Alta Ventures led the funding round, along with American Express Ventures, Sierra Ventures, Angel Ventures Mexico, Mexico Ventures and Endeavor Catalyst.
Said Alta Ventures Managing Director Diego Serebrisky: “Clip has effectively developed the payment product that small and medium size merchants in Mexico were looking for. Although scaling is hard for any company, and particularly challenging in Latin America, Clip is on a clear trajectory to consolidate its marketing and distribution strategy.”
- In Australia, MC Exec Lashes Out At Apple/Amex Deal
There’s more fallout from Apple’s decision to launch in Australia (and Canada, for that matter) only with American Express cards. This time, it’s from a MasterCard exec crying foul, arguing that regulators take a more lax regulatory position with Amex than with other card brands.
Eddie Grobler, division president of MasterCard Australasia, said “Apple Pay launching in Australia with Amex proprietary cards was a symptom of its ability to charge merchants much higher fees than Visa or MasterCard and therefore having much fatter margins to share with Apple, which has been demanding a cut of the fees paid to banks before allowing them onto Apple Pay,” according to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald.
The report quoted Grobler also say that the Apple Amex move “goes to the very heart of this challenge and shows the unintended consequences of regulation in Australia. The result is that the highest cost card for retailers and businesses to accept is able to incentivize consumers and benefit from the work of MasterCard and Visa, who along with our acquiring customers invested in the contactless infrastructure necessary for the unregulated proprietary Amex to grow. There will not be true fairness for consumers, retailers and businesses while some payment schemes are regulated and others are not. Regulation of American Express companion cards is a small step in the right direction but it leaves enormous regulatory holes that mean retailers and businesses, and consumers will continue to see distorted costs for payments schemes, including American Express [proprietary], China Union Pay and PayPal.”
- Amex Canada Focuses On Small Retailers
The move will support third-party acquirers in signing up small merchants for Amex, all within the brand’s OptBlue program, Amex said in a statement.
amex described the OptBlue program this way: “OptBlue is a one-stop servicing solution that allows third-party acquirers to provide Small Merchants the benefit of a single statement, one settlement process and one point of contact for all major card brands, including American Express. Additionally, third party acquirers determine merchant pricing in addition to providing payment processing and servicing.”
The small biz move is an interesting one from a PF perspective. The nature of selling to small businesses so very cleanly lends itself to PFs because, although the potential collective revenue is mammoth, it is extremely a remarkably resource-intensive process given the huge number of merchants and the relatively small amount of revenue for each.
- In India, Mobile Wallet PayTm Drops $2 Million To Buy Local Services Firm Near.In
The monies raised are to help Near.In’s online-to-offline strategy. The year-old startup connects contractors with consumers, working in more than 100 categories, completing with companies such as UrbanClap and Housejoy “besides a bunch of vertical marketplaces offering specific services like beauty and laundry,” said a report in The Times Of India.
The story also detailed some of the players involved in the funding. “Near.in had raised seed funding of around Rs 2 crore from serial entrepreneurs like Anupam Mittal of Shaadi.com, Manish Vij of adtech firm SVG Media, Prashant Tandon (CEO) and Gaurav Agarwal (CTO) of Healthkart.com, and Akash Agarwal, global vice-president of the mobile division of enterprise software maker SAP Labs,” the story said. “Paytm has shelled out $2 million to buy out Near.in and the latter’s founders Lomesh Dutta and Sunil Goyal will join Paytm as vice-presidents, said Kiran Vasi Reddy, senior VP (business), at Paytm. Near.in’s early investors will exit as part of the acquisition.”
- K. Transit App Firm Masabi Picks Up $12 Million Investment
Masabi, a U.K. transit/ticketing app firm, secured that $12 million funding from international public transport operator Keolis, Lepe Partners, MasterCard and existing investor MMC Ventures.
Masabi issued a statement about the investments and said that its new investors are all preparing to integrate Masabi technology into their mobile services.
“Our mission is to transform everyday transport for millions of people in cities worldwide. The combination of Masabi, MasterCard and Keolis represents three companies working at the forefront of their respective fields to develop and deploy products, making this a reality,” said Masabi CEO Brian Zanghi. “We are delighted to welcome their investment together with that from Lepe Partners and MMC Ventures to support our operations around the world where mobile ticketing is enhancing the quality of life of urban residents and visitors and bringing about smarter, better connected cities.”
- Australian Bitcoin IPO Delayed—For Fifth Time
Some virtual currencies just can’t catch a break. A report in The Sydney Morning Herald has the sad tale of “Bitcoin Group, the second bitcoin company to attempt a listing on the ASX, has been forced to release a third supplementary prospectus and delay its float for a fifth time, until mid-January. The latest change adds to a string of missteps and rebukes from corporate watchdog Australian Securities and Investments Commission.”
The effort is hoping to raise $20 million for the firm, which mined almost $2 million of the crypto currency this year, the story noted.
The latest IPO delay was mostly procedural, as it was the second supplement to a replacement prospect and it put it the list date as Jan. 6. But listing rules requires that a company must return all of the money it has raised from investors if the listing is more than three months after the prospectus is lodged. Given that Bitcoin Group had started the process on Sept. 4, it needed to start over.
- India’s Citrus Pay Ties Up With RuPay, Visa
Even though Mumbai-based Citrus Pay raised $25 million just a few months ago, it was denied a critical bank payments license, forcing it to explore alternatives.
A report in The Economic Times said that Citrus Pay chose to instead tie up with players who could provide the payments support that they now need. Citrus Pay “is now trying to get the users of RuPay, the Indian card scheme launched by National Payments Corporation of India, from small cities and towns on its transaction platform to expand there.”
The report quoted Citrus Pay MD Jitendra Gupta saying, “We are planning to increase our present 10 million wallet user base by 2 million over the next 60-90 days by facilitating acceptance of RuPay cards. In order to introduce RuPay card users to our platform, we are offering an incentive of 10 percent cashback on the first recharge into our wallet. This would be beneficial for our merchant partners as well.”