The battle at the Indian POS has intensified with news that Visa has taken a decisive move in response to fast-changing market conditions, slashing its fees on debit card payments, particularly for amounts below 2000 rupees [around $30]. "Both terminal acquisition and acceptance of payment by card are now more attractive", notes Patrick Houlihan, senior researcher for Lafferty Group. "This move is partially a response to the rates charged by RuPay: Visa have been uncompetitive in this regard. Now the global scheme wants more small merchants on board." As the change primarily targets low-value transactions, transaction volume among debit cardholders should rise further and may even overtake credit cards for the lion's share of value.
The newly appointed CEO of Deutsche Bank, Christian Sewing, is calling for banking consolidation in Europe, saying that at the moment there is no single market, but 28 individual markets with different policies on insolvency, consumer protection and mortgage securities. "Even if a lot has already happened in Europe, we are far from reaching our goal of building a common banking and financial market," said Mr Sewing. "We call for a common European market and an end to the fragmentation of the banking system. Only then will we be able to stand up to non-European competition in the long run — at least in our home market of Europe." Mr Sewing said that large European banks are a huge advantage and should compete against American and Chinese financial firms. He also said that strong international banks are needed in Germany and Europe, and that "conditions for more consolidation must be created".
In the United States, peer-to-peer payment service Zelle, the incumbent banks' riposte to mobile payment apps from the tech sector, appears to be on course to overtake its major rival, Venmo, this year. Thirty banks cooperated to bring Zelle to market: it remains a model of how incumbents willing to set aside rivalries can use their experience and customer base to fend off new competitors.
Finally, the consequences of cybercriminals having infected hundreds of servers and thousands of computers belonging to Banco de Chile are now being grappled with by consumers, bankers, regulators and lawmakers. The attack on the bank, in which Citigroup has a 29 percent stake, brought the branch network to a halt and operations only got back onto a normal footing last week. In the course of the attack, some $10 million was taken. Despite being a regional leader in terms of internet penetration, Chile has been slow to bolster cyber defences: lawmakers are currently considering measures to require a tightening up of security in the sector.
Of the banks mentioned above, Banco de Chile, Citi and Deutsche were each given two stars in Lafferty's 2017 Benchmarking Report. The maximum possible is five stars.
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