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News Round-up: Fast-growth SMEs say tech a key driver, digital payments recommendations made to India’s central bank, Citi fleshes out plans for digital payments business

Here are the week’s main news stories in the world of small business and digital payments:

Fastest-growing SMEs more likely to see tech as key driver

The top 20 per cent highest-growth businesses are more likely to consider themselves as tech-driven, with 71 per cent of that group finding technology to be a key driver for their growth, according to research by Yorkshire Bank. The research, which studied the attitudes and opinions of 2,000 SMEs, also suggests technology may be a major factor for SMEs when trying to secure funding, with 36 per cent of tech-led businesses finding it easy to access funding for growth, compared to 19 per cent of other businesses. The research also found high-growth businesses are more likely to actively review their impact on the environment.

Digital payments recommendations submitted to India’s central bank

A committee appointed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), and headed by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology chairman Nandan Nilekani, has submitted suggestions on promoting digital payments to the bank’s governor, Shaktikanta Das. The RBI had set up the five-member panel on deepening digital payments in January with a view to encouraging digitisation of payments and enhancing financial inclusion through digitisation. In a statement, the RBI said it will examine the recommendations and include action points in its Payment Systems Vision 2021.

Citi plans consumer digital payments in 20 markets by 2020

US financial services giant Citi is aiming for its new digital consumer payments business to be live in 20 markets across all regions, including Asia, by the first quarter of 2020, according to a senior executive, expanding up to 40 markets over the next three years. First announced in March, Citi’s new service will offer merchants a range of consumer payment options to collect money, including from credit cards and e-wallets.

SME banking hubs launched for rural areas

Retail-BCG has announced SME banking hubs aimed at filling the void left by banks withdrawing from rural areas. Bank clients and SMEs can deposit or change their money at multi-service devices in various locations. The automated system allows SMEs to bank their daily takings conveniently and with immediate credit, with devices easily accessible and available to local businesses 24 hours a day. Consumers will also benefit from a continued banking presence in less populated areas.

Visa partnership aimed at driving digital payments in Brazil

Visa has partnered with Latin American fintech company EBANX to promote the uptake of digital payments in two Brazilian cities, reinforcing benefits such as security. The partnership covers Cascavel and Paranaguá in the Brazilian state of Paraná and is part of Visa’s Cities of the Future programme, which aims to encourage the use of digital payments in places where the use of paper money still predominates. Visa and EBANX will initially install 180 point-of-sale terminals in local businesses, expanding to more than 3,000 over the next few months.

UAE consumers prefer cards over cash

Consumers across the UAE are growing increasingly comfortable with using cards for their transactions, both in-store and online, with 84 per cent reporting that they find cards more secure than cash, according to a survey by Visa and the Department of Economic Development (DED). In addition, 87 per cent of the respondents claimed to have started making more card payments online in the past two years. The survey found that 73 per cent of online shoppers prefer paying by card, driven by factors such as security, budget management and spend rewards.

Singapore leads digital economy pact talks

Talks including representatives from Singapore, Chile and New Zealand have started around an agreement aimed at tackling issues in the digital economy such as artificial intelligence governance, digital payments, invoicing and identities, said a recent joint statement. The Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (Depa) is being spearheaded by Singapore’s Trade and Industry and Communications and Information ministries, along with the Infocomm Media Development Authority. According to a statement, Depa is an opportunity “to set forward-looking standards on digital trade, and establish new international approaches to support the digital economy and trade in the digital era”.

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News Round-up: Fast-growth SMEs say tech a key driver, digital payments recommendations made to India’s central bank, Citi fleshes out plans for digital payments business
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