Here are the week’s main news stories in the world of small business and digital payments:
Government Living Wage presents challenge for small businesses
Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chairman Mike Cherry has called for more support to help small employers meet Sajid Javid’s ambition to raise the Living Wage to £10.50, or two-thirds of the average median income, by 2024. Responding to Chancellor Javid’s speech at the Conservative Party Conference, Cherry said: “While it is welcome that the Chancellor is giving businesses five years to adapt, this increase will leave many small employers struggling and, without help, could make some small firms unviable.” With four in 10 small employers saying operating costs are rising due to employment costs, Cherry added that sectors with tight margins and which are heavily labour-dependent – such as the care sector, retail or hospitality – will be particularly badly hit without support.
PayPal to enter Chinese payments market
PayPal will become the first foreign payment platform to provide online payment services in China after the People’s Bank of China approved its acquisition of a 70 per cent equity stake in GoPay. GoPay has licences for online and mobile transactions and mainly provides payment products for e-commerce, cross-border commerce and air travellers. Though China’s payments market today is led by local players, including e-wallet providers like AliPay and WeChat Pay, there’s still plenty of room for growth. However, the news of PayPal’s entry into China comes at a time of increased tension between the US and China, with the White House reportedly considering curbing some US investments in China amid the trade dispute between the countries.
DBS and Singapore tax authority working to make business cheque-free by 2025
DBS Bank is collaborating with the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) to digitalise tax payouts and collections via PayNow to encourage more businesses to go cheque-free. IRAS first introduced PayNow as an option for businesses to receive Wage Credit Scheme payouts in March, resulting in a 20 per cent reduction in cheque volumes to date.
Payments start-up Rapyd raises $100 million
London-based payments technology start-up Rapyd has raised $100 million in venture-backed funding to tap into e-commerce businesses, gig economy platforms and any digital business service that wants a “highly localised” customer experience. The funding round was led by Oak HC/FT with participation from Tiger Global, Coatue, General Catalyst, Target Global, Stripe and Entree Capital. Rapyd claims that if companies use its ‘fintech-as-a-service’ layer on their platforms, they can access four billion customers. The company’s technology accepts many different forms of payments and supports 170 different currencies, according to its website.
Online payments for digital and physical goods
The total transaction value of online remote payments for digital and physical goods will increase by 53 per cent over the next five years to exceed $6 trillion by 2024, according to research by Juniper Research. According to the report, online remote payments for digital and physical goods will be driven by purchases made via mobile devices, with the number of smartphone buyers increasing by nearly 60 per cent between 2019 and 2024. Consequently, just 21 per cent of global purchases will be made using PCs, laptops and connected TVs by 2024.
Equals Group launches first SME loan product
E-banking and international payments business Equals Group has launched its first loan product for SMEs in partnership with iwoca. The app-based flexible loan product, the CardOneMoney Platinum Business Loan, enables small businesses to apply for a loan and receive a decision together with available funds within minutes. Funds are made available on a virtual Mastercard and are usable online. The money can be transferred to the customer business account or used directly via direct connectivity to Faster Payments and other payment methods.